“Pelvic floor muscles must be strong, coordinated, and flexible for comfortable intimacy to occur,” says Dr. Natalie Sebba, PT, DPT, and Certified Women’s Health Specialist (WCS) at OneStep. In this blog, we discuss several factors that play a role in maintaining sexual wellness – and how a pelvic floor therapist can help!
Maintain Strong And Flexible Pelvic Floor Muscles
Pelvic floor muscle weakness
Those with pelvic floor muscle weakness may experience back pain, hip pain, incontinence, bladder urgency, and bladder leakage during sexual intimacy. This is because the muscles are not strong enough to perform their respective actions that promote pelvic stability and proper bladder and bowel function.
Additionally, for those with female anatomy, pelvic floor strength is necessary to achieve an orgasm since it involves muscle contractions. Those with weak pelvic floor muscles may either experience a less satisfying orgasm or be unable to experience an orgasm at all.
To address underlying muscle weakness, a pelvic floor specialist will prescribe specific strengthening exercises. By practicing regularly, individuals with weak pelvic floor muscles can regain proper pelvic floor muscle functionality.
Pelvic floor muscle tightness
Those with pelvic floor muscle tightness may experience pain, both during everyday activities and sexual intimacy. The muscles may be in a state of spasm, that causes pain with penetration, sexual touch, and even arousal as this further increases activation of the pelvic floor muscles.
It is important to consult a professional when dealing with pelvic pain as some individuals will try to work through the pain on their own and fall into a difficult pain cycle. This takes a toll on the individual’s physical, mental, and emotional health. Pelvic floor specialists are trained to address the pain cycle through pain education and also address the underlying physiological problem of tight and uncomfortable pelvic floor muscles.
Get to Know Your Body
Understanding your own personal arousal cycle is a large part of sexual wellness and comfort during sexual intimacy. Typically for those with male anatomy, the ramp-up time is quicker compared to those with female anatomy. Sufficient arousal and desire are central to stimulating the tissues and the glands for natural lubrication – both of which are needed for comfortable intercourse. When people fall out of the habit of foreplay and building their desire, the body is not properly stimulated which can lead to frustration, discomfort, and pain.
Use The Right Lubricants
When choosing a lubricant, it’s best to read the ingredients. Stay away from glycerine, parabens, and propylene glycol as these ingredients dry out the mucosa of the vagina. Utilizing products with drying ingredients might provide short-term relief, but they further dry out the mucosa and cause you to rely on the product even more. You should also avoid flavored lubricants with sugar in them for vaginal intercourse to avoid yeast infections. There are many natural and organic products available that are not irritating to the tissue that are better choices.
Visit a Pelvic Floor Specialist
Consulting with a pelvic floor specialist is a great option if you are feeling overwhelmed and have questions pertaining to your own sexual wellness. Not only can pelvic floor specialists offer customized exercises and activities to address underlying musculoskeletal issues, such as muscle weakness and tightness, but they are also valuable educational resources. Your pelvic floor specialist will help you understand your own body, provide lifestyle modifications, and even provide more specific resources such as better lubricants to use and intimate positions to try for your individual needs.
You don’t need to have a specific problem either to consult with a pelvic floor specialist. Schedule a wellness consultation to learn more about your body, for sexual wellness tips, and to maintain optimal pelvic floor health to prevent issues from arising down the road.