Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 7/12/2021
Have you ever heard of pelvic floor exercises? Doing kegels is one of the most commonly known, but they’re often thought of as something only women can do.
After giving birth or as they age, women are often told to do certain exercises to strengthen their pelvic floor. These things can weaken the muscles that support the uterus, bowels and bladder.
But, here’s the thing: men can also benefit from pelvic floor exercises.
The pelvic floor is a hammock-shaped group of muscles that extend from the pubic bone to your tailbone. As we mentioned, they support bladder and bowel function.
When you have strong pelvic floor muscles, it can help prevent the leaking of urine and feces.
Healthcare professionals will sometimes specifically recommend pelvic floor muscle exercises to men with incontinence issues.
However, another thing strong pelvic floor muscles can help with is sexual sensation.
Many things can cause a weak pelvic floor, such as:
Surgery for bladder or bowel issues
Constant heavy lifting
Constant coughing (like smoker’s cough)
High impact exercise
You probably don’t even realize it, but you engage your pelvic floor muscles many times over the course of the day.
For example, when you pee, you relax those muscles and then clench them to stop the stream. The same muscles also control your bowels.
Another area your pelvic floor helps in? Developing and maintaining an erection. Read our guide to pelvic floor dysfunction for more information.
There have been several studies that showcase what strengthening these muscles can do. Here are the most common benefits.
Since we’ve already touched on it, we’ll keep this one short and sweet: Incontinence can be caused by a variety of things — like prostate removal, overactive bladder and diabetes. If you’re having trouble controlling your bladder, pelvic floor exercises may help.
One study found that 40 percent of men aged 20 and up who experienced erectile dysfunction no longer suffered from ED after performing pelvic floor exercises after six months.
In addition to that, over 35 percent of men found that their ED significantly improved.
Interestingly, any type of exercise has been shown to improve ED. A 2011 study linked aerobic exercise with erection quality and reduced symptoms of ED.
Research has also found that pelvic floor exercises can help alleviate premature ejaculation issues.
One study of 40 men found that 82.5 percent of them were able to gain control of their ejaculatory reflect after 12 weeks of pelvic floor exercises.
Now, for the good news: working out your pelvic floor isn’t all that difficult. You don’t even have to break a sweat!
Even better, it won’t require much time — just a few minutes a day over the course of several months can yield a huge payoff.
So, how do you do them? Well, it’s not as difficult as it sounds.
First, it’s imperative you know where your pelvic floor muscles are. An easy way to find them: when you are peeing, try to stop and then start the flow of urine mid-stream.
That clenching activates your pelvic floor muscles.
Once you’ve located those muscles, it’s time to start exercising them. The following is called a kegel and it’s a great way to keep your pelvic floor strong.
Squeeze and hold your pelvic floor muscles for five seconds.
Relax those muscles.
Repeat that flow 10 to 20 times, three to four times a day.
An alternate way to exercise your pelvic floor is to squeeze the muscles in your anus and then relax.
You’ll want to repeat this 10 to 20 times and also repeat that pattern three to four times a day.
So, you tried the kegels route and it hasn’t quite worked the way you were hoping. It happens. Really.
Luckily, there are other ED alternatives out there that’ll help you keep things moving. Some of the most popular ones are in a class of drugs called PDE5 inhibitors, which work by improving blood flow to your penis.
ED treatments like Viagra® (sildenafil), Cialis® (tadalafil), Stendra® (avanafil) and Levitra® (vardenafil) are all FDA-approved solutions to help you in your fight against ED.
Plus, aside from being proven to work on their own, they can also be used in tandem with pelvic floor muscle exercises to help you shoot your best shot.
Even though pelvic floor exercises are often thought to be for women, men can benefit from them greatly.
If you have bladder control issues, they can help. Dealing with ED? It’s definitely worth trying kegels. They can also be a great supplementary treatment to taking an ED medication.
Similarly, these sorts of exercises have been shown to help premature ejaculation.
Whatever your issue is, it’s a good idea to start by speaking with a healthcare provider. From there, you can discuss whether or not strengthening your pelvic muscles will help.