I want to talk about a kind of weird but very cool natural phenomenon. And a pretty good reason to hit the gym, although it has nothing to do with why people usually go.
Never heard of it? I hadn’t either, until my friend told me their story.
Let me set the scene for you.
I spent the majority of my teenage years believing the patriarchal idea that female sexual pleasure is something to be ashamed of. I thought masturbation was dirty – something my vulva-owning friends and I definitely shouldn’t do. Aged 21, I’d never tried it.
I had a bit of sex at university, most of which was centred around penis in vagina activity and male orgasm. Looking back, I wonder if things would have been different if I’d had the opportunity to explore my body and pleasure earlier.
Anyway, the happy news is that I finally did discover self-pleasure, all because of something that happened to me one day at the gym…
Sexual pleasure from…. exercise?
After university, I started going to the gym more and I did a lot of core exercises. I usually finished my session with some hanging leg raises on the frame designed specifically for that purpose.
Hanging leg raises are hard, especially when you do loads in a row. One day, I was on the tenth leg raise when I felt a sensation from inside my body, somewhere between my stomach and vulva.
It felt good. Really good. A more intense version of that feeling when you cross your legs together really hard and squeeze, but less intense than an orgasm.
I kept going until the feeling subsided and then dropped down from the frame. I felt amazed, embarrassed and empowered all at the same time.
Amazed at what my body could do, embarrassed because it still felt dirty and wrong. Empowered because I just made myself feel really good in a room full of people and no one noticed. While not related to sexual activity or even sexual thoughts, there’s no question it felt like a mini-orgasm.
I see this experience as somewhat of a “pleasure awakening”. I went home and tried some more things out for myself…
Caleigh’s story was new to me – I’d never heard about this from sex education or discussed it with my other friends, so I turned to Google. I found pages and pages of articles called things like ‘How to have a coregasm‘ and ‘5 exercises that could give you an orgasm’.
I also looked for academic research and found very little. Don’t get me started on how vulvas and everything that comes with them are under-researched!!
I did find one 2011 study considering exercise-induced orgasm and pleasure among women. Here are some key points from it:
- Of the 530 people replying to an internet survey over 5 weeks, 124 (24%) reported an exercise-induced orgasm (EIO). 246 (46%) reported exercise-induced sexual pleasure (EISP).
- The existence of exercise-induced orgasms challenges the idea that orgasms are always sexual experiences.
- We know little about the science behind WHY they happen. But if we could find out, it might help us understand the physical process of orgasms – precisely because they’re not associated with sex.
- Many women feel under pressure to orgasm during sexual activity. Because EIO removes the sexual activity part, it provides an alternative avenue to explore women’s connections with orgasms.
- Like Caleigh’s, lots of the reported experiences of EIO and EISP were associated with core exercises, especially on the hanging leg raise frame.
- Muscular contractions and pressure within the pelvic area could cause the phenomenons. Although pressure on what, they don’t know. We need a better understanding of the clitoris structure!
- It might not happen to everyone. This fits with discussions I’ve had with other friends who’ve never experienced it, despite doing core exercises.
Caleigh: I wanted to share this story because every time I experience it, I feel in awe of what my body can do. But I also feel sad for 16 – 21 year old me and for all the other women – young and old – who’ve internalised society’s message that female sexual pleasure is deeply shameful.
Without the coregasm experience, I wonder when I would have taken me to feel confident exploring pleasure – and let’s face it, start properly enjoying sex. Like many other people, I don’t usually orgasm from penetrative sex alone and often need clitoral stimulation too.
Katy: It shouldn’t take something completely accidental and unexpected for someone to overcome the shame associated with female sexual pleasure. Thinking back to school, my experience fits with Cayleigh’s – no one explicitly said “masturbation is bad” – somehow, I just knew. A large part of this was the deafening silence around it, in conversations with my friends, family and in sex education.
I hope stories like this one might go some way to show younger people especially that it’s not shameful. It’s just in fact, a normal part of life. It feels good, it helps you understand your body. It makes sex better. What’s not to love?
Picture source: Pinterest.
Originally posted https://www.theawarenessproject.blog/exercise-induced-sexual-pleasure/