- Sex positions that burn calories require active movement and effort, like having standing sex.
- For a quad workout for the penetrating partner, try a position like the "butter churner."
- Reverse cowgirl allows the penetrated partner to be in control and actively burning calories.
- Visit Insider's Health Reference library for more advice.
Sex is one way to work up a sweat, but how many calories are you actually burning when you're having a romp?
A small 2013 study found that men burn, on average, 4.2 calories per minute during sex, while women burn around 3.2 calories per minute. Given that the average duration of sexual intercourse is only around 5.4 minutes long, that doesn't amount to many calories burned.
If you're looking to burn more calories during sex, it's time to get a bit more creative: Say goodbye to missionary and be ready to explore positions that require some athleticism and extra effort.
Here are five sex-therapist-recommended sex positions to burn more calories.
How do to it:
1. The penetrating partner stands up, and the partner being penetrated bends over and gets on all fours.
- The penetrating partner picks the other partner up by their waist/hips so that both partners' pelvises are aligned.
- The penetrating partner penetrates the other partner while holding onto the other partners' hips, assisting in holding them up.
- The partner being penetrated wraps their thighs around their partner's body for extra support.
- The partner being penetrated keeps their hands on the ground, using their upper body strength to keep themselves up (although the other partner will be assisting in holding them up).
Why it's great: This position is a workout for all involved since it requires some upper body strength from both partners.
Additionally, the wheelbarrow allows for deep penetration, which can feel great for both partners, and this position also gives the penetrating partner a good view of their partner's butt, says Melinda DeSeta, LMHC, Certified Sex Therapist at Insight Counseling Center Miami.
If you want to make this even more of a workout, the penetrated partner can do some pushups. DeSeta says this partner should be sure to engage their abs and all upper body muscles while doing so.
"Each partner must have strength, flexibility, agility and balance to pull off the move and receive pleasure," says DeSeta.
Note: Whether or not you're throwing in those pushups, both partners need to be careful in this position. If the penetrating partner drops the other partner it could injure their back, shoulder, or face. DeSeta suggests laying down some pillows or cushions in case someone falls, and keeping the line of communication open in case you're getting tired or your grip is slipping.
2. Standing sexHow to do it:
- The penetrating partner and partner being penetrated stand up facing each other.
- The penetrating partner picks up their partner by their hips/butt, and the partner being penetrated wraps their legs around their partner for support.
- The penetrating partner can bounce their partner up and down, using their upper body strength.
Tip: To make this a little easier, you can do this against a wall for support.
Why it's great: This position mostly relies on the penetrating partner's upper body strength, so it's more of a workout for them. DeSeta says they'll be working their upper back, biceps, core, and thighs (since they'll likely have a slight knee bend).
DeSeta says that this position targets the clitoris and G-spot of the partner being penetrated, making it feel good for them.
Again, you run the risk of injury if the penetrating partner drops the partner being penetrated, so throw some cushions down in case of an accidental drop.
3. Reverse cowgirlHow to do it:
- The penetrating partner lies down flat on their back.
- The partner being penetrated straddles their partner in a squatting position with each of their feet on either side of their partner's body, facing away from them.
- The partner being penetrated can bounce up and down or grind in whatever way feels good for them.
Why it's great:This position is more of a workout for the partner being penetrated since they will be on top and in control, putting all of their body weight in their legs. This will result in some cardio and a great quad workout.
DeSeta says this is pleasurable for the partner on top since they can control the depth and angle of penetration. Additionally, she says the partner on top can lean forward to stimulate their G-spot and clitoris for a blended orgasm - similar to traditional cowgirl.
4. The SnakeHow to do it:
- One partner lays down on their back on the bed, with their feet dangling off the side, touching the floor.
- The other partner climbs on top, facing away, aligning face-to-genitals, getting into the traditional 69 sex position, gently squeezing their partner's head with their thighs.
- The partner on the bottom slowly gets into a sitting position, and once they have that, they can move into a standing position.
- The partner being lifted continues to gently squeeze their thighs around their head to keep from sliding down, and their arms wrap their arms around their partners' hips.
Why it's great: One partner will be carrying all of the other partner's weight, so this calorie burn is all about them, since lifting weights (or, a person) can help you burn calories. Depending on how tightly the other partner is squeezing their thighs, they might get a little bit of a workout, too.
This 69 variation is great for mutual pleasure since both partners will be stimulating each other orally at the same time. Plus, it's a great way to switch things up if you want to level up from the traditional 69, which involves lying down.
For safety purposes, this position should only be attempted by physically fit, strong people. You don't want to risk falling and injuring your head or neck. This position certainly lends itself to laying some pillow down on the floor as cushioning just in case, too.
5. The Butter ChurnerHow to do it:
- The partner being penetrated lies on their back and then brings their feet back to their shoulders, folding their body in half, with their butt facing the ceiling and their head flat on the ground.
- The penetrating partner stands and squats over them, inserting their penis or a toy.
Tip: For even more of a physical challenge, the partner being penetrated can lift their torso off the floor so they are in more of a yoga shoulder-stand position.
Why it's great:Aside from requiring some core strength and flexibility from the partner being penetrated, the penetrating partner will need quad strength here, and they'll be the ones getting some cardio in, since they'll be thrusting.
DeSeta says this unique position allows for a combo of eye contact, super-deep penetration, and a rush of blood to the head.
This position certainly requires flexibility for the partner being penetrated. Stretching beforehand can help. However, if you aren't flexible, don't push yourself too hard. You don't want to pull a muscle. If you feel discomfort or pain, stop and switch to a more comfortable position.
There are plenty of sex positions that can up both your pleasure and your calorie burn. Start off by experimenting with these five and seeing what gets you the most turned on - and the most winded.
However, DeSeta says that it's important to keep in mind what sex is really all about: pleasure. Trying to get into specific sex positions to a "T" may keep you in your head and distract you from feeling the most pleasure.
So, just focus on exploring what feels good for you and your partner, and keep that as your first priority. Plus, it's important to note that these positions will be easier for you if you're relatively strong or flexible.
Remember, there are many places other than the bedroom where you can always burn calories.