“Will kegels make my orgasm better?”
This question may seem more Cosmo magazine and less Fit Moms Blog… but the answer is actually really interesting. And, surprise! Men also have a pelvic floor, so this blog post is for everyone wondering how to have a better orgasm. Check it out – the penis and clitoris are more similar than you’d think!
First of all, let’s get on the same page. An orgasm is an intensely pleasurable experience marked by the rhythmic contraction of your pelvic floor muscles. Yes, your pelvic floor reflexively contracts and relaxes over and over and over during an orgasm!
But that’s not all!
An orgasm triggers oxytocin to be released, the “love” hormone. This lovely little hormone increases your bond with another person and can work to relax you – why many people *cough cough men cough cough* fall asleep very quickly after orgasm. But, that’s awesome because sleep is the Holy Grail of health benefits! Sleep is when the brain synthesizes memories made during the day and when the body works to heal itself, literally overnight. Getting good, consistent sleep is so much more important than many people realize… orgasms make it that much easier to get good sleep! (That may not be helpful when you’re in the throws of Newborn Sleep Deprivation, but it’s the truth and probably why you feel so crumby when sleep deprived.) Oxytocin also decreases cortisol levels in your body improving your health overall.
Oxytocin is also present during labor, increasing uterine contractions and helping baby to be born – that’s why women are told to have a lot of sex if they are trying to induce labor. The better advice would be to have a lot of orgasms, not just sex, when you want to coax baby to arrive.
Oxytocin is also involved in breastfeeding! That’s why you feel those uncomfortable uterine contractions while breastfeeding in those first few days and weeks.
Frequent orgasms have some other health benefits too …
The increase in blood and nutrients that flood your pelvis during an orgasm can improve the regularity of your menstrual cycle.
An orgasm releases human growth hormone and estrogen which increases collagen production – excellent for healing after pregnancy. Our ligaments, organs, and skin need collagen to “bounce back” after everything has been stretched out. Collagen makes your tissue more like a rubber band that returns to its original shape. I wonder if women with incredible skin and very few wrinkles also have a lot of orgasms …?
Orgasms can work as mild analgesics (pain killers) with all the endorphins that are released. It’s like you’re opening your own little medicine cabinet inside your brain.
Orgasms are a lot more interesting than we give them credit for! They feel awesome but they are also really good for us in general.
Side note – If you have trouble reaching orgasm, a pelvic floor physical therapist may be able to help you determine why. Did you know that? Oh yes, there is help out there. Don’t suffer in silence, ask for help! And don’t take “drink a glass of wine” as a realistic recommendation… just… no. More about how a pelvic floor PT can help with orgasms below…
Alright, back to the question at hand… Will kegels make a better orgasm?
Short answer: Maybe!
Long answer: It depends on your own individual pelvic floor.
If you’re new around here, let me re-cap real quick… If you have a tight, or hypertonic, pelvic floor then you really want to focus on relaxation, or a reverse kegel, before focusing on strength. Doing a bunch of kegels may actually make your orgasm worse if your muscles are already being held in tension.
You need the muscles to be able to contract AND relax over and over and over again during an orgasm so if they are being held in tension, they can’t release. Then, you can’t contract and *relax*. Then, your orgasm isn’t as awesome.
However, if you do not have any pelvic floor dysfunction (pelvic pain, pain during/after intercourse, pain with orgasm, urinary or fecal incontinence to name a few symptoms indicating a need to see a specialist), then yes, improving your pelvic floor muscle strength can improve your orgasm. Just make sure you kegel correctly.
If your pelvic floor muscles can relax fully and generate a good deal of power – that is a recipe for a bomb orgasm!
I cannot stress enough that it takes both of those ingredients to be successful – so one last time, the optimal balance of LENGTH and STRENGTH = BETTER orgasms.
Wondering a little more about pelvic floor physical therapy and orgasms?
I thought you might… let’s take a deeper look.
There are many reasons a woman, or man, has trouble reaching orgasm. Not all of them can be helped by a pelvic floor physical therapist. For example, hypoactive sexual desire disorder, the complete lack of any sexual desires and thoughts while also being bothered by this lack of interest (that last part is key – if you have no sexual desire but don’t care, then this isn’t you). A pelvic floor PT likely cannot help with that, but a sex therapist certainly can.
If you have experienced any sexual abuse or trauma and you have trouble reaching orgasm, then working with a specially trained therapist will be key. A pelvic floor PT may be a good adjunct to your treatment but certainly should not be the only person on your care team. (Sexual abuse and trauma is more common than you think and so important to address when discussing sexual health. If this is you, I am sorry this happened to you – there is help available for you.)
Think sex therapy might be right for you? Check out Dr. Teresa Johnson, licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist, to learn if this is something you’d benefit from. She is licensed to see clients in New Hampshire, North Carolina, Idaho, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Maine, Massachusetts, and Utah! She has tons of helpful information on her blog and a list of resources you may find helpful.
So how can a pelvic floor PT help you achieve a better orgasm?
Here are just a few things you may want to consider…
If you are having pelvic pain at any time, during the day, night, with or without intercourse, hours after intercourse – whenever and wherever, a pelvic floor PT can help with this. Your pain may be related to too much tension OR not enough strength in your pelvic floor. Or it could be due to nerve irritation in your pelvis – the pudendal nerve is a common culprit of pelvic pain. Pain is often (but not always) something that puts the brakes on any sexual desire making it difficult to reach orgasm. A specialist will be able to guide you in the right direction and offer different positions throughout the day or during intercourse to help reduce your pain while also treating the source.
Do you have trouble inserting anything into your vagina? You dread your visit to the OB/GYN because of the speculum, you can’t use a tampon, and penetrative intercourse? That’s off the table no matter what is being used. You may have vaginismus. Vaginismus is a muscle spasm of the pelvic floor making inserting anything into your vagina really painful. Using vaginal dilators may be the way to go to slowly and gradually stretch and relax your pelvic floor. Pelvic dilators do not always have a sexual goal in mind; sometimes the goal is to tolerate a tampon or speculum during your annual gynecologist exam. While penetration is not required for an orgasm, it may be a limiting factor for a better orgasm.
Does intimacy feel like sandpaper or like you’re always dry? This is more common in menopause when your previous hormonal balance begins to fluctuate. You may benefit from an estrogen cream to improve vaginal lubrication and a pelvic floor PT can guide you in the right direction.
Believe it or not, your diet could be a culprit in your pelvic pain. Alcohol, coffee, carbonated drinks, spicy foods, and even chocolate can be bladder irritants. If your bladder is getting irritated, it’s not difficult to see that the structures around it may also be getting irritated. Working with a pelvic floor PT can help you determine if your symptoms are related to your food or not.
Send me a message!
This list isn’t exhaustive, just a little bit of information to get you thinking critically about your own sexual satisfaction! Because orgasms are more than just for personal pleasure – re-read above if you forgot why.
That’s it this week… who knows what we’ll get into next week! Got a taboo question you want answered? Send me a DM on instagram @fit.moms.blog or email me at Colleen@fitmomsblog.com.