Refractory period: what it is and how you can shorten it

Refractory period

Refractory period, one of the most intimidating parts of sharing sexual intimacy with someone can come right after ejaculation. Especially when your partner is always trying to stimulate you, but you just can’t do it. This can be annoying, but there is a medical explanation.

What is the refractory period?

The refractory period is the period immediately following orgasm and ejaculation, during which a man is physiologically incapable of having an erection, or psychologically disinterested in sex, or both. This can last from a few minutes to several days and varies from person to person.

After orgasm, both men and women experience a resolution phase called the refractory period. At that point, their body “recovers” from sexual arousal and returns to its normal state. In men, the penis becomes flaccid again as it goes through a refractory period.

During the refractory period, a man does not think about sex and is not aroused. Her body does not respond to sexual stimulation, and she is unable to regain an orgasm until her period ends. The length of the refractory period is different for each man. It may take half an hour or more for your body to resume sexual intercourse.

Younger men only need a few minutes of recovery, but older men generally have a longer refractory period, sometimes between 12 and 24 hours. In some men, the refractory period can last a few days.

Does everyone have a refractory period?

YES! This isn’t limited to people with penises. All people experience a refractory period which is the final phase of a four-part sexual response cycle called the Masters and Johnson four-phase model.

Here’s how it works:

Excitement. Your heart rate increases, your breathing quickens, and your muscles tense. Blood begins to flow to your genitals.

Plateau. Your muscles continue to tense. If you have a penis, your testicles move closer to your body. If you have a vagina, your clitoris retracts under the clitoral hood.

Orgasm. Your muscles contract and release tension, and your body turns flushed and red. If you have a penis, your pelvic muscles contract to facilitate ejaculation.

Resolution. Your muscles begin to relax, your blood pressure and heart rate decrease, and your body becomes less responsive to sexual stimulation. This is where the refractory period begins.

Refractory period in men

During the refractory period, a man is unable to get an erection or ejaculate again. This physiological response usually accompanies a psychological refractory period, during which the person feels disinterested in sex.

The length of the refractory period varies greatly from person to person, from a few minutes to 24 hours or more.

Researchers don’t fully understand what causes the refractory period or why its length varies so much from person to person. Additionally, not all men have a refractory period.

Refractory period in women

Physically, most women can have sex again shortly after orgasm and do not experience the limiting physical changes that many men experience.

However, sexual intercourse can cause hypersensitivity of the clitoris and vulva, which can make stimulation uncomfortable, and people may not be psychologically ready to have sex immediately after orgasm.

What is the average refractory period according to sex and age?

There are no concrete numbers here. This varies greatly from person to person depending on a variety of factors, including general health, libido, and diet.

Average data suggests that for women, only a few seconds may pass before sexual arousal and orgasm are possible again.

For men, there is much more variance. This could take a few minutes, an hour, several hours, a day or even longer.

As you age, it may take 12 to 24 hours before your body is able to get aroused again.

A 2005 analysis suggests that sexual function changes most dramatically – for both sexes – at age 40.

How to shorten the refractory period?

You can. There are three key factors that influence the length of the refractory period that you can control: arousal, sexual function, and overall health.

To increase Arousal

  • Feel masturbation as part of the process. If you have a longer refractory period, masturbating before sex may interfere with your ability to come with your partner. Listen to your body here: If it takes you a while to get aroused again, skip the solo session and see what happens.
  • Change how often you have sex. If you already exercise every other day, try moving to once a week. And if you’re already meeting once a week, see what happens if you wait every two weeks. A different sexual schedule may result in a different refractory period.
  • Try a new position. Different positions mean different sensations. For example, you may find that you have more control over your arousal and impending ejaculation if you are on top of your partner or if they are on top of you.
  • Experiment with erogenous zones. Ask your partner to pull, twist, or pinch your ears, neck, nipples, lips, testicles, and other sensitive and nervous areas.
  • Fantasize or role play. Think about situations that turn you on and share them with your love partner. Consider acting out a “sex scene” with you and your partner as the characters.

How to improve sexual function?

  • Practice Kegel exercises. Strengthening your pelvic muscles can give you more control over the timing of ejaculation.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before sex. This can interfere with heart functions needed for wakefulness.
  • Talk to your doctor about medications for erectile dysfunction (ED). Medications like Buy Cenforce 200mg sildenafil (Viagra) can help you get back to bed faster by relaxing the muscles in your penis and improving blood flow. However, individual results may vary, and in some cases, erectile dysfunction medications may be counterproductive. It is best to consult a therapist or doctor who specializes in sexual health.

To improve overall health

  • Stay active. Exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes a day to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels low.
  • Follow a healthy diet. Supplement your diet with foods that increase blood circulation, such as salmon, citrus fruits and nuts.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs.

Currently, one possible option to shorten the post-orgasm refractory period is the use of erectile dysfunction drugs.

Oral erectile dysfunction medications belong to a class of drugs called PDE5 inhibitors, which work by increasing blood flow to the penis when you feel sexually aroused.

Erectile dysfunction drugs are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to shorten the refractory period, and studies on their effectiveness in this area are conflicting.

Currently, there are four drugs approved by the FDA to treat erectile dysfunction, which can be taken before sexual intercourse to improve erection and potentially shorten the refractory period.

They Include:

The Bottom line on the male refractory period

If your goal is to have multiple orgasms throughout the night, then you need to put your body to work.

Understanding how your refractory period affects sexual function is probably the best way to “hack” more tricks into your sex life.

To have more sex, remember:

  • The time between your last orgasm and the time your body is ready to have sex again is called the refractory period.
  • The refractory period varies from man to man, meaning recovery from sex can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. If you’re in your 40s, 50s or older, it may take a good part of the day before you’re ready to have sex again.
  • It is completely normal to lose interest in sex and have difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection immediately after orgasming and ejaculating.
  • While there are no FDA-approved treatment options specifically for reducing a long refractory period, erectile dysfunction drugs such as sildenafil and tadalafil show potential.


How many times can a man release sperm per day?

There is no definitive answer to this question. According to studies, a man can ejaculate 1 to 5 times per session. Frequent ejaculation is not harmful to your health or your sexual desire.

In fact, Harvard Medical School suggests that ejaculating 21 times per month reduces your risk of developing prostate cancer by 31%.

How many laps can a woman do per night?

Women have a shorter refractory period than men and can occur four to five times in a single session. However, women take longer than men to reach orgasm, usually 45 to 50 minutes.

Therefore, with correct sexual stimulation, women perform sexual function 3 or 4 times a night.