Grabbing on Tight!💪
Are these the sexiest muscles in your body?
Maybe! Because if you’re having problems with your PC Muscles, you are likely also having problems below the belt—and if your kegel game is in great shape, that bodes well for your sex life. So let’s get to know them! The PC, or pubococcygeal, muscles are part of the group that make up the pelvic floor—they are named after Arnold Kegel, a US gynecologist who invented the exercises that bear his name in the mid-20th century. The muscles make a sling from the pubic bone to the tailbone—aka coccyx--hence their scientific name, and they go around your genitals and anus, regardless of gender. Among other things, these are the muscles that pulse and feel so good during orgasm. Told you they were sexy!
Pelvic floor muscles can be in great shape—but like other muscles in your body, they can also be too weak or too tight. Too-tight can cause muscle pain and spasm, and can also affect ease of penetration and make intercourse, toy play, and even tampon usage hurt. If this is affecting a person, they’ll need to learn to relax those muscles. Too-weak PC muscles can affect urinary and fecal continence, pelvic organ prolapse, the strength of ejaculation, the ability to squeeze with vaginal or anal muscles, and that lovely pulsing sensation that comes with orgasm. Yes, Kegel problems can make the orgasm itself feel weak! (Orgasm itself happens in the brain, but most of us associate that pulsing sensation—which can also propel ejaculate—with climax.)
There are some health and lifecycle issues that might make Kegels especially relevant. They are frequently recommended during pregnancy. They can get weaker with age, and if you are sedentary and don’t get much core exercise. They’re important after pelvic surgery, including prostate surgery. Anxiety about sex can make PC tightness worse, and people who cough a lot or strain during bowel movements need to pay attention to their pelvic floor health.
Fortunately, there are pelvic floor specialists (including specially trained physical therapists) to help—and there are exercises you can do at home and products that make them easy and pleasurable to do!
To do a Kegel, first figure out which muscle to squeeze. Tightening butt cheeks or abdomen won’t help with these pelvic floor issues. The muscle group to isolate is the one you’d use to stop a flow of urine mid-stream (or stop a fart—yup, these are important muscles!). Explore while you’re peeing, or in the shower. Once you’ve found it, don’t continue to stop-start urine and do the exercises that way—too much of this is bad for bladder health. Instead, squeeze those muscles while you’re doing other things like standing in line, watching TV, washing the dishes. Or you can do them lying down. Tighten the muscle, hold it for a count of three, relax it. Work up to sets of ten three times a day. The relaxation is just as important as the squeeze—you want an optimally healthy pelvic floor, not a too-tight one or a weak one, and pelvic health experts tell me they frequently see people who cause more problems with pain and spasm because they have only concentrated on strengthening these muscles. To do the relaxation part, it helps to time the relaxation phase with breathing out.
You can do these without an assistive device, but many people find it is easier—and more pleasurable, too—to use a toy made for pelvic exercise. (These can add some delicious G-spot or prostate sensation too—bonus!) devices are designed for prostate health and make great Kegel helpers. And for people with vaginas, there are lots of Kegel balls available, most with a silicone pull or string to allow you to tug gently on them—which feels nice and gives you the opportunity to squeeze down on them during use.
Whatever you choose to help you maintain your pelvic floor health, take a moment to appreciate these awesome muscles that help keep our pelvic organs where they’re supposed to be, increase our sexual health, and help us enjoy orgasm. Give them a squeeze!