Sex & Relationships

How many calories does sex really burn?

The number of calories burned during sex are more similar to laying on the couch than doing a Spin class.

Sex, couple in bed
Well, it turns out not that many…Sex is often touted as a form of exercise (sexercise!) that gets your heart rate going. In the past there’s even been some suggestion that a spirited romp on the Tempurpedic was akin to a spin class in terms of its caloric burn.

Oh, how foolish lovers can be.

A recent article in the Daily Mail suggests lovemaking is about as strenuous an activity as lying on the sofa and flipping through a magazine.

The article cites a recent research paper by a biostatistician in the U.S. that found that the average sexual encounter lasts about six minutes and burns a little more than 20 or so calories.

The finding was part of a larger review into health and fitness. The University of Alabama’s David Allison and his colleagues wanted to test the validity of many oft-proclaimed ‘facts’ related to health and fitness. One of the facts he and his team sought to prove, or disprove, was that sex burns anywhere from 200 to 300 calories.

Not quite, said the researchers who could only find one study that even bothered an attempt to measure energy output during sex. That study, which was conducted in 1984, revealed that most sex sessions last about six minutes and that in that time participants burn only 20 calories.

How will the news that sex is just sex, and not another form of exercise, be received by the world’s health-conscious lovers? The significance of the finding remains to be seen. Perhaps it may encourage some to increase the time spent in a clinch with their amours in the hopes of ramping up their caloric expenditure, or it may cause others to lie back and enjoy six glorious minutes without thinking of diet, exercise or how to manage calories in with calories out.