Turns Out A Carefully Curated Exercise Routine Could Increase Your Sexual Pleasure
We suspect you could reel off the mind-body benefits of exercise with the practised
polish of a politician. You’ll know strength training can grow your confidence as much
as your muscle mass; that the mind-emptying powers of a lap of the park are matched only by a book in the bath; and if there’s a feeling that tops folding into child’s pose, then you’ve yet to find it. But there’s another batch of benefits that get less attention.
Multiple studies have linked exercise with improving your sex life, and not just your ability to do the butter churner (go on, Google it…).
‘“When you engage in exercise regularly, your body will undergo physiological adaptations to meet those demands,” says clinical trainer and biokineticist Natacha Quintal. These adaptations, she explains, can enhance your experience of sex.
“The long-term effects of exercise include a reduced resting heart rate, slower breathing due to increased lung capacity, lower blood pressure, increased blood flow and greater muscular endurance and strength. This could translate to holding a sex position for longer, or not gasping for air because your cardiorespiratory fitness is inadequate.”
And yet, the endurance and, yes, bendy benefits are the least of it – with some of the most interesting research in this area pointing to exercise’s ability to enhance your sexual pleasure. This begins with desire, says Dr Rachel Gelman, a physiotherapist specialising in pelvic health and sexual wellness. “We know that exercise is good for overall mood, stress management and mental health. Stress is a major mood killer when it comes to sexual function, so being in a ‘better’ headspace sets someone up for sexual success.”
It’s a theory supported by research. A 2014 study in the journal Depression and Anxiety concluded that exercising before sex improved both sexual desire and function – how the body reacts in different stages of the sexual response cycle
– in women taking antidepressants. Another study, published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, found a 20-minute workout significantly improved both subjective arousal (assessed using a self-report questionnaire), and genital arousal
(a sensor measured blood volume in the vulva).
If scheduling your sex life around workouts sounds about as sexy as a coital fart, know that a well-timed sweat session isn’t the only way to exploit the exercise-orgasm connection. Targeting the muscle groups closely linked with sexual pleasure – specifically the pelvic floor: the hammock-shaped group of muscles and connective tissue that runs from your tailbone to your pubic bone – can up the ante, too. A 2010 study in the International Urogynecology Journal found that women with moderate to strong pelvic floor muscles had higher scores when it came to both orgasm and arousal; another found that an eight-week pelvic muscle exercise routine could increase sexual self-efficacy, or a woman’s belief in her body’s ability to perform sexual acts and experience sexual emotional reactions successfully when they’re postpartum.
With that in mind, we asked master trainer Lucie Cowan to design a workout specifically tailored to enhance both sexual experience and function. You can thank us later.