You’ve no doubt heard about the advantages of Kegels for women but probably haven’t given your own pelvic floor much thought. Like any muscle, though, you should be keeping your pelvic floor strong and healthy. From what your pelvic floor actually is to how to do your Kegel exercises, we’re breaking down the info around men’s pelvic floors.
So, what is your pelvic floor?
They're basically an elaborate network of muscles surrounding the base of your penis, creating a foundation for your bowel and bladder. Often referred to as your 'core,' these muscles are located in your pelvis and stretch from the pubic bone at the front to the tail-bone at the back.
Still with us? Ok, good. Your pelvic floor muscles work with your deep abdominal (tummy) and deep back muscles and diaphragm to stabilize and support your spine. They also help control the pressure inside your abdomen when you exercise – so that lifting and straining you’re doing in the gym is helped along by your pelvic floor. While they’re helping our spines stay strong and supporting core muscles, they’re also working to keep orifices under control.
What’s the difference between a male and female pelvic floor?
Men and women are different in many ways (understatement of the century), but structurally, there’s not actually a huge difference between the pelvic floor of a man and a woman. The differences lie in how they’re used.
The key difference is that a man’s pelvic floor muscles support his bladder and bowel. The urethra (urine tube) and the anus (back passage) all pass through the pelvic floor muscles. In comparison, a woman’s pelvic floor muscles support the bladder, bowel, and uterus (womb). The urethra (urine tube), anus (back passage), and vagina all pass through the pelvic floor muscles.
Why should you care about your pelvic floor?
OK, the sciencey part is over. Now let’s figure out why it’s worth worrying about this muscle near your groin. It’s well documented that a woman’s pelvic floor can prevent urinary incontinence and even give her better orgasms, but what can men expect from a stronger pelvic floor?
Maintaining an erection
Hey, stop sniggering. Pelvic floor exercises for men can not only help to keep it up but also prevent premature ejaculation. Pelvic floor exercises will improve blood flow to the genital area and strengthen the muscles attached to the base of the penis. A good indicator of a strong pelvic floor in men is if they’re able to waggle their penis up and down when it’s erect. But it’s not just for fun – being able to vary the tension of your erection can control ejaculation.
Putting a stop to dribbles
Yep, you can thank your pelvic floor for keeping the urethra closed when you want it to. Leaking urine could be just a few drops or a steady flow throughout the day, and Kegel exercises will help out with that.
You might not need it now, but pelvic floor exercises for men should be focused on prevention rather than cure, and keeping your back passage strong is worth doing for later on in life.
Ok then, how do I do it?
Stand naked in front of the mirror (you might want to draw the blinds for this one) and tighten your pelvic floor muscles. If you’re tightening the right muscles, you’ll see the base of the penis draw in and the scrotum lift. The back passage will tighten, too, but it is not the focus of the exercise. When you relax your muscles, you should feel a sensation of ‘letting go.'
Another technique to try is stopping or slowing the flow of urine midway through emptying your bladder. If you can do this, you’re squeezing the correct muscles. Don’t do this repetitively, though; this is just a way to identify the correct muscles.
Once you’ve nailed that...
Once you master the art of contracting your pelvic floor muscles correctly, try holding the inward squeeze for longer (up to 10 seconds) before relaxing. If you feel comfortable doing this, repeat it up to 10 times and up to three times a day. Make sure you continue to breathe normally while you squeeze in.
You can do the exercise lying down, sitting, or standing with your legs apart, but make sure your thighs, bottom, and tummy muscles are relaxed.
Tips on remembering your pelvic floor work
They say a habit can take up to 30 days to form, so get used to doing these exercises every day, and you’ll be well on your way to a stronger pelvic floor, longer erections, and better bladder control.
Attach your pelvic floor exercises to another daily habit so that you’ll be sure to do it every day – try it while brushing your teeth.
Waiting for the kettle to boil doesn’t need to be ‘dead time’ Do 10 reps of your Kegel exercises then.
It might seem like a weird thing to talk about, but the more comfortable guys get discussing things openly, the better. So tell your buddies! Remind each other to do your exercises.
Remind yourself with a little post-it on your desk. It’s easy to do while working.
The medical information in this article is provided as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please consult your doctor for guidance about a specific medical condition.