Whatever flavor of it you enjoy (slow-churned vanilla? rocky road? S&M crunch?) sex is pretty difficult. Good sex, that is. You need stamina, flexibility, and a fleet of stabilizer muscles. And while your standard workout likely provides you with some of these, it doesn’t hurt to pepper in some moves specifically tailored to what you’ll be doing between the bedsheets. No, we’re not talking ‘80s jazzercise-style pelvic pop-ups. Rather, we have a few functional yoga poses, breathing exercises, and penis-lifts (yes, you read that correctly) offered by Northwestern University’s Jenny Arrington. Incorporate them into your regular workout to take your between-the-sheets routine to new levels.
As far as sex goes, “flexibility” is typically referring to how open your (or your partner’s) hips are. If your hips are flexible, you can get into more positions during sex—and the more positions, the more fun. “When you’re flexible in your hips, you can straddle your knees wide and get low, and you’ll have more mobility for extra sway and rotation to give you that extra special something.”
- Get on your hands and knees.
- Draw your right knee up to your right rest and set it down.
- Allow your left knee to slide straight back.
- Your right hip should be slightly elevated, but your knee and shin should be on the floor, resulting in a deep stretch in your right hip.
- Switch sides and repeat.
Initially hold each side for two minutes, increasing your time in the position to 5 minutes on each side.
To deepen the stretch, guide your front shin forward so that it’s perpendicular to your body (or parallel to the top of your mat, if you’re on a mat). But be careful of your knee as you do this, scaling back your effort if you feel any discomfort in your joint.
A strong core allows you to go for longer periods on top during sex — a weak core will make you smother your partner in chest hair. This classic position strengthens your core as well as your shoulders to better keep you up when you’re on top.
- Get into the top of a push-up, hands under your shoulders and fingers spread wide.
- Extend your heels straight back to elongate your body into a straight line.
- Engage your deltoid muscles by imagining you’re sliding your thumbs toward each other.
- Squeeze your ankles and knees together to engage your glutes.
- Draw your navel up towards your spine.
- Close your eyes and roll them up towards the center of your forehead.
- Breath as deeply and slowly as you can, exhaling longer than you inhale.
Begin by holding for one minute, working up to five.
“Focusing on moving your thumbs toward each other will protect your shoulder girdle,” Arrington says. “And rolling your eyes up stimulates the pituitary, the gland that controls hormone function throughout the body.”
Another move that’s essential to core strength (hey, you can never get enough) is the boat pose. An added bonus: This move is a hip flex strengthener too. Win-win.
- Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you, bent.
- Sit up with a very straight back and lean back slightly.
- Lift your legs until they are straight, straightening your arms so they’re parallel with your legs.
- Hold the position, breathing through the burn. Rest in between in child’s post.
Begin by holding for 30 seconds, working up to two minutes.
Back extensions like these help counter the forward hunch required of modern sedentary life. “They’re preventative maintenance for bad lower backs,” says Arrington. “So yelling out, ‘My back!’ during an intimate moment will be less likely.” Since thrusting requires a healthy spine, these extensions are critical.
- Lie on your belly, legs extended straight.
- Keeping your hands on the floor, position your elbows directly below your shoulders, puffing out your chest.
- Hold this position (Sphinx), or slowly press into your hands to begin straightening your arms, lifting your chest higher, being careful not to strain your spine.
Hold for five minutes.
“In missionary-style sex, stamina is a euphemism for glute and back strength,” says Arrington. This movement promotes both.
- Lie on your belly with you chin on the floor, hands palm down by your ribs.
- Squeeze your legs together, pointing your toes back.
- Lift your head, chest, arms, thighs, shins, and feet off the ground, balancing on your hips and abdomen and keeping your neck long.
- Gaze down your nose.
Start by holding the pose for 5 breaths, working your way up to 3 minutes.
Pelvic Floor Lift
Kegels for men are real. These privates-clenching exercises work the muscles of the pelvic floor and can help you achieve harder erections, extend staying power, and have more pleasurable orgasms. “It may not sound sexy at all but it’s the most impactful exercise for sex,” Arrington says.
The muscles of the pelvic floor run from front to back, penis to anus. Think of them as a hammock holding up your organs. “Lift” the hammock into your body. If you’re erect when you do it, your penis will rise.
- Inhale and lift your pelvic floor. Then exhale and relax. Perform 10-15 times.
“This isn’t a clench—it’s a lift,” Arrington says. “If you think of it, do it while you’re engaged in other things. If you take yoga, work up to keeping these muscles engaged and lifted throughout an entire class. You can do it while you’re in other positions.”
Anyone with even a passing knowledge of Tantric sex knows that breath is key to staying power. “Slowing the breath, breathing together with your partner while looking into each other’s eyes—this is key,” Arrington says. Deep full breaths are helpful when you’re coming close to the edge of orgasm, so you can pause and then build up again. You can do this breathing exercise anywhere, anytime—the more often, the better.
- Inhale deeply, counting how long it takes for a complete inhale.
- Exhale slowly, doubling how long it took you to inhale.
- Continue for 3-5 minutes.
Tip: Constrict your throat on the exhale to help you slow down.