Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed Life
So you’re familiar with orgasms, yes?
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Well, coregasms are also a thing.
They’re exercise-induced orgasms that seem to originate from the core muscles (think: stomach/abs area). Maybe you’ve seen headlines like these floating around:
Obviously, it’s not as simple as all that, so BuzzFeed Life spoke with leading sex researcher Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., author of The Coregasm Workout, for more information. She’s been leading the coregasm research for the past few years, so she filled us in on everything they know so far.
About 10% of people have experienced a coregasm at least once.
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This according to the 2014 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB), which polled 2,000 Americans about their sex lives. Herbenick and her colleagues found that 10% of men and women reported experiencing an orgasm from exercise, and even more reported getting turned on while working out. So obviously, they kept studying.
Pretty much anyone can have one.
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Regardless of age, gender, or sexual activity, you might have a coregasm at some point in your life. According to the research done so far, there’s nothing specifically unique about people who have coregasms. And most people say that they have them accidentally, says Herbenick. According to her research, the average age that men first report having one is 16 while the average age for women is around 22. But it seems like it can happen anytime really.
Certain exercises can bring them on.
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For women, coregasms were most likely to happen during ab exercises, biking, running, yoga, or climbing. For men, coregasms were most often reported during sit-ups, weight lifting, climbing, running, or chin-ups. Obviously some people had them in other instances, but these were the most common moves that brought them on.
It seems to happen when you’ve exhausted your core muscles.
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“You’re more likely to see them when fatiguing your muscles,” says Herbenick. “Like doing as many crunches as you can or as many leg lifts as you can,” though obviously not sacrificing form or hurting yourself. With less demanding exercises (like sit-ups or planks) it seemed to take more reps or time to bring on a coregasm, but doing something harder (like chin-ups) might lead to a coregasm after only a few reps.
But really, no one is totally sure how or why they happen.
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When Herbenick asked people to describe a coregasm, most people made a V-shaped gesture with their hands and moved it from their lower abs to their groin area, indicating that this is basically where they felt it. There are tons of core muscles and nerve pathways that might be at work here, but just like sexual orgasms, researchers aren’t entirely sure what’s going on and why it happens.
It might be that all of those core muscles are working together with the nerve pathways and your pelvic floor to produce a warm, tingly sensation. Or it could be that your exhausted, shaky muscles lead to some kind of inner stimulation that feels amazing engages other nearby organs. “It kind of bothers me sometimes that we don’t know what causes them, but then I remind myself that we’ve known about the for decades and we still can’t explain that pathway,” she says. Good point.
Male coregasms don’t always involve an erection… but they can involve ejaculate.
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When Herbenick looked specifically at men who had coregasms, she found that many of them said they ejaculated without ever getting erect. “They’re sometimes bypassing erections entirely or having erections that are not quite as strong or as full,” she says. “We know that erection and ejaculation are different things, but you just don’t see many cases where they actually separate out like that.” Although, some men who orgasm from prostate stimulation don’t always have an erection when they ejaculate — and interestingly, some men did say these felt similar to prostate orgasms.
Another fun fact: Most men said these felt more intense than masturbation orgasms but less intense than orgasms they have during sex with a partner.
Female coregasms are described as feeling more like vaginal orgasms than clitoral ones.
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According to women who are able to have orgasms from several different sources, coregasms feel more like deeper, vaginal orgasms than ones you get with clitoral stimulation. “What they were often getting at was that it was very deep and internal rather than kind of sharp and electric in a way that clitoral orgasms can feel,” says Herbenick.
It’s possible to have a coregasm before you’ve had other types of orgasm.
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Not everyone who reported a coregasm had also orgasmed during sex or masturbation. But having coregasms might actually help you finish from other stimulation. “Some women started noticing internally how they tensed their core muscles,” says Herbenick. “They were noticing things like this is how I can intensify it or bring it on more quickly. They took those same lessons and used them during intercourse. For instance, you can tense your abs while you have sex. Some women did that and learned how to move their muscles in these ways or even use similar positions [to what they did in the gym.]”
And even if you don’t coregasm, exercise-induced arousal is definitely a thing.
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Many more people report exercise-induced arousal than exercise-induced orgasm, according to the studies. That sounds about right — orgasms are hard to come by for a lot of people. But in one study where they asked women to modify their workouts to try to have coregasms, more than 60% of them reported exercise-induced arousal after just 10 workouts.
And even without workout modifications, you might just feel turned on while exercising, and that’s totally normal. You’re sweaty, your heart is racing, you’re tuned into your body, and there are lots of . It makes sense.
So if you want to have a coregasm, here are some things you can try.
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After lots of research, Herbenick found a few factors that make coregasm more likely — and might help someone experience it for the first time. We summed them up into a few tips, below. Obviously this isn’t something that will work for everyone (just like no combination of sex acts guarantees an orgasm for everyone), but it’s worth a shot.
– Start with cardio: Arousal and orgasm from exercise seems to be easier after doing some cardio for at least 20-30 minutes. This builds on a lot of previous sex research that finds that activating a woman’s sympathetic nervous system (your fight-or-flight response) through exercise can increase subsequent arousal to sexual stimuli, says Herbenick. So if you get your heart rate up and your sympathetic nervous system engaged before you focus on your core, you might be more likely to feel aroused or have a coregasm.
– Increase intensity / weights / reps: Really fatiguing the core muscles seems to be important for coregasms, so don’t be afraid to up the intensity or increase your weights or reps (but only to the point where you aren’t sacrificing form when doing exercises). It seems to be the case that people with stronger core muscles might need more intense exercise or more reps to bring on a coregasm, so if you’ve already got strong abs, maybe try something a little harder, like chin-ups.
– Pay attention to the order: For many people, going directly from cardio to core work increased arousal and made them more likely to coregasm, says Herbenick. So if you always go from the treadmill to the weight room to the mat, try switching it up. But everyone is different, so if you notice more arousal or tingly feelings when you do pull-ups before cardio, then stick with that!
– Relaaaax: Just like other orgasms, letting go and not stressing out about them is key. So as intense and engaged as you are in your workouts, let your mind kind of zone out and focus on the sensations you’re feeling.
BUT as cool and interesting as they are, DON’T feel like you need to have a coregasm to be complete.
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Just like any other orgasm or sex act — whether it’s G-spot orgasms, , or — don’t feel like you have to have one or you’re broken. Everyone is different and every body works differently.
“It’s always fun to learn something new about your body and explore something,” says Herbenick. “But as with any other kind of sex or stimulation — like G-spot, clitoral, or vaginal — if you like it and it works for you and you want to keep doing it, great! But if you can’t or don’t want to, it shouldn’t be a new standard or new bar.”