You probably think of Kegel exercises as a chick-only thing. She squeezes her pelvic floor muscles to prep her for childbirth or make sex more intense. But it turns out, they’re not just for women.
A new review in the journal Urology found that strengthening a man’s pelvic floor—the muscles that surround the base of your penis and form a shelf across the bottom of your pelvis—can help diminish erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. How so? When you get hard, your pelvic muscles keep blood in your shaft. This helps to enhance and maintain your rigidity, says urological surgeon Andrew Siegel, M.D., the study’s author and creator of pelvic floor exercise DVD Private Gym. And for premature ejaculators, squeezing those muscles can delay your orgasm. The stronger these muscles, the better the effect, Dr. Siegel says.
It might sound too good to be true, but science backs him up. A 2005 study from the United Kingdom found that 75 percent of men improved erectile function after doing Kegels. In another study, Italian researchers found that 61 percent of men were cured of premature ejaculation through rehabilitation of the pelvic floor muscles.
However, there are many different causes of erectile and ejaculatory problems, so Kegels may not solve all your sexual woes, says Christopher Kelly, MD, assistant professor of urology at NYU Langone Medical Center. But they’re free, easy to do, and worth giving a shot before you turn to medication.
Ready to try it for yourself? Here’s how to do it: Squeeze the muscles that you would use to stop the stream of urine and hold the contraction for 1 to 2 seconds (concentrate on only using your pelvic muscles, and not your glutes, thigh, or hip muscles). Release. Repeat 30 times, resting one minute when you’re finished. Perform 3 sets, 3 to 4 times a week.