Men Should Avoid This Type Of Exercise Before Having Sex

Let's take a moment to think about all the things we look for when it comes to good sex: stamina and agility in the bedroom, feeling good in your mind and your body, elevated libido levels, and perhaps even good heart health. And exercise is known to help in all of these areas.

So it makes sense that you should exercise before sex, right? Yes and no. While some exercises might help with improved blood flow to your nether regions and even be a boost when it comes to flexibility, there is one type of exercise men shouldn't be engaging in before sex: intense exercise. 

Intense workouts, like strength training, CrossFit, bootcamp, and even cycling for long hours before sex can all have negative consequences when it comes to how ready or energized you feel in the bedroom. If you're exhausted, hurting all over, and your body just wants to crash after working out, then it makes sense that you avoid that type of exercise before sex. With cycling, pain from having continuous pressure on the areas near your bum and nether regions can be a turnoff for some people. That being said, exercise can actually boost your sex life too. Let's take a look at the general relationship between type, length, and intensity of exercise and how they impact your time in the bedroom.

Exercise and sexual appetite: What does science say?

Cardio exercises have long been credited with improving blood flow to all parts of your body, including your genital area. And this is crucial when it comes to sexual arousal and preventing erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. "Anything that supports the cardiovascular system is going to support a man or woman's sexual response," shared sex therapist and educator Laura Berman with CNN. "The healthier your blood flow, the better your arousal." 

A 2019 study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, which looked at self-reported levels of sexual function in 3,906 men and 2,264 women, found that engaging in higher levels of cardiovascular exercise was inversely related with ED in the male participants. Meanwhile, a 2023 study in Trends in Urology and Men's Health found that physical exercise, including running and pelvic floor exercises, is as effective as pharmaceutical methods when it comes to treating premature ejaculation. Strength training is known to elevate the sex hormone testosterone for a short time post-exercise. 

However, according to a 2017 study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Science, regular exercise in the forms of lots of chronically intense workouts or longer periods of endurance training is linked with decreased libido in men. According to study author Anthony Hackney, there's an inverted U when it comes to exercise: while your sex drive will experience a boost up to a certain point because of how it affects your sympathetic nervous systems, beyond that point, you're probably going to want to stop having sex (via Women's Health). 

What does this mean for exercise before sex?

When it comes to finding natural ways to boost your sex drive, moderation seems to be the key. You want to hit that sweet spot of elevated energy levels, improved sex drive, stress relief, a mental health boost, and feeling confident in your body, but not go overboard and negatively impact energy levels and libido. Over-focusing on training can be a mood killer in itself. Your priorities might not include spending time with your partner, when you're only focused on exercising, meal-prepping, and protein shakes.

That being said, experts do think some types of exercises help when it comes to sexual performance if you engage in them before sex. Yoga, for instance, can relax your mind and body and improve flexibility. Running outdoors (not endurance running), preferably with your partner, can boost intimacy and get your blood flow going to all the right places. 

According to Pam Spurr, a sex and relationship expert and author of "Sex Academy: Essential Lessons in Seduction and Spectacular Sex" (via Muscle and Fitness), some forms of exercise can actually be a type of foreplay, like dancing. Becoming aware of your body and engaging in a sensual workout with your partner can boost levels of intimacy and make way for a better sexual experience. Safe to say, use your better judgment (with the help of science) to decide what type of exercise you want to engage in before getting intimate with your partner.