How To Find The Right Pelvic Floor Muscles For Kegels

pelvic floor muscles diagram

Understanding the correct muscles to use when doing kegel exercises can be a little confusing when you first start.

Unlike many other muscles, it’s not so easy to visually confirm that you’re doing the exercises correctly.

Part of the problem is that many websites advise men to squeeze their Pubococcygeus muscle (PC muscle), and don’t provide accurate descriptions of where it is exactly.

They also miss out the fact that the Bulbocavernous muscle (BC muscle) plays a major role for men if they want to do kegels to control their ejaculation.

In an interesting piece of research into pelvic floor rehabilitation for men with lifelong PE at the University of Rome in 2014, the researchers note that:

The pelvic floor undoubtedly plays an important role in sexual function; evidence suggests active roles of the ischiocavernous and bulbocavernous muscles, and sphincters, with a significant increase in electromyographic activity during the entire ejaculatory period

Personally, I don’t think the name matters too much as long as you’re exercising the correct muscles. You don’t need a full understanding of anatomical terminology – you just need an understanding of which muscles to use.

The simple way to find the right muscles

There are 3 ways you can check if you’re using the correct muscles:

1. Locating the muscles while urinating

The first technique is to mentally squeeze the base of your penis to stop yourself urinating mid flow. The muscles that you use to do this are the muscles you need to use when doing kegels.

If you can’t stop urinating then it may be that the muscles just aren’t well developed at the moment. Don’t worry though – as long as you find that the flow reduces, you’re probably using the correct muscles.

When first doing this, you may find it useful to start and stop the flow of urine several times until you gain an understanding of which muscles to use.

Please note that stopping the flow of urine is something you only need to do to get an idea of which muscle to use. Don’t do it every time you go to the toilet, as this isn’t recommended by Urologists.

2. Finding the muscles manually

The second technique is to feel the pelvic floor with your fingers while lying on your back. Lie down, raise your knees and then use a couple of fingers to push gently onto your perineum – the area of skin between your testicles and anus.

If you then try to squeeze the muscles you would if stopping yourself peeing you should feel contractions under your fingers. You can experiment by trying to squeeze whichever muscles you can in that area until you’re able to feel those contractions.

3. Locating the muscles with an erection

A third technique, and one which can be a useful visual check, is with an erection. If you squeeze/contract the pelvic floor muscles, you should find your erection rises slightly. And if you then relax the squeeze, it should drop down a little.

You might also find that you can feel or see your erection getting bigger or harder. This is another function of the BC muscle, so you may find this is a useful way to check you’re using that muscle.

Understanding the different muscles used

There are 3 main muscles of the pelvic floor which are targeted by kegels. They all have different roles, but are also connected in a sort of pelvic floor hammock of muscles. So trying to exercise one muscle specifically will also work the others to a certain extent.

You can see the locations in the following diagram, with explanations of each one below.

diagram showing the pubococcygeus muscle locationThe Bulbocavernosus muscle

The BC muscle is the main muscle to use when doing kegels, not just the PC muscle. It’s located around the bulb, or base, of the penis. The two main roles of the BC muscle are:

  • Squeezing semen or urine out of the urethra.
  • Squeezing more blood into the end of the penis.

So in this way, it contributes to both erection strength and ejaculation.

The Pubococcygeus muscle

The PC muscle is the large muscle which stretches from the pubic bone to the tailbone. Its main roles are:

  • Also plays a role in urination and bowel movements.
  • Forms a large part of the pelvic floor, supporting lower organs.
  • Contracts during orgasm.

The Ischiocavernosus (IC) muscle

The IC muscle sits next to the BC muscle, and its roles are:

  • It’s involved in maintaining an erection and stabilizing the penis.
  • It helps to flex the anus.

Which muscles to use and when

When doing a normal kegel squeeze just before the point of no return you need to focus on contracting mainly the BC muscle, and the IC and PC muscles will also contract when you contract that area.

When doing reverse kegels, the idea is to relax all the muscles – during sex you should try to keep all of the muscles of the pelvic floor relaxed.

You would only do a strong kegel hold before the point of no return by contracting/squeezing the pelvic floor muscles.

To quote the same piece of research as earlier again:

we demonstrated that active perineal muscle control inhibits the ejaculation reflex through intentional relaxation of the bulbocavernous and ischiocavernous muscles, which are active during arousal and should be intentionally relaxed during this phase of sexual intercourse.

So it’s good to do kegel exercises on your own to gain an awareness of your pelvic floor muscles and develop strength and control.

But when you have sex, forget about squeezing and contracting and focus instead on keeping nice and relaxed.

Read more: my guide to kegels


  1. Hi, I have a Question.
    I’m now training my Pc Muscles for 6 Months at least.
    And I cant get a non-ejac orgasm.
    I’m wondering if I’m squeezing the wrong muscles?
    Between my Penis and the anal sphincter are two different muscles and I can contract and hold both of them.
    Now which one is the right one?
    That one near the roots of the penis or that one which is closer to my back door?

    Thanks for your answer :)

    • Hi Bob
      The muscles at the root of the penis ideally, but you’ll probably find it works just be squeezing the entire area anyway.

      • When doing kegel I can feel the muscle but when doing reverse kegel i can’t feel them anymore .
        (I touch that area with fingers)

        • That sounds about right. With a normal kegel, the movement is much more obvious and you can literally feel it happening.

  2. Hi! I have bad erection quality, no morning or nocturnal erections, no erections thinking in girls or watching porn, only if I touch myself or If I am with a woman. And with a woman, I lose the erection very easy. It is possible that I have a weak IC muscle? I can retroejaculate so I think I have a strong BC muscle but maybe the IC muscle is not that strong. Could I work only the IC muscle?

    • Hi Rafa
      What do you mean by ‘I can retroejaculate’? You mean you can squeeze the muscles hard enough to stop yourself ejaculating, or does it happen that sometimes you just don’t ejaculate? Have you ever spoken to a doctor about your issue? I don’t know of any way to only target the IC muscle, nor if it’s even something important to try and do really. I think it’s perhaps overcomplicating the matter. It sounds to me like perhaps there is something else causing the lack of libido/excitement – perhaps you haven’t found what really turns you on yet? Or perhaps there is a physical cause, which is why it might help you speak to a doctor to get yourself checked out.

    • Hi Jason
      It’s normal for that to happen when you’re learning. But ideally, you want to try to isolate the muscles so that you don’t squeeze the anus.

  3. Hi Ethen
    I wonder if an enlarged prostate can cause night time leaking which is my problem starting a year ago for no particular reason. No issues with erection nor PE but have noticed a reduced and sluggish ejaculation. Could it be lack of/no sexual intercourse due to my wife’s illness for many years. Can the BC or PC muscles weaken due to lack of activity? Perhaps bladder wall also weakened for some reason? Leaking started around a year ago. I used to be quite proficient in the past when active. If you don’t use it do you lose it?

    • Hi Wayne
      Do you mean leaking urine or semen? If you don’t have sex, or masturbate, it’s normal to start leaking semen I think. But if it’s urine, it could be a sign of a physical condition, in which case speak to your doctor probably.

  4. I’m sorry to bother you. But i have a trouble in having sex( premature ejaculation of course!). I’ll meet my girl friend in the next 5 months. And I’m really worry about that, you know, it’ll be a shame when we just ejaculating too fast. So i’m wondering if Reverse Kegel or Normal Kegel is good to stop my problem. Tks a lot! :)

    • Hi there
      Well, I think the thing is to try lots of different techniques, not just rely on one or two. Premature ejaculation isn’t something that I think can easily be fixed just by choosing one type of kegel exercise. It’s better to learn as many techniques as possible, and put them all into action. If you take a good look around this site, you’ll find lots of useful advice that should help.

  5. I was wondering how exactly do I hold the PE muscle at will. I’ve been trying for a bit now and I just can’t seem to get it. Thanks

  6. What to do of pc muscle while doing sex. Please explain that how pc muscle is helpful in sex and how to use pc muscle while doing intercourse.

    • Hi ali,
      First before sex strengthen your pc muscles.. after exercise you see you can easy to control your ejaculation…but this not enough you also want to reverse kegel and use to relax your pc muscles during intercourse. And contract the pc muscles when you feel the ejaculation. I hope you understand. Have a good sex 😊

  7. Hi Ethan

    Thanks for the great article, it s the best i have found on the net!
    One thing still confuses me:
    There are two ways I can contract. One is a hard contraction, only possible to hold for about one second and hard to breath with. It’s the same contraction as if i would pump during ejaculation. When i let the contraction go (relax) i can really feel my muscle moving (feeling in my body not with the fingers).

    The other one is more subtle and i can hold it easily also whilst breathing. But i don’t feel the muscle that much moving.
    Is it physically more exhausting to do a proper kegel than stop the urin flow( which i can easily do for as long as i want) ?

    I would really appreciate an answer

    • Hi Peter
      Thanks for the compliment – it’s always good to hear an article is appreciated:-)
      I’m not sure about your question, to be honest. For me it’s just a case of being able to contract as hard or gently as I like, not hard or subtle. So I wonder if maybe you’re using different muscles each time? Do you feel that both types target the same muscle(s) or are more engaged in one movement than the other?
      As for the second question, I don’t find it more or less difficult – just the same really. Though sometimes during sex, that kegel hold might need to be stronger and for longer than I would do for holding back the urine flow.

      • Hi Ethan
        Thanks heeps for your reply! I think there might be different muscles targeted in the two ways, but as you said a kegel is about as difficult as holding the urine flow the first described contraction is probably wrong or at least done too hard.
        Is doing a quick kegel then the same sort of contraction as if semen gets pushed out of your penis during ejaculation? (It’s this kind of pumping feeling)

        Thanks again!

        • Hi
          You’re very welcome. Yes, doing kegels holds quickly in a row will feel similar to the contraction felt during ejaculation, as it’s the same muscle used to pump out the semen and to do a kegel. And that’s also the reason it’s better to avoid doing kegel holds during sex unless at the point of no return, or you’re kind of just imitating the act that happens during ejaculation, thus potentially making it happen quicker – the opposite of what you want to achieve!

        • Hi Ethan

          Thanks a lot! With this description i am finally sure that i target the right muscle. I know the article already states that the bc muscle squeezes out semen, but it confused me somewhat that you wrote the pc muscle contracts during orgasm.
          Now it’s clear though! I must say you do outstanding work to answer all these comments.
          All the best

        • Hi Peter
          You’re welcome! I’ll have another look through the article to see if it needs to be made clearer. Glad you found the site and comments useful!

  8. Hi Ethan

    I’m too suffering with the problem of premature ejaculation. I ejaculate just in the moment while in. I don’t want to bother you with the same question. Would you ensure me that this exercise would help me to last long?

    Thanks :-)

    • Hi Hibiscus
      I can’t promise that kegels will definitely help. But they are certainly worth trying. I do recommend looking around this site thoroughly as well to get an idea of other techniques that might help.

  9. Hi Ethan,
    I am doing keel From last one week and I have feel pain now when have erection. I think , am doing wrong. Please help me because one month back also I start kegal exercise but I leave after one week. I try to find PC muscle while doing pee and I find but while lay down I cannot contract the muscle which is, I feel while pee stop. Please help me because I want to success.

    • Hi Sukhdeep
      Have you tried doing the kegels when sitting or standing instead then? You might find it easier to target the correct muscles.
      If you’re feeling pain when you have an erection, that’s not good. It could be because you’re just doing the squeezes too hard, or doing them too often. But there’s no way of me being able to tell, or advise you in an accurate way.
      So really, my advice would be to err on the side of caution. If you have problems each time you try to do kegels, then perhaps it’s not the best exercise for you. Maybe you’ll have more success just doing the simple, but effective, start-stop technique instead.
      Kegels aren’t the only way to tackle PE, and in my opinion there’s no point causing yourself more problems like painful erections.

  10. Please help to find the muscles required for performing kegel exercise. I am not sire which ones are the muscles . Are those muscles located around the base of penis and show contractions when I press the perineum? Please help!!

    • Hi Rahul
      The best way is really to stop yourself peeing in mid flow. There’s no better way to work out which are the right muscles to use. Other than that and the other ideas I’ve suggested, there’s not much more I can do to help, I’m afraid. Keep trying the techniques, and with practise you should get it. It can take a few days to develop some control, so don’t worry – keep at it!

  11. Hi Ethan!

    I first read this guide a year back when my performance was average but with the help of this article I was able to do much better. But after some time I stopped and started again with my concepts not in place and I think I started exercising the wrong muscle. Now I cant last a minute. I can’t control my evacuation nor stop or delay it. How can I fix this?

    • Hi Shaun
      It’s great to hear from someone who put the techniques into place a long time ago and had success with them – at least initially. It might not be that you’ve started doing it incorrectly – it’s more likely that because you stopped doing them, your performance dropped back down again. Unfortunately that can happen. Do you think you can take a break again for a week, in case you have incurred some muscle tightness, and then try to repeat more carefully what you did a year ago? And did you do only kegel exercises, or other techniques as well?

  12. Do you have any explanation on, ok say if I’m watching porn I ejaculate in like 1 to 2 minutes sometimes a maybe can last 5. But if I’m not watching it I can last between 20 to 30 min. Do you think I would ejaculate quick while having sex and is this a problem? Should I just stop watching porn, cause I can even last around 10 to 15 minutes just looking at pics of porn, but when I watch it I can’t last long at all. Any suggestions and can you please answer all my questions?

    • Hi Brad
      It’s very normal to last longer without watching porn. It’s just much more exciting watching porn, and harder to control yourself. I don’t know if it means you’ll ejaculate faster during sex – I don’t know of any proven correlation, and I suspect most guys ejaculate quicker with porn anyway, even those who can last longer during sex. As for not watching it, well that’s a personal choice. I think it’s ok once in a while, but it’s also good to masturbate without it. There are lots of arguments for and against watching it, so it’s up to you to work out what’s best.

  13. Hi. I have suffered from PE ever since i first had sex which was when i was 16, i am now 31. I don’t last more than 10 secs, it really gets your down. Do u think the kegels will work for me? I have never talked to a doctor about it that’s because I’m to ashamed to talk about it. I just avoid sex because i know the women would just laugh. Is there anything else you can recommend if the kegels don’t work? I live in the uk. Hope u can help.

    • Hi Tony
      I understand your concern and embarrassment, believe me! Personally, I think that kegels can be useful, but the start and stop method is better really. I’d focus on that one, and then do some kegels as well once you get going on it. I’d also maybe try out a desensitizing product and see if that makes a big difference.

  14. Hi ethan
    I m suffering from disaster when it comes to having sex as I just melt in less than 10’s all happening as I was a drug addict. last 13 yrs of my life I have been chasing brown sugar n have smoked cannabis n popped sleeping pills n drank cough syrups n what I m clean from last 5 months n I can’t c my tissues regenerating as doctors said it will.I really melt in less than 10 seconds after insertion.I m trying to do kegels but it’s gonna take a lot of time for me to last just can’t wait for so long n might lose it n fall back to drugs.I m 35 n want to get married n settle down in life as early as possible.please help me.. suggestions I need as all the doctors I have met have just made money n made me a fool.also does the vacuum therapy helps??
    Ur advice would be highly appreciated

    • Hi Raja
      I think perhaps you could try both a desensitizing options and the longer-term techniques at the same time. That way you can improve the situation right now, but also be working on a more permanent solution. I don’t think vacuum pumps work for premature ejaculation, no.

  15. Sir please am suffering from pE an i wont to start the kegel exercis. pls how is the squeesing and contuction of eirher the BC or PC muscles done. is it done by hands.please help me with explanation. Thank You.

    • Hi Oxford
      No, it’s not done by using your hands. All of the squeezing is done by mental control. In the same way as you would “tell” your arm to flex your bicep muscle, you do the same with the PC muscle. The only tricky thing is that it’s not so easy to know you’re doing it right!

    • Hi Manny
      To be honest, it’s not something I’ve ever looked into or experimented with because I can’t see a use for it! Maybe if you have highly developed control of your pelvic floor muscles, you’ll be able to. But for what purpose?

  16. When I squeeze the muscles on the point of no return, it results in no orgasm. But there’s flowing much seen out of it, it almost looks like a normal ejaculation, but then without an orgasm. After 3 times its impossible to hold it and I will have a orgasm with ejaculation. Is this normal?

    • Hi Michael
      It could be you’re waiting until too late to do the squeeze. Try stopping earlier and you should find the point where you don’t have an orgasm and nothing comes out. Then carry on.

    • Hi there
      I don’t send videos out, sorry! But you will find lots of useful advice around this website. Just look through from the homepage and you’ll find everything you need to improve your stamina.

  17. Hi,

    Prob a bit of an odd question given most guys want to delay ejaculation, but I’d like to speed things up from time to time. Will kegels during intercourse work for this?


    • Hi Chris
      Thanks for your comment. Theoretically, doing normal kegels during sex can lead to more blood in the penis, more sensitivity, higher arousal and therefore faster orgasm. But I’m not sure it’s the best way to speed up. I don’t really deal with problems of delayed ejaculation on this site at the moment, but if you google it you’ll find plenty of good advice.

  18. Hello Green!
    Thanks for your techniques, i will like to know, if relaxing those muscles during sex won’t result in ejaculation?

  19. That’s a really good detailed article and the whole site is great! Even though am sure I isolate the right muscles, but when I exercise kegel I tend near instantly to fart and I have plenty of gas !! and if My bladder have a little urine (sometimes I don’t notice coz I try to kegel only when my bladder is empty as much as possible) so I tend to pee instantly.. Is that normal or there is something wrong ?? tell me if maybe am doing reverse kegel by mistake! thank you
    (sorry for bad English)

    • Hi Anwar
      Thanks for your comment and compliment – I’m glad you found the article and site helpful.
      That doesn’t sound right to me, to be honest. And yes, it does sound more like you’re doing a reverse kegel if you’re farting or urinating. If anything, a normal kegel would stop those from happening. I think perhaps kegels aren’t the best way forward for you. Maybe some of the other techniques would help you more, such as the start and stop method.

  20. Hello sir

    I am 18 yrs old…..i am suffering from premature ejaculation….i don’t last up to few seconds..sometimes it occurs self during watch porn movie…plz help and suggest me…and I am unable to find pc muscle..plz clear it properly.

  21. I’m just starting out the kegel exercises and I’m finally understanding how to do them. But I can’t seem to hold it for more than a second, if that. Is there something I need to understand or should I just keep doing these short movements for the time being and it’ll eventually cause me to be able to hold it? I don’t think I’m that bad with PE, I last around 6 minutes which is still shorter than I’d like, 15-20 minutes would be better.

    • Hi Joe
      Thanks for your comment. It’s normal to not be able to hold it much at the outset. If you keep practicing, then yes that hold should develop. But remember, that strong hold isn’t the most useful thing to develop for lasting longer. It’s better to learn to relax the area properly through reverse kegels, and to do things like the start stop technique.


  22. Hi, I am suffering from PE and have been ejaculating within a few minutes when i used to be able to last for 10-15. I tried kegels and although i located the muscles while cutting off the flow of my pee, i can’t seem to have a good grasp of control over the muscles and am having difficulty controlling them, be it squeezing contracting them or what not. Any advice on how to gain control of the muscles so that i can start doing kegels? Thanks

    • Hi Cren
      It can take time to develop that control, which is partly the point of doing kegels. It’s very normal to have almost no control when you start, and it can take weeks or months to develop any meaningful control. So I would just say keep practicing it. The main thing though is not to over-do to. It’s easy to think that if you do loads of kegels every day, you’ll gain control faster. But that’s a bad gamble which can sometimes result in erection problems due to tightening of the muscles etc. So just be patient and do the exercises in small doses and the control will come. And more importantly, don’t just rely on kegels. I strongly recommend reading my article about why kegels alone isn’t enough to beat PE.

  23. please do you have to continue squeezing the bc muscles at point of no return for a long time to prevent ejaculation or u just have to squeeze a bit and relax the muscles. would latter still ensure prolonged sex?

    • Hi Lee
      If it’s happening at the point of no return, then you’ll need to squeeze it for as long as it takes to prevent ejaculation. This is usually a good 10-20 seconds in my experience, but it may be different for you. Then relax again once the moment has passed.

  24. Hello mr Ethan Green, please help me because am seriously suffering from premature ejaculation, i don’t last up to 10seconds and i always feel the urge to urinate when having sex, and i also have frequent ejaculation, please help me

    • Hi Daniel,

      Sorry to hear you’re having difficulties with your sex life. My advice is here on this website to discover and read. Take a look at the homepage as a good starting point if you’re not sure where to start. Do you actually end up needing to go to the toilet when you have sex? If that’s the case, then just drink less liquid in the hour before you have sex. If you are ejaculating involuntarily frequently during the day, then you may benefit from seeing a doctor to check there isn’t a physical cause to that.

    • Hi bbc
      Look around this site, there are lots of suggestions for you to find! And I don’t recommend only kegeling. It should be part of a wider approach to lasting longer.

  25. I use to start and stop method because i’m suffering from P E… so I want to know that may I try kegel too….

  26. Just starting the kegel exercise thing but I find it hard getting a hold on my BC muscles. I have located d area but i feel its either deep inside or veins passing that area

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