Most women who visit the gym experience a rather unusual side-effect, according to a study about sexual pleasure.
Women reported experiencing orgasms when lifting weights or during a spinning session, even if sex was the last thing on their minds.
And the most effective workout? An exercise that works the abdominal muscles using a piece of gym equipment called the ‘captain's chair.’
To perform the exercise you stand with your forearms resting on the padded armrests of the chair, which are positioned at right angles to the body.
You then squeeze your abdominal muscles which support the trunk of the body to help you lift your knees to your chest before lowering the feet to the floor again.
Exercises most associated with female orgasms (percentage)
Abdominal exercises: 51.4%
Weight lifting: 26.5%
The result was revealed in a study from Indiana University. They surveyed hundreds of women aged from 18 to 63 who said they had experienced exercise-induced orgasm or sexual pleasure.
Nearly half of the women had experienced the symptoms on more than 10 occasions. Abdominal exercises came at the top of the list, accounting for just over half of exercise-induced orgasms.
Other popular abdominal exercises include the bicycle exercise where you lie on the floor and pedal the feet in the air and crunches (half situps) performed sitting on an exercise ball.
Research leader Debby Herbenick, said, “The most common exercises associated with exercise-induced orgasm were abdominal exercises, climbing poles or ropes, biking/spinning and weight lifting.”
Interestingly, most women were not fantasizing at the time or thinking about someone they were attracted to. The key, it appears, is when you activate your ‘core’ muscles.
That's why workouts requiring a stable frame - such as weight lifting and yoga - scored to highly.
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.”
Although ‘coregasms’ - exercise-induced orgasms, were first reported in 1953, there has been little scientific research into the subject.
The latest study suggested they are a burden rather than a boon. A fifth of women who experienced them said they had no control over the experience and most of them felt self-conscious as a result.
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 the study findings may help women who experience the symptoms 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.
However, the authors noted that it took only five weeks to recruit the 370 women who experienced the phenomenon, suggesting it is not rare.
– Daily Mail, London