Icicles No.41 Small Glass Ben-Wa Balls
Kegel exercises work on the pelvic floor muscles. The Pubucoccygeus, or PC muscles, are muscles that stretch from the pubic bone to the coccyx (tail bone) like a hammock that supports the pelvic organs. They are found in both men and women. In 1948, the gynecologist Arnold Kegel was the first to realize that the weakened pelvic floor muscles were linked to urinary incontinence (inability to control urination), genital prolapse (collapse of the vagina wall) and weakened pelvic muscles due to childbirth. He also developed the perineometer to measure the strength of PC muscle contractions to help diagnose weakened muscles. He then developed exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Now known as Kegel Exercises, they consist of contractions that strengthen this muscle. In women, Kegel exercises not only can help with incontinence but also help build up weakened muscles due to pregnancy and childbirth, they can help to increase orgasms and sexual pleasure. Kegel exercises can even help some women who have trouble achieving, or can’t achieve, orgasm. In men they can help with male urinary incontinence, inflammation of the prostate, and possibly even premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction.
The Kegel Workout
Start out by finding the right muscle by stopping urination midstream. The muscles that contract to stop urination are what you’re looking for. I just want to point out that this is not the exercise and it is not recommended to exercise the muscle this way. This is just to get a feel for where the PC muscles are so you are doing the contractions in the right place. Once you’ve located the right muscles you can start easy by squeezing and contracting your PC muscles for 3-5 seconds then relax for 3-5 seconds. You can start with 5 in a row done three times a day. Work your way up to 10 contractions with a 10 second rest in between them, three to four times a day. It may be beneficial to do your first sets lying down or somewhere where you can focus. You want to make sure you only move the PC muscles and not any other muscle in your pelvic area. Work on making sure your buttocks, thighs and abdominal muscles stay relaxed and you only work your pelvic muscles. You can do Kegels anywhere, in the car, while doing the laundry, talking on the phone or standing on line at the bank or grocery store. Since everyone has PC muscles regardless of gender identity, anyone can do these exercises for both health and pleasure benefits.
For years in my youth I had no idea what Ben Wa balls were. I would see them in catalogs or hear someone mention them jokingly, but had no idea if they had an actual function or use other than they looked pretty and might have to do with sex. Indeed Ben Wa balls are sex toys but also have a function and now I know why. The balls are usually, but not always, hollow and have a weight or chime in them that are supposed to provide sexual stimulation as they are held in the vagina. Thankfully most people now refer to them as Kegel balls due to the function that has become a more popular reason for wearing them, exercising your PC muscles. The smaller more decorative balls are usually referred to as Ben Wa balls while the larger more practical one are usually labeled as Kegel balls.
I couldn’t find a single origin for them. Also known as orgasm balls or geisha balls, earliest evidence of their use dates back to c500 and is mentioned in texts from Burma to Japan. Originally used to enhance penetrative sex, once women realized they felt great on their own their use became less for coupled sex and more for self-pleasure. The first were just a single ball but two balls attached with a string proved more popular as they made removal easier. The ball is inserted and held in with the vaginal and pelvic muscles. The feeling of the weights moving inside the balls can bring on an orgasm. In turn, the muscles are strengthened giving you all the added advantages you would get from Kegel exercises. Originally in metal, they now come in all kinds of materials including steel, glass, and plastic. Some are solid while some are hollow with various types of weights inside. You can also find toys to exercise your PC muscle that aren’t shaped like balls made by Aneros, LELO and Je Joue.
Kegels: It’s Not Just About Balls
It really doesn’t matter whether you decide to add Kegel exercises to your daily routine with rhythmic contractions, wearing a set of Kegel balls or using a stimulating Kegel exerciser. Nor does it matter if you do them for just the health benefits, the pleasure, or a combination of both. The most important things to remember are to isolate the muscle and do the exercises regularly. Your mileage may vary since we all respond to the exercises in a different way but you should be able to see some positive results with consistent practice.
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