By Emma Stessman
Picture this: you’re halfway through a particularly challenging SoulCycle class when suddenly a familiar oh-so pleasurable feeling starts to creep up on you. Not so much the runner’s high that you typically associate with the endorphin-boost from a hard workout, but rather a certain, ahem, stimulating sensation that you generally experience between the sheets.
Yes, we’re talking about a “coregasm,” or an exercise-induced orgasm.
And according to experts, it’s not just a myth that you hear about from a friend of a friend. It can happen during some super common workouts, many of which will surprise you.
The best part? Benefits of orgasms range from relieving stress and reducing anxiety to blocking pain and boosting confidence, explains Sherry A. Ross, MD a women’s health expert and author of Sheology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health. Couple that with the countless benefits of a good sweat session and “Coregasms could be considered the perfect healthy way of multitasking,” she says.
Intrigued? We tapped experts to explain the phenomenon and share the specific exercises that just might make your next workout, well, orgasmic.
What Is A Coregasm?
While the term “coregasm” is a popular way to describe bouts of exercise-induced arousal, it may not be entirely accurate.
Since research tends to favor orgasms that occur in an explicitly sexual context, the information about exercise-induced orgasms is pretty limited and researchers have yet to reach a consensus on exactly how they happen and how your core muscles (and super hot instructor?) fit into the equation.
That being said, Dr. Ross notes that the connection between the abdominal wall and pelvic floor muscles is undeniable. “Whether you are aware of it or not, contracting and tightening your abdominal muscles also involves contracting and tightening the pelvic floor muscles,” she says. “And it’s well known that contracting your pelvic floor muscles—as you would doing Kegel exercises—helps women achieve an orgasm.” It’s possible, Dr. Ross says, that the contraction of the pelvic floor muscles, combined with the mental high from endorphins released during exercise, work together to create an orgasm.
But does a coregasm really feel like a full toe-curling climax?
According to Debby Herbenick, PhD, a professor at Indiana University School of Public Health and author of The Coregasm Workout, most of the women in her studies describe their coregasms as feeling similar to orgasms from vaginal intercourse, “and not really like orgasms from direct clitoral stimulation,” she says.
It’s also possible to experience a workout that makes you feel really good without reaching complete orgasm. In a popular 2012 study, co-authored by Dr. Herbenick, 370 women self reported cases of exercise-induced orgasm or sexual pleasure. The women who experienced exercise-induced sexual pleasure tended to be less embarrassed about the experience than those who had reached orgasm. (Hey, at least no one can see you blushing when you’re red from exertion!)
Overall, the women reported feeling pretty happy about the experience—whether it was orgasm or less intense sexual pleasure—almost every time it occurred (duh), which was more than 11 times for some women (secrets, please!).
Can You Try to Make a Coregasm Happen?
Unfortunately, just like some women have trouble reaching orgasm during sex, doing certain exercises won’t automatically guarantee you an orgasm. In fact, you’re probably already doing some of the most common coregasm-inducers.
But, it’s worth a shot. Potentially anyone could experience a coregasm (yes, men can have them too), Dr. Herbenick says. Plus, for women who don’t typically reach orgasm from sex or masturbation, this might be a good avenue to try for getting your O-moment. Try experimenting with a few variations of these exercises, paying close attention to engaging your abs. And hey, even if you don’t get aroused––you still managed to get a great workout in.
Exercises to Try
Ab exercises are the most common inducers of coregasms (not surprising, considering the name). Experiment with variations of crunches, sit-ups, and the captain’s chair.
Yoga is pretty well-known for inciting orgasms or pleasure, so the experience even has its own unofficial name: “yogasm.” If you experience this one, it’s safe to say, your sacral chakra is well-balanced.
Trainers are always telling you to keep your abs engaged while lifting. Well, here’s a good reason to start listening.
Biking or Spinning
Cycling is a pretty commonly cited example for both coregasm and exercise-induced sexual pleasure––and it’s not for the reason you might expect. “Many of the cycling-related [coregasms] don’t seem to be related to genital friction, but instead, to core engagement,” Dr. Herbenick says. “People are usually able to describe where they feel the arousal and sensations.”
Running, Hiking, Walking
Not totally sure about the connection here, but Dr. Ross says these cardio activities are pretty commonly associated with coregasms. Happy trails!