It’s All about the pelvis, baby!

 

Let’s face it... pilates is sexy.  It’s done mostly on your back with your legs in the air.  It promotes images of sweaty women, scantily clad, breathing heavy and entangled in large pieces of equipment hung with straps and springs that look like they belong in a sex dungeon.


But those of us who do pilates regularly know a little secret... pilates is actually good for sex. You can translate what you learn in the studio directly to the bedroom (or dungeon if you prefer!) Think about it.  When you hear a guy say he’s dating a pilates or yoga instructor what is your first response.... “Oooh, lucky guy!”


It’s well known that pilates is an excellent form of exercise for pre and post-natal; that it can help reduce or eliminate back pain; that it helps with incontinence; and that it can improve your golf game. But the same pilates techniques can help improve your “sex” game.  So “how” you ask can pilates do all that?


First, let’s address some of the more obvious reasons:


  1. 1.Pilates makes you feel sexier. Anything that focuses on your health and well being is going to improve your perception of yourself.  I have had clients tell me after their very first session (and even after their 50th session) that they feel “tighter” in the abdomen. They put their hands somewhere and felt a muscle they never felt before. Cut to the bedroom... who wouldn’t feel better being naked with a tighter tummy?


  1. 2.Pilates builds strength & endurance.  A well-crafted pilates session is a full-body workout. Do it 2-3 times a week and you will develop toned muscles.  Even the most unimaginative sex positions (I call them the basic 4... think about it) require a fair amount of leg, arm, or abdominal strength.  Or, how often during sex do you need to maintain an isometric hold - one where your muscle stays in a contracted position for an extended period of time?  Another sign of healthy muscles is endurance - the ability of the muscle to contract repeatedly before tiring.


  2. 3. Pilates builds flexibility. Not only do you need strength for a good “session” but you need flexibility, not just of muscles but also within joints. (Just ask my rapidly aging hips.)


  1. 4.Pilates addresses breathing, focus, & control. These are some of the most fundamental principles of pilates. There is a body of research available about the effects of exercise on the nervous system - particularly mind/body modalities and their connection to the parasympathetic nerves (which are also key players in the female orgasm).  Pilates “turns on” neural pathways to muscles resulting in better coordination.  One of the hardest exercises my teacher asked me to do is to focus on moving a single vertebrae at a time.  A single vertebrae - Are you kidding me? (and yes... with practice I can do it!)


But other exercise methods also do all these things. Why is pilates so special?  I have been teaching pilates for 15 years and have had hundreds of bodies under my hands. Here’s what I think is the most valuable connection between pilates and sex...


IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PELVIS, BABY!


Pilates is all about the core.  It pays special attention to the muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons that begin, end, or affect the pelvis, spine and hips. That’s where the magic happens!

A LITTLE ANATOMY


The Pelvis can be visualized as a bowl or basin. It consists of 2 large bones as the sides of the bowl attached in front by the pubis and in back by the sacrum.


The spine reaches out of the sacrum at the back of the bowl and the legs connect into the hip socket at the bottom sides of the bowl. Many critical nerves and arteries pass through the bowl on their way to the legs. The bowl also contains some organs including the bladder and uterus.


The bottom of the bowl called the “pelvic floor” is made up of a “sling” of muscles and ligaments. It has a couple of openings and houses the “sex” organs (including the elusive “G” spot - see sidebar). These muscles even have sexy names like pubococcygenous, perineum, levator ani, or how about bulbocavernosus (who’s fascia actually connects to the fascia of the abdomen.)

So pilates addresses the pelvis in 2 beneficial ways...


  1. BulletYou learn to control the bones and the position of the pelvis (Like swishing water around your bowl) thus enabling the legs and the spine to move more freely into any position you like.


  2. Bullet You learn to control the pelvic floor muscles (remember Kegels? Or did you ever practice stopping the flow of urine?) thus enhancing control during sex (and some think possibly affecting the orgasm! See Sidebar)

So are you ready to try some exercises?


Described here are some basic techniques for drawing attention to the pelvis and accomplishing control over your muscles and bones. And you can do these exercises right now - anywhere! Sitting, standing, lying down.... no one even has to know.


The Blowsuck: 

One of they first things you must learn in pilates is how to engage the abdominals.  How many times have you been told to “pull in your abs” and just aren’t sure how do do it.  Here’s my “trademark” move that helps you find your abs by using your breath.


1.Take a deep breath - inhale (in pilates we focus on filling up the back and expanding the ribs laterally.)

2.Blow all the air out and suck your belly button in.

3.Try this a few times with your hand on your belly and see if you can sink your hand into your abdomen. Be sure to suck your abs in on the exhale - it’s called the Blowsuck not the Suck Suck.

4.Check that you are not “tucking” your pelvis under.  Try not to tighten your glutes. For this exercise, you want to access muscle... not bone!


The Elevator:

When you have mastered contracting the muscles of the abdomen, we move on to the pelvic floor. The elevator technique is particularly good for men (yes - you too have a pelvic floor!) most of whom have never attempted a kegel in their life.


1.Imagine that your pelvis is a small 2-story building. Inside the center of the building is an elevator. Take an inhale as before.

2.On your exhale imagine closing the elevator doors and drawing the elevator up to the second floor. You should feel some sensation in the base and maybe even the sides of your bowl!


The Inner Thigh Squeeze:

Remember that many of the leg muscles run into the pelvis or core. There is a connection from the inner thighs that can help you find the pelvic floor.


1.Sit comfortably with your feet on the floor, knees bent. Place something between your knees (try the magic circle created by Joseph Pilates.) It could be a book or a sponge or a ball. In this case, size doesn’t really matter.

2.Inhale into your back as before.

3.On your exhale - perform the Blowsuck and the Elevator while giving a gentle squeeze to your inner thighs. Can you feel the connection all the way up into your pelvic floor? Practice until you can.


The Pelvic Clock / Pelvic Bowl: This one is best lying down on your back and is a great exercise for the beach. It teaches you how to get some movement in your pelvis. It can also be done sitting on an exercise ball to really get the movement.


1.Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor about hip width apart.

2.Imagine a clock drawn on your abdomen. Your pubic bone is 6:00 and your sternum or breast bone is 12:00.

3.Tip your pelvis toward 12:00, thus swishing the liquid in your bowl onto your chest. Notice how this flattens your low back or lumbar spine into the floor.

4.Now tip your pelvis toward 6:00 as if you were sloshing the liquid between your legs. Notice how this arches your low back.

5.Do this several times getting as much movement to 12:00 and 6:00 as possible.  Then find a place between the two.  This is your neutral pelvis (and is the safest, strongest place for your pelvis and spine to live.) Many pilates exercises are aimed at training your body to hold neutral.

6.Now try to tip your pelvis to 3:00 and 9:00, sinking your hips to the left and right.

7.When you have mastered this, move your pelvis around the clock from 12:00 to 3:00 to 6:00 to 9:00.   Then try moving counter clockwise.  Move several times around your clock in each direction as if you are swishing the water around your bowl.


The Stripper Move:  This exercise is the closest you will come to an actual sex position. You may be familiar with the “bridge” exercises. I use it to help my clients gain an understanding of how to move the pelvis.


1.Start lying on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor about hip width apart.

2.“Tuck” your pelvis to 12:00, flattening your low back into the floor.  Now peel your vertebrae off the floor one at a time by pressing into your feet and lifting your butt.  Look down. Finish your bridge when you reach one straight line from ribs to hips to knees. Do not over extend the spine and stick out your belly!

3.Now drop your heart and roll back down one vertebrae at a time until you hit neutral position. You have just performed a “sequential” bridge.

4.Now perform a “neutral” bridge without tucking your pelvis.  Reach your pubic bone away from your nose and lift your entire pelvis at once. Now lower your pelvis in neutral. Your sacrum will touch down first. Don’t roll through the vertebrae as before. Instead keep reaching your tailbone and pubic bone away.

5.Now comes the stripper move:  Perform a sequential bridge up and a neutral bridge down. Your pelvis will actually make a circle.

6.Reverse direction and marvel at the control you have over your bones!


Once you have mastered all these moves in one position.... shake it up. Try them lying down, on your back, on your belly, kneeling, standing and whatever other positions you you can think of. Try them in the car. Try them at the beach. Try them in the Boardroom. Now your homework ... go have sex and practice, practice, practice!


Good luck and if you’re willing.... please send me some feedback!  There’s very little scientific research on how pilates improves your sex life so I rely on the true confessions of my clients. Let’s share our experiences so we can all have better sex! Who knows... maybe your partner will exclaim, “It’s all about your pelvis, baby!

Resources:

Books:

Pelvic Power, Eric Franklin, 2002, Princeton Book Company.

  1.    The Science of Orgasm; B. Komisaruk, C. Beyer Flores, B. Whipple;  Johns Hopkins University Press.

The Female Pelvis, Blandine Calais-Germain, 2003, Eastland Press.


Articles and Web Postings:


•“Pilates Dirty Little Secret”, Corrie McCrae, Huffington Post, Jan 16, 2010.

•“Pilates: Sex and Health Benefits for Midlife”, Debra Ollivier, Huffington Post, Jan 23, 2012

•“Sex & Pilates”, Marguerite Ogle, About.com Guide, Jan 30, 2012

•“Beyond Kegels”, Pilates Style Magazine, Jan/Feb 2010, Marie Monahan

  1.     “How to Find Your G-Spot” By Dana Demas, Special to Lifescript, Women’s Health Center,

  2.       December 29, 2011

Sidebar: Do you have a “G” Spot?


Scientists do not agree on whether the elusive G Spot (Grafenberg Spot named in the1950) actually exists or not. They believe that it is the female version of the male Prostate gland .... or perhaps a bundle of nerves at the base of the clitoris. If it does exist, it is thought to be located in the anterior vaginal wall between the back of the pubic bone and the cervix. Whether you have one or not; and whether it contributes to better orgasms is something you will have to discover for yourself.  But learning to stimulate the muscles in the general vicinity couldn’t hurt, right?

Wanna Hear it?

Listen to Maria on Contact Talk Radio... “It’s All About The Pelvis Baby: Pilates and Sex”


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