Ah, sex. Not only is it fun, but it's healthy for nearly every aspect of our beings, from our bodies to our mental health. Considering that sex is such a fundamental part of what makes us human, it's not surprising that it's such a fundamental part of our lives and our health. It's also not surprising that we often forget just how many calories we're burning when we're doing it. But how many calories does sex burn? Is sex a good workout?
Well, it depends on what kind of sex and under what conditions. But let's take a look at some of those conditions and find out.
Having Sex Is Exercise
Having sex is a form of exercise, and a pretty good one at that. Depending on the level of activity, the duration of the activity, and the intensity of the activity, sex can be a fairly good workout. Typically, when we think of a solid workout, we imagine some combination of aerobic exercise and strength training. That's generally what we need to get the most out of our exercise and the best results. But sex is both of those things, and it's even more than that.
So yes, having sex is exercise. And a pretty good one at that. But is the calorie burn similar to that of other exercises?
Let's Look at the Numbers
Not surprisingly, many people have wondered about how many calories they burn during sex, but there are so many factors to consider. From positions to bodyweight, as well as the intensity of the sex itself, it's hard to find a reliable number.
But as it turns out, a recent study from the University of Montreal was able to find at least a somewhat reliable number. In fact, the researchers found that sex can burn calories at a widely differentiated rate. On average, however, men burned around 4.2 calories per minute, and women burned 3.1 calories per minute. But these numbers, as you can imagine, are highly variable, based on many factors. For example, the more intense the sex, the more calories you'll burn.
However, one of the most important factors in determining how many calories you'll burn during sex is also one of the most overlooked: position. Easier positions will burn fewer calories. So if you're trying to lose some weight while also enjoying your sex life, you might want to focus on trying out some different positions that burn more calories, such as those that require you to stand instead of those that require you to lie down, or positions that require you to lift your (or your partners) body weight.
Another study, this time from the New England Journal of Medicine, showed similar but less liberal results. This study found that men who weigh around 154 pounds (~70 kg) burn about 3.5 calories per minute (which evens out to 210 calories per hour). Find out how long sex should last.
Does Sex Count As Exercise?
According to Harvard University, a low-impact aerobics exercise routine that lasts an hour burns around 198 calories for an individual that weighs around 155lbs. This is pretty close to what an hour of sex burns. However, a couple rarely has a full hour of sex.
This means that while it's true that sex is a great workout, it's also true that you should be careful. Just because sex burns calories doesn't mean you should have sex instead of working out at the gym. Sex can be a healthy activity, but it's not a replacement for healthy, high-intensity exercise, especially if you’re not spending as many hours in the bedroom as you would have spent in the gym.
Strategies for Burning More Calories During Sex
Sex is a great workout, but you can also increase the number of calories you burn during your session. Here are a few ways to do it.
1. Have Sex for Longer Periods
The more time you spend having sex, the more calories you burn. It's that simple. You can increase the number of calories you burn by having sex for longer periods of time. This could mean taking brief breaks to extend your wherewithal, but it could also mean changing positions or experimenting with new ones.
2. Try New Positions.
The standard missionary position is the most popular sex position for a reason. This position is very comfortable and easy to maintain for a long time. However, it's not the most calorie-burning position. You can burn more calories by trying new positions.
The following positions tend to burn more calories on average:
- Doggy Style
- Cowgirl or Reverse Cowgirl
These positions tend to burn the least calories on average:
3. Experiment With Different Thrusting Techniques
The more you thrust during each session, the more calories you burn. You can try new techniques to maximize your workout.
4. Vary Your Speed
Having sex at different speeds also burns more calories. This means that you should go at whatever speed you're comfortable with, but you should also experiment with different speeds.
5. Vary Your Stamina
Your stamina also affects how many calories you burn during sex. This means that you should experiment with different durations.
The Bottom Line
Sex is good for your body and mind. Exercising in general has shown to increase mental health, so why not hit two birds with one stone and enjoy quality time with your partner while also burning some calories?
This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.