Getting Fit the Fun Way: Is Sex the Ultimate Form of Exercise?

by Lovehoney

on 8 Dec 2023

Lovehoney surveyed over 1,000 Brits to explore how many view sex as a workout, and experts reveal the best positions burning calories.

Sex Workouts | Lovehoney UK

Let’s get physical: Is sex actually a workout?

Would you rather: spend an hour in the gym surrounded by sweaty strangers, or spend the same amount of time getting down and dirty with a partner? Hey, we know what we’d prefer.

Now, we aren’t saying that sex is a full-blown substitute for exercise, but what we are saying is that all that heart-rate-raising, sweat-inducing bedroom action has to count for something. But, just how much of a workout can sex really be?

To find out, we’ve surveyed over 1,000 Brits to understand how many of us actually think sex counts as exercise. We’ve also partnered with Joe Mitt, Owner and Head Coach at MittFitt, who has explained exactly why sex can be so good for us and has revealed the best positions for burning calories. To help you plan your next sweat session, Ness Cooper, Clinical Sexologist and Founder of The Sex Consultant has also revealed which sex toys can give us an extra challenge, and which are perfect for those who prefer a bit less effort in the bedroom.

How many people think sex is a workout?

We all know sex can make us feel great, but did you know it can be great for our bodies too? Joe even suggests, “The amount of calories burned really does depend on how long you’re having sex and how hard you’re working, but it can rack up to as high as 500 kcal per time — and potentially even more!

According to our survey, over two-fifths (44%) of Brits also think that sex definitely counts as a workout. The men among us are more likely to think so, with nearly half (49%) admitting they view their bedroom antics as exercise, compared with just 38% of women.

When it comes to the love-making logistics, nearly one-sixth (13%) of Brits think that any kind of sex can be classed as exercise, while another 14% agree that yes, it can be a calorie-burner, but this does depend on the position you’re in. Most of us will take our sex-ercise as an added bonus, but almost one in ten (8%) Brits actually include sex in their workout schedule — Monday: gym, Tuesday: yoga, Wednesday: sex?

Is Sex a Workout | Lovehoney UK

Who’s getting their sweat on the most?

Perhaps surprisingly, the younger generations are feeling the burn a little more, with 57% of those aged between 18 and 34 agreeing that sex can be classed as exercise, while 66% of the over 55s say they don’t view it as a workout. Boomers are also the least deterred by the effort involved, with just 4% saying they are put off by sex due to how physically challenging it is.

When it comes to location, the people of Edinburgh seem to be working the hardest in the bedroom, with over two-thirds (67%) saying they find sex to be a workout. Meanwhile, residents of Brighton are the least likely to view a romp in the sheets as fitness, with just 22% agreeing that this is the case. Whether this is because they are super fit, or a little lazy in bed, we aren’t quite sure!

Cities Most Likely to Find Sex to be a Workout | Lovehoney UK

Why is sex so good for us physically?

On whether sex can actually be classed as exercise, Joe says, “People are very right to believe that sex is a good workout. Your adrenaline is up, your heart rate is pumping and people can engage in sexual relations for extended periods of time - typically longer than they’d ever spend in a gym!

“Sex is a great workout not just for the calories burned, but for how you feel physically and mentally. It can bring you closer to your partner, regulate your hormones, and flood you with confidence.

“For those asking, I’d say it’s absolutely a great idea to substitute a workout for sex. What would you rather do? Sit on a spin bike for an hour or have sex? Surely it’s an easy answer.

Which sex positions burn the most calories?

From cowgirl to corkscrew, we all know that some positions require a lot more effort than others. In fact, nearly one in six (14%) Brits say that sex can be a workout, but that this depends on which position we’re in. So, which ones are actually going to burn the most calories?

Joe shares his wisdom suggesting, “Anything that requires more work from the body will burn calories at a higher rate. Especially anything standing or positions requiring a lot of work to maintain — such as the squat, or the butter churner.

“Your quads and glutes are used a lot during sex, regardless of the position. Holding your partner up or pinning them down is when you’ll start to utilise upper body muscles more!

Which sex toys are best for maximum cardio, and which are best for minimal effort?

Whether you’re working your glutes with a strapless strap-on, or really targeting those core muscles with a bit of bondage, there are lots of toys that can add even extra effort to your sex-ercise routine.

On the best ones for working up a sweat, Ness says, “Anything that works your pelvic floor is going to be a good workout. The pelvic floor is part of the muscles that make up your core, and some find working these can be the added boost their abs routine needs. Wearing kegel balls or vibrating love eggs during certain types of sex, or as foreplay before sex, can help workout these muscles, and using a strap-on can also challenge the pelvic floor. Some people find they also work their lower back and core more when using a strap-on.

“In a world of vibrators, masturbation sleeves can be often forgotten, but they can add extra resistance to your masturbation routine. The material used is similar to resistance bands and they can stretch and tighten during movements, meaning your hand has to work differently.

“Also, while massage can be great after a workout, it can also be a workout in itself. Using a massage device can help manipulate the muscles in ways that are similar to working out.”

But sex doesn’t always need to be a big calorie-burning sesh. According to our survey, 6% of Brits are put off by how physically challenging sex is, but this doesn’t have to be the case — sometimes the workouts really can just be left in the gym.

If you’re after something a little more chill, there are plenty of toys that require minimal effort, but bring maximum pleasure to the bedroom. Ness explains, “Using a sex swing can be a great way to reduce the amount of energy exerted during sex. A sex swing can help one partner relax and lie back during sex, whilst the other can move their partner with ease. It can make the partner feel weightless, meaning both involved have reduced muscle activation when compared to normal sex positions. A position chair can also help with this. The elasticated bands support the body's movements during on-top sex positions, which can make these positions less tiring and reduce strain on the thigh muscles.

Clitoral suction sex toys can make it easier to reach orgasm during sex — which means less of a workout for both you and your partner. Similarly, a penis pump can also be great for those who want to skip foreplay and go straight to the erection.

“Above all though, remember to listen to your body, if it’s sore, it’s probably time to stop that variation of sex and try another position or toy.”

Methodology & Sources

A survey was carried out on 1,159 people in the UK aged 18+ in November 2023.

Expert commentary provided by:

Joe Mitt, Owner and Head Coach at MittFitt

Ness Cooper, Clinical Sexologist and Founder of The Sex Consultant


Written by Lovehoney. For collaborative posts between Lovehoney team members and guest authors
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Originally published on 8 Dec 2023. Updated on 11 Dec 2023