Quick answer: I don’t know.
But since I’m trying to have a healthier 2015, I downloaded a fitness app to track my food intake and activity. I’m not on some crazy diet, but rather trying to be intentional about my choices and recording those choices keeps me accountable.
As anyone who has done this kind of thing knows, you may start having bargaining moments like: “If I take a 15-minute walk, maybe I can drink the full-sugar soda” or “If I eat a half-portion, I’ll only have to exercise for 30 minutes.” Consequently, I want credit for every minute of exercise I put in — so I can feel okay about popping that Milky Way mini in a moment of weakness.
Last I checked (but I’m willing to check again), sex feels like exercise — what with all the movement, breathlessness, and post-activity exhaustion. Surely, it’s burning calories! Right?
Apparently, there are numerous websites boasting exactly that — that sex burns calories. Some even say it burns a lot of calories. And wouldn’t that be the most awesome thing ever? For me to come here and tell you that in addition to sex being good for your marriage, for your health, for your pleasure — it’s also great for your waistline?
But I try to deal in truth here. And the truth is that sex — for how out-of-breath a girl can get — is woefully low on the calorie-burning scale. If weight loss alone was your goal, you’d do better to get on a treadmill or join a spinning class.
The best sources I’ve found say that sexual encounters burn from 21 calories (New England Journal of Medicine) to 101 calories (average for men, University of Montreal). We ladies didn’t do quite as well in that second study, burning an average calorie count of 69. (And yes, I’m biting my tongue about the coincidence of that number.)
But really — 69? That’s all?!!!
Just in case you’re wondering, that only lets me have two Milky Way minis, at 35 calories each. Even though post-sex, I’m sometimes craving a chocolate fudge sundae. (What’s up with that?!)
Now the studies did say you burn more if your sexual activity is “vigorous.” For instance, intercourse while standing burns more calories. Also, one would assume that whoever is on top is getting the better workout.
But I’m wondering what else I can do to up the calorie count: Do a hoochie-coochie dance pre-passion? Add jumping jacks to our foreplay? Race my husband to the bed (over and over again)?
Still, they are calories burned. And if I consider whether I’d rather burn those 69 calories on my elliptical machine or in my marriage bed, my answer is a no-brainer. According to the Calorie Lab, 69 calories is greater than one burns while walking (51 calories), washing dishes (22), or making the bed (a mere 17). So it makes far more sense to leave that bed unmade, grab your husband, and get busy on it.
Maybe this time you can ask to be on top.
Sources: Prevention.com – How Many Calories Do You Burn During Sex?; LiveScience: Sexercise? Getting Busy Burns Calories, Study Finds; Plos One: Energy Expenditure during Sexual Activity in Young Healthy Couples; Pacific Standard: The Myth of “Sexercise”
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What does the Bible say about sexual intimacy?
Quite a lot actually. From marriage-specific scriptures to biblical principles, Intimacy Revealed: 52 Devotions to Enhance Sex in Marriage guides Christian wives through weekly devotions that shed light on God’s gift of marital sex.
Each week includes a Bible passage, application, questions, and a prayer. These short devotions will deepen your understanding of God’s design of sexuality and encourage you toward a holier, happier, and hotter marriage.