In our April issue we’re celebrating the body, so as your faithful sex columnist, I’d like to draw your attention to your oft-neglected pelvic floor muscles.
The group of muscles down there (also called PC muscles) that holds all our pelvic organs in place. You’re probably clenching them right now, just thinking about them. We don’t talk about PC muscles much, but we all have them—men too—and keeping them in good shape has lots of benefits.
For women, pregnancy, childbirth, surgery, aging and weight gain can weaken the PC muscles. Doctors generally prescribe Kegel exercises (named after the doctor who developed them) to prevent incontinence, and any woman who’s ever peed a little after a big sneeze or a good laugh can relate. Kegel exercises are a simple series of clenching and releasing that you can do anywhere—at your desk, in the car, at your kid’s soccer game—if you remember, that is, because most of us often forget.
Well, courtesy of tantra yoga teachers Dr. Elsbeth Meuth and Freddy Zental Weaver (pictured above) of the TantraNova Institute in Chicago, I’m here to share a real incentive for connecting with this important muscle group: better sex!
I always thought tantric yoga was a series of sensuous yoga positions, but Meuth and Weaver’s focus is on tapping into sexual energy. The way to build and sustain that energy is by combining movement of the PC muscles with deep breathing. When both partners are able to connect to and control their sexual energy in this way, they can feel heightened sensation and experience prolonged and stronger orgasms during lovemaking. But to get to the amazing sex part, a woman needs to get in touch with herself first.
“In order for a woman to feel well—emotionally, spiritually and physically—she wants to have a connection with her pelvic floor,” Meuth says. “It’s where we feel emotion as women.”
She calls a woman’s vagina by the Sanskrit word yoni. “A yoni is a sacred space like a cathedral. Women don’t often feel that way about themselves. We can embrace the yoni, be with it in a cherishing way, and that lets us be more inviting to another. Considering it a sacred space alters the relationship.”
When kegels are practiced with the proper breathing technique, the experience is totally altered, says Meuth. Women will experience a more connected feeling with themselves and more wholeness.
The focus for men, says Weaver, is to control and extend orgasm. The result of this practice for both men and women, he says, is “not just better sex, it’s a better life. Creative and sexual pleasure have the same energy and chemical components.”
If you’re interested in learning more about the specific practice, visit the tantranova.com where you can download an mp3 file to guide you through it. Another tool Elsbeth recommends for women is a jade egg. The egg, when inserted in the yoni, acts as resistance during exercises and can be worn for extended periods of time. “When the egg is inside the yoni, the nerve endings get subtly stimulated,” Elsbeth says. “The muscles get lightly toned even if you don’t squeeze.”
Elsbeth and Freddy gave me my own lovely little egg, pictured above, and as a true investigative journalist, I’ve given it a go. If you’d like to know how I fared with it, visit my blog, fortyfabulous.com for the scoop.