Squeeze, Hold, Release Your Way to Sexual Health

Posted On: August 31, 2011

This article first appeared on the Good Therapy website.

Have you heard of pelvic floor exercises? You may have learnt about them from your aerobics instructor. Or perhaps your urologist was the one who ordered you to squeeze your butt cheeks together? Maybe your gynae was the one who asked you to attempt to tighten your vagina, or was it your anus?

I have news for you: They’re all the same thing. This exercise is more commonly known as the Kegel exercise.

Named after Dr. Arnold Kegel, the Kegel exercise consists of contracting and relaxing the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor. The muscles actually being squeezed are known as the pubococcygeus muscles (or PC muscles for short) at the pelvic floor.

There are many benefits to doing Kegels. For men and women, it helps strengthens pelvic floor muscles weakened due to aging, from being overweight, or for those who have a chronic cough, or a genetic predisposition to weak connective tissue.

Women who experience pelvic organ prolapse or urine leakage due to pregnancy and childbirth benefit from doing Kegels. Also women who have persistent problems reaching orgasm find Kegels sensitise their pelvic muscles. For men, Kegels aids in better ejaculatory control and can help treat prostate pain and swelling.

To locate your PC muscles, imagine how it feels when you need to pee, but for whatever reason (say you are in a meeting), you are unable to immediately do so. Or try to stop the flow of urine while you are actually using the bathroom. That’s right! Those are the muscles. After contracting those muscles, use your mind to relax them, you should feel your pelvic floor move back down to the starting position.

I can simplify the ‘How’ into three keywords:

  • Frequency – If you have never done any Kegels before, chances are your muscles are not well developed. Use a “squeeze, hold, release” pattern. Do so for a minimum of three sets (10 times per set) daily. If you are doing them correctly, you should feel some slight ‘burn’ or tiredness around your outer thigh.
  • Duration – Within days, you should be able to build up from duration of one second up to three seconds. If you can get to a count of 10, even 15, seconds, repeating the “squeeze, hold, and release” – that would be excellent!
  • Intensity – As your muscles become stronger — and you become more experienced with the exercises — this movement will be more pronounced. This is when you have the ability to not only contract on the surface level, but squeeze even further. Much like how bodybuilders who lift weights push themselves just that bit more, you can also do that for your pelvic region!

Kegel exercises can be done anytime, anywhere. They are easy to do and require no special equipment. There is no reason not to do them, considering the benefits to bladder and bowel control and also sexual function! Give it a try!

About Dr. Martha Tara Lee

Surrounded by friends who were sexually inhibited and struck by dire lack of positive conversations around sex and sexuality in Singapore, Dr. Martha Tara Lee set out to make a positive difference in embarking on her doctorate in human sexuality before launching Eros Coaching in 2009. Today, she remains dedicated to working with individuals and couples who wish to lead self-actualised and pleasure-filled lives.

She also holds certificates in counselling, coaching and sex therapy, and her fourth degree – a Masters in Counselling in May 2018. In practice for more than 12 years, she is the only certified sexuality educator and certified sexuality educator supervisor by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) in Singapore. She is also a Red Tent Women’s Circles Facilitator from Star of Ishtar.

Often cited in the media, Dr. Lee is the appointed Resident Sexologist for PinkLifestyle.com; as well appointed sex expert for Men’s Health Singapore, and Men’s Health Malaysia. She was recognised as one of ‘Top 50 Inspiring Women Under 40′ by Her World in July 2010, and one of ‘Top 100 Inspiring Women’ by CozyCot in March 2011. She has published four books: Love, Sex and Everything In-BetweenOrgasmic YogaFrom Princess to Queen and {Un}Inhibited.

Martha works with individuals and couples in private coaching sessions, and conducts her own workshops. She takes prides in making sure all her workshops are also fun, educational, and sex-positive. This comes easily to her because even though she is extremely dedicated and serious about her work, she fundamentally believes that sex is meant to be fun, wonderful, amazing and sacred. As such, this serious light-heartedness has shone through again and again. For her full profile, click here. Email her here.

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