When it comes to reproductive anatomy and sexual health, we often think about the clitoris, the penis, the vagina... but the unsung hero of your lower body may just be the pelvic floor. This essential sling of muscles inside the pelvis supports bowel and bladder function, childbirth, erections, orgasms—and much more!
Where Is The Pelvic Floor?
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles in the pelvis that sit in a hammock shape between the pubic bone at the front of the pelvis, and the tailbone at the back. Several different muscles make up the pelvic floor including the levator ani, ischiocavernosus, bulbospongiosus, and coccygeus muscles. Its purpose is to support the organs inside the pelvis, including the bladder and bowel, as well as the uterus (for people who have one). These muscles wrap around the urethra, anus, and vagina, controlling the opening and closing of these passages.
Another critical thing to know about the pelvic floor is that everyone has one—regardless of gender, age, or body type. As a lot of information surrounding the pelvic floor relates to people who’ve given birth, there’s a misconception that only people with vulvas have one, but in fact, the pelvic floor plays an integral role in every body.
Why Is Pelvic Floor Health Important?
While the pelvic floor may not sound exciting at first, having a healthy pelvic floor is critical for sexual function, pregnancy and childbirth, and for peeing (urination) and pooping (defecation). So it’s absolutely essential that it’s working correctly. When the pelvic floor is healthy, these processes run smoothly, but when the pelvic floor is not healthy, it leads to problems that interrupt your sex life and affect other aspects of your health and wellbeing.
How Pelvic Floor Problems Can Affect Your Sex Life:
- Difficulty having an orgasm
- Difficulty getting and maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction)
- Premature ejaculation
- Pain during sex
- Difficulty and pain with vaginal or anal penetration
How Pelvic Floor Problems Can Affect Other Aspects Of Your Health:
- Accidentally peeing (urinary incontinence)
- Accidentally pooping (fecal incontinence)
- Having trouble emptying the bladder
- Spine, abdominal, pelvic girdle, and genital pain
If you think pelvic floor issues might be making your health and sex life less awesome than they could be, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor, who may recommend seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist. A professional can recommend a range of exercises such as Kegel exercises and pelvic muscles stretches to help you get your health and sex life back on track.