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The exact way to squeeze your pelvic muscles during sex for a super intense orgasm, according to a sex therapist

This article was medically reviewed by Lauren Demosthenes, MD, OB-GYN, senior medical director at Babyscripts.
Doing kegels during sex can make it feel better for you — and your partner.
Jena Ardell/Getty Images

  • Kegels can benefit your sex life by increasing sensation, lubrication, and the ability to orgasm.
  • They also can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which helps prevent vaginal prolapse.
  • To do kegels, contract and release the muscles you use to stop the flow of urine.

If you're looking to enhance your sex life, there may be a solution that you can do any time, anywhere: kegel exercise. Kegel exercises engage your pelvic floor muscles. They can keep you healthy and may even make your sex life more fulfilling says sexologist and sexuality educator Lawrence Siegel, who works with couples and individuals to enhance their sex lives.

While doing Kegels won't make you a better lover, they may make it easier for people with a vagina to orgasm, Siegel says. They may help the 10%-15% of women who have never had an orgasm, and others who find it difficult to orgasm. 

And it's not just people with a vagina who can reap the benefits of Kegels — birth-assigned males can also experience heightened sexual pleasure from strengthening their pelvic floor Siegel says. 

Here's why they are beneficial and how to do them. 

The benefits of Kegels for people with a vagina

Kegels have the most benefit for people with a vagina. 

1. Make your pelvic floor stronger

"Kegel exercises are a simple and effective way to strengthen those pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder, and bowel," says Dr. Sherry Ross, an OB-GYN and author of "She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women's Intimate Health."

The pelvic floor includes the levator ani, coccygeus, and pubococcygeal (PC) muscle, the ones you use to stop the flow of urine. These muscles act like a hammock or sling supporting the internal organs in the pelvis — but they often weaken with age, especially in people who have given birth vaginally

Strengthening these muscles can help you avoid:

  • Incontinence, or the inability to hold pee or poop until you make it to the toilet.
  • Pain during sex
  • Vaginal prolapse, a condition where the vagina muscles weaken and sag into the vaginal canal. 
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction, or the inability to control your pelvic floor muscles. 

2. Increase sensation and lubrication

Kegels can boost blood flow to the pelvis, which increases sensation and lubrication of the vagina. Many people find that increased lubrication increases pleasure for both partners during sex. 

In addition, Kegels help prevent pelvic floor dysfunction. Women with pelvic floor dysfunction often have lower sexual satisfaction, fewer orgasms, and lower libido. Researchers can't say exactly why, but it may be because conditions like prolapse or incontinence make it difficult to get in the mood. 

3. Strengthen orgasm for both partners

Learning to activate the pelvic floor muscles allows you to contract them during sex. 

Squeezing your pelvic muscles in the buildup to orgasm may help you experience a more powerful sensation when you come, says Ross. During orgasm, muscles throughout the body pulse and release involuntarily. Adding to this with kegels can make the sensation more intense.  

It can also boost pleasure for your partner: "When a woman does Kegels during vaginal intercourse, the pelvic floor muscles contract on the penis — enhancing his sexual experience as well," Ross says.

4. Make pelvic exams less painful

Relaxing the muscles during a Kegel is equally important as contracting. Learning to relax can reduce your risk of pain during sex or painful pelvic exams by letting you open the vagina more fully, says Ross. 

Kegel benefits for people with a penis

Keeping the pelvic floor healthy is important for people with a penis too. 

Kegels can help with male incontinence. This is especially important for people who have had prostate surgery, who often experience incontinence. 

Doing Kegels regularly can also improve sexual experience for people with a penis. This is because Kegels increase blood flow to the groin and penis, which can boost sensation and may help combat erectile dysfunction (ED). 

Unfortunately, there's limited research in this area. A small 2005 study found that men with ED who performed Kegels in addition to making lifestyle changes had fewer ED symptoms than a control group. A small 2020 study suggested that kegels may be helpful for ED when they're done long term. 

"While Kegel exercises are primarily associated with women, many men can get similar benefits from doing them," Siegel says.

How to get started with doing Kegels

Before you can do Kegels, you need to understand the muscles that you're trying to activate. 

How to find your pelvic floor muscles

The easiest way to find your pelvic floor muscles is to imagine that you're urinating. From there, try to stop the imaginatory stream by contracting your PC muscles, says Ross. This works for both males and females. Try to tighten those muscles without tightening your legs, abs, or glutes.

People with a vagina can take a more hands-on approach to feeling their pelvic floor muscles, Ross says:

  1. Insert two fingers into your vagina. 
  2. Contract your PC muscles, which you would use to stop the flow of urine.
  3. As they contract, feel a light squeeze on your fingers. 
  4. Relax fully, and feel the grip on your fingers loosen. 

People with a penis can find their pelvic floor muscles by trying to tighten their rectum. It's the same movement that you might use if you're trying to hold in a fart. 

How to do Kegels 

Once you've isolated your pelvic floor muscles, the foundation of doing Kegels is the same for all genders. 

Here's how to do them. 

1. Empty your bladder. As you become more accustomed to doing Kegels you'll be able to do them anywhere, anytime, but it's best not to do them with a full bladder since that can strain your muscles. 

2. Contract your PC muscles. Hold for 3-5 seconds when you first start. Build toward the goal of holding for ten seconds

3. Relax your muscles entirely. Keep them relaxed for the same length of time that you held them tight. 

4. Repeat this 10-15 times, three times a day. "The key to Kegels is consistency and regularity, doing them several times a day," Siegel says.

After you've mastered that, try flutter Kegels, Ross says. With this variation, you contract and relax the muscles quickly, rather than holding the contraction. Do this for 30 seconds. 

When you're performing Kegels, keep these tips in mind:

  • Breath normally. Don't hold your breath. 
  • Keep your abs, thighs and butt relaxed. This helps isolate the pelvic floor muscles. 
  • Find a regular time to do Kegels each day, like while at stop lights or while brushing your teeth. 

Insider's takeaway

Kegel exercises teach you how to contract and relax your pelvic floor muscles. This helps you build a strong pelvic floor which can help with things like incontinence and sexual satisfaction. 

Kegels are convenient because they can be done discreetly anywhere, at any time. Anyone can benefit from them, and they're safe for everyone. The most challenging part about them is working them into your daily routine consistently. 

"There are absolutely no downsides to doing Kegel exercises," says Ross. "Once you learn how to do them correctly, Kegels should be a permanent part of your daily routine."

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