March 19, 2012
Coregasms: The Most Intriguing Reason For Ladies To Workout
If this doesn't make women exercise, nothing will. Don't exercise to lose weight, increase your strength, or change your body shape or fitness level. Despite all of those things being benefits of exercise, forget all of that advice. I'm being sarcastic of course, but none of those recommendations have ever made a proportionally large percentage of women exercise. But this might, so listen up ladies. A first-of-its-kind study has confirmed anecdotal evidence that exercise itself can lead to female orgasm and sexual pleasure, and you don't even have to fantasize.
While the findings are new, reports of this phenomenon, sometimes called "coregasm" because of its association with exercises for core abdominal muscles, have circulated in the media for years, said Debby Herbenick, co-director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion in IU's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. In addition to being a researcher, Herbenick is a widely read advice columnist and book author.
"The most common exercises associated with exercise-induced orgasm were abdominal exercises, climbing poles or ropes, biking/spinning and weight lifting," Herbenick said. "These data are interesting because they suggest that orgasm is not necessarily a sexual event, and they may also teach us more about the bodily processes underlying women's experiences of orgasm."
Sexual education researcher and instructor Maggie Sawicki says the phenomenon has been known for quite some time. "Women have likely known about this for thousands of years or as long as they could freely stimulate erogenous zones," she stated. Sawicki recounts hundreds of stories of young girls experiencing coregasms. "There are so many reported incidents of young teenage girls who felt tingles in their private parts simply by climbing poles, ropes or riding bikes, many until the point of exhaustion so they could stimulate themselves over and over without even knowing what was happening--it just felt good," she added.
It is possible that tight gym clothes are also stimulating the clitoris as you crunch and crunch and crunch, "in the context of masturbation," says Goldstein, who is director of sexual medicine at the Alvarado Hospital in San Diego.
But it may also be that "nerves are firing without her permission," he says. It's known that people can have orgasms in nonsexual settings, he notes. For instance, both men and women can have orgasms while asleep. And Goldstein is treating a woman who has been having spontaneous orgasms ever since injuring her tailbone.
He theorizes that the abdominal movement you're doing may stimulate your diaphragm, which may then stimulate the vagus nerve (which runs through the pelvis), triggering the orgasms.
A rush of feel-good chemicals that you may be enjoying after a good aerobic workout could be playing a role in this, too, he says.
The findings are published in a special issue of Sexual and Relationship Therapy, a leading peer-reviewed journal in the area of sex therapy and sexual health. Co-author is J. Dennis Fortenberry, M.D., professor at the IU School of Medicine and Center for Sexual Health Promotion affiliate.
The results are based on surveys administered online to 124 women who reported experiencing exercise-induced orgasms (EIO) and 246 women who experienced exercise-induced sexual pleasure (EISP). The women ranged in age from 18 to 63. Most were in a relationship or married, and about 69 percent identified themselves as heterosexual.
Here are some key findings:
- About 40 percent of women who had experienced EIO and EISP had done so on more than 10 occasions.
- Most of the women in the EIO group reported feeling some degree of self-consciousness when exercising in public places, with about 20 percent reporting they could not control their experience.
- Most women reporting EIO said they were not fantasizing sexually or thinking about anyone they were attracted to during their experiences.
- Diverse types of physical exercise were associated with EIO and EISP. Of the EIO group, 51.4 percent reported experiencing an orgasm in connection with abdominal exercises within the previous 90 days. Others reported experiencing orgasm in connection to such exercises as weight lifting (26.5 percent), yoga (20 percent), bicycling (15.8), running (13.2 percent) and walking/hiking (9.6 percent).
- In open-ended responses, ab exercises were particularly associated with the "captain's chair," which consists of a rack with padded arm rests and back support that allows the legs to hang free. The goal is to repeatedly lift the knees toward the chest or toward a 90-degree angle with the body.
When Men's Health mentioned it in one of their blogs, women responded:
"Seems on my third set of 15 reps, if I crank out a few more reps and go to 20, well, yeah, I can have an orgasm!" one wrote. "And no one notices, trust me."
Another said it worked on a leg-lowering drill: "I have to be lying down and usually put a small towel or pillow under my lower back. I get the best “coregasm” when I lower my feet close to the floor."
Then there was the woman who was doing crunches in the gym when "bam -- it hit me like a ton of bricks. I just stopped right then and there, got all pale in the face and then busted out laughing. Everyone in the place was looking at me."
Victoria Zdrok, Ph.D., a sex therapist and author of The Anatomy of Pleasure, provided scientific insight.
"A lot of women require a buildup of tension in their legs before they can achieve the release of orgasm," she said. "So, when a woman exercises, the release of endorphins and dopamine, which are necessary for orgasm, combined with the tension in the lower extremities, can cause the clitoral stimulation" that is needed.
Joy Davidson, Ph.D., author of Fearless Sex, offered a fitness angle:
"When that happens, usually it's women who already have very strong pelvic muscles," she said. "And when they’re doing certain exercises that are tapping into the deep core or into the quads and inner thighs, what they wind up doing is almost automatically squeezing pelvic muscles in addition.
Herbenick said that the mechanisms behind exercise-induced orgasm and exercise-induced sexual pleasure remain unclear and, in future research, they hope to learn more about triggers for both. She also said that study findings may help women who experience EIO/EISP feel more normal about their experiences or put them into context.
Herbenick cautioned that it is not yet known whether such exercises can improve women's sexual experiences.
"It may be that exercise -- which is already known to have significant benefits to health and well-being -- has the potential to enhance women's sexual lives as well."
The study did not determine how common it is for women to experience exercise-induced orgasm or exercise-induced sexual pleasure. But the authors note that it took only five weeks to recruit the 370 women who experienced the phenomenon, suggesting it is not rare.
"Magazines and blogs have long highlighted cases of what they sometimes call 'coregasms,'" Herbenick said. "But aside from early reports by Kinsey and colleagues, this is an area of women's sexual health research that has been largely ignored over the past six decades."
Exercise can help maintain the body for active sexual intercourse, keep arteries in the sex organs healthy, preventing impotence, increasing hormonal levels and other benefits to make sex one of the most incredible and satisfying physical experiences.
How To Get A Coregasm
There are several coregasm exercise you can try. We can't guarantee any one will work--but at the very least you'll get nicer abs. A number of swiss ball exercises seem to be very popular in helping women achieve a coregasm. Concentrate on hip rolls, supermans, normal oblique, normal sit-up crunch and chest press. Hanging side crunches and hanging straight leg raises are also excellent stimulators but you may need considerable strength to keep yourself up.
So get out there ladies and enjoy your workouts. I know I will.
Tammy McKenzie is a certified personal trainer and fitness specialist with a speciality in women's fitness.