How Exercise Can Improve Your Sex Drive

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Man smiling at woman lifting weights
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Should you work out this morning or stay in bed for sexy time with your loved one? It turns out you should do both! Studies show regular exercise can boost your libido and put your sex drive in high gear. Getting your blood pumping with cardio or weigh training has benefits for everyone. But there are some differences in the effects for men and women. Let’s see how fitness works in and out of the bedroom.

For the Men

Research reports that weight loss increases testosterone and sex drive in middle-aged men. Exercising 2.5 hours a week can boost your testosterone by 15% and decrease instances of hypogonadism by 46%. Why worry about hypogonadism? Because testosterone levels are linked to this condition that can lead to low sex drive and erectile dysfunction.

Routine cardio exercise can improve your stamina, but don’t just count on cardio workouts to do the job. Weight lifting increases testosterone and tones the muscles you need for sexual activity: arms, abs and legs. Yoga is also a good exercise option because it strengthens your cardiovascular system while making you more flexible, which can make sex more adventurous and fun.

The other good news is losing abdominal fat can boost blood flow to the penis and result in better erections and more satisfaction for you and your partner. A toned body can also make you feel better about your appearance and more sexually confident. So get out there and get buff, so you’ll feel great when you’re in the buff.

For the Women

A study on exercise-induced sexual arousal showed that women get a different kind of sexual benefit from exercise. A vigorous workout affects hormones, neurotransmitters and autonomic nervous system activity. It also raises and sustains levels of an enzyme in women that increases genital blood flow and arousal. Just 20 minutes of exercise could boost sexual arousal by 169%. For women this arousal effect is short-lived, so it’s smart to plan some time under the covers right after your workout session.

For Everyone

The best news is both sexes will see benefits from using exercise to improve sex drive. Even though our body parts operate differently, keeping fit works well for all of us, because exercise:

  • Reduces stress: Short-term and chronic stress can put a damper on your sex life. Exercise naturally increases feel-good hormones to help battle stress and reduce depression, so you can relax and enjoy your intimate moments more.

  • Helps control insulin levels: High levels of insulin can cause problems with your sex hormones: testosterone, leptin, growth hormone, and cortisol. Exercise keeps your insulin levels in check, your hormones in balance, and your sex drive in action.

  • Reduces blood pressure, cholesterol and risk of heart disease: Your sex organs need good blood flow to work properly, so a regular fitness routine can help men manage erectile dysfunction and help women get aroused more quickly.

  • Improves cognitive function: Exercise helps your brain work better and sharpens your mind. This helps you focus more when you’re sexually engaged and enhances creativity. 

  • Boost stamina: No matter what type of exercise you enjoy, it will improve your cardiovascular health and increase endurance so you can enjoy your enhanced sex drive for longer stretches of time.

The One Exercise With the Biggest Benefit

Are you sold on exercising more, but not sure where to start? An easy option that can get you fit for a better sex drive is Kegel exercises. Kegels help strengthen your pelvic muscles and work for both men and women. This can lead to improved erections for men and better orgasms for women. So everyone wins. Here’s how to do Kegels:

  1. Find your pelvic muscle. This is the muscle that stops urine flow mid-stream. For men, you may see a contraction at the base of the penis. Women will feel a lifting of the vagina. Practice tightening the muscle a few times until you get the hang of it.

  2. Contract your pelvic muscle for 5 seconds and release it for 5 seconds. Repeat this contract and release exercise 10-15 times in a row. As you get better at it, see if you can hold your contractions longer.

  3. Get in a regular routine. Do one set of 10 to 15 Kegels at least three times a day for best results. You can do these while sitting at your desk or in your car. It’s a quick exercise that will really rev up your sex drive and performance. 

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Sep 7
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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  2. Low sex drive in women. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/low-sex-drive-in-women/basics/lifestyle-home-remedies/...

  3. Men Over 50: 7 Ways to Improve Your Sex Life. Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2013/08/men-over-50-7-ways-to-improve-your-sex-life/

  4. Women Over 50: 7 Ways to Improve Your Sex Life. Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2013/07/women-over-50-7-ways-to-improve-your-sex-life/

  5. 5 ways exercise improves your quality of life. Harvard Health Publications. http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/exercise-advice-for-people-with-heart-problems