"I feel as if you're trying to emasculate me," my husband muttered.

I gasped. I was asking him to hula hoop with a bunch of girls ... and I was doing this for him. For us.

I had fallen in love with Hoop Class, and I wanted to share it with him. There's no shortage of advice saying that exercise can help your libido, so I figured it would be beneficial to both our physical health and to the health of our relationship.

We tried five exercises together to find out.

You Can't Hurry Love-Love

Our first attempt at mutual athleticism had been tennis. He said he was agile; I said I had a mean serve. We thought that tennis would inject a bit of healthy competition into our burgeoning relationship.

Five minutes in, we were both hyperventilating and soaked with sweat. Forget kick-ass volleys -- we spent our "match" chasing runaway tennis balls.

We soon retreated to the cool sanctuary of his bedroom, where we watched horror B-movies, remaining prone for hours on end.

You Just Have to Weight

The next time we worked up a sweat together -- outside of the bedroom, that is -- was when I joined him as a guest at the gym.

Click here to see how that -- and their other three workouts -- went.


I was perfectly content pretending to build my biceps with the weight machines. He preferred to show off with the free weights, joining the rest of the gym bunnies in an auditory display of grunts that made me blush.

When he finally convinced me to join him at the pull-up bar -- forcing me to reveal just how little upper body strength I had, which was a turn-off for me if not him -- I realized our individual workout styles were completely incompatible.

Walk It Out
After that, we tried evening walks. Those worked out pretty well. They were low-impact, filled with fresh air and sunshine, and provided us with the time to catch up on each others' lives.

The only downfall? Our route took us past the QuikChek, where we invariably stopped for pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Sort of defeats the purpose, no?

Still, we found that we felt more connected after our walks, and we started going on them almost every night. We've only recently faltered because it's too darn cold -- for both outdoor strolls and ice cream.

Dancing Machine
At the moment, we're taking a salsa-dancing class. My husband has always enjoyed hamming it up on the dance floor, and I have (misguided) dreams of someday being on "So You Think You Can Dance."

So far, we've only learned the most basic footwork. The hubby looks like he's marching in place, and I keep crushing his hand as I attempt to count in my head, but I still think we look damn sexy together.

I even worked up a bit of a sweat during class! (Though this may be due to my completely sedentary lifestyle, and my unfamiliarity with ... movement.)

When we returned home that first night, my husband started whisking me around our kitchen, propositioning me in a ridiculous-sounding Spanish accent. Giggling and shimmying, shimmying and giggling, we eventually salsa'd right into the bedroom.

Hoop Dreams

You're probably wondering what happened with the hoop dancing. Well, you'll be relieved to know that my husband actually enjoyed himself, once he got over the initial humiliation of being unable to keep his hula hoop aloft.

Using a strategy in which he pistoned his hips violently forward and backward, he was eventually able to keep up with the rest of the class.

In addition to getting quite the cardio workout, we had a grand old time trying out something new together. And really, that's what it's all about ... he still draws the line, however, at joining me when I do my belly dancing videos.

Do Workouts Work?
While heavy competition (and the attendant heavy sweating) did nothing for our libidos, there was just something about dancing, in particular, that revved our engines.

Perhaps it was the excitement of trying something new. Or maybe it was the fact that we were having such a ball laughing at ourselves. It could even have had something to do with the constant hip swiveling (sexy!) or the fact that we were on the same team (objective: don't step on each others' feet).

Whatever it was, it led to some definite warm, fuzzy feelings, and the urge to ravish each other once we had a moment alone.