Sex is exercise, but exercise can also be a preamble to better sex. Exercise makes us feel more energetic and relieves stress. It also can make us feel better about our bodies and help us move with more confidence. It makes sense, then, that exercise just may have a positive impact on our sex lives.
"Exercise gets blood flowing to all of your body parts, including your sex organs, which keeps them healthy, active, and lubricated," says Antonia Hall, MA, a psychologist, relationship expert, and sexpert and the award-winning author of The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life.
Maintaining a healthy sex drive requires proper blood flow, which will boost your libido. "Studies have shown that people are most in the mood after exercise because your body is pumping out feel-good chemicals like endorphins while reducing the body's stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol," says Hall.
This is particularly true for men because testosterone levels peak after a strength-training workout. Just don't overexert yourself or you'll crash before passions can be stirred up. "With regular exercise, you're more likely to be comfortable and secure in your body, which will reduce any anxieties you might have about stripping down. Exercise will also help clear your mind and body of stress, and that translates to being more receptive to sexual activities and being able to climax more easily," says Hall.
Exercise ups the libido. "Women suffering from the common antidepressant side effect of lower sex drive experience intensified sexual stimulation when they exercise before having sex," says Laurel House, resident sex expert for My First Blush. But don't overdo it! Studies have shown that for men, "frequent high-intensity exercise can lower your sex drive," says House. She also points out that low-intensity workouts can make you more likely to have a high libido. And don't forget about mental exercise! Your mindset has a lot to do with your libido.
Exercise is your natural endorphin-producing trick. "Endorphins are the feel-good neurochemicals released by our brain. When we feel good, we are more likely to want to have sex," says Alyse Kelly-Jones of Novant Health Mintview OB/GYN in Charlotte, NC.
Those naughty bits getting engorged is how things get hot, fast. "Besides helping to build your performance endurance and confidence when you bare all, exercising creates increased blood flow to your private areas, which ultimately increases sensitivity (hello, orgasm!)," says Daizha Morgann, an adult-film star.
When we're feeling uptight, we're not going to be able to relax and have fun. "Exercise also is an amazing outlet to slay stress, which ultimately is a huge factor that affects sexual performance," says Morgann.
Confidence and Flexibility
"Exercise reduces our body fat, and this can improve body image, which also helps with sex drive," says Dr. Kelly-Jones. "Exercise, especially low-impact, stretching-type activities like yoga, can make us more flexible so we can try new positions and be creative with our sex life."
Better in bed
"Increasing the muscle tone in the pelvic floor with Kegel exercises can increase your sex drive," says Ilaria Cavagna, founder and CEO of High Heel Rescue and a celebrity trainer. "In women, they strengthen the muscles of the vagina and help have stronger orgasms. In men, they can help delaying or controlling the ejaculation," says Cavagna. But that's not the only way your bedroom prowess can improve with exercise. "Toning up your hip adductor muscles (an often neglected muscle group) leads to superstrong inner-thigh muscles . . . all the better to wrap around your partner!" says Amanda Freeman, CEO and founder of SLT.