Pelvic floor exercises, normally associated as pre or post-natal exercises in women, are also an effective treatment in erectile dysfunction. Following a course of pelvic exercises an added bonus is an increase in sexual enjoyment and stronger sensations during orgasm.
Dr Grace Dorey, a specialist continence physiotherapist, has published several books on erectile dysfunction and its treatment using pelvic floor exercises. Early research, conducted at the University of the West of England in the UK in 2003, took 55 men with an average age of 59 through the exercises. All the men had experienced erectile dysfunction problems for at least six months. Dorey took the men through five weekly sessions and asked them to practice at home on a daily basis. At the six month follow up it was found that 40 percent of men had regained normal erectile function and a further 35 percent showed improvement.
The pelvic floor is sometimes described as a “hammock” of muscles that support the bladder and bowel. These muscles can be felt if, for example, you try to stop urinating mid stream. This is actually a good way to identify the muscles that will be toned during the exercises but it is not a good idea to keep preventing the normal flow of urine. The exercises, sometimes known as Kegel exercises or Kegels after the clinician and gynecologist Dr Arnold Kegel, involve squeezing the muscles of the hammock.
Although the exercises are fairly simple it is generally recommended that they are taught in the first instance to ensure that they are being done properly using the correct muscles.
How to Exercise
- Tighten up the muscles you can feel around the anus and urethra, then try to ‘lift’ them. Don’t hold your breath or try to tighten your buttock muscles at the same time.
- Count to five, release the muscles and allow them to relax for around 10 seconds.
- Repeat the same procedure up to a maximum of 10 times.
- Finish with 10 short, strong squeezes in rapid succession.
- Do these exercises five times a day.
If you currently experience erectile dysfunction it may take a few months before you start to notice improvements. If you do not experience erectile dysfunction it is useful to know that the same exercise regime can act as a preventative measure and also help to enhance sexual enjoyment.
Jerry Kennard, Ph.D., is a chartered psychologist and associate fellow of the British Psychological Society. Jerry’s clinical background is in mental health and, most recently, higher education. He is the author of various self-help books and is co-founder of positivityguides.net.