Five years ago, Peter Dolphin came across an article online promoting kissing as a way to burn calories. Intrigued, he began looking for other research on sexual activity as exercise. If kissing could burn calories, could getting it on double as a workout?
The answer turns out to be yes. Working in collaboration with a research scientist and a personal trainer, Dolphin developed HIIT the Bedroom. The online video series demonstrates how to perform creative sex positions that double as exercise by using body weight as resistance instead of gym equipment.
In positions that involve lifting body weight, sex counts as high intensity interval training (HIIT) — a workout mixing bursts of intense activity with brief rest periods. It’s a sexy twist on the 7-minute workout, and in addition to saving time, there’s another thing that makes the fitness routine easy to stick with.
“When people workout with a partner they’re more likely to keep up their regimen,” Dolphin says. “Also, many people don’t like the exertion or the pounding heart associated with exercise, but find those same things pleasurable when they’re having sex. Combining sex with exercise can make your workout more enjoyable and help you stick to it.”
Sex has been scientifically shown to be a form of aerobic exercise that burns calories, and Dolphin also came across a UK study that places sex and exercise at the top of our index of pleasure: the scale of activities that make us happiest.
“The beauty of incorporating sex and exercise is that it allows people to bring two of their passions together,” he says. “So it made sense to develop a fitness approach that feeds both of those sources of happiness.”
HIIT the Bedroom workouts include the Lotus, a twist on the classic missionary position with the top on his knees and the bottom above; a great workout for both partners’ legs. Another popular position is the Standing Cowboy. With the top lying back on a stability ball and the bottom riding him from above, it builds core strength at the same time it tones your glutes and biceps.
Combining the health benefits of exercise with the fun of sex is one way to ramp up your sex life.
Brian Konik, a therapist specializing in LGBT clients and a sex blogger with Love2Lose, frequently counsels couples looking to revitalize their sex life. He sees the workouts as an effective way to get couples talking about their desires, as well as giving them some tips on how to get things rolling.
“With any couple, you’ll need to talk through your goals, both individually and for the relationship,” he says. “This system offers a way to enrich your sex life and improve your physical fitness together. For folks who want to try something different, but aren’t sure how, it can be a way to start that process. This can give you some ideas on how to get started, but it’s up to the couple to figure out what works for them.”
Konik also stresses the need to figure out how to discuss things, especially if one partner is more hesitant.
“You need to find out why this feels difficult for your partner and spend some time understanding the reasons,” he says. “If you have a reluctant partner, you need to do some deeper digging to understand why they feel that way, and then you have to tailor your response to that. It might mean starting out very small, maybe just watching some of the videos together and then gradually you can work your way up to trying something.”
In terms of getting started, Konik has some useful advice.
“Take a look at the site with a partner and see what’s going to be the most attractive to you as a couple,” he says.
“Trying things out is the most exciting part of the process and it doesn’t matter if you’re not a star athlete. It’s supposed to be a fun tool. It’s really just about experimentation and playing. You don’t need to be worried if you don’t get things exactly right.”