Your pelvic floor probably isn't top on your list of "things to exercise" but here's why it's more important than you think!
Kegel exercises have gotten a lot of attention in the media and the sex toy industry in the past few years, not least because of the pivotal role a Kegel toy played in a “climactic” scene in the second Fifty Shades of Grey movie. But did you know that they’re just as much about health as they are about pleasure? Read on to learn the answers to some common Kegels questions…
What are Kegel exercises?
Pioneered in the 1940s by American gynecologist Arnold Kegel (wow, what a name), Kegel exercises are the rhythmic squeezing and releasing of the pelvic floor muscles. They’re an important tool worth including in your sexual health regimen, recommended by doctors across the globe.
What are the benefits of doing Kegels?
The pelvic floor muscles which Kegel exercises target – also known as the pubococcygeus muscles – are responsible for, among other things, preventing urinary and fecal incontinence and avoiding vaginal and uterine prolapse (where the vagina or uterus slip out of place and may even protrude out of the body). Stronger pelvic floor muscles also enable you to have longer, stronger orgasms, and – in people with penises – have been shown to help with premature ejaculation.
Kegels are also great for passing the time while you’re standing in line, commuting, or doing any other boring activity that you think some “sexercise” could jazz up!
How do I start doing them?
Great question! You can start right now, by squeezing and then releasing the muscles you squeeze when you’re trying to hold in your pee. Some experts recommend practicing your first Kegels while peeing, so you can stop and start the flow and know you’ve isolated the correct muscles, but this can cause urinary tract infections due to halting bacteria before it can be expelled, so practicing “dry” is a better route. If you like, you can insert a (clean, well-lubricated) finger into your vagina or rectum and try to squeeze your muscles around it, to make sure you’re exercising the right ones.
One easy regimen for beginners is to squeeze your muscles for a count of 3 seconds, relax for 3 seconds, and repeat for a total of 10 exercises. Do 3 sets of 10, once a day or so. You’ll start noticing results after one to three months of practicing.
Can I use toys to do Kegels?
Yes! There are tons and tons of Kegel toys on the market, almost all made for people with vaginas. The most popular type – and the type favored by Christian Grey – is Kegel balls, weighted spheres that create a pleasant bouncy sensation inside you and give your muscles a little resistance to work against, increasing the effectiveness of your exercises. Some Kegel toys even vibrate, because who says exercise can’t also feel good?!
Is there anyone who shouldn’t do Kegel exercises?
People with vaginismus (a vaginal pain condition resulting from the involuntary tensing of the pelvic floor muscles) should avoid these exercises, because they’ll tend to just strengthen the exact muscles causing the problem. If you have any other urinary, vaginal, or pelvic health problems, consult your doctor before starting a Kegel regimen, just incase.
Can my partner help me do Kegels?
Yes – potentially in very sexy and fun ways! Your partner could help you use Kegel toys, remind you to do your exercises, and even have you do them during penetrative sex, when you have something to squeeze around. One of the benefits of these exercises is how much tighter they’ll make you feel, so we bet your sweetheart will be happy to lend a hand, so to speak!
Do you have a Kegels regimen? What benefits have you noticed?
“My pussy is RIPPED!”
- Margaret Cho on Kegel Exercises