“All night long” is horseshit and “about six minutes” is a better option.

Three to seven minutes. That’s how long it takes to microwave a frozen enchilada … and also about how long sex lasts these days. If that seems like a paltry number that you associate more with premature ejaculation than penile prowess, you’re not alone.

Our culture is obsessed with sex length. Practically every song lyric we hear regales us with tales of “going all night” or “‘till the morning comes.” And don’t even get us started on Sting, who’s managed to build a reputation for himself among middle-aged woman as a walking dick angel for his fabled ability to marathon fuck.

But, a quick glance at research on the subject shows that sex doesn’t last all night; in fact, it hardly lasts longer than it’ll take you to read this article. According to a recent survey by Fox News health pundit Keith Ablow, sex lasts just about six minutes.

Weirdly, this tiny baby number exists right in the Goldilocks zone between “too short” and “too long” for most adults. Based on the results of a 2008 survey of sex therapists by Penn State Erie, sex is “too short” when it lasts under two minutes. “Adequate” is three to seven minutes, and “desirable” is seven to 13. The range for “too long” was anything above 40 minutes, meaning that anything even remotely close to “all night” was just not worth missing “Seinfeld” re-runs over. Keep that number in mind.

Of course … these measures relate only to penetration (vaginal or anal). According to a 2012 study by researchers from the University of New Brunswick, foreplay adds an additional 11-13 minutes to the episode, meaning that when you factor intercourse into it, you really only spend about 20 minutes in heaven. 

But the people … they want more. The same study found that while most couples spent a little under 15 minutes sucking and licking things and about seven minutes of actual boning, both men and women reported they wished the encounter was roughly double the length it was. That would mean that desired duration of sex would be roughly 40 minutes.

Forty minutes. Remember a few paragraphs ago when we said 40 minutes definitely constituted “too long?”

Uhh … see the disconnect? Per well-cited research, 40 minutes is simultaneously too long and the ideal amount of time sex should last. So, the question “How many minutes equates to good sex?" is irrelevant and does not matter.

Longevity is not the key to good sex. In fact, if the sex is bad, a 45-minute disjointed romp is infinitely worse than a two-minute flail session. Instead, what matters more than duration is that everyone involved feels fulfilled and paid attention to. Oftentimes, that takes more than two minutes, but when you begin to focus on fulfillment rather than orgasm, time loses its relevance.

Sure, making each other come fulfills a need in itself, and certain people need longer stimulation to get there — but too often, we expect the result of sex to be orgasm when in reality there’s a much broader purpose to sex than tiny genital explosions. Sex actualizes non-orgasmic physical pleasure, intimacy, ego-stroking, the acting out of kinks and fetishes and more. It helps us relax, makes us happier, and even actually earns us more money.

Unfortunately in the world of heterosexual sex, sex is usually over once the guy leaks about two million potential people out of his dick head, but that doesn’t have to be the end. Sex and its related activities can (and should) continue however long it takes to get what you need. That could take two minutes or two hours or two years; the timing matters zero. In the meantime, turn the clock toward the wall and get down to business.