refractory period

Men’s penis usually gets flaccid just after having sexual intercourse. Men lose their firmness just after having sexual intercourse and cannot go for the second round. Some doubt whether it's normal or not.

In fact, it's a normal phenomenon that happens with every man. But after some time, your penis will become erect once you get aroused. Every individual has their own time to re-attain erection; refractory period.

Refractory period is the duration in which the penis recovers its state of firmness just after sexual intercourse. It’s normal for a penis to take time to recover its firmness.

refractory period

What Is The Refractory Period?

The refractory period definition refers to when you start feeling aroused again just after you reach your sexual climax and ejaculate during sexual intercourse.

In simple words, it is the time taken by the penis to regain its firmness for the next round just after having sexual intercourse. The refractory period is not the same for everyone, but it does happen in every man.

There are many factors based on which the refractory period depends. Therefore, every man has a refractory period, so don't compare yourself with others. 

Sometimes you will feel a change in the duration of firmness just after sexual intercourse and may person from time to time and from person to person.

What Is The Mechanism Behind The Refractory Period?

There are four stages in the refractory period:-

  • Excitement: The initial phase of sexual intercourse starts with faster breathing and tensed muscles with increased blood flow towards your genital organs.
  • Plateau: During this phase, the muscles of your genital areas start to tense. Consequently, your testicles will begin to pull up against your body. While in the case of the vagina, the clitoris will retract under the clitoral hood.
  • Orgasm: In this phase, your muscles will start to contract and release tension making your body flushed and red. The pelvic muscles of your penis will begin to contract, which helps your body to ejaculate.
  • Resolution: During this phase, your muscle will start to relax, lowering the blood pressure and heartbeat, making your body less responsive to sexual stimulation. This is the time when the refractory period begins.

Why Do Men Have Refractory Periods?

To understand why men have refractory periods, you need to understand what happens with men after ejaculation during sexual intercourse. The changes occurring in your body are responsible for the refractory periods.

After ejaculation during sexual intercourse, the penis becomes flaccid, indicating a neutral signal telling your body to relax, says Jamin Brahmbhatt, MD, Urologist at Orlando Health and Assistant Professor at UCF College of Medicine.

Additionally, the level of dopamine and testosterone level decreases, consequently a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland called prolactin rises. The rise in the prolactin level with a reduced level of testosterone makes your penis flaccid just after sexual intercourse.

Morse also adds by saying, women are designed in such a way that they have a much shorter refractory period as compared to men. As a result, they can have multiple orgasms, but this doesn’t mean they want to.

Is There Any Standard Refractory Period? 

The refractory period for every man is different and depends on individual to individual. Some men take an hour or less while some may take in seconds, or others may take a full day.

With your own experience of sexual intercourse, you will feel the difference. It just does not depend on person to person. It also varies with time. A man someday may take hours to attain a firm erection, while on some other day, they might achieve an erection in seconds.

As per Brahmbhatt, the refractory period depends on age, the amount of arousal you get before sexual intercourse, hormones composition, and your overall health. 

In general, teenagers take seconds to attain an erection, while men between 30 and 40 may take minutes or hours to achieve an erection.

Also Read: The Science Of Male Orgasm

Can I Shorten The Refractory Period?

It is always better to give your body time to relax if you want to go again quickly. There are a few things that will help you to shorten your refractory period.

Morse says, increasing the arousal in the fastest way will allow men to come back into the game. This increase in arousal can be done in various ways, such as trying a toy, talking dirty, or oral sex. Remember, small changes make a difference in bed.

Getting into better shape will also help you to reduce your refractory period. The more fit you are, the less will be your refractory period. Thus, you can reduce your refractory period by being fit.

In case you are looking for any external help, you can go for supplements that claim to make the penis hard and erect for a more extended period of time. But the FDA does not approve the use of such supplements; instead, it is recommended to try a manual penile pump or natural ways to reduce your refractory periods.

You can also masturbate before sexual intercourse if your refractory period is too long. After doing this, it might take a while to arouse you, but after getting aroused, your timing of sexual intercourse will increase.

A different sex schedule will have a different refractory index. Therefore, make sure you perform sexual intercourse according to your timing if you want multiple rounds or be regular with your sex schedule. Being regular will help your body adapt the timing and start functioning and producing essential hormones for firm erection accordingly.

How I Boost My Refractory Period?

In general, there are two ways to boost your refractory period, such as:-

  • Practice kegel exercise: Regular practicing kegel exercise will help you strengthen your genital organs, improving your sexual activity, including the refractory period.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before sexual intercourse: Consuming alcohol can interfere with the cardiac functions responsible for arousal. Therefore, avoid consuming alcohol just before having sexual intercourse.
  • Keep yourself fit and eat healthy: Physical activity and a healthy diet are the best possible way to boost your refractory period naturally.


Bottom Line

Every individual needs time to attain an erection again just after having sexual intercourse. It is natural for every man after every sexual intercourse. It is also natural if a man attains an erection after a few seconds of sexual intercourse, and the same person may have long refractory periods in his second time.

Therefore, a different person has a different refractory period, and even the same person can experience differences in his refractory period.

If you still think you are taking more time to attain an erection or facing difficulty for the second round, consult with your healthcare specialist.