How Many Calories Does Sex Burn?

    Published 03 February 2020
    Fact Checked
    Reviewed by Olga Adereyko, MD, Primary Care Physician, General Practitioner, Medical Consultant
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    When you’re sweaty, your heart’s pounding, and you’re getting a rush of endorphins, a late-night sexcapade seems like a solid cardio session. Learn the physical benefits of a romp in the hay as Flo answers the question “how many calories does sex burn?"

    Does sex burn calories?

    In short, yes. Keep in mind though, everything your body does burns calories ‒ even reading this article. The amount of calories burned during sex is determined by how vigorous your sexual activity is, and whether you consistently remain in a fat-burning heart rate zone. 

    To boost heart rate, practice a little extra foreplay and use more than just your lips. When you’re kissing, try utilizing your entire body, or laying on top of your partner in a plank (or modified plank) pose. The longer you stay engaged in physical activity and maintain an elevated heart rate, the more calories you’ll gobble up.

    How many calories does sex burn?

    The precise number of calories burned during sex varies based on many factors. An average-sized female with a healthy body mass index (between 18 and 25) could zap 200 to 400 calories with 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise. 

    The type of activity you’re involved in and its duration play an important role, too. Sprinting, for instance, requires more energy than riding a bike. And if you engage in foreplay before sex (rather than having a quickie), your heart rate will remain high for an extended period.

    Still curious to know exactly “how many calories you burn during sex?”, then consider using a calorie tracker. 

    Sex positions that help burn calories

    Certain sex positions that help burn calories tend to raise your heart rate while simultaneously working both larger and smaller muscle groups. 

    Incorporate some physically ambitious sexual positions, such as woman-astride or reverse cowgirl. These offer your thighs a good workout, especially after several minutes of using your quads to move up and down. Bump up the intensity by straddling your partner while standing instead of kneeling or sitting. They can lay down on an ottoman or workout bench as you stand over them and control the rhythm of movement in and out. This mimics a squatting exercise and works your quads, hammies, and glutes.

    Another way to increase the number of calories burned during sex? Doggy-style, or a modified version, adds a bit of conditioning if you’re in modified plank pose versus being on all fours. Rest on your forearms and have your partner kneel behind you, with your legs extended and off the floor or bed. 

    Commonly known as downward-facing dog, this particular yoga position is a fun alternative for both of you. It gives your partner a slightly different view and supplies you with a better workout. 

    When you make love and climax with your partner, you’ll both benefit from the heightened production of oxytocin. This hormone enhances the feelings of love and affection between you.

    Or, try the traditional doggy-style position with a minor twist. Instead of letting your partner control the thrusting, ask them to remain still as you move back and forth, using your upper body and core to dictate the movement. By utilizing more muscle groups, you’ll inevitably increase the amount of calories burned during sex. 

    Even the missionary position can become an isometric workout if you lift your hips upwards in a thrusting motion, like a glute bridge. Repeatedly rotate them up and forward as your partner enters you, remembering to squeeze your glutes along the way. 

    Think you’re ready for a few advanced sex positions that help burn calories? If your partner’s in reasonably good shape, consider trying a kneeling wheelbarrow position. It delivers a nice workout and allows for the kind of deep penetration and G-spot stimulation you get from doggy-style. To begin, get on your hands and knees, with your partner kneeling behind you. They’ll lift your legs one at a time, holding on near your knees. They should slowly enter you as you balance on either your palms or forearms. The wheelbarrow position engages your core and shoulders while allowing them to decide the depth and speed of penetration.

    In general, physically demanding positions encourage your body to work harder and directly affect how many calories are burned during sex. However, incorporating just a few extra moves can strengthen your smaller, stabilizing muscles, and take advantage of certain isometric exercises. These are the techniques commonly practiced in yoga, Pilates, and Pure Barre. Many sex positions resemble calisthenics, or body-weight exercises, and deliver the same positive results.

    Other benefits of sex

    Regular sexual activity is beneficial to you in countless ways, going far beyond calorie-burning. Physiologically, an orgasm produces a rush of endorphins similar to a “runner’s high” which has lasting effects on your state of mind. When you make love and climax with your partner, you’ll both benefit from the heightened production of oxytocin. This hormone enhances the feelings of love and affection between you. 

    Other advantages of sex include creating an overall healthier sense of self. Pleasing your partner and letting them please you is actually a confidence builder. Like most people, you probably enjoy feeling desirable, and being on the giving (and receiving) end of those feelings does wonders for your self-esteem.

    So just how many calories do you burn having sex? Some research indicates that men may not expend as much energy during sex as they would doing other activities. However, sexual intercourse at least twice a week could significantly reduce their risk for heart disease. This is in comparison to those who have sex only once a month or less.

    Wrapping up

    Remember that wrapping up, or engaging in responsible condom use and other safe sex practices, is a critical part of a healthy sex life. Talk to your partner about your sexual history and experiences, and only perform acts that you’re both comfortable with. 

    Looking to increase the amount of calories burned during sex with your partner? Then take a few of the above sex positions that help burn calories out for a spin! As with all strenuous physical activity, make sure that you’re both healthy and capable of trying these positions and sustaining an elevated heart rate.

    History of updates

    Current version (03 February 2020)

    Reviewed by Olga Adereyko, MD, Primary Care Physician, General Practitioner, Medical Consultant

    Published (03 February 2020)

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