| This is how long sex actually lasts for most couples

Worried you don’t last long enough in the sack?

Most couples aren’t doing it for as long as you might think, according to new data from Lovely, a sex toy and tracking app for couples.

After collecting information from 432 couples and more than 2 000 sexual encounters, the company found that sex typically lasted only 12 minutes for the average couple.

Read more: Last longer in bed now

Twelve minutes seems… pretty short. If you take a look at the peer-reviewed studies out there (or, you know, if you just talk to your partner), you’ll find that many women need longer than 12 minutes to get off.

Case in point: Straight women tend to orgasm less frequently when sex lasts less than 30 minutes, starting the clock at foreplay, according to a recent study from Chapman University.

Read more: Oral sex mistakes: don’t ever do these

But the data presented by Lovely doesn’t clarify if the 12 minutes includes just penetration, or if foreplay was involved, too and that makes all the difference. That’s because foreplay helps build arousal, which makes it easier for her to orgasm, according to Men’s Health sex advisor Dr Debby Herbenick.

Read more: The best sex positions for every penis size

So, how can you extend your time in the sack in a way that gets both of you going? Here are three great moves to get you started.

1. Touch her everywhere

She has all sorts of secret erogenous zones – like her neck, legs and back – that are begging to be touched. Read up on how to give a woman a great massage for specific tips and tricks.

2. Make oral sex a priority

In a recent study, 37% of women said they need clitoral stimulation to orgasm during sex. One of the best ways to work the thousands of nerve endings on the nub of her clitoris? You guessed it – cunnilingus.

3. Experiment with sex toys

Find a sex toy that will help increase pleasure for the both of you. (Plus, finding the right sex toy for you – like a vibrating cock ring – can actually help you get harder and last longer.)

Read more: How to maintain your erection

All these techniques will work her up before intercourse even becomes a thing, increasing her chances of coming more quickly once you move past foreplay.

Just keep in mind that duration doesn’t always paint the whole picture. And it shouldn’t stress you out to the point of anxiety, which can be bad news for your erection.

One more tip: Occasionally trying new sex positions or having sex in a new place can make things just as fun if you want to switch it up – even if you don’t last as long.

Some women even prefer to keep things short, since going too long can get boring and mess with her lubrication.

Going through a dry spell? Here Are 5 masturbation secrets to make your self love more intense.

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NEXT ON HEALTH24X | 8 Yoga poses for injury-free running

You already know that strong abs, hips and back muscles help you run more efficiently with less risk of injury.

But time can be tight – especially if you’re ramping up mileage – and when it feels like something has to give, strength training is often the first to go.

Instead of scrolling through Facebook or Instagram postrun, wind down with this eight-pose, 8- to 10-minute core routine, which targets all the layers of your abdominal muscles, back extensors and glutes. 

Slotted along the way are some stretches to give you a break and improve range of motion in your hips. The moves take only a short time, but they’ll help you log hours of injury-free running.

Boat pose

Keeping your spine long and legs together, come into a V-sit. For the easier version, bend your knees or keep your feet on the ground. Make it harder by straightening your legs and lifting your arms. Hold for five to 15 breaths.

boat pose, yoga

Cross-legged forward fold

Cross your ankles and fold your torso over your legs, stretching your outer hips for 10 to 15 breaths.

forward fold pose, yoga

Twisting boat pose

Return to your V-sit and, keeping your spine long and legs together, exhale to twist to one side. Inhale to center, then exhale to the other side. Continue for five to 10 rounds.

Cross-legged forward fold

Cross your ankles with the other shin in front and fold your torso over your legs for another 10 to 15 breaths.

Read more: 8 yoga moves for time-crunched runners

Listing boat pose

Return to your V-sit and rock onto your right glute. For more of a challenge, lower your legs and upper body closer to the ground. Hold for five to 10 breaths, then repeat on the left side.

Cobbler pose

Bring the soles of your feet to touch and lean forward, stretching your inner thighs for 10 to 15 breaths.

cobbler pose, yoga

Read more: 5 gentle yoga poses that help relieve stress

Bridge pose

From your back, knees bent, press your hips up and your hands down, engaging your glutes and hamstrings while stretching your hip flexors. Hold for 10 to 15 breaths.

bridge pose, yoga

Locust Y jumping jacks

Roll to your belly and lift your arms, chest, and legs off the floor. Move through slow “jumping jacks”: Inhale, spread your arms to a Y, and squeeze your legs together, then exhale, bring your arms together, and spread your legs to a Y. Repeat five to 15 cycles.

locust pose, yoga

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NEXT ON HEALTH24X | Common causes of cycling knee pain

If you’re a cyclist who’s ever felt the sharp twinge of “Crap, there’s something wrong!” in one or both of your knees, you’re not alone.

Knee pain is the most common lower-body problem among us pedal pushers, with as many as 65% of us experiencing it, according to one study.

Most knee pain comes from “overdoing it,” as they say. You ride longer and/or harder than you’re in condition to, which strains your connective tissues, making them inflamed and painful.

But what about those spontaneous flare-ups of crank-stopping pain? It might feel like they came out of nowhere, but they’re usually just the first noticeable symptoms of a long-brewing problem: The culprit is generally improper equipment and/or bike position, says England based bike-fit specialist Michael Veal.

“Many cyclists are forever tinkering with their position, looking for that elusive perfect position,” he says.

But what feels just right for a few pedal strokes around the block can end up feeling pretty wrong after 100+km of riding.

A good bike fit is essential for preventing most causes of knee pain. But before you head to a bike fitter or medical professional, try a little self-diagnosis. Here’s a guide to help you trace what hurts back to the source.

Pain in the front: When your knee hurts right on the kneecap (patella), it’s generally a product of your powerful cycling quads. Your quad muscles attach to the shin via the patella, and when you’re really pumping, they might deliver too much shear force across the joint. Bike-specific issues to check for include saddle height, saddle fore and aft and/or crank length.

“A saddle that is too low will cause your knee angle to be too tight at the top of the stroke, which increases the shear forces pulling the patella against the femur, which in turn increases the likelihood of tendonitis and harmful stresses in the cartilage behind the kneecap,” says Veal. “Likewise when the cranks are too long for your leg length, the knee joint is also too tight at the top of the stroke.”

How low is too low for a saddle? “For a quick reference to check if your saddle is the right height, have a seat and rest your heel on the pedal with the pedal in the 6 o’clock position,” says fit specialist and physical therapist Sara Bresnick, owner of Pedal Power Training Solutions in Medford, Massachusetts. “The knee of that leg should be straight. That equates to a 20- to 25-degree knee bend when clipped in.”

Read more: More powerful pedal stroke in one move

Riding with your saddle too far forward also can cause knee pain in the front, says Veal. “Your saddle should be positioned so the tibial tuberosity – or bony bit below the kneecap – is above the ball of the foot, which in turn should be above the pedal spindle,” she says.

Also, be mindful of your form. Big-gear mashing, climbing in monster gears and hard sprinting (especially if you’re not conditioned for it) can put undue stress on the knee and cause this type of pain.

Pain in the back: Pain behind the knee is less common than that in the front, and is generally easier to trace back to a culprit: over-extending the knee, says Bresnick.

Your saddle is too high or too far back. “Try lowering the saddle a bit or moving it forward a bit in relation to the handlebars,” she says.

This pain is also more common among cyclists who spend a lot of time on fixed-gear bikes; when you ride fixed, you use your hamstrings to decelerate your pedal stroke, which can put the biceps femoris tendon (a hamstring muscle that runs down the back of your leg toward the outside of your knee) under too much load and irritate it.

Giving your legs a break with some freewheeling now and then can help.

Pain on the inside: When you feel pain on the insides of your knees, look down at your feet: Improper cleat placement is often a culprit, says Veal.

Your cleat position affects your Q-factor, which dictates how far apart your feet are laterally when pedalling. Ideally the spacing should be such that the loads from your knees to your pedals are travelling vertically without pushing the knee inward or outward, which stresses the collateral ligaments on either side of your knee and can lead to pain.

Cleats positioned too close to the insides of your cycling shoes increase the distance between your feet, which can stress the inside collateral ligaments and cause medial (or inside) knee pain.

Too much float in your pedals also can cause medial knee pain. A little float – about 4.5 degrees – is all you need to be comfortable and keep your knees from getting stressed.

Pain on the outside: Pain on the outside of the knee is often caused by iliotibial (IT) band syndrome – a stabbing pain that happens when the IT band (a fibrous connective tissue band that runs from the hip along the thigh to the tibia) becomes stressed and inflamed.

“Misaligned cleats that cause the foot to be excessively toed in can cause this,” says Veal. So can cleats that are placed too far to the outsides of the shoes, causing too narrow of a stance on the bike.

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NEXT ON HEALTH24X | What your poop says about the best way for you to lose weight

A new study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, has revealed that the proportion of some bacteria in the gut may be related to how much weight one is able to lose and under which conditions. This means that bacteria may play a role in personalised nutrition.

Researchers from the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark looked at 62 people with increased weight circumference who were assigned to follow either the New Nordic Diet (full of dark greens, berries and whole grains) or the Average Danish Diet.

The participants were grouped according to their relative abundance of two different forms of bacteria, Prevotella and Bacteroides.

Read more: Exactly how to use eggs to lose that extra weight

They found that people who had a higher ratio of Prevotella to Bacteroides and followed the New Nordic Diet had a larger loss of body fat compared to those with that same ratio who followed the Average Danish Diet.

No difference in weight loss was observed between the two diets in people with a low Prevotella to Bacteroides ratio.

They also found that people with a higher ratio were more susceptible to lose body fat when following a diet with high amounts of fiber and whole grains, as compared to those who had a low ratio.

Read more: 9 things you’re not doing in the kitchen that lead to weight loss

“Human intestinal bacteria have been linked to the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity, and scientists have started to investigate whether the intestinal bacteria can play a role in the treatment of overweight,” explained co-author of the study Professor Arne Astrup.

“But it is only now that we have a breakthrough demonstrating that certain bacterial species play a decisive role in weight regulation and weight loss.”

Struggling to lose those extra kilos? These are the 7 simplest strategies you’ll ever find that’ll help you shed those kilos. Plus here’s why you should break these 5 weight loss rules from nutritionists. 

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