Andrew Siegel, MD 1/17/15
The pelvic floor muscles (PFMs) are shrouded in secrecy, hidden, veiled, concealed and covert, unseen and behind the scenes, unrecognized and misunderstood. In the following few paragraphs, I will attempt to demystify them.
The images above are of the male and female perineum, showcasing the all-important ischiocavernosus muscle, one of the PFMs that is vital to sexual function. (Thank you to 1909 Gray’s Anatomy for the images.)
Why Do We Exercise?
We are motivated to exercise for a variety of reasons. Some work out to optimize their physique and beach body (vanity motivation). Others exercise to feel well, to deal with stress, to keep their weight down and to maintain health and longevity (health motivation). Still others exercise for the pure fun, enjoyment and challenge of participating in sports (recreational motivation). Some partake for all of the above reasons. Unquestionably, then, on many levels it is desirable to be aerobically conditioned, flexible and have fit muscles.
Show Vs. Go Muscles
Regardless of the motivation for exercise, the goal is to obtain toned and performance-ready muscles. Our bodies are comprised of a variety of muscle types: There are the glamour, for show, mirror-appeal, overt, seen and be witnessed muscles that offer no secrets—what you see is what you get—the biceps, triceps, pectorals, lats, quads, etc. Then there are muscles including the pelvic floor muscles (PFMs) that are shrouded in secrecy, hidden from view, veiled from sight, concealed and covert, unseen and behind the scenes, unrecognized and misunderstood.
Cloaking increases mystique, and so it is for these pelvic muscles, not only obscured from view by clothing, but also residing in that most curious of nether regions—the perineum—an area concealed from view even when we are unclothed. Furthermore, the mystique is contributed to by the mysterious powers of the PFM, which straddle the gamut of being vital for what may be considered the most pleasurable and refined of human pursuits—sex—but equally integral to what may be considered the basest of human activities—bowel and bladder function.
Tapping into and harnessing the energy of the muscles of the pelvic floor—those that favor function over form, go rather than show—is capable of providing the erotic capital that translates into sexual confidence. It won’t give you George Clooney good looks, sex appeal and charm but it will help impart sexual fitness and competence.
Why Bother Exercising Muscles Of Function Vs. Form?
The core muscles—with the exception of the rectus (6-pack muscle)—are the muscles for “go,” the non-glitzy muscles of the body that are often ignored and disrespected, as opposed to the external glamour muscles. In general, muscles with mirror appeal are vital for movement function but are not important for many other body functions. Our core muscles are the hidden gems that work diligently behind the scenes and on a functional basis we would be much better off having a “chiseled” core as opposed to chiseled external muscles.”
The PFM are the floor of the core and seem to be the lowest caste of the core muscles; however, they deserve serious respect because although concealed from view they are responsible for some very powerful functions, particularly so when intensified by training. Although the PFM are not muscles of glamour, they are muscles of “amor.” Although having “ripped” external glamour muscles might help get your romance going, you will need to have a well-conditioned pelvic floor to keep it going!
The PFM are among the most versatile muscles in our body, contributing to the support of our pelvic organs, control of bladder and bowel, and sexual function. Unfortunately, because they are out of sight, they are often out of mind, and they are certainly muscles that you should be working out, but are probably not.
Why Did Willie Sutton Rob Banks?
He robbed banks because “that’s where the money is.” When it comes to sexual function, urinary and bowel control and the support of your pelvic organs, the PFM are where the money is. Without them your organs would dangle out of your pelvis and you would be rendered limp and diapered.
Bottom Line: Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t important. You can’t see your heart and diaphragm muscles either, yet many of us are committed to exercise to improve and maintain cardio-vascular health. Your PFM are the “heart of your pelvis” and need to be exercised to improve and maintain pelvic health.
Wishing you the best of health,
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Author of Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health: available in e-book (Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo) and paperback:
Co-creator of Private Gym pelvic floor muscle training program for men:
The Private Gym is a comprehensive, interactive, follow-along exercise program that provides the resources to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that are vital to sexual and urinary health. The program builds upon the foundational work of Dr. Arnold Kegel, who popularized exercises for women to increase pelvic muscle strength and tone. This FDA registered program is effective, safe and easy-to-use. The “Basic Training” program strengthens the pelvic floor muscles with a series of progressive “Kegel” exercises and the “Complete Program” provides maximal opportunity for gains through its patented resistance equipment.