The pelvic what?
The pelvic floor is a hammock-shaped group of muscles and connective tissue that cradles the pelvic area from the tailbone to the front pubic bone.
Keeping these muscles toned helps to reduce incontinence, strengthens orgasms, and has been said to make vaginal childbirth a little easier too. For those equipped with a penis, pelvic floor exercises can help with premature ejaculation and ease prostate pain. The good news is that you can do pelvic floor exercises (also called ‘Kegels’) anytime, anywhere!
To locate your Kegel muscles, empty your bladder of pee completely and continue pushing for a couple of seconds. The muscles you feel working are located in the pelvic floor. (Some people recommend stopping the flow of urine to locate these muscles, but this might cause urine to go back up the urethra, leading to infection.) To find the muscles further back, gently squeeze your butt cheeks together and tilt your hips forward (like you’re pulling an imaginary tail through your legs!)
Now that you’ve found your Kegel muscles, simply contract them and hold for three to five seconds, then relax. This tones the muscles of the pelvic floor, just like doing push ups tones the muscles of your arms and chest. The number of repetitions will vary from person to person, but a good workout consists of a set of 20 repetitions, three times a day.
The other good news is that there are special tools designed to help you with your Kegels. They’re called Kegel balls (or Ben Wa Balls). These balls fit inside the vagina, giving your pelvic muscles something to squeeze against. The action of squeezing strengthens the muscles, and can also produce enjoyable stimulation. Balls are often connected to a retrieval string, which you can tug on to make the exercises a bit more challenging, since this increases friction and provides some resistance. For advanced users, you can try wearing them as you vacuum, walk up stairs or (for the very advanced) swim laps!
Kegel Balls are an updated version of an ancient Chinese women’s health practice known as the Jade Egg. Aristocratic women would use a polished jade ‘egg’, inserted into the vagina, to tone and exercise the pelvic floor. This was thought to increase sexual sensitivity and generally support well-being. The most skilled ladies could flip eggs around inside of themselves! Hot damn.