I remember being in my mid-teens somewhere, standing in a kitchen with an older relative. Flushing furiously while listening to her tell me all the reasons why I should do my kegel exercises. She was doing the dishes at the time. She said, “You can’t tell I’m squeezing my vaginal muscles right now, can you? And kegel exercisers make it easier!” Ugh, I was dying of embarrassment and thinking, no I can’t cos I’ve got my bloody eyes closed!
I was fifteen or so. I didn’t care that keeping my pelvic floor toned would help me when it came to having babies. Or that it would stop me from peeing my knickers in my 30s whenever I coughed. It all seemed so far in the future, my arrogant self said I’d worry about it when I got there. I didn’t even care that a tight pelvic floor would give me stronger orgasms. I mean, I’d never had one and, ew, why was she talking about that with me anyway?!
Fast forward twenty odd years and I truly wish I’d taken her advice. I’d even go so far as to say that I wish the importance of kegel exercises had been incorporated into my (scant) sex education at school. Kegelling is a genuinely vital exercise for all the reasons my relative mentioned. I should apologise to her for disregarding what could possibly be the most beneficial ‘intimate advice’ I’ve ever been given.
In my early twenties, I had my only child. The delivery wasn’t a natural one because I have a messed-up pelvis, so my bub came out of the sunroof. I didn’t dilate properly, or have to push him out, so I didn’t think my pelvic floor would be compromised.
The weight of carrying an almost 9lb baby did one hell of a number on my poor muscles. By the time I hit my late twenties, I was spraying my drawers with little jets of pee every time I sneezed, coughed or belly laughed. My orgasms weren’t as strong after passing twenty-five either, and do you know why? I never ever did kegel exercises. Like, ever.
So, I started paying attention to the muscles I only flexed during sex. And it didn’t take long for me to realise that, yes, my orgasms were getting stronger. As a happy knock on effect of the greater control I was developing, my husband started to comment that he could feel my walls contracting around him when I came. Eventually, he fell in love with the fact that he could feel me intentionally squeezing while we had sex again. It was almost like it was in the beginning.
The problem is, the earliest you’ll start to feel any real results from your kegelling is around six weeks. And it takes at least three months before your muscles are fully ripped. Age, pregnancies & delivery methods, as well as general health are all factors in how long it takes.
I found it near enough impossible to remember to do them. And even when I did remember, I was so easily distracted I could never keep my mind on the task at hand long enough to complete a full session.
It wasn’t until I started taking a real interest in using sex toys that I learned that getting my muscles in tip top condition didn’t have to be a giant snooze fest. I discovered fun products that made a dull thing a bit more exciting. Here are a few examples of the things I have in my vaginal gym and why they’re so much better than squeezing alone:
If you’re one of those people who finds they forget to do the old squeeze and release half a dozen times a day, jiggle balls might well be for you. What they are, are hollow balls with free roaming weights inside of them. The idea of them is, whenever you feel them moving around, squeeze your muscles around them. As a rule of thumb, thirty minutes of wear at a time, once or twice a day should be enough to give your muscles a safe but thorough work out. Using them for longer could potentially damage your muscles through over working. They’re not supposed to try to keep weighted things inside you all day long, it’s too much.
The cheapest options are often bare ABS plastic, or worse, coated ABS plastic. The naked ones are fine, aside from the crappy strings that you can never quite get clean, but avoid the coated ones at all costs. They will soon become uncoated, and that flaky crap has to go somewhere…
Jiggle balls can also be found encased in gorgeous silicone shells, and those are the ones I’m quick to recommend. You can get individual sets with weights to suit your current kegel strength, or you can get boxed sets with two or three different weighted balls in. Those have graduating weights so you can move from beginner through intermediate to experienced, without having to buy multiple products. Depending on where you buy, these sets can be as expensive or inexpensive as you like.
The feeling of those balls moving around inside of your body, setting off tiny contractions in your vagina with every touch, can be quite arousing for some. I find that I end up significantly lubricated, but I don’t get a lot of sensation from such subtle internal movements. I do, however, get very turned on if the kegel exerciser I’m wearing has a lot of weight to it…
This type of kegel exerciser works in much the same way as jiggle balls, but instead of vibrations created by movement, these ones rely on their weight to remind you to squeeze. I have titanium eggs, steel balls, silicone balls and even a gemstone egg.
The silicone ones can often be found in those sets I mentioned above. They’re usually the last step option, peanut shaped and heavier than the others in the box. Another option is the solid silicone balls that you slot into a silicone sling. They usually come in a range of weights and you can mix and match to find the right combination for you.
But the ones that really get my juices flowing are the heavy metal ones. I have to put in a lot of effort to keep them inside me, and they tug and pull so much it’s incredibly arousing. Nine times out of ten, choosing to wear steel balls results in sex. All I have to do is tell my hubby they’re in me (if he wasn’t the one to suggest them in the first place) and by the time I need to take them out we’re both ready.
That gives you plenty of bang for your buck, as steel kegel exercisers are usually inexpensive. So not only do you get an intensive work out for your money, you also get foreplay!
In truth, I only have one dildo that was made with pelvic floor work-outs in mind. It’s pretty, porcelain and works very well. But you don’t actually have to source a Kegel specific dildo if you don’t want to. Weighted, curved dildos work just as well. Do you have a steel one, like the Njoy Pure Wand, maybe? That one does the job nicely!
The biggest advantage of using a dildo is visual feedback. Part of it is inside you, part outside, and when you squeeze and release your muscles, that outer portion will move. You’ll see it shifting, either lifting and dropping, or disappearing and reappearing. What you see will likely depend on your body shape. If you can’t see at all, a strategically positioned mirror will solve your problem.
Because part of it is inside the vagina, watching the dildo move is a good indication as to whether or not you’ve isolated the correct muscles. Loads of people (myself included) have mistaken squeezing their anal muscles as Kegelling. And others (again, myself included) have been known to lift their abdominal muscles.
The dildo poking out of your vagina won’t move correctly, if at all, if you don’t find the right muscle. Once you do and that dildo starts to move, you might find that you get a bit mesmerised by watching it bob around down there. Just make sure you choose a pattern and a set time so you have targets and goals. To achieve this, I choose a piece of music I know well, and I squeeze in time to the beat. It’s timed, paced, and if it’s a fave song, those five or six minutes pass quickly.
Fancy something that does most of the work for you? Then you need to get yourself an e-stim device. Some people go straight in for targeted, Kegel specific units like the Kegel 8, but others, like me, prefer a combination toy/exerciser.
I have an awesome product by Mystim called the Tickling Truman, and it’s one hell of a muli-tasker. It’s a vibrator with e-stim capabilities, and built into it is a Kegel program. There are ten intensities to choose from so you can tailor your workout as you progress.
What this type of exerciser does is basically electrocute your muscles. Don’t worry, it’s not as horrendous as it sounds. But yeah, it sends electrical pulses through your pelvic floor and that causes involuntary muscular contractions. You know those sucking grasps your vagina does when you orgasm (they might be strong or mild, depending on how ‘hard’ you come)? That’s basically what you get, but without the pleasant release we get from orgasm.
The reason I opted for a phallic vibrator shape for this was because of those spasms. See, it’s very easy to shift from a Kegel session to a masturbatory one, and my orgasms last much longer and feel stronger when my body is already behaving like it’s coming. If that isn’t a good enough reason to devote twenty minutes of your day to ‘intimate exercise’ I don’t know what is.
I only have two sets of these, but what wonderful things they are! Beads or eggs, either rechargeable or battery powered, that have set patterns for you to follow in which you feel the vibes and flex your muscles. Some of them even track your progress and give you feedback. For example, the Lelo Smart Bead gives you a number that tells you how it rates your strength, and it is sensitive enough to detect changes. And the We-Vibe Bloom can be controlled via the We-Connect app, so you can tailor your own exercise as you see fit.
Vibrating kegel products, especially the pressure sensitive ones, are ace for those who have twenty minutes spare to nip off, pop it in and do the set exercise. It takes the guess work out of knowing if you’re working the right muscle as it responds directly to you squeezing it, even increasing its vibes during use as you squeeze. As you get stronger, the workout gets more intense.
The main drawback is, if your muscles are very weak it’ll take a while for it to register your efforts. You’ll likely feel that you’re not improving, and that’ll make you feel like giving up, but I would say persevere. The sense of achievement you’ll feel when you eventually level up is worth it. I can tell you that from experience.
And just for balance, here’s a kegel exerciser I absolutely could not get the hang of at all:
Just ugh and what the hell with this thing. I’ve never hated anything as much as I hated the Magic Banana. The level of fail was indescribable, and I still don’t know if it’s me or the product.
What it is, is a plastic loop that you insert into the vagina, then once it’s in there you use your muscles to squeeze each side together. Basically, it’s resistance training for your love canal. You’re supposed to mash those things together, fighting against their desire to spring back to their loopy shape, but I encountered problems.
My first hurdle was getting it inside me. It twisted every time, ending up upside down and crossed over. When I eventually got it in me, it was like having a snowshoe all up in my vag. It’s just too big for me to be able to compress it, despite the fact that I’ve long been an avid kegeller.
I do still have it and every so often I’ll look at it and say, ‘right, it’s on for you and me, buddy’. I’m yet to conquer it, though. I can’t decide if it’s a poorly designed piece of trash, or if it just isn’t right for me. I’ll keep trying, though, cos I ain’t no quitter.
Now that you’ve read all that and hopefully picked a product that sounds right for you, it’s important to know that, to keep up any new-found strength in your pelvic floor, you’ll need to treat it the same as any other muscle. You must keep up regular exercises or you will lose that strength. The loss can take up to nine months to start to show, but it can also happen after as little as two weeks of no exercise.
I made a point of not using any Kegel products for around four months, just out of curiosity. I wanted to see how quickly my muscles lost their might. I’m not particularly active outside the bedroom, and I’m not that fit, so I didn’t think it would take long.
After a bit of research, I learned that, the stronger the muscle, the quicker its strength deteriorates. Just over four months of doing no Kegel exercising whatsoever (other than during sex, of course) and I was already having little bits of pee escape when I sneezed. As if that wasn’t bad enough, both myself and the Fella noticed a decrease in my orgasm strength and the tightness of my grip on his penis. Tragic or what?!
So, as of July, Kegelly Ella was back with a vengeance. I started off with a large, light jiggle ball during the day, and regular sessions with my We-Vibe Bloom. I’ve noticed improvements already. My eyes are firmly on the prize, and I can’t wait until my orgasmic strength is back to full capacity.