Sex File: She wants me to try Kegel exercises for better orgasms — are they useful for men?

It is surprising how few men know about the importance of Kegel exercises, given the evidence supporting the positive impact they can have on sexual function has been around for years
Sex File: She wants me to try Kegel exercises for better orgasms — are they useful for men?

Women are commonly recommended to perform Kegels in preparation for and after pregnancy and childbirth, which can weaken these muscles, as can ageing and weight gain.

My girlfriend suggested that I could train myself to have stronger orgasms by doing Kegel exercises. I always thought they were something women did - are they useful for a man in his 40s too?

Your girlfriend is a keeper. It is surprising how few men know about the importance of Kegel exercises, given the evidence supporting the positive impact they can have on sexual function has been around for years. 

Kegels are named after the American gynaecologist Dr Arnold Kegel, who in 1948 developed the concept of strengthening the pelvic floor, an often ignored but important set of muscles that support the bladder, bowel and other pelvic organs.

Women are commonly recommended to perform Kegels in preparation for and after pregnancy and childbirth, which can weaken these muscles, as can ageing and weight gain. But men also have a pelvic floor, and the benefit of strengthening it is that it will not only improve your own orgasms but help ensure you are able to maintain firmness for decades to come.

The first significant study into the relationship between Kegels and men showed they had an even more significant effect on performance than cutting back on smoking and alcohol, increasing fitness, eating healthily and losing weight. 

The study also showed that it is never too late to start. Kegel exercises are so simple to do that you can easily integrate them into your regular daily routine. 

While brushing your teeth, for example, stand with your feet apart and tighten your pelvic floor muscles as if you are trying to stop the flow of urine. Hold the contraction as strongly as you can. Try to avoid holding your breath, pulling in your abdomen or tensing your buttocks. If you do this exercise standing in front of a mirror in your underpants, you should be able to see the exercise in action. 

Start with three contractions morning and evening, and build up the reps from there.

You can also do Kegels while you are at work. Sit on a chair with your knees apart and tighten your muscles as if you are lifting your pelvic floor - but not your buttocks - off the chair. Hold the contraction as strongly as you can and repeat as often as you think of it.

You can do Kegels lying down, with your knees bent and your knees apart. You can Kegel while walking or after going for a wee. Some men even use Kegel techniques during intercourse - this entails simultaneously contracting and releasing your pelvic floor muscles, while moving quite slowly - to delay climax and maintain firmness.

The short-term benefit of regular Kegeling is better orgasms. It doesn't take long to see results - you should start to see an improvement within a few weeks.

The long-term benefits of Kegels are important too. It's not a sexy topic, I know, but it's worth noting that these exercises can also help prevent incontinence, some form of which one in five men and women over the age of 60  experience. In short, you have a lot to gain from starting these exercises in your 40s.

Send your queries to suzigodson@mac.com 

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