A Guide to Kegel Exercises for Men
What are Kegels?
Kegels are pelvic floor muscle exercises for men and women. The Pelvic floor muscles are like a hammock between the pubic bone and coccyx bone and form a bowl shape of muscles that control urination, defecation, internal organ support, core support, and help with sexual function. Kegel exercises are designed to increase awareness, strength, endurance, and fine control of the muscles of the pelvic floor so they can be functionally integrated into daily life to help support your core and protect against sexual dysfunction and incontinence issues of bowel and bladder. For male pelvic floor dysfunction or those experiencing urine leakage as a result of prostate surgery, these exercises can be particularly helpful.
Benefits of Kegels for Men
Kegels are crucial for men wanting to gain and maintain a healthy, fully functioning pelvic floor, as both bottoming and aging can reduce pelvic floor control. Urinary and fecal continence, powerful satisfying orgasms, and strong erections are big enough reasons to become masters of pelvic floor control exercises alone. However, anal laxity is a real issue in our community that needs to be addressed and it is not just due to age.
Anal laxity will affect your sexual enjoyment and often becomes a big strain on dating, casual sex, and relationships. There are many young men with anal laxity that negatively impacts many aspects of their life, including self-esteem, continence, sexual satisfaction, and relationships. For gay men in particular, as well as any men or women who engage in anal play, keeping control of pelvic floor muscles is critical for life long sexual fulfillment.
Additionally, kegel exercises don’t require equipment and they take no time at all to complete. Are you interested in starting a kegel regimen? Read on to learn how to do kegel exercises.
How To Do Kegel Exercises
• Step 1: Locate the muscles of the pelvic floor and then learn how to gently contract them in isolation. One effective way of finding the muscles is to sit on a chair and slowly activate the muscles that you would use to stop passing gas. You should feel your anal sphincter squeeze closed and your pelvic floor muscles lift slightly up and away from the surface of the chair. Alternatively, you could try standing in front of a mirror with no pants on and slowly lift your testicles without touching them. Try to only use the muscles directly involved in the exercise and keep breathing.
• Step 2: Practice just turning the muscles on and off until you get really good at activating those muscles. Next, start activating the muscles standing, walking, or lying down. Once you can locate and activate the muscles in a variety of positions, try performing a maximum contraction of the pelvic floor muscles. Then try and do a very light contraction of the muscles. Play around with the length of the contraction. Try holding some contractions for 3 seconds and try holding other contractions for 10 seconds or longer. When you can locate and activate the pelvic floor muscles, contract them and release them for short periods and longer periods while breathing, you can move on.
• Step 3: Try sitting on a comfortable chair, breath, gently contract your pelvic floor muscles, and transition from sitting to standing while maintaining the contraction. That is called functional integration. You can see how being able to locate, activate, and control the muscles of the pelvic floor might be useful while doing a squat at the gym, for example. Do these exercises when you have the opportunity during the day. Prescribing specific amounts and sets and reps is useless if it does not work for you in the first place. You can do 3 sets of 10 of these contractions every day if you know these exercises work for you. Alternatively, you can be more creative with the time and place you perform the exercises, like seeing if you can walk to the water cooler while performing a gentle low-level pelvic floor contraction or performing three quick contractions before you stand up or sit down. The only exercise that is good for you is the one that is safe to perform and the one you are motivated to actually do. Find a way that suits you.
When Can You Expect Results?
Just like any other muscle group, it takes between 6 to 8 weeks to start seeing some real improvement in your control and function. Improvements can happen faster simply due to your increased awareness of those specific muscles.
With any exercise, consistency is key, so keep at it and stay motivated. For the health benefits of a good health pelvic floor, there is no magic pill. These exercises are the only way.
If you are having any trouble locating and activating your pelvic muscles, or if you don’t see any change in a couple of months, you may need to get in touch with your doctor, urologist, or pelvic floor physical therapist. Contact Bespoke Surgical today!
Dr. Evan Goldstein is the Founder and CEO of Bespoke Surgical. Dr. Goldstein has extensive experience educating and shedding light on health care issues relating to the gay community, and has been published in several national publications including The Advocate, OUT Magazine, Vice, Refinery 29, NY Mag and more.