By Simone Paget
A few years ago, I was helping clean out my Mom’s storage room — a cramped space filled to the brim with sewing supplies, long-forgotten craft projects and dusty bookshelves — when I came across a disturbing discovery. The offending item: a book from the early 1970s called Sexercises, a cringe-worthy tome that promised to help improve your sex life through simple everyday exercises. Inside the book I found page after page of black and white photographs featuring leotard-clad men and women gazing into each other’s eyes, stretching and thrusting their hips with the wild abandon and enthusiasm of a late 1990s Ricky Martin video.
I’ve since learned that my sister purchased the book second hand as a joke, but at the time the mere thought of my parents using this guidebook for it’s uh, intended purposes almost made me call my therapist.
As shudder-inducing as it is to imagine our parents (or to be frank, ourselves) doing exercises with names like the “Rising Phoenix” or “The Backward Bull” for the sake of a better orgasm, the author ofSexercises, Edward O’Relly (who penned the book in 1967) was onto something.
Moving our bodies and strengthening key areas can help increase libido and set the stage for more powerful orgasms. Given the current state of the world, it’s safe to say that many of us could use a little more mojo right now.
To get more information, I consulted Dr. Myles Spar, chief medical officer at Vault Health. If you’re looking to improve your libido this winter, here are a few things to try that don’t involve potentially traumatizing future generations.
1. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT is one of the most effective workouts you can do, and it can also bump up your libido. “Intense cardiovascular exercise like HIIT is an excellent way to blow off steam because it lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body,” says Dr. Spar. As he reminds us, “keeping your stress in check is crucial for maintaining a healthy sex drive.”
If you think yoga is just for women, it’s time to change your mindset in 2021. A 2010 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine said that yoga improves all sexual functions in men, including desire, performance, erection, and ejaculation control.
Yoga can have a positive effect for all bodies and genders. “Because yoga involves stretching and getting your energy flowing, the practice has the potential to improve your libido and also helps with flexibility, which your partner(s) will likely appreciate,” says Dr. Spar.
Kegel exercises, where you squeeze your pubococcygeus (PC) muscles – the ones you use to stop the flow of urine mid-stream—can lead to better sexual endurance and control for all bodies. The best part: you can do them anywhere without anyone being the wiser. It’s a great way to make those long grocery store lineups a little more interesting. Vagina owners can also get some extra help from insertable devices like the Elvie Trainer, a kegel trainer designed to strengthen the pelvic floor for improved bladder control, faster postnatal recovery and enhanced intimacy.
There’s a reason why a lot of the exercises featured in O’Relly’sSexerciseslook similar to what you’d do in a Pilates class.
“Beyond strengthening the deep muscles of the pelvic floor, pilates helps mobilize the entire pelvis by unlocking tight hips and loosening lower spines,” writes Susi May in POPSUGAR Fitness. Pilates not only help tone your abs, it can also increase flexibility, mobility and lead to stronger, more powerful orgasms.
5. Dancing it out
Never underestimate the power of a good at-home dance session that involves your favourite tunes. If you’re overwhelmed by workout options, start by simply moving. Do some chair yoga. Stretch. Walk. Twerk like nobody’s watching. Anything you can do to feel good and more connected to your body is going to pay off in the bedroom.