How Many Calories Does Having Sex Really Burn?

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

However, another online calculator by another UK pharmacy, Superdrug, seems ludicrously comprehensive by comparison. It allows you to choose the gender of not just yourself, but your partner. Users can also numerically enter their specific weights, along with the duration of their passionate foray in minutes, from zero to 120.

Keeping to a “moderate intensity,” assuming sex lasts for 15 minutes, and using the average weight of 89 kilograms (196 pounds) for US men and 75 kilograms (166 pounds) for US women, the results are perhaps unsurprising.

For a man, standing-based sex burns the most calories (80), followed by doggy style (76), missionary (72), spooning (67), and finally, cowgirl (25). For a woman, cowgirl uses the most (67 calories), followed by doggy (54), standing (53), spooning (48), then missionary (24).

Roughly speaking, the most submissive positions burn up the least for both sexes. From a practical perspective, this makes some sort of sense, although individual experiences may vary, of course.

Not an Exact Science

According to the calculator, an average length foreplay and sex session between a male and female involving three or four different positions burns off this many calories. Superdrug/Online Doctor

In what is a frankly ludicrous scenario, moderate intensity missionary for a wince-inducing two hours would burn up 570 calories for the man according to Superdrug's calculations, whereas the equivalent cowgirl would burn up 537 for a woman. The lower calorie counts for women are primarily linked to their lower average masses, and as aforementioned, it takes less effort to move less mass.

That missionary marathon, by the way, is roughly equal to playing tennis for 46 minutes, swimming for 74 minutes, or walking for 9.3 kilometers (5.8 miles). The latter example is the equivalent of running for about 7.7 kilometers (4.8 miles) at a moderate pace, doing yoga for 143 minutes, or dancing for 95 minutes. So, theoretically, sex could be a viable form of exercise like more conventional forms.

If you’re curious, a man performing oral sex on a woman uses 40 calories, whereas a woman doing the same to a man uses 34. If you’d like to see the results for same-sex couples, or to work out how much energy the wheelbarrow position would consume, please dive into the mathematical model here.

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