The Effects of Pelvic Floor Muscle Strength on Orgasm
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Let's Look at the Effects of Pelvic Floor Muscle Strength on Orgasm
Hint: strong pelvic floor muscles = strong orgasm
The world is learning more and more about the pelvic floor and the many ways that it can be treated. At Femina Physical Therapy, we have spoken about pelvic rehab for urinary, bowel, birth, pregnancy, bladder, erectile issues, and many more. But we all know the question that everyone wants answered: Does pelvic floor strength affect orgasm?
Well reader, you came to the right place.
There is growing research on the influence of the pelvic floor on orgasm duration and intensity. That’s how long the orgasm lasts, as well as how strong it is. Contrary to the usual content on social media feeds, we have some good news to share about how your pelvic floor affects your orgasm, as well as how to improve your orgasm!
Some people have their leg day at the gym. Should you treat the pelvic floor muscles the same way?
The pelvic floor and the pelvic floor muscle is an important part of your anatomy. It contributes to pelvic and spinal stability, bowel, bladder and sexual function. The pelvic floor muscles are skeletal muscles, meaning they are just like your biceps, quads, hamstrings, obliques -- you have voluntary control to contract and relax them. And to condition muscles in general, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends a variety of exercises that includes coordination, strength training, and flexibility. Pelvic floor muscle contractions (otherwise known as Kegels) are the most basic form of strengthening. Everyone should know how and when to do them! However, pelvic floor muscle strength works in a dynamic system with your hips, low back, abdominal wall, your breath, and much more. Finding the right amount of both strength and flexibility is key, so we encourage you to avoid doing 3,000 kegels every day after reading this. Training kegels to eventually work as they naturally do with the rest of the body is optimal, and both relaxing and contracting your pelvic floor muscles is needed. Working with a pelvic floor physical therapist will help address what your specific anatomy needs are, as not all kegels are created equal.
Before you start the overzealous 3,000 kegels a day…
The trick is getting the coordination of your pelvic floor muscles down.
One study (6) found that most people (women, in this study) are not actually contracting pelvic floor muscles when told to kegel. Sometimes women are actually doing the opposite - pushing downward with abdominal muscles, inner thigh, or squeezing their glutes instead of their pelvic floor muscles. Additionally, performing pelvic floor contractions is not always the best choice for some. This is especially true for those who have a painful, restricted pelvic floor and may need to find a better balance with mobility work.
What happens to our anatomy during orgasm?
Reflexively, the pelvic floor muscles contract when you have an orgasm. The pelvic floor enhances pleasure for both partners in the relationship through these muscles that assist in the closure around the vaginal opening and the anus -- enhancing pleasure for those who have vaginal and anal sex. Stronger pelvic floor muscles lead to a more forceful explosion of vaginal fluid during orgasm, as well as a more forceful penile ejaculation.
The relationship between the clitoral hood and pelvic floor muscle strength
Another reason why the pelvic floor can help enhance sexual function is because of its close relationship with the clitoral hood. Stronger pelvic floor muscles can create more stimulation and displacement to this sensitive area. Through the millions of years of human evolution, the only organ whose only role is to provide pleasure is the clitoris. Although the clitoris is usually the star player in orgasm function, every human body is different and there are many pathways to achieve orgasm. Figuring out how, with yourself and a partner, is the fun part.
How does pelvic floor physical therapy help?
Targeted pelvic floor muscle strengthening through pelvic rehabilitation was found to improve achievement of orgasm, performance, and even the subjective level of sexual desire in study (1). Secondly, pelvic floor muscle contractions were found to enhance subjective and physiological measures of arousal. When combined with self-generated fantasy, tensing also augmented arousal (2). When a group of women were treated for stress urinary incontinence with pelvic floor strengthening, they found that these women reported better sexual function as well (3). Win, win!
Some more good news: The vice-versa - An orgasm helps pelvic floor muscle strength!
Interestingly, one study (4) found that in postpartum women who had uncomplicated vaginal deliveries, sexually induced orgasm contributed to better pelvic floor strength and sexual function! Researchers stated that sexual function and pelvic floor muscle strength can be significantly improved with the addition of orgasm as a therapeutic tool. This is great news for every woman who has a hard time coordinating pelvic floor exercises. This is a naturally occurring orgasm that can be part of pelvic floor rehabilitation, can be practiced at home, in addition to gentle kegels.
We hope that you have enjoyed this article about the science behind sexual pleasure, and how to hack it to enhance it for yourself and your partner. If you are unsure if pelvic floor strengthening is right for you, or are unsure how to perform them, see a pelvic floor physical therapist near you!
1. Beji NK, Yalcin O, Erkan HA. The effect of pelvic floor training on sexual function of treated patients. Int Urogynecol J Pelvic Floor Dysfunct. 2003 Oct;14(4):234-8; discussion 238. doi: 10.1007/s00192-003-1071-2. Epub 2003 Aug 27. PMID: 14530833.
2. Messé MR, Geer JH. Voluntary vaginal musculature contractions as an enhancer of sexual arousal. Arch Sex Behav. 1985 Feb;14(1):13-28. doi: 10.1007/BF01541349. PMID: 3977582.
3. Serati M, Braga A, Di Dedda MC, Sorice P, Peano E, Biroli A, Torella M, Cromi A, Uccella S, Salvatore S, Ghezzi F. Benefit of pelvic floor muscle therapy in improving sexual function in women with stress urinary incontinence: a pretest-posttest intervention study. J Sex Marital Ther. 2015;41(3):254-61. doi: 10.1080/0092623X.2014.889052. Epub 2014 Mar 20. PMID: 24512197.
4. Bhat GS, Shastry A. Sexually Induced Orgasm to Improve Postpartum Pelvic Floor Muscle Strength and Sexual Function in Primiparous Women After Vaginal Delivery: A Prospective Randomized Two-Arm Study. J Sex Med. 2022 Nov;19(11):1634-1643. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2022.08.189. Epub 2022 Sep 25. PMID: 36167664.
6. Bump RC, Hurt WG, Fantl JA, Wyman JF. Assessment of Kegel pelvic muscle exercise performance after brief verbal instruction. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1991 Aug;165(2):322-7; discussion 327-9. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(91)90085-6. PMID: 1872333.
** This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. **