How Many Calories Does Having Sex Really Burn?

Science: answering the important questions in life. Kletr/Shutterstock

No matter what you are doing, you are always exercising and burning off calories. Did you know you that 10 minutes of laughing burns off about 50 calories? Even brushing your teeth for two minutes burns 5.7 calories.

Sex, the most enjoyable type of exercise, also burns off a handful of calories, but it’s difficult to say what a good average is. Some say it’s about 69 calories, whereas others claim sexercise can burn over 200.

Buried in a study about obesity in the New England Journal of Medicine is a small reference to this, which notes that a man in his mid-to-early 30s engaging in the average length of sexual activity – that’s six minutes – would burn off just 21 measly calories. This is based on a rough estimate of a person’s rate of energy conversion (metabolism) during sex – an educated guess, really.

Clearly, it’s complicated. It depends on a huge range of factors, including – but not limited to – whether you are male or female, who you’re engaging in a frivolous frisk with, how long the action lasts, how vigorous it is, your relative cardiovascular health, muscle mass and, of course, what position(s) you are taking.

So what sexual activity burns off the most calories? Let’s see what science has to say about it.

Calorie Counting

Physical activity, which obviously includes sex, makes up just 10 to 30 percent of your energy usage. The more muscles you have, the more energy they require to be used, and the more you need to respire, the more energy you’ll use up.

So if you have particularly spirited sex for longer, and you’re particularly muscly already, you’ll burn up more calories. That’s the basic science of any form of exercise.

Additionally, prolonging foreplay, maybe throwing in a massage or two – or a spontaneous dance show if you’re into that kind of thing – will certainly burn up more calories than just careening straight into coitus. There is one other thing that’s worth considering, though: orgasms.

Orgasms do make a difference, but it is not clear by how much. Mariyana M/Shutterstock

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