Study suggests people lie about sex, exercise
The "Observer-Expectancy Effect" can alter the behavior of research subjects. (Getty Images)
Various media outlets are reporting on a new study that suggests sex is a better form of exercise than walking.
The New York Post headline says “Sex can be good, but not great, exercise.”
But let’s take a closer gander at the study by researchers at Montreal’s University of Quebec and reveal its myriad flaws.
- The study strapped sensors to 21 heterosexual couples ages 18 to 35. Why is this a flaw? People in that age range probably burn the most calories during sex, which skews the average.
- Most sex session lasted 25 minutes, the study alleges. Hmmmm … that seems a bit on the long side. Are the people of Canada missing entire sitcoms to have sex? This seems unlikely.
- Some sessions lasted almost an hour. Were people in this study snorting Viagra? Normal people don’t routinely have sex for an hour. Heck, I’ve never seen it go more than a few minutes in a movie and those people are in shape and good looking.
- The shortest session recorded was 10 minutes. Call me crazy, but I can easily envision a man tasked with wearing a sex sensor explaining to his wife that he’s mounting the electronic device on a paint shaking machine because he doesn’t want anyone to know his real max doesn’t run longer than a Hockey Night in Canada commercial break.
- Men burned an average of 101 calories (4.2 per minute) during sex. That’s about two-thirds of a Sweetwater 420 or less than half of a fresh Zagnut. I’m not sure that should be considered exercise.
- Women burned less energy during sex. This is the only thing in the study I believe, but I find it mildly fanciful that researchers say women burn 69 calories, or 3.1 per minute.
Researchers in Alabama did their own study on sex between non-cousins, which took them a while to complete, but the findings are much more believable. According to that study sex lasts an average of 4 minutes and burns 21 calories.
Here’s news from non-Canadian sources you can believe: