Exercise and regular, satisfying sex are two important ingredients for our quality of life, but one also affects the other. So why should you get in shape when it comes to sex? Here are the answers.
Many people know that exercise is important for good overall health, even if they personally don’t exercise on a regular basis. But, physical fitness also has an effect on a very important component in our lives – sex.
According to various studies, close to half of women and about a third of men suffer from some form of sexual dysfunction; obesity and inactivity are most often the influencing factors. A study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that men with a large waist circumference or high BMI were 50% more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction, while about half of overweight women reported problems with sexual activity, desire and performance – not all the time, but sometimes.
Another study from 2021 published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that women who exercised up to six hours a week, on the other hand, experienced higher desire and sexual pleasure compared to women who didn’t exercise, and the blood vessels in their clitoris also functioned better. The exercises also showed significantly high levels of desire, arousal, and orgasm.
Sex is a critical part of many people's lives, and it's not just for reproductive purposes, and rightly so. Quality sexual activity has a big impact on mental and emotional health, overall quality of life and the strength of our intimate relationships.
So, how does it work? Exercise has quite a few physical and mental effects and as a whole it improves health. Regular work-outs can strengthen one’s sense of self-worth and confidence, lower our stress levels and make us feel calm. All of these are significant factors for our mental well-being, and also for sex and intimacy.
A study from 2009 published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, for example, found that women aged 18-50 who rated themselves on the questionnaire as having a positive body image also had a more satisfying sex life.
On a physical level, exercise has an effect on energy levels as it releases dopamine to the brain and also helps blood flow better to all parts of the body which helps men get an erection. In addition, sex is a workout, so if you train several times a week you’ll have the strength to do more and more of it without muscles cramping or panting too much. Studies suggest that while one doesn’t burn that many calories during sex, couples who have sex in a missionary position for 10 minutes will burn 90 calories which is like a quarter of an hour of running. Twenty minutes of sex while standing will burn about 200 calories for each person.