Published on October 28th, 20131
How many calories we burn during sex? A new study finally provides a conclusive answer
Sex can be considered a “sport”? A new study provides an encouraging response.
A study recently published in the scientific journal PLoS ONE shows that among young people, sex burns 4.2 calories per minute on average for men and 3.1 calories per minute for women. Intensity is moderate, according to researchers in other words, sex is a physical activity better than walking but not as good as jogging.
“These results suggest that sexual activity has the potential to be considered at times as exercise“.
Scholars debate for a long time if sex can be considered a “sport” or not. As a myth the public estimates that sex burns 100 to 300 calories, but no one measured directly the calories burned.
Some couples want to clarify this mystery and they had sex in the name of science. Famous researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson have seen couples having sex and noted that heart rate increased to 180 beats per minute. For comparison, among a people of 50 years, a pulse between 85 and 119 beats per minute is classified as “moderate-intensity exercise”.
In 1984, a bold study of 10 couples appealed to monitoring blood pressure, electrocardiography and oxygen analysis apparatus to determine that self- stimulation in men grew pulse by 37 % and increased even further while having sex in the missionary position with 51%.
A major problem of these studies, however, was that participants had to perform sexual activities while being connected to various tubes and wires, so it was difficult to replicate a normal sex session. Fortunately, new technologies available provides methods of measuring the effects of sexual activity.
Researchers at the University of Montreal used a bracelet named SenseWear (which can be worn on the arm ) to measure energy consumption while couples having sex in their own home. The researchers recruited 21 heterosexual couples aged between 18 and 35 years. Scientists have chosen to focus only on this age group because energy during sex varies greatly by age .
Firstly, each study participant spent 30 minutes on a treadmill and performed a moderate intensity exercise to give researchers an idea of how many calories you burn during exercise . Then, participants were given one SenseWear bracelet, they are sent home with instruction to have sex over four times a month while wearing the bracelet.
SenseWear bracelets uses accelerometers, temperature sensors and GSR sensors (galvanic skin response) to provide an accurate measurement of calories consumed. Galvanic skin response refers to increased electrical conductivity which occurs when a person sweats.
On average, sex sessions recorded on the SenseWear bracelets measured 24.7 minutes, the shortest lasted 10 minutes and the longest 57 minutes . Men consume more calories during sex than women, and this continues to be true even after the researchers took into account the fact that they had a higher body mass. On average, sex burns 101 calories for men, or 4.2 calories per minute. On the treadmill , men burned 276 calories, 9.2 calories per minute.
Women consume an average of 69 calories in a sex session with an average of 3.1 calories per minute. And for women, the treadmill was a better way to burn calories on average consume 213 calories , or 7.1 calories per minute.
However, the the researchers point out that the study participants classified sex as enjoyable, so it is likely for people to have sex than to go to the gym.