Sex File: How do I intensify orgasms after the age of 40?

Sex advice with Suzi Godson.

Q: I’m in my early 40s and I’ve found that my orgasms are less intense than they used to be. My sex life with my husband is alive and well, so I don’t think that’s the issue. Is there anything I can do? Someone told me that using kegel balls will improve things. What do you think?

Although kegel balls are marketed as sex aids, they were developed to prevent urinary incontinence. Now, unsurprisingly, the claim that using kegel balls leads to a more intense orgasm is a more appealing message.

Research confirms that regular kegel exercises — repeatedly lifting, holding, and releasing the pubococcygeal (PC) muscles — increase sexual function and satisfaction. Using kegel balls, also known as Ben Wa balls, is probably a better way to strengthen the pelvic floor because they give the vaginal muscles something solid to contract around. They are simple to use. Just insert one or two clean, lubricated balls into the vagina and, if you are using the right muscles, you should be able to contract, lift, and feel everything, including the balls, being pulled up inside you. Don’t expect to be an expert immediately — this will take practice.

Like any other muscle, the pelvic floor muscles are not meant to contract continuously, so build your workout from five to 15 minutes a day over a four-week period.

Kegel balls range in size from about 25mm to 35mm in diameter, and it is generally better to start with slightly bigger balls because they are easier to hold in place. They won’t work your PC muscles as much, but if you use smaller balls before you have built up your muscle strength, they may just fall out.

Traditional Ben Wa balls are made from surgical-grade stainless steel, which means they are naturally heavy. Love eggs, which are usually made from precious stones such as jade or amber, are similarly weighty. The steel balls sometimes have bells inside and the stones often have a hole drilled through the centre, allowing you to thread a string for easy retrieval.

You can get vibrating kegel exercisers, such as the award-winning Elvie pelvic floor tracker, which measure vaginal pressure, control, endurance and grip, and transmit the data to an app on your mobile.

Vibrating kegel exercisers are not designed to be sex toys per se, but some women find them a turn-on

Non-vibrating kegel balls are weighted internally with ball bearings, which move independently. Kegel bead systems combine two, or even three balls in a silicone or plastic harness, which has a cord attached to make them easier to remove. Most, like the Lelo Luna, come with balls of different weights and sizes that you can swap around.

As you become more proficient, swap lighter balls for heavier ones. As your pelvic floor gets stronger, you’ll begin to notice that the contractions you experience during orgasm become more intense. Kegel beads can also be integrated into solo sex — if you tug gently at the cord just before orgasm, you’ll experience a much deeper, rolling internal orgasm.

The benefits of kegel training are numerous — some people find them arousing while using them, others are distinctly underwhelmed. However, regardless of whether you enjoy the process, if you follow proper instructions, and practise consistently, you should begin to notice better vaginal tone within about a month.

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