Is Sex Really Exercise? (Here’s What You Need To Know)

Last modified: August 2, 2019

Richard Honaker M.D.
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Researches have shown that women who exercise regularly have more active sex lives, reach orgasm quicker, and get easily aroused than inactive women. Being in better shape and having more muscle strength also makes more adventurous sex possible.

The better shape you’re in, the more different sex positions and longer sex sessions you can have. Obviously, exercise helps in having great sex. The question is, does sex count as exercise?

When it comes to the ultimate sex exercise routine, people would usually think of that scene in the movie “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” where Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie toss each other around in the heat of passion.

However, not all sex experience is that intense, and probably for good reason. However, what comes to mind is how many calories are actually burned during sexual intercourse? The rumor is that one sex session can burn around 100 to 300 calories.

People always say that sex is a great exercise, but what’s the real story? How much sex should you have before it could be considered an exercise? Will it ever be considered exercise? What are the health benefits of sex? Let’s dive in and take a deeper look.

What Do Experts Say About Sex Being Exercise?

According to a study published in PLOS ONE (2013), sex may be one of the most regularly practiced activities all throughout a person’s lifetime. Researchers found it important to examine the energy expenditure during sexual activity in young healthy couples.

They looked at each participant in their natural environment and compared it to a session of endurance exercise to calculate energy expenditure. The results of the study show energy expenditures during sexual activity is around 85 kcal or 3.6 kcal per minute for young healthy men and women.

It suggests that sex may potentially be considered a significant exercise at times. Both men and women reported that the activity was highly enjoyable, more so than 30 minutes exercise on a treadmill.

The study could have implications for future planning, like intervention programs as part of a healthy lifestyle by health care professionals. Sex as a form of additional exercise could become more motivational for people to engage in more healthcare programs too. And exercise routines to achieve better sex could result to more healthy people.

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What Muscles Do You Work Having Sex?

Did you know crying involves 17 muscles, texting 38, and breakdancing 133? How many muscles are involved in our daily activities, such as early morning exercise, walking, running, cooking, washing dishes, doing laundry, etc.? How about sex?

The shocking discovery is that women burn only 69 calories during an average romp, and a man’s love muscle doesn’t contain any actual muscle at all. Interestingly, squats are actually the best exercise to strengthen pelvic floor muscles for both men and women.

Muscle expert Mike Aunger helped highlight all the major muscles involved in sex, like when you’re supporting your bodyweight, keeping your balance or thrusting.

No matter how strong and strenuous, your skeletal muscles are important for movement. Your autonomous (involuntary) smooth muscles also play a never ending role in digestion, respiration, circulation and bodily function. You cardiac muscles are essential for pumping your blood into all the designated places.

Sex is a total body exercise routine that works out each of your 657 muscles no matter how you like to do it. So the next time you miss that spinning class, don’t be harsh on yourself.

Just think how many muscles you’ve put to good use throughout the day and night and don’t forget to give them the necessary raw materials they need to recover.


Sex Muscle Discovery

Women only burn 69 calories during sex an average. This is actually supported by a 2013 study from the University of Montreal. The same study used a sex equivalent to a wrist-worn exercise activity tracker and found that men burn 100 calories every session lasting 25 minutes, from foreplay to happy ending.

Another interesting discovery is that the penis is not a muscle, but there are muscles involved in the filling phase of an erection. First, the autonomous and involuntary smooth muscle relaxes. Then, nitric oxide is released into the blood to make the blood vessels dilate. As a result, there’s a dramatic increase of penile blood flow.

Lastly, squat exercise routines strengthen your pelvic floor for all genders. Pelvic floor exercise is more commonly known as kegels. These are often used to help strengthen the muscles that support the pelvic organs and traverse the bottom of the pelvis.

Making your pelvic floor muscles strong will give you better control over your bladder and bowel. It will also help you in pre or post childbirth, as wells as help tighten and strengthen the nether regions. Usually kegels can make these muscles tight and as a result, weak.

So the alternative solution is to do some daily squat exercise routines that will help lengthen the pelvic floor muscles and return them to their natural strength. If you want to improve the state of your pelvic floor muscles, do some squats.


6 Ways Sex Makes You Healthy

According to research, 30 minutes of sex can burn 85 to 100 calories. If you feel like you have a more active sex life that usually lasts longer per session, then you’re most likely on the higher end of calories burned.

Optimize your “sexercise” to burn more calories in the following ways:

1. Sex Before Breakfast

Having sex in the morning is a great way to start your day. Some of the other reasons are: a man’s testosterone levels are the highest between 7 and 8 AM. Next is if you make time for a half-hour morning session, you can roll out of bed straight to your morning exercise and you’re already warmed up.

2. Flexi-Sex

Since you can burn between 100 and 300 calories in a half-hour yoga class, why not try to incorporate some of your favorite yoga poses into your sex life. It will definitely increase the calories burned and you can stretch your hip flexors at the same time. You’ll be able to do your exercise while having sex, so you’ll have more time for other things.

3. Eating for Endurance

Try to have some endurance-boosting foods that can help you heighten your sex life. Foods like figs, oysters, celery, blueberries, peanuts, bananas, garlic, and even chocolate may boost a man’s sexual stamina. As an added tip, don’t load up on carbs the night before your morning sexathon. It will be counterproductive since you’ll feel heavy and sluggish because of the carbs.

4. Switch Things Up

Just like in any other exercise, it’s essential to try new and different things all the time. Do the same with your sexercise. Try more challenging and adventurous positions. You’ll be able to use different muscles for stabilization, constantly surprise your body and your partner, and you’ll get a much better exercise. If you notice yourself having the same few positions every time and your most adventurous sex location is the foot of the bed, then it’s definitely time for you to mix things up.

5. Core-Gasm

Engage your core all the time while you’re having sex. Focus on your core and isolate the muscles around your pelvic floor. It will strengthen your six-pack, making it look flatter in the moment. There’s also more evidence that the right core exercise moves can help induce orgasm. That’s double the pleasure!

6. Cross-Train

Since it has already been established that sex doesn’t really count as your primary form of exercise, try to exercise for better sex. Research actually shows that women who exercise regularly have more active sex lives, get orgasms quicker, and are more easily aroused. Additional findings also state that women are more sexually responsive after 20 minutes of powerful exercise. With men, short intense exercise is connected with higher testosterone levels, which may of course stimulate sexual interest and behavior.

If you do your morning exercise with your partner, you are sure to have a steamy hot shower session afterwards. Focus on isolating muscles that will help you when you’re having sex. Pelvic thrusts are great for this.

Don’t forget about safe sex! Here’s the most common STDs:

Is Sex Before Sports Beneficial?

The impact of sexual activity before a sport competition has been studied for many decades. Most questions pertain to the athlete’s performance. Since top competition is undertaken by young adults, the expectancy of success is therefore high. Because of this, a decrease in athletic performance from sexual activity has been the object of interest by governing bodies, officials, and coaches.

Very few authors have studied this aspect of sports participation in a systematic way. Most studies did not use applicable scientific methods on the possible impact of sex. It actually appears that there is no evidence of negative impact in both males and females.

It’s actually more important to maintain an athlete’s own sexual activity in terms of normal physiological behavior, and to avoid possible links with incorrect lifestyle habits like tobacco, alcohol or drugs.

There should be at least a few hours between sex and competition to ensure athletes have replenished their energy and strength. In some sports and several cultures, coaches still believe that sexual abstinence is best before any sports competition.

In major competitions such as the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games, however, contraceptive devices are readily available. Interestingly, the majority actually acknowledges that sex is normally practiced by athletes during the games.

Is Sex Exercise?

Sex has been credited with having many health benefits. They may not all be scientifically proven, since it’s difficult for researchers to measure the effects of sex on different health outcomes in a standardized way.

There are beneficial claims that include reductions in heart disease and diabetes, and improvements in sleep, appearance, and immunity. Sex has also been credited with reducing period cramps and chronic pain. It may be less reliable than tablets, but studies suggest that it may relieve headaches too.

Is sex exercise? Maybe. It is important to talk to a doctor about sex. If you have questions about sex, fitness, or any other health issue, our doctors are ready to answer them. Our Dr. Chat is free with doctors available 24/7 online. Click below to start chatting with a doctor in minutes.

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Submitted by Dr. Richard Honaker:

Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. If you require specific advice, please consult one of our medical professionals through the app. However, in case of an emergency, please call 911.

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