Kegel balls, while small in size, can be mighty in impact. Also known as Ben Wa balls or love balls, these intimate accessories have multiple uses, from strengthening pelvic floor muscles to better orgasms.
If you've ever looked into vagina health, you’ll likely be familiar with the concept of kegel exercises—muscle training movements for strengthening the health of the pelvic floor muscles. Kegel exercises can help combat common vagina problems that come as a result of the pelvic floor weakening.
"Our pelvic floor covers the whole inside of our pelvis, it’s a big muscle running from our tailbone to the pubic bone at the front, so kegel exercises involve us strengthening the whole muscle," says Lucy Allen (opens in new tab), lead women’s physio at Naytal, an online clinic for pregnancy and post-natal needs. "It’s so important because it affects so many aspects of our lives, from body confidence and intimacy to socializing," she adds, "Our pelvic floor muscles are vital in controlling our bladder and bowel function and supporting our pelvic organs."
As well as helping prevent, control and improve urinary incontinence through strengthening the pelvic floor, kegel balls are also a gamechanger when it comes to maximizing sexual pleasure (if you're keen to learn more about how else you can boost your sexual experiences, read our guide to how to have an orgasm that will blow your socks off).
What are kegel balls?
Kegel balls come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You might find them listed under orgasm balls, geisha balls, or jiggle balls, but they all have the same purpose. Two weighted balls on cords make up the basic structure of a kegel ball set. You might see kegel balls without cords, in larger sizes, with heavier weights, or in silicone and smooth metal materials. Some kegel balls have also been developed to pulse and give off vibrations that deliver sensation directly to the pelvic floor muscles.
If you already do kegel exercises, start off with a simple set of kegel balls at a low weight. If you’re totally new to pelvic floor training, try kegel exercises without the balls first.
If you suffer from any vagina problems such as pelvic pain, endometriosis, or pelvic infections, speak with your OB/GYN or a sexual health professional before you use kegel balls. They can help you understand how to tell if there's something wrong down there and if kegel balls are suitable for you.
What are the benefits of kegel balls?
There are two key benefits of using kegel balls on a regular basis—for pelvic floor strengthening and also enhanced sexual pleasure.
1. Strengthen pelvic floor muscles
Kegel balls will certainly help strengthen your pelvic floor and combat the most common symptoms of weakened pelvic muscles, including incontinence when laughing, coughing, or sneezing, difficulty getting to the toilet on time, postpartum pelvic prolapse, and pain during sex.
"When I found out that with the onset of perimenopause your pelvic floor has a 50% increased chance of getting weaker, I knew I needed something to challenge my pelvic floor," says Julie Colan (opens in new tab), a pelvic health campaigner and the founder of Secret Whispers. She adds, "Weighted balls not only challenge your pelvic floor but they teach you where your correct pelvic floor muscles are."
By using kegel balls you'll get familiar with the sensations of your pelvic floor muscles, and start to understand how strong they are or where there is room for improvement.
2. Better orgasms
You might instinctively reach for your best vibrator for a mind-blowing orgasm, but instead, why not try kegel balls to optimize your pleasure? "By activating and relaxing your pelvic floor you can increase blood flow to your vulva, and strengthen the muscles that contract during your orgasms. This can intensify sensations in your vulva and increase the strength of your orgasms," says Caroline D’arcy, (opens in new tab) a sexologist at EKHO wellbeing.
There’s no official scientific evidence to support the claim that kegel balls increase sexual function and satisfaction directly. However, we do know that a healthy pelvic floor can increase the enjoyment of sex. Kegel balls are often cited as being a great tool for erotic anticipation. Wearing them ‘wakes the vagina up’ and stimulates it from the inside and sex experts posit that these contractions boost arousal both before and during sex.
“Kegel exercises aren’t a miracle cure that’ll have you instantly experiencing endless orgasms, but they can provide subtle improvements for some people when practiced correctly," says Poppy Lepora (opens in new tab), pleasure educator and owner of an online sex toy boutique, Self & More (opens in new tab). Poppy also points out those turning to kegel balls to help improve incontinence might find it easier to fully relax during sex as they feel more in control of their body and are reassured their pelvic floor is strong.
Will kegel balls make my vagina tighter?
No, and for good reason! As Poppy points out, we need to dispel the belief a tighter vagina is 'better', and particularly the idea it will make sex more pleasurable. "Tightness and tension within the vagina during sex typically mean the vulva-owner isn't ready for penetration. Be that because they’re not sufficiently turned on or that they haven’t experienced enough external stimulation before penetration," Poppy says.
She adds, "Tightness or a sore vagina can also be a symptom of a medical issue such as vaginismus. Rather than aspiring for ‘tighter’ vaginas, people with vulvas will see more improvements to their sex lives through focusing on maintaining good pelvic floor health and continuing to explore what kinds of physical stimulation bring them pleasure."
Are kegel balls safe to use?
Gwyneth Paltrow may have faced plenty of backlash for suggesting followers of Goop use Yoni eggs because of the material they were made of, but the concept of a kegel ball is fairly similar in its origin. Weighted balls have been used for centuries to train pelvic muscles and increase sexual pleasure. However, the question ‘are kegel balls a good idea for me?’ is one only you and your doctor can answer.
"There are no risks with using kegel balls as opposed to manual kegel exercises, but using the right technique is key," says physio Lucy. "Remember the relaxing element is just as important as the squeezing. I would always recommend having your pelvic floor assessed before starting with kegel balls and weights, especially if you're showing any symptoms associated with weakened muscles."
As long as you’re using the correct size, weight, and technique, and cleaning your kegel balls correctly, there are no risks associated with using kegel balls. However, if you’re pregnant or postpartum, suffering from the effects of pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic pain, or any kind of infection, check with your doctor before using them. If you're recovering from gynae or abdominal surgery, it’s best to avoid anything that will put pressure on your pelvic muscles.
How to use kegel balls
"Kegel balls really are very simple to use," says pelvic health campaigner, Julie. "You just insert as you would a tampon. They cannot physically go too far up as they will come down to their natural resting place."
- Lay down and insert the kegel ball into your vagina—check out our guide to the best lubes if you want some extra lubrication.
- Ensure the cord is accessible so you can remove it easily.
- Relax and take a few breaths.
- Perform a pelvic floor squeeze and hold for 12 seconds.
- Relax for five seconds.
- Repeat exercises for up to 15 minutes.
If you feel comfortable doing so, you can sit up and repeat the exercise seated. Or, try and walk while holding the kegel balls secure inside of you. If it feels as though they might slip out, push them slightly further into your vaginal canal.
"Most experts will agree that using kegel balls for 15 minutes a day is sufficient time to feel a difference," says Lucy. It's recommended that you don't keep kegel balls in for more than 6 hours at a time.
"Using kegel balls is the equivalent of lifting weights with your vagina so unless your doctor has instructed you to do any specific additional movements, such as clenching the muscles in a particular way, simply walking around and going about your day with them inserted should provide enough exercise for your pelvic muscles."
How to use kegel balls during sex
Kegal balls can be a great addition to your sex life, whether that means enjoying some alone time or experimenting with a partner with oral, vaginal and anal play.
If you’re experimenting with sensation during female masturbation, try kegel exercises while lying on your back in a comfortable position and adding a vibrator into the mix (one of our best body wand vibrators will work wonders).
The combination of clitoral stimulation and vaginal contractions will make your orgasm feel even more intense. If you prefer to use your hands, try kneeling on your bed, holding the kegel balls inside your vagina, and stimulating your clitoris, breasts, and other erogenous zones with your fingertips. Squeeze and hold with each deep inhale and release your pelvic floor muscles on each exhale.
With a partner
You can also mix things up in the bedroom and add kegel balls to sex for your ultimate pleasure. Always communicate clearly with your partner before and during sex if you're using kegel balls.
It's not advised to have full penetrative sex with your partner or a toy while kegel balls are inside of you as they could become stuck, push against the cervix and cause discomfort.
But, there are three other simple and sexy ways you can use kegel balls with your other half:
1. Oral sex
Squeezing against a set of kegel balls while your partner performs oral sex can take things to new heights. Your partner can also hold the cord or loop and slowly slide the balls in and out while you use your hands or a toy against your clitoris.
If you have all evening, insert the kegel balls with your partner and leave them in for a little while (no more than six hours). You and your partner will both know you’re feeling the sensation of them inside you wherever you are. "Using kegel balls while out and about, with or without your partner adds a hint of anticipation and turn-on to any date. That in itself is epic foreplay,” says Caroline.
3. Anal sex
Kegel balls can also make anal sex more pleasurable. With the balls inside your vagina, have your partner slowly insert a finger or toy into your butt. This will push the kegel balls against your G-spot creating intense sensations. Go at a comfortable pace and if things are feeling good you can experiment with a larger toy or with your partner’s penis. Just remember that kegel balls should be worn inside the vagina and should never be in your butt. There are sex toys created specifically for anal play, whereas kegel balls could easily get stuck.
Watch out for micro-tears during anal play. These happen if you don’t use enough lube or move too quickly during anal penetration when the balls are still inside the vagina.
These tiny tears can be painful and can leave you vulnerable to infection. Mostly a micro tear will sting slightly but the body is able to repair itself very quickly. Just be sure not to apply anything that could make the stinging worse, like lubes, soaps, or lotions. If you're concerned speak to your doctor or a sexual health professional for advice.
What to do if kegel balls become stuck
Many experts say it's ok to leave kegel balls in the vagina for a maximum of six hours. After that, you risk putting strain on your pelvic floor muscles so it’s best to remove the balls and clean them.
If the set you’re using has a cord or loop, lie down on your back and gently pull on the cord. If you need to add a little more lube to comfortably slide the balls out then do so. Exhale as you pull to make it easier.
If the kegel balls are lodged quite high inside your vagina and you feel resistance, assume a squatting position and squeeze as though pushing a tampon out and slowly pull on the removal string. If they still seem stuck, try coughing or jumping up and down a few times. After this, if the balls still seem stuck, contact a medical professional for immediate help.
How to clean kegel balls
Always wash kegel balls before and after use, and store them safely to avoid infections. Be mindful of the increased risk of pelvic infections and STIs if you're sharing your toys and devices with your partner.
You don’t have to leap up and wash them right away if you’ve just enjoyed a sexy session with your partner, however, the sooner you wash something that’s been inside you, the less time there is for harmful bacteria to develop.
To clean kegel balls:
- Clean with mild soap and hot water.
- Dry with a muslin or linen cloth.
- Always rinse balls with water before use.
- Store in a clean and safe pouch to reduce the risk of infection.
What are the alternatives to kegel balls?
Not ready to try kegel balls? Don't worry, there are lots of alternatives that can help you improve and maintain good pelvic floor strength.
- Pelvic floor apps: For useful prompts and kegel exercise coaching, apps like Squeezy (opens in new tab) are a must-try.
- Femtech devices: Brands like Elvie and Renovia offer wearable devices with an app that monitors the strength of your contractions and tracks your progress to give you a better overall picture of your pelvic floor health.
- Sex toys: Try a glass or crystal dildo and experiment with squeezing your muscles around it. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, some are curved to allow for G-spot massage, some are dotted or textured, while smooth options allow for deeper insertion.
Many experts believe the best pelvic floor trainer is your own brain. Checking in with yourself daily and being aware of how your body feels, whether there is any tenderness in your pelvic area, and taking note of your breathing while you do simple kegel exercises can make a huge difference to the strength and sensation of your pelvic floor.
Remember, you might not see strengthening results right away, but regular kegel exercises can make a difference to your pelvic floor health in a matter of weeks. Whatever you choose, take your time and enjoy the sensations that come with kegel balls.
Emilie Lavinia is a writer, entrepreneur and women’s wellbeing advocate. She is passionate about femtech, closing the gender health gap and campaigning for education and transparency across mental, physical and sexual health. Emilie presents All Being Well – a series that investigates the concept of wellness, good health according to experts and what it means to ‘be well’. She has a decade of experience as a journalist, editor and brand strategist and is the founder of four separate organisations that champion women’s health, marginalised communities and LGBTQ+ people.