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Sex

Your sweat life is tied to your sex life

“I’m too tired”, “I feel bloated”, “I’m just not in the mood”. These are just a few common excuses people make for not having sex. People are spending less time between the sheets than a decade ago.1

Worse still, sexual activity decreases with age.1 If you think your sex life could use a boost, it might be as simple as working up a sweat outside the bedroom.

Couple hula-hooping together

Can physical activity help my sex life?

Regular physical activity helps relieve stress and boosts the release of endorphins (the kind of hormones that make us feel good). It also increases body confidence and self-esteem.

As well, regular physical actvity promotes increased blood flow throughout the body, including down below, which boosts sexual feelings. And as little as 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity a week is all it takes to reap these benefits.

A man kneels on his female partner’s legs to assist her with sit-ups. Large blue exercise balls appear on a rack in the background

In men, regular exercise appears to be a natural equivalent to that little blue pill. It’s associated with a lower risk of erectile problems. In one study, sedentary middle-aged men who participated in a vigorous exercise program for nine months reported more frequent sexual activity, improved sexual function and greater satisfaction.2

Other studies have found that women who are physically active report greater sexual desire, arousal and satisfaction than women who are sedentary.3

Does sex count as exercise?

It depends on length and intensity. If a session lasts for at least 10 minutes, increases your heart rate and makes you sweat a bit, it’s considered moderate activity and counts towards the recommended weekly goal of 150 minutes of physical activity.

A chart showing that sex encounters per year decline with age

Sex encounters decline as you age. People in their 20s are having sex more than 80 times per year on average, but that number declines to 60 times per year by age 45 and 20 times per year by age 65.1

Here’s how:

To get your heart pumping in and out of the bedroom, consider the following ideas:

  • Weight training can increase testosterone, which may boost sex drive in men and women.
  • Avoid overtraining, as it can have negative effects on sexual performance.
  • Yoga strengthens the core and makes you feel stronger, confident and more flexible.
  • Dancing is a fun way to work up a sweat, help you feel more confident and improve coordination.
  • Squats, lunges and bridge exercises can build your lower body and core strength, and improve pelvic floor health.
  • Planks build your upper body, core strength and endurance.
  • Check out the free ParticipACTION app to track your progress and for ongoing motivation, articles and exercise videos.

Please sex responsibly

If you choose to engage in sexual activity, be sexually responsible. Being sexually responsible involves respecting your partner, having open communication about all forms of sexual activity, as well as taking precautions against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV and unplanned pregnancy. Talk to your health-care professional for more information.

References

  1. TWENGE ET AL. (2017). DECLINES IN SEXUAL FREQUENCY AMONG AMERICAN ADULTS, 1989–2014. ARCHIVES OF SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR, 46(8), 2389–2401.
  2. WHITE ET AL. (1990) ENHANCED SEXUAL BEHAVIOR IN EXERCISING MEN. ARCHIVES OF SEXUAL BEHAVIOR, 19(3), 193–209.
  3. MESTON & GOLZALKA. (1995). THE EFFECTS OF SYMPATHETIC ACTIVATION ON PHYSIOLOGICAL AND SUBJECTIVE SEXUAL AROUSAL IN WOMEN.. BEHAVIOR RESEARCH & THERAPY, 33(6), 651-664.

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