Most women these days (and some men) know about Kegel or Pelvic floor exercises - though that was not the case some 10-15 years ago when it appeared to be a closely guarded secret of more sexually aware women. But thanks to the media and a very famous episode of “Sex and the City” more of us are becoming aware of that magic muscle that we should exercise.
A Kegel exercise consists of contracting and relaxing the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor, or in simple terms, the muscles that stop the flow of urine. The advice given is that you should exercise daily, repeating for 20-40 times in duration, twice a day.
There are a number of good reasons for ladies “to Kegel” :
• during pregnancy to prepare for child birth
• to gain some level of improvement with urinary incontinence
• to help prevent the prolapse of pelvic organs
Something that is surprisingly less well known is that Kegel exercises are also beneficial for men’s bladder and bowel control, proving a powerful weapon to combat incontinence.
As a sex therapist, I have been recommending these exercises to men and women for years. Apart from the above proven health benefits, Kegels are very good for sexual well being. The exercises help women (and men) get in touch with their own sexual functioning, and help build a level of confidence which can later be shared with their partner. It can provide men with stronger erections and it has a proven success rate in rectifying erection difficulties and premature ejaculation.
For both men and women, stronger Kegel muscles might also mean stronger and sometimes multiple orgasms - do I still have your attention?!
In France, following the birth of a child, women are offered free consultations with specialist practitioners who will help them get in trim “down below”. And while some criticism of this approach might be directed at men for wanting/needing their women to get back in shape as quickly as possible let’s not forget that benefits for us women are huge.
According to a recent survey, an increasing number of electrical devices are now being designed to help women tone their Kegel muscles – and sales of such devices are growing exponentially. The choice to go high-tech is really down to personal preference but to me it sounds like automation is the lazy way out. It is like comparing exercising with a Power Plate to swimming in fresh water. And let’s not forget that our body is there to be used and you would be amazed what it can do for us if it is looked after correctly.
As I am finishing this post, and looking at the sun outside I am doing my exercises ... the environmentally friendly way of course ... so how about you?