Breaking News Today
Home » Entertainment » Animals » Sexercise? Getting Busy Burns Calories, Study Finds

Sexercise? Getting Busy Burns Calories, Study Finds

Does sex count as exercise? Good news: It might.

A new study finds that, in young people, sex burns an average of 4.2 calories a minute for men and 3.1 calories a minute for women. That intensity is moderate, the researchers reported online Oct. 24 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE. In other words, sex is better exercise than a walk, but not quite as good as a jog.

“These results suggest that sexual activity may potentially be considered, at times, as a significant exercise,” the researchers wrote.

Measure Food in Exercise, Not Calories

Sex as exercise?

Whether sex gets to count as a workout is a long-debated topic. A popular myth holds that a typical session of sex burns between 100 and 300 calories, but no one has ever directly measured the calories burned.

A few brave couples have had sex for science, however. Famed sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson observed couples having sex and noted that heart rates reached as high as 180 beats per minute. For comparison, between 85 and 119 beats per minute count as moderate-intensity exercise for a 50-year-old. (Infographic: How Many Calories Am I Burning?)

In 1984, a study of 10 intrepid married couples published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine used heart rate and blood pressure monitoring, a fast-responding oxygen gas analyzer and electrocardiography to determine that, for men, self-stimulation increased heart rate by 37 percent. Man-on-top sex increased it by 51 percent.

One problem with these studies, however, is that the couples had to get busy in the lab, hooked up to wires and tubes — imagine the difficulty of reproducing a, ahem, typical sex session. Fortunately, new technology provides a way around this monitoring problem.

Using a wearable armband called SenseWear, University of Montreal researchers tracked the energy expenditures of couples as they had sex in their homes. The researchers recruited 21 heterosexual couples ages 18 to 35, choosing to focus on young people because energy expenditures vary widely across age.

Who Didn’t Have Sex with Neanderthals?

Each person first completed a 30-minute moderate-intensity treadmill workout to provide a baseline measure of their calorie expenditure during exertion. They were then sent home with armbands and instructions to have sex four times over the course of the next month while wearing the sensors.

The SenseWear bands use accelerometers, temperature sensors and galvanic skin response sensors to come up with an accurate measurement of calories expended. Galvanic skin response refers to an increase of electrical conductivity that occurs when a person sweats.

Let’s get physical

The recorded sex sessions lasted for an average of 24.7 minutes, with the shortest lasting 10 minutes and the longest stretching out over 57 minutes. Men expended more energy getting busy than women, even after controlling for men’s greater body mass. On average, a sexual encounter cost men 101 calories, or 4.2 calories per minute. That’s compared with 276 calories, or 9.2 per minute, on the treadmill.

Women expended an average of 69 calories during a session of sex, averaging 3.1 calories per minute. Again, the numbers weren’t as high as a sweat-it-out session on the treadmill, during which women expended an average of 213 calories, or 7.1 per minute.

Can You Exercise Too Much?

Still, the researchers said, people found sex pleasant (duh) and thus might be more likely to get horizontal than to schlep to the gym. Sex may also be a better way to burn calories than housework, though more research is needed: A study released in October in the journal BMC Public Health found that people overestimated how many calories they were burning while sweeping floors and vacuuming.

This article originally appeared on More from

Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source Article from
Sexercise? Getting Busy Burns Calories, Study Finds
Discovery News
Discovery News digs deep into our world’s mysteries. Join us to explore current events and uncover the science behind the headlines. We Dig. You Discover.

About Editor

Scroll To Top