The importance of exercise to a satisfying and healthy life can not be overemphasised. The same can also be said about an individual's sex life. Kegel exercise is a form of exercise that is aimed at strengthening the sexual ability of both men and women by toning up their pelvic floor muscles – also called the Pubococcygeus (PC) muscles. The strengthening of the PC muscles also has health benefits which include prevention of urinary incontinence, improved prostate health, treatment of uterine prolapse, vaginismus, and preparing women for and recovering from childbirth.
The importance of kegel exercises was discovered by an American gynaecology, Dr. Arnold Kegel, and named after him. He initially developed the exercises to help pregnant women to control their bladders and to ease childbirth. Women found that these exercises could also increase their sexual desire, intensify their orgasms and help them become multi-orgasmic. He subsequently developed a series of exercises designed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles thereby heightening the pleasure for both partners.
The PC muscles make up the largest muscle group in the body and like other muscle groups, can lose their tone. This is more particular for women who had significant trauma to the muscles surrounding the vaginal opening during childbirth. If the PC muscles of a woman are weak or overly tense, or if she has no sense of voluntary control over these muscles, the quality of her sexual response – including orgasm – can be greatly diminished.
Originally designed for women, kegel exercises are today equally being used by men. Indeed PC muscles are integral to orgasm for both women and men. Strengthening this muscle is important for a man's pelvic health and sexual pleasure as it can help increase ejaculatory control.
Studies show that there is also a positive correlation between the strength of the PC muscles and a woman's orgasmic response. Therefore, women who have very weak PC muscles usually find it difficult having orgasms while those who have particularly strong muscles often have multiple orgasms. Kegel exercises help a woman's vagina to become tighter as the strength of the PC muscles increases feeling tighter on contraction during intercourse.
For men, the exercises assist in achieving stronger erections, prolonged sex, increased sexual pleasure and more intense orgasm. By mastering the control and increasing the strength of this muscle and then squeezing it at the moment of ejaculatory inevitability thus avoiding ejaculation, a man can experience "dry" orgasms whereby he attains the sensation of having an orgasm without ejaculating. This is the pathway for a man to become multiorgasmic – a natural privilege of women.
With each partner's PC muscles toned up, sex can take on a whole new dimension of pleasure and satisfaction as they'll both benefit from stronger kegels. For starters, during intercourse, as the man pulls out from a deep thrust, his partner can squeeze her PC muscles (doing a kegel exercise against a resistant device) and tighten her vagina around his penis throughout the pull-out. An interesting option would be if both partners engage in intercourse that just involves mutual squeezing, rather than thrusting.
Identifying your PC Muscles
To do kegel exercises it is important to first find the right muscles. In both men and women, the PC muscle is easily identified as the one that permits the stoppage of the flow of urine.
To do this, pay attention to your body as you attempt to isolate the PC muscle by trying to stop your flow of urine mid-stream. You should not squeeze other muscles at the same time or hold your breath. You should also be careful not to tighten your stomach, legs, or buttock muscles.
Women can alternatively find the PC muscles by inserting a finger into their vaginal opening and the trying to clench their muscles around it. If initial trial is difficult and some urine dribbles out during the contraction, your PC muscles may be weak, but do not fret as you are about to strengthen them.
Strengthening your PC Muscles
Once you have discovered the PC muscles as illustrated above, caution should be taken not to try it repeatedly, as it can potentially cause urinary tract infection. The procedure was just to locate and isolate the muscle, so you know the exact muscles to practice with.
To start kegel exercises, you first need to find a quiet spot to practice – your bathroom or bedroom – for better concentration. Pull in the pelvic muscles and hold for a count of 3. Then relax for a count of 3. Work up to three sets of 10 repeats. It is advisable to start kegel exercises lying down. This position is the easiest for doing kegel exercises because the muscles then do not need to work against gravity. When your muscles get stronger, you can then stand or sit.
With more experience and as the muscles strengthen, you can gradually increase the duration and number of slow contractions and also add some fast contractions. You can at this time adopt "The Rule of 5" as instructed below:
* Contract PC muscles for 5 seconds; release for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times
* Contract PC muscles 5 times as fast as possible
* In the same session, repeat steps (a) and (b) 5 times
* Perform 5 sessions per day
Like any exercise program, to reap the benefit of kegel exercises, you must continue to safely exercise the muscles regularly. Do not give up and be patient, as you might not notice the benefits for about three to six weeks though others may notice improvements after a few weeks.
Precautions about Kegel Exercises
Despite the beauty of kegel exercises, in excess, they can become harmful. This is because contraction of the prostate muscle triggers the prostate's sympathetic nerve to induce ejaculation. Excessive contraction of the PC muscle to assist an erection a man feels is not hard enough will make him secrete pre-come quicker and stimulate the urethra, lubricating it for ejaculation and manipulating him into ejaculating prematurely.
Also, your PC muscles may get sore, just as they do after any exercise. Avoid the temptation of pushing yourself too far; rather gradually increase repetition. Consistency is more important that quantity.