Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Kegel Project: Week 2 Update

And so we've come to the end of week 2 of The Kegel Project.  So far, everything is going well and many of the participants are continuing to show improvements!  Here's the routines and updates for the second week.

K (that would be me)

Day 8: Ten 5 second squeezes.
Day 9: Ten 5 second squeezes.
Day 10: Wore Ami 2 for 2 hours.
Day 11: Violet Blue set.
Day 12: Pules throughout the day.
Day 13: Miss.
Day 14: Squeezed to see how long I could hold it. 40 seconds comfortably.
Notes: Wow, what a difference between the first day and day 14!  I went from barely being able to squeeze for 5 seconds to being able to go for 40 seconds.  At that point, to be honest, I get bored and release.

Princess Consuela
Day 8: Step up and downs, like Day 7
Day 9 Pulsed through 2 nursing sessions. (Consuela is a nursing mother)
Day 10: Miss
Day 11: Squeeze and holds for 10 seconds and pulses.
Day 12: Squeeze and holds for 10 seconds plus pulses.
Day 13: Squeeze and holds for 10 seconds plus pulses.
Day 14: Squeeze for 10 seconds for 10 reps.
Notes: She feels like her muscles are able to squeeze closer together and less leakage when sneezing. Less effort to keep leakage from happening.  During intercourse, tried squeezing during intercourse (relaxing as he goes deep, squeezing as he comes out).  Husband noticed the difference and gives a hardy approval.  Doesn't feel as much if she squeezes as he goes in and relaxes as he pulls out.

Day 8: 10 squeeze and holds (working on getting up to 5 seconds) and 100 pulses.
Day 9: 50 pulses and 20 squeeze and holds. Notes: In the future will do pulses first, then squeezes. Seems to build awareness in the muscles and are easier to control.
Day 10: 100 pulses and 15 squeeze and holds for 5 seconds.
Day 11: 50 pulses and 10 squeeze and holds.
Day 12: 50 pulses and 10 squeeze and holds.
Day 13: 50 pulses and 10 squeeze and holds.
Day 14: 50 pulses and 15 squeeze and holds.
Notes: Feels like her muscles can squeeze tighter, but when she goes to relax after 5 seconds finds her muscles are already relaxed.

Ivana Meisterkegel
Day 8: 5 sets squeeze and hold for 5 seconds.
Day 9: 5 sets of squeeze and hold for 5 seconds.
Day 10: 10 reps of squeeze and hold for 6 seconds, 4 sets. Notes: Really happy to get to 6 seconds!
Day 11: Same as Thursday.
Day 12: 4 sets of 10 squeeze and holds. Notes: Able to make it to 7 seconds!
Day 13: Same as day 12.
Day 14: Miss
Notes: Seems to be tightening up and Kegels are getting easier.

Vixenish Kitty
Day 8: Pulses for a minute, twice during the day.
Day 9: Squeeze, hold, release for 30+ reps. Notes: Tried to use PC muscles to keep husband from being able to pull out. He could definitely feel the muscles.
Day 10: Notes:Able to stop urine stream for the first time.
Day 11: 5 sets of what she calls “The Elevator”: count up to five, squeezing muscles a little tighter on each count, like floors in an elevator, then release.
Day 12: Miss
Day 13: 50 Pulses and 5 elevators.
Day 14: 5 Elevators.

Notes: Nothing new to report beyond last week.

Day 8: Pulses throughout the day.
Day 9: Pulses throughout the day. Notes: squeezed during intercourse, which produced strong orgasms.
Day 10: Pulsed throughout the day, no counting.
Day 11: Same as day 10.
Day 12: Miss
Day 13: Miss
Day 14: 50 pulses

Elasta O'Kegel
Day 8: 10 squeeze and holds for 4 seconds and 10 quick squeezes. Notes: getting easier to get to 4 seconds until around the 6th rep.
Day 9: 10 squeeze and holds for 4 seconds twice in the day, and 10 quick squeezes. Notes: Now easy to get to 4 seconds for all 10 reps.
Day 10: Miss
Day 11: 10 squeeze and holds for 4-5 seconds, then rest, then 10 quick squeezes, rest, 10 squeeze and holds for 4 seconds.
Day 12: 10 squeeze and holds for 4 seconds, rest, 10 quick squeezes.
Day 13:Miss
Day 14: 10 squeezes for 5 seconds each.
Notes: Can hold for longer periods of time.

Honey Ryder
Day 8: 10 squeezes for 2 seconds. Tried to stop urine stream with no luck.
Day 9: Did the Violet Blue routine twice, couldn't hold the muscles for full inhale and exhale.
Day 10: Pulses throughout the day.
Day 11: 10 slow squeezes, 10 pulses (twice), squeeze and hold for 3 seconds for 10 reps. Notes: All done with a pillow under the butt due to low cervix.
Day 12: Miss
Day 13: 10 pulses, 10 slow squeezes, 10 more pulses.
Day 14: Miss
Notes: Hasn't seen much improvement yet.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Kegel Project: End of Week One Update

Monday was the final day in Week One of the Kegel Project.  What a great week!  Each participant did their own workout however they wanted to do it.  Some saw improvements after just a few days, some haven't seen improvements yet.  As far as I know, all participants will continue with Week 2 except one, who bowed out after a few days due to unrelated health issues (her info will not be included in this post).  So, we dropped from 9 total participants to 8.

Need a reminder of what we're doing here?  See the introductory post and the brief update from a few days ago.

Now, some of the participants tell me they are doing something else this week.  Some are going to try Kegels during intercourse, some are going to try Violet Blue's suggestions, some are going to see if their squeezing can get longer and longer!

So, here we go!

Week one: 7/16-7/22
K (That would be me.)
Day 1:  Morning: Wore the Je Joue Ami size 2 (weighing roughly 78g) for 2 hours while doing housework.  Afternoon: Did a few squeezes occasionally to see how long I could hold it.  I was hoping for ten seconds; barely made it to 5.  Squeezed for five seconds, release for five seconds for 10 reps.
Notes: I thought I'd be able to hold for 10 seconds at a time with no problem. I can barely squeeze and hold it for 5 seconds, and really struggle to get to 7.
Day 2: Afternoon: Wore Ami 3 (weighing roughly 106g) for just over an hour. Most of it was sitting. Fell out twice and really struggled to keep it in. Evening: squeeze and hold for 5 seconds, 25 times through the course of the evening.
Day 3: Early afternoon: Squeeze and hold for 5 seconds, 10 times. Notes: can now squeeze for 10 seconds. Evening: Squeeze and hold for 10 seconds, 10 times. Was difficult to get to 10 seconds tonight.
Day 4: Dropped down to Ami 2 to give my muscles a little break. Wore for two hours.
Day 5: Wore Ami 3 for an hour before I couldn't keep it in anymore. Notes: G-spot orgasms are stronger and easier to achieve.
Day 6: Squeeze and hold for 10 seconds ten times. Decided to see how long I could hold for.  Made it to 30 seconds comfortably.
Day 7: Wore Ami 2 for two hours.
Notes: It was very encouraging to be able to jump from 5 seconds on Day 1 to 10 seconds on Day 3 to 30 seconds on Day 6.  G-spot orgasms now come fairly easily and I feel like my resting position (when I'm not Kegeling) is not as relaxed as before, as if I'm now tensing without realizing it.

Princess Consuela Banana-Hammock:
Day 1: Squeeze for 5 seconds, rest for 5.  Repeat for 5 minutes, 5 times throughout the day.
Day 2: Squeeze as hard as possible 25 times, 3 times throughout the day.
Day 3: A few squeeze and holds 3 times throughout the day. Evening: a few squeeze and holds; made it up to 10 seconds. Notes: She is pleasantly surprised she made it up to 10 seconds today.
Day 4: Miss due to accidental back injury.
Day 5: 5 second squeezes, 15 times.
Day 6: Squeeze for count of 12 five times.
Day 7: Squeeze moderately (let's call it Stage 1) for two seconds, harder (Stage 2) for 2 seconds, relax to Stage 1, then relax completely. Stage 1-Stage2-Stage1-relax for 10 reps, twice throughout the day.
Notes: Having less accidental leakage during workouts by day three.  And you see how she made her own workout for Day 7?  Love it.

Day 1: 50 Short pulses, 10 squeeze and holds for 5 seconds each, plus Violet Blue routine.
Day 2: 10 Squeeze and hold for roughly 5 seconds, 50 short pulses.
Day 3: 50 pulses and 10 squeeze and holds for 3-5 seconds.
Day 4: Miss. Notes: haven't noticed any improvements. Can only hold for up to 5 seconds, sometimes only 1-2.
Day 5: Violet Blue set.
Day 6: Violet Blue set plus 50 pulses.
Day 7: Violet Blue set plus 50 pulses.
Notes: No major improvements to report yet.

Ivana Meisterkegel
Day 1: Squeeze and hold for 3 seconds, 10 times. 5 times during the day.
Day 2: Squeeze and hold for 3 seconds, 10 times. 4 times during the day.
Day 3: 4 sets of 10, five seconds each. 5 times during the day. Note: Up two seconds.
Day 4: 5 sets of 10, holding for 4 seconds each.
Day 5: 5 sets of 10, holding for 4 seconds each.
Day 6: Squeeze and hold for 4 seconds, 10 times. Four sets.
Day 7: 4 sets of ten, holding for five seconds. 
Notes: She's excited that she can now hold for 2 seconds more than last week!

Vixenish Kitty
Day 1: Short pulses of a few minutes each 3-4 times during the day.
Day 2: Pulses 2-3 minutes, twice a day.
Day 3: Squeeze and release for a few minutes, a few times during the day. Notes: tried to see how long she could squeeze for and made it to 1 min and 5 sec. Evening: made it to 1:28.
Day 4: Pulses for 1-2 minutes, 2 times.
Day 5: Pulses for 1-2 minutes, 2 times.
Day 6: Pulses for 1-2 minutes, twice.
Day 7: A few pulses.
Notes: Vixenish is not seeing any noticeable improvement yet, but she also points out she wasn't having particular trouble in the first place. Update: Vixenish noticed that it was noticeably easier to squeeze her husband with her PC muscles during intercourse.

Day 1: Squeeze and hold for 1 minute plus one minute of pulses.
Day 2: Squeeze and hold for 50 seconds. Short pulses for 30 seconds. (suspects tired muscles)
Day 3: Miss
Day 4: Squeeze and hold for 30 seconds, 4 times. Rapid Pulses for 30 seconds. 
Day 5: Miss
Day 6: Miss
Day 7: 30 squeeze pulses, 30 push pulses, 10 twenty second squeezes.

Notes: Urine stream seems stronger than before by Day 4.

Elasta O'Kegel
Day 1: 10 squeezes of 3-4 seconds each.
Day 2: Miss.
Day 3: 10 squeezes for 3-4 seconds each.
Day 4: Miss
Day 5: 10 squeezes for 3-4 seconds each, 10 pulses.
Day 6: Squeezed during intercourse. Nothing further to note.

Honey Ryder
Day 1: 3 sets of 10 pulses.
Day 2: 3 squeezes of 5 seconds; 3 sets of 10 pulses.
Day 3: Miss
Day 4: 5 squeezes for 5 seconds. Max for right now.
Day 5: Miss
Day 6: 10 slow squeezes and 10 pulses. Will try a different routine next week.
Day 7: 10 slow squeezes, 10 pulses.
Notes: Felt weaker on Day 7.  Tired muscles?

So, there we have it.  Week one update.  Out of the 8 participants, 4 are already seeing positive improvements.  On to Week 2!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Should I buy that toy? A handy guide!

Sometimes a friend comes to me and wants my advice on toy shopping.  Often these friends are brand new to toys or want to try a new variety of toy.  I immediately start lobbing facts and demands at them.  No jelly!  Read reviews!  Stay away from packages containing porn stars!  I imagine it can be a bit startling for them.  But today I thought, hey, you know what would help?  A flowchart.  Yes, I am that nerdy.  I made a sex toy buying flowchart.  Wanna see?  I present to you...

Should I Buy That Sex Toy?
I hope that helps those that need a little bit of help deciding whether that toy they're looking at is likely to be a good buy, especially if money is tight.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Mini Kegel Project Update: Violet Blue, Muscle Improvements, and Much Excitement

So, I did say I'd be updating the Kegel Project once a week, and we certainly haven't reached the one week mark yet.  In fact, we are currently on day 4.  I'll still be doing a longer, official update on Monday or Tuesday, which is the end of week one and the start of week two.  But there are a few things I want to say now.

First, a few of the participants are already showing improvements after only 3 days!  Personally, I noticed that the length of time I can squeeze my PC muscles jumped from barely 5 seconds to 10, but I thought it was just an anomaly.  My muscles must have just been tired on day 1 or something.  Surely, I could not see a measurable improvement in such a short amount of time?  Everything I've read indicated that Kegel improvement takes weeks, or even months, not days, but as the participants checked in with their routines, they were also adding notes.  Less leakage.  Can squeeze muscles for longer.  Measurable improvements.  If some are already seeing improvements after only a few days, imagine what it will look like in a few months!

So, what exactly are the participants doing so far?  Some are using Fun Factory's Smartballs and/or Je Joue Ami, while others are exercising freestyle (doing whatever whenever) without any sort of devices.  Still others are following a basic routine like this one from the Mayo Clinic.  The routine I've been recommending, though, and one that's easily adaptable, is from Violet Blue's The Smart Girl's Guide to the G-Spot, published by Cleis Press.  Ms. Blue lists several ways to work the PC muscles.  You can run through them all, or select which ones you like à la carte style.  The following is a direct excerpt from the book, used with permission from Cleis Press.

  • Squeeze, hold, release.  Repeat ten times.
  • Squeeze in rapid pulses, ten to fifteen times in a row.
  • Tense your PC muscles; hold for a deep inhale and exhale.
  •  Repeat the above techniques, but with a distinct sense of bearing down, or pushing outward.
  • Repeat the same exercises, pulling inward, as if holding something in or trying to pull something inside you.
  • See how many repetitions you can do in a row.  100?  200? 
From The Smart Girl's Guide to the G-spot, 2nd Edition, by Violet Blue. Published by Cleis Press 2012. Used with permission.

Stay tuned for late Monday or Tuesday, when I'll be writing a full update of week one!  In the meantime, if you'd like mini-mini updates, check out Twitter under the hashtag #TheKegelProject!

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Kegel Project: Pelvic Floor Fortitude!

I'm starting a new project here on the blog and it's all about Kegels!  I got the idea to have several volunteers, all doing some sort of Kegel routine, and reporting the results.  I did not want the cold, scientific way of saying, "Kegels can improve the muscles.  Kegels can improve orgasm.  Kegels can prevent prolapse," found on medical websites and in sexual health books.  Instead, I wanted to get personal experiences from real people telling me not what could happen if a person practices their Kegel exercises, but what did happen for them.  A personal account of how Kegels helped them and in what way.

Here's how it will work.  Each participant will work their Kegel (PC) muscles, but the routine, duration, frequency, and whether or not they use an exerciser or Kegel balls will be their choice.  Most likely, no two women's routines will look the same.  Each week, they'll report to me with what routines and devices (if any) they used and any changes they are seeing, and I'll post it.

The project will last somewhere between 4 and 8 weeks, depending on how it goes and how long the participants are willing to continue.  There are eight women participating, nine if you count me.  All of them have had children, some vaginally, some via c/s, some a combination of the two.  And of course, because sexuality and sexual health is still such a touchy subject in many circles and to protect privacy, they each picked an alias.  I have to say, some of them really got into picking a name.  It was delightful to watch.

And now, let's meet our participants!

Honey Ryder: 34-year-old mom of 4
Vixenish Kitty: 35-year-old mom of 4
Princess Consuela Banana-Hammock: 38-year-old mom of 5
Lollie: 31-year-old mom of 6
Pepper: 30-year-old mom of 2 (both via c/s)
Ivana Meisterkegel: 32-year-old mom of 6 (5 vaginal births)
Elasta O'Kegel: 42-year-old mom of 5 (1 miscarriage, 1 c/s, 3 vaginal births)
Sassy: 31-year-old mom of 2
And of course, me! K: 31-year-old mom of 2

So, hang around and see how our first week goes!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Book Review: Casting the Net

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~

When I was offered a copy of Julie McDowall's new book, Casting the Net-Volume 1: True Adventures In Online Dating to review, I was a little skeptical of whether it would fit in with my other ramblings.  This is, after all, a sex and marriage blog, but after a few moments I decided that a book about the adventures and misadventures in dating totally goes with sex blog.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

A little bit about it: Casting the Net is a shortish book that chronicles Julie McDowall's first experiences in the online dating scene, from trying out different dating sites to the dates themselves and their aftermath.  Sometimes the tales are hilariously painful, sometimes painfully hilarious, but always entertaining.

What I loved:  The writing style here isn't the typical stiff, formal, and perhaps even self-important ramblings you may expect from a serious autobiography, but instead has a delightful, informal, blog-style.  Of course, that's not surprising since some of the tales began their life in her dating blog.  It reads like your best friend is explaining her latest romantic disaster.

Ms. McDowall's dating choices are truly interesting.  She doesn't just bounce from Boring Man 1 to Boring Man 2 to Boring Man 3, but instead presents the reader with a true cast of what can only be called characters.  How about a lying clown?  A melancholy comedian?  A kinky psychology lecturer/amateur actor that wants to have a baby, like, now?  And that's just to name a few.

Since she dates a wide variety of people, she also witnesses and experiences a range of hazards that come with dating.  She writes about everything from broken dates, hurt feelings, and adult tantrums to accidentally getting drunk because of nervousness, differences in sexual desires, and separate life goals.  Even though she experiences so much, she never once gets on her high horse to give advice.  What lessons we may or may not gleam from her tales is our business.  I like that.

To be honest, for a while I thought the author was a bit shallow.  She clearly gives more than a passing thought about potential dates' occupations.  How terrible!  Why should she care that so-and-so is actually a janitor?  And then I realized that she's not shallow.  She's honest.  If I was currently dating, what the man did for a living would certainly have a bearing on my opinion of him as a potential partner.  I may just lack the conviction to say so out loud.  In her writings, she has no problem saying what she liked and what she would not tolerate.

What I didn't: Here's where it gets a bit tricky.  In the early pages of the book, she talks about dating a clown--I mean a literal clown with big shoes--and says that she was "intrigued, despite his ginger hair." I read such disdain into those words that I thought, surely, she must be talking about his clown wig.  A bit later she says of him, "...on the downside, he had ginger hair."  Ok...so...we're clearly not talking about the wig.  I was really, really confused about what the issue with red hair is.  It's stated in such an obvious way that I should just know what the problem is with red hair.  Of course, when I looked over at my redhead husband, I couldn't help but feel insulted.  This was early enough in the book and I was bothered enough by it that if I had not promised a review, I would have put the book down and not read any further.  Any author that was going to be so harsh without reason on redheads was just not OK to me.

Since this is a UK author, I went to some of my friends from the UK and asked if there was an issue with red hair across the pond.  Each friend told me that in the UK, red hair is not exactly considered an attractive trait.  That's baffling to me.  Different cultural ideas, I guess.  But then, the author also has red hair, so I'm still not overly sure what the issue is.

The only other time where my hackles raised a bit was when she mentioned finding a Christian CD in a date's glove compartment and immediately asks him if he's some sort of "Bible basher."  *sigh*  Let me very briefly explain why it bothered me a bit.  If you haven't picked up on this, I'm a sex blogger.  Since I do talk about sex, other bloggers automatically assume that I am not religious at all and proceed to bash my own religion to me.  They assume that religious people, particularly Christians, are automatically evil, stupid, judgmental, or all of the above.  Fighting the (often wrong) assumption of sexuality, personality, and religion gets exhausting.  If I had not experienced so much of the sentiment very recently, I probably would have just rolled my eyes and thought nothing more of it.  Still, I couldn't help wonder how I would react if a date looked in my glove compartment, ignored my Mumford & Sons and Flogging Molly CDs and chose to focus on why I also own Rich Mullens and OC Supertones.

Final thought:  I ended up loving this book more than I thought I would.  It's funny and painful and embarrassing.  Sometimes I wanted to hug her and tell her that it's OK.  Sometimes I wanted to reach through the screen, shake her and screech, "What's wrong with you?!  This is a really, really bad idea!"  But isn't feeling anything, whether it's embarrassment, rage, or delight evidence of a great story?

Julie McDowell is a gifted storyteller and I look forward to seeing more from her.  If you'd like to see more of her, you can visit her site!

~I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.~