Why are Kegel exercises important to do for every woman (but not with the “Jade Balls”)?
Written by Mariya Darmanskaya, editor of Play Partner blog
Translated by Maria Kon
In the ancient times women have been known to train their “sexual” muscles in order to heighten their partners’ sensations. In the 21st century women choose to exercise their pelvic floor for their own health and pleasure.
Are sex toys good for your health? How to become multi-orgasmic? What “sex device” should be owned by every woman? These questions and more I get showered with when people find out I write an educational blog about sex. Interestingly, the above three questions have one answer: consider Kegels!
The importance of vaginal muscles for sexual pleasure has been acknowledged back in ancient China, India, and Japan. Girls would train these muscles in order to provide an exquisite pleasure for their male partners. Already then they had the prototypes of modern Kegel exercise equipment – so called Geisha’s balls and famous Jade Balls. The latter have not been recommended by modern physicians (see below for their reasoning).
Pelvic floor muscles play a crucial role in a woman’s body. They serve as a hammock or a dish to support pelvic organs and muscles that are responsible for the closure of urethra, vagina, and anus. Pelvic floor strengthening not only improves the voiding functions of the bladder and bowel but also intensifies orgasmic sensations due to vaginal contractions
Nowadays gynecologists recommend Kegel exercises as prophylaxis or initial treatment for urine incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. These conditions develop as a result of developmental anatomic anomalies, a history of chronic increased intra-abdominal pressure, or certain nervous system disorders. However, multiparity (or history of multiple births) is the largest risk factor for the pelvic floor weakness. Up to 40% of women present with this problem to their gynecologists.
Pregnancy imposes a tremendous stress on the pelvic floor. While non-pregnant uterus weighs on average 120g, at the end of the third trimester it reaches up to 7 kilograms. Obviously, such weight stretches out and wears down the muscles that cradle that uterus. This process is normal and unavoidable but can be slowed down and limited by the woman herself. If “trained” properly, pelvic floor muscles get stronger and stretchier. As a result, apart from having less postpartum complications discussed above and easier postpartum recovery in general, women are at a lower risk of perineal tears during labor. Any competent gynecologist recommends Kegel exercises to their pregnant patients.
Kegel exercises make sex better
Dr. Arnold Kegel developed the series of exercises for the vaginal muscles in the middle of the 20th century. The outcome he was looking for was resolution of urine incontinence, but he also noticed that his patients reported improved sexual functions. Some of the women were able to experience an orgasm for the first time in their lives.
These muscles cannot be seen, but can be felt. These are the muscles that involuntarily contract during orgasms. Despite the myths, Kegel exercises do not make your vaginal canal narrower. However, stronger pelvic floor muscles are able to “capture” the penis during intercourse, as well as undergo stronger orgasmic contractions that lead to more genital engorgement. As a result, orgasms are more intense.
Clearly, pelvic floor exercises should be on the agenda of every woman, especially those that plan to get pregnant and have an easy recovery or those that want to increase their orgasmic potential.
Where to find your pelvic floor muscles
Before we go over the actual exercises, let’s talk about how to feel these muscles first. The easiest way to identify them is to try to stop urine mid-stream. Another method is to look at your vulva in the mirror and watch your vaginal entrance contract and lift up as you are pretending to hold something inside of it.
The Kegel exercise technique
- Squeeze your vaginal muscles as much as you can, hold for 3-5 seconds and relax.
- “Elevator” technique: squeeze your muscles little by little, stopping on every “floor”. Slowly release little by little.
- Squeeze fast in a pulsatile manner.
- Squeeze the muscles as if you are trying to push something out of your vagina.
- Every day increase the number of repetitions up to 10 times and squeeze time up to 10 seconds.
- Do these exercises regularly, 3-4 times a day.
Listen to your body during the exercises – there should not be any pain or overexertion.
Kegel Exercise Devices
As soon as you mastered the simple techniques, you can add on resistance in the form of your fingers, vibrators, or even your partner’s penis. However, many women find it easier to train their muscles with special toys designed for that purpose. Those can be purchased in a sex shop with any budget.
- classical vaginal balls (Geisha balls, Ben-Wa balls) – no vibration
- “smart” Kegel devices – vibration is controlled by a phone app, tracking your progress
Jade Eggs are not safe
In the beginning of this year, Gwinet Paltrow’s website Goop started selling jade eggs. According to the manufacturer, these eggs increase the pelvic floor muscle tone, improve hormonal disbalance and female energy in general. For the desired effect it is recommended to keep the egg inside all day and night.
Worldwide gynecologists strictly recommend against the jade eggs. Jade is a porous material that can become a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Keeping those eggs inside for a long time can cause bacterial vaginosis or even toxic shock syndrome. Hence, there is a strict time limit for any vaginal egg – no more than 5 hours inside. All Kegel exercise eggs, balls, or devices should be made out of non-porous and safe materials (silicone, metal, glass, plastic) and bought from well-regarded manufacturers.
These toys can have different sizes and weights in order to fit women with different pelvic floor tones. There are models for women who had given birth before or not, for novices or experienced users. Toys that combine the function of a Kegel exercise device and a vibrator are most popular.
Which vaginal balls or Kegel devices are the best?
What is the difference between the vaginal balls and Kegel devices? Let me explain. The devices have several “smart” functions: they can vibrate, remind you about an upcoming training through an app, choose different exercise modes, track your progress, or even notify about an upcoming orgasm.
Vaginal balls (also called “Yoni eggs”) – are a more simple toy with a shifted center of gravity, which makes them a sort of a dumbbell for your vagina. They have one pleasant bonus – they help with lubrication. If you keep those balls inside for several hours, you will definitely feel more physiological excitation.
If you do the exercises regularly, both the balls and Kegel devices are equally effective. However, Kegel personal trainers reach the desired muscle tone in a couple of weeks, as opposed to a couple of months that it takes with the balls.
So, have I convinced you that Kegel exercises should be tried by any woman? Whether you decide to do simple exercises on your own or complex training programs with devices – rest assured you made a step in the right direction towards your general health and sexuality.