Everybody knows that exercise makes you feel good, but for some women, it may make them feel too good.

Indiana University researchers, Debby Herbenick, and J. Dennis Fortenberry, MD, published research in the journal Sexual and Relationship Therapy that a surprising number of women experience sexual pleasure while exercising and some even orgasm. This is especially likely while performing core/abdominal exercises.

According to Herbenick,

"The most common exercises associated with exercise-induced orgasm were abdominal exercises, climbing poles or ropes, biking/spinning, and weight lifting. This data is 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."

Herbenick and Fortenberry conducted their research via online surveys with 124 females between the ages of 18 and 63. Most were heterosexual and in relationships and none of them reported having sexual thoughts or thoughts about attractive partners at the time they experienced Exercise Induced Orgasms (EIO). Forty percent of these women had experienced EIOs at least 10 times. More than half associated it with abdominal exercises and more than a quarter had EIOs during weight lifting. Hiking, running, and yoga were also reported to generate orgasms in some women.

The exercise most likely to produce an orgasm? Captain's Chair—an apparatus and exercise where the forearms and elbows rest on padded arm boards. The back is supported and the legs hang free. During the exercise, the legs are pulled up to the abdomen and released for several repetitions.

While this research couldn't pinpoint why exercise leads to orgasm, it does suggest that this response is normal for many women. It could be due to the fact that exercise increases circulation to women's reproductive anatomy. It could be that tightening the muscles of the abdomen, buttocks, and legs during strength training exercises leads to stimulation of the genital region.

But what about having an orgasm in public? Some members of the research group reported avoiding exercise because they couldn't control their response. Others reported feeling self-conscious and others stopped themselves from reaching orgasm. We can only presume that some women just enjoyed themselves and hoped no one noticed.

This might be an argument for setting up your own home-gym or it might provide another way to keep your mind busy while you pump iron at your local fitness center.

Heather Weldon, MD, reviewed this article.




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Some Women Orgasm During Exercise