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The Orgasm People Are Having At The Gym (And How You Can, Too)

Debby Herbenick, MPHE, PhD
Written by Debby Herbenick, MPHE, PhD
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Meet the coregasm: a natural, safe, and effective approach to achieving orgasms through fitness. Sex educator, columnist, and author Dr. Debby Herbenick did years of research with the Kinsey Institute to unlock the secrets behind exercise-induced arousal, and published her research in the book, The Coregasm Workout. Lucky for us, she’s sharing some of her findings and tips for introducing coregasms to your workout routine. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Coregasms became mainstream in 2006, thanks to Men’s Health.

In the magazine, fitness expert Alwyn Cosgrove described unique experiences he’d had in the gym, and the story of a female client who had orgasms when she did hanging leg raises. After the article was published, women emailed the magazine reporting that they too experienced orgasms during exercise.

2. Essentially a coregasm is an orgasm that happens through exercise but is a bit less intense than a sexual orgasm.

Here is one woman’s take: “Tightening my stomach muscles, especially lower stomach muscles, while lying on a flat surface was most effective for producing an orgasm. Raising my legs while in this position would always bring on the orgasm. (No touching of genitals or movement of hips.) Hanging on a bar and doing leg lifts or L-hangs would always bring orgasm, unwanted or not. No erotic thoughts were ever necessary.”

3. Exercise orgasms can come on suddenly — or build up gradually.

As you become more practiced in ways that inspire your body to feel aroused, you may notice your body’s natural rhythms. Try to pay attention to how your body responds and when.

4. Coregasms are more likely to happen when you’re doing a significant amount of repetitions.

If a woman had coregasms while doing sit-ups, it was far more likely to happen after many reps (like 50, 100, or even 300 sit-ups). This detail is consistent with sexual orgasms: Although some women experience orgasm during the initial seconds of oral sex or intercourse, most do not.

5. Coregasms are not rare.

Back in the 1950s, sexologist Alfred Kinsey and colleagues speculated that at least 5% of women had orgasms during exercise. But from a more recent sex survey at Indiana University, Dr. Herbenick asked thousands of Americans questions about their sex lives and found that about 10% of both women and men have experienced exercise-induced orgasms at least once.

6. The average age men recall having their first exercise-induced orgasm is 16; for women, it’s about 22 years old.

The full range of ages of women’s first experience is from as young as 9 to as old as 70.

7. There is not one exercise that can lead to a coregasm.

When it comes to exercise, many different activities can enhance arousal or orgasm, and different activities work for different people. Women have described all sorts of exercises that helped them feel aroused, including biking, dancing, Pilates, running, swimming, yoga, chin-ups, crunches, leg raises, pull-ups, and more.

8. There are four essential elements conducive to eliciting exercise-induced arousal. You can remember them as C.O.R.E.:

C: Challenge yourself: Every person who achieved exercise-induced arousal did so from intense physical challenge, involving increased heart rate, abdominal exercises, or strength training.

O: Order matters: Having an ordered routine facilitates exercise arousal, but it requires practice and modification to discover what sequence of exercises works best for you.

R: Relax and receive: Becoming more mindful of and present to what our bodies feel as we exercise can help us more easily receive exercise-induced arousal and orgasm.

E: Engage your lower abs: This doesn’t mean that the lower abs are the only ones working. As noted earlier, it’s common for ab exercises to engage a number of core muscles at the same time. Since women and men experience exercise-induced arousal and orgasm from a wide range of core activities, we believe the phenomenon is more about the core as a whole than about its specific parts.

9. Mindfulness is key to experiencing arousal.

Just as distraction can inhibit sexual arousal, distracting yourself can be an effective buzzkill in the gym as well. One woman who experiences orgasms during many different exercises noticed that she never experienced orgasm during group exercise classes.

10. Experiencing coregasms can improve your sex life.

Many people use their exercise-induced arousal as an appetizer to build desire for sex. For example, one woman said she enjoys using weight machines that exercise the inner and outer thighs and then frequently wants to have sex afterward.

The Orgasm People Are Having At The Gym (And How You Can, Too)

Excerpted from The Coregasm Workout: The Revolutionary Method for Better Sex Through Exercise by Dr. Debby Herbenick. Available from Seal Press, a member of The Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2015.

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