Hygiene and sexual safety are a big part of vaginal health, but our vagina has muscles that need our attention too. Some of the more important muscles are the pelvic floor muscles. They support your pelvic organs i.e. the uterus, bladder, and bowel.
Your pelvic floor muscles are for more than just letting out or holding in pee, poop, and farts. They can also determine your sexual health and pleasure. How? Well, firstly they are the muscles that tighten during orgasm so strengthening them has a lot of contributing benefits.
Let’s have a look.
Benefits of strengthening your pelvic floor muscles
- It can help you manage or prevent problems such as incontinence which is leakage of pee or poop that you can’t control.
- It can help you learn how to control your vaginal muscles. For example, by relaxing your vaginal muscles at will you can open up your vagina if you struggle with painful or uncomfortable sexual intercourse, pelvic exams, or both.
- It improves blood circulation to your vagina and pelvic floor, which increases sexual arousal and also makes it easier for you to reach orgasm.
- It increases vaginal wetness which makes sex more enjoyable.
Okay, now that we know why our pelvic muscles are important let’s talk about how we can go about strengthening them. The answer is one you’ve probably heard before - Kegel exercises.
Kegel exercises 101
So, Kegel exercises (or Kegels for short) are the way to strengthen your pelvic muscles and help you unlock all these benefits. To do them you need to:
- Find the right muscles- Kegels are relatively easy to do but first, you have to locate the right muscles. A Kegel exercise is basically pretending you have to pee and then holding it. So the next time you need to pee start to go and then stop. You should feel the muscles in your vagina, bladder or anus get tight and move up.
But remember - do NOT do this on a full bladder, or many times, because you might end up weakening your bladder. Only do this to make note of the muscles that cause the flow to stop.
- Seriously, find the right muscles- Not everyone can find their pelvic muscles using the trick above. Some people have ‘urgent’ bladders which make them feel an almost constant need to pee. They, therefore, cannot hold it in because they are used to relieving themselves every time the urge comes. For these women, another trick is to insert a clean finger into your vagina and try to ‘grasp’ it. If you can feel some pressure around your finger then you are using the right muscles.
- One last time, find the right muscles- If you are not that comfortable with your lady bits and have an overactive bladder then try using your bowel to locate your pelvic floor muscles. Clench the muscles you use to hold poop or farts in without contracting the bum, tummy, or thigh muscles.
Do this in a sitting position so that you can check whether your body lifts. If it lifts even slightly then you are not using the right muscles. Keep at it until you feel a tightening in your vagina and anus, and NOWHERE else.
Once you find the right muscles, it’s easy to do Kegel exercises wherever and as often as you’d like. You can do them as you talk on the phone, during advertisements as you watch TV, reading in bed, studying and, well…for you and your partner's pleasure you can do them during sex.
Before you get to that expert level, start by getting into a comfortable position so your body is relaxed. Most people prefer doing Kegel exercises when lying down or sitting - but do what feels most natural to you.
When you’re comfortable, follow these steps:
- Take a deep breath through your nose, letting your abdomen rise as it fills with air. Keep your pelvic floor muscles relaxed as you breathe in.
- As you slowly breathe out through your mouth gently contract your pelvic floor muscles.
- Hold for 3 to 6 seconds (until your muscles start to get tired).
- Then relax your muscles fully for about 6 to 10 seconds.
- Breathe in again and release the contraction. This relaxes your muscles. Remember not to hold your breath during the break.
- Repeat this up to 10 times per session and always spend the same amount of time or longer relaxing your muscles as you did contracting them.
Over time, you should be able to hold the contracted muscles for longer and do more repetitions as you strengthen your pelvic floor. Happy Kegeling!
How often do you Kegel?
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