In an effort to manage my snacking while dissertation writing I recently downloaded an app to my iPhone called LoseIt!, which is essentially a food diary that keeps track of your caloric intake for the day. You can increase the amount of calories you can eat in a day by entering any exercise you have done. I noticed that sexual activity was listed as one of the exercises and you can even select whether your sexual activity was passive, moderate, or vigorous. I’m not exactly sure how to validate these categories, so you just have to use your best judgment.
LoseIt! suggests that an hour of vigorous sexual activity burns about 33 calories. That’s it!?!? (Something tells me they aren’t doing it right.)
In an effort to accurately calculate the health benefits of sexual activity I turned to the research. It turns out that these estimates are low. Research on physical activity suggests that you can burn up to 200 calories an hour engaging in vigorous sex.1 And besides burning calories, sex has many other health benefits. Men and women who report the highest frequency of sex, live longer, have improved immune systems and lower their risk for many diseases, including cancer. Sex (and orgasm) can also have relaxing effects and help to reduce stress and improve sleep.2 Sex may even combat restless leg syndrome.3
In addition to the physical benefits, sex can also improve your mood. In a study of mid-aged women, physical affection and sexual behavior improved mood and reduced stress the following day…And being in a better mood led to more sex.4 So as it turns out we don’t need an app to tell us that there are benefits to sex! Check out this related post on Sex in Marriage and how sexual frequency is associated with sexual satisfaction.
If you’re interested in other (less fun) ways to lose weight, take a look at the 11 Best Ways to Lose Weight, According to Science from Jen’s Reviews.
4Burleson, M. H., Trevathan, W., R., & Todd, M. (2007). In the mood for love or vice versa? Exploring the relations among sexual activity, physical affection, affect, and stress in the daily lives of mid-aged women. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 36, 357-368.
Amy Muise – Articles | Website/CV
Amy’s research focuses on sexuality, including the role of sexual motives in maintaining sexual desire in long-term relationships, and sexual well-being. She also studies the relational effects of new media, such as how technology influences dating scripts and the experience of jealousy.