It’s cold outside, and what better way to stay warm than with a heart-pumping rollaround. But how many calories does your typical sexual encounter burn? Well, according to boring science, not as many as you would probably have hoped.
A study published in 2013 found that sex burned just over 100 calories for men and just 69 calories for women. Not a huge amount when you consider your favourite granola snack is at least 130 calories, making switching out your cardio for sex a non-starter.
But let’s take a closer look at the numbers, shall we?
The team from the University of Montreal compared the calorie expenditure of twenty-one heterosexual couples aged in their early 20s (22.6 ± 2.8 years old to be precise).
The limitations of this study could be that the participants are all fairly young, therefore their sex could be more vigorous and active than those in their 30s, 40s, 50s.
The results could also be skewered in the other direction as these sessions may not have lasted as long as you would expect. In the case of this study, sex sessions lasted roughly 25 minutes INCLUDING foreplay which, according to the authors, is far longer than average. (One study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the average sexual experience lasts just six minutes, this time NOT including foreplay).
Perhaps this is normal in a 23-year-old straight guy. I mean, I remember sex in my 20s and … we were not good at it. Perhaps more experienced and wise men have more staying power, try different positions, and draw sex out like the daddies they are. Thus burning more calories.
Put your heart into it
A key factor in measuring calorie burn is how much your heart rate increases. If you’re sweating and breathing hard then you’ve probably burned more calories. It, therefore, stands to reason that your sexual position would impact how many calories you burn. A creepy old study from 1984 found that being on top requires more energy than being on the bottom, even with straight people.
Kinky or forbidden sex could also burn more calories, as the excitement of a taboo bonk would likely increase your heart rate as well. One study in the European Heart Journal found that 75% of sudden deaths from a heart attack occur during sex involving an extramarital partner.
Sex as your cardio
While the 2013 study proved unequivocally that sex is not as an efficient form of exercise as running is, it is still a form of exercise. If you’re doing it right.
The study from the University of Montreal revealed that men burn an average of 276 calories during 30 minutes of light running, which is significantly more than 101 calories during their 25 minutes of sex.
But while the average calorie burn of 3.6 calories per minute is much less for sex than running, which are you more likely to want to do more of?
How much fun is a half hour run compared to an afternoon quickie? Would you be more inclined to take a jog every day or have sex every day? And if you make some effort to prolong and spice up your lovemaking, you could be burning even more calories!
So which would you rather do to get in shape?
Sex is my cardio