Recently, I was on a Zoom call for a class on vulnerability. The facilitator asked us what we are doing to improve an area of our lives. I realized that my answer was unique: I have been working on strengthening my pelvic floor as a form of self-care.
You may not realize it, but exercising your pelvic floor is something you can easily do. All genders benefit from strengthening this area, as it affects your health in a variety of ways.
A strong pelvic floor can help support female organs, as well as the bladder. It may help prevent UTIs – which can get in the way of pain-free sex. Even better, it may help support a better sex life, affording better orgasms and increased genital sensitivity.
If you have a penis, a stronger pelvic floor can help with better range of motion for thrusting, and allow you to ejaculate further and with more control! Woohoo!
Let’s get into two ways you can strengthen your pelvic floor.
Kegels: The Ol’ Faithful
Kegels have been around a long time. Essentially, a kegel is an exercise where you contract your pelvic floor muscles over and over. But what are the pelvic floor muscles? These muscles include “a sling of muscles extending from the inside of the pubic bone to the anus and woven around the vagina, urethra, and rectum.” They help control the function of the bladder. Thus, when there is pelvic floor dysfunction, it can cause incontinence, which means “when a person cannot prevent urine from leaking out.” To identify your pelvic floor muscles, you can stop your urination flow mid-stream and notice which muscles contract.
Kegels can be done by any gender. Read more here for male-bodied kegel exercises.
These pelvic floor exercises are pretty simple: To do Kegels, imagine you are sitting on a marble and tighten your pelvic muscles as if you’re lifting the marble. Try it for three seconds at a time, then relax for a count of three.
The Yarlap: Kegels on Autopilot
While the idea of Kegels is simple, some people have a difficult time with them. They can be especially difficult if you have pelvic floor dysfunction. In fact, “for a significant number of women who try to tone their pelvic floor muscles with Kegel exercises, as many as 60% find it difficult to determine if their pelvic muscle exercises have been performed correctly, even when guided by a licensed healthcare professional.” That is where the Yarlap comes in to save the day!
The Yarlap is a device that does your pelvic floor exercises (as well as pelvic floor relaxation) for you. Using electrostimulation, the device has a vaginal insert which comfortably stimulates your vaginal walls. This engages your entire pelvic floor, thereby helping improve bladder control and prevent leakage. I got the chance to try out the Yarlap and I have to say it is a game-changer. You can actually feel your muscles moving for you! At first I was a little curiously cautious because I didn’t know how it was going to feel. But it is quite comfortable. As Yarlap’s Co-Founder and Director of Marketing MaryEllen Reider aptly describes it, “The Yarlap is like a handshake in your vagina.” The best thing is – you don’t have to worry whether you are doing it correctly – the device takes care of that and does all the work!
What’s The Deal With Incontinence?
After interviewing Ms. Reider, and doing some research, I found that the Yarlap is FDA approved for the treatment of incontinence. Because it is FDA-cleared as a medical device, some insurance companies cover it, which can be a major plus for your pocketbook! The FDA has a rigorous process for approval, so you know you are getting a quality product. I found that fact reassuring. There are many different pelvic floor devices on the market for women targeted for incontinence.
Incontinence is prevalent among women, yet no one seems to talk about it. There is so much shame around it, we rather keep quiet. With so much emphasis on self-care going around, I think one of the best things you can do is strengthening your pelvic floor. If you have incontinence, this could be a perfect time to try a device like the Yarlap.
I don’t have incontinence, so I was curious as to the impact of the Yarlap on my latest pelvic floor strengthening goals vis-à-vis my sex life. What I found was that my orgasms seemed to be stronger and more intense. Score! What’s more – I feel like I have a stronger pelvic floor function that serves as a baseline to improve even more and reap the sexy health benefits and prevent any disfunction in the future.
How Does The Yarlap Help Pelvic Strength?
It can be difficult to isolate the right muscles on your own and exercise them enough to get the benefit. So, as Ms. Reider explains, the Yarlap does the exercises and relaxation for you “and does it in appropriate cycles for the appropriate amount of time at the appropriate level.” What’s more, the Yarlap’s system (known as the Auto-Kegel) recognizes that not everyone’s vagina is the same. This is not a “one-size-fits-all” problem to solve. As Reider states, “Everyone’s pelvic floor is at a different tone/strength.” The Yarlap “takes that guesswork out for you and does it in increments of 20 minutes, and you do that three to five days a week.” (Note: rest days should be taken seriously. There is such a thing as doing it too much.)
The Yarlap teaches you how to do the Kegels. It’s like training wheels so you learn how to do it while it is done for you. Yarlap sends a signal into your muscles to work, instead of relying on your brain to send a signal to your pelvic floor muscles.
And during stressful and crazy times, it’s the best to take some pressure off our brains! Are you with me?
Focusing on your pelvic floor strength can be one of the best gifts you give yourself. Give yourself some extra time and privacy to show yourself some love and do something nice for your health – and your sex life!
Emily Anne is a bestselling author, sex coach and educator, who specializes in helping people expand their sexual horizons through BDSM and kink. When she’s not obsessively talking about sex, she’s hiking through the Hollywood Hills. Get some sexy education on her Instagram feed!