Crossfit and Sex: should you be worried?

We have passion and drive to train hard. We always give our best and sometimes even our all. But how does that affect the other drive and the different kind of passion: sex!

For sure it all comes down to individual needs and priorities (and attractions!), but let’s have a look what science has to say about our pleasure seeking behaviours, level of intensity, little incidents and correlation between sex and exercise in general.

So let’s start with the definition of Crossfit: constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity (crossfit.com). Keep in mind the word high intensity. Should we be worried?

Exercise-induced

Coregasm is the term used for orgasm induced by exercise. The word core is used as most of those triggering exercises include the activation of core and abdominal muscles. This science-claimed phenomenon was researched with a study from Indiana University, which found out that most women experienced coregasm though abdominal workouts, rope climbs, biking and even weightlifting (1). In general, mostly females should be cautioned about it. Interested in this topic? Read here more.

State of mind matters

If the first chapter was more suited for women, this one goes out to both genders. Our state of mind matters as mental health issues seem to be the biggest sex drive inhibitor. In this case exercise can be considered as a “helping hand”: research from University of Texas assumes that moderate workouts at the right time can significantly improve sexual functioning in people who are being treated for depression (2). In this particular study sexual desire and function were restored with exercising: workouts activated the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and accelerated blood flow to the genital region.

Good findings so far and nothing to worry about, except paying attention to your state of mind and active, healthy life. Nothing we, the Crossfitters are not doing already.

The intensity

It might all depend on the intensity of your MetCons and weightlifting sessions. Physiological sexual arousal is facilitated by the activation of sympathetic nervous system. Another activator of SNS is exercise. But studies suggest that it’s all about the level of activation. Moderate training is well associated with heightened genital arousal, while intense workouts and high SNS activation might inhibit sex drive (3). Remember functional movements performed at relatively high intensity?

Overtraining: reduced performance in all areas of life

Now I probably have your attention. What you actually really have to worry about is overtraining: increase in workout volume/intensity which results in decreased performance in all aspects of life. Too much stress leads from loss of motivation and enthusiasm all the way down to the mental breakdowns and to a very much decreased sex drive. If your daily box sessions are hard, but you keep track with your recovery and regeneration, you should be fine.

Beast mode on

Remember this passion and drive for training from the “intro chapter”? It could be our advantage! Scroll through your memory and think about how you felt the last time you set a new PR? Invincible! Achieving our goals is a form of reward seeking behaviour which generates the so called confidence molecule – neurotransmitter serotonin, the pleasure hormone dopamine and the exhilarating, energy booster adrenaline. When our goals – new PR is achieved, all three facilitate satisfaction and excitement which makes us feel alive, confident and prone to have more pleasure. We call it beast mode! Now use this, the so called “superhuman state of being, in which animal instinct takes over mind and body” in other areas of your life as well. Right? Nothing to worry about at all.

 


1. Debby Herbenick, J. Dennis Fortenberry. Exercise-induced orgasm and pleasure among women.Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 2011;

2. Tierney Ahrold Lorenz, Cindy May Meston. EXERCISE IMPROVES SEXUAL FUNCTION IN WOMEN TAKING ANTIDEPRESSANTS: RESULTS FROM A RANDOMIZED CROSSOVER TRIAL. Depression and Anxiety, 2013 

3. Tierney Ahrold Lorenz, M.A., Christopher B. Harte, M.A., […], and Cindy M. Meston, Ph.D. Evidence for a curvilinear relationship between sympathetic nervous system activation and women’s physiological sexual arousal, Psychophysiology, 2012

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