Is it True that Sex Burns More Calories than Sports?

Have you ever wondered if having sex burns more calories than playing sports? Discover the truth behind this popular myth in this article.
Is it True that Sex Burns More Calories than Sports?

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Is it true that sex burns more calories than sports? Considering the constant motion of a night of passion, it doesn’t sound so far-fetched to consider sex to be a form of cardio. In fact, we’re pretty certain this is a question that’s crossed your mind at some point.

Every new year, millions of us make it a point to get in shape and help our bodies burn off the extra calories gained during the holidays. And even though many don’t like sports, there is one pleasurable way to help reduce those extra pounds: having sex.

One of the most famous weight loss myths is that you can burn more calories during an intense sex session than with traditional exercise. But how true is that claim?

Does sex really burn more calories than sports?

Swapping the suffering of the gym for the pleasure of a partner sounds like a great way to get in shape. However, several studies suggest that the myth is nothing more than that. Therefore, no matter how much sex you can have, it will not replace the benefits of exercise. 

In fact, a study by the University of Montreal (Canada), led by Professor Antony Karelis, sought to calculate the energy expenditure during sex in healthy young couples. It concluded that having half an hour of sex represents a caloric expenditure of 69 calories in women and 101 in men.

As explained by Professor Karelis in the research, this caloric difference is because men weigh more than women on average. On the other hand, about 213 calories are burned in women and 276 in men in half an hour of running.

This shows the great caloric difference between the two types of exercise. In reality, traditional exercise burns about three times as many calories as a good sex session.

It should be noted that sexual intercourse doesn’t usually last more than 15 minutes, and these results can be greater or lesser depending on the intensity. Basically, in the words of experts: sexual activity can be considered a form of exercise, although it definitely shouldn’t replace it. 

Sexo para quemar calorías.
Although sexual activity burns fewer calories than sports, it can still be considered a form of exercise.

The more intensity, the better

Although it’s not true that sex burns more calories than sports, there are indeed certain variables to burn more calories than usual during a night of passion. During real sports workouts, positions, intensity, and duration are key.

The same study from the University of Montreal highlights that the person who is on top during sexual encounters will always be the one who burns more calories due to the movement and the natural effort. Meanwhile, the person who remains lying down is the one who has a lower expenditure.

Therefore, if you want is to lose weight with the help of exercise and sex, it’s best to maintain an active and passionate attitude to encourage the body to push itself a little more than normal. Immobile starfish are forbidden – it’s time to be and give prominence to the riders!

The best positions to burn calories

It’s already clear that it’s only a myth that sex burns more calories than sport. However, it can still represent a significant source of energy expenditure. This is even more the case if you choose the most suitable sexual positions.

That said, let’s take a look at the sex positions that burn the most calories.

1. Sex burns more calories for women in a squatting position 

During half an hour of sex, women can burn 188 calories when doing it in a squatting position. This result can be higher if the pace and intensity increase, reaching up to 224 calories.

However, the same can’t be said for men, who only burn 50 calories in this position.

2. Sex burns more calories when it’s doggy style 

One of the favorite positions for many couples also happens to be one of the most caloric expenditures in half an hour of sex. When having sex doggy style, men can burn up to 188 calories, depending on the speed and intensity.

Women, on the other hand, burn about 103 calories.

3. Standing sex is a great form of exercise for both partners 

This is one of the most significant caloric expenditures when both people are standing. In fact, it’s one of the most intense positions for men, helping them to burn approximately 198 calories.

Meanwhile, women can burn about 145 calories in this position.

Sexo de pie quema más calorías.
Standing positions burn more calories for both partners, as more effort is required.

Sex doesn’t burn more calories than sport, but it still is exercise

Having an active sex life, with intense and passionate sessions, can cause significant caloric burning. However, on average, it’s three times less exercise than working out at the gym, so it’s clear that it really isn’t true that sex burns more calories than exercise.

However, when accompanied by an exercise routine and a balanced diet, sex can help us to burn calories. Therefore, it’s a good complement to a healthy lifestyle to help you lose weight. Just choose your favorite position and enjoy a healthy sex life as a couple!

So, if for some reason you can’t do sports for a few days, don’t worry. You can ask your partner to help you both exercise with the pleasant stay-at-home method to stay in shape until your next visit to the gym!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Frappier, Julie, et al. “Energy expenditure during sexual activity in young healthy couples.” PLoS one 8.10 (2013): e79342.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.