Healthy Living

Yes, Men Can (And Sometimes Should) Do Kegels

Gentlemen, start your squeezes.
12/11/2015 02:19pm ET

Listen up, men. If you're experiencing anxiety or you're suffering from erectile dysfunction, you might want to consider doing Kegels.

Though they're an exercise that have traditionally been thought of as something only women do, Kegels -- repeatedly squeezing your pelvic muscles as if you're cutting off the flow of urine -- can help men with a number of issues.

First, an explanation: No matter what's going on in a man's life, chances are he's probably feeling some stress. According to the Anxiety Centre, 46 percent of men have experienced anxiety disorder at some point within the past 10 years, and it estimates the number is a lot higher, because men just don't tell their doctors about it.

If not handled, all this stress can have serious side effects on a guy's health, especially his sexual health.

Robert Sapolsky, a professor of neurology at Stanford, explained in 2012 that when men are stressed, they have trouble getting and maintaining an erection because they're running on the sympathetic nervous system, or the "fight or flight" response, when they need to be using the parasympathetic nervous system, "relax and renew," for everything to work.

If a man happens to successfully get a hard-on, he said, "you accelerate the transition from parasympathetic to sympathetic, and the whole thing goes too quickly."

So when a man is experiencing stress, the result can often be either erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation -- both terrible options.

That's where Kegels come in. Dr. Ian Kerner, a sexual therapist based in New York, explained to HuffPost that if you experience anxiety while making love, "You want to cognitively interrupt that anxiety," he said.

If you feel anxious, start with five Kegels, "just as you were cutting off the flow of urine," he said. Do that five times in a row and do three reps of that, increasing it to 10 to 15 times per set.

You can also try out Private Gym's 8-week Kegel training program for men or support Minna Life's kGoal Boost, a palm-sized Kegel trainer now funding on Kickstarter.

A 2014 study in the journal Urology found that pelvic floor muscle training, such as doing Kegels, is "vital to male genitourinary health," and helpful in remedying erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, overactive bladder and other issues.

"Your overall health is very connected to your sexual health, and your pelvic floor health is important," Kerner told HuffPost. "Kegels are a way to increase pelvic floor strength and develop mindfulness around that area. A lot of men are disconnected to their pelvic areas. You watch a lot men dance and they’re like Frankenstein lumbering around."

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