What Are Kegels and Why Should You Do Them?

Though Kegels have been around for decades, modern-day Kegels aren’t the same exercises your mom used to do!

If you reserve your Kegels for long lines at Target or for when you’re watching Netflix at home, you may be missing out on the pleasure in the bedroom. To perfect the technique, squeeze your pelvic muscles for about five seconds, and then relax for three.

Performing Kegels regularly – in and out of the bedroom – can help bladder control. While you aren’t likely to injure yourself by performing Kegels the wrong way, isolating the wrong muscles won’t help you achieve results. Trust us. Your sex life is worth a little bit of work.

While they still help with female health issues (we’re looking at you, urinary leakage), Kegels also have the potential to take your sex life up a notch. And the best part? You can do them anywhere, anytime, without anyone around you even knowing!

But how do these secret sex-enhancing exercises work, and how precisely do they help? We’ve got all the juicy details right here.

What Are Kegels?

Kegels, named after their creator (an American gynecologist named Dr. Arnold Kegel), entered the medical scene during the mid-20th century.

Initially, Kegel exercises were a way for the doctor to help his AFAB (assigned female at birth) patients deal with common urinary complaints, such as leaking or incontinence. The primary target of Kegel exercises is a group of pelvic muscles known as the pelvic floor.

Kegel exercises work to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum.

When Dr. Kegel’s patients practiced his patented “clench-and-release” exercise, the result was a stronger pelvic floor, which helped reduce their urinary symptoms.

So long, peeing when you sneeze!

Think of Kegels like squeezing a stress ball with your hand, only you’ll be doing it with a different, less visible part of your anatomy!

Why Are Kegels Important?

Kegels were initially just an essential part of the strategy to help reduce urinary leakage. While that’s still true, we’ve since learned that they can be a real game-changer for your sex life, too.

For instance, if you have a vagina, the sexual benefits of Kegel exercises can include:

  • More relaxed vaginal muscles, which are especially important for people who deal with discomfort during intercourse (which our Intimacy Melts can help with, too).
  • An increase in blood flow to the vagina and pelvic floor, leading to a greater sense of sexual arousal and sexual function.
  • A greater likelihood that you’ll be able to reach orgasm more easily.
  • An increase in the amount of natural lubrication made by the vagina (not that there’s anything wrong with using lube!).

If you’re a person with a penis, Kegels can help you, too! With regular use, you may see:

  • A greater control over the pelvic floor muscles, leading to an increased ability to hold off ejaculation until you’re ready to blow (and helping to reduce the likelihood of premature ejaculation, too).
  • A better chance of consistently achieving a strong, healthy erection.
  • The possibility of harder erections due to increased blood flow to the pelvic floor.

All of those benefits with just a few muscle contractions? Sign us up!

How To Do Kegel Exercises

Like with any type of exercise, form is crucial. You wouldn’t just walk into a gym and start deadlifting without knowing what you’re doing, right?

Find the Right Muscles

Okay, Kegels sound great and you’re all for them, but how exactly can you find those muscles? If you were to start building your biceps or glutes, you’d have the ability to watch yourself in the mirror to learn how to isolate them properly.

Unfortunately, we don’t quite have that luxury with pelvic floor muscles. Luckily, there are a few tips you can use to find the correct muscles and help improve your sexual health.

One of the easiest ways to isolate your pelvic floor muscles is to stop urine flow midstream. This technique works for both AFAB (assigned female at birth) and AMAB (assigned male at birth), but it may take some practice.

When you’re squeezing correctly, your urine stream should stop, and you’ll feel the muscles in the back part of the lower pelvic area tighten up. But if you feel like your abdominal, thigh, or butt muscles are engaged, you’re not in the right spot.

If you’re comfortable getting a little more physical with yourself – and we strongly recommend it – you can check your work using a finger in either the vagina or the rectum.

You should be able to feel those muscles tighten, and move up and down, which will help you know you’re properly performing the muscle exercises using the correct muscle group.

It never hurts to check your work – you’ll be proud of what you’ll be able to do!

Perfect Your Technique

After you’ve isolated your pelvic floor and feel confident that you’re working on the right muscles, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Practicing Kegels to help stop your urine stream is an excellent way to find your pelvic muscles, but doing these exercises too much can backfire and lead to more urinary problems — there are better ways to practice just below!

Try lying on your back in bed or sitting in a chair. Take a deep breath through your nose and feel your abdomen rise. Once your lungs are full, exhale slowly as you contract your pelvic floor muscles. Hold the muscles tight for three to five seconds, then take another deep breath and relax your muscles for another three to five seconds.

Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you can extend the clench-and-release stance to ten seconds per repetition. You can even mix it up by changing the pattern, performing “quick flicks” of two to three seconds between each hold.

Some people even like to practice their Kegels while listening to their favorite song so that every time it comes on, they’ll get a fun reminder to practice. After all, practice makes perfect!

Maintain Your Focus

You can absolutely do Kegels while sitting at your desk or watching a movie with friends, but that doesn’t mean you should do them absentmindedly. You have to engage the correct muscles and practice a little mindfulness to get the benefits. Otherwise, you might not be doing anything but getting a tighter butt or stronger core (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!).

Also, while it may be tempting to hold your breath while trying to focus, resist the urge — breathwork is important for all things sexual wellness.

When To Do Your Kegels

There is no right or wrong time to do pelvic floor exercises, as long as you do them! In fact, it’s often best to spread your Kegels out throughout the day instead of just doing them in one long session.

A good rule of thumb is to do a set of Kegels whenever you think about them, or even set an alarm to remind you to stop and squeeze that pelvic floor.

How To Make Sure Your Kegels Technique Is Correct

Ultimately, you’ll know you’re doing Kegels correctly when you start seeing results. However, if you want to be absolutely sure, schedule an appointment with a physical therapist who specializes in sexual health and wellness.

The physical therapist should have various biofeedback tools (like a vaginal cone) that they can use to help you see how well you’re squeezing, and determine if you’re activating the right muscles. If you’re not, they can help guide you on how to isolate those muscles properly. It never hurts to have a little expert advice.

How Often Should You Do Kegels?

One of the best parts of practicing Kegels is that you can do them wherever and whenever you want, no equipment required.

How often you practice Kegels is entirely up to you – most professionals suggest practicing about three times a day to achieve the most benefits.

Remember, your pelvic floor muscles are like any other muscle in your body, so squeezing too hard or too fast can cause soreness. Take it easy, go slow, and don’t rush.

When To Expect Results

Just like most exercises, Kegels won’t create results overnight. It takes consistency and dedication to see progress. It can often take between four and six weeks for most people to notice a significant change in bladder control or sexual function, so be patient!

To keep up those positive benefits (which hopefully include some extra-amazing orgasms), you’ll need to make Kegels a consistent part of your daily routine. Kegels should be as important as taking your vitamins, drinking plenty of water, and practicing mindful meditation.

Takeaway

So what exactly are the benefits of Kegels? As it turns out, when you strengthen your pelvic floor, you may also help strengthen your sex life!

Practicing Kegels and using other sexual enhancement aids – like lube or toys – can give you that extra oomph in the bedroom you’ve been craving. Plus, exploring your body can help you reach a more fulfilling sex life — knowing yourself can help you guide your partner(s) to understanding your body better, too.

So what are you waiting for? Squeeze those pelvic muscles, and go get 'em, tiger!

Looking for more expert tips to boost your sexual expertise? Explore the Foria blog here.

Sources:

Kegel Exercises | PubMed

Kegel exercises - self-care | MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

How do I know if I'm doing Kegels right? | Penn Medicine

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