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What does the pelvic floor have to do with sexual confidence?

by | Mar 19, 2020 | SEXUALITY, WOMENS HEALTH

Do you feel confident and sexy both inside and out of the bedroom? While some people do, far too many do not, and everyone deserves to feel good about themselves. This doesn’t go for just women. Men need to have a sense of assurance and ability to perform in and out of the bedroom as well. There can be many reasons why some people are lacking confidence and feeling less than sexy, and pelvic floor issues can definitely be a contributing factor. Luckily, if pelvic floor dysfunction is one of the reasons someone feels less like their best self, this can be reduced, and even eliminated, with the right treatment. So, how can pelvic floor dysfunction impact sexuality and confidence? Let’s take a look.

Pelvic floor functioning impacts sexual satisfaction and self-confidence for both men and women. The pelvic floor is the base of our core, and contains muscles, fascia, blood vessels, lymphatic pumps and an abundance of nerves (hello orgasms!). Both men and women can experience pelvic floor dysfunction and the issues that arise from an imbalance in length-tension of muscles and fascia within the pelvic floor. While men can experience problems such as low back pain and erectile dysfunction from stemming from pelvic floor dysfunction, the prevalence of issues is much greater in women. This article will focus on women, future articles will address men’s pelvic floor concerns in more depth.

For women, there are many signs of pelvic floor dysfunction, such as painful intercourse, trouble achieving orgasm, low libido, bowel incontinence, bladder issues, painful urination, incomplete emptying, organ prolapse, hip and low back pain and even queefing. These issues can often be fixed through proper pelvic floor training, so if this is your problem ladies, then now’s the time to take charge and start helping yourself.

According to this study, 25 percent of women in the United States report having at least one symptom of dysfunction related to their pelvic floor. This means that in the US alone, around 40 million women are suffering, and those are just the women reporting it! Many women are embarrassed or feel ashamed, therefore, do not share that they are having problems with their doctor, their friends, and often even keep it from their partner.

Whether a woman is suffering in silence or not, it doesn’t change the fact that she is having issues with her pelvic floor and that, in turn, can impact and alter her life. Let’s go over a few scenarios to help you understand how pelvic floor issues can impact a women’s confidence and relationships. Painful intercourse is a problem for so many women and it is often from part or all of their pelvic floor being too tight and rigid, also known as a hypertonic pelvic floor. If having intercourse is painful, would you want to initiate it? Would you want to engage in it regularly, knowing that instead of pleasure you would feel pain? Sex is just as much about connection as it is feeling incredible. If your partner knew that this connection was causing you a great deal of pain, how would they feel? These scenarios can help you understand how this issue alone can impact a women’s confidence and affect her relationship with a partner.

Let’s talk about orgasms, which are a mental, physical and emotional experience. They feel wonderful. They are great for your brain and they can be a fantastic mood booster. What if you had difficulty achieving an orgasm? If you have never experienced one, or seldom do, you might feel anxious, then you may start to feel broken, or as if something is wrong with you. This is a common reaction, and women can often have difficulties climaxing if they are feeling this way. If this is you, know that you are not broken and it is happening to so many women. Women’s pelvic floor can have misalignment, which can impede nerves and cause decreased sensations. Feeling safe to let go, relax, and stay present is also important. Think back to those women who are not sharing the pelvic floor issues they are experiencing with their partners. The very area in their body that they are having issues with can be uncomfortable to share and discuss, which often carries over into the bedroom, and into sexual experiences. Feeling broken and pressure to perform is overwhelming for some and can cause them to shut down, which can most definitely lead to even more difficulty orgasming.

As women grow up, family, friends, society, and life experiences shape and develop their values and beliefs around sex and our sexuality. If they develop a belief system that the pelvic floor and vagina are shameful or too embarrassing to talk about, it can impact them greatly. Sexual trauma can also impact women and create negative associations with sexual acts, emotions and their pelvic floor. If a woman is not comfortable discussing vaginal health with her doctor or partner, she will often internalize those feelings and can become more detached from feeling her pelvic floor at all. Many women have little connection to their pelvic floor and cannot feel it until they start training it and reconnecting with this beautiful area.

Many women who have issues with their pelvic floor start altering their life around it. Avoiding sex, planning trips and activities around the bathroom, and avoiding certain activities that bring on symptoms, even if it is something they once enjoyed. Painful intercourse and trouble orgasming are just two of the many symptoms that impact women’s relationships, when pelvic floor dysfunction remains unaddressed. Having sex is a beautiful thing and when women become insecure in their bodies and disconnected with the very essence of being women, it can become much more difficult to connect with the very partner they so badly want to connect with. By reconnecting and helping to fix any pelvic floor issues you may have, it not only reduces or eliminates those symptoms, but it can increase your confidence from the inside, in a way that is magical and unexplainable unless you have experienced it yourself.

References

Anderton, K. (2019, November 20). Embarrassing symptoms prevent women from seeking treatment for pelvic floor disorders. Retrieved from News Medical Life Sciences: https://www.news-medical.net/news/20191120/Embarrassing-symptoms-prevent-women-from-seeking-treatment-for-pelvic-floor-disorders.aspx

Brody, S. (2010). The Relative Health Benefits of Different Sexual Activities. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 7:1336-1361.

Faubion, S., Shuster, L., & Bharucha, A. (2012). Recognition and Management of Nonrelaxing Pelvic Floor Dysfunction . Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 87(2): 187–193.
Kaestle, C. E., & Allen, K. (2011). The Role of Masturbation in Healthy Sexual Development: Perceptions of Young Adults. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40(5):983-94.
Publishing, H. H. (2019, June 19). Harvard Medical School. Retrieved from Harvard Health Publishing : https://www.health.harvard.edu/mens-health/ejaculation_frequency_and_prostate_cancer

van Anders, S., Brotto, L., Farrell, J., & Yule, M. (2009). Associations among physiological and subjective sexual response, sexual desire, and salivary steroid hormones in healthy premenopausal women. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 6(3):739-51.

Whorton, J. (2001). The solitary vice. Culture and Medicine, West Journal of Medicine, 175:66-68.
Wu, J., Vaughan, C., Goode, P., Redden, D., Burgio, K., Richter, H., & Markland, A. (2014). Prevalence and Trends of Symptomatic Pelvic Floor Disorders in U.S. Women. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 123(1):141–148.

Modern Intimacy is a group therapy practice, founded by renowned Psychologist and Sex Therapist, Dr. Kate Balestrieri. This inclusive blog is designed to provide a wealth of information and resources for mental health, relationships, and sexuality. Subscribe today to get the latest information from our expert contributors from all around the world.

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Author Bio

Courtney Virden has been a fitness trainer for nearly 20 years and specializes in nd wellness. Being a mom of two and experiencing many issues from her own pregnancies led her to focus on women’s pelvic floors. With her passion for helping others, Courtney created an online program to share the tools and resources she uses with her private clients.

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