Remember that scene in Sex and The City when Samantha says she’s working her Kegels during dinner? “I’m doing mine right now. Just squeeze and release for two minutes a day!” she tells the girls.
Samantha says it’s the key to staying “tight.” While there are reasons to be skeptical about that particular logic, Samantha does have a point in that a strong pelvic floor can increase overall sexual wellness. Tightness, though? Eh.
A strong pelvic floor can, however, make orgasms stronger, longer, and better. It can increase sexual feeling, too! The pelvic floor is a magical group of muscles and they deserve their day in the sun (well, figuratively).
Here is everything you need to know about pelvic floor health and sex.
The basics on the pelvic floor
The pelvic floor is the region of muscles that reach from your pelvis to the coccyx (from your vulvar region to your tailbone). They are the foundational muscles that keep all of your lower organs in place. They are an important, albeit often neglected, piece of anatomy.
They are also responsible for keeping your urine in your bladder and your core strength on lock. Additionally, your pelvic floor is very important during pregnancy and post-natal recovery.
The pelvic floor weakens over time
There is an old myth about the correlation between how many people you’ve banged and how “loose” your vagina will be. This is BS. The vagina is much like a deflated water balloon being held together by a rubber band. If you stretch the water balloon, the rubber band snaps it back into place. The vagina is a muscle-packed area of the body and no amount of sex is going to determine your tightness.
How is this linked to the pelvic floor? Well, your entire vaginal system is linked to the strength of your pelvic floor. The only thing that makes your vagina looser is time and age (thanks for nothing, gravity), and letting your pelvic floor weaken from lack of exercise.
If you’re wondering: Is ‘insert muscle or organ’ affected by the pelvic floor? You just have to ask: Is this muscle, organ, or system around my vulva and butt region? If yes, the pelvic floor plays a role in some way or other.
That being said, there are many other reasons you might have a weak pelvic floor. Sexual trauma and childbirth can weaken your pelvic muscles over time and contribute to sexual pain. Some things are not in our control.
A weak pelvic floor and pain during sex
Having a weak pelvic floor will do more harm than that dreaded sneeze-pee we all experience when we get older. It can actually play a role in dyspareunia (or pain in the vulva), especially during sex.
As we get older, we experience large shifts in hormones. We may find a lessening in natural lubrication and libido. A weak pelvic floor can further exacerbate discomfort, leading to pain during sex for some women.
Don’t let your pelvic floor health sit by the wayside.
Working out your pelvic floor can make orgasms stronger and better
While having a strong pelvic floor will not make your vagina tighter, it can contribute to increased sexual wellness and pleasure. Doing Kegel exercises can tighten the pelvic floor, leading to increased sensitivity during sexual activity.
The vagina itself has very few nerves, but the pelvic floor affects more than just the vagina—it plays a role in the whole clitoral-urethral complex as well. A healthy pelvic floor can increase the intensity of your orgasms through heightened muscle strength. Better, stronger orgasms? Sign us up!
When your pelvic floor is strong, you can physically squeeze around your partner’s penis, dildo, or other toy and hold onto it. It’s like having a vagina born from whatever chemicals the Hulk took to become the Hulk.
How to do Kegel exercises
So, what we really want to know is: How do we get these Wonder Woman pelvic floor muscles?
Kegel exercises are quite easy, you just have to be sure you’re doing them right. To locate the Kegels, stop the flow of urine when you’re on the toilet. The internal muscles used are the Kegels. You can workout your kegels anytime—in the car, binge watching Netflix, standing in line at the mall, or while out to lunch with friends.
Squeeze the muscles in deeply. Try pulling them up inside of your belly. Hold for 5-10 seconds and then release. Try to do this ten to twenty times per day, twice a day. Once you become conditioned, move to fifty reps per day, twice a day.
Here is a great video from pelvic floor therapist Michelle Kenway. She takes you through the basics.
Kegel balls and other exercise helpers
You can get a Kegel trainer like Elvie, a Yoni egg, or Bennie Balls. These add weight to your exercises, making it easier to train. Your vaginal muscles and pelvic floor will naturally contract to hold it inside.
Just be sure to wash it thoroughly with anti-bacterial soap, as the material is somewhat porous, and never wear a Yoni egg for more than two hours at a time.
Something to keep in mind: If you experience dyspareunia do to trauma or have had issues with extreme vaginal tightness, Kegels can actually exacerbate the problem.
Likewise, those suffering from vaginismus (when the vaginal muscles contract making penetration nearly impossible or very painful) should not engage in Kegel exercises. Be sure you see your OB/GYN and/or a sex therapist if you have concerns.