Sizing Up Sexercise

The Dish

Gretchen Reynolds examines research on the extent to which sex is exercise:

[Professor of exercise science Antony D.] Karelis and his colleagues recruited 21 young heterosexual committed couples … and had them jog on treadmills for 30 minutes, while researchers monitored their energy expenditure and other metrics, in order to provide a comparison for the physical demands of sex. The scientists next gave their volunteers unobtrusive armband activity monitors that gauge exertion in terms of calories and METs, or metabolic equivalent of task, a physiological measure comparing an activity to sitting perfectly still, which is a 1-MET task. Then the scientists sent the couples home, instructing them to complete at least one sex act a week for a month while wearing the armbands, and to fill out questionnaires about how each session made them feel, physically and psychologically, especially compared with running on the treadmill.

When the researchers analyzed all…

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