Researchers at the University of Quebec at Montreal studied 21 heterosexual couples and the energy they expended during sex to ultimately determine how many calories it burns in relation to traditional forms of exercise.
The couples were asked to wear armbands that collected data while they engaged in four separate sexual encounters over the course of a month. The data they retrieved was factored in with the participants height and weight to determine how many calories they burned. The number varied from couple to couple, but on average they found that male participants burned 4.2 calories per minute and women burned 3.1. That would equate to 101 calories for men and 69 for women during an active 30-minute love-making session, which wouldn't be a match for a good cardio workout.
By comparison, The American Council on Exercise says the general estimate for calories burn while running one mile is approximately 100. The number varies by individual and body weight is a key factor. For example, a person who weighs 120 pounds would burn 11.4 calories per minute while a person 180 pounds would burn 17 calories per minute. Review the council's calorie burning chart for various activities by weight.
Making it last longer, will definitely help burn more calories since the longer you're aerobically active, the more calories you will burn.
Aside for being enjoyable for most people, sex has many other health benefits aside from burning calories, including:
- Increasing cognition in older adults
- Getting a good night's sleep by releasing the hormone prolactin, which helps you fall asleep.
- Improve bladder control by strengthening pelvic floor muscles.
- It works muscles that you don't always utilize in a gym workout.