There are a number of reasons to have sex, from trying to get pregnant to reconnecting with your body to simply wanting to feel good. And as we continue to weather a global pandemic that has shut down gyms and harmed our collective mental health, sex can also double as a workout for both the body and the mind. Also, it’s fun. Let’s not forget how extremely fun sex can be. 

Of course, if you’re not feeling like your sexiest self these days, you’re far from alone. As Pia Holec, a psychotherapist and sex relationship expert, tells the Washington Post, “Trauma can cause us to go into fight, flight or freeze. When that happens, our body releases the stress hormone, cortisol. That can cause us to feel withdrawn, and it might be hard to relax or desire intimacy.” The months spent sheltering-in-place, working from home or navigating job loss while simultaneously facilitating at-home e-learning and managing parenting and household responsibilities have been one elongated period of trauma. So at any time, but especially now, you should not feel obligated to have sex, regardless of how physically and mentally beneficial it can be. 

But if you are in the mood, and are looking for a way to get your sweat on while enjoying an orgasm (or three!), then the following sex positions will help you kill two birds with one hot, hot stone. And given that sex has been shown to reduce stress and improve one’s overall mental health, these positions will help your mind as much as your body. 

1. Wall-Sit Reverse Cowgirl

When you’re an athlete, wall-sits are often used as a form of discipline that’s how difficult they can be (and how much they can burn!). But Eric Marlowe Garrison, a clinical psychologist trained in sex counseling and a former group fitness instructor, tells that combining a traditional wall-sit with the reverse cowgirl position can workout “your glutes, quades, and hamstrings.” So while your partner sits in the traditional wall-sit position, with their back against the wall, you face away from them before squatting over them “to control the action.” 

2. Missionary Plank 

No, the missionary position does not have to be “boring,” and this slightly-hybrid version will certainly leave you sweating. With one partner laying in the traditional missionary position, on their back, the partner on top goes into a plank position. Planks are a full-body work out, targeting your abs, your “back, hips, legs, shoulders, and chest,” Jo Gomez, director of training for solidcore, tells Well + Good. You and your partner can then switch, and you’ll be the one planking while they enjoy their “rest period.” 

3. Standing 69 

Personally, I feel like this position sounds like a whole lot of work. But for the power-lifting couples among us, this challenge will certainly pay off in more ways than one. The name says it all: instead of laying down in the 69 position, one partner is standing, while the other is fully upside down with their legs on the other person’s shoulders. The partner upside down can wrap their arms around the other person’s legs to get a more intense workout, or allow the partner who is standing to support their weight fully. Best of luck, champ!

4. Crouching Cowgirl 

This position will have your thighs burning in no time. While your partner lays on their back, straddle them with one leg on both sides. Then, instead of staying on your knees as you would for a traditional cowgirl position, put your feet flat on the floor and/or bed, putting you in a low squat position. When you lift yourself up and down, you’ll start to feel it in your quads. 

5. Lotus 

The lotus position is a great option if you’re into intense eye contact. With a partner sitting in the criss-cross applesauce position, you sit on top of them, wrapping your legs around their waist as you lower yourself on top of them. Then both of you will slowly grind on one another. You’ll be sure to break a sweat and feel truly intimate and close with your partner. 

6. Any position standing 

The sky’s the limit when it comes to standing positions that will get your heartrate up. Whether it’s the standing splits, where you stand in front of your partner then lift one leg up in the air, wrapping it around them or having them hold it;  the reverse piggyback, where your partner stands and holds you up with their arms as you face them and wrap your legs around their waist, as if they were giving you a piggyback in reverse; or the wheelbarrowwhere one partner begins on all fours, while the other partner stands behind them and then carefully begins to lift their legs up, as if they’re ready to compete in a wheelbarrow race, everyone is going to be spent by the time you’ve finished.

7. Chair Pose 

Much like the crouching cowgirl position, this sex pose will have you doing squats while you get your orgasm on. Have your partner sit on a chair, then lower yourself onto them as if you were holding the yoga chair pose. This pose will target your butt, thighs, and core, while allowing you to control depth and speed during sex. 

Finding time to work out and maintain a healthy sex life isn’t easy, and it certainly shouldn’t be treated as an obligation. But if you’re looking for ways to mindfully connect with your partner, or your own body, while getting a workout in, these sex positions will get you pointed in the right direction, be it backwards, forwards, sideways. Well, you get the point.

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