Picture this: You’re halfway through a particularly challenging SoulCycle class when an oh-so pleasurable feeling suddenly creeps up on you. No, not the endorphin-boosting runner’s high typically associated with a hard workout, but rather a certain, ahem, stimulating sensation that often occurs between the sheets.
Yes, we’re talking about a “coregasm”—a clever neologism for an exercise-induced orgasm.
According to experts, it’s not just a myth that you hear about from a friend of a friend. It can happen during some common workouts, many of which may 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, M.D., a women’s health expert and author of “Sheology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health. Period.” Given the many other benefits of a good sweat session, “Coregasms could be considered the perfect healthy way of multitasking,” she says.
Intrigued? We tapped experts to explain the phenomenon. And, because we wouldn’t want to leave you frustrated, we share several specific exercises that just might make you feel like Rihanna writing a sexy new song.
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. Studies in human sexuality tend to focus on orgasms that occur in an explicitly sexual context, which means information about coregasm is limited. 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-on, toe-curling climax? Not typically, says Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., a professor at Indiana University School of Public Health and author of “The Coregasm Workout.” Most of the women in her studies describe an experience similar to climax from vaginal intercourse, “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 2012 study co-authored by Dr. Herbenick, 370 women reported cases of exercise-induced orgasm or sexual pleasure. Overall, the women reported feeling pretty happy about the experience almost every time it occurred—more than 11 times for some women (secrets, please!).
How to Prevent Coregasm
While exercising your libido while you crunch your abs sounds amazing at first blush, not everyone will always be ready to “go there” during their workouts. Interestingly, according to the results of that 2012 study, women who experienced some sexual pleasure while exercising tended to be less embarrassed about the experience than those who reached full on orgasm. If you’re in an exercise class, it’s unlikely anyone else would notice—you’re already flushed and panting from exertion!
But if the idea of a coregasm causes discomfort for any reason—maybe you’re worried you’ll sound like Meg Ryan in a New York deli?—it’s absolutely OK to take steps to lessen the likelihood. Of course, since humans haven’t yet amassed much data on the phenomenon, experts can’t offer fool-proof advice on how to avoid (or attain) a coregasm. If you feel one building and would rather avoid it, ease up on that particular type of exercise—stop doing that set, or come out of that pose.
Tips and Tricks to Achieve Coregasm
Unfortunately, just like some women have trouble reaching orgasm during sex, certain exercises don’t automatically guarantee a coregasm. In fact, you’re probably already doing some of the most common pleasure-inducers.
Still, it’s worth a shot. Potentially anyone could experience a coregasm (yes, men 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. 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–but 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
While it’s harder to intuit the connection here, Dr. Ross says these cardio activities are pretty commonly associated with coregasms. Happy trails!