All vertebrates, from reptiles to primates and even humans, reproduce by the male internally fertilizing the female. It takes a relatively short time for a male to pass on his genes to the female. Male monkeys get the job done with just a few thrusts in as little as 8 seconds, and seldom longer than 20 seconds. Thankfully, during the approximately 5 million years since humans split off from the chimpanzees, male humans have learned to take more time than their primate ancestors.
At least some guys have learned to take more time to get the job done. A study of 1,500 couples in the U.S in 2005 found the median time for sexual intercourse was 7.3 minutes, with a range of 3 to 13 minutes. It depends mostly on the age of the man. For older guys, it is about their endurance and for younger fast guys it is about their degree of excitement and anticipation. Some young, eager guys will still rank right there with the monkeys!
Here is some depressing news for older men and women: Male monkeys and apes have a bone that clicks into place to hold a perfectly erect working tool. Humans share 98.5 percent of the same DNA with chimps, but regrettably men do not still have that particular bone gene!
And here are some other interesting facts about sexual timing in humans:
The largest cell in women is the egg waiting for fertilization by a male sperm. However, the egg is only fertile for about 24 hours once each month. This helps ensure the guy who keeps sticking around knocking on her door will be the father of her children and help raise them. This family will be more survivable than when the woman gets pregnant by a casual visiting male who doesn't stick around to help raise the family. So evolution has created in women the genes to seek a mate who sticks around in a good relationship to help raise the family. A secure RELATIONSHIP with her mate is one of the highest priorities in women, even today where conditions for survival are not as important as for the millions of female ancestors.
For men, the evolution story is very different. The male's sperm is the smallest cell in the male body. Additionally, healthy young males make 200 million to 300 million sperm a day and are fertile at all times!
Ancient ancestors of today's men evolved to be most successful in making babies by having frequent encounters with as many women as they could chase and catch in order to pass on their genes. It appears that men's aging process helped to change that attitude by slowing men down so they couldn't catch all the women they use to catch when younger. So at some point in men's life it seems easier and logical to stick with the same woman. Seems that is the way "marriage" was invented. It was not romantic back in our distant history, but it was practical for both men and women.
The long-term evolutionary changes increasing the survival of women have favored those women who took their sweet time about getting down to the business of seriously making a baby. This trait of delayed breeding in our ancestors, selected for the guy who was patient and would stick around after the initial fun. These guys probably tended to be older and more skilled in protecting and helping the woman survive child birth and raising the offspring.
Incidentally, recent DNA studies show that both women and men are not naturally totally monogamous, in spite of their outer actions and talk. However, pairing up helps the offspring to survive. So paired mating (whether monogamous or not) did increase survival chances of the offspring. Faking monogamy at least helped humans to survive and increase the human population.
© Copyright 2005, revised 2009, 2015 by Lawrence Rodrigues, M.S., Director: EastWest Institute for Self-Understanding.
All rights reserved worldwide.