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Nine Ways Pilates Improves Your Sex Life WRITTEN BY TRACY BELCHER

Pilates is a full-body exercise system that improves strength and flexibility simultaneously, but there's so much more to it. The point of Pilates is not to get better at Pilates, but to get better at everything else in life. It is not about building bulging muscles (there's a joke there, but I am going to leave that one alone for now... too soon). It's about achieving your maximum physical potential. Sex is an incredibly physical act, and the quality of our sex lives can have a major effect on our overall happiness, self-confidence, and the connection we have with our partner. It is a biggy (again, too soon). Here are the top 9 ways that a regular Pilates practice can improve your sex life (I will leave 10 for you to decide. Leave your thoughts in the comments below!): 1. Boost you self-confidence. Now, I am not just talking about the "self-confidence" you get from having a fit, rocking bod (although the physical results of Pilates are a welcome added bonus). I am talking about the real, true, bonafide self-confidence that is the result of having complete control of your body, and a sound mind. Pilates helps you to achieve this. You just feel better, happier and have more self-esteem. Suddenly, you feel like you can try new things, get creative, rock that reverse cowgirl... ok, ok, ok, I will tone it down. But for real though: Joseph Pilates said, "Through the Pilates method of body conditioning, this unique trinity of a balanced body, mind and spirit can ever be attained. Self-confidence follows." And it's true. And it improves your life. Every aspect. Including your sex life. (Read: My Pilates Story: Pilates Saved My Life) 2. Get a stronger thrust. Yes, you read that right. I actually just wrote that. But ya'll, it's true! Think about it: Pilates teaches you to initiate all movement from your core, and to let movement flow out from a strong center. As a Pilates teacher, new clients often tell me that one of their top goals is be able to have sex again. So many people suffer with back pain, hip pain and other injuries that keep them from being physically strong enough to move the way they want, and it impacts their sex life. The Pilates method corrects all kinds of pain by correcting alignment, and teaching you to power from the "Pilates powerhouse," or core muscles. Pilates basically makes you stronger with less effort, and without pain. 3. Get a bendy body. And come, on. What's more fun in the bedroom than a bendy body? Pilates improves flexibility and range-of-motion. Forget about missionary position... with a little Pilates, you can get your full Kama Sutra on, and get really creative with positions. The sky is the limit. Don't let your stiff muscles (besides the 'love muscle,' of course) and limited hip mobility get in the way of your full sexual potential. 4. Go the distance with improved stamina. Pilates teaches you to move more efficiently. As a result, you can be physically active for a longer period of time, all the while exerting less energy. Who's up for a marathon? Whether we are talking New York City or a personal sexcapade, Pilates can get you through that finish line. Which brings me to... (drum roll): 5. Intensify orgasms with better concentration. Joseph Pilates said, "Pilates is the complete coordination of mind, body and spirit." Pilates is a mind-body exercise system that teaches you to use your mind to control your body. It requires full concentration. Pilates is essentially mental training. People can get really distracted and lose their vibe during sex. Whether you you can't get something that happened at work that day off your mind, or the sound of the TV in the other room keeps making you think someone is about to walk in, distractions can really kill the mood. Pilates helps you to be more focused on the task at hand, whatever that may be. You can really focus on your partner and the moment when your head is in the game. (Read: 5 Ways Pilates Keeps You Centered in Times of Stress) 6. Last longer. This is also a result of the improved concentration and mind-body control that Pilates provides. You may be already be a very focused person. Like, the kind of person who is really focused on the task at hand. I mean, you are able to focus really, really quickly. Key word being quickly (so for those who are slow to catch on, I am talking about premature ejaculation). The brain training that Pilates provides, the ability to control your body using your mind, coupled with improved concentration, will help you to find more control when it comes to all bodily activities, including orgasm. Your partner will thank you. 7. Tighten your grip. Yep, I went there. But anyone with a Pilates-loving partner knows it's true. Pilates strengthens and tones your pelvic floor muscles. This can mean a tighter "grip" and more intense sensation for both parties. Pilates exercises focus on drawing in and up through the center line of the body, which engages the pelvic floor muscles. You also work on fully eccentrically and concentrically contracting all muscles, including the pelvic floor. Muscles not only become stronger, but more flexible as well. Therefore, people suffering with pelvic pain or discomfort might also find relief from a Pilates program. 8. Increase arousal. By working the pelvic floor muscles, you increase blood flow and circulation to the region. More blood flow will increase sensitivity, which, in turn, increases arousal. Pilates also increases proprioception and awareness, which leads to more sensation "down there." 9. Relieve incontinence. Last, but certainly not least, Pilates will help people suffering with incontinence. Nothing kills the mood more than peeing all over your partner... I mean, unless they're into that of course. But, even in that case you want to be in control of when and where. While many people suffer in silence, incontinence is extremely common. Approximately 13 million people suffer with incontinence. The fear of leaking during sex can cause a lot of stress, and even make you avoid sex altogether. By strengthening and toning the pelvic floor muscles, some can find relief from incontinence, and gain confidence and freedom in the sheets.

So, who wants to go find the tenth way that Pilates improves one's sex life? Have fun! Make sure you report back (or maybe you already know). Please feel free to share your findings with the group via the comments below! An important thing to note about a Pilates is that you have to commit to a program of at least 2-3 times a week. The results of a consistent Pilates practice are profound, but half *ssing it once a week in a group mat class is not going to cut it. Get in there. Listen to every cue the instructor gives you. Focus. Show up. Find a good teacher who you connect with. It is truly life-changing and the money and time you invest into yourself through Pilates, you will never regret.

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