"Kegels are exercises that serve to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support the bladder, vagina, and rectum," says Lucky Sekhon, MD, fertility specialist and board-certified OB/GYN. "These muscles impact the body's ability to control urination, defecation, and can have a major impact on sexual function. The pelvic-floor muscles can weaken due to factors such as pregnancy, childbirth, aging, and the hormonal changes of menopause, chronic coughing, and being overweight."
Kegel (or Ben Wa) balls are small, weighted spheres that, when inserted into he vagina, help tone and strengthen your pelvic floor—just like lifting dumbbells can do for your arms and shoulders. They also serve the decidedly sexier purpose of helping to strengthen your orgasm. "The pelvic floor muscle is responsible for your orgasms and the intensity of the involuntary contractions," says sexologist Sadie Allison, PhD, founder of GoLove CBD lube. "The more conditioned and strong your pelvic muscles are, the more control you have over them, which can lead to stronger, more intense orgasms—or even multiples. For some, this is the route to learning how to achieve their first orgasm."
Who should use kegel balls?
Whoever wants to, honestly. But, from a more medical-leaning point-of-view, kegel balls can be especially helpful for treating incontinence issues. "Kegel exercises with kegel balls will be helpful for anyone experiencing incontinence of urine or stool, where they have difficulty preventing urine leakage when coughing or laughing, or, worse, leakage of stool whenever they increase their intra abdominal pressure," says Dr. Sekhon.
"Inserting the balls into the vagina and rotating or tugging on the strings has been said to cause a range of sensations, which may be perceived as pleasurable." —Lucky Sekhon, MD
And, again, kegel balls hold the power to help those who want to intensify their sexual pleasure. According to Dr. Sekhon, kegel balls may be helpful to those who have a vagina and are recently postpartum and ready to get their groove back, so to speak. "For some women who experience laxity of their vagina after childbirth or prolapse of the vaginal wall, kegels can help to support the pelvic floor and reverse these changes," says Dr. Sekhon. "This can lead to improved sexual function. Inserting the balls into the vagina and rotating or tugging on the strings has been said to cause a range of sensations, which may be perceived as pleasurable."
How to use kegel balls for pelvic exercise
The best part about kegel exercises—with or without kegel balls—is that you can do them anytime, anywhere, wearing anything you want.
To get started, first identify your pelvic muscles. They're basically the muscles you use when you stop yourself from peeing midstream. "Once you have figured out which muscles you are using, you can isolate and work them anytime and in any position," says Dr. Sekhon. "The key is to really focus on the pelvic muscles and try to tighten them without using muscles in the abdomen, thigh, or buttocks. Repetition and persistence is also key; aim for three to five sets of at least 10 repetitions a day."
Looking to perfect your kegel craft? She recommends imagining sitting on a marble, and tightening your pelvic muscles as if you're lifting it up.
How to use kegel balls for solo sexual pleasure
To eroticize your kegel exercises, it helps to incorporate two things: a body-safe lubricant that ensures you can insert and enjoy the kegel balls with ease, and simultaneous stimulation of other erogenous zones "like the nipples or light fingertip play on the anus," says Dr. Allison. And, of course, you can amp up the sexual heat on your kegel exercises by using a sex toy at the same time that targets a major hot spot for quickening your orgasm.
"Try squeezing and releasing to really amplify the sensation of the balls inside your vagina," says Dr. Allison. "This will stimulate the nerve endings and offer more sensation and pleasure. One way to take things to the next level is to use a clitoral vibrator on your clitoris while you're squeezing and indulging in the sensation of the kegel balls."
How to use kegel balls during partnered sexual play
"Try inserting the kegel balls before you meet up with your partner in public," says Dr. Allison. "The secrecy of the balls will add an extra spark to your time together. There are also vibrating kegel balls that you can purchase [like these from OMOTeam, $40], which will intensify the sensation and make those public excursions that much more exciting."
How to use them safely
Kegel balls consist of one or several balls lined up in a row with a cord at the end, which is usually left hanging out. Once inserted, contract and release your pelvic floor muscles around the balls to feel how effective the kegels are. The balls can be treated as weights for the vagina, meaning the heavier the ball, the more strength is needed to hold it inside the vagina. So, the idea is to work your way up from lighter to heavier weight.
One important note of caution: "Don't use kegel balls or insert any foreign objects into the vagina in the postpartum period when the vaginal tissue is still healing, or after any recent pelvic surgery," Dr. Sekhon says. "Talk to your doctor about when it might be safe to try kegel balls. Also, do not leave kegel balls in place for longer than six hours at a time. Kegel balls should be cleaned after every use with mild soap and water."
Kegel balls to try
Dr. Allison recommends the Lovelife Flex Kegel Weights ($45) for beginners: They're made of high-quality silicone, and they allow you to work your way up in size over time. But if you're a well-seasoned kegel connoisseur? She suggests a sophisticated piece of sex tech called Lovelife Krush ($129).
"This kegel exerciser is perfect for your sexual-health pelvic-floor fitness routine," she says. "Equipped with built-in sensor technology, it measures the pressure, control, endurance and grip of your PC muscle, so you can build your pelvic muscle's strength while measuring and recording your progress with real data."
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