8 Exercises for Women That Support a Healthy Sex Life

Child's pose is one exercise that can help strengthen the pelvic floor.
Image Credit: Sylvia Becerra Gonzalez/iStock/GettyImages

An exercise routine comes with many benefits like strong muscles, reduced risk of chronic illnesses and improved mental health. But in addition to the usual reasons you work out, certain exercises can improve your sexual health, too.

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It starts with targeting and strengthening muscles in the pelvic floor. "The pelvic floor is a big bulb of muscles that sits inside the pelvis," explains Emma Boyd, DPT, a pelvic floor physical therapist at Exchange Physical Therapy, Hoboken, New Jersey. "It supports organs, sexual function, helps with bowel and bladder control and diaphragmatic breathing."

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And pelvic floor exercises go beyond just kegels, Boyd says. The pelvic floor is essential for everyone, and needs to be able to fully contract and relax for healthy sexual function. That's why the exercises below target proper breathing and specific pelvic floor muscles to help strengthen them.

A Note on Language

Here at LIVESTRONG.com, we carefully consider language surrounding sex and gender. We typically avoid language that implies a sex or gender binary in favor of more inclusive language.

In this article we are offering exercise suggestions for people with vaginas to support their sexual health. There are also exercises for people with penises that can improve their sexual health.

More research is needed to more fully understand how exercises may or may not affect sexual health in people taking hormones as part of gender-affirming care.

Boyd recommends doing the following exercises every other day for 2 sets of 15 reps each (or 2 sets of 30 seconds).

1. Adductor Rock

Sets 2
Reps 15
  1. Start in a kneeling position, then extend one leg out to the side.
  2. Place both hands on the floor in front of you.
  3. Hinge backward from your hips while keeping a flat back, then rock your hips forward again. That's 1 rep.
  4. Continuing gently rocking back and forth for all your reps, then switch sides.

2. Child's Pose

Time 30 Sec
  1. Start on your hands and knees, with your wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Keep your spin neutral.
  2. Bring your toes together to touch, keep your knees hip-width apart.
  3. Sit back into your hips.
  4. Fully extend your arms out in front of you.
  5. Hold this pose for 30 seconds.

3. Exercise Ball Diaphragmatic Breathing

Sets 2
Reps 15
  1. Sit upright on an exercise ball and place both of your feet firmly on the ground. You can sit on the edge of a chair or couch if you don't have an exercise ball.
  2. Place your hands on your abdomen.
  3. Inhale and relax your core, allowing your ribs to expand.
  4. Exhale and contract your pelvic floor muscles. That's 1 rep.
  5. Continuing inhaling and exhaling until you've finished all your reps.

4. Lying Down Diaphragmatic Breathing

Sets 2
Reps 15
  1. Lie flat on a mat (or any soft surface) with your knees bent and your feet planted firmly about 6 inches from your glutes.
  2. Place your hands on your abdomen.
  3. Inhale and relax your core, allowing your ribs to expand.
  4. Exhale and contract your pelvic floor muscles. That's 1 rep.
  5. Continuing inhaling and exhaling until you've finished all your reps.

5. Glute Bridge March

Sets 2
Reps 15
  1. Lie flat on a mat with your knees bent and your feet planted on the ground. They should be about hip-width apart and 6 inches from your glutes.
  2. Press your heels into the floor and lift your hips, engaging your glutes and core.
  3. With your hips still raised, lift one knee toward your chest.
  4. Return that foot to the ground. That's 1 rep.
  5. Lift the other knee toward your chest.
  6. Continue alternating legs.

6. Happy Baby

Time 30 Sec
  1. Lie flat on your back on a mat.
  2. Bring your knees into your chest with your feet facing the ceiling.
  3. Keeping your knees bent, reach for the insides of your feet. If you can't reach that far, grab your shins or however far you can safely reach.
  4. Spread your knees apart and gently rock from side to side.
  5. Hold for 30 seconds.

7. Hip Controlled Articular Rotation (CAR)

Sets 2
Reps 15
  1. Start on your hands and knees, with your wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Keep your spin neutral.
  2. Pull your left knee in toward your chest, then extend it out to the side and circle it back behind you, ending back under your left hip.
  3. Reverse directions and circle your left knee backwards, out to the side, then forward. That's 1 rep.
  4. Complete all your reps on one side before switching legs.

8. Yogi Squat and Twist

Sets 2
Reps 15
  1. Start standing with your feet hip-width apart and slightly turned outward.
  2. Squat down, bringing your tailbone toward the floor.
  3. Keep your feet flat on the ground and place your hands on the floor in front of you.
  4. Reach your right arm toward the ceiling and twist your chest open to the right.
  5. Repeat on the left side. That's 1 rep.
  6. Continue alternating sides until you complete all 15 reps.

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Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.

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