The root of sexual attraction is sometimes shrouded in mystery: What actually draws one human being to another? While there’s research suggesting who we are attracted to is decided before we’re born, most of us are aware of what gets our blood pumping. For some, it’s brains. But for others, it’s how great their partner’s neckline looks in a workout top.
Although intellectual allure can be just as sexy as physical appeal, dating culture suggests attraction occurs in the “blink of an eye.” To better understand the roles physical appearance and fitness play in desirability, we surveyed 802 people. Our findings reveal whether a rocking body makes a difference, which fitness activities are likely to get some action, and if sexual satisfaction has anything to do with athleticism. Read on as we explore the role physical fitness plays in the bedroom.
Are You Fit Enough?
There’s a look to physical attraction: Perhaps it’s a smile, eye color, or a snaggletooth, for example. But we’re less concerned with which aesthetic gets you going and more so with fitness levels – think strength, stamina, and sports prowess.
Our findings show that for 9 in 10 people, fitness level has some influence on physical attraction. This was more true for men, compared to women, as they were least likely to express that fitness level does not at all have an impact on attraction. However, when we asked people which physical characteristics they find more attractive, 81% of women said strength compared to 35% of men. Men found a woman’s overall fitness level (77%) most attractive, followed by high flexibility; in fact, flexibility is linked to more fun in the bedroom.
Does This Workout Excite You?
Exercise has many benefits: It can improve your heart health, take your mood from negative to positive, and boost your sex life. Research shows that a good workout may enhance arousal in women and combat erectile dysfunction in men. Perhaps that’s why participants in our study overwhelmingly found physical fitness attractive. However, we also found that they favor certain exercises over others.
Fifty-four percent of women named weightlifting the activity they most like seeing sexual interests engage in. Studies have shown that muscular men tend to have more sexual partners, so people are likely doing more than taking notice. Conversely, only 22% of men reported finding pleasure in watching potential female partners weightlift – they were most interested in yoga (73%), such as downward dog. But if a man is going to watch a woman put on some muscle, he’d most prefer to see her do leg exercises.
Sex and Physical Fitness
As previously mentioned, in both men and women, fitness level can influence physical attraction. But are people doing something about all that magnetism? They sure are, and swimmers are getting the most action. The low-impact water sport is great for cardiovascular health, so it may come as no surprise that those who swim laps are the most sexually active – maybe they’ve got the heart rate to keep going for hours.
When we got more specific and asked our survey participants how often they have sex in a month, there was a link between physical activity and frequency. People who reported being very physically active had sex an average of five times per month. According to therapists, there’s no magic number, but some recommend having sex at least once a week. By those standards, the people in our study who reported not being physically active were slightly behind – they only had sex three times per month.
Our findings also found a correlation between high athletic ability and sexual frequency. Participants who reported having higher levels of strength, sports ability, overall fitness, flexibility, and endurance had sex five times per month, on average. People who said they had low strength and low overall fitness had sex the least number of times – three monthly.
Does Fitness Guarantee Sexual Satisfaction?
Sexual frequency is a good sign, but satisfaction likely indicates that everyone in the partnership is getting their needs met. While a fit person may be tasty eye candy, if they consent to some time between the sheets, and it turns out your body doesn’t meet their standards, they may be more likely to leave feeling frustrated.
Only 72% of people who were fitter than their sexual partner reported being sexually satisfied. When partners were in the same physical shape, they seemed to be more satisfied: Eighty-seven percent of participants who reported sharing a similar body type to their sexual counterpart were sexually satisfied. However, 91% of people with partners possessing high athletic ability in the form of endurance, flexibility, and overall fitness reported being sexually satisfied. Low endurance in a partner was most likely to leave participants feeling dissatisfied.
Although athleticism is arousing, our findings showed that when men and women consider potential partners, they want someone who matches their fitness level. Fifty-six percent of men and 45% of women want a prospective lover to meet their physical capability. But in the case of a hookup, where it’s all about the carnal desire, 35% of women prefered someone fitter than themselves, while men still desired a partner of equal fitness (37%).
Fit Is Sexy, but Likeness Is More Satisfying
No one loses out when you take care of your physical health. You’ll likely look better, feel better, and last longer in the bedroom. Our findings show that physical fitness is sexy in that it has some influence on whether others find you attractive. However, when it comes to sexual satisfaction, it mattered most if two people shared a similar physical appearance and fitness level.
So, if you want to keep the sparks flying in the bedroom, share workouts with your lover. Visit FitRated.com, and start building an at-home gym together. Our reviews, which our team of fitness fanatics research with your specific needs in mind, will guide you to the best treadmills, ellipticals, rowers, and more.
Methodology and Limitations
We surveyed 804 people. The average age of our respondents was 36.54 with a standard deviation of 11.30.
The generational breakdown of respondents was as follows: Silent generation: 2
Baby boomers: 59
Generation X: 236
Generation Z: 47
We asked respondents how frequently they worked out. The breakdown of workout frequency was as follows:
Once a year or less: 9
A few times a year: 28
Once a month: 19
A few times a month: 72
Once a week: 60
A few times a week: 404
More than once per day: 10
The information in this study has not been weighted, therefore it should be used for exploratory purposes only. These data are also self-reported and come with some limitations, which include, but are not limited to, over- or underreporting. There are other factors, such as personal confidence, that may have influenced how respondents answered as well.
The root of sexual attraction remains a mystery, but our findings indicate that physical fitness and ability have a lot to do with what excites us in the bedroom, especially when partners share aptitude. If someone you know would benefit from our findings, please share for noncommercial purposes. All we ask is that you link back here, so fitness fans can view the entire project and review the methodology and limitations.