Updated 14 November 2014

How exercise can give you an orgasm

Findings from a first-of-its-kind study researchers confirm anecdotal evidence that exercise can lead to female orgasm. It's recalled a coregasm because of the association with exercises for core abdominal muscles.

While the findings are new, reports of "coregasm" have circulated in the media for years, said Debby Herbenick, co-director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion in Indiana University's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

"The most common exercises associated with exercise-induced orgasm were abdominal exercises, climbing poles or ropes, biking/spinning and weightlifting," Herbenick said.

"These data are interesting because they suggest that orgasm is not necessarily a sexual event, and they may also teach us more about the bodily processes underlying women's experiences of orgasm."

The findings are published in a special issue of Sexual and Relationship Therapy, a leading peer-reviewed journal in the area of sex therapy and sexual health. 

The results are based on surveys administered online to 124 women who reported experiencing exercise-induced orgasms (EIO) and 246 women who experienced exercise-induced sexual pleasure (EISP). The women ranged in age from 18 to 63. Most were in a relationship or married, and about 69 percent identified themselves as heterosexual.

Read: Get fit while making love with these sexercise moves

Here are some key findings:

 About 40 percent of women who had experienced EIO and EISP had done so on more than 10 occasions.

 Most of the women in the EIO group reported feeling some degree of self-consciousness when exercising in public places, with about 20 percent reporting they could not control their experience.

 Most women reporting EIO said they were not fantasising sexually or thinking about anyone they were attracted to during their experiences.

 Diverse types of physical exercise were associated with EIO and EISP. Of the EIO group, 51.4 percent reported experiencing an orgasm in connection with abdominal exercises within the previous 90 days. Others reported experiencing orgasm in connection to such exercises as weight lifting (26.5 percent), yoga (20 percent), bicycling (15.8), running (13.2 percent) and walking/hiking (9.6 percent).

 In open-ended responses, ab exercises were particularly associated with the "captain's chair," which consists of a rack with padded arm rests and back support that allows the legs to hang free. The goal is to repeatedly lift the knees toward the chest or toward a 90-degree angle with the body.

Read: The wonders of the vibration machine

How and why it works

Herbenick said that the mechanisms behind exercise-induced orgasm and exercise-induced sexual pleasure remain unclear and, in future research, they hope to learn more about triggers for both.

She also said that study findings may help women who experience EIO/EISP feel more normal about their experiences or put them into context.

Herbenick cautioned that it is not yet known whether such exercises can improve women's sexual experiences.

"It may be that exercise - which is already known to have significant benefits to health and well-being - has the potential to enhance women's sexual lives as well."

The study did not determine how common it is for women to experience exercise-induced orgasm or exercise-induced sexual pleasure. But the authors note that it took only five weeks to recruit the 370 women who experienced the phenomenon, suggesting it is not rare.

"Magazines and blogs have long highlighted cases of what they sometimes call 'coregasms,'" Herbenick said. "But aside from early reports by Kinsey and colleagues, this is an area of women's sexual health research that has been largely ignored over the past six decades."

Read more:

4 Sexercise moves you must try 
The science of orgasms explained
Lesbians have more orgasms
Female orgasm: battleground of science?

Image: Pole dancing is coregasmic exercise

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Exercise benefits for seniors »

Working out in the concrete jungle Even a little exercise may help prevent dementia Here’s an unexpected way to boost your memory: running

Seniors who exercise recover more quickly from injury or illness

When sedentary older adults got into an exercise routine, it curbed their risk of suffering a disabling injury or illness and helped them recover if anything did happen to them.