The pelvic floor can help enhance sexual function because it has direct connections to the clitoral hood and assists in closure around the vaginal opening (for vulva havers) as well as the anus (for those who have anal sex). “The pelvic floor muscles have been found to affect your orgasm: Stronger pelvic floor muscle contractions have been found to correlate with more intense and longer duration of an orgasm,” says pelvic-floor physical therapist Heather Jeffcoat, DPT, owner of Femina Physical Therapy in Los Angeles and author of Sex Without Pain: A Self Treatment Guide to the Sex Life. So by strengthening your pelvic floor, you are, in turn, setting yourself up to reap more of the well-being benefits of achieving orgasm.
"Stronger pelvic floor muscle contractions have been found to correlate with more intense and longer duration of an orgasm." —Heather Jeffcoat, DPT, pelvic floor physical therapist
One of the most common and widely known pelvic floor workouts for better sex comes in the form of Kegels—aka flexing and releasing your pelvic-floor muscles. However, Dr. Jeffcoat says it's a misnomer that Kegels are the be-all and end-all of pelvic floor workouts for better sex. That's because the key to pelvic floor health is achieving a balance between flexibility and strength—and Kegels are primarily a strength-specific workout.
“Many folks think that Kegels are the answer to any problems with their pelvic health,” says Dr. Jeffcoat. “However, sometimes people need to take a step back from strengthening and focus on muscle relaxation and mobility.” Meaning: Don't forget about your pelvic floor stretches.
With that in mind, read on for three pelvic floor workouts for better sex, according to pros. But before you actually start your exercises, Dr. Jeffcoat suggests consulting a professional to help you develop a personalized plan. “You can find a local pelvic-floor physical therapist at the Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy,” she says.
3 pelvic floor workouts for better sex that aren’t Kegels, from a pelvic floor physical therapist
1. Bridging from a chair or couch
“The glutes and adductors facilitate a pelvic floor contraction, and this exercise pulls in both muscle groups for added benefit,” says Dr. Jeffcoat.
How to do it: Lie on the ground, with your feet up on a chair or couch and your knees pressed together. Contract your pelvic floor muscles, pull your navel towards your spine, then exhale as you lift your hips up towards the ceiling. Inhale, return to the floor. Make sure you keep your knees pressed together. To assist, you can add a small pillow between your knees. Repeat this 15 to 20 times, three to four times per week.
2. Prone hip diamonds
According to Dr. Jeffcoat, “the glutes and hip external rotators facilitate a pelvic floor contraction, and this exercise pulls in both muscle groups for added benefit.”
How to do it: Lie on your stomach with your hips about 30 degrees away from your side, knees bent, and heels together, making a bent diamond shape with your legs. Contract your pelvic floor muscles, pull your navel towards your spine, then exhale as you lift your thighs up off of the floor. Inhale, and return to the floor. Repeat this 15 to 20 times, three to four times per week. For added intensity, you can pulse this exercise at the end for 10 to 15 more reps.
3. Modified plank with pelvic tuck
Dr. Jeffcoat says this exercise will work your deep abdominal muscles, which connect to and facilitate the moving of pelvic floor muscles. “You will also work your gluteal muscles in this exercise, further facilitating the pelvic floor muscle contraction,” adds Dr. Jeffcoat.
How to do it: Lie on your stomach, with your elbows under your shoulders. Lift your pelvis off the ground, keeping your knees down, and maintain your elbows under your shoulders. (If you are holding correctly, your torso should be parallel to the floor.) Take a breath in, then exhale and tuck your pelvis under to flatten your lower back. The rest of your body stays in the same position. Repeat three to four times per week.
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