“Believe it or not, we do get clients that come in complaining about pain they're experiencing as a result of having sex,” says Jeff Brannigan, program director at Stretch*d, a stretching-focused recovery studio based in New York City. “When you're inflexible, you'll be more likely to hurt yourself doing everyday activities—and sex is no exception.”
“Even if you don't get sore after sex, it's still a good idea to stretch since stretching improves blood flow and increases flexibility.” —Shamyra Howard, sexologist
Shamyra Howard, LCSW, a sexologist with sexual-health brand Lovehoney, says many positions require us to use myriad muscle groups during penetrative sex, like arms, core, glutes, hips, and thighs. And since she says one of the most common sex injuries is a pulled muscle, it only makes sense that we prioritize stretching as an important part of our post-sex ritual. “Even if you don't get sore after sex, it's still a good idea to stretch since stretching improves blood flow and increases flexibility,” adds Howard.
Brannigan agrees, noting that prevention is the name of the game with post-coital stretches. “Rather than playing catchup and waiting until something hurts to deal with it, it's best to keep things healthy and active," he says. "That way you'll stay in the game and off the sidelines.”
Ready to get stretched out? Read on for three expert-backed post-coital stretches to avoid feeling sore the next day.
3 post-coital stretches you can do to prevent sex-related soreness
1. Gloating Glutes, a glute stretch
Commonly referred to as simply the “glutes,” the three gluteal muscles (the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus) make up the buttocks area—which is often used during penetrative sex involving thrusting.
“The strength of the glutes can make it easier to move in different positions and support the body when transitioning into different positions. The glutes can be helpful for thrusting and rocking the pelvic back and forth during pleasuring,” says sex therapist Shannon Chavez, PsyD.
How to do it: Lay on your back with legs straight. Lift your right leg up toward the chest and gently pull it toward you with your hands. As you pull, rotate the hip so the right knee goes toward the right shoulder and the right ankle goes toward the left shoulder. Hold the stretch for two to three seconds before setting the leg back down to start with the left leg. Repeat six to eight times.
2. Side Sweep*r, an inner leg stretch
Some people might notice a bit of tension in the hips and inner legs after sexual activities involving thrusting—which could easily be alleviated by post-coital stretches. This stretch targets the inside of the upper leg and reduces groin pain, hip pain, and lower back pain. Since the movement is in an outward motion, it can help relieve pain and tension you feel around your hips.
How to do it: Lay on your back with your legs straight and a stretching strap wrapped around the arch of your right foot. Keeping the toes pointed toward the ceiling, slide the right leg away from you so the heel glides along the floor. Assist by pulling on the strap out to the side of your body. Repeat on your left leg.
3. Stretch*d Squad, a quads stretch
The quadriceps are a muscle many people use in their everyday life, and having flexible quads can reduce pressure on the hips and lower back. Especially in the doggy-style sex position, the quads are used a lot, so this stretch is perfect.
How to do it: Lay on your left side. Bend your left knee and slide that leg up toward the chest as high as you can. Grab your right ankle with the right hand and your left knee with your left hand. Kick your right leg as far back as you can and assist by pulling with the right hand. Hold the stretch for two to three seconds before resetting the leg forward. Repeat six to eight times before switching sides.–
- Magon, Navneet, and Sanjay Kalra. “The orgasmic history of oxytocin: Love, lust, and labor.” Indian journal of endocrinology and metabolism vol. 15 Suppl 3,Suppl3 (2011): S156-61. doi:10.4103/2230-8210.84851
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