So, you've come across a new vocabulary word and are wondering what it might mean and whether or not you need it in your life. Consider this your guide to all things sexercise.
Sexercise, a term coined in a 2014 Kyle Minogue song of the same name, written by singer/songwriter Sia, has evolved in meaning since its origination. The song lyrics refer to it as a type of athletic sex that gets your heart beating the way cardio might, but—as these things do—the neologism has evolved into a whole brand of physical activities that revolve around getting conditioned for sex.
Before we get into it, we think it’s important to note that sexericise isn’t about getting “fit” for sex, or changing the way you look before you get naked. It’s kind of like Elle Woods said: Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, and happy people might just have better sex. Or something like that.
Now, read on to find out about implementing sexercise, its potential benefits, and how it could spice up your sex life.
What is sexercise?
The definition of sexercise is any exercise that gets you more fit to rock it in the sheets and have better sex.
You might be thinking about things like kegel exercises, which are purported to strengthen the pelvic floor. Kegels definitely qualify, but that's not where it ends.
Sexercise takes regular exercises and focuses them on the larger muscle groups you're most likely to use during sex. Those include your glutes and thigh muscles, your core, and yes, your pelvic floor muscles.
Just about any form of body workout could conceivably be made into sexercise since your overall fitness has a lot to do with your sexual fitness.
But some types of workouts work especially well for sexercise, like cardio exercises for sexual endurance, flexibility exercises for creative sex positions, weight-lifting so you're strong enough to toss your partner around, and more (we’ll explain exactly what to do later on).
Sexercise can also address challenges that limit you from having a fulfilling sex life, like erectile dysfunction, vaginismus (painful vaginal spasms that happen with penetration or contact), negative body image, poor self-esteem, or a number of medical conditions that could cause sexual dysfunction.
Benefits of sexercise
So, do you really need to do a specific kind of exercise to have great sex? No, but it can certainly help you have more stamina and improve your bond with your partner. If you spend time working out already or simply want to try something new, sexercise has some amazing benefits that are definitely worth exploring.
Strength and stamina
Sexercise helps build strength and stamina for sexual activity itself, making the act less exhausting at the end of a busy day. It might seem obvious, but studies show that we have less sex as we age. And we're not talking about middle age or geriatric age either. Frequency and number of partners take a nosedive between roughly 24 and 34 years of age for both sexes, whether in or out of a relationship, with an even greater drop for single men.
We can attribute this drop to a number of factors: poor or inadequate sleep, stress, boredom, illness, anxiety, and general exhaustion. A study showed that 25% of people in relationships reported being too tired to have sex. Daily exercise can help relieve some of these issues, but sexercise can too.
Personal and relationship health
Turning your aerobic exercise into a sexercise workout and getting your partner to join in the fun can prime you both for later. It not only helps improve your physical and emotional health, it can improve your bond with your partner too.
Well, ideally, sexercise leads to less exhausting, easier sex that doesn't feel like a chore. And when couples are more intimate more often, it can do a lot for each individual and for the relationship as a whole.
For example, much like exercise, the act of sex and feeling sexy in the moment can be empowering and self-esteem-boosting for any person. Those feelings can draw you closer to your partner. Studies show that more intimacy leads to more sexual desire, which leads to more sex in committed partnerships.
So, there's this question of chicken and egg when it comes to how you get to that intimacy.
The conventional wisdom (although not backed by science) is that women need to feel intimate to want to have sex while men want to have sex to feel intimate. The above study doesn't back up this claim, so we're adding in a third factor that may be the missing link: the sense of one's own desirability, sexiness, and competence in the bedroom can impact your sex life, and relationship as a whole.
We know that regular physical activity increases self-esteem across metrics like education, family, social, and general factors. That's because it:
- Creates a sense of power
- Makes for a good quality of life
- Gives you physical proficiency
- Increases confidence
So it makes sense that sexercise and the act of sex itself can improve both general and sexual self-esteem, which in turn can increase intimacy and intimate encounters, which in turn may improve your overall relationship with your partner.
Breaking the cycle of exhaustion
We've mentioned exhaustion a few times now, but here's one more thing to think about: Orgasms can help you fall asleep faster and relieve stress and anxiety due to the hormones released immediately after climax (namely oxytocin).
So getting into a good routine of sexercise and sexual activity can have a snowball effect on your sex life in general: sexercise > more and better sex > less stress > better sleep > more energy for sexercise and sex. Repeat.
How to sexercise
Ready to add sexercise into your arsenal? Here are some ways to get started across all categories of fitness: strength, cardio, flexibility, and targeted work.
Getting strong doesn't have to mean getting bulky. Strength exercises can be done with body weight, bands, machines, or free weights. Working your core, hip muscles, glutes, and arms will help get your body ready for all your bedroom adventures.
Start easy with bodyweight squats, hardening your abdomen as you lower your backside down, never letting your knees come in front of your toes. You can add from there as you get comfortable, either with a body band or even learning a kettlebell swing to better engage your glutes.
Other strength training exercises include isometrics like planks and glute bridges, or more cardio-based strength work like jump squats.
Just about any cardio will work to help increase your endurance for sex, but the best options are those that also promote hip flexibility and core extension/flexion. Try a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout that includes burpees, squat jumps, jumping rope, high kicks, and crunches.
HIIT is a type of workout that involves working really hard in bursts rather than over a long period of time like during distance running, biking, or other cardio.
You set a timer, generally for 15-20 seconds, and you work for that short time and then rest for that same amount of time. So 20 seconds on, 20 seconds off.
In some cases, the rest time is shorter or longer than the work time. HIIT can be bursts of sprints, high knees, jumping jacks, bodyweight squats, or some other simple physical activity that raises your heart rate.
You can also try weight-bearing or strength-based activities like banded curls, bench press, military press, or inverted crunches.
The link between yoga and sexual positions is somewhat undeniable. There's the whole kama sutra and the vast overlap between those poses and the standard asanas in your Sunday morning yoga class. The good news is that if you're already doing yoga, you're ahead of the game for sexercise flexibility.
When looking at flexibility exercises, you'll want to start with hip openers. Here are a few simple stretches to get you started. Try doing 3-5 sets of each once a day:
- Seated forward bend: Sit on the ground with your feet out in front of you, legs straight. Wrap a band or a towel around your feet to assist you in pulling your upper body toward your feet. Try not to curve your back, even if it means you can’t go as far. Hold for 10 seconds, and release.
- Frog pose: Kneel with your knees farther than shoulder width apart and then fold forward onto your elbows. Let your hips drop down toward the ground until you feel a stretch in your inner and upper thighs. Hold for 10 seconds and release. Try to gently push yourself with each set, furthering the distance between your knees to deepen the stretch.
- Happy baby pose: Lie on your back and lift your legs to meet your hands, keeping them in a V-shape. Grab the outsides of your feet with your hands and pull out and down, allowing your knees to bend toward your chest and armpits. Hold for 10 seconds, and release.
- Wheel pose: This pose is a back bend or bridge. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands palm down on either side of your face, fingertips toward your feet, and push up into an arch. Hold for 3-5 seconds and release.
Positions like these involve arching the back, strengthening the pelvic floor, and increasing flexibility in all of your hip-stabilizing muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Here's where the ever-famous kegels, or pelvic floor exercises, come in. Kegels are mostly marketed toward people with uteruses, but people without uteruses can do them too. Everyone has a pelvic floor, and everyone can do kegels just about anywhere.
In order to identify where the pelvic floor muscles are, start off in the bathroom:
- While you're peeing, stop midstream and notice which muscles engage. That sensation is one of two ways to use those muscles.
- Start peeing again, but add some force behind the stream this time. That's the other way to engage your pelvic floor muscles.
Practice both of those moves, holding each for about 3-5 seconds and resting between. Repeat 10 times. Start off doing this once per day to avoid getting sore down there (which would be counterproductive), then increase the number of sets as your body gets used to it.
Now it's your turn
Now it's time to turn your exercise into sexercise. You can practice on your own or with a partner, but get ready for some increased excitement in your life! Start slowly by adding in some light cardio or trying a guided sexercise workout on YouTube. In fact, you can start your kegels while you’re reading this article!
Once you build up some stamina and confidence, you can give a HIIT sexercise class a go, and then you’ll be off to the races. Don’t be afraid to try a few different options to figure out what works best for you (and your partner), and you’ll start spicing things up in no time.
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