Trouble in the bedroom? It’s more common than you think. As a doctor, I find once patients open up about their sex life, they have so many questions and concerns.
All sorts of factors play into sexual drive and performance, but here’s something you may not have considered: Kegel exercises. Not just for women, but for men as well!
These are the discreet exercises that you can do to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles – contract and relax, contract and relax, and don’t forget to breathe.
Sure, there is a good chance you can’t picture a man doing them, since they’re known as a go-to exercise with women with bladder issues. The other benefit for women (and men) is more intense orgasms. Go forth and Kegel!
A new study has shown that pelvic exercises, including Kegels, can do wonders for men suffering with sexual health challenges, including chronic premature ejaculation.
A recent study by the European Association of Urology found that men who performed pelvic exercises were able to improve erectile dysfunction – specifically, chronic premature ejaculation. Pelvic exercise can treat male incontinence after surgery for prostate cancer as well, but this new study shows it could be useful on the sexual health front, too. Similar muscles are involved in both urination and ejaculation, so this makes sense.
How to do it? The best way for men to attempt Kegels is to try them during urination. The muscles you contract to stop the flow of urine are the same that can, when strengthened, help improve erectile dysfunction, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Another study, presented this month at the European Congress of Urology in Stockholm, included 40 men aged 19 to 46 who had lifelong issues with premature ejaculation. The men failed to see improvements with other treatments for the condition, which often include creams, antidepressants and behavioral therapy.
The study participants were given directions on how to do the Kegels, and then instructed by researchers to follow through and exercise their pelvic floor muscles for 12 weeks. When the study began, the average ejaculation time for participants was 32 seconds. After 12 weeks of exercises that time had risen to almost two and a half minutes. A noticeable jump in performance.
Five of the 40 men in the study did not show any significant improvement at the end of the study period. As well, the study was quite small, so a larger trial is needed to verify its results, says research leader Dr. Antonio Pastore of Rome’s Sapienza University. However, because of the results and low risk involved, the study findings are promising.
“The rehabilitation exercises are easy to perform, with no reported adverse effects,” Pastore says. Pelvic exercise is definitely a low-cost solution when compared to surgery or prescription medication. All men need is some basic training in how to perform the exercises, but after the training, it is something that can be continued at home.
Improvements can have an effect on more than physical health, too. Erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation are sources of mental anguish for many men. “We also found that the fact that the men were able to improve their sex lives through their own efforts helped their self-confidence,” says Pastore. No kidding.
Follow these top pointers from the Mayo Clinic:
Find The Right Muscles: To identify your pelvic floor muscles, stop urination in midstream or tighten the muscles that keep you from passing gas. These are your pelvic floor muscles. If you contract your pelvic floor muscles while looking in the mirror, the base of your penis will move closer to your abdomen and your testicles will rise.
Perfect Your Technique: Once you’ve identified your pelvic floor muscles, empty your bladder and lie on your back with your knees bent and apart. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for three seconds, and then relax for three seconds. Try it a few times in a row but don’t overdo it. When your muscles get stronger, try doing Kegel exercises while sitting, standing or walking.
Maintain Your Focus: For best results, focus on tightening only your pelvic floor muscles. Be careful not to flex the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Avoid holding your breath. Instead, breathe freely during the exercises.
Repeat three times a day. Aim for at least three sets of 10 repetitions a day.