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Sexercise: Get Panting

A 2017 study of 2,200 souls across 21 countries found Norway to be the ‘naughtiest’ of nations with more than a third of its respondents (35%) reportedly having at least one orgasm a day (a separate UN-backed 2017 study also concluded Norway to be the happiest nation on Earth — coincidence?). Some of its Scandinavian neighbours fared almost as well, with 41% of Swedes claiming to climax at least 2-3 times per week — and Sweden, incidentally, placed ninth on the happiness scale.


In perhaps the most unsurprising survey result of all time, another study, of nearly half-a-million people around the world, found Parisians to have the most sex, while closer to home, according to a 2017 poll of 1,500 Kiwis by Adult Toy Mega Store, Hamilton is the horniest hub in Aotearoa with three-plus sex sessions on average, per week.


The above participants are likely glowing inside as well as out, as reams of research has revealed plenty of nooky strengthens not just our relationships, but our lungs, hearts, minds and muscles too.  A University of Quebec study of heterosexual couples whose average age was 22 found that women burned an average of 69 calories during a 25-minute sex session, climbing even higher the more ambitious the position and with the occurrence of orgasm. Even gentle lovemaking can offer a full body workout, at times using just about more muscles that any other exercise. “In the bedroom, every muscle matters,” physiotherapist and anatomy expert Mike Aunger tells The Telegraph. “All your skeletal muscles are essential for movement, no matter how vigorous; all your autonomous smooth muscles play a ceaseless role in digestion, respiration, circulation and bodily function…” And, most pertinently, our cardiac muscles are essential for “pumping blood into all the right places”.


For men, frequent ejaculation has been linked to reduced risk of prostate cancer with those in their 40s who climaxed at least 21 times per month being 22% less likely to develop the disease than their counterparts who ejaculated just 4-7 times (though, admittedly this can be achieved without a sexual partner!) A 17-year study of 1,000 men aged 40-70 concluded having sex at least twice a week reduced their risk of developing heart disease by nearly a half compared to those who indulged once a month or less.


Other studies have shown sex to reduce ageing by lengthening the telomeres (the protective caps at the end of our chromosomes that wear with age), as well as causing cells to increase antibody production to ward off illness. British research discovered that sexually active men aged 50-89 had better all-round cognitive function, while women benefitted especially in terms of cognitive recall.

Making love just once a week can fight depression, and leads to increased happiness as well as enhancing couples’ intimacy (not just during the moments of pillow talk, but outside the bedroom too). Interestingly, most only benefit emotionally and mentally when the sex is with a long-term partner, with thousands of students reporting levels of anxiety and low self-esteem to increase as their number of sexual partners does, and perhaps more interesting still that the men were no more immune to negative feelings following casual sex than the women.


Fittingly, the relationship between sex and exercise is also a two-way street, with those with active lifestyles also likely to enjoy greater stamina between the sheets. Men who regularly cycle, swim, run or hit the gym are less likely to suffer erectile problems, and women who get a sweat on outside the bedroom experience greater sexual desire when in it (note, however, that overtraining will likely have a detrimental effect on your libido), in part due to our bodies getting flushed with hormones.


So as sex can count as part of our exercise routine, it’s a win-win situation.


“Sexual satisfaction is a major contributor to quality of life,” Royal Edinburgh Hospital’s former head of old age psychology, Dr David Weeks, says in a speech to the British Psychological Society. His research has shown that men and women with active sex lives look on average six years younger than their actual age, and concludes that sex ranks “at least as high as spiritual or religious commitment”.


Words: Jamie Christian Desplaces