‘Coregasms’ are one way to practice sexual self-care during the COVID-19 pandemic

Tribune Content Agency

What the heck is a “coregasm?” Well, it’s when you have an orgasm while working out, also known as an exercise-induced orgasm. Does that all of a sudden make you want to go for a run?

A recent survey asked nearly 4,200 men and women about their knowledge of a “coregasm” and if they’ve ever had one. Only 3% of women said they had, and 6% of men. Most didn’t even know it was possible to have an orgasm while working out (97% of women, and 91% of men).

More than 2,100 women and more than 2,000 men between the ages of 18 and 35 participated in the survey, which was commissioned by sports equipment site Sportarly. All of the participants had an active gym membership within the past 12 months.

While orgasm induced by exercise has been studied for decades, Men’s Health magazine coined the term “coregasm” in 2007. Yet, the knowledge of having an exercise-induced orgasm is still new to many people.

As the seasons change, and we’re still navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, various forms of pleasure can keep moods high and healthy. The many feel-good hormones associated with sexual arousal and orgasm, combined with the benefits of working out, make coregasms a real possibility of keeping your spirits lifted.

People can experience coregasms from a range of different exercises, like running and biking. But the most common exercises are the ones that work the core, such as crunches, situps or hanging leg raises.

Men and women tend to experience coregasms in similar proportions — even though early studies focused on women — but the sensation of the experience varies for each sex, said Debby Herbenick, author of “The Coregasm Workout: The Revolutionary Method for Better Sex Through Exercise.”

“(Women) often will say that the coregasm orgasms will feel very similar to them as orgasms that they experienced during intercourse, and a little bit different than ones that they would experience by clitoral stimulation,” she said. “Some men will actually liken it to more of a prostate stimulation, which makes some sense because you’re talking about muscular movements. So it’s more internal stimulation than external penile stimulation.”

Coregasms can be intentional and spontaneous, but they are more likely to come after fatiguing a specific muscle group. And just like with sex, the intensity of the exercise-induced orgasm can vary between powerful and mild, explained Herbenick.

“We never found anybody that said (in a study), ‘Oh, this happens on the fifth crunch,’ it was always 100 crunches,” said Herbenick. “Or it was never in the first pullup, it would be after eight pullups.”

According to the Sportarly survey, 96% of women and 85% of men said they would only try having a coregasm while working out at home.

“Females are more mixed about whether they are comfortable doing this in public,” said Herbenick. “Some people in our studies are finding in public, it’s just something that happens to them. They sort of describe it in pleasant terms, like, ‘Oh, it’s my little secret,’ or, ‘It’s a benefit of my exercise.’ But males don’t feel that way because they ejaculate. So for males, we get more questions about how they can stop having orgasms (while working out).”

One of the benefits of coregasms is that they provide a wider definition of orgasm and pleasure, as well as incentives, said Caitlin V. Neal, a sex and relationship coach who has more than 200,000 YouTube subscribers and is known as Caitlin V.

“This is an interesting overlap, where the incentive — both internal and cultural — to exercise pairs up with the incentive of experiencing pleasure, and I think that is what makes the idea of coregasm particularly powerful and interesting,” said Neal.

When our bodies are fatigued and have gotten a good workout, there can be a high. The same can happen with our bodies and pleasure, said Neal.

“We almost get into this trancelike state that’s really anchored in the intensity of our embodiment; it’s almost like a mindfulness practice,” she said. “We are so in our body in that moment that the thoughts, the stresses, the fears, the pandemic, all of these things are sort of pushed to the background.”

While Herbenick has worked with exercise scientists to determine what causes a coregasm, “nobody knows,” she said, even though they have a few ideas.

“There’s been no research that demonstrates any causal mechanism of what it is that’s happening,” said Herbenick, who is also director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University’s School of Public Health.

Exercise-induced orgasms could also be a way to practice sexual self-care, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic that has disrupted person-to-person connection as we knew it, said Michelle Herzog, a certified sex therapist and owner of Center for Mindful Living in Lakeview.

“I think this is a really great time to connect to your body,” said Herzog. “Specifically, because we’re not getting connection right now — we are in a connection deficit. And we’re specifically in a touch deficit.”

Getting our touch needs met during the time of extended isolation that the pandemic has brought is essential, but meeting those needs doesn’t have to be sexual, explained Herzog.

“I think that’s going to be critical right now as we get into the winter months,” she said.

Eighty-one percent of women and 59% of men said they would work out four times a week minimum if they knew at least one of those sessions would result in a coregasm, according to the Sportarly survey.

Additionally, 99% of female respondents said they were going to try to achieve coregasm, with 69% of men saying they’d intentionally try to climax during a workout, based on data from the survey.

While coregasms are a worthwhile achievement, said Neal, general pleasure should be the overall aim of the experience, especially because there is a significant percentage of the population that does not orgasm.

“I would encourage you to aim for the experiences of arousal and pleasure,” said Neal. “Then, if the coregasm happens, awesome, but not to put any additional pressure on yourself to experience it. See it as a fun option that may happen.”


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