Even if you hate exercise, there's one that's worth trying — the Kegel. What is this exotic-sounding practice, and what do Kegel exercises do? If you like orgasms, the answer will be music to your ears.
Everyone with a pelvis has a set of pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor supports organs like the uterus, colon, and prostate. And when those muscles are strong, there's a bounty of benefits to be had.
Kegel training involves engaging the pelvic floor with a clench-and-release action at the most basic. Once you master them, you can do them anytime and anywhere — and relatively subtly, too.
What are Kegels suitable for, and why would you do them in the first place? Advantages abound. Strengthening your pelvic floor can help with:
- Minimizing urinary and fecal incontinence
- Easing common pregnancy and postpartum symptoms
- Facilitating the healing process after childbirth
- Making orgasms more intense and pleasurable
If you're interested in giving it a try, training your Kegel muscles is pretty straightforward.
Find the right muscles
You'll need to isolate and identify your pelvic floor before anything else. One of the easiest ways is to wait until you have to pee, then stop urinating midstream.
That subtle squeeze is your pelvic floor muscles contracting. While this is a great way to locate the right strength, don't make a habit out of stopping your stream when you pee. Health experts warn that this can cause bladder issues.
Put on the squeeze
A little visualization can help here. Imagine you're sitting on marble, and you need to lift it. Tighten your pelvic muscles as though you're pulling it up and hold for three seconds.
If you have a vulva and want to test to see if you're doing it right, you can insert your finger into your vagina. If you feel a contraction around that finger, you're good to go.
Master your methods
Now that you've gotten the gist of it try to refine your technique. Don't hold your breath. Focus on the pelvic floor and not the butt, abs, or thighs. Hold your squeeze for anywhere between three and 10 seconds, with breaks of three seconds in-between.
Make it a habit
How necessary Kegels a day depends on how well you integrate them into your daily routine. After a few weeks or months, most people start seeing results with consistent work.
A good rule of thumb is to do 10 to 15 contractions in each set and work up to three locations every day. Try tying them to an activity you already do daily, like brushing your teeth or making breakfast.
Enlist some backup.
If you're looking for assistance or want to make your regimen more ... ahem, exciting, consider picking up an insertable exerciser. These thrilling toys can help you stay on track and make the entire process much more enjoyable.
Anyone Can Kegel
Kegels don't discriminate — anyone with a vagina or penis can enjoy the benefits they have to offer. The way to perform Kegel exercises doesn't vary much between the sexes.
For vagina owners, there's a host of factors that can weaken the pelvic floor muscles. That includes pregnancy, childbirth, aging, excess strain, surgery, and being overweight. Kegel exercises can help if you:
- Leak urine while laughing, coughing, or sneezing
- Deal with intense, sudden urges to pee
- Have pain during sex and pelvic exams
- Want to improve sexual health and wellness
You might be interested to know that Kegels are excellent for relaxing your vagina during sex to make it more pleasurable, improving blood circulation to increase arousal, making orgasms easier, and increasing lubrication. A few exercises to try are:
The sit and squeeze
Sit in a chair with your feet on the floor and your back upright. Take a deep breath, then slowly exhale. Once the air has left your lungs, contract your pelvic floor tightly and hold for as long as comfortably possible. Release, then repeat four more times.
This one strengthens the pelvic floor and the abs, lower back, and glutes, too. Start by lying down with the knees bent and your feet hips' width apart.
Arms should be on the side of your body with palms flat on the floor. Inhale deeply and lift the hips into a bridge position. When you exhale, hold the position and squeeze those pelvic floor muscles. Stay there for three seconds, then release and slowly come back down. Repeat this five times.
The hot and heavy
What is a Kegel trainer, you ask? These nifty little gadgets help you squeeze your pelvic floor muscles and can simultaneously be used to make sex more pleasurable.
Say you've got a lovely set of vibrating Kegel balls. Try inserting them during oral to feel a fullness that takes things to new heights. You or your partner can also pop them in ahead of time to build anticipation for both of you.
Don't worry, penis owners, we haven't forgotten about you. Kegels can help you with the same urinary and fecal incontinence issues and enhance sexual function and help with erectile dysfunction or an overactive bladder.
Penis and vagina owners can essentially do all the same Kegel exercises. Beginners find it easiest to lie down and have at it, but you can also punch things up by:
- Standing up straight
- Lying on your stomach
- Lying on your back with your knees up
- Resting with your knees and head on the floor
You'll know you're getting it right if you feel a pulling or lifting sensation on your anus.
How To Use Kegel Trainers: Am I Doing It Right?
While there are Kegel trainers and equipment for both sexes, there is a much wider assortment available for vagina owners. If you're curious about how to use Kegel ball trainers, there are tons out there to try.
They work by being inserted into the vaginal canal. Then, you go about your exercises or indulge in solo sexual pleasure and partner play. There are also vibrating options that can be operated via remote control.
Keep In Mind
Training Kegel muscles seems straightforward, but it's still common to do things improperly. There's absolutely no reason to be embarrassed if you're having issues. Ask your doctor or "gyno" for pointers and feedback before going any further. Here are a few more things to bear in mind:
Don't do Kegels while peeing. This can weaken your pelvic floor muscles and cause damage to your bladder and kidneys.
- Don't overwork your muscles. You might tire them out and prevent them from carrying out their necessary functions
- Vagina owners who do these exercises incorrectly or too forcefully may overtighten their muscles and experience pain during sex.
If all goes well, you can be seeing results in as little as three to six weeks. Everyone is different. However, so be patient. As with any exercise routine, you need to be diligent and consistent.
No Equipment Necessary
Do Kegels make you feel tighter? Heck yes, they do! But only if you keep at it and make toning up your pelvic floor muscles a priority.
You are permanently incorporating them into your daily life — whether while doing yoga, going to the gym, or taking a walk — is the only way to see results. And boy, can they be life-changing.
Using a kegel trainer is easier than you think. Here are a few of our favorites to get you started:
- Aande Eves Kegel Training Set
- Aande Glass Ben Wa Balls
- Vibe Therapy Fascinate
- Satisfyer Balls C03 Double Med Set Of 3
- Impulse Intimate Estim Kegel Exerciser
Kegel exercises - self-care. (January 2019). MedlinePlus.
Your Complete Guide to Kegels. (July 2018). Women's Health.
Kegel exercises: A how-to guide for women. (September 2020). Mayo Clinic.
Pelvic Floor Muscle (Kegel) Exercises for Women to Improve Sexual Health. (December 2018). Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Kegel Exercises for Men: Do They Work?. (September 2017). Healthline.
How to Use Kegel (Ben Wa) Balls Like a Pro. (March 2019). Healthline.