• Warning: This article contains explicit sexual content
If you watch any of those iconic 1990s erotic thrillers, like Basic Instinct, Fatal Attraction, or Wild Things, sex would seem to be a hot, sweaty affair. It's like an hour-long calorie-burning extravaganza that the characters do instead of going to aerobics. For the last eight years, we've gone to Game of Thrones for the same experience: virile, athletic, sweaty sex scenes that basically make the camera lens fog up.
It makes us all wonder how good of a workout sex actually is. Does it expend as much energy as a run? What about a pump class or a weights session? I've tried to find out.
Research by the University of California, Berkeley seems to suggest that sex can sometimes reach the "moderate" level of exercise in terms of caloric expenditure. Playing tennis, to compare, is also considered moderate exercise.
The often-stated "statistic" sex burns between 100 and 200 calories per session is a myth. When actually studied sex only burns about four calories per minute (light running burns double that).
A 20-minute sex session would therefore burn only 80 calories – which isn't even enough to burn off one scoop of ice cream (around 130 calories). If you did last a whole hour in bed engaging in vigorous sex, you might burn off an average-sized chocolate bar. I say might.
This alludes to the other reason sex doesn't really count as exercise: it typically doesn't last as long as what we'd call a "real workout". Would you call a 10-minute walk a sufficient workout? Sex doesn't generally take the same amount of time as it does to do 10,000 steps – the average sex session is actually a mere six minutes long, after all.
Moreover, people don't tend to have enough sex for it to be considered exercise either. We're told you're supposed to get a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day, but is anybody really having half an hour of sex every single day?
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Sex isn't going to replace the need to go to the gym or pound the pavement, but if you can keep it up Game of Thrones-style for a good sweaty hour, it's about the equivalent of walking uphill for 60 minutes. That's not a terrible result.
I suppose that's why "sexercise" is still a term. Kylie Minogue even sang a pop ditty about it once. While sexercise usually denotes exercise performed in preparation for sex, here are three actual sexual positions out there that could almost count as a workout too.
Just don't think they're better than going to an actual yoga class.
1. Anything where one partner utilises the bridge pose (arched back, hands and feet on the floor) will hit their bum, thighs, and abs.
2. Any position that has you on top allows you to raise and lower yourself, which targets the thighs and core.
3. Lunge-type positions where one foot is on the floor, and one is on the bed, is another good lower-body move.