Chances are, you’ve heard about Kegels. Chances are, maybe you hadn’t heard about Kegels until 50 Shades of Grey. So chances are, you’ve probably got some questions.
Questions like What the heck IS a Kegel, anyway? Why do I want to do them? How do I do them? And what is a Ben Wa Ball?
Kegels, named for Arnold Kegel, a famous American gynecologist in the 50’s, are exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. By contracting and relaxing these muscles, you can “work out” and strengthen them the way you would any other muscle in the body, the same as you would tone and tighten your abs and thighs with crunches and squats.
There are a number of things that can weaken your pelvic floor muscles - your “vagina muscles”, as some people call them: pregnancy & childbirth, sickness or surgery, aging, being overweight or out of shape or even rapid weight loss. Doing Kegel exercises strengthens your vaginal muscles, which, in addition to warding off issues like incontinence, increasing both sensation and “tightness”, leading to faster, more frequent, and better orgasms for both you and your partner.
Kegels are incredibly easy to do! You simply flex your pelvic floor muscles as if you were stopping yourself from peeing. So, it sounds a little gross, but next time you’re using the bathroom, contract those muscles- remember what that feels like! Now, you can flex those same muscles whenever you want, anytime, anywhere (no pee needed- lol).
Here are some Kegel “workouts” for you to try!
- Flex and hold for 10 seconds. Relax. Repeat 10 times, remember to breeaathe deep, in even breaths. Do this throughout the day, at least three times. Don’t worry if you can’t maintain the contraction for a whole ten seconds when you first begin- start with what you can do and try to hold for a little bit longer each day until you reach your goal.
- Just like with abdominal crunches, mix it up. Do sets of long contractions and sets of short, rapid flexes. -Work Kegels into your workout! Flex your pelvic muscles while doing situps or crunches, or while working your thighs on the adductor/abductor machine at the gym.
- Play “Stoplight”, when sitting at a stoplight in your car, try to hold a Kegel contraction until the light turns green!
Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, take your Kegel workouts to the next level with toys, such as Lelo’s Luna Beads Noir, which are specifically designed to strengthen and stimulate your pelvic floor muscles. Commonly referred to as “ben wa balls”, they are basically weights for your vagina. In much the same way as you would use barbell weights to tone your arms, they advance the difficulty of your Kegel exercises by providing resistance. Simply place the weighted ball inside of you and perform your contractions- with the goal being to keep the ball inside of you for as long as possible.
Kegel exercises can also be used during sex or foreplay to stimulate arousal and increase vaginal sensations. Doing your Kegel flexes (with or without Ben Wa balls) right before sex will “start your engine”, increasing blood flow to your vaginal muscles. Also, contracting your pelvic floor muscles during sex will not only heighten your own sensitivity, but it will feel great for your partner as well!