Like with many new exercise programs and tools, Kegel balls could benefit from an FAQ. The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health answers some of those “Who can I even ask about this?” questions. From sex toys to fantasies to how to tell your kids about the birds and bees, we’ll supply the answers you crave.
Kegel balls are body-safe hollow balls with tiny weights inside of them that are inserted into the vagina and left there. As we discussed in a previous column, Kegel balls, or ben wa balls, can be extremely beneficial for both increasing the strength and frequency of orgasms and maintaining the tone of the pelvic floor. This month, we troubleshoot some common complaints about kegel balls.
Can Kegel balls get stuck?
To start, let’s talk about the tactile parts of the Kegel ball experience. While it is possible for Kegel balls to stick to the vaginal walls, it is pretty simple to remedy and prevent. To relieve that “stuck” feeling, just move the exerciser within the vagina.
Or get on board with lube. The myth that lube is only for anal and when the vagina isn’t “wet” is keeping people from experiencing how lube can completely change the feel of sexual encounters — for the better. In the case of Kegel balls, lube can prevent discomfort by keeping the surface slick and the vaginal walls slippery. Generally, a water-based lube should do the trick, but if there are still issues with stickiness, try a different formulation, like a hybrid or creme. Just remember: If your Kegel balls are made of silicone, stay away from silicone lube, as it can be incompatible and damage the surface of the kegel balls.
My Kegel balls are lost! Did they get past my cervix?
The cervix is the Great Wall of Uterus. However, it is the baseline fear of many people putting anything fully into the vagina that the item will take a queue from the Huns and breach the barrier. Rest easy. For people whose ectocervix (the part that can be seen during a pelvic exam) is intact, the Kegel balls are not going to get past it. The average diameter of the cervical os (the opening at the end of the vaginal canal) ranges from 1/10th to 3/10th of an inch. For reference, the smallest kegel balls are generally larger than ¾th of an inch in diameter.
Unless you have had a portion of your cervix removed, it is extremely unlikely the Kegel ball will travel into the uterus. If you are using ben wa style balls (those that are not connected and don’t have a retrieval string) it is possible that the ball just nestled comfortably into a part of the vaginal canal. Try coughing a couple of times and it should resurface.
The Kegel balls are super uncomfortable. Why?
To get a little more in depth into Kegel ball comfort, let’s discuss the vagina. Masters & Johnson, in their seminal sex research, measured the average length of the unaroused vaginal canal to be 2.8 – 3.1 inches from introitus (the vaginal opening) to cervix. When aroused, length increased to 4.3 – 4.7 inches. That inch may seem insignificant when looking at the numbers, but it makes a world of difference when we are talking in vagina terms. Additionally, the vaginal walls are mucosal membranes — like the inside of your nose or cheeks — and we all know how much it sucks to have something scratch either of those.
How do you find Kegel balls that will fit your vagina and feel fantastic?
Look at the construction. Is the part that connects the center firm or flexible? If the center is firm and they are too long, the Kegel balls could be sitting uncomfortably in the vagina. Look for ben wa balls or a Kegel ball set with a flexible connector. Make sure the whole thing can be sterilized. This means no braided string. Look for balls that are smooth and have no seams. Scratchy, sharp edges can cause some serious discomfort for the wearer.
Hopefully, this information assuages some of the Kegel concerns you have.
This month’s column is by staff member Erin Basler-Francis. Do you have more sexuality questions? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, where they will be kept confidential!