When it comes to the most enjoyable form of exercise, sex is a clear winner. Whether you're attempting various adventurous positions or keeping it simple, you could be burning a serious amount of calories while you do the deed.
“Passionate kissing by itself can burn around two calories per minute," sexologist and biomechanics coach Ness Cooper says. "You could end up burning just as much as some less intense 15-minute exercise programmes burn."
Cooper, who is a sexpert at LoveHoney, adds that sex can "activate all kinds of muscles".
"Make sure you add in foreplay as a warm-up to your workout-style sex session," she advises. "This will not only prepare your body but can burn up to 100 calories per hour."
So which sex position burns the most calories? The so-called "butter churner" comes out tops. Not for the inflexible, essentially, the woman lies on her back with her legs raised above and behind her head. Her partner then squats and penetrates her from above.
This positions is estimated to burn up to 211 calories per half hour, reveals healthcare website From Mars who shared their findings from their custom-made sexercise calculator.
Second is the standing position which can burn up to 198 calories in 30 minutes. However, according to previous research, this position results in one of the lowest rates (17%) of orgasm for women.
Doggy-style is the position that ranks in third place, with up to 182 calories burned in half an hour. Happily for women, it's the position that research has shown makes most women orgasm (79%).
Spooning may not seem the most energetic of positions, but even this position is estimated to burn up to 100 calories per 30 minutes.
And even oral sex can be a calorie burner with the '69' position burning up to 78 calories.
"For reverse cowgirl, you are going to want to be sure to stretch beforehand," LoveHoney sex educator Javay Frye-Nekrasova says. "If your legs aren't used to being in the squatting position for extended amounts of time, it is the best way to minimise the chances of a sudden cramp. If you know you are going to want to do reverse cowgirl more often, then adding some leg workouts into your regiment would be a good idea."
She adds that, for the standing up position, you shouldn't be afraid to use additional support. "If you are standing up against a wall you can add a pillow for comfort. You can be standing and use a table or chair for added support."
For doggy style, Frye-Nekrasova says it can be worth strengthening your wrists if you will be holding yourself up for an extended period of time.
"You can also add sex position pillows for added comfort and stability in doggy style. You can stretch before doggy style by doing the child's pose yoga position," she advises.
Burning calories and keeping fit aren't the only health benefits of sex. Research has shown that engaging in intercourse can help lower your blood pressure, promote better sleep quality, reduce physical and mental stress, as well as improving self-esteem.
"The good or happy hormones that are released during sexual activity are one of the psychological benefits of sex. Endorphins and oxytocin are released which can help you to be more relaxed," Frye-Nekrasova explains. "Other psychological benefits include stress relief, strengthening of the immune system, and a better night's sleep."
Sex is also a great workout for a woman’s pelvic floor muscles – the muscles that control orgasms and also stem the flow of urine, reducing leakage and incontinence.
Pregnancy and the menopause can weaken these muscles significantly, but the stronger they are, the lower your risk of developing stress incontinence and prolapse later.
Several studies have found that regular sex can ward off heart attacks, not bring them on as it was once feared.
And sex can actually help keep you looking younger as the hormone oestrogen is pumped out during sex, which can in turn have a plumping effect on the skin, helping to smooth out those fine lines.
As if we needed an excuse to swap the gym for our beds...
This piece was first published in May 2022 and has been updated
Watch: The best sex positions to lose weight