Pilates for Better Sex
The obvious blog post for Valentine's Day is how Fuse Pilates can improve your sex life. Not to disappoint, Fuse instructor Monica Shores tackled the topic. This post has been Rated R, and contains content that is inappropriate for anyone under the age of 18, and some people above the age of 18. Please read at your own discretion, and it's probably best to avoid reading it at work. Sigh. It’s Valentine’s Day (almost) and even though I have a fella who’ll be wining and dining me on the 14th—or at least, he better be!—this is a holiday that always makes me roll my eyes. What’s up with all the pink and red, the overwrought heart shapes, the thigh-sabotaging chocolate? Romance is all well and good, but has no marketing professional gotten the memo that we modern women are sometimes equally interested in—or dare I say, even more interested in—the raunchy final act after the fancy dinner? Hallmark might think most women want a chaste kiss on the cheek and some time alone with candy, but at Fuse, we know differently. And a Pilates blog is actually the perfect place to talk about sex, because Pilates, even more so than other forms of exercise, can be a uniquely positive boon to your carnal life. Let’s start with the more obvious angles. Almost any activity that gets you moving your body, toning your muscles, and burning calories, is likely to have a positive impact on your overall sense of wellbeing, energy level, and self-esteem. That means that after only a few Fuse Pilates classes, you might be feeling energized and encouraged enough to be more adventurous than usual. (We all have different thresholds as to what constitutes “wild,” so for one person that might mean keeping all the lights on while for another it might mean getting frisky after dark in Meridian Park. No judgment!) However it manifests itself, confidence in your body and extra energy to burn translates to one very pleasant date for your lucky Valentine. But what makes Pilates extraordinarily sex-friendly? For one thing—as you Fuse addicts already know—it’s obsessively focused on the core, that column of back and abdominal muscles that power so many of your body actions, particularly while you’re horizontal. How many moves do you do in bed that rely primarily on arm or leg strength? (If you answered “most of them” then, wow—I would love to see you in action sometime. How would that even work?) Think of all those pelvic tilts you do in preparation for bridge; your core muscles guide and stabilize the hips in a variety of positions, including during suspension. Why else do you think we instructors are so insistent about you keeping your hips level, ribs in, and tailbone tucked when you’re pulsing in the air? (And yes, I do expect to see this new mental connection manifesting itself through some fierce shoulder-bridging this month!) Working deeply into your core through Pilates doesn’t just build strength, it also builds flexibility. For example, I’d bet that most of you can twist more deeply now than you could before you regularly took classes. When you’re wrapped up around another body, an increased range of motion helps you stay connected to one another while improvising new positions or simply angling to be more comfortable. Or let’s say you’re lying under someone and you want to give them a kiss. What lifts your shoulders and head? That’s right: your upper abdominals - the one abdominal region you guys almost never request! (Let’s not repeat this mistake in the future.) At the risk of making our particularly shy readers really blush, let’s get even more intimate. Pilates isn’t just about the G-rated core; it’s also about the lower core, i.e. the pelvic floor. We don’t explicitly cue “pelvic floor” much in group classes and that’s partially because we don’t have to; you’re recruiting it automatically with many of our exercises. However, you may have heard a few of us say “draw your sit bones together,” which is a more expansive way to envision the muscles around the genitals engaging than the “stop your pee,” Kegel-style standard instruction. If that’s still too subtle and esoteric, you can trick these muscles into contracting with a cough or a laugh. Do you feel how the area of the perineum pulls in and up automatically when you strongly engage your core as a whole? As an alternative to constantly laughing or coughing during sex to create a desired “squeeze” effect, why not see if you can teach those muscles to respond on command through regular Pilates work? So there you have it: Pilates can vastly improve your sex life, in a variety of ways. If you’re already living out the blissful side effects of your Fuse efforts, know that your after-class glow is all the thanks we need. But may I suggest you treat yourself to an equally Fuse-enhanced partner? After all, if these are the effects when just one of you is a Pilates devotee, imagine the possibilities if both of you were shoulder-bridging and teaser-ing several times a week. In addition to her work at Fuse Pilates, Monica keeps herself busy as a freelance writer. Her portfolio includes work for The Guardian, Alternet, Huffington Post, The Best Sex Writing 2010, Ms., DCist, and Nerve.