There's a common misconception that Kegels are just for women, and particularly for postpartum recovery. While Kegel exercises are an essential part of the after-baby recovery, they're no less important for everyone else, regardless of sex, age, orientation, or the type of sex and practices they engage in. Even if you never want to get pregnant or have a child, your PC muscle still plays a huge role in your well-being and sexual health.
Everyone Has a PC Muscle
The pubococcygeus muscle, commonly referred to as the PC muscle or the pelvic floor, is a something that both sexes share (as well as intersex folks). It contracts during orgasm and it’s responsible for bladder control and urination. It's connected to several other muscle groups, such as the perineal muscles and the pulbospongiosus muscle. All of these work together and can be voluntarily contracted and exercised.
How Do Kegels Contribute to Sexual Pleasure?
Kegel exercises, commonly referred to as Kegels, tone up all of the muscles that play a role in sexual response, orgasm and the ability to enjoy sex. The reason why many women find it difficult to climax is because their muscles cannot contract as fast and as many times as needed for achieving an orgasm. Regular exercise trains your body to respond faster, and helps maintain better circulation in the genital area. Regularly doing your Kegels results in less time to get sufficiently aroused in both women and men. Toned up pelvic floor muscles are also responsible for more reliable, stronger, and longer-lasting erections in men. Pelvic floor training can also help with premature ejaculation.
Among other health benefits that result from stronger pelvic floor muscles are prevention of uterine prolapse or pelvic floor prolapse as a result of aging or after pregnancy; help with urinary incontinence or involuntary urination in both sexes; and better prostate health in men.
How to Do Your Kegels
Locating and exercising your PC muscle can be difficult. Just doing your squeezes without any additional resistance won't give you the best results. That's why there are a number of products, apps, and resources out there to help.
The best way to find and isolate the pelvic floor muscles is while urinating, since they control the flow of urine. Try to stop peeing midway and contain your urine for a few seconds. Then try speeding up, then peeing really hard or slowing down, then peeing really slowly. The muscles that contract during this simple voluntary action are the ones you will need to squeeze and relax during Kegels. Practice bearing down and push out while exhaling. Flex your muscles, squeeze and hold while inhaling. Try not to contract your abdomen, hips, or legs.
If you need a reminder to do your Kegels, there are a number of apps that can send you notifications and guide you through your workouts. Starting out with no additional resistance and only voluntary squeezes are great to get started with, but you will eventually need to move towards vaginal balls or penis weights to get the best results. (Learn more in 6 Steps to Choosing the Perfect Kegel Balls for You.)
Using Kegel or Ben Wa Balls
Using vaginal balls will really help you exercise without thinking or having to put in extra effort. If you like multitasking and if the hours in a day are never enough to get things done, they really help. The way Ben Wa or Kegel balls work is by providing weight and resistance. In combination with gravity, this makes your PC routine more challenging. These balls usually are made of plastic or are covered entirely by silicone, but the spheres have another small ball inside that moves around and makes the outer ball jiggle every time you move. To really step your game up, you will need to use them while walking, jogging, running, swimming, stretching, or dancing. You can have them inside of you while running some errands. As your body weight sways, the balls inside are going to tremble slightly, which in turn is going to make you squeeze your muscles involuntarily to instinctively keep them inside of your body and not let them slide out.
Kegel balls come in a variety of sizes and weights, so you can customize and progress your pelvic floor workout. The Lelo Luna Beads offer a set of several balls with different weights, while the Je Joue Ami Kegel program comes with a set of three different balls that decrease in size as they get heavier. Aneros Evi offers a unique Kegel product that is different from other programs, and provides g-spot and clitoral stimulation while doing your Kegels. All of these are a relatively small investment in your intimate health in the years to come.
If you are looking for something even more sophisticated, smart technologies quickly caught up and found their place not just in the world of sex toys, but in Kegel products alike. Smart Kegel balls like Lelo Luna Smart Bead are going to vibrate to remind you to do your squeezes, as well as give you feedback on how strong your muscles are. The Minna kGoal is rechargeable, and even comes with a phone app to help you track down your progress.
Electro Stim Options
Electro-stim internal toys don't just spice things up in the bedroom - they can also help you strengthen your pelvic floor. E-stim vibrators such as Mystim Tickling Truman or Mystim Eric provide several types of electrical stimulation, as well as vibration, which cause you to involuntarily contract your vagina and pelvic floor.
Kegels for Penises
There are definitely fewer options for people with penises, but not so long ago the world got its first FDA approved male kegel program, the Private Gym, which comes with a comprehensive guide and multi-week progression, follows the best principles of exercising and even comes with a set of weights for penises. A cheaper and improvised version that I learned about from the sex educator Ken Melvoin-Berg is to use a small towel or a wash cloth to "hang" over your penis, while erect. Try squeezing your muscles and keeping your penis hard, so it can resist the weight of the hand towel. Try squeezing it to make the cloth "jump up" or "dance." If you want to add extra resistance, after a month or so of regular exercising you can start using a slightly wet towel.
An important take-home message is to take your time with Kegel exercises. As with any kind of workout, always start slowly. And don’t expect miracles overnight. Kegels won't miraculously produce explosive orgasms overnight, but they will gradually improve your ability to climax.