Getting yourself off tonight? Well done! Showing yourself some love is a great way to unwind, tune into your body, and have fun. But while you’re going downtown with a wandering hand (or toy!) tonight, you may think to yourself: “Wait, I’m breathing hard… is this burning kilojoules?”
Obstetrician, gynaecologist and sexual health expert Dr Jessica Shepherd, fields questions like this all the time.
Seriously though, how many kilojoules does masturbation burn?
The exact number isn’t known because… well… there haven’t been any studies on it. But, if you look at the research on how many kilojoules sex burns, you can get a pretty good idea. Women burn 288 kilojoules on average – about 12 kilojoules per minute – during penetrative sex (for men it’s 422 kilojoules), according to a study published in PLOS One.
“If you think about masturbation, the kilojoule burn is going to be far less than that,” says Dr Shepherd. For one, sex requires more whole-body movement, she says. During solo time, you’re probably just lying around using your hand or a vibrator – not bouncing from position to position, vigorously thrusting, or hopping from the bed to the floor and back.
The reality is that masturbation really isn’t an Olympic-caliber sport, especially if you’re particularly adept at getting yourself off. “In order to expend kilojoules, you need to get your heart rate up for an extended period of time,” says Dr Shepherd. “Climaxing won’t get your heart rate up to a level that we consider fat-burning or one that counts as a cardio workout.”
Still, “that doesn’t take away that it can be very healthy for a woman,” says Dr Shepherd.
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Okay, so if it’s not going to burn kilojoules, what can it do for me?
Keep at it, sister. Ultimately, there are so many health benefits to masturbation that who cares how many kilojoules it burns?
Masturbation triggers a release of endorphins (a feel-good hormone that acts as a natural relaxants and pain reliever), prompts oxytocin production (to help you get better sleep) and increases your circulation, says Dr Shepherd.
Not bad, right?
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com
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