Heart Rate, Rate-Pressure Product, and Oxygen Uptake During Four Sexual Activities

Joseph G. Bohlen, James P. Held, M. Olwen Sanderson, Robert P Patterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

185 Scopus citations


Heart rate, rate-pressure product, and Vo2 were measured in ten healthy men during four specified sexual activities: coitus with husband on top, coitus with wife on top, noncoital stimulation of husband by wife, and self-stimulation by husband. Foreplay generated slight, but statistically significant, increases above resting baseline in cardiac and metabolic variables. From stimulation through orgasm, average effort was modest for relatively short spans. Maximum exercise values occurred during the brief spans of orgasm, then returned quickly to near baseline levels. The two noncoital activities required lower expenditures than the two coital positions, with man-on-top coitus rating the highest. Large variations among subjects and among activities discourage use of a general equivalent activity for comparison, such as “two flights of stairs,” to represent “sexual activity.”

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1745-1748
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Internal Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1984


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