If you suffer from premature ejaculation, kegel exercises are one of the classic ways you can develop better control during sex.
In some ways, they can work really well. There’s no doubt that strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can give some men the ability to temporarily hold back ejaculation.
But there’s an essential point that I feel is worth mentioning right at the start: it’s just as important to learn when to do them during sex as how to practice them in your own time.
I know from my personal experience, and from the hundreds of comments and emails I get about kegels on this site, that kegels are effective – but only if done correctly.
The 2 key points to understand about kegels
I’m going to quickly share 2 key points for those that are put off by the size of this article. So even if you choose to skip all the details below, understanding the next 2 points will help you a lot:
- Don’t do kegel squeezes, pumps or contractions continuously during sex. Yes, it can help you get a bigger erection, but it can also make you ejaculate quicker.
- Only do the strong kegel hold if you feel you’re close to ejaculating, and you want to block it. Once the feeling passes, try to keep the muscles relaxed during sex.
Get those 2 points right, and you’ve won half the battle. Now let’s take a few steps back and take a look at the why and how to do kegels.
What are Kegel exercises?
Kegel exercises are the act of intentionally tensing or relaxing the muscles of the pelvic floor, which is why they are often referred to as pelvic floor exercises.
It’s somewhat confusing to understand, but there are three main muscles involved:
- Pubococcygeus muscle (PC)
- Bulbocavernosus muscle (BC)
- Iliococcygeus muscle (IC)
Some online articles only talk about the PC muscle, but it’s actually the BC muscle at the base of your penis which is most important for ejaculation control.
At first, it may just seem like one large and weak muscle group, and that’s totally normal when you start out. In time you’ll get better at pinpointing different muscles rather than the entire pelvic floor.
How do I know if I’m using the right muscles?
Everyone knows how to flex their biceps or pecs. But tensing your PC or BC muscle isn’t something you can do in front of the mirror, and the visible results are much more subtle.
The easiest explanation is that the muscle you use is the same as the one you use when stopping yourself from urinating mid-flow.
So next time you go to the toilet, try to mentally squeeze the muscle at the base of your penis to stop the flow. If you can do it, or even just reduce the flow, you’ve found the right muscle.
If this still doesn’t make sense, there are other ways to be sure you’re using the right muscle. Take a quick look at my article about locating your pelvic floor muscles if you need to.
Aren’t there different types of kegels?
When you see my weekly plan below, you’ll notice there are different types of kegel exercises. You still use the same muscle, but just training it in different ways, for example:
- Quick pumps or squeezes – when you contract or squeeze the muscle fast and then release. You can then do lots of these in quick succession.
- Holds – contract the muscles and don’t let go for a certain amount of time.
- Reverse kegels – instead of contracting, you actively relax. It’s almost like the pushing feeling you would have when squeezing out urine, or even a number two. More on that later.
When, where, how often and how many to do?
Some people say you can do as many kegels as you like. I don’t agree with that though. Yes, you can do kegels in any place you feel comfortable, though it’s best to start in a private space.
But the important thing to remember is that they aren’t that different from other muscles; if you push them too hard, you can end up with tense or sore muscles.
When I first started doing kegels, I wasn’t told this and did them in vast quantities. And although I didn’t have any problems, some people have written to me saying that they did too many after reading other websites and now feel tight or sore.
For this reason it’s best to start out doing them every other day. Once you’ve built some strength and tone you can do them more often. But even then you should always rest at least 1 or 2 days a week.
And there’s no need to do thousands of them every session. You wouldn’t do that to your arms or chest, so there’s no need here either.
When do you do kegels during sex?
Kegels are in fact a ‘last line of defense’ to hold back ejaculation. If you feel yourself getting too aroused, or reaching the point of no return, ideally you should take some other action, like changing positions or rhythm.
But if you don’t take action quickly enough, or you’re taken by surprise by your own arousal, then doing a kegel squeeze can help stop you ejaculating.
Then once your arousal subsides a little, you can rest, change positions or do whatever else you need to recover. Kegels are therefore not a single solution to premature ejaculation.
In fact, during sex you should be doing the opposite of the strong kegel hold: you should try to keep those muscles relaxed. That’s why it’s important to balance your exercise routine with reverse kegels and relaxation in general.
The key is to develop a balanced control of your pelvic floor muscles.
My kegel exercises routine
As long as you don’t overdo it, I think you can make your own routine up. But the following routine comes from my personal practice, and is based on a combination of experience and research.
If you feel the routine is too hard, just reduce the sets and times to suit you and build up slowly. You may also find it helpful to speak to a medical profession first, especially if you have any medical conditions. Ask them if doing pelvic floor exercises will be safe for you.
Finally, in the exercises I refer to just the BC muscle, because it’s the one most involved in ejaculation control at the point of no return.
However, when starting out it’s fine to think of the whole pelvic floor as one muscle group if you struggle to isolate that muscle. Even if you’re also contracting the PC muscle, it doesn’t matter as it will help strengthen your pelvic floor as a whole.
A) Practicing kegel exercises when flaccid
I recommend spending 2 to 3 weeks only practicing kegel exercises when flaccid. You don’t need to try them during masturbation or sex until you’ve done some groundwork.
Note: a reader asked about the word ‘squeeze’ which I use in the routine. You don’t squeeze with your hand, but you squeeze/contract/tighten the muscle using mental control.
Do this kegel routine every other day:
- Squeeze the BC muscle for 1 second and then release. Try to relax for a second when you release. Do this 10 times in a row.
- Rest for 30 seconds. During this, and every other rest, try to relax the BC muscle and your whole body.
- Do this first set 5 times. So you do 5 sets of 10 quick squeezes or pumps with 30 second rests.
- Squeeze and hold for 5 seconds.
- Rest for 15 seconds.
- Repeat that step 4 more times. So you do 5 sets of 5 second holds.
- Squeeze and hold for 10 seconds if you can.
- Rest for 30 seconds.
- Repeat that step twice more. So you do 3 sets of 10 second holds.
Again, you can do this routine every other day:
- Do a kegel hold for 1 second, 15 times in a row.
- Rest for 20 seconds.
- Repeat those steps 4 more times.
- Squeeze the BC muscle for 5 seconds, followed by a 15 second rest. Then repeat 5 times.
- Squeeze and hold for 10 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds then repeat twice.
- Do quick 1 second kegels 30 times. Rest for 30 seconds and then repeat twice.
- Squeeze and try to hold the kegel for 30 seconds continuously. Rest and then try again twice more. If you can’t manage 30 seconds, just hold it for as long as you can comfortably.
As before, you can do this routine every second day. In between each of these steps you can rest for 30 seconds.
- Perform a fast kegel squeeze, or pump, 20 times. Repeat this 3 times with a 30 second break between each set.
- Do a strong kegel squeeze for 5 seconds, 10 times in a row. Try to relax completely for 5 seconds between each 5 second squeeze.
- Squeeze for 10 seconds, 5 times in a row. Relax for 10 seconds in between each squeeze.
- Squeeze and hold for 20 seconds, followed by a 10 second rest. Repeat once.
- Squeeze and hold for 40 seconds, followed by a 20 second rest.
- Squeeze and hold for 60 seconds, then relax completely.
Week 4 onwards
After 2 or 3 weeks of kegeling every other day, you should have a clear idea of where you’re at. If you found a particular week too difficult, you can repeat it or go back to the week before.
If you made it through and are starting to feel some control, you can get creative and mix your kegel exercise routine up. Maybe one day copy the idea of the first week, then the second practice day use the format from the third week.
You can add length of time to sets, and you can increase the number to complete during the fast ones. It’s really up to you, and muscles generally respond better to variety.
B) Doing kegel exercises with an erection
After 2 to 3 weeks of practice when flaccid you can try to do kegels with an erection once or twice a week either instead of, or as well as, the normal practice. Your main kegel routine should still be done when flaccid, even once you’ve been doing it for a long time.
You can practice similar movements as you did before, but with an erection. It’s up to you how many you do exactly and it will partly depend on your ability to maintain an erection while kegeling.
You can do a couple of sets of 10 to 30 fast pumps, followed by a couple of longer holds of 30 seconds. Then try for a minute if you can.
The main use of the strong kegel hold is stopping yourself from ejaculating during sex. And in my experience, this usually only requires a strong hold of 10 to 20 seconds, maybe a little longer sometimes.
So there’s no need to train yourself to hold it for longer than a minute. If you can do a strong hold for a minute, then you’re probably way beyond what you’d ever actually need to do.
Safety points to consider
1. If you start to feel tense or sore during or after doing kegels exercise, take time off to let your pelvic floor muscles recover.
2. If you have problems getting or maintaining an erection after you start doing kegel exercises, stop doing them. It’s probably a sign you’ve either done too much, or done them incorrectly. So rest for a week or two and see if the problem resolves.
3. Don’t hold the squeeze too tight or you could strain the muscle. It should be tight enough to engage the kegel muscles, but not so tight it takes serious effort and feels uncomfortable.
4. Don’t forget to relax in between sets. This is an important part of getting the pelvic floor muscles balanced. The aim isn’t pure muscle strength, but a balance between strength, tone, control and the ability to relax the muscles at will.
Part 3: Putting it all together
Testing out your hard work
Once you’re confident that you can hold a kegel squeeze comfortably for 30 seconds, it’s time to see if you can hold back ejaculation during masturbation.
You need to have a good understanding of where your point of no return is to be successful. If you do it too early or too late then it won’t work. This can take some practice!
The idea is not to simply keep going whilst holding a kegel and hope you don’t ejaculate. Instead, you should build yourself up to the point where you would ejaculate if you didn’t do the kegel squeezing motion.
As you reach that point, stop what you’re doing and do a kegel squeeze until your arousal level drops down. Getting the timing right is half of the battle; no matter how well trained your muscles are, if you time it wrong, it won’t work.
And then of course if you have a partner, you can try it with them. It may help to ask them to work with you to start with. If you’ve done the start and stop method together already, then this is just another tool to add to that. If you haven’t, I recommend starting now.
What about advanced and reverse kegels?
Some websites and guides say that you should work on isolating those various pelvic floor muscles with advanced kegel exercises.
My personal opinion is that there’s no need to stress about developing a perfect ability to isolate them. As long as you’re doing your kegel holds with the same muscle you use to stop yourself peeing, you’ll be fine.
Reverse Kegels are arguably more important to learn. The main concept is that keeping the pelvic floor muscles relaxed during sex is better than tensing them endlessly. And reverse kegels can be a very effective way of helping you achieve that relaxation.
In my experience, reverse kegels are considerably harder to master than normal kegels. But I’ve had some great success when doing them during sex to help keep my arousal level in check.
Read more: my tips for lasting longer