Can getting your sweat on really make you get off?

By Charity Shumway and Mirel Ketchiff
Updated August 05, 2019
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Some rumors are irresistible. Like Jesse J and Channing Tatum—cute! Or that certain core moves can give you a workout orgasm. Screech. Wait, you haven't heard that one? Me neither, until certain friends started whispering about it.

The tale of the female "coregasm" goes like this: squeeze the right pelvic muscles, dig deep, and blast your way through enough reps of some serious lower ab moves. Then, right there in the gym, sweet, innocent, just-fitting-in-a-sweat-sesh, you have a big workout orgasm.

Fantasy? Maybe. But suddenly my usual ab workout motivation seemed a little pale in comparison to, shall we say, more immediate rewards. Raring-to-go, I hit the gym to test out all the potentially orgasm-inducing ab exercises I could think of. (Related: This 10-Minute Ab Workout Proves You Don’t Need to Spend Forever Building a Strong Core)

My Core Workout Orgasm Routine

Move #1: Thigh Pulse

I started with the leg pulse, a lower ab workout extraordinaire. 4 sets of 15 reps later (plus plenty of sexy thoughts) and I had...some tired lower ab muscles.

Move #2: Abdominal Hold

I modified the abdominal hold by slowly raising and lowering my legs instead of just holding them. Extra tough on the muscles, plus I figured a little friction couldn't hurt on my quest to find my way the elusive workout orgasm. My plan for another 4 sets of 15 quickly turned into a plan to lie on the floor recovering after 1 set of 7. (Related: The Best Workout Recovery Method For Your Schedule)

Move #3: Hanging Knee Raises

Finally, I cut to the chase with the lower ab move the guys touted as the creme de la creme of big O triggers—the vertical knee raise. Dangling from a pull-up bar, I raised my knees to sitting position, then slowly lowered them. Wow, did I feel my lower ab muscles. Wow, was that all I felt.

A Workout Orgasm Solution That Works

After my totally non-orgasmic workout, I checked in with personal trainer Ashley Borden. "Ab moves that trigger a workout orgasm?" she laughed. "That's never happened to me or to anyone I've trained, at least in front of my face. But a strong pelvic floor absolutely, 1,000 percent adds to your sex life." (Related: 5 Things Every Woman Should Know About Her Pelvic Floor)

Rather than the ballistic ab moves I tried, she suggested modified versions. "For 90 percent of people, lifting one leg at a time, rather than both at once, is best." She also suggested a more internal workout. Yes, the magic of kegels. (BTW, every woman—pregnant or not—should do these pelvic floor moves.)

Ready to rest on my rumor-debunking laurels, I called my friend Wendy to brag. "Coregasms, ha! So ridiculous," I shared.

"Other people have coregasms too!?" Wendy countered. "I always thought it was just me!" Apparently leg lifts really do it for her.

3 Ways Exercise Can Help You Have a Better Orgasm

Okay, so even if you can’t orgasm at the gym doesn’t mean all that activity can’t help your action under the sheets. A good sweat sesh keeps your whole body healthy, makes you more confident, gives you more energy…and it makes your orgasms stronger, says Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., associate professor at Indiana University and author of The Coregasm Workout.

It all comes down to muscular tension, she says: "Leading up to climax, women's muscles tense up throughout the body. During orgasm, she'll notice contractions in her uterus, vagina, and sometimes anus." If those muscles are stronger, you'll have stronger-and more pleasurable-contractions. (Learn why your muscles shake during a hard workout.)

"We can't really isolate one muscle that's responsible for orgasms," adds Herbenick, which means there's no one move that's guaranteed to lead to better sex or workout orgasms. (However, hitting the gym does make for great foreplay.) Instead, try this three-pronged approach.

  1. Start with Cardio. Cardio increases blood flow throughout the body, including the vagina, Herbenick says. And better circulation to the genitals equals more lubrication during (solo or coupled) sex, which ups your chances of having a great O. Biking is especially beneficial, because it gets your heart rate up and cycling moves like standing climbs engage the core. (Related: 10 Ways to Get More Out of Every Spin Class)
  2. Then Work Your Core. "Our research suggests that moving from cardio work into ab work can enhance arousal for many women," Herbenick says. If spin isn't your thing, try to follow up a run or elliptical session with crunches or hanging leg raises. Even if you don't have a workout orgasm, you may be more likely to follow up your gym sweat sesh with an in-bed one when you get home. (Before you get busy, check out these top 8 sex tips from sex therapists.)
  3. Do Exercises You Love. Body confidence is essential for good sex, and one of the easiest ways to feel better about yourself is by working out. "Do exercises that help you feel good," suggests Herbenick. "If you feel sexier when your butt is toned, focus on that. If you feel more confident when you're slimmer, incorporate cardio." (Also smart: giving the Better Sex Workout a go.)

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