Kegel Exercises Are Not What is Wrong with This World

As I’ve been making eco-friendly changes and learning more about childbirth and my body, I’ve realized that there will always be opposition to these topics. I feel lucky to live in a time when I have so much access to what I consider important information. I am also glad that I have a network of like-minded supporters for my choices.

The fact that this poster, about KEGELS, is turning into a controversy is mind blowing to me. The ad is part of a greater wellness campaign by Veria Living, a health and wellness cable network. I think the original ad is great. However, telling a woman that it’s wrong to do kegels is like telling a runner that it is wrong to exercise his or her legs. We were made to have babies and it takes a muscle to push out those babies.

pc muscles

(Courtesy Kara Rozansky)

An article on Gothamist hastily declared that this poster is making some wonder, “What is wrong with this World?” I couldn’t disagree more. If anything, I think that this poster should be in every midwife or Doctor’s office as a friendly and funny reminder to squeeze. I think that a sex-ed class that focused on this topic instead of how to select a tampon would be much more effective for the next generation. I wish someone had said to me in my teens, “There is nothing wrong with your body. This is what it can do. It’s beautiful, natural, and you don’t need a man to use your parts. Also, try a menstrual cup instead of a tampon so that you stop having cramps and headaches.”

First of all, we need to stop sexualizing Kegel exercises. When I was pregnant, I desperately searched for an app to find out how to kegel, what to kegel, and why to kegel. My best option was called, “Sex with Emily.” I think that this is sad for two reasons. How, at 25 years old, did I not know anything about kegeling besides Cosmo’s hasty instructions to ‘squeeze like you have to pee’? The other reason it is sad is that a 8 months pregnant, the last thoughts I wanted to combine were sex and exercise. If someone developed a Kegel App that ended with a nap, I would be all over that.

Since we’re on the topic, I’ll tell you what I know. Kegels are important. You need to do them or your vagina will fall out. I don’t know if that is exactly true, but I know that kegels are exercise and they are good for you. When you stretch and tighten muscles they work better in the long run. Exercise is a key component of pregnancy, too. Many workout videos suggest a few kegels in the middle of the program. I imagine that is why my step-mother chose not to do her videos in front of me and the additional teenagers in the house during her pregnancy. But, so what if she had? We could have all giggled about it the first 19 times and then, by the end of it we would be well on our way to being strong enough to give birth. It takes effort to push out a baby. This is why we call it labor.

How do you Kegel?

I don’t know how you kegel. Maybe you squeeze at every traffic stop. I’m truly asking a question here. I kegel infrequently, but I wish I remembered to do it more often. I love that Lindsay Brin reminds me to do them during toning exercises so I truly feel that I get a full-body workout. There are some serious kegel experts in this world and I would welcome the opportunity to learn more from them. Again, a kegel class would have been much more beneficial than AP calc at this point in my life. I plan to have more babies. There is no more space in my mind for differential equations.

Kegels aren’t just for Hippies

Women who give birth naturally aren’t plagued by stretchy vaginas. We can all tighten, relax, and rebuild our muscles prior to birth and after. Having a c-section also doesn’t prevent pelvic floor injuries. The benefits of kegeling reach far beyond the bedroom. We need these muscles to have more babies, to jump on trampolines, and to sneeze. Think of all the sanitary napkins we would save! While we’re on the topic of sanitary napkins, maybe it’s time to talk about mama cloth, too. There are helpful resources all over the internet on how to have a “greener” period. The experts in the eco-friendly world of feminine care are certainly less patronizing than Kotex. It’s true- you can run while you have your period!

Will Learning about Kegels Make my Teenager More Sexual?

I’ve made a decision to be a willing and honest resource for my girls when they are older. We’ll talk about kegels, natural labor, childbirth, sex, periods and I’ll answer their questions as honestly as possible. I will probably giggle because I am very immature about the topic. In my experience, the friends that I have known with open-minded parents have very reasonable attitudes about sex.

If you are offended by this post in any way, I would encourage you to start kegeling right now. Be sure to hold your breath while you hold your vagina. Keep holding… keep holding…

6 comments on “Kegel Exercises Are Not What is Wrong with This World

  1. Amanda says:

    LOVE this post!! I usually try to Kegel with a tummy squeeze on my drive to and from work. I try to do 300 at least one way (I have a thirty minute drive as long as it’s not snowing or I get behind a tractor), but I usually forget – sometimes driving gets in the way… But I’ll tell you that I’ve never been afraid to sneeze or cough or run or do jumping jacks so when people joke about it, I’m not really sure if they think they’re going to pee their pants or if these activities hurt them in some way. I hope I never know.

    Also about educating the girlies, Adrienne is at the question asking stage… I must have forgotten to flush after dumping my Diva cup the other day and Adrienne went in after me. She asked Eric what happened and he tried to explain and then she came running to me upset because I was bleeding and she thought I was hurt and so I tried to explain as best I could (to a four year old). Explaining these things to my two year old is much more difficult because she asks the same question twelve times in a row – “Mama, why you wearin a diaper?”

    • Way to go Mama, sounds like I should have come to you as a consultant on this post! You’re an inspiration. Thanks for sharing.

      On Fri, Mar 22, 2013 at 4:19 PM, Eco Blog – Mom Blog Philadelphia |

      • I happened to come across this cool blog as I was looking at all of the media attention our campaign (and this was but one execution of four executions) is garnering. The Veria Living network (new) is all about wellness – mind, body and soul and celebrates the little steps we can take each day (well, some of us) to achieve better health. As for the campaign: we simply wanted to start a conversation, push our new brand into the culture and encourage sampling (tune-in). This campaign is downright tame when compared with the sex, violence, etc. ads that permeate media. My characterization: witty, targeted, sassy and the truth from a brand that doesn’t take its marketing oh so seriously. And our agency (D4) is based in Philly, btw.

  2. Thanks for reading Carl. I do think you started a conversation! Hopefully this sparked some new inspiration for women’s health.

  3. Ellen says:

    I learned about Kegels 30 years ago, before I even needed to…not using calculus these days…but I am awfully glad I did have that in high school as well. I may not use “diff-e-qs” but they kept my brain agile, and after 28 years as a parent, brain agility is probably the number one thing I credit for my continuing sanity.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s