Image: if someone looks this happy at the gym, there could be a reason… (Thinkstock)
Exercise can be the worst. It’s tiring, it’s inconvenient, it’s sweaty – and it’s hard to do when you’d much rather prefer to be on the couch, re-watching Girls.
But here’s one thing that could potentially make it better. Much, much better.
It’s called a ‘coregasm’.
Scientists refer to them as exercise-induced-orgasms, and they’re all to do with the type of workouts you’re doing – anything that engages your core and your abs is likely to get you excited. While we don’t advocate completely swapping sex for crunches (after all, sex is fun! More fun than the gym!), incorporating an orgasm or two into your day is never going to ruin it.
Take the woman in the below video, for example – she’s definitely having a good time in her core class. (There are some debates over the validity of this video, but it’s still a good one to illustrate how a coregasm might happen):
The coregasm is a concept that was originally introduced by a sexologist, Alfred Kinsey, in 1953. Post-1953, it largely fell off the radar – until July last year, when the University of Indiana published a study to determine just how many women have experienced one.
Of the 530 women that responded to the study, 40% had experienced a coregasm on more than ten occasions. 45% of these women had experienced the orgasm during abdominal exercises; 26.5% enjoyed them during weight-lifting; 20% put it down to yoga and 15.8% named bicycling as the culprit.
Some even experienced an orgasm while walking or running, which would make jogging around the park a different experience, huh?
Although she hasn't yet encountered anyone who's reached climax through working out, relationship therapist and sexologist Isiah McKimmie says it's possible.
"I practise tantra, so for me orgasm doesn't have to necessarily linked to sex. Definitely, I've heard of women becoming aroused during exercise, and there are a lot of people practising tantra who have orgasms doing all kinds of things," she explains.
There are several aspects of physical exercise that can encourage or create a conducive environment for orgasms.
"When there's blood flow and oxygen, our bodies become more sensitive. We live in a culture where we're up in our heads about things, and we can often forget about the body, but when we're exercising, the body becomes a little more figural - it gets our attention," McKimmie says.
"There are also hormones and endorphins that are released when we exercise that are also released leading up to and during sex. The other thing is, we're also sometimes engaging our pelvic floor muscles in a way that we don't otherwise."
Before you get too excited (no, really), it's important to remember that an uncontrollable orgasm at the gym might not be appropriate, particularly if you're in a class and not working out in a quiet corner by yourself.
However, if you're up for the challenge and can keep it discreet, there are some tricks you can employ to up your chances of getting off.
"A fellow trainer told me about one woman who was training at the gym. Whenever she got onto the leg curl machine (lying face-down and curling the weight into the buttocks to target her hamstrings), she got an orgasm! I am not knowledgeable on this area, but common sense tells me that it was pressing on her pelvis and hit a certain ‘spot’," Erber says.
"My thoughts on this would be that it would have to an individual circumstance, where certain areas - like pressure points - are triggered around that area and result in having an orgasm. I have not personally come across it nor been lucky enough to experience it."
We asked Vix to use her creativity and knowledge of exercise to suggest some workouts that might do the trick. Here were her suggestions:
1. Leg Curl Machine
How to: "As you curl in the weight, try to spot a hot sweaty guy pumping out his reps."
2. Pelvic Thrust (Hip Lifts)
How to: "With a small fit ball or towel between the knees. As you lift your hips off the floor, squeeze the ball or towel and think of Sonny Bill Williams."
How To: "Lie on the ground face-down and raise your chest and lower body while keeping your pelvis on the floor. As you extend the spine (lift off floor), engage your pelvic floor muscles and visualise yourself flying into Brad Pitt's arms."
Isiah McKimmie says you can also use a few techniques before and during your workout to encourage arousal.
"Your kegel [exercises] will really increase your chances. Often when we're having a clitoral orgasm, it's really related to having lots of tension around the pelvic floor. So squeezing really tightly will, I guess, point you in that direction; you're getting the blood flowing down there, and the pumping of the pelvic floor muscles is something we do when we're aroused," she says.
Moving your pelvis can also stimulate arousal and sexual energy. "For women who don't feel in the mood for sex very often, one of the tricks I teach them ... is to do some muscle contractions of the pelvic floor and to rock the pelvis a little bit — you can turn your body on by using those muscles and movement and contractions," McImmie explains. Noted.
If you try all of this to no avail, don't be too disheartened. Your efforts won't have been in vain, because a) your fitness will be improving all the while, and b) working out in general can help you climax in other situations, like sex.
"For anyone who is struggling to reach orgasm, or struggling to feel in the mood, doing exercise is a good way to head in that direction," McImmie says.
Have you ever experienced a coregasm? How did it happen?
Need a little hand with orgasms more generally? These stylish toys might come in handy.