I'm not sure I actually know how to do Kegels.
March 1, 2007 8:06 PM   Subscribe

I'm not sure I actually know how to do Kegels. (Yes, I know.)

You know how ladies are supposed to do Kegels for good pelvic floor health? In general, I'm not very good at translating written directions into physical movement, which probably plays into this. I thought I knew what I was doing, but it's hard to tell: I'm just not sure of what it should feel like.

I've tried to isolate and tense what I think are the muscles I'm supposed to be focusing on by putting two fingers inside myself, but I feel more of a slow pulse than I do a sharp tightening. The contracting muscle seems to be on the "bottom" of the introitus, near the perineum, not on the top, or on the sides. Is that right? (Frankly, I also find it difficult to put a finger inside myself while still keeping my torso in the fairly upright position that allows me to do what I think are Kegels, so perhaps that's part of the problem.)

I feel more sure of what I'm doing during sex: I can feel with more certainty that I'm clenching around my boyfriend's penis, and I experience the contraction as a more "circular" thing than I do when it's my fingers in me, when it feels more "horizontal".

I'm pretty sure I'm not actually ridiculously out of shape in that area or anything. I'm not incontinent, tampons stay in the right place, the man's penis is snugly received, etc.

Still, I have no real idea if I'm isolating the right muscles when I do Kegels. I've read all the instructions I can, and they all say the same things: pretending you're peeing and stopping the flow, etc. That's just not helpful to me for some reason. When I concentrate on my pelvic floor, I tend to tense up the muscles around my anus instead of the ones around my vagina - which may or may not be the same ones.

Argh! This is ridiculous. I'm a grown woman. I can't believe my vagina is confusing me this much.

HELP. Is there a trick to this? Is there some kind of device? Do I just need to bribe my boyfriend to sit still while I hang out on top of him and, um, work out?

Ladies: can you explain how you know you're doing it right? Dudes: can you explain how it feels when your wife does a Kegel around you? (I'd like to be able to ask my boyfriend "Is this what it feels like? Yes or no?" instead of "How does that feel?" which, somewhat obviously considering the situation, gets a "Ungh.")

Thanks for any tips.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Instead of pretending like you're peeing, pee. Stop the flow. After a while you will know what it feels like (speaking from a guy's perspective)

I don't know what it feels like to have it done around me, for sure.
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:21 PM on March 1, 2007

Dont pretend you're peeing and stopping the flow; do that (pee in pulses) and pay attention to what muscles get worked when you do.
posted by flabdablet at 8:26 PM on March 1, 2007


actually, this kind is what I mean to show you... there's one with a dial showing pressure out there somewhere... blowfish used to carry it.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:47 PM on March 1, 2007

You and your partner probably won't feel the effects even while you are doing them until you have been doing them for a good long while. Honestly I think that the power of Kegels has been exadgerated over the years. It takes lots of excersise for the clenching to be pronounced enough to even be perceptible.
posted by shanevsevil at 9:18 PM on March 1, 2007

The kegel excersizers that Ambrosia just linked to don't work because of any magical properties. It's just that it's much easier to isolate the muscles when you have something inside you, and toys are usually larger, more noticable, rounder, and more handfree than fingers.

The "horizontal" rather than "circular" feeling you're getting is normal. Consider that your boyfriend's cock is like the toys; larger and rounder than fingers. Also, the vagina changes shape during arousal and sex. Plus, when you're sitting upright your vaginal canal is compressed, and already naturally "closed." You're feeling a slow pulse because there's not much your muscles can add on top of it. Lay back and spread your legs, relax, and "open." Then it will be easier to feel the difference between that and clenched.

I promise you, every thing you are saying is perfectly normal. Don't worry that you're doing anything wrong. Try buying a old fashioned egg timer that tick-tick-ticks and buzzes loudly. Set it for 2-5 minutes every night and you'll very quickly become comfortable with the excersizes. I know that the timer sounds like a bit much but it's a physical reminder to do them everyday, the ticking keeps the mind from wandering and the legs from parting, and the time tracking is much easier than counting them(plus you can alternate long and short tightenings).

I agree that you can't dash off a quick hundie and then expect to be a wanger-wringing porn goddess, but they definitely do have positive effects. In positions where penetration is shallower and may not be earth shaking for the girl, a slow steady pressure can make a big difference between slight boredom and feeling pretty awesome. Also, clamping down angles the cock more toward your g-spot, and makes orgasms stronger. It worth it to learn how to do them if the only time you do them is while you're coming. I can't speak as to the advantages to the guy, but I'm sure there's someone out there who would support a bold claim that he can feel something.

If you don't want to rush out and buy a toy, try doing them wile you're wearing a tampon. It should be easier. Then buy some of the previously linked SmartBalls. After a few months with those you'll be saving up for Betty's Barbell.
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:28 PM on March 1, 2007

This training aid works. Just keep it from sliding out while you are standing up, and you are for sure using your PC muscles.

When a woman tightens her pussy around me it adds to the sensation, of course - more shaft sensation which is less pointed and intense. The balance between shaft compression and tip stimulation can be varied easily when you bring your PC muscles into the equation.
posted by jet_silver at 9:37 PM on March 1, 2007

From a guy's point of view I was surprised/shocked the first time my ex "tightened". To be honest I was a bit freaked out by it until she told me a few seconds after. It's quite noticeable and really spiced up the intimate time.

good luck
posted by ronmexico at 9:46 PM on March 1, 2007

Total derail, but I'm *absolutely* going to use the line
"snugly receive me!" next time around...

Also, @shanevsevil, really? I think that's a person to person type thing, having dated someone with whom it was quite perceptible, who I don't think made it a daily exercise for years and years by any means...
posted by disillusioned at 9:47 PM on March 1, 2007

I recommend a product such as this. Not only will you learn how to do Kegels, you'll learn how to do them very effectively and will be able to measure your improvement.
posted by mezzanayne at 11:20 PM on March 1, 2007

It takes lots of excersise for the clenching to be pronounced enough to even be perceptible.

I'm going to have to disagree here. I perceive them quite clearly (and pleasurably.)
posted by PEAK OIL at 11:38 PM on March 1, 2007

Yay, mezzanyne! That's the one I was looking for! It's definitely a good learning tool.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:50 PM on March 1, 2007

by all means, bribe your boyfriend to sit still while you hang out on top of him and um, work out. as a guy, i can't imagine that such an overture wouldn't be warmly, if not quite snugly, received.
posted by bruce at 12:06 AM on March 2, 2007 [2 favorites]

When i'm squeezing the muscles during sex, it's exactly as you described. When i'm doing them alone (i'm doing the right now!) i also feel pressure near my anus. i figure all those muscles are related, if not connected.
posted by nadawi at 12:51 AM on March 2, 2007

also: if immediate, unprovoked feedback is any indication, boys can feel the flexing.
posted by nadawi at 12:52 AM on March 2, 2007

Yeah, they can definitely feel the flexing. Mix up how hard you squeeze and when for exciting times!

As for doing it, as other posters have said, just try to stop your pee. Get used to doing that movement and then practice it. It is also likely the same movement you're doing when you squeeze your boyfriend's penis--if it feels horizontal around your fingers, it's probably because your fingers are not a circular surface.
posted by schroedinger at 6:47 AM on March 2, 2007

we can feel it.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:46 AM on March 2, 2007

Just keep practicing, it will get easier to feel the muscles.

The advantage of not using a training aid is that you can do them pretty much anywhere, but one might help you locate the muscles.
posted by yohko at 9:43 AM on March 2, 2007

This comparison chart of pelvic floor trainers may be useful as well. (I have no affiliation with the company whatsoever). I think the pee-and-hold thing is useful to try to locate the right muscles, but do not do this too often because it can actually cause incontinence.
posted by davar at 11:15 AM on March 2, 2007

can you explain how it feels when your wife does a Kegel around you?

I've never been married, but an ex-girlfriend was quite into Kegels for a while, and it feels like what you imagine it feels like: something forcibly grasping the entire length of the penis. Even when she lamented that she hadn't been doing them as much, it was still noticeable and pleasurable in a statistically significant and not at all "I wonder if she's doing something" way.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:05 PM on March 2, 2007

During your next gyno exam, ask the Doctor to check if you're doing it correctly. It's routine for them to do this with Moms at the 6 week postpartum check up so it's not an unusual request. Or you can pretend you're picking up and holding a long neck beer bottle.

Super Kegals involve holding for about 10 seconds, and then without releasing, tighten more for another 5-10 seconds.
posted by Feisty at 3:09 PM on March 2, 2007

actually, women are also taught to do kegel's not just by trying to stop urine flow, but by trying to "hold in a fart." Yeah, I know, kind of gross - but it shows that this feeling that you are clenching your anus may very well be the right sensation. I think part of the reason women are taught to hold in gas is that that sensation is easier to recognize than the other type of feeling. What you are describing sounds totally normal, and I am sure you are doing it right. Just make sure you aren't also tensing your buttocks or abdominal muscles - a common mistake. Sexual benefits aside, you will be glad you did your Kegels as you get older!
posted by tuff at 3:41 PM on March 2, 2007

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