There’s long been an urban myth recounting women climaxing in the gym. Now it seems that it’s not a myth after all according to a new study on exercise-induced orgasms and sexual pleasure
Some women reach orgasm during exercise, especially those that involve the core abdominal muscles, researchers Debby Herbenick, and J. Dennis Fortenberry, M.D., both from Indiana University, wrote in the journal Sexual and Relationship Therapy. Exercises most likely to be associated with female orgasms are abdominal exercises, weight lifting, spinning/biking, and climbing poles or ropes, the authors added
The researchers explain that so calld “coregasms” - reaching an orgasm from exercising the core abdominal muscles - has been mentioned in the media for some time. However, they add that the findings in this latest study are new
Herbenick said: “The most common exercises associated with exercise-induced orgasm were abdominal exercises, climbing poles or ropes, biking/spinning and weight lifting. These data are interesting because they suggest that orgasm is not necessarily a sexual event, and they may also teach us more about the bodily processes underlying women’s experiences of orgasm.”
Herbenick and Fortenberry carried out online surveys which included 124 adult females who said they had had an orgasm while exercising, known as EIO (exercise-induced orgasm), and another 246 who reported having experienced exercise-induced sexual pleasure (EISP). They were aged from 18 to 63 years, the majority of whom were either married or in a relationship. Approximately 69% of them said they were heterosexual
The researchers found that about 40 percent of both groups of women had experienced exercise-induced pleasure or orgasm on more than 11 occasions in their lives. Most of the women in the ‘orgasm’ group said they felt some level of embarrassment when exercising in public places. The ‘orgasm’ group mostly said during the experiences they weren’t having a sexual fantasy or thinking about someone they were attracted to
Of the women who had orgasms during exercise, about 45 percent said their first experience was linked to abdominal exercises; 19 percent linked to biking/spinning; 9.3 percent linked to climbing poles or ropes; 7 percent reported a connection with weight lifting; 7 percent running; the rest of the first-time experiences included various exercises, such as yoga, swimming, elliptical machines, aerobics and others. Exercise-induced sexual pleasure was linked with more types of exercises than the orgasm phenomenon
Why does it happen?
The most likely abdominal exercise to produce a female orgasm was the “captain’s chair”. The exerciser rests her elbows on padded arm rests with her back against a support - her legs hang free - she raises her knees upwards towards her chest several times
Victoria Zdrok, Ph.D., a sex therapist and author of The Anatomy of Pleasure, provides some more scientific insight: “A lot of women require a buildup of tension in their legs before they can achieve the release of orgasm,” she said. “So, when a woman exercises, the release of endorphins and dopamine, which are necessary for orgasm, combined with the tension in the abs and lower extremities, can cause the clitoral stimulation” that is needed
Joy Davidson, Ph.D., author of Fearless Sex, offera a fitness angle: “When that happens, usually it’s women who already have very strong pelvic muscles,” she said. “And when they’re doing certain exercises that are tapping into the deep core or into the quads and inner thighs, what they wind up doing is almost automatically squeezing pelvic muscles in addition, triggering the nerve impulses in the pelvic area. It’s a little unusual to get that much response from one squeeze, but if you’re doing multiple reps, you’re squeezing your pelvic muscles over and over again”
Herbenick says that nobody is sure what mechanisms are involved during exercise to induce an orgasm or sexual pleasure. Future studies, hopefully, will be able to determine that
The authors hope that women who experience either orgasm or sexual pleasure during exercise may feel, after reading about this study, that their responses are normal experiences
Whether or not specific exercises may help improve a female’s sexual experiences was not an aim of this study. The authors caution readers to make no assumptions until other more specific studies have been carried out
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