Sex Advice

Dear Dr. Locker: What are Kegel exercises? Can they tighten a woman's vagina? Do they do anything for men? Exactly how are Kegels done?

Answer from Dr. Locker

Kegel exercises were developed by Dr. Arnold Kegel in the 1940’s. They involve contracting the pubococcygeal (PC) muscles that control the flow of urine in men or women. They were originally intended to help women regain bladder control after childbirth. They are helpful for people who have some urinary incontinence (such as peeing when you sneeze). They have potential to make the vagina feel tighter. They were also found to have the effect of increasing orgasmic intensity in women and men. Also, some men report that it can help them understand the sensations in their penis and pelvic muscles, so they feel more control over when they want to ejaculate during sex.

Kegel exercises involve flexing the PC muscle a lot of times in a row. For maximum benefit, you should perform Kegel exercises throughout the day, everyday, doing a total of about 200 per day. Even thought it’s not as strenuous as, say, sit ups or push ups, it still takes time and perseverance. That’s why they are not successful for everyone!

To learn how to do Kegels, you first need to isolate the PC muscle. Do this by stopping and starting the flow of urine. The muscle you are moving is the PC muscle. Once you can feel it, you’re ready to begin working it out. Do not do Kegels while you are urinating. Rather do they any other time throughout your day.

For women to perform Kegel exercises, here’s what they should do. Try one of the following three types of exercises:

-- Tighten and relax the PC muscle 10 times in a row. Do this for 10 sets per session, twice a day. You can flex it like this anytime, anywhere. The motion is not visible on the outside at all for women.

-- Tighten and hold for three to seven seconds. Do this for 10 sets per session, up to twice a day, anytime, anywhere.

-- Tighten the muscle slowly, in increments going in and out, like an elevator stopping on several floors. Do this for 10 sets per session, up to twice a day, anytime, anywhere.

For a man’s PC workout, all he has to do is flex the muscle in repeated sets. He can tighten and relax the PC muscle 10 times in a row, for 10 sets per session, twice a day. He doesn’t even need to touch his penis—just let the muscle move on its own. Usually, this will cause his penis to flick up a bit. He might not want to do it in public, so no one sees his penis dancin’ in his pants.

Like any exercise, the more consistent you are with it, the faster you will see results. In most people, it takes six weeks to notice a difference. Give it a try, it can’t hurt, and you may even like the way it feels. Some men and women report that when they start to do Kegel exercises, they get so turned on from the way it feels when they flex the PC muscle that it makes them want to masturbate!


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