Working the coregasm

New science sheds light on the unexpected pleasure that some women feel during exercise

“At the end of yoga,” my friend whispers, inching closer, “something sort of … strange happens.” A quick glance around confirms that the good patrons of Starbucks are less interested in her confession than they are in the nearby screaming banshee baby.

“I usually sit with my feet together and my knees splayed,” she continues tentatively, “for one final stretch before I take shavasana.” I nod her on. So far, I follow. “Leaning over to bring my head down to my feet, as my breath regulates I feel a sort of … tingling and pulsating down (ahem) there. And … the feeling isn’t entirely unwelcome.” She exhales, as if a great weight has lifted. “But I mean, that’s pretty weird, right?”

Turns out it’s actually not. Exercise-induced female sexual pleasure has been the subject of casual discussion and un-researched speculation for years. Even sexologist Alfred Kinsey mentions the phenomenon in his “Sexual Behaviors in the Human Female” (1953). But until now, the experience was mostly anecdotal. Now, a study by Indiana University researchers offers scientific evidence that confirms confessions once incredulously traded in gym class locker rooms.

According to Dr. Debby Herbenick, co-director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at IU and sexual health educator at the Kinsey Institute, the oft-deemed “coregasm” (because of its association with crunches) can actually be linked to various exercises, including abdominal workouts, biking, weight-lifting and climbing.

With co-author J. Dennis Fortenberry, M.D. and professor at the IU School of Medicine, Herbenick surveyed 370 women, ages 18 to 63, all of whom had experienced some sort of exercise-induced sexual experience prior to the study. Most of the women were in a relationship or married, and about 69 percent identified themselves as heterosexual. One hundred twenty-four of them had experienced exercise-induced orgasms (EIO) and 246 had experienced exercise-induced sexual pleasure (EISP). Forty percent of the women reported that they experienced sexual pleasure from exercise 10 times or more.

Read the rest here.