The phenomenon is almost universal. A few days or weeks at the gym or doing exercise….we feel sexier, more confident, and our sex drive starts roaring. Is it in our minds? No. Several studies have in fact shown that exercise causes a psychological as well as physiological improvement to our sex life. Here are the facts.
Facts for Men
Several studies have shown that exercise has a positive effect on the sex drive of men. Separate studies has have shown, for example, that men who participate in exercise one hour per day, three to five days a week achieved a significantly greater sex life. The frequency of sex, sexual function, and the percentage of satisfying orgasms all increased. Overall, the participants were happier with their sex lives. In general the studies have shown that the more regular the exercise regime, the higher the sex drive.
Facts for Women
Exercise has a positive effect on the sex drive of women as well. Studies have shown that women who frequently exercise become aroused more quickly and are able to reach an orgasm faster and more intensely. The studies have shown that the effect is both physiological as well as psychological. Moreover, there is an effect even after a single intense short-duration (20 minute) exercise.
How does Exercise boost our sex life?
1. Better Sexual Performance
Sex itself is an intense physical activity requiring strength and endurance. As you exercise, both your strength and endurance will increase, opening the possibility for more varied sexual positions that require greater physical control. Physiologically your sexual performance improves because of the following:
• Increased Sexual Endurance
• Better Muscle Strength
• Greater flexibility
• Increased blood flow to the genital area
In addition to the physiological component, the studies have shown that there is also a strong psychological component to better sexual performance after exercise. An overall feeling of increased arousal is caused by the fact that exercise brings greater blood flow to the genital area. This occurs in both men and women.
2. Enhanced Self-image Leads to Greater Sex Drive
A big part of sex is feeling sexy. Research shows that people who exercise have an improved body image over people who do not exercise. Being more comfortable with your body leads to better and more relaxed sex.
The studies also show that men and women who are more physically fit rate their own sexual performance as well as sexual desirability higher. As the number of days of exercise per week increased, so did the ratings of sexual desirability. The more regular our exercise, the better we feel about ourselves. The better we feel about our body image, the greater our sex drive.
3. The Potent Sex Cocktail- Testosterone, Endorphins and Adrenaline
The increased sex drive with exercise has been linked to higher testosterone levels in both men and women. Elevated levels of testosterone have been found in men after six weeks and in women after eight weeks of weight training. With higher testosterone levels, males experience:
• more frequent erections,
• increasing sexual urges
• better bone density
• greater mass and muscular strength
Women experience the following with higher testosterone levels:
• more frequent sex
• heightened sexual arousal
• elevated moods which may lead to higher sex drive
• greater muscle and bone density
• higher energy levels
Testosterone also reduces depression and chronic fatigue, which obstructs a good sex life.
In addition to higher levels of testosterone, long workouts at moderate to high levels, also cause the release of chemicals known as endorphins and adrenaline. This has been callde the “runner’s high.” The endorphins and adrenaline create a feeling of pleasure and well-being. The release of endorphins has been shown to increase sexual arousal or even orgasm in women. Endorphins also reduce stress, which is a major sex drive inhibitor. The combination of adrenaline with endorphins and with testosterone is a potent sexual cocktail!
Caution: Too much Exercise Can Have the Opposite Effect!
One word of caution, excessive exercise can have the opposite effect on your sex drive. Cardio workouts, strength training work outs, or endurance training that is too intense can actually deplete the body of sex hormones if done excessively. Excessive workout would include any workout that causes the heart to beat more than 90 beats per minute for longer than 2 minutes.
When this is done regularly, the body can reduce or stop the production of sex hormones and can increase the production of stress hormones instead. Proper rest and sleep also play a huge role in the increase of testosterone production.
So, for an optimum sex drive, engage in regular exercise at moderate intensities. Do not overtrain. Enjoy your exercise and a healthy and happy sex life!
Elizabeth S. Pons, Esq.
Ageless and Fit
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