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Why Your Guy Needs a Break Before Round Two

By HERWriter
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Couple in Bed oneinchpunch/fotolia

It’s no secret that the anatomy of men and women differ greatly, but how does this impact your sex life? There’s a reason as to why your guy is sleepy or needs a break after sex when you’re ready for round two — and science backs it up. After ejaculation, a man has a recovery period, formally known as the male refractory period.

According to Scienceline.org, a plethora of brain chemicals are released when men ejaculate, including norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin, vasopressin, nitric oxide and the hormone prolactin.

Prolactin has a number of side effects on men when it comes to sex, and is directly linked to the male refractory period. If a male has low prolactin levels, his refractory period will be shorter. If his prolactin levels are high, the refractory period will be longer.

At this point you might be asking yourself how is it possible to masturbate more frequently without getting sleepy if prolactin is released during ejaculation?

According to a study done by Science Direct, the prolactin increase after intercourse is 400 percent greater than that following masturbation. From these studies, it was concluded that intercourse is more physiologically satisfying than masturbation.

Another major side effect of prolactin that directly relates to sex is that, as it increases post-ejaculation, the production of testosterone — a major stimulator of sex — is withheld.

So how long does a male refractory period typically last?

Age plays a huge role in this determination. According to the International Society for Sexual Medicine, younger men might only need a couple of minutes during this period, but older men typically have longer refractory periods, lasting sometimes between 12 and 24 hours. The society claims that for some men, the period can even last up to a few days.

However, it is important to keep in mind that every person is wired differently, and the length of refractory periods among men varies greatly. Also, an individual male’s refractory period isn’t always the same, because the length of time required can be based on a number of factors such as sensitivity levels, the state of a relationship, alcohol consumption, and the list goes on.

Women don’t experience a refractory period exactly like men do, but losing interest in sex after an orgasm, or sleepiness, is completely normal. Due to this, women have the capacity for multiple orgasms without the need for a break in between. After an orgasm, the refractory period for a man is completely out of his control and a natural occurrence in his body.

Reviewed February 17, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Read more in Being HER

The Refractory Period: the Real Reason Guys Need a Break Between Orgasms. WPXI News. February 8, 2016.

Why Do Guys Get Sleepy After Sex? ScienceLine. February 8, 2016. 

What is the Refractory Period? International Society for Sexual Medicine. February 8, 2016. 

The Post-Orgasmic Prolactin Increase Following Intercourse is Greater Than Following Masturbation and Suggests Greater Satiety. Science Direct. February 8, 2016. 


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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.