There’s a ton to love about exercise. It keeps your whole body healthy, makes you more confident, gives you more energy…and it makes your orgasms stronger, says Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., associate professor at Indiana University and author of the upcoming book The Coregasm Workout (on sale in June).
It all comes down to muscular tension, she says: “Leading up to climax, women’s muscles tense up throughout the body. During orgasm, she’ll notice contractions in her uterus, vagina, and sometimes anus.” If those muscles are stronger, you’ll have stronger—and more pleasurable—contractions. (Learn Why Your Muscles Shake During a Hard Workout.) Working out boosts your big finish in another way too: by actually giving you one. Herbenick, with a team of researchers, recently confirmed that certain exercises can make women climax. They call them “coregasms” (hence the name of her book).
But, adds Herbenick, “we can’t really isolate one muscle that’s responsible for orgasms,” which means there’s no one move that’s guaranteed to lead to better sex or exercise-induced Os. Instead, try this four-pronged approach.
Start with Cardio
Cardio increases blood flow throughout the body, including the vagina, says Herbenick. And better circulation to the genitals equals more lubrication during (solo or coupled) sex, which ups your chances of having a great O. Biking is especially beneficial, because it gets your heart rate up and cycling moves like standing climbs engage the core.
Then Work Your Core
“Our research suggests that moving from cardio work into ab work can enhance arousal for many women,” says Herbenick. If spin isn’t your thing, try to follow up a run or elliptical session with crunches or hanging leg raises. Even if you don’t have a coregasm, you may be more likely to follow up your gym sweat sesh with an in-bed one when you get home. (Or hit both at once with the Best Cardio for Your Abs.)
Don’t Ignore Your Pelvic Floor
Just as you keep your core engaged during workouts by pulling your belly button up and in, also tuck in your pelvic floor muscles, suggests Herbenick. (It should feel like you’re engaging the same muscles you use when you’re holding in pee.) Many of the muscles that contract when you climax are found in your pelvic floor, so strengthening them will up your pleasure, she explains.
Do Exercises You Love
Body confidence is essential for good sex, and one of the easiest ways to feel better about yourself is by working out. “Do exercises that help you feel good,” suggests Herbenick. “If you feel sexier when your butt is toned, work on that. If you feel more confident when you’re slimmer, incorporate cardio.” (Also smart: giving the Better Sex Workout a go.)