Boost your bedroom skills by adding these moves to your exercise routine
For those in long-term relationships, when the honeymoon is over, sex often becomes stale or takes a backseat to stress caused by busy family schedules. For many women, sexual enjoyment and orgasm are elusive due to feelings of inadequacy or emotional repression. For the older generation, sex may become physically difficult due to aging joints, aches and pains, and age-related genital changes.
No matter what the reason, sex can be less than fulfilling for many. Instead of seeking sexual solace in cosmetic enhancements and quick-fix consumer products, try improving your fitness. Beginning an exercise program or expanding your fitness routine will not only benefit your overall health but also your sex life.
We found some experts to share the moves they recommend most for ramping things up in the bedroom.
SquatsYou already know this move as a terrific leg and butt toner, but did you know that it can also get the blood flowing to the places that may energize your libido? “Sometimes your heart might be there, but you don’t feel anything in the ‘southern hemisphere,’” explains Debbie Mandel, MA, a stress and fitness expert and the author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman’s 7-Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. “Many women need a little physical help with arousal to get blood flowing to the genitalia.” She suggests squats. With your feet spread shoulder-width apart, “make sure your heels stay on the floor as you ‘sit’ on an imaginary chair,” she explains. “The lower you squat, the more you recruit your glutes and reap the benefits. Push off from your heels and hold your abdominals in tightly [as you return to standing position].” Do them slowly, aiming for 15 to 30 reps.
Happy Baby PoseLimberness goes hand in hand with great sex—after all, who wants to deal with aching legs or a stiff lower back while in the heat of the moment? That’s why Marta Montenegro, MF, MS, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, a fitness expert and the creator of the fitness DVD series Montenegro Method, suggests certain stretches to prepare you for intercourse agility between the sheets. “One of the most common reasons for lower back pain is tight hamstrings and hip flexors,” she says. “Also, after spending eight hours asleep, there is a natural inflammation of the spinal discs due to the increase of the homeostatic pressure.”
The happy baby pose to the rescue! “It will stretch the spine while loosening up the adductor muscles and the hamstrings, which are heavily compromised in traditional sex positions such as the missionary,” she says. Lie on your back with your knees bent toward your chest. Grasp the outside of each foot with your hands, allowing the knees to drop down toward the floor. Align your ankles with your knees so that the shins are perpendicular to the floor. Apply downward pressure with your hands to encourage deeper opening. You can allow the tailbone to curl up off the floor slightly to decompress the lower back. Hold the pose for three to five minutes.
Want a move that will strengthen the muscles you use most during intercourse? Try the pelvic tilt. “Women tend to suffer from lower back pain, and this sometimes affects sexual positions as well as desire,” says Mandel. “Pelvic tilts give you a bonus of core strength and strengthening the lower back.” Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Raise your pelvic region in a straight line like a bridge. Hold your abdominals in while you tighten your glutes and push your inner thighs toward each other. Slowly lower to the floor and repeat, 20 to 25 reps, if possible.
How can you get toned, gorgeous arms and also boost your sex drive? Grab your hand weights and work in 15 to 20 reps of biceps curls! Here’s why: “Medical studies show that testosterone plays a role in sexual drive in both men and women,” explains Mandel. “Giving a woman with low libido testosterone is controversial, and could lead to undesirable side effects,” she says. “However, strength training increases levels naturally and is healthy too. The testosterone levels that are generated create the tipping point for desire.” And don’t worry—weightlifting is not going to give you facial hair or a lower voice. The testosterone that’s released is at healthy, natural levels.
Tandem Stationary Lunges
Past research has indicated that couples who exercise together have better sex. So why not do a few moves with your guy? Mandel suggests the tandem lunge. “A romantic variation of the traditional stationary lunge: Hold your partner’s left hand with your right [as you stand next to each other] and together do five lunges, with the same legs forward so that you don’t bump into each other.” Need a stationary lunge primer? With one leg forward and one leg back, slowly bend the knees as if you’re trying to kneel down and touch one knee to the ground (but don’t let it touch), keeping both knees at 90-degree angles. Aim for two sets of five repetitions on each side—gradually increasing to 10.