Dear Abi explains WTF ben-wa balls are and how they keep your pelvic floor muscles in shape which makes for better sex.

Dear Abi,
Is there really any point to those ben-wa balls you always see in sex toy shops? They seemed to get really trendy after being in Fifty Shades, but I can’t imagine they really make much difference to anything?
Yours loosely,

A curious reader

Dear Curious,
I was pleased to be asked this question, because it gives me a chance to harp on for a bit about one of my specialist subjects: pelvic floor muscles. Everyone has them, but I’m really focusing on AFAB people here; having never had a penis, I’m not entirely certain what one does with the muscles underneath them.

Pelvic floor muscles are great, though. They have all kinds of mundane, everyday benefits - things like being able to hold off going to the loo for the length of an entire film and recovering more quickly from childbirth - but my real favourite thing about them is what they do for you during sex.

Firstly, of course, there’s the orgasm thing. A huge part of what an orgasm actually is for people with vaginas is their pelvic floor muscles contracting, and the stronger yours are the more tightly they’ll squeeze - and the harder you’ll come as a result. Then there’s the effect they can have on PIV; clenching down in just the right way makes everything feel much better for both of you, but requires a certain amount of strength and control on the part of the vagina-haver.

I happen to have pretty damn strong pelvic floor muscles, if I may say so myself. There are a few reasons for that - not all of them easily replicable - but there are two main things most people can do to train theirs up a little:


Look Ma, No Hands!

You’ve heard of kegels, right? They’re like the ultimate exercise; they don’t leave you out of breath, they’re easy to combine with sitting on the sofa eating cookies and nobody watching you can even tell you’re doing them. All you need to do is clench your pelvic floor muscles for a few seconds, then release them and repeat till you’re bored or distracted or need to ride a bike or something. If you’re having trouble, imagine that you’re urinating and need to stop mid-stream: that muscle right there is the one you’re after. Try to squeeze that one tightly without also clenching your stomach or thigh muscles and you’re off and away.

You will however soon discover that you have fallen prey to the Kegel Curse: a total inability to come across any mention of kegel exercises without instantly doing a kegel. I bet you’re doing one right now, aren’t you. Aren’t you.


With A Little Help From My Friends: Ben-wa Balls

This here is where the ben-wa balls come in. Wearing a set of those will force you to keep your pelvic floor muscles in a sort of permanent kegel to keep them in place, which tones them up quickly and easily. Larger, lighter balls are the easiest to hold inside you, while the smaller and heavier you go the harder the workout will be. It’s a good idea to experiment with a few different ben-wa ball sets and start with the one you can keep inside you easily if you concentrate - if it’s too easy you won’t get the benefit, but if it’s too difficult you won’t be able to stick it out at all. You can work up from there, and will have iron-clad pelvic floor muscles in a few months if you do it fairly regularly.

Better PFMs aren’t the only good thing about ben-wa balls, though. They can also keep someone in a state of vague arousal for a long time, which can be a fun game for couples to play. The effect is intensified if you find a set with an ‘inner ball’ like these ones from LoveHoney (which actually I own myself). Climaxing with them inside you is quite the experience, too; give it a go sometime.


Abi Brown is a freelance writer and general pen-for-hire devoted to sexual deviancy, far-left politics and wearing too much jewellery. Find her at her website or @see_abi_write200.


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