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When you hear the term pelvic floor, what do you think of? Kegel exercises? Bladder function? Panty liners? Birth? If any of those four elements things came to mind, you wouldn’t be wrong. But how about earth-shattering orgasms? Because those are also wrapped into the world of pelvic floor health – and more closely than you might assume.
During a recent education session set at Lovehoney’s Berlin office, which I was lucky enough to be invited to attend, sex educator and sexual health nurse Sarah Mulindwa walked us through the benefits of pelvic floor health – for everyday bodily function and pleasure.
Here were the standout lessons from our introduction to the world of pelvic floor strength and sexual pleasure.
To begin, what is the pelvic floor?
Mulindwa shared with the room that the pelvic floor muscles sit between the tailbone and the pubic bone, and their general purpose is to support your bowel and bladder (it helps you control your poop and pee) – as well as the uterus and vagina for folks with those reproductive organs.
She compared the pelvic floor to the floor of a building. It’s a strong base that holds up and supports these organs, if you will.
Most often, Mulindwa continued, talk of pelvic floor strength is only considered when it comes to recovery post-birth. That’s not necessarily incorrect as, well, the experience of giving birth to a child puts extreme strain on this part of the body. But, there is good reason for women and people with uteruses to give these muscles a regular workout – even if pregnancy is not part of their story.
Dysfunction comes in a few different forms
In a similar vein, Mulindwa touched on the fact that pregnancy is often assumed to be the only cause of weakened pelvic floor muscles, but this is definitely not the case.
First of all, she made a point to highlight that the concept of vaginas never being the same after childbirth is an absolute myth – like any other muscle, exercise will strengthen that powerhouse back up.
Mulindwa shared that pelvic surgery, higher body weight, injuries to the perineum, family history of pelvic organ prolapse and radiation therapy on the pelvic floor can all impact the strength of these muscles.
The point that caught my attention, however, was that people who do not have regular orgasms also may have weaker pelvic floor muscles. If you think about it, the logic is pretty clear. Mulindwa explained that if you have a weak pelvic floor, your muscles will tire out more easily, and your orgasms are likely to be shorter.
The TL;DR of it is: the more you orgasm, the stronger your pelvic floor is likely to become. And in addition to that, if you have stronger pelvic floor muscles, you may also find your orgasms become more powerful.
A glorious cycle of pleasure and health, if ever I did see one.
So, aside from orgasm, how do you strengthen your pelvic floor?
How to do kegel exercises
Chances are you’ve heard of kegel exercises before. They’re little contractions of the muscles in the pelvic floor that give the area a workout. The way Mulindwa suggested doing them is by tensing the muscles, holding for a few seconds and releasing, say, ten times.
If you want to level up the exercise, you can use kegel balls or “dumbbells for your vagina,” as Mulindwa liked to call them.
She offered a simple guide to using kegel balls – which Lovehoney now sells as a part of its health range – suggesting the following:
- Wash your hands with mild soapy water before starting
- When using the Kegel ball exerciser for the first time, wash the ball with mild soap and warm water then dry thoroughly
- Apply a small amount of water-based lubricant to the top of the Kegel ball
- Position yourself lying down or standing upright. When finished, remove the ball by gently pulling on the retrieval loop
- To clean, wash the balls with mild soapy water and dry thoroughly
When it comes to practising Kegel ball exercises, here’s what Mulindwa recommended:
- Relax your pelvic floor muscles, and you will notice the ball move downwards to your starting position (as a guide, the position a tampon sits in is too high up)
- Take time to rest and recover between Kegel exercises
- Try to keep your buttocks relaxed the whole time throughout the exercises
- Breathe normally throughout the exercise and avoid holding your breath
- Start out with the number of exercises you feel comfortable with – even if it’s just one or two
- Gradually progress to eight to 10 Kegel ball exercises in a row (one full set)
- When you can complete one set of exercises, you may increase to doing two to three sets per day
- The strengthening process is most effective when completed two-three days per week
Introducing this workout to your weekly routine is not only great for your overall health, but it has the capacity to increase your pleasure levels. Have you ever felt more motivated to pick up a set of ‘weights’ and exercise?
You can find the full Lovehoney Health range here, which also has a set of dilators, a penis pump and a penis bumper set.