There’s a scene in Bohemian Rhapsody when Freddie Mercury is told by record executive Ray Foster that the famous song of the same name is too drawn out for radio at “…six bloody minutes long”, to which Freddie replies – “I pity your wife if you think six minutes is a long time!”
I let off the obligatory hoot of laughter that everyone in a cinema does at the mere suggestion of a dirty joke, whilst also trying to remember a time when I’d been fucked for longer than six minutes and it wasn’t the second or third round or aided by Viagra.
I have no idea whether Freddie really said this or whether there are different expectations for the duration of penetrative sex among gay men. (At least they can take turns when one of them runs out of steam! Although my gay friends tell me it’s not like that – you’re either a giver or a taker.) Regardless, they never make the same jokes about sexual stamina that you hear among straight couples.
Straight men have a really hard time when it comes to sex with women – they are unfairly required to have this eternal mindset of chivalry that means women must come first, literally. The challenge is then compounded by the fact that once he’s brought her to orgasm, he then has to maintain his own state of arousal without climaxing, for an amount of time that’s deemed reasonable by the woman – so he can pound her into oblivion. What exactly is reasonable? Five minutes? Not according to Freddie Mercury. Ten minutes? (Maybe that’s still a conservative estimate – do some women expect to be fucked for longer than that?)
I blame porn for setting ridiculous ideals. In porn, men fuck for hours. Surely we understand that it’s mechanical sex aided by erection pills. We women complain about the pressures porn puts on us for not having firm enough tits or perfectly proportioned labia, forgetting that men are subject to the same bullshit influences that come from the porn industry.
If you want to get a real world view of male sexual stamina, Google throws up various results based on research. Most average time stretches leading to male orgasm are around the 6 minute mark, so it seems Freddie was being unfair. Men who make it longer than that should apparently be elevated to stud or porn star status. But then women have the opposite thing to complain about! My favourite female comedian Jo Brand has joked about lying on her back and thinking of the housework or what’s for dinner, while her husband humps away in blissful ignorance. In short, women speak of both boredom if it goes on for too long and unequivocal disappointment and sometimes even contempt, when it’s over too quickly.
Can men ever really win?!
If you’re lucky enough to have been put first by a man who cares about your pleasure and brings you to orgasm before he climaxes, then I think it would be a pretty cuntish move to bitch at him for ‘premature ejaculation’. The only reason premature ejaculation is a problem is because it comes hand in hand (no puns intended) with the loss of an erection and therefore the ability to continue penetration.
Imagine if a woman’s orgasm had more consequence than simply a sensation of climax and a gush of moisture? If a female climax meant that any further penetrative sex was out of the question and that its untimely arrival resulted in a whole lot of disappointment? Then we’d really have something to complain about. This is one of the few examples of us having been dealt the best hand by biology.
So this is why I side with men who are the subject of women’s mockery about how long they can last in bed. There a things a man can do in order to prolong sex (I wrote a column about it for GQ) but then I often wonder – why should he have to? It’s a lot of pressure to put on someone, who has afterall, already given someone the gift of an orgasm.
If he hasn’t and he’s given up trying or didn’t even make an attempt, then you can mock his short lived erections all you like. Because bad manners deserve bad manners in return!