We’ve been hearing for years now about the importance of doing pelvic floor exercises (a.k.a.: Kegel excercises), but many of us still have questions. That’s why we were thrilled when we got the chance to ask Tania Boler, women’s health expert and cofounder of Elvie, a pelvic floor exercise tool and app, some of our most burning Kegeling questions. (Men and trans people can benefit from doing Kegel, too, but you need a vagina for this app.)
The Advocate: So do pelvic floor exercises actually “tighten” your vagina?
Boler: Your pelvic floor muscles are like any other muscles in your body. They can grow in size and need to be strong, as well as be able to flex and contract. The vagina itself doesn’t actually get “tighter” or smaller, but Kegel exercises do help you have more control over your pelvic floor and vagina, so you can tighten or flex if and when you want to.
What are the sexual benefits of having a strong pelvic floor?
When it comes to better sex, Kegel training builds muscle strength, increases sensation, and boosts blood flow to the vagina, which in turn helps you to control those muscles and experience stronger orgasms. We also have women tell us all the time that they feel more confident in bed now that they know their bodies more intimately. Studies have shown that women with a stronger pelvic floor have more intense and longer lasting orgasms, are better lubricated, and want sex more frequently.
Any specific benefits for women who have sex with women?
Many of the benefits apply to sex with both men and women. The pelvic floor contracts during orgasm, so regardless of how you reach orgasm, a stronger pelvic floor can increase their intensity. Increased blood flow to the vagina can also improve lubrication and sensitivity.
What about the nonsexual benefits of Kegeling?
It is a key part of all women’s — and many trans men’s — health and wellness. Better bladder control, reducing your chances of getting prolapse, less back pain, and healing your body post-birth are just some examples.
Can trans women benefit from Kegeling?
Anyone can benefit from Kegels, including trans women and men. The Elvie trainer is designed for anyone and everyone with a vagina, and we do have some trans women using it. However, we always recommend that anyone who has had recent surgery speak to their health care provider before using a Kegel trainer.
What are the benefits of Kegeling with a device?
Exercising is better than not exercising for sure, but by clenching without a device you are pressing against air, which is less effective. Simple Ben Wa balls or Kegel balls are better than nothing. But the Elvie trainer brings that concept to a new level by wirelessly connecting the device (which inserts easily like a tampon) to an app that guides you through fun, five-minute workouts shown on your smartphone’s screen. (Elvie.com)