Sex. It can ignite our senses, fill us with ripples of pleasure and awaken a new dimension of feeling for our partner. Lovemaking doesn’t require extraordinary skill, nor is it limited to young couples in the throes of passion. Couples of all ages can cultivate sexual bliss for the duration of their lives together.
So what’s the trick? One of the most important and often overlooked components of a rewarding sex life is exercise. Regular exercise can pique sexual desire and make sex more enjoyable.
Good Sex Is a Good Thing
Though definitions vary, “good sex” might be thought of as an act of intimacy that promotes health and well-being. Good sex provides significant physical and physiological benefits. Enjoyed in the context of a happy relationship, “sex boosts chemicals in the body that protect against disease,” says Paul Pearsall, Ph.D., author of the book “Superimmunity.”
Research also suggests that sex and masturbation can help ease joint and muscle pain, combat depression, promote heart health and lengthen life span.
All too often, however, we haven’t the time or energy for sex. According to the Masters and Johnson Institute, at least a third of American couples experience a lack of sexual desire. After a stressful day at work, it’s easy to neglect the ultimate celebration of human pleasure.
There are ways to ensure that lovemaking remains a passionate, intense and regular part of our repertoire no matter what our age or how busy our lifestyle.
Create Energy for Sex — Get Moving
The surest way to whet sexual appetite and increase sexual activity is through physical exercise. Potent medicine, aerobic exercise revs up hormones, flushes stress, whittles away fat and rejuvenates the body, filling us with renewed vigor, greater confidence and the glow of good health. Regular exercise also increases blood flow to the genitals, priming men and women for sex.
“Beginning a fitness routine has made a difference in our sex life,” remarks 42-year-old Mary Jane Platt, a mother of three. “Since we began biking together, we have so much more energy for each other. It’s wonderful.”
Mary Jane’s experience isn’t unusual. A University of California study of middle-aged, sedentary men found that after just one hour of exercise three times a week, the men demonstrated improved sexual function, more frequent sex and orgasms and greater satisfaction.
Similarly, researchers at Bentley College in Massachusetts found that women in their 40s engaged in sex more often (about seven times per month), and enjoyed it more than a sedentary group of peers. Since sex can be an act of endurance, improving cardiovascular fitness with aerobic activity such as walking, running, cycling or swimming for at least 30 minutes, three times per week, will help both partners perform longer and more often.
Push-ups and sit-ups or crunches are also beneficial exercises to add to an aerobic routine. They strengthen the shoulders, chest and abdominals, all of which are utilized during sexual intercourse. Keeping these muscles strong helps increase strength and stamina, adding to prolonged, more pleasurable sex.
“Warm Ups” for Sex — Practice the Squeeze
Unlike the muscles in our arms or legs, sex muscles are rarely active during the course of the day. However, by strengthening these “secret” muscles, couples can enjoy more intense sex. Kegel exercises firm the muscles of the vagina, helping women gain muscle control (to grip the penis) and reach orgasm more easily.
Men can use this exercise to delay ejaculation by contracting the pubococcygeal (PC) muscles just before orgasm, then fully relaxing them. Named after Los Angeles physician Arnold Kegel, these exercises strengthen the PC muscles in the pelvis. Though sometimes confused with the abdominal muscles, PCs are the muscles used to stop the flow of urine midstream (not the muscles used to hold in your stomach or tighten your buttocks).
Here’s how Kegels work: Contract your PC muscles by clenching, as though stopping urine, and hold for at least two to three seconds per squeeze. Inhale as you squeeze each time and try to fully relax your muscles between each contraction. So you don’t get sore, start with just 10 or 20 squeezes. Kegels can be practiced nearly anytime and in any place.
Try them in the morning with each bite of breakfast, while chatting with a co-worker, while watching television or flipping the pages of a magazine until you can do at least 100 to 200 each day. “The squeeze” is fun and easy, and can stimulate erotic feelings. Daily workouts for about one month should yield results.
The following pelvic stretches will help keep the muscles used during sex limber and flexible and help facilitate orgasm. Each stretch can be done in the bedroom on a firm mattress or on the floor. Wear either loose clothing or nothing at all, and consider playing your favorite music. As these exercises can arouse strong sexual desire, you may wish to try these with your partner.
Lie on your back with knees bent and slightly apart. Feet should be flat on the floor and arms at your side. Inhale, clenching your abdominals and buttocks and lifting the pelvis until your back is straight. Take care not to arch your back. Breathe as you hold the position for at least 10 seconds. Exhale as you lower your body and repeat the exercise.
After you complete your lifts, try a few pelvic bounces, an exercise that can “evoke powerful sexual feelings,” according to sex therapists David and Ellen Ramsdale.
As with the pelvic lift, knees are bent and slightly apart. Your palms should face up. Inhale and lift your pelvis just slightly off the ground. Then, exhale and let it down so your lower back bounces gently against the floor. Experiment with variations. Your goal is to feel a sense of openness and release.
Lie on your back with knees bent. Feet should be together and flat on the bed. Next, pull your feet in until they touch your buttocks. Turn your ankles so the soles of your feet are facing each other and touching. Your knees will point out to the sides of the bed.
Lower your knees toward the bed taking care not to force them down. You or your partner may gently press downward on your inner thighs. When your knees are as far apart as is comfortable, hold for 60 seconds. Gently bring the knees back together with your hands and relax.
This exercise can also be done sitting up, back-to-back with your partner. Sit up as straight as possible with your spines pressed gently together. Relax your shoulders and keep your head in line with your spine. Bring your feet in as close to your body as possible, and turn them so your soles touch and knees point out. Clasp your feet. Breathe deeply and watch as your knees begin to lower, taking care not to force the knees down.
The butterfly is also beneficial for menstrual irregularities urinary problems and is thought to help ease the pain of childbirth.
There are many other exercises and stretches that can enhance not only our sex lives but our mental and physical health. Yoga and dance classes offer great workouts and help stretch the pelvic region. Swimming and other sports that involve kicking motion, are also beneficial.
Regular exercise of almost any kind helps elevate energy, stamina, passion, pleasure…all aspects of our sex lives. So exercise and enjoy! The benefits are many.
Source: Discovery Health