Stamina can mean many things, but when it comes to sex, it often refers to how long you can last in bed.

For males, the average time between the sheets is anywhere from two to five minutes. For females, it’s a bit longer: about 20 minutes before reaching the big O.

If you’re unsatisfied with how quickly you do the deed, there are a number of things you can try to boost your stamina and improve your overall sexual performance.

Read on to learn more.

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Masturbation can help you last longer in bed by releasing up built-up sexual tension.

If you have a penis, you may find it helpful to:

  • Switch things up by using your non-dominant hand.
  • Gyrate and thrust your hips to increase intensity.
  • Try different strokes to spice up your solo fun.
  • Use one hand to tend to your penis and the other to play with your testicles.
  • Stimulate your prostate for a deeper orgasm.

If you have a vagina, you may find it helpful to:

  • Incorporate a mix of clitoral, vaginal, and anal play.
  • Add some lube to increase your pleasure.
  • Turn up the heat by exploring your erogenous zones — like your neck, nipples, or thighs.
  • Introduce a sex toy — or two — to ramp up the pleasure.
  • Consider watching, listening, or reading some erotica or pornography.

Shop for lubricant.

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If you want to increase your stamina, you'll need to build up your strength. A stronger body can endure more, allowing you to last longer between the sheets.

Biceps

Stronger biceps means you can handle more weight when lifting, pulling, tossing, and throwing.

Exercises to try include:

  • bicep curls
  • chin-ups
  • bent-over row

Triceps

Strong triceps not only make pushing easier, but they also build up the power of your upper body.

Exercises to try include:

  • bench press
  • triceps extension
  • triceps pull-down or push-down

Pectoral

You use your pectoral muscles for everything you do — from opening a door to lifting a glass. When you have stronger pecs, you have a stronger body overall.

Exercises to try include:

  • bench press
  • chest dips
  • push-ups

Abdominal

When you have strong abs, you have a more powerful core. And when you have a strong core, you're more balanced and feel less back pain.

Exercises to try include:

  • sit-ups
  • planks
  • high knees

Lower back

A strong lower back stabilizes and supports your spine, as well as helps strengthen your core.

Exercises to try include:

  • bridges
  • lying lateral leg raise
  • superman extension

Pelvic floor

Your pelvic floor controls your genitals, which means if you want to increase your sexual stamina, you need to build strong — and flexible — pelvic floor muscles.

Exercises to try include:

Glutes

Weak glutes can throw off your balance and stiffen your hips, which will affect your performance in bed.

Exercises to try include:

  • squats
  • weighted lunges
  • hip extension

Quads and hamstrings

Your quad and hamstrings power your hips and knees, which means the stronger those muscles are, the faster and longer you can go.

Exercises to try include:

  • leg press
  • lunges
  • step-up

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When your muscles are loose and flexible, you have a fuller range of motion, which means you can do more — a lot more — in bed.

Standing hamstring stretch (for the neck, back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves):

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees bent slightly, and arms resting by your sides.
  2. Exhale as you bend forward at the hips.
  3. Lower your head toward the floor, relaxing your head, neck, and shoulders.
  4. Wrap your arms around your legs, holding the pose for at least 45 seconds.
  5. Then, bend your knees and roll up.

Reclining bound angle pose (for inner thigh, hips, and groin):

  1. While lying on your back, bring the soles of your feet together, allowing your knees to open up and move closer to the floor.
  2. Keep your arms at your sides, palms facing down on the ground.
  3. Hold the pose for at least 30 seconds.

Lunge with spinal twist (for hip flexors, quads, and back):

  1. Get into a forward lunge position starting with your left foot.
  2. Place your right hand on the floor.
  3. Twist your upper body to the left, extending your left arm toward the ceiling.
  4. Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds, and then repeat on the right side.

Triceps stretch (for the neck, shoulders, back, and triceps):

  1. Extend your arms overhead.
  2. Bend your right elbow, and reach your right hand so that it's touching the top middle of your back.
  3. Use your left hand to grab just below your right elbow, and pull your right elbow down gently.
  4. Hold for about 15 to 30 seconds, then repeat with the left arm.

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In addition to relaxing your mind, controlling your breath allows your body to give your muscles more oxygen-rich blood. This can lead to a lower heart rate and may result in a better overall performance.

Strengthening your tongue can also help improve your breathing, as well as increase your stamina for oral sex.

For a strong tongue, try these exercises:

  • Tongue pull-back. Stick your tongue out straight, then pull it back in your mouth as far as you can. Hold this position for 2 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
  • Tongue push-ups. Push the bottom of the tip of your tongue as hard as you can into the front of the roof of your mouth, right behind your teeth. Repeat 5 to 10 times.

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Want to improve your performance in bed? Then make sure you're getting enough of these key nutrients.

For everyone

Capsaicin: Capsaicin is found in most hot peppers, so no wonder it helps boosts your endurance. It also speeds up recovery, which means you can go again in no time.

Capsaicin-rich foods include:

Potassium: One of the body's most important electrolytes, potassium keeps your muscles and cells hydrated, aids in recovery, and boosts your metabolism — all of which are important if you want to keep up your stamina.

Potassium-rich foods include:

  • banana
  • cantaloupe
  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • white potato
  • tomatoes
  • carrot
  • low-fat milk or yogurt
  • quinoa

Complex carbs: Simple carbs found in pasta and bread can kill your stamina quickly. But complex carbs do the exact opposite: They help give your body a long-lasting energy boost.

Foods with complex carbs include:

  • oatmeal
  • yams and sweet potatoes
  • whole wheat bread
  • brown rice and wild rice
  • quinoa, barley, bulgur, and other whole grains
  • corn
  • peas and dried beans

Protein: Protein takes longer than carbs to break down, giving your body a longer-lasting source of energy.

Foods packed with protein include:

  • nuts
  • tofu
  • eggs
  • lean red meat, poultry, and fish
  • yogurt, cheese, and milk

B vitamins: B vitamins — especially B-1 to B-5, and B-12 — regulate your sex hormone levels and function, which helps give your libido and performance a boost.

Foods rich in B vitamins include:

  • lean meat, fish, and poultry
  • eggs
  • peanut butter
  • avocado
  • fortified and enriched grains
  • milk and dairy products
  • leafy green vegetables

Omega-3s: Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that help balance your sex hormones, giving your libido and stamina a nice boost.

Foods packed with omega-3s include:

  • flaxseed, chia seeds, and hemp
  • kale and spinach
  • walnuts
  • mussels
  • tuna and other oily fish

Specifically for males

L-citrulline: Research has shown that L-citruline, a naturally occurring amino acid, can increase strength and stamina. It may also help you maintain an erection.

Foods high in L-citrulline include:

  • watermelon
  • onions and garlic
  • legumes and nuts
  • salmon and red meat
  • dark chocolate

L-arginine: The body converts L-citrulline to L-arginine, another amino acid that improves blood flow and builds protein.

Foods with L-arginine include:

  • red meat, fish, and poultry
  • soy
  • whole grains
  • beans
  • milk, yogurt, and other dairy products

Nitrates: Nitrates improves how your muscles use oxygen, which can help enhance your performance — inside and outside the bedroom.

Nitrate-rich foods include:

  • arugula, swiss chard, and other leafy greens
  • beets and beet juice
  • rhubarb
  • carrots
  • eggplant
  • celery

Magnesium: Magnesium is an essential nutrient that plays a key role in everything from energy to brain function. So when your magnesium levels are low, your stamina is depleted.

Foods high in magnesium include:

  • whole wheat
  • spinach and other dark leafy greens
  • quinoa
  • almonds, cashews, and peanuts
  • black beans
  • edamame

Specifically for females

Folic acid: Folic acid stimulates the development and growth of new cells, which helps fight fatigue and boost stamina.

Foods packed with folic acid include:

  • avocado
  • lentils
  • dried beans, peas, and nuts
  • broccoli, spinach, asparagus, and other dark green vegetables
  • citrus fruits

Calcium: Calcium keeps bones strong and dense, which is important for your cells to function properly and keep your energy up.

Calcium-rich foods include:

  • skim milk
  • cheese
  • low-fat yogurt
  • salmon, sardines, and other fish with edible bones

Vitamin D: Vitamin D supports bone health and immunity, lifts your mood, and helps you maintain a healthy weight — all necessary components in increasing your stamina.

Great sources of vitamin D include:

  • salmon and sardines
  • egg yolk
  • shrimp
  • fortified milk, cereal, yogurt, and orange juice

Iron: Iron is a key nutrient in maintaining energy and a healthy metabolism, which, in turn, helps build stamina.

Iron-rich foods include:

  • red meat, poultry, and fish
  • fortified cereals
  • kale, spinach, and other leafy greens
  • lentils and beans

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Want a natural way to improve your stamina? Then herbal supplements may be your answer.

For everyone

Damiana. This subtropical plant is thought to increase sexual desire and stamina.

Guarana. This Brazilian plant has a high caffeine content that’s believed to boost energy and libido.

Maca. This highly-nutritious Peruvian plant is considered a sex drive enhancer.

Specifically for males

Ginseng. This slow-growing, short plant is believed to improve symptoms of erectile dysfunction.

Catuaba. This small tree native to Brazil is considered an aphrodisiac. It may also help treat erectile dysfunction.

Lycium. Also known as goji berry, this Chinese fruit plant is thought to increase testosterone levels and treat erectile dysfunction.

Shop for ginseng and catuaba.

Specifically for females

Ginkgo biloba. This Chinese plant extract may give your sex drive some oomph, as well as boost brain power and energy.

Ashwagandha. This evergreen shrub is believed to improve libido and stamina by regulating sex hormones.

Shop for ginkgo biloba and ashwagandha.

Exercising, changing your diet, and taking supplements are all effective ways to increase your endurance. But the possibilities don’t stop there. You may also find it helpful to:

Limit alcohol intake beforehand. Alcohol affects everybody differently, but overall, drinking too much before sex can dull your sensations and make it harder for you to stay aroused.

Foreplay is important. Slowly stoke the flames with a bit of foreplay before exploding into the main event.

Lubrication. Lube can make sex more enjoyable by cutting down on the friction. Certain lubes, like desensitizers, can also help your romp last longer.

Be present. Don’t rush your sex session. Instead, be present in the moment, savoring every moment of pleasure.

Explore more than just the genitals. If you focus on the genitals, you’re bound to orgasm quickly. Instead, go slow and explore the whole to build up desire.

Alternate between active and passive roles. Switching between roles will allow your arousal to go in and out like waves, which will make sex last longer.

If you have a penis, grabbing at the base may help prevent premature ejaculation. Squeezing at the base will cause you to lose some of your erection and stop you from climaxing.

Applying a numbing cream to the tip can also help prevent premature ejaculation. A numbing cream can help lessen the sensations in the penis to help you last longer.

It’s normal for your stamina to be sluggish sometimes. But if it’s persistent or accompanied by other symptoms, it could be a sign of an underlying condition.

Make an appointment with a doctor or other healthcare provider if you:

  • feel pain or discomfort during or after sex
  • have difficulty ejaculating or reaching orgasm
  • are unable to keep an erection

Your provider can assess your symptoms and help you find relief.

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