Refractory Period – What It Is Duration & How To Shorten It?

 Refractory Period – What It Is Duration & How To Shorten It?
After orgasm, both men and women experience a resolution stage called the refractory period. At this time, their bodies “recover” from sexual excitement and return to their normal states. For men, the penis becomes flaccid again as he goes through a refractory period.

During the refractory period, a male cannot get an erection. This type of response is a physiological refractory period, meaning a person is physically unable to have sex again.

Unlike males, many females can have multiple orgasms, suggesting they do not usually experience a physiological refractory period. Additionally, a female’s genitals may remain lubricated after sexual activity even if she no longer feels aroused, making sexual intercourse easier.

Males Refractory Period

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

The length of the refractory period varies greatly from person to person, from a few minutes to 24 hours, or longer. Researchers do not fully understand what causes the refractory period or why it varies so much in duration from person to person.

Additionally, not all males have a refractory period. This finding suggests that prolactin may play a role in determining whether a male can have multiple orgasms. However, as this was a small study, and females also produce more prolactin after orgasm, researchers need to continue investigating.

Refractory Period For Females

While some females lose interest in sexual activity after an orgasm, they are usually physically able to engage in sexual activity again.

However, some women do report a physiological refractory period. One study showed that after orgasm, a female’s clitoris can become too sensitive to continue sexual activity. Out of 174 females, 96% reported this symptom, and many did not want to have sex again as a result.

Most of the research into refractory periods to date has focused on males, so scientists know much less about the female response. Scientists will need to conduct more research to understand a greater variety of perspectives.

Is There Anything I Can Do To Shorten Refractory Period?

You can. There are three key factors affecting refractory period length that you may be able to control: arousal, sexual function, and overall health.

To boost arousal
Try a new position. Different positions mean different sensations. For example, you may find that you’re more in control of your arousal and impending ejaculation if you’re on top of your partner or if they’re on top of you.

Fantasize or role-play. Think about situations that turn you on and share them with your partner. Consider acting out a “sex scene” with you and your partner as characters.

Experiment with erogenous zones. Have your partner pull, twist, or pinch your ears, neck, nipples, lips, testicles, and other sensitive, nerve-dense areas.

Factors Affecting The Refractory Period

Many factors can influence the length of the refractory period, including:

a person’s overall health
relationship quality
quality of sex
frequency of sex

Dopamine plays a key role during sex. The research suggests that dopamine levels may influence whether a male can get an erection. However, the review also notes that too much dopamine could cause sexual health problems as well.

Some of the same activities that improve overall health, such as may help regulate dopamine levels. Other pleasurable activities may also boost dopamine, such as doing something new, enjoyable conversation, or mastering a new challenge.


It’s important to remember that everyone has a different refractory period. You may even notice that your individual refractory period varies from session to session.

It all comes down to a number of unique factors. Some you can change, such as alcohol intake and overall diet. And some, such as chronic conditions and age, you can’t.

If you’re concerned about how long it takes you to reach or recover from orgasm, see a sexologist or a physician who’s knowledgeable in human sexuality.
Open chat