50 SHADES OF SILVERGREY
Hey it’s Valentines Day approaching and to celebrate the launch of “that” film, I thought I would spice it up a little over at Silvergrey. I have been wanting to use the 50 shades reference for sometime! There are new products coming in this month but not quite in 50 shades.
I grew up with magazines like Cosmo and Vogue publishing monthly articles on Sex, how to do it better and how many calories you would use up doing it. “10 facts I bet you never knew….” “5 tips for a better…” You know the kind of stories I am talking about.
This got me thinking the other day as to whether there was any truth in the old “you burn x amount of calories rocking the bed” articles so inevitably I felt compelled to research this. To avoid any doubt, I mean research it by reviewing studies, other research etc, nothing else, I promise, nothing else.
The findings (after I took a little more care over what I asked Google to look for) were both interesting and entertaining. I thought I would share some with you.
So let’s start with the ‘burning’ question, how many calories? (What did you think I was going to say? If it’s burning put down you iPad and go see a doctor!)
Well, researchers from the University of Quebec at Montreal claim that sex burns an average of 4.2 calories per-minute for a man and 3.1 calories for a woman. They also found than an average sex session lasts about 25 minutes, equating to 104 calories burned by a man and 69 for a woman.
Although these finding may seem a little dubious, only 25 minute I ask you, it is worth noting that it was carried out over a small sample (21) heterosexual couples aged between 18 to 35. All the participants were required to undergo a half hour treadmill test to measure how many calories each person burned walking and jogging in advance of the test. The results showed that men burned 9.2 calories per-minute while jogging on the treadmill, in comparison the findings above.
It is therefore safe to conclude that either jogging does burn more calories then sex or a serious lack of effort in the bedroom has been exposed. Best move on. This takes me to a study by University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA. They too have debunked the perception that sex is a major calorie burner.
Their study found that the perception of sex as a fat-burning activity was based around ‘episodes’ lasting one hour or more. They concluded however this was not the norm. Instead they found that most Americans (not Australians, phew) have sex for “an average time span of six minutes per sexual encounter.” You can’t defrost a pizza in six minutes.
They went on to conclude that those six minutes only burn 21 calories! Pretty depressing stuff. To highlight how truly depressing that is, I have embedded a link to a table of calories burned by everyday activities.
You will see that ‘housework’, ‘standing up’ and even ‘knitting’ wipes the floor with sex in the calorie burning stakes. I guess it is only any good as an exercise if you have gone at it long enough to be wiping the floor afterwards which would then have the added benefit of ticking the box for house work as well!
Thankfully I was eventually able to find something positive on the subject. The content of the remainder of the blog below is mainly paraphrased from an article in the Times of India written under the heading “Here’s why you must have sex everyday”. I couldn’t improve on it.
The article was written from a very male perspective however lots of its content seems also relevant to us girls. It argues:
“Have you ever heard that song called Sexual Healing? It’s not just a metaphor. Sex can actually heal. It can heal your body and mind and prevent lots of diseases.
Some say it’s the first medicine ever known to man and it should be administered daily. Sounds too good to be true? Let’s discover the reasons.
Great form of exercise
Making love is a form of physical activity. During intercourse, the physiological changes in your body are consistent with a workout. You must have noticed that the respiratory rate rises, which means you get tired. Hence, you burn calories. If you have sex three times a week for 15 minutes (but we know you can do better than that) you’ll burn about 7.500 calories in a year. That’s the equivalent of jogging 75 miles.
During sex, both male and female bodies produce endorphins, hormones that act as weak painkillers. A study conducted by Gina Ogden showed that during sexual stimulation and especially during orgasm, we don’t feel pain. Worth considering after a tough workout perhaps!
It’s a scientific fact: sex can be a very effective way of reducing stress levels. During sex your body produces dopamine, a substance that fights stress hormones, endorphins, aka “happiness hormones” and oxytocin, a desire-enhancing hormone secreted by the pituitary gland.”
How accurate this is I don’t know. I am remaining neutral on the issue. I am a mother of two, I couldn’t possibly comment (said demurely). I would like to think that those glossy magazines I grew up with didn’t mislead in anyway. It would be like finding those models you aspired to had been photoshopped.
Food for thought however. My thinking is that any form of exercise is still exercise, and if it doesn’t burn as many calories as you thought, then like any exercise you need to work on style, speed and duration. More practice required.
And next time when the expression getting “whipped into shape” is used, perhaps approach it from a different angle?!