Erection Duration: Exploring How Long They Last

How long should a normal erection last? It's something many men have wondered about and today they’ll get an answer.

On average, an erection lasts 5 minutes and 24 seconds. Having an erection around that time will therefore be considered normal. An erection can last shorter or longer depending onthe situation. Ranging from a few minutes to a few quarters of an hour. Both are considered normal.

The length of your erection depends on several factors such as:

  • your age
  • health
  • fitness
  • medication use (Viagra or Sildenafil)
  • how excited you are
  • the type of erection you have

What are the different erection types?

As you may know, not every single erection is alike. A prime example are the erections that occur during your sleep, known as nocturnal erections.

Nocturnal erections occur during your REM sleep and happen three or four times a night, lasting about 45 minutes in total. Why these erections occur is not entirely understood, but they are a fairly good indicator of your erectile health.

In addition to nocturnal erections, a distinction is also made between erections that occur during masturbation and those that occur during sex. Erections that occur during sex last on average a bit longer and are also "harder".

How long does an erection last after sex?

In most cases, an erection does not last very long after sex and, after having an orgasm, it ends fairly quickly for most men.

Obviously it can happen that you keep your erection even after an orgasm, but for most us it doesn’t happen often. Losing your erection after an orgasm is actually quite normal and is known as the refractory period.

This is the period the body needs to recover from sexual excitement and prevent your from having another orgasm right away. During this recovery period, your penis becomes flaccid and insensitive towards sexual stimilus.

How long the refractory period lasts is different for everyone. Young men have an average refractory period of 15 minutes, while in older men (50+) it can last up to 20 hours. Some men, although very exceptionally, have a refractory period of less than 10 seconds.

How do you maintain your erection for longer?

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to maintain an erection for very much longer. What we do know though is that a healthy lifestyle helps!

Men who are seriously overweight have, on average, an erection for a shorter period of time and also suffer more often from erection problems. If you fall into this category, it helps to improve your lifestyle. Not only by eating healthier, but also by exercising more.

You might think that it doesn't really matter, but studies have shown that men who started exercising halfway through their lives were 70% less likely to have erectile dysfunction than men who didn't exercise.

In addition, it can also help you in getting rid of your erectile dysfunction. Approximately 31% of men resolved their erectile dysfunction due to exercise in losing weight.

Can medication help?

If you suffer from erectile dysfunction, medication such as Viagra and Sildenafil can help improve blood flow to the penis.

In more than 80% of men with erectile dysfunction, treatment with Viagra or Sildenafil results in an erection. That is, the use of the medication works in more than 80% of men to achieve and maintain an erection that is good enough to have sex with.

What should I do if an erection lasts longer than 4 hours?

Although you may want to maintain an erection for as long as possible, there eventually comes a point when it is harmful to your health.

This mark is around 4 hours. An erection lasting longer than 4 hours can cause permanent damage to the penis, known as priapism. This can cause the development of scar tissue within the penis or may even cause penis tissue to die. Those who suffer from an abnormal long erection should seek medical attention ASAP.

Can watching a lot of porn cause erection problems?

The influence of porn on erectile dysfunction is not entirely clear, but it seems that it can have both a positive and negative influence.

According to a study (2015), men who watch porn respond better to sexual stimuli. In other words, it is easier for them to achieve an erection. So according to this study, the effect was positive.

Other studies however, noted a negative impact. For example, by significantly raising the standard of what is expected. Who’s still interested in casual sex if you can also look at porn with bondage and gangbangs?

In such a case, watching too much porn might affect your “real-life” relationship. It is therefore important to reduce your use of porn as soon as you notice that it is causing problems.

Other things that can cause erectile dysfunction are:

  • Fatigue
  • Stress
  • Fear of performing
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of exercise

Key points

On average, an erection lasts 5 minutes and 24 seconds. In young men it is longer and in older men it is shorter. So a "normal" erection lasts about 5 minutes, but it can also last much longer, like an hour. This too is considered "normal".

Overweight men tend to have shorter erections and also experience more erectile problems. Healthy eating and more exercise help to reduce these symptoms and may lengthen the duration of the erection.

The use of medication such as Viagra and Sildenafil can also help. Both are equally effective and are effective in 8 out of 10 men.


How long should a normal erection last?

An erection can last anywhere from a few minutes up until a few hours. Both are normal. On average, an erection lasts 5 minutes and 24 seconds. The duration of the erection is longer in youger men compared to older men.

An erection that lasts more than 4 hours is considered abnormal. In such a case, you should seek medical attention ASAP.

Which factors influence the duration of your erection?

The duration of an erection is determined by many factors, for instance by how excited you are. Other factors that contribute to the duration of an erection are your age, physical fitness, diet and the type of erection.