Stretches Before Sex? Should You Really Take the Time to Warm Up?
The best sex is spontaneous and impulsive, but even when it’s scheduled, sex should never operate like a typical workout protocol: 10 minutes of warming up followed by seven minutes of foreplay and 13 minutes of penetration.
That said, sex does increase your heart rate and engage your muscles, similar to a cardio workout. If you’re going to be pretzeling your body into any number of sex positions, it’s not wrong to wonder if you should take a moment to stretch beforehand.
Is it important to stretch before sex?
There’s no need to prep yourself against muscle strains immediately before sex, said Alex Miller, a sexologist with Orchid Toys, adding, “Some awkward limbering up pre-coitus just seems like it would disengage the arousal portion of our brain.”
Stretching throughout the day, on the other hand, can do the body (and your sexual adventures) good.
“I do think it’s very important for everyone—young or old, sexually active or not—to maintain flexibility,” Miller said.
Flexibility is often thought of as how far you can reach during, say, a standard toe-touch test. But scientifically, flexibility is the ability of a joint or a series of joints to move through an unrestricted, pain-free range of motion (ahem, like when your partner suddenly tosses your legs over their shoulders).
What are the best stretches to do before sex?
Dynamic stretching—like twisting lunges, high kicks or alternating knee-to-chest exercises—was shown to increase range of motion in a 2019 study in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine.
Regular passive stretching—like lying quad stretches, supine single-leg stretches and butterfly stretches—can improve blood flow throughout the body enough to reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, 2020 research in the Journal of Physiology found.
Stretching throughout the day can do the body (and your sexual adventures) good.
Those benefits are pretty self-explanatory when it comes to health and fitness, but they also apply in the bedroom. The more range of motion you have, the better you’ll move between the sheets, and the easier it will be for you to experiment with various sex positions, said Dainis Graveris, a sex educator at sex toy site SexualAlpha.
As for circulation, well, “the lack of proper blood flow in the body can significantly affect your arousal levels,” Graveris said. It’s difficult to achieve an orgasm when there’s not enough blood flow to the genitals and their surrounding areas, he explained.
How often should you stretch before sex?
Healthy adults should perform flexibility exercises on all the major muscle-tendon groups—neck, shoulders, chest, trunk, lower back, hips, legs, ankles—at least two to three times a week, according to the American College of Sports Medicine’s guidelines.
And if your focus is on Kama Sutra-level contortions, take the time to at least stretch your legs and hips before sex, which will allow for more blood flow to your pelvic area.
“As much as possible, you should incorporate these kinds of exercises each day," Graveris said, "preferably every morning after getting up and before or after working out." Then, there’s no need to interrupt your foreplay for a few quick toe-touches.
If you are feeling a little stiff (and not in the right places…) before getting it on, “an alternative to stretching before sex would be to start with less strenuous positions as you get your heart rate elevated, muscles warmed up and genitals fully aroused,” Miller said. “Then you can shift to the more physically demanding positions.”
Because nothing ruins the mood faster than a pulled muscle.