There is an increasing conversation around kegel exercises, with a great deal of advice floating around telling people with vulvas how to manage their nether regions.
“Do your kegels and your vagina will be tighter”, “do your kegels to have a better grip on whatever goes in”, “do your kegels because … well, kegels.”
Often people think that kegels are targeted solely at women who want to increase the tightness of their vagina, whereas in fact the exercises are for everyone who wants to engage in better sex.
Kegels were developed in the mid-1940s by Dr Arnold Kegel, making him the sex version of the person who invented zumba.
The exercises were meant to help women who were experiencing urinary incontinence but the women found that strengthening the pelvic muscle made their sex lives a heck of a lot better too, as they went from lukewarm to flaming hot.
Again, many people think that kegels are the stuff of feminine folklore but those with a penis can also engage in them: kegels are the simple clench and release exercises that you perform to keep your pelvic floor strong. And we all have pelvic floors, regardless of our genitalia.
And why should you care if that muscle is strong? Well the pelvic muscle is a sling that holds all your inner squishy bits and pieces, aka your organs, together and if this muscle is weak it can lead to bladder and bowel control problems.
On a sexier note, kegels have a host of benefits. They can also:
l Improve your ability to achieve orgasm because they tighten your pubococcygeal muscle, which is one of the muscles that contracts during the Big O;
l Make your orgasms stronger;
l Increase the number of orgasms you experience during sex;
l Make sex feel better because of the increased blood flow;
l Improve circulation to your penis or vagina;
l Make sex feel better for the person with the vagina and the person putting a penis in the aforementioned vagina; and
l Improve the length and strength of your erections and help decrease premature ejaculation by those who arrive too early to the party.
Finding your kegel muscles
Whether you have a penis or vagina, one of the easiest ways to find your pelvic muscles is to stop the flow while you are urinating. Alternatively, for those with a vagina, imagine picking up a marble with your vagina. And, for a person with a penis insert a finger into your rectum and try to squeeze without using your abdomen, buttocks or thighs. Those muscles that you feel tightening are the ones you should squeeze and relax.
Squeeze. Count to 10. Relax.
That’s one rep.
Do multiple reps.
Word of warning: kegels should not be uncomfortable or painful — performing these exercises should feel like a light flex.
If they are uncomfy or sore then chances are that you are doing them incorrectly. Go back to the urinating drawing board and stop and start the flow. If it still hurts then make sure you go to the doctor.
So, do your kegels and your sex life will become much better.
Tiffany Kagure Mugo is the curator of HOLAAfrica and the host of radio show Between the Sheets, which is broadcast on Transafrica Radio