While many may start with an introduction or Kegel balls or ben wa balls, it may be best to first understand the differences between them.
Kegel Balls Vs Ben Wa Balls
In most cases, the only difference between Kegel balls and ben wa balls is marketing. Kegel balls are geared towards women who want to use an adjunct for their Kegel exercises. It usually comes with adjustable weights that helps enhance Kegel exercises.
Ben wa balls are marketed to target individuals who want to use it to enhance or improve their sexual satisfaction. Ben wa balls are hollower and contain a smaller ball inside. When the person wearing it moves, the innermost ball rolls around.
Although the motion is subtle, it can stimulate the person wearing it and causes more contraction of the pelvic floor muscles. This can result in stronger orgasms and increased sexual stimulation.
Therefore, in essence, Kegel Balls and Ben Wa Balls are the same and these two terms will be used interchangeably in this article.
A Brief Introduction
Kegel balls have been around for hundreds of years for the purpose of strengthening the pelvic floor muscles and vaginal muscles. It is an important adjunct for Kegel exercises as it provides resistance during these exercises. These balls are available in a variety of sizes and weights.
Kegel balls or ben wa balls are also known as:
- Orgasm balls
- Venus balls
- Jiggle balls
- Geisha balls
- Love eggs or love balls
These names are derived from the increasing employment of Kegel balls for sexual pleasure. The surge in popularity is due to the adoption of Kegel balls for sexual entertainment in Hollywood movies such as Fifty Shades of Gray.
How Do They Work?
When the Kegel balls are inserted into the vagina, it provides additional resistance to the pelvic floor muscles. That way, when you practice your Kegel exercises while wearing the ben wa balls, it becomes more of a workout for your pelvic muscles. The additional weight from heavier Kegel balls can be likened to the use of free weights when exercising other parts of the body.
What about the use of ben wa balls for sexual stimulation? There is a reason why these balls are often used as a sex toy. Ben wa balls provide stimulation on the anterior vaginal wall, a location full of sensitive nerve endings. The movement of the balls can also cause stronger pelvic floor muscle contractions resulting in enhanced orgasms.
What Are the Benefits of Kegel Balls?
Kegel balls can benefit women in almost all situations. Some of its benefits include:
- Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles or vaginal muscles
- Enhance the intensity of orgasms
- Accelerate healing after pregnancy
Since it helps to strengthen the pelvic floor and vaginal muscles, it can improve the symptoms for women who experience the following issues:
- Urinary incontinence issues – This is the involuntary leakage or loss of urine. The use of Kegel exercises can help improve bladder control especially in stress incontinence (2).
- Stress incontinence – This refers to urinary incontinence when there is increased intraabdominal pressure such as during sneezing, coughing, or moving.
- Urge incontinence – This refers to a sudden urgent feeling of needing to urinate followed by leakage or loss of urine.
- Pelvic organ prolapse – This occurs when the organs usually supported by the pelvic floor muscles such as the vagina, bladder, or rectum prolapses due to a weak pelvic floor. Kegel balls exercises can improve these issues.
- Chronic pelvic pain – Some individuals with chronic pelvic pain experience pain in their pelvis due to involuntary spasms in the pelvic floor muscles or when the pelvic muscles are too tight. With Kegel balls, the pelvic floor tone can be regulated.
- Fecal incontinence – This refers to the involuntary leakage or loss of mucus, liquid stool, or solid stool from their anus. The Kegel balls can help improve rectal control.
Women who are preparing to conceive or pregnant can also benefit from it as strengthening the pelvic floor muscles helps to relax and control the muscles in preparation for labor and childbirth.
This is important as pregnancy and childbirth causes the stretching and thus, weakening of the pelvic floor muscles which can lead to many issues. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles can help decrease the likelihood of these issues.
Medical Advice: It should be noted that women who have just given birth, have a prevailing pelvic infection, or experience pelvic pain, or just had gynecological surgery should consult with a doctor before using Kegel balls.
How To Choose Your Kegel Balls
There are so many types of Kegel balls in the market. This makes purchasing one difficult as there are so many choices with different weights, different sizes, materials, and shapes. However, all you need to know is to buy Ben Wa balls from a trusted source that is free from chemicals. Some of the factors that may affect your choice includes:
- Materials – Choose a material that is easy to clean and smooth. For example, a medical grade silicone, glass, or metal would be best as they are non-porous. Cheap materials degrade and usually have a low-quality. Silicone Kegel balls are usually recommended.
- Size – Beginners should start with a larger Kegel ball as it will stay in place with less effort. When wearing smaller Kegel balls, the pelvic floor muscles will need to contract more tightly to hold the ball inside.
- Weight – Most Kegel balls weigh less than half a pound. Since your body has the ability to lift more than half a pound, you may outgrow your Kegel balls. Start with a lighter weight and gradually increase the weight of your Kegel balls. This means you may need to purchase new balls frequently to increase the difficulty of your practice.
How To Clean
It is extremely important to keep your Kegel balls clean as infrequent cleaning increases the risk of:
- pH imbalance
- Urinary tract infections
Clean the Kegel balls thoroughly using a mild antibacterial soap and warm water. If you have chosen Kegel balls that have a string attached, remember to clean the string as well. Avoid choosing Kegel balls with a cloth-like string as it may encourage bacterial deposition and growth. You should clean your Kegel balls even if they are new and fresh out of the packaging.
Using Your Kegel Balls
After choosing, purchasing, and cleaning your Kegel balls, you can start wearing them. Lubrication is an important step as it makes insertion easier. However, too much lube can also make your practice more challenging as it makes it harder for your pelvic floor muscles to hold onto the balls.
Step 1 – Locating and Controlling Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
The first step will be locating and controlling your pelvic floor muscles. These muscles can be located when you try to stop your urine while urinating. The muscles you contract to stop urination are your pelvic floor muscles.
Remember this motion as you will be practicing this after insertion of the Kegel balls. It feels as if you are pulling the pelvic floor up towards you. You can also locate your pelvic floor muscles by placing a finger in your vagina and trying to contract your pelvic floor muscles until you feel your finger being squeezed.
Step 2 – Insertion
After applying an adequate amount of lubrication, find a comfortable position. For your first time, it would be best to lay down with your legs apart so you can gently slide the Kegel ball in. Imagine as if you were inserting a tampon.
You can start with the individual ben wa ball and gradually move up to the two-ball set. Remember to leave the string on the outside so you can easily remove the balls. After insertion, close your legs to help keep the Kegel balls in place as you prepare for your Kegel exercises.
Kegel Exercises with Kegel Balls
- Basic Kegel
- Lay on your back, knees bent, feet apart.
- For added comfort, you can use a pillow under your head.
- Avoid holding your breath and bearing downwards.
- When inhaling, relax your pelvic floor muscles.
- Contract your pelvic floor muscles during exhalation.
- Hold the contraction for 5 seconds and rest for 5 seconds.
- Repeat 10 times.
- Once you find this less challenging, you can practice the next pelvic floor exercise sitting up in a chair.
- Quick Kegel
- This exercise is best performed laying down or sitting up.
- Clench and release your pelvic floor muscles as tightly and quickly as possible for 2 seconds.
- Rest for 5 seconds.
- Repeat 12 times. This is a set.
- Repeat the set 3 times a day.
- Long Kegel
- Once you are able to perform the basic Kegel easily, increase the time you contract your pelvic floor muscles to 12 seconds and rest for 10 seconds.
- Repeat these 12 times daily.
- Once it becomes easier, use heavier Kegel balls during your exercise.
- Sitting Exercise
- Sit with your legs closed.
- Contract and relax your pelvic floor muscles to try to move the balls back and forth.
- If you are unable to do it, focus on squeezing the balls for 5 to 10 seconds, relax for several seconds, and repeat these 12 times.
- Standing Exercise
- Once you have mastered your beginner exercises, stand straight with your feet apart.
- Inhale while relaxing your pelvic floor muscles.
- Exhale and contract to squeeze your Kegel balls.
- Repeat 12 times.
- By performing this exercise in the standing position, the weight of the balls and gravity makes it more challenging.
- Heel Raise Kegels
- Inhale while relaxing your pelvic floor.
- Exhale and contract your Kegel muscles.
- Slowly rise to a tip toe position and gradually return to normal.
- Inhale and relax.
- Repeat 12 times.
- Squatting Exercise
- Inhale and relax your pelvic muscles.
- Exhale and contract the muscles.
- Bend your knees to about 45° and squat.
- Gradually stand up, inhale, and relax your pelvic floor muscles.
- Repeat 10 times.
Once you are ready, use the balls when going through your daily routine activities. Your pelvic floor muscles will hold the balls while you go through your daily activities. When walking or running, your movements cause the inner Kegel balls to move and stimulate the vaginal muscles.
How Do I Remove Them?
There is no set time for how long you should wear your Kegel balls. It depends on how comfortable you feel. The ben wa balls can be easily removed by relaxing your pelvic floor muscles and gently tugging them out one at a time using the string attached to it. For easy removal, squeezing your vaginal muscles will also help. It is similar to removing a tampon.
It should slide out easily without causing any discomfort or pain. If it is difficult to remove, try coughing and moving around before attempting to remove it again. You can also apply some lubrication to help the process.
After removal, remember to clean your Kegel balls with mild antibacterial soap and warm water. Rinse well to ensure all soap residue is removed.
Storage of Your Kegel Balls
Your Kegel balls should be kept clean and stored correctly. If not, it could introduce bacteria and result in a vaginal infection. After cleaning, pat dry with a clean towel. You should also allow your Kegel balls to air dry for an hour or two to make sure they are completely dry before storage. Once dry, store in a case designated for them.
Kegel Balls for Sexual Pleasure
Besides using your Kegel balls for strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, you can also use them for sexual pleasure. It may not function like a conventional vibrator, but it can be moved in and out like a dildo. You can also leave the Kegel balls inside to enhance the intensity of your orgasm.
Start by lying in bed and inserting the Kegel Balls. Contract your pelvic floor muscles. Some women feel increasing arousal and intense excitement. The use of Kegel exercises to help sexual arousal was published in 1985. You can also use a vibrator while contracting your pelvic floor muscles.
Kegel Balls with A Partner
You can also use your Kegel balls with your partner as it enhances the sensitivity and increases the arousal for both parties. You can wear your Kegel balls during a night out or during foreplay for sexual arousal. Remove the Kegel balls before vaginal penetration.
Although the use of Kegel balls in the anus is strongly discouraged, you can still wear your Kegel balls during anal sex. Anal penetration can push the Kegel balls against your G-spot and increase your sexual pleasure.
If used properly, Kegel balls can be beneficial to physical health and improves your sex life. They are generally safe to use but should not be used for more than 4 to 6 hours as longer durations may overexert your pelvic floor muscles. Hygiene is crucial to avoid any infection. If you experience unusual discharge, unusual odor, excessive vaginal discharge, severe pain or discomfort, discontinue using the Kegel balls and see your doctor.
- Brown, M.F. Kegel balls for beginners: the ultimate guide to kegel exercise weights for health and pleasure; how to use kegel balls for pelvic floor exercises, vaginal tightening, and post pregnancy recovery. (2019) Zen Mastery.
- Cammu, H., Van Nylen, M. Pelvic floor exercises versus vaginal weight cones in genuine stress incontinence. (1998) Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol, 77(10), 89-93.
- Marques, A., Stothers, L., Macnab, A. The status of pelvic floor muscle training for women. (2010) Can Urol Assoc J, 4(6), 419-414.
- Kegel exercises. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/kegel-exercises?dkrd=/health-information/urologic-diseases/bladder-control-problems-women/kegel-exercises
- Mayo Clinic staff. Kegel exercises: A how to guide for women. (2018) Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/kegel-exercises/art-20045283
- Messeé, M.R., Geer, J.H. Voluntary vaginal musculature contractions as an enhancer of sexual arousal. (1985) Arch Sex Behav, 14(1), 13-28.
Caitlin Goodwin MSN, CNM, RN is a Certified Nurse-Midwife of five years and a nurse for 12 years. As a mom and writer, she loves to educate folks about reproductive health.