A weak pelvic floor has the potential to ruin your sex life. Imagine tossing a hot dog down a hallway and you might understand why.
Pelvic floor exercise tools help in this area by strengthening the vaginal walls. According to some sources, they can also improve sex for women who are already nice and tight down there. To find out, I tested the 'Pelvic Toner' for three weeks. Read on for the sordid verdict.
Orgasm picture from Shutterstock
I laugh a lot. I also sneeze a lot. I can’t imagine how annoying it would be if I peed a little every time I did either of those things, but that's exactly what women with weak pelvic floor muscles frequently suffer from. Not only that, women who have weakened pelvic floors may not be able to enjoy sex as much.
There are a number of causes for the muscles down there to weaken including ageing, inactivity, and -- of course -- childbirth. None of those things apply to me but I was still curious to see if pelvic floor strengthening techniques could improve my sex life. It's something various sexologists swear by and you can even buy non-medical gadgets specifically for this purpose.
Now, my vagina is by no means weak. I'm not saying my genitals can crush Coke cans or anything, but it could probably pulverise some tofu blocks without any trouble. Besides, there's always room for improvement, right?
Most women are familiar with kegels, a form of exercise for the vagina popularised by TV shows like Sex and the City to increase the pleasure of coitus for women and men.
"Squeeze, hold and release" is generally what is involved in kegels and it is done without equipment although there are products available to take kegels to the next level. Pelvic Floor Exercise is a company that sells said products, which I liken to dumbbells for your box.
The Pelvic Toner Vaginal Exercise, an unassuming white plastic contraption, is what I ended up testing for three weeks.
"Where you will see improvement with pelvic floor devices is if there is an established weakness and they are used to strengthen the muscles and hence improve function," Pelvic floor physiotherapist and owner of Pelvic Floor Exercise, Fiona Rogers, told Lifehacker Australia.
"One part of that function is for sexual pleasure as a female orgasm involves rapid rhythmic contractions of the pelvic floor. Obviously, if the pelvic floor is well toned it contracts better -- there is better blood flow and a healthy nerve supply, all of which contributes to a lovely orgasm."
I'm down for that.
Putting my box on the line
If you're female, you might think the Pelvic Toner, pictured above, looks eerily familiar. Yes, it is reminiscent of a speculum or, as I would like to call it, that duckbill thing doctors shove into your vagina to open you up for a pap smear swab.
Being someone who isn’t fond of pap smears (who is?), I was a bit reluctant to use the device. But for the sake of a good article (and better orgasms), I laid back on my bed, took a deep breath and pushed the lubed up plastic wand up there.
I’m not going to lie; it’s uncomfortable. The device opens up just like a speculum and the objective is to squeeze it down, hold the position, relax, and repeat. Much like doing weights for strength and muscle definition, you do a certain number of reps with small breaks in between.
The coiled spring wedged in the middle provides the resistance for you to challenge your pelvic muscles and in turn strengthen them. You start off with the spring with the least resistance and gradually level up to the tighter one.
Drum roll for the results
So I did the exercises for three weeks. I definitely feel that I have powered up my pelvic muscles but how would it fare during intercourse?
I tested it out on my then sexual partner (how romantic). I won’t get into the gory details, but what I will say is it did feel better although it wasn’t as significant as I hoped it’d be. My sexual partner didn't even notice any difference.
While I didn't get the results I had hoped for, that's not to say pelvic floor exercise tools wouldn't help other women out there. As Rogers points out, you can have a strong pelvic floor but poor sensory awareness which can make sex less pleasurable.
"Some women, for many reasons, disconnect with their pelvic floor if there has been trauma in the past," she said. "In those cases, using a weighted or cone device may help them reconnect with their pelvic floor and ultimately be able to enjoy sex again."
Rogers did advise that it takes longer than three weeks to strengthen a weak pelvic floor to a significant level and she generally recommends using the device for a period of three to six months.
Will I continue to use the Pelvic Toner? Probably not. But if you're a woman who has lost the love for sex due to your pelvic floor muscles letting them down, why not give it a go? A little exercise down there might make a world of difference.