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I don’t know about you but I don’t find anything about working out to be sexual. Yes, there’s sweating and huffing and puffing but not the kind that turns me on, unless there happens to be an attractive trainer in the gym that day getting it in or we’re talking about a pole class. But I digress.

Turns out, there are some women who experience orgasms while working out—about 40 percent actually—according to a new study by Debby Herbenick, co-director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University. In a small online survey of 124 women who had experienced exercise-induced orgasms and 246 women who reported exercise-induced sexual pleasure, these women stated they had experienced these sensations on more than 11 occasions. For the orgasm group, most said they weren’t having a sexual fantasy or thinking about someone they were attracted too either, it just sort of happened in the midst of their workout.

In terms of which exercises caused arousal, about 45 percent said their first experience was linked to abdominal exercises; 19 percent to biking/spinning; 9.3 percent linked to climbing poles or ropes; 7 percent reported a connection with weight lifting; and 7 percent running; while the rest noted various exercises like yoga, swimming, elliptical machines, and aerobics.

In a set of open-ended questions about the sensations, abdominal exercises tied to orgasms were particularly associated with movements in which a person supports their weight on their forearms on what’s called a captain’s chair with padded arm rests and then lifts their knees toward their chest. The orgasms also tended to occur after  after multiple sets of crunches when a woman had really exerted herself.

Dr. Herbernick says this topic has been largely understudied but, “It may be that exercise, which is already known to have significant benefits to health and well-being, has the potential to enhance women’s sexual lives as well,” although it’s not clear whether these exercises can actually enhance women’s experience during sex.

I’m usually so tired and out of breath by the end of my workout the only thing that feels pleasurable to me is stopping, but if there’s such a thing as a runner’s high, it doesn’t seem all that odd for women to experience sexual sensations during a good exercise session.

What do you think? Have you ever felt any type of sexual pleasure or exhilaration during a workout?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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