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Some porn might have you convinced that people with penises are Energizer Bunnies that keep going and going and going. That’s the power of editing.
In reality, however, humans simply cannot keep pumping away like they’re wearing an Infinity Gauntlet for a condom. Even at their most virile, everyone needs a breather between sessions. This recharging time has another name: The male refractory period.
So how long is this refractory period? Well, as with condoms, resting periods between splooges are not one-size-fits-all.
Board-certified urologic surgeon Jamin Brahmbhatt, MD, says that this refractory period can last anywhere from a few minutes to several days.
“Generally speaking, people in their twenties often need only a few minutes, while those in their thirties and forties may need 30 minutes to an hour,” says Xanet Pailet, sex and intimacy educator and author of Living An Orgasmic Life.
After sex, the penis becomes floppy as the result of signals from the brain that tell your body to relax, Brahmbhatt advises.
And trying to insert a flaccid penis into an orifice is like trying to put silly string back in the spray can through the nozzle. You’re going to have a difficult time of it. So you’ll have to wait until you’re hard again — and that’ll take a little while.
Once you’re back to being fully erect, however, there’s plenty of sex positions to accommodate every penis size and shape.
Just as your phone sometimes needs to install updates, your body needs time as well. “The excitable fight-or-flight nervous system recedes, and the rest-and-restore system comes forward,” explains board-certified urologist and men’s sexual health expert Paul Turek, MD.
After orgasming, a person who has a penis will see their dopamine levels drop and their prolactin levels increase.
Sex expert Antonia Hall suggests that an increase in prolactin levels contributes to a longer wait between poots. “If prolactin levels are lower, his refractory period will be shorter,” Hall explains.
Other variables might include:
- stress and energy levels
- arousal levels
- drug and alcohol use, including antidepressants and other prescription drugs that can reduce libido
(If you find yourself short on libido, you can try these methods for getting in the mood.)
Brahmbhatt suggests that your recovery time may also depend on your overall health and age.
Many factors can impact how long you may need to wait for your penis to play ball (pun intended), but they’re probably out of your control (even if you invented the time machine tomorrow, you wouldn’t be able to make yourself any younger).
However, being extremely aroused can shorten the length of the refractory period, Pailet says. Essentially, if you’re in a situation that’s turning you on to insane levels, you’re likely to jump back into the fray. The mind is a powerful aphrodisiac.
Here’s a deeper look into why people with penises need a break between orgasms.
“My best recommendation for people with penises who want the ability to have sex multiple times in a short period is learning ejaculatory control. This allows them to experience an orgasm without ejaculating,” Pailet says.
Ejaculatory control can be learned through breathwork, according to Pailet. Some tantric breathing techniques that can help you delay orgasm (and some just make for better sex, tbh).
Of course, being a peak health never hurts. “The best you can do is to keep that body of yours as healthy as possible by eating right, exercising regularly, and treating it like a temple,” Turek says. “A healthy body will reboot quicker than an unhealthy one.”
That also includes avoiding the intake of too much alcohol, which is known to act as a depressant. (Ever heard of whisky flops?)
This is maybe the best motivation ever to order that salad. Here’s some foods with a reputation for bolstering your body for sexy times.
You might have to wait minutes to get back into the groove after an orgasm. It could be a few days. It depends on so many factors, such as age, overall health, and any current medications that you take, such as anti-depressants.
However, it’s not a dealbreaker — if you’ve got a penis, you aren’t expected to come with unlimited, immediate refills.
Sex is about intimacy, communication, and sensitivity. And, yes, this might mean that your partner demands to go again *right this second* precisely because you’re a dynamo in the sack. However, your penis needn’t be flying at full mast to keep the pleasure rolling.
You’ve got fingers and a mouth, and when you need assistance, sex toys can also keep the excitement going. So you needn’t feel any shame at not getting a rapid follow-up erection.
However, staying healthy and exercising regularly can be a reliable method for reducing your recharge time between ejaculations. And it’s pretty awesome for your brain and body in general.
Aly Walansky is a New York-based lifestyle writer. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @alywalansky.