A Different Kind of Spooky Story

Previously I wrote a Halloween post about a possible visit from a ghost.  This year it’s…

…the terrifying implications of not doing your pelvic floor exercises.  Yes, you!  You know you haven’t been doing them.  And if you’re a man, you might not even have known that you should be doing them.  But here’s why, and then how.

The reproductive system is supported in part by an interconnecting band of muscle, the largest of which is the pubococcygeus (often called PC, because who can pronounce pubo-coxa…oh, never mind!)  Just like other muscles in the body, the PC starts off strong but becomes weaker with age.  It is further weakened in women after the straining necessary during childbirth (and unfortunately, some women are even told that they need “surgery” to “tighten their vaginas back up” after delivery – not true!)

As we get older, the aging process, reduction in sex hormones, and lack of use due to decreased sexual activity also play a role in weakening the PC in both sexes (we don’t have the old saying “use it or lose it” for no reason.)

So who cares, right?  Especially if we’re already getting a little flabby and finding that we’d just as soon eat a pizza in our recliner as go out to shake our booties with our BFFs or play soccer with our buds.

Well, you should care, and here’s why.  That PC muscle that helps support the internal sex organs also helps support the bladder.  When it becomes weak, we can experience the dreaded, terrifying, horrific even  … (dun dun dun) … urinary incontinence!  Yes!  Oh, what is that, you say?  That’s when you cough or sneeze and suddenly realize that you’ve leaked urine – in other words, you’ve peed in your pants.  Aaiieee caramba!

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Poltergeist experiencing urinary incontinence

When this begins to happen is different for different people.  It began to happen to me as I became peri-menopausal in my early 40’s.  And the most embarrassing part was that I was a teacher up in front of a class full of college students.  You don’t get to choose when it happens!  Furthermore, instead of, or in addition to, leaking, it can manifest as urine running down your legs just because you waited too long to go.

If you’re young, you might be thinking, ‘Well, I can wait till I’m about 39 to start these exercises.’  And that may be partly true.  But you know what else a toned PC muscle is good for?  Better sex!  More ejaculatory control for men and stronger orgasms for both sexes!  So that right there is a reason not to wait for your first pair of soggy underpants.

So, there’s a pretty simple way to prevent the bad and enhance the good – by doing a few simple exercises of the pelvic floor or PC (sometimes also called Kegel exercises).

Whatever your age, you might also be thinking, ‘Damn, I can’t even make it to the gym half the time – how am I going to incorporate yet another exercise into my life?’  Well, here’s some good news:  These exercises take less than 5 minutes, and you can do them anywhere.  Yes, anywhere!  On the freeway, in bed, at church – you name it.  Even on or in your partner – with their consent, of course – ooh la la!

So how do you do them?  The most common instruction that I’ve seen makes absolutely no sense to me, so I’ve come up with my own.  Those other sources often say, “Go to the toilet and urinate; now stop the flow of urine – you’ve just used your PC muscle!”  Well, I’ve tried that and tried, and of course I can stop the flow of urine, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out what part of ‘down there’ helped me do it.  So the direction that makes more sense to me is as follows:

  • Women:  Put your attention at the opening of your vagina.  Now pull upward in that area as if trying to ‘suck’ something inside.  You should feel an upward movement; THAT was your PC muscle.
  • Men:  Put your attention at the base of your penis, the junction where it meets the trunk of your body.  Now pull upward as if trying to ‘suck’ your penis up and inside.  You should feel an upward movement; THAT was your PC muscle.

Once the PC has been identified, now you do your sets and reps.  Yes, just like at the gym.

  1. First set:  Re-create that upward pulling motion 10 times.  It may be slow at first, but you will get faster as the muscle strengthens.  That is one set of 10 reps.  Now do that twice more.
  2. Second set:  Recreate that upward pulling motion and HOLD for a count of 10.  I’ve heard it described as the sensation of an elevator going up.  That is one set of 10 reps.  Now do that twice more.

And now you’re done!  The hardest part of these exercises (if there is one) is establishing a time and place to do them.  Yes, you could just say “I’ll do them whenever,” but you’re less likely to remember than if you establish a routine.  When I got serious about my PC exercises, I had a long boring commute to work.  I did them in the car in the morning, and later I sometimes added the afternoon as well (the two sets of 30 begin to seem too easy very quickly). Voilá!  Almost immediately I had no more worry about embarrassing myself in class. And my already good sex life got even better.

By the way, you can even add resistance (yes, another gym term) by a woman inserting something into the vagina when she does them (e.g., a finger or a vibrator) or a man becoming erect and hanging a wash cloth or towel over the erection as he does them.  I kid you not!

The moral:  You can’t control everything that’s scary in life.  But a flabby PC muscle is one that you CAN!

Real people exercising their PC muscles

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See that Happy Halloween smile?

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46 thoughts on “A Different Kind of Spooky Story

  1. I really enjoyed reading you article. You article makes me improving my understanding about our reproductive system when we get older. As a result of this, I am going to incorporate pc muscle exercise into my routine life for more better sex life and avoid future problems with my reproductive system. Thank you for teaching us because if we come more knowledgeable about this topic we have the opportunity to teach others.

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  2. I do kegel exercises all the time, and my boyfriend also showed me how he does his. I really enjoyed your article. I will be sure to tell my sister about it because she has had some of the issues you described.

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  3. Interesting read though I wonder if genetics plays any role in the effectiveness of Kegal exercises/ the age of the onset of urinary incontinence.

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  4. I really enjoyed reading your article. In class I also learned about these excersises and I think its something I might look into doing.(:

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  5. how bad is it to hold your pee constantly?
    by doing it during sex is it exactly the same way as pushing a baby out of you? I do a few exercises here and there but don’t seem to constantly be doing them. Do you recommend young adults to be doing them?

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    • It’s not good to hold your pee because bacteria can move from your urethra into your bladder and cause a bladder infection. It’s better to urinate frequently, including after sex to wash bacteria away. No, holding pee is nothing like pushing a baby. Giving birth requires weeks of contractions of the uterus to open the cervix. And finally, yes, I do recommend that young adults do the Kegel exercises I described, because they will keep the muscles toned and healthy.

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  6. wow I never knew about this. My mom and I always joked about this. I’ve seen this new keagle product at this sex shop and it totally tracks every movement with an app on your phone. Crazy what technology can do now a days

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  7. My parents always warned me that when I get older I was going to have to worry about this kind of stuff, but actually realizing that it’s true makes it much more real. I’ve always laughed at kegels, but now i’m seriously interested in getting some!

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  8. I shall show this to my husband. I was telling him about kegels because he said he has been voiding very frequently and said he hated it. I couldn’t exactly explain since I am not sure what it feels like in guys. But, I believe this should help!

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    • It should help, especially if he gets into a daily routine (about 5 minutes a day, and he can decrease days as the muscle gets stronger). These exercises are not exactly a ‘miracle’ – but as close as I’ve ever come! Good luck!

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  9. Wow, this is some of the best information I’ve received in awhile. I am a order female and all the things that was said was true. Glad to know that there is something I can do to stop the unexpected from happening. Thank you and exercises here I come.

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  10. I was honestly expecting a somewhat story but I am not angry at all, this article is great! The tip is very informative and will start to exercise my PC muscle.

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  11. This illustrates how important Kegels really are, better sex and no more urinary incontinence, I think yes! I didn’t know it could help so much with men’s ejaculatory control. Ii’ve always heard of Kegels as an exercise for women, It’s nice to see that it can benefit both sexes.

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  12. I have been doing these exercises for some years now. Like you I tend to do them while driving or even sitting in classes. I have a much older friend (in her 60s) who has been having these incontinence issues for some now. I told her about the Kegels and she was shocked thinking they were for the benefits of sex. A couple of clicks on my phone and she is a practicing believer. The next time we have dinner and drinks I will be sharing this post with her. Thank You!

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  13. This article triggered a flashback not too long ago about my Human Sexuality professor talking about PC exercises and how important they are for any age, especially if you want to control ejaculation in my case and to prevent future bladder problems. Reading this article reinforced for me to take action and start Kegel exercises!

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  14. This article really helped me understand the importance of every muscle in your body, and in this case, the pelvic muscle. I am currently in a Human Sexuality class, and I remember my professor bringing this up not too long ago. She mentioned all the benefits to starting them young, and surprisingly my personal trainer cum friend told me about the use of the pelvic muscle as well. Long live Kegel exercises!!

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  15. Thank you for this information. I have shared it with some friends, and it never ceases to amaze me when people have no clue that something can be done about the PC muscle, let alone that we have a PC muscle!

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  16. It’s interesting to see just how important Kegel exercises are for both men and women. And who’d knew they’d be so easy to do… anywhere! I will be going to share this with friends and family.

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