How to Have—or Not Have—a Coregasm
Written by: Denise John, PhD
Published on: February 2, 2023
You might think the only outcome of doing 200 crunches is sheer exhaustion. But some people—as a result of muscle fatigue—also experience orgasm.
Coregasms, also known as orgasms caused by exercising, are a scientifically studied phenomenon. Strongly engaging the core muscles through abdominal work is known to lead to them (hence the name).
“[Women] will describe them as feeling like a vaginal penetration type of orgasm rather than an external clitoral-induced orgasm,” says Debby Herbenick, PhD, MPH, the author of The Coregasm Workout and the director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University. “When men experience it, they usually don’t have erections. They go right from a flaccid penis to ejaculation, so it’s more like a prostate orgasm for them rather than a penile orgasm.”
Scientists aren’t sure what causes abdominal exercises to lead to orgasms, but it could involve some activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which may facilitate the early stages of arousal. They do know that it’s not because of external stimulation. “Even the people who have them from climbing poles will say, ‘It is not about rubbing my clitoris or my penis. It’s internal,’” Herbenick says.
When you feel a coregasm coming on, you can continue with your exercise and let it flow. Herbenick says that if you’re in a gym or other public place, it probably won’t be obvious to others that you’re having one.
If that sounds like something you want to try, common exercises are known to bring them on. Doing them won’t guarantee you’ll have one—only about 10 percent of people have coregasms. But if you’re willing to do an intense workout and push your muscles to exhaustion (this is key to having a coregasm), you’ll increase your chances. If you want to avoid having a coregasm, in the gym or anywhere else, Herbenick suggests that you simply add rest time between reps or exercises (or do fewer reps)—that seems to keep them at bay, since your muscles are less likely to get too strained.
1. Sit-ups and crunches. “When we’ve surveyed and interviewed women, very often they talk about having exercise-induced orgasms from crunches or sit-ups,” says Herbenick. “But not just 5 or 10 of them. We’re talking sometimes 100 or 200.”
2. Captain’s chair leg raises. This one is a gym classic. It’s the exercise using the captain’s chair, which is a piece of equipment that looks like a chair without a seat and has a very erect back cushion and horizontal arm cushions with vertical handles to grip with your hands. Doing leg raises in one of these is straightforward: Step into the captain’s chair. Hold your upper body still and start with your legs hanging straight down, then raise your knees to your chest (or raise your legs straight at a 90-degree angle to your upper body). Lower your legs and repeat. To increase the intensity, use ankle weights.
3. Strength training. Herbenick says that it’s typically men who report that weight lifting—squats, bench presses, dead lifts—or repeatedly lifting heavy objects for work, like construction or airport baggage-handling, leads to coregasms for them, but women may also experience coregasms from strength training. Lifting your body weight by climbing poles, ropes, and trees can also do the trick.
4. Cardio. It’s less common for people to experience coregasms with light aerobic exercise, but it’s not impossible. “When people get very active, such as [when] they’re running or doing the elliptical for 20 minutes or longer, they will sometimes describe going into a state where they can actually feel the orgasmic feelings start to happen,” says Herbenick. Intense biking, spinning, and swimming can also bring on a coregasm.
Going directly from an intense cardio workout to core exercises without a break to let your muscles recover could help, too. “For some people [it] seems to enhance their arousal and lead them to a state where they’re more likely to experience orgasm,” says Herbenick.
5. Yoga. Some people have coregasms from doing yoga, too—more women report this than men. It’s rarer than the other types of coregasms, but it happens, especially with poses that engage the core and create relaxation.
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This article is for informational purposes only, even if and regardless of whether it features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The views expressed in this article are the views of the expert and do not necessarily represent the views of goop.