You’ve probably heard of kegels already – but did you know keeping them strong is just as beneficial for MEN as it is for women?
Kegel exercises strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and can support your bladder and bowel function – and there’s a ton of anecdotal evidence to suggest that working your kegels can even increase sexual pleasure and stamina.
What are Kegels?
Kegel exercises are simple clench-and-release exercises that can make the muscles of your pelvic floor stronger. Your pelvic floor is basically a series of muscles and tissues that forms a kind of hammock at the bottom of your pelvis – holding your organs in place. A weak pelvic floor can lead to bladder and bowel control issues, and this is something that can happen as we age. Childbirth and prostate surgery can also impact pelvic floor strength.
The good news is, once you understand Kegel exercises, you can do them anytime and anywhere.
The Benefits of Kegel Exercise
Strengthening your pelvic floor can help support healthy bladder and bowel function as you age – but there are a number of sexual wellness benefits you can reap when you get in your reps!
The benefits of kegel exercise for men include:
- Firmer erections due to increased blood flow
- Ability to delay ejaculation and last longer in bed
- Increased pleasure AND number of orgasms
The benefits of kegel exercise for women include:
- Improved blood circulation, for increased sexual arousal and lubrication
- Increased ability to achieve orgasm
- More intense orgasms
Finding and Activating Your Pelvic Floor
When you’re first starting Kegel exercises, finding the right set of muscles can be tricky.
If you have a vagina, one way to find your pelvic floor muscles is to try tightening your vaginal muscles around your finger. If you have a penis, you can locate them by inserting a finger into the rectum and squeezing it — without tightening the muscles of the abdomen, buttocks, or thighs.
You can also locate your pelvic floor muscles by trying to stop your urine mid-flow*. The muscles you use for this action are your pelvic floor muscles, so stopping yourself from peeing is an effective way to figure out how they feel when they contract and relax.
How to Exercise Your Kegels
Once you’ve figured out how your pelvic floor muscles are activated, start by tensing them for a count of three, then relax them for a count of three. Keep going until you’ve done 10 repetitions.
When flexing your kegels, the muscles in your abdomen, back, buttocks, and sides should remain loose. Avoid holding your breath. Instead, breathe freely during the exercises.
Over time, practice until you can hold your muscles tense for a count of 10. Your goal should be to do three sets of 10 repetitions every day.
If you feel pain in your abdomen or back after a Kegel exercise session, you’re not doing them correctly.
It’s also important not to overdo your Kegel exercises. If you work the muscles too hard, they can become tired and unable to fulfill their necessary functions.
If you're having trouble doing your kegels, don't be embarrassed to ask for help! Your doctor or other health care provider can give you important feedback so that you learn to isolate and exercise the correct muscles.
*Contracting your pelvic floor to stop your urine mid-flow should be for learning purposes only. Incomplete emptying of the bladder can raise your risk of urinary tract infections.