Brittany Rosen, Ph.D, CHES
Andrea L. DeMaria, Ph.D
Articles encompassing sex and exercise are trending in popular magazines, with pieces such as Have an Orgasmic Workout published by Women’s Health, and Orgasm at the Gym? It’s the Female Coregasm! published by Men’s Health. Due to hyperbole surrounding the topic, and our background in sexual health, we felt it was both necessary, and interesting, to explore the topic further.
Much evidence supports the role exercise has in promoting a healthy, long, orgasmic sex life. Research indicates exercise improves a person's sex life. Specifically, there is support of regular physical activity increasing the frequency and enjoyment of sexual experiences. Reasons for this include being generally healthier, more physically fit, and having greater self-confidence. Because sex is a physical behavior, the more fit a person is, the more likely he/she can engage in longer bouts of sex, in positions requiring strength and control. This result is most likely due to adequate strength and endurance as a result of exercise. Additionally, a person who feels better about his/her body may perceive himself/herself as more sexually desirable.
For women, sexual pleasure during exercise is not uncommon. According to a recent study, abdominal exercises, yoga, biking/spinning, running, walking/hiking and weight lifting were common exercises associated with exercise-induced orgasms (EIOs), often referred to as coregasms. Because exercise triggers the nervous system, blood flow is increased and pools in the genitals, leading to sensitivity, stimulation, and arousal. During an orgasm, much tension is built up in the legs. When a woman exercises, not only is she simulating this same tension, but she is also releasing endorphins and dopamine—both necessary for orgasm. On average, women tend to be more sexually responsive after a challenging workout amounting to 20 minutes or more.
Men, on the other hand, can increase their fuel for sexual desire and response (testosterone) with quick, intense exercises. Sexual impotence, a common sexual dysfunction among men, has proved to be reduced among those over 50 years of age that are physically active, when compared to those who are inactive. However, be careful guys, too much exercise can decrease testosterone and libido levels. Sexuality across the lifespan, especially an aging population, has been a focus of much literature, particularly emphasizing a decrease in sexual satisfaction and pleasure with age. Harvard University recently conducted a study on swimmers in their 40s and 60s, suggesting a direct, positive relationship between regular physical activity and the amount and overall enjoyment of sex. Results also indicated swimmers in their 60s reported sex lives similar to those in their 40s.
Much evidence supports the role exercise has in promoting a healthy, long, orgasmic sex life. The question is how much will you start exercising to improve yours?
For further readings related to this topic:
- Herbenick, D., & Fortenberry, J.D. (2011). Exercise-induced orgasm and pleasure among women. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 26(4), 373-388.
- Penhollow, T. M., & Young, M. (2004). Sexual desirability and sexual performance: Does exercise and fitness really matter? Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, 7.
- Stanten, N., & Yeager, S. (2003). Four workouts to improve your love life. Prevention, 55, 76-78.