By now, most people have at least heard of the PC muscle. But there’s a lot of confusion about it, so I think it’s time to clear some of it up.
The PC (or pubococcygeus) muscle is one of the many muscles of the pelvic floor and it gets a lot of attention when it comes to sex. It’s shaped like a V. The point of the V attaches to the front side of the tailbone (or coccyx) and the wider end attaches to the back side of the pubic bone. It surrounds the anus and genitals and helps support the internal organs. Tightening the PC muscle can cause the vagina to tighten down or cause the penis to bounce up and down.
In general, women tend to have weak pelvic muscles. In part, that’s because women tend to be flexible through the pelvis. Pregnancy and childbirth can also result in a loss of muscle tone, as can aging. A weak PC muscle can result in urinary incontinence (a leakage of urine during coughing or sneezing). By contrast, many men have overly tight pelvic muscles. This can be the cause or the result of lower back problems. These are general trends- lots of men have weak PC muscles and lots of women have tight ones. And if you spend a lot of time sitting, especially if you’re stressed out (like at work or driving), your PC muscle might be really tight.
Kegel exercises get a lot of attention because they’re an effective way for women to treat urinary incontinence. They’re named for Dr. Arnold Kegel, who popularized the exercise. Before you can do the exercises, you have to find the muscle.
To find the PC muscle, the next time you go to the bathroom, sit on the toilet and stop the flow of urine. The muscle you just isolated is the one you want. Now that you’ve found it, you can exercise it any time. Nobody can tell you’re doing it, so the next time you’re in line at the bank, go for it! Some different exercises you can do are:
- Clench and release on a two-count
- Clench and release on a four-count
- Clench and hold for a four-count, release and relax for a four-count
Like any other exercise, start off with a few each day and ramp up. After a couple of weeks, you’ll start noticing the difference. And remember that it’s important to rest in between repetitions. Resting muscles is essential to building tone- just ask a bodybuilder! Or as some people put it: “not too tight, not too loose.”
When your PC muscle is well-toned without being too tight, you may find that your orgasms are more intense and/or last longer. Men may find that their erections are firmer and women may find that they lubricate more. It often addresses urinary incontinence, too. It’s also reported that a strong PC muscle helps women during childbirth. Some people don’t notice an improvement until they stop and everything backslides. Don’t worry- you can easily get back into shape.
It’s also worth noting that you need to be mindful of not tightening the other muscles of the pelvic floor. There’s a whole bunch of them and they’re all important. Some of them help stabilize your hips, others support your internal organs, and any of them can be too tight or not toned enough. Click on the image to the right for a look at some of them (the PC muscle is in red in that image.) If you’re tightening your anus or other pelvic muscles, you’re not doing the exercise correctly.
There are a few products that are really great for isolating and toning the PC muscle, at least for women. One of the most popular is Betty’s Barbell. You insert this stainless steel item into the vagina and tighten the PC muscle around the rounded end. Start off with the larger end and when you’re pretty good at holding onto it, switch to the smaller end. Since it’s stainless steel, it’s easy to clean and it has a good weight for some added resistance. And lots of women find that it makes for a great g-spot toy, too! Note- you’re not standing up and keeping it from falling out. You’re lying back on some pillows.
Another great stainless steel vaginal toy that you can use as a vaginal exerciser is the Pure Wand. It works in pretty much the same way as the Barbell, but the curve may make it easier to hold it with one hand while you’re doing your exercises. Again, start with the larger end and progress to the smaller end.
If you’re interested in something other than steel, you might want to check out the Smartballs (in both a single ball version and the original two-ball version) or the Luna Beads. They contain a small ball inside a larger, hollow one and are inserted into the vagina. As you move your hips, the inner ball rolls around, providing fantastic G-spot sensations, especially if you add some clitoral play. Oral sex, anal sex and masturbation are customer favorites, and some people even wear them when they go out dancing! On top of all that, they give you a great way to squeeze the PC muscle, just like using the stainless steel exercisers above.
Lastly, I want to mention the Peridise. It’s a great way to find that state of toned relaxation so essential to good sex. It’s an anal toy, but the PC muscle will also benefit from using it. I blogged about it in detail here, so I won’t go into all of that again. But if your pelvic floor is feeling tight, the Peridise is a great way to deal with it.
If your pelvic floor needs some work, I highly recommend Pelvic Power for Men and Women. It’s full of amazing information on the bones and muscles of the pelvis and has excellent and easy exercises & stretches to help you get everything back into balance. It’s also a great resource if you’re reovering from a lower back injury! Another great book is The Female Pelvis. It includes lots of info on the effects of pregnancy & childbirth on the pelvic floor. While neither of these books is about sex, there are lots of ways that pelvic issues can affect sex as well as your health in general. In fact, pelvic tension can even cause headaches! So a healthy pelvic floor will do more than improve your sex life- it can make your entire body feel better.
If you’re feeling skeptical about all of this stuff, why don’t you give it a try for a few weeks and see what happens. I’ll bet you’ll notice a big difference and that you’ll be glad you gave it a shot.