Despite what mainstream porn might have you believe, folks of all body shapes, sizes, fitness levels, and abilities can have great sex.
“There are plenty of pleasurable sexual activities and sex positions that don’t require a ton of strength, mobility, or stamina that are still intimate and orgasmic,” says clinical sexologist Megan Stubbs, EdD, the author of “Playing Without a Partner: A Singles’ Guide to Sex, Dating, and Happiness.”
The key to great sex is communication (and, TBH, lube).
Sexercise is a workout routine that’s designed to improve your sex life.
Made up of a series of strength and cardiovascular movements that can boost stamina, strength, flexibility, and pelvic floor tone — specifically for bedroom activities — sexercise is said to make sex last longer and more pleasurable.
Colloquially, sexercise is sometimes used to name sex that’s so active and high intensity that it seems like it should qualify as a workout.
But, here, we are talking about the former, more official, definition.
Celebrity trainer Jason Rosell is credited with taking the term mainstream in 2014 with the release of his song “#Sexercise” and subsequent workout album by the same name.
The vibe of the song is Rihanna music video meets Shaun T’s Insanity workout program meets a club in Miami where people are, uh, super hyped.
(For a sense of just how extra the #Sexercise routine is, check it out on YouTube).
As cheesy as the concept may seem, sexercise has a desirable objective: to give you the strength you need to be able to sustain positions, angles, and rhythms, and to bring you and your partner(s) the most pleasure for as long as you want.
“With proper training, certain sex positions that were previously difficult become possible and enjoyable,” says Rachel Sommer, PhD, the co-founder of My Sex Toy Guide, an online hub for sexual health and wellness content.
Consider the oh-so-popular missionary position for a second. The classic position requires the top partner to be in a high or forearm plank the entire time. As such, it’s common for the top partner’s arms to dictate how long the position is sustained.
Depending on the exact workout routine used, not to mention the anatomy of the person using it, “it’s possible for sexercise to allow you to carry on with sex for longer without premature ejaculation (PE),” she says.
Plus, exercise typically triggers a release of feel-good hormones and endorphins. So exercise, in addition to boosting your mood, can also heighten libido, making you more interested in sex, she says.
- bicep curls
- air squats and jump squats
- hip abductions and adductions
- glute bridges
- single leg raises
- ab twists
However, fitness and sexual health professionals both agree that there isn’t one single workout routine that will universally improve every pleasure seeker’s sex life.
That’s because every pleasure-seeker has a different:
- physical ability
- training age
- fitness goal
- sexual preference or desire
While the lyrics of “#Sexercise” make it seem like there are certain exercises for men and certain exercises for women, this is capital-F False.
People of any gender can do any exercise they want, as well as assume any position or role in the bedroom that they desire, so long as everyone involved gives consent.
Generally, it’s best to think about the ways you enjoy having sex and strengthen the muscles that allow you to have it.
For example, if you enjoy masturbating standing up, you might want to strengthen your legs with movements, like:
“Certain exercises, like planks, squats, lunges, and push-ups, help improve your strength, confidence, and endurance, all of which can make you better between the sheets,” Sommer says.
Yep! Core exercises, like the plank.
“Planks engage multiple muscles, ultimately powering your core and enhancing your flexibility,” Sommer says. “With consistency, planks can help you endure those uncomfortable but exciting sex positions you fancy.”
While a killer core move, planks can be painful for people with preexisting shoulder and wrist pain. For those folks, hollow holds are a good alternative.
No, Kegels aren’t an exercise *everyone* should be doing.
Kegels, which are common magazine fodder, involve contracting and then relaxing your pelvic floor muscles.
Overtime, when done correctly, Sommer says these exercises can improve sexual functioning, control PE, and even increase orgasm intensity.
Unfortunately, many people don’t have adequate pelvic floor awareness to do them correctly.
Rather than doing these movements willy-nilly, it’s best to get the green-light from a pelvic floor therapist or OB-GYN first.
Honestly, any ol’ exercise will do!
You don’t need to have sex on your mind while you exercise for the benefits of exercise to carry over into the bedroom.
“Really, any exercise is going to improve your performance in bed,” says certified sex educator Dainis Graveris, the founder and relationship expert at Sexual Alpha, a pleasure product ranking site.
Odds are, he says, that the workout routine you’re doing is going to improve:
These can all be tapped into during sex (no matter what sex looks like for you).
Nope! People of all fitness, flexibility, and strength levels can experience pleasurable sex.
Solid communication — not a sexercise routine — is the key to a pleasurable sex life, according to Sommer.
“Healthy communication during sex helps partners be more comfortable around each other,” she says. “Communicating also helps you learn more about each other’s desires and wants and connect better with your partner.”
Think adding sexercise to your life will enable you to experience more pleasure and fun in bed? Go forth and sweat for better sex!
But, ultimately, it’s not your fitness level that makes you good in bed, it’s your communication skills.
As Stubbs says, “even if you’re the fittest, most flexible, strongest person, if you can’t use your voice to communicate with your partner… the sex isn’t going to be any good.”
Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a queer sex educator and wellness journalist who is committed to helping people feel the best they can in their bodies. In addition to Healthline, her work has appeared in publications such as Shape, Cosmopolitan, Well+Good, Health, Self, Women’s Health, Greatist, and more! In her free time, Gabrielle can be found coaching CrossFit, reviewing pleasure products, hiking with her border collie, or recording episodes of the podcast she co-hosts called Bad In Bed. Follow her on Instagram @Gabriellekassel.