Here's an incentive to exercise: Women report experiencing orgasms in the gym
Study shows orgasm 'is not necessarily a
sexual event'

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UPDATED:

17:20 GMT, 19 March 2012

Many women who visit the gym experience a rather unusual side-effect, according to a study about sexual pleasure.

Women reported experiencing orgasms when lifting weights or during a spinning session, even if sex was the last thing on their minds.

Half of those who said they had experience sexual pleasure at the gym said they had symptoms when performing abdominal exercises

Half of those who said they had experience sexual pleasure at the gym said they had symptoms when performing abdominal exercises

Although the phenomenon was first reported in 1953, 'little is known about exercise-induced orgasms,' according to scientists from Indiana University.

To fill in the gap researcher Debby Herbenick and her team surveyed hundreds of women aged from 18 to 63 who said they had experienced exercise-induced orgasm or sexual pleasure.

They found nearly half of the women had experienced the symptoms on more than 10 occasions. However, most were not fantasizing at the time or thinking about someone they were attracted to.

'The most common exercises associated
with exercise-induced orgasm were abdominal exercises, climbing poles or
ropes, biking/spinning and weight lifting,' Herbenick said.

'These data
are interesting because they suggest that orgasm is not necessarily a
sexual event, and they may also teach us more about the bodily processes
underlying women's experiences of orgasm.'

Exercises most associated with female orgasms (percentage)

Abdominal exercises: 51.4%

Weight lifting: 26.5%

Yoga: 20%

Cycling: 15.8%

Running: 13.2%

Walking/hiking: 9.6%

A fifth of those who experienced orgasms said they had no control over the experience and most of them felt self-conscious as a result.

Herbenick said that the mechanisms behind exercise-induced orgasm and exercise-induced sexual pleasure remain unclear and, in future research, they hope to learn more about triggers for both.

She also said that study findings may help women who experience the symptoms feel more normal about their experiences or put them into context.

Herbenick cautioned that it is not yet known whether such exercises can improve women's sexual experiences.

'It may be that exercise – which is already known to have significant benefits to health and well-being – has the potential to enhance women's sexual lives as well.'

The study, published in the journal Sexual and Relationship Therapy, did not determine how common it is for women to experience exercise-induced orgasm or exercise-induced sexual pleasure.

However, the authors noted that it took only five weeks to recruit the 370 women who experienced the phenomenon, suggesting it is not rare.