Few of life’s unanswered questions are as vitally important as this: Is sex better for you than exercise? Does it stimulate you more, mind/body and soul?
And, in the life of a super-busy woman, if you have to choose just one, which one should you pick? I know which one I’d prefer every time, circumstances permitting – sex. I’d much rather spend time getting busy with my beloved husband than being bossed around and worked to the bone by my ex-army commando PT and/or pounding the heinous treadmill at the gym. But what’s better for me?
So many questions… For answers, I turned to the good doctor, well the sex doc that is: Sydney sexologist, Dr Michelle Mars (pictured), who specialises in the sociology of sex gender and sexual well-being.
There’s good news and bad news, ladies: a red-hot, sweaty sex session will blow your hair back way more than an equally messy gym session – yay! But unfortunately, you’d better not give up the gym workouts and PT sessions just yet – sad face.
“We know sex can be great exercise, it gets our hearts racing, makes our knees go weak, leaves us with aching muscles, gives us that healthy glow and even occasions sudden cardiac death in some circumstances,” Dr Mars says.
“Great sex is going to stimulate you more and make you feel better than a gym session ever could. But does that mean we should forgo the gym for a shag? Probably not, but nonetheless I’d take the sex myself.
“Which is better for you? The units of exercise required to minimise the risk of obesity, heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis and so have been measured in units per day or per week. But we haven’t subjected sexual activity to the rigours of evidence-based medicine so we don’t know which is healthier.”
So, can you burn more calories during a good sex session than on the treadmill? “Sex that makes you weak at the knees is going to get your heart racing one way or another. If your knees are weak from a good shagging then you’ve probably worked harder and expended more energy than you would have done at the gym,” Dr Mars quips.
“Does an orgasm give you more benefits than a personal training session? It definitely stimulates your cardiovascular system and holds the potential for more pleasure and a meditative or even spiritual experience.
“Sexual meditation is a technique that can be learned – all the benefits of meditation combined with the pleasures of sex. How can that not be beneficial?”
However, ladies, if you find yourself actually preferring gym to sex, because it buys you some much-needed time to yourself, that’s normal and natural too, says Dr Mars. “We know that stress, weight gain and lack of exercise don’t enhance our sexual performance, and if we are stressed out, time-pressured and the kids are about to start banging on the door then the gym probably presents itself as an urban sanctuary,” she says.
“But if you have the space and time, and you can exercise at another moment in the day, then sex – even if you don’t at first feel like it – is an incredibly healthy way to start the day.”
However, if the sex gods aren’t playing along, and you do opt for the treadmill as an escape from your needy kids/husband/dog/goldfish – you can make it work for you, Dr Mars says. It’s all about exercising for sex; you can still make it count toward sexual satisfaction.
“There is a big muscle in humans called the psoas muscle (pronounced “so-az”). In beef, it’s the tenderloin and in humans it is also quite large, around 12 inches,” Dr Mars says. “The psoas muscle starts around the bottom of the spine and winds down and right around inserting into the top of the leg. It’s the source of a lot of back pain and keeping it strong and flexible is really important for good sex.
“If you can’t decide between sex and exercise, then put on some sexy music and have a little dance. Make a motion like you are hula hooping or hula dancing. You can also try moving your hips in a figure of 8. Make sure that your tail bone is tucked under and your bottom isn’t sticking out.”
So, there you have it, ladies. Sex and exercise perfectly complement each other, like wine and cheese. Both serve an important purpose, but if at the end of the day you only have time for one, grab your partner and have some fun – the naked kind!
Images via muffintoplessdotcom.wordpress.com, jameswinsoar.com and eatthecat.com