Maybe you’ve heard about them and you don’t know what they are. Or you know what they are but you’re not sure how to actually do them. We’re talking about Kegel exercises, originally designed by Dr. Arnold Kegel in the 1940s as a treatment for urinary incontinence. So what’s the buzz about Kegels and why do they deserve a prominent place in your sexual wellness routine?
In a word, orgasms! Longer, stronger, more pleasurable ones. Keep reading for the lowdown on Kegels, how to practice them, and the surprising health benefits that go far beyond a better climax.
What Are Kegel Muscles?
Kegel muscles, also known as your pelvic floor or “core,” are a group of interlocking muscles inside your pelvis that support your bowel, bladder, and uterus. These are the same voluntary muscles you use when you stop the flow of urine. Try squeezing these muscles right now (really — no one will know!). If it feels like everything in your abdomen lifts and tightens in response to this simple squeeze, that’s because it does!
The pelvic floor has a powerful effect on the blood flow, lubrication, and swelling of tissue involved in arousal and orgasm. The stronger and more toned these muscles are, the better they are at responding to signals from your brain and contracting during climax. And you strengthen them the same way you strengthen any muscle — by working out. Is it any wonder Kegel exercises are the new squats?
And by the way — if you thought only women had Kegel muscles, think again! Every gender has a pelvic floor. Strong Kegels can result in improved erections, fewer symptoms of erectile dyfunction, a healthier post-partum body, and better orgasms for all!
How To Do Kegel Exercises
Kegels can be done anywhere, at any time of day. To practice Kegel exercises, just clench your pelvic floor muscles as if you were stopping the flow of urine. Clench as tightly as you can and hold for 5 seconds before releasing. As you clench, you should feel your anus and internal muscles contract and rise.
If you’re new to Kegels, you may be able to hold the contraction only briefly, but this will improve quickly as your muscles strengthen. Try 3 sets of 10 Kegels to start, increasing the number of reps as your muscles get stronger and more toned. Kegels are great to do while driving, watching TV, or working, and can be done either standing or sitting.
Tried Kegels before and couldn’t stick with them? There are lots of body-safe products specifically designed to strengthen your pelvic floor and keep you motivated. Try weighted silicone Kegel balls, or choose an app-enabled product to help you establish and stick to a routine. Some Kegel exercisers measure the strength of your muscles as you exercise so you can keep track of your progress and tailor your workout accordingly!
To use Kegel balls, just insert them into the vagina and clench! Weighted Kegel balls increase tone the same way weights do when you work out at the gym — by forcing your muscles to work harder.
Here are some of our favorite Kegel exercise products:
- We-Vibe Vibrating Kegel Balls. These weighted balls bring rumbly pleasure to your pelvic workout routine. You can toggle between pre-set settings and customize the vibes using the free We-Connect app. We love these Kegel balls for their smooth, body-safe material and just-right weight. This set comes with an instruction booklet and is 100% waterproof.
- Lelo Vibrating Smart Bead. The Lelo Smart Bead senses and responds to the squeezing of your pelvic muscles. Special touch sensors measure your orgasm potential and pelvic tone, and set a routine that's custom designed for you. One AAA battery powers up to 200 routines.
- Energie Kegel and G-Spot Wand. This sleek weighted wand is ergonomically designed for both your hand and your pelvic muscles. Hold in place and squeeze for a quick and easy Kegel workout, or use this dual-purpose tool to stimulate the G-spot!
- Je Joue Ami Kegel Balls. Build your strength using these progressive weighted silicone balls. We like the Ami balls because they're perfect for all pelvic fitness levels and are shaped for a super-comfortable fit.
Kegels and Orgasms
Toned pelvic floor muscles can help boost the intensity of your orgasms. Sound too good to be true? Allow this fact to convince you: the stronger your Kegel muscles, the stronger your pelvic contractions during orgasm. Blood flow to toned muscles is more efficient, meaning better circulation and even lubrication during sex.
Because strong pelvic floor muscles don’t tire out as quickly, orgasms can last longer, too. And as a nice bonus, your partner may be able to feel your increased strength through a tighter vaginal or anal grip!
Need one more reason to do your Kegels? Keeping your pelvic floor in shape can also boost the frequency of orgasms. Just like toned leg muscles can run farther and faster, toned pelvic muscles can rally quicker, stay on the scene longer, and do it again (and again!) without wearing out. Go team.
Kegels and Pelvic Health
We’ve come full circle to Dr. Kegel’s original reason for developing exercises: pelvic health. Maybe orgasms would be a great benefit, but your real interest in Kegel exercises is a stronger pelvic floor after menopause, surgery, or giving birth. Pelvic weakness can be an issue at any age, but tends to crop up after pregnancy and around menopause.
Why? Kegel muscles can become weak or strained over time or during pregnancy, reducing their ability to support your internal organs. Nerves can also be damaged from the pressure of a growing baby, making your muscles less toned and responsive. The result can be leaking urine, slower sexual response, delayed orgasms, and even constipation.
How to restore your pelvic strength? A regular routine of Kegel exercises — and, sometimes, physical therapy — can help. At the first sign of pelvic weakness, check in with your gynecologist to make sure a Kegel workout is the right path to take.
Did you know? A strong pelvic floor can help you control your muscles during labor and delivery, a great reason to get your Kegels strong and healthy before you get pregnant!
When Not To Do Kegels
Kegel exercises are an ideal way for most of us to tone and strengthen the pelvic floor. When should you avoid them? If you’re having symptoms that could indicate urinary issues or excessive tightness of your pelvic floor.
Pelvic aching, pain during orgasm, or feeling the need to urinate more than usual may be a sign of pelvic floor tightness, not weakness. Tightness can cause what some urologists term “a headache of the pelvis,” which can result in aching or discomfort during sex and orgasm. Common triggers include excessive sitting, exercise that strains or shortens the core muscles, and pushing when going to the bathroom.
Pelvic tightness calls for a visit to a urologist or urogynecologist, and is typically treated with physical therapy and some simple but effective behavioral changes. When in doubt (weakness or tightness?), visit your gynecologist for a pelvic health check-up before starting a Kegel workout routine.
Kegels are a simple, do-anywhere exercise with a long list of benefits, including stronger orgasms! If you're interested in a Kegel workout product and need some personalized advice, feel free to reach out! We’re always happy to help. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or DM us on Instagram or TikTok.