The last thing you might be thinking about after killing it in kickboxing class is hurrying home for some bedroom time with your partner. But having sex after a workout has some pretty amazing benefits. Chief among them: You’re probably already feeling positive, empowered, and on top of the world.
“You’re feeling strong in your body, and you’re accomplished for having done the work at the gym,” says Jane Greer, PhD, New York–based marriage and sex therapist and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship. Still, there’s a lot more to it then being in a kick-ass mood. From having lower levels of anxiety to the way your body is more orgasm-ready, here’s why some of the best sex is post-workout sex.
You’ll be more aroused
“Studies show that exercise significantly enhances physiological sexual arousal,” says Aline Zoldbrod, PhD, Boston-based sex therapist at SexSmart.com. Why’s that? Working out boosts circulation, and the increased blood flow to your vagina and clitoris can translate into more lubrication.
Zoldbrod points to data from the Sexual Psychophysiology Laboratory at The University of Texas at Austin. Researchers there found that 20 minutes of intense exercise “prepared the woman’s body for sexual arousal so that when she was in a sexual context…her body responded more intensely.” Makes you want to go to the gym, right?
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You’ll feel more fierce
Body image is a driving factor in how women feel about sex, says Zoldbrod. “If you go to the gym and feel more desirable and happier with your body, it can have a direct effect on how good you feel about being sexual,” she says. In fact, a 2016 study in the journal Sexual Medicine showed that women who said they were dissatisfied with their body felt less desire and arousal during sex. The key is to find workouts that make you feel your best, so you snag the biggest self-esteem boost.
Your orgasms may be better
From yoga to lifting weights, just about every physical activity that counts as exercise helps clear away tension and give you an endorphin rush. Both of those lead to a relaxed, happier mood—and mood plays a big role when it comes to having more and better orgasms.
Leave time in your workout regimen for exercises that build strong core muscles and pelvic floor muscles. These may “enhance your vaginal tone and ability to have a good, strong orgasm,” says Lauren Streicher, MD, author of Sex Rx. That said, you’re not going to get an immediate benefit after one session; it’s more of a long-term solution. Still, it’s a reason to stick with the program, right?
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You’ll leave your worries behind
Anxious, ruminating thoughts can interrupt great sex, and it happens to just about everyone—you’re dwelling on problems or thinking about your to-do list and just can’t keep your brain focused on the action between the sheets. But thanks to those tension-busting effects of a workout, your head space will be clear, and you’ll be ready to focus on what your partner is doing and the pleasure your body is capable of, says Zoldbrod.
You’ll feel closer to your partner
Couple activities don’t have to be restaurant outings and trips to museums; exercising together can be a way to have fun while also serving as foreplay for sex, says Greer. Couples who participate in “exciting” activities together report more relationship satisfaction and less boredom, research shows. “When you share an experience with your partner, it’s always a plus, and you might find yourself even more excited to make love after exercise,” she says. Spending time in the gym together and then in the bedroom will help reinforce your bond.
It can undo the sex-sapping side effects of meds
For many women, taking antidepressants is necessary for keeping their mood stable. One downside of these medications, however, is a lower libido. The good news: Exercising before sex three times a week was found to bolster desire in women who were on antidepressants, reports a small study from the University of Texas at Austin and Indiana University. Hitting the gym is one way to alleviate the fear that taking these meds will wreck your sex life.