Campus Life

Talk Nerdy to Me

For the Love of Kegels

The first time I had ever heard about kegels was from my Kotex panty liner.

I was the victim of shameless advertising. Kotex printed these “Tips for Life” on the peel-off strips of their product. Now, I usually don’t take advice from my pads — I really don’t want to hear any advice when I’m menstruating. One time, they mentioned drinking eight cups of water to feel fresh; well, they needed to remember that they were telling it to women who felt bloated. This time, when it mentioned kegels, a word that was not in my vocabulary, I was curious. I probably thought that I’d need it for the SATs.

Whatever the reason, it sparked my interest in kegels. Although, I can’t remember exactly how the advice was worded, I know that it connected the term with pregnancy. Upon further research, I discovered that most women associate kegels with tightness — especially, when they’re most concerned about this issue, post-pregnancy. There are many misconceptions about kegels, from the benefits to the execution.

So, what exactly are kegels? Well, they’re exercises to workout your pubococcygeus (PC) muscles. Contrary to popular belief, kegels are not just for women. Men can do them also. In both genders, the PC muscle controls urine flow and contracts during an orgasm. For men, this muscle controls the hardness of the penis during erection and shooting power. Thus, men gain just as many benefits from doing these workouts — not only can they make themselves harder, but they can make themselves last longer. For women, kegels can help reach vaginal orgasm, ease childbirth, and enhance “tightness.” By doing these exercises, you gain a better understanding of your body during sex, which enhances the experience. Suffice it to say, kegels are not just for your partner — they make sex better for both of you.

Unlike regular exercise, you can do kegels anywhere, anytime, without anyone even knowing. (Yes, that means you can do it during lectures and recitations, if that floats your boat.) Before being able to do kegels, you must locate the PC muscle. Unlike the clitoris, I can’t direct you to a diagram. The easiest way to find this muscle is to try to stop your urine flow in the bathroom. If you can, then you’ve learned the basic move. Do not continue to stop and start urine flow. Kegels on a full bladder is like exercising on a full stomach. It’s a disaster waiting to happen. Not only can it actually weaken the muscles, it can also increase the chance of urinary tract infections.

For women, the alternative method to find this muscle is fingering yourself while squeezing the surrounding muscles. Once you feel your vagina tighten around your finger, you’ve found the muscle.

Once you’ve found the muscle, the exercise is simple. Relax. Contract the PC muscle. Hold the contraction for about three seconds — gradually increasing the time after each session up to a maximum of 10 seconds. Then, repeat 10 times. There should be no hurry to maximize sessions — you don’t want to overwork this muscle. There are other more complicated methods, even involving special sex toys that you can look up. With kegels, you can’t expect instant results, however, you can expect some results within 12 weeks. In the end, you’re investing only a few minutes a day; don’t you wish regular exercise were that easy?