Sexercise: An exciting alternative to the gym
Sex should be considered a significant exercise for burning calories - that's the happy conclusion reached in a study, published last year by researchers from the University of Quebec.
We know that it's not easy losing weight, and that a strict diet and an exercise regime are needed. So, for those of us who would rather stay home than work out at the gym, sex (or rather sexercise) may be a much more enticing alternative.
The study's lead author, Julie Frappier, concluded that for both men and women sexual activity was reported to be highly enjoyable and more appreciated than a 30-minute exercise session on a treadmill.
Frappier believes this study could help health professionals recognise that sexual activity is an important aspect of the overall health and quality of life of their patients.
Due to the sensitive nature of sexuality, however, it will probably take a while before GP's start advising their patients to have more sex.
Still, if you struggle to schedule a fitness routine in your daily life, a workout under the sheets maybe a very good idea - you could even think of it as healthy multitasking.
"Sexercise" has many health benefits; it releases feel good hormones and endorphins that lower stress levels, it improves overall mood and it fights off depression. It also improves the immune system and contributes to better health overall.
An important point is to make sure you are an active participant, by alternating sex positions so that each partner gets an even workout.
There is a terrific app on the market called "Sexercise - sex positions that burn calories", which has illustrated versions of more than 70 sex positions that can help you lose weight.
The positions are divided into several categories; some are designed to help the male lose weight and some are aimed at weight-loss for the female partner. Each sex position is meant to target a specific part of your body. Just don't take it too seriously; sex should still be fun.
In another interesting study, which was conducted by Indiana University scientists, it was found that a number of women who work out at the gym sometimes experience sexual pleasure.
Well-known sexuality teacher Debby Herbenick said that some exercises were more likely than others to trigger a sexual response.
The most common types are abdominal exercises, weightlifting, yoga, cycling, climbing poles or ropes, or sitting on exercise balls.
"This data is interesting because it suggests that an orgasm is not necessarily a sexual event and they may also teach us more about the bodily processes underlying women's experiences of an orgasm," Herbenick said.
The majority of women in her study stated that they weren't having any sexual thoughts during their workouts.
How does this response happen? Well, a well-toned pelvic floor with strong muscles will contract more intensely. Some exercises create an increase in pelvic vascularity which means more blood flow in the pelvic area that can lead to clitoral and vaginal sensations, possibly resulting in orgasm.
The endorphin rush often experienced at the gym can also add to feelings of euphoria and pleasure.
Exercise-induced orgasm (EIO) is not a new phenomenon. For the past decade, fitness enthusiasts have mentioned experiencing it, and it is often referred to as a "coregasm".
But women were shy about coming forward to admit to the pleasurable experience and others were often not quite sure what they were feeling.
Several magazine articles were written after it first was believed to be an urban myth, which was one of the reasons Herbenick decided to conduct the study.
I contacted several female gym owners and asked their opinion, but only one of them had heard of it. One personal trainer got very excited and wondered if she should look into it and maybe start a special "coregasm class".
Seriously though, have any of you gym enthusiasts ever experienced this unexpected side effect?
I'd love to hear your responses.
Sydney Morning Herald