Pelvic floor and your sex life
The sexual wellbeing of humans is a very important aspect of quality of life. As the pelvic floor muscles support the vagina and pelvic organs, evidence has found that increased strength and healthy tone of pelvic floor muscles is associated with improved sexual function.
If the pelvic floor muscles have lower tone, or decreased strength, there can be a sense of decreased pleasure and contraction, and lower rates of orgasm. However, if the pelvic floor muscles are “overactive” or too high tone, there may be pain or difficulty with vaginal insertion.
A healthy pelvic floor is one that's able to relax appropriately to allow entry into the vaginal canal when penetration is involved, as well as contract strongly to increase pleasure and orgasm.
How can a healthy pelvic floor lead to stronger orgasms?
Research has found that having a strong and functional pelvic floor can increase not only the frequency but also the quality of orgasm!
The clitoris is the primary source of sexual pleasure. It has two deep branches that surround the vagina. When the pelvic floor is strong and agile, it can perform well-timed contractions to stimulate the clitoris during vaginal penetration. This encourages the clitoris to become enlarged and firm (also known as the clitoris’s erection), which in turn helps to increase its stimulation further.
During orgasm, your pelvic floor muscles contract involuntarily and rhythmically. And the healthier your pelvic floor, the more intense your orgasms. The ability and strength to control pelvic floor contractions around the penis during penetrative sex can also increase sensation and pleasure for a partner!
Why taking care of your pelvic floor plays a role in your sex life
Those who have pelvic floor dysfunction - such as incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, birth-related trauma or sexual pain report lower levels of self-esteem and sexual wellbeing.
By seeking advice from a pelvic health Physiotherapist or specialist, those struggling with pelvic floor dysfunctions can improve their pelvic floor function through exercises and advice specific for their concerns. This can lead to overall improved sexual function and increased quality of life!
Remember, a healthy functioning pelvic floor is able to relax fully as well as contract strongly. For enjoyable and pain-free penetrative sex; strength, proper motor control, and the timing of the contraction are important, but so is full relaxation and release.
My vagina feels “loose”, what can I do to help?
After vaginal deliveries of babies, or after menopause, the tension or “tightness” you perceive in your vagina may change, dont' worry, this is normal! An assessment from a pelvic floor Physiotherapist can determine if there's weakness or injury to the pelvic floor muscles.
Pelvic floor muscle training or ‘Kegel’ exercises can help recover muscle tone, which can reduce the “loose” feeling in the vagina that some may experience, improving their self-confidence and sexual pleasure.
It's important to note, however, that it isn't so important to be “tight”. Vaginas can expand and contract more than you think, and aren't stretched by penetrative intercourse or even childbirth in a lot of cases. Some vaginas are wider, some are smaller. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have a strong or weak pelvic floor. Will your vagina change? Perhaps, and that’s ok! There are many therapeutic exercises and techniques to recover from childbirth to regain your confidence and pleasure, including the use of pelvic floor trainers!