Though many people attribute yoga’s increased popularity to renewed interest in spiritual enlightenment, some have discovered a much simpler benefit: better sex. About a month ago, my husband, Jake, began taking classes at Jivamukti and coming home with glowing descriptions of the yoga hotties with perfect posture and cameltoe. My jealousy button pushed, I decided to go with him. After half a dozen classes, I noticed that my downward-facing dog was helping my doggie. My pelvic region felt more sensitive, and my orgasms felt more intense. Even better, Jake’s penis was looking more humongous than usual. Suddenly, I no longer had trouble getting motivated for class.
Jennifer Langheld, 30, a co-producer of a new video series called “Better Sex Through Yoga,” didn’t always have great sex. “I had a slight curve in my spine,” she says, “and I used to have to interrupt sex all the time: ‘Oh, wait—could you just a move a sec?’ I wasn’t getting the feeling I wanted.”
When she started doing yoga two years ago, she noticed she was stronger in her pelvis: “I was way more in touch down there. My breaths would go deeper, and it made an amazing difference in the quality of my orgasms. Sometimes I would come too fast.”
The basic principle behind the video series is that yoga improves sex by strengthening the “sexual core” muscles in and around the genitals, increasing sensation, duration, and comfort. Though the series doesn’t use yoga terminology, in classes the area is accessed through mula bandha, or “root lock,” when yogis isolate and lift the PC muscle—the one between the pubic bone and the tailbone. It’s like Kegel exercises with proper breathing. Eventually, yogis learn to isolate the perineum, a key area of sexual pleasure for both men and women.
Diane, 30, a performance artist, has been doing yoga for four years and is a devotee largely because of the change it brought to her sex life. “I feel like it’s this secret thing that people who don’t do yoga don’t know about,” she says. “Yoga is all about becoming more in touch with your body, but on some level, all that really means is becoming more in touch with your sexual organs. Basically, you’re doing sexercises. It takes about six months to understand what they’re talking about when they say ‘Lift the pelvic floor,’ but once I did, it made my sex life 100 percent better.”
Though she was orgasmic before she started practicing, she thinks those O’s were a pale imitation of what she has now: “I had clitoral orgasms before, but now I’m having G-spot orgasms. They’re much more whole-body. It’s the difference between body-surfing a tiny little wave and an entire wave coming over you.”
Yoga helps men, too—Sting inspired lots of them to study Tantra ten years ago when he boasted that he and his wife could have sex for up to eight hours. (He recanted last year, telling a reporter, “What I didn’t say was that this included four hours of begging and then dinner and a movie.”)
“ ‘If this guy I’m seeing wants to get together but I’m not free, he’ll go to a yoga class to get the energy out.’”
“I can keep it harder way longer than I used to,” says Garvey Rich, 38, an eight-year yoga practitioner and co-producer of the Better Sex series. “I can have mini-orgasms and then keep going, and when I actually come, it’s bigger and more full-bodied, a really good one all over.” But the biggest turn-on, he says, is getting girls he dates into yoga. Last year, he was dating one who “was addicted to a vibrator. It looked like a cake mixer, and I would have to use it and then my hand. I told her I wasn’t into it, and we started doing yoga in bed for twenty minutes at night. She commented that she felt more comfortable and more sensitive, and soon she didn’t have to use the vibrator.”
Of course, in order to experience the sexual benefits of yoga, you have to be having sex—but those who aren’t getting any say yoga can be a good substitute. Classes are structured like sex: There’s a mellow, pleasing mood as soon as you enter the room, a slow build of intensity into increasingly difficult postures, a sweaty, overheated smell, and a nap at the end. “I’m seeing this guy right now,” says Diane, “and if he wants to get together and I’m not free, he’ll go to a yoga class to get the energy out.”
That’s not surprising, given all the visuals. “There will be some girls in there that are nicely, stylishly dressed or in skintight clothing,” Rich says glowingly. “You get ass shots and cleavage shots, and there are girls all around. At the end, the teacher will come over and give you a little massage during shivasana. For $20, it’s way better than a lap dance.”
He likes the talking, too. “Some girls talk about their mula bandha practice like they’re finding their G-spot,” he jokes. “At Jivamukti, this one teacher used to read from the book, and it was like having sweet nothings whispered in my ear.”
For those who feel that imagining their classmates naked isn’t quite enough, there is Hot Nude Yoga, taught by 32-year-old Aaron Star in a Chelsea studio. The classes are men-only, predominantly gay, and partner-driven, and there are only two rules, says Star: “No kissing, and no touching penises.” Are most of his students aroused? “I have a 26-year-old guy who’s hard the moment he walks in till the end of class. But a lot of guys say, ‘I’ll probably get a boner,’ and then they don’t.”
Though it’s the nude part that gets them in the door, the class quickly separates the wheat from the chaff: “The ones who are out of shape and come to admire end up limping out of class.” Couples have formed in his class, but Star’s seen more friendships than love affairs.
To those yoga purists who think he’s perverting what should be a sexless, enlightening experience, he answers, “They’re just afraid I’m going to take their students away. Tantra doesn’t have any moral code. It says we’re seeking spiritual freedom on the earth, not from the earth.”
Those who have experienced the sexual benefits of yoga say it’s hard to look at classes the same way. “When correctly viewed, everything is lewd,” as Tom Lehrer put it. “Once you realize the connection,” says Diane, “you can’t stop thinking that it’s all yoga’s about. Sex is yoga and yoga is sex.”