Shutterstock Sex is a physical activity, but experts are split on whether it burns a lot of calories. It depends how long you hav sex and how you do it, as well as your gender and weight. Ultimately, you should think of sex as a fun way to connect with someone. Of all of the things that you can do to break a sweat, sex is probably up there with one of the most fun. But is sex actually a good workout? After all, super-fit celebrities like model Miranda Kerr , reality star Khloe Kardashian , and actor Charlie Hunnam have sworn that they stay in shape by having a lot of sex.
Well, it's not exactly as clear cut as that. The actual calorie count that you burn from having sex has been hotly debated. It's a commonly-told myth that you burn about as many calories walking a mile as you do by having sex. But recent studies have tried to put a number on it, and some don't really come that close to that. One study found that people who identify as men burn calories while having sex, and people who identify as women burn 69 calories. The average time each couple spent having sex was 25 minutes, including foreplay.
Obviously the more time you spend having sex, the more calories you'll burn. For context, that study found running a mile burned about twice the calories. According to another study, a pound person burns calories per mile walked and a pound person burns about 65 calories.
That would put having sex, in this case study, at about the same calorie burning as walking a mile. But other studies have found those numbers don't quite add up. One study found that people who identify as men burned just 21 calories during six minutes of sex.
Women, for whatever reason, weren't included in the study. Ultimately, trying to determine a blanket number is never going to work. As mentioned earlier, people of different weights burn wildly different calories when doing physical activities.
On top of that, there's a million different ways to have sex, with different partners, and in varying intensities. It's hard to know exactly what you're going to get. Sex can be great for you, but not necessarily because of calories.
Shutterstock One way you can get a close calorie count is by wearing an activity tracker during sex or consulting something like the Sexercise calculator from Superdrug. It asks you to put in your partner's gender note that it only puts male or female, and doesn't specify genitals , your gender, both of your weights, what position you're doing it in, for how long, and what your role is top or bottom.
If this all seems pretty complicated, that's because it is. The bottom line is sex is a physical activity, which means it can have various health benefits , including improving your mood, giving you more energy, and helping you feel better. But if you're trying to use it to burn a specific amount of calories, you're probably missing a big part of what sex is: So you can pat yourself on the back that you may have burned a few calories, but that's definitely not even close to the biggest benefit.