Fast or slow sex, what pace means to your sex life

As our world continues to speed up,  the time for sex just doesn’t seem to be there. And when we do make the time, are we rushing through it?  What does that pace mean for our sex life?

I like sex fast and hard, my husband likes it so slow I can get bored.” ~ Jennie, a 28 year old woman married for 2 years.

Heterosexual nude coupleThe rhythm of sex is vital for sexual enjoyment and determines how we build  arousal and reach orgasm.

Most people like a mixture little bit of fast and a bit of slow.  Some like to start slow and build their arousal at a leisurely pace.  Any other way and it kills their sexual mojo.  Others like to start at full speed, passionately and urgently racing through the beginning to reach the climax. A slow place doesn’t even register to them as arousal. How our preferred pace matches up with our partner’s preferred pace is crucial for a fulfilling experience for both lovers.

Which pace is best?

The clear message from TV and movies is that “fast” is the pace that creates more passion and intensity.  The faster the clothes hit the floor or someone is pushed against a wall, the more desire. Sex is going to be intense, explosive and probably over fairly quickly.  A slower pace is usually meant to portray “love” and “connection” between lovers, not passion.

Porn is its own beast.  The majority of porn-sex is fast, determined and goal oriented.  Slow sex is a rarity, with a build up often entirely absent.  This is especially  so in the newer video clips “tubes”, where a clip is started in the middle of the sex action, with only minutes or seconds of lead up.

As our “models” of sex get faster and faster, what does that mean for our sexual enjoyment?

The difference between a faster or slower pace

  1. Body vs. Mind: Slow and fast sex use different body processes.
    While s
    low sex is more body-oriented, fast sex tends to be more fantasy (or mind) oriented, with our heads fuelling the arousal. The “slow sex” movement argues that  “as we move into a world that values higher cognitions and individualism, our body is getting left behind. We are becoming alienated from the natural rhythms and cues of the body.”
  2. Goals: The goals are different for fast and slow sex.
    ast sex tends to be goal-oriented. I want to have an orgasm, I want to relieve tension. For slow sex, the goal tends to end with pleasure. The bar is lower to have success with slow sex.
  3. Gender: Both men and women like all rhythms.
    While women are believed to like slow sex more often, a recent study found the opposite, that women got more aroused by “faster sex” more often than men did.
  4. Age: The emphasis changes at different stages of life.
    Older people value slow sex more than younger people.
  5. Relationship satisfaction: More people are in need of slower sex as life gets faster.
    Not enough slow sex is linked to relationship dissatisfaction.

There is no one way to enjoy sex.  But the differences between styles in a couple can cause sexual disconnection and frustration. And yet it is those same differences that keep sex alive and exciting. How we negotiate them, how we speak up about these differences and similarities, is key.

There is a place and time for fast sex and for slow sex. Take the time to figure it out and discuss with your partner how you can realistically tap into your sexual energy.


Barratt, B. B. (2013). Sensuality, Sexuality and the Eroticism of Slowness. Culture of the Slow: Social Deceleration in an Accelerated World, 136.