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Female Sexuality and the Kegel Contractions
 

In the 1940s, Dr. Kegel, a gynecologist, developed exercises for women with incontinence problems. These exercises did an excellent job of strengthening the pubococcygeus (PC) muscles helping them regain urinary control.

As an interesting aside, his patients reported greater satisfaction sexually, some even experiencing orgasm or orgasm during intercourse for the first time in their lives. He later reported in articles published during the early 50's that, in almost every instance, there was a spontaneous improvement in his patients' ability to respond sexually when they learned to strengthen and control the PC muscles.

Kegel exercises are being taught in many countries around the world. They have made their way into childbirth classes and even popular women's magazines. Due to current sexual research biases, cultural mores and professional risk, Kegels are infrequently taught by health professionals in the United States.

Current practice and research, however, has conclusively proven that the health and condition of the PC muscles can directly affect sexual enjoyment and the ability to orgasm. In woman there is a direct correlation between PC strength and the ability to orgasm during intercourse. Ease and intensity of orgasm from any form of stimulation is also increased by strengthening the PCs.

For men stronger PCs result in greater ejaculatory control and more pleasurable orgasm. Strong PCs also seem to be part of the reason some men experience male multiple orgasm. It's the hard-to-pronounce pubococcygeus muscle, usually referred to as the pc or Kegel muscle that gets this job done. It's located on the pelvic floor between the anus and the genitals; you can locate yours by stopping the flow of urine in mid-stream as you pee.

By learning to contract this muscle at will, you can postpone or intensify orgasm. Coordinate Kegel exercises with deep abdominal breath work by contracting the pc muscle with each inhalation.

  • Start with 10 to 15 contractions per day. Hold each breath for four seconds and then release. Slowly work your way up to 25 or more.
  • You can do Kegels when you're stopped in traffic, when you're on hold on the telephone, while watching television or making love. Think of all the opportunities you have to do these simple contractions!

Make Kegels a part of your daily routine Strengthening the key muscle that contracts during female orgasm, promoting optimal sexual function and fulfillment; plus preventing urinary stress incontinence.

Kegel exercises (so named by Dr. Arnold Kegel, who developed them as a way to strengthen the pelvic floor and alleviate urinary stress incontinence) are vital to building the pc muscle, which is the key muscle that contracts during female orgasm. A strong pc muscle promotes optimal sexual function and fulfillment while helping prevent urinary stress incontinence. It also helps improves control over ejaculation, maintaining an erection, and intensifying orgasm.

Prolonged Kegel or pc contraction can stop the pulsating multiple contractions that accompany ejaculation. This helps prevent ejaculation and helps maintain erection, thus building to a more powerful orgasm. Physical stresses of pregnancy and childbirth such as weakened pelvic floor muscles, plus urinary stress incontinence.

Pregnancy and childbirth can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, causing urinary stress incontinence. "When done properly, Kegel-type exercises are 90 percent effective in alleviating mild urinary stress incontinence," ...writes Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom (Bantam Books, 1998).

Kegel exercises will not improve lagging libido or an inability to reach orgasm, which are often a result of emotional and physical causes. Kegels only affect the mechanical aspects of sexual anatomy and function.

Helping reduce an enlarged prostate gland by massaging it.Kegel exercises can help improve prostate health by massaging the prostate gland. "Contracting or tightening the prostate gland pushes against or 'massages' the prostate," writes Dr. Robert Ivker in Thriving: The Holistic Guide to Optimal Health For Men (Crown Publishing, 1998). This massaging effect may help reduce an enlarged prostate.

Kegels may also add a kick to your love life. Many experts say that stronger pelvic floor muscles can make sex more pleasurable for both partners. Unfortunately, many women think they're doing Kegel exercises correctly when they're not. Instead of tightening the muscles, they actually take a deep breath and push down, called a valsalva maneuver, which is counterproductive, says Glenn Hurt, M.D., a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond.

In order to identify the correct muscles needed for Kegels, Dr. Hurt suggests voluntarily interrupting the urine stream. (But don't make a habit of doing this because it can lead to problems.) Then when you're aware of the correct muscles, you'll be able to do the exercises properly.

Child Birth
When you were pregnant, you no doubt heard about the importance of doing your Kegels, an exercise that strengthens the pelvic floor muscle and helps you to avoid leaking urine and helps prepare you for the rigors of childbirth.

But just because you've had your baby doesn't mean you'll no longer benefit from Kegels. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that supports the uterus, bladder and bowel, and it gets stretched and weakened not only during pregnancy, but also from the trauma of childbirth. So it must be retrained and strengthened to work properly again. If not, incontinence can result (even more so in menopausal years, when the effects of gravity and hormones are thrown into the mix).

The benefits of doing these exercises daily are well worth it: If you've been leaking a mild to moderate amount of urine following childbirth, chances are doing Kegel exercises routinely will improve the situation, and perhaps even cure your incontinence.

(If you've had significantly more leakage or experienced nerve damage as a result of childbirth, the exercises may not be effective and you may need to be seen by a urogynecologist.)

Pelvic Exercises Could Prevent Incontinence
First-time moms who regularly exercised their pelvic muscles while they were pregnant are less likely to suffer from urinary incontinence after they give birth.

Reuters reports that a new University of Michigan study found that pelvic muscle exercise, also called Kegels, helps heal the muscles after a woman gives birth. Kegels also work to strengthen the pelvic muscles before delivery and reduced the incidence of urinary incontinence in late pregnancy as well.

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