Sex can burn around 5 calories a minute — here's how to make it a worthwhile workout

Sex can burn around 5 calories a minute — here's how to make it a worthwhile workout
Getting on top is a simple way to make sex more of a workout.Marianne Ayala/Insider
  • Sex burns an estimated five calories per minute, making it a mild to moderate form of exercise.
  • If you want to challenge your physical abilities, get on top or try a sex position like wheelbarrow.

If you're looking for ways to be more active in your day-to-day life but dread the idea of going to the gym, having more sex could be your ideal solution.

Of course, sex won't burn as many calories as a pointed gym session, run, or hike, according to Cleveland Clinic heart expert Dr. Steve Nissen. But having sex does burn an estimated five calories per minute, according to Harvard Health. That's the equivalent of walking a mile in 20 minutes, said Nissen.

Still, if you're looking to challenge your strength and stamina during sex, there are a few tweaks you can make for a more marathon-like bedroom experience, Emily Morse, a sexologist and host of the podcast Sex with Emily, told Insider.

She said that the focus of partnered sex should be connection and mutual pleasure, and exploring new techniques or positions could be a way to do just that.

Choose a sex position where you're on top

Typically, the partner who is on top during sex has more control over their hip movements, making them the one who exerts more energy with thrusting or grinding, Morse said.


They'll also have to use their muscle strength more than the bottom partner.

"The person on top is definitely the one who's going have more of an arm workout and more of a core workout," Morse said.

For example, a woman in the cowgirl sex position might lean forward with her hands on either side of her partner, firing up her biceps and triceps. If she leans backwards, she'll use her core muscles to stay stabilized, said Morse.

The lotus sex position, where the bottom partner sits cross-legged and the top partner sits on top facing them with their legs wrapped around them, could provide an inner-thigh burn, according to Morse.

When a man is on top in a position like missionary, his arms and core get a workout, she said.


Put some extra effort into your moves with an advanced sex position

Some sex positions like spooning are all about comfort, but there are also plenty of positions that can push partners outside of their comfort zones, according to Morse.

She said that standing sex positions, like wheelbarrow, would surely get hearts pumping. To do it, one partner stands and holds the other partner's feet and penetrates them while they're in a plank position and have their legs wrapped around the standing partner's waist.

Other standing positions include raised doggy style, one partner lying at the edge of the bed, and one partner standing while the other bends forward towards their toes.

Delay your orgasms to make the fun last longer

To test your endurance during sex, draw out the experience, Morse said.

One way to do this is to delay orgasms through edging, or slowing down, stopping, or changing sexual stimuli to prevent an orgasm that's about to happen.


"Think of it like driving around a house before pulling into the driveway. You can keep circling the house, you can pull a little bit into the driveway, then pull out, circle the house some more, and whenever you're ready, you can pull the car fully in. Or you can decide you just want to entirely drive off and not pull in at all," sex therapist Aida Manduley told Insider.

You or your partner could edge by slowing down, easing up on intensity or pressure, switching areas of stimulation, or stopping completely before starting again, according to Manduley.

Morse said there are also ejaculation delay sprays, which desensitize the penis, and cock rings, which some men have reported delaying premature ejaculation.