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5 ways pilates can improve your sex life

By Maya Khamala

Rock-hard abs, getting in overall great shape, and cultivating mindfulness are all fantastic reasons to get into Pilates, but guess what? It can also have an incredibly positive impact on your sex life—ya heard it here first!

Developed in the early 20th century by German physical trainer Joseph Pilates, Pilates is a full-body physical system that uses specific targeted exercises to improve strength, flexibility, and posture—with a particular focus on the core, and on the mind-body connection. 

But what does any of this have to do with sex, you ask? Word on the street is that Pilates can help you achieve bigger, better orgasms. Is this really the case?

Consider the following 5 ways a regular Pilates practice can drastically improve your sex life!

1. It improves your relationship with your body.

With self-confidence, you can achieve all things—well, most things, anyway. It’s hardly news that a crappy body image has a negative effect on sexuality in general and female sexuality in particular. Hating on your physical self can greatly reduce sex drive, arousal, and overall sexual satisfaction. But since Pilates is heavily focused on the mind-body connection, it can have a positive effect on how you feel, both mentally and physically. Exercise in general and Pilates in particular can improve your mood, and reduce your stress and anxiety levels. As you practice, you will look and feel different—better. By drawing your attention to the ways in which your body and mind are unified, Pilates can make you more aware of yourself, and self-awareness begets sexual pleasure! How? When you feel good and aligned in body and mind, you tend to have more of an appetite for sex, and more of an openness to pleasure. Plus, it can make you more receptive to sexual partners, and better able to communicate what does and doesn’t work for you.

2. It strengthens your pelvic floor.

This is a big one. For people with vulvas, a strong pelvic floor can improve sex-related sensations and increase the intensity of orgasms. Pelvic floor health is important for people with penises too, as strong pelvic floor muscles can enhance erectile function and help with ejaculatory control. But back to vulvas: while everyone always talks about Kegel exercises for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, simply working through Pilates exercises—which focus on drawing in and up through the center line of the body while breathing—automatically engages and tones the pelvic floor, and the core to boot. The muscles not only become stronger, but more flexible too. In a world where 1 in 13 women report experiencing painful sex, strong and flexible pelvic floor muscles can offer relief. A toned pelvic floor can also mean an enhanced ability to grip more tightly during intercourse, leading to more intense sensation for both parties. And if you're one of the 300 million people around the world suffering from incontinence and avoiding sex as a result, a stronger pelvic floor can help with that too.

3. It increases blood flow.

Fact: in the process of working your pelvic floor muscles, you increase blood flow and circulation to your delicious nether-regions, as well as to the rest of your body. More blood flow means increased sensitivity, which, in turn, means an increased capacity for arousal and desireA study published in the Journal of Andrology monitored 36 women who suffered from some form of sexual dysfunction. The subjects had to attend two Pilates classes per week for 12 weeks and avoid any other form of exercise. At the end of the 12 weeks, the women reported drastic improvements in their sex lives: their levels of desire rose by 136%, and they reported having more orgasms and experiencing less pain during sex—all of which can be attributed to increased blood flow.  

4. It enhances mobility.

Aside from its obvious physicality, sex can be, well, a physical feat. The reality is that some positions and locations you might wish to, um, explore require more flexibility, mobility, and strength than others. Pilates can help make a range of sexual positions more accessible and comfortable, thanks to its ability to dramatically increase your mobility. Don't feel the need to try out any adventurous sex positions? While there may not be a need to get acrobatic about it, consider that the more positions you try, the higher your chances of discovering the sex position(s) that feel best for you personally. Rather than letting stiff muscles, back pain, hip pain, or other injuries get in the way of your erotic potential, why not turn to Pilates? In addition to strengthening the pelvic floor, Pilates is known for its ability to strengthen and lengthen the muscles that can help release tight hip flexors and loosen up the lower spine. A regular practice can correct all kinds of pain by correcting your alignment, and teaching you how to move with your core muscles. Basically, Pilates is a painless way to get stronger and therefore more mobile with less effort.

5. It boosts stamina.

No one wants to get tired too quickly during sex—or any other activity, for that matter. Pilates increases your endurance, teaching you how to move through the world more efficiently—smooth ’n suave, baby. As a result of this economy of movement, shall we say, you can be physically active for a longer period of time—while exerting less energy. The result? Longer-lasting sex and less physically exhausting sex. Really, who doesn’t want that? Marathon anyone? And if you or a partner should happen to experience premature ejaculation/orgasms, Pilates rewires the brain, offering an increased ability to concentrate, and, by extension, exert better control over all bodily functions, orgasms most definitely included!

If you’re totally sold and are ready to integrate Pilates into your routine as a way of revolutionizing your sex life, consider a) signing up for a Pilates class in your neighborhood, b) signing up for a live online Pilates class, or c) starting out by trying out some of the many Pilates classes found on Youtube. Oh, and once you’re really truly convinced, treat yourself to a Pilates ball. That’s all, y’all. Get it. <3

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