Ben Wa balls, also known as Kegel exercisers, are all the rage. We’ve known for over 1,500 years using them leads to improved vaginal health, better sex and stronger orgasms. You’d think that would be enough to sell anyone. But it wasn’t. Aside from a surge in popularity in the 1970’s, Kegel exercisers largely remained unused and misunderstood. As soon as Christian used them with Ana in 50 Shades of Grey, however, they started flying off shelves. They are now so popular that many brick and mortar sex shops are having a hard time keeping vaginal balls in stock.
Although vaginal exercisers are available in many styles, they all serve the same purpose and operate on the same principles. They consist of one or multiple balls (often two) that are inserted in the vagina. Sometimes the balls are loose (that’s what she said!) and sometimes they are connected by a string or silicone band. Inside each hollow outer ball is another weighted ball that jiggles around. When this jiggling is felt in the vagina, A. it’s arousing and B. it gives your Kegel muscles a power workout. The more fit your pelvic floor muscles are, the more likely you are to have satisfying sex and more intense orgasms.
In 50 Shades, traditional metal Ben Wa balls are used in a spanking scene. When Christian spanks Ana while she has them inserted, the sensation they create sends her over the top. Then in 50 Shades Darker they make another appearance, this time at a fancy charity dinner function. Intending to add a little extra spice to the evening, Ana wears them unbeknownst to the unsuspecting dinner guests. By the time she and Christian arrive home, the hours of playfully agonizing titillation Ana endures are rewarded. This is where the camera pans over to a shot of the fireplace leaving you to guess what happens next! (SPOILER ALERT: Just like every other sex scene in the book, they engage in very minimal S&M play and their lovey dovey, over-the-top vanilla-esque sex ends in simultaneous orgasms. He never touches her clit. She never touches his chest. She also murmurs “Oh, Mr. Grey!” way too many times while her inner goddess mud wrestles and practices ballet with her subconscious. Yes, I’m being sarcastic. No, I didn’t actually go back and look in the book and find this particular scene for reference. But I’m confident I’m pretty damn close!).
Ben Wa balls are nothing new. There is evidence they were used as early as 500 A.D. in Japan. During the later portion of the 20th century, Ben Wa balls were sold in sex shops and oriental themed gift shops. With the recent focus on both pelvic floor health and the demand for sex toys made from safe materials, a new kind of Ben Wa ball hit the market.
Quality Kegel exercisers today are generally made from silicone and do not contain any fabric strings making them hypoallergenic, non porous and easy to clean. It is recommended you not use metal Kegel balls (unless they are clearly marked stainless steel Ben Wa balls) because they are often made from questionable, potentially harmful materials.
I’ve been excited to try Kegel balls for quite some time and recently got a pair of CalExotics Couture Collection Eclipse sent to me for a sex toy review. I was most interested in them for purposes of pelvic floor health. My orgasms are great now but why not see if I can improve on an already good thing!? It’s like cake. It’s always good but more cake is better!
While Kegel exercise may not be necessary for everyone, it is most beneficial to women like me who are middle aged and have given birth vaginally. As women age our pelvic floor muscles weaken. If you’ve ever had a “sneeze pee” you may know what I’m talking about (No shame, I have too. Achoo!! Damn. *runs to the bathroom*). You need to exercise your pubococcygeus muscle, also known as the P.C., pelvic floor or Kegel muscle. You’re also a perfect candidate for a set of vaginal exercise weights like the Eclipse.
Every other sex blog tells us we should be doing Kegels all the time, every day. That isn’t necessarily true. If you already have strong P.C. muscles, you may be over doing it. Yes, it is possible to make your vagina too tight. However, if you’ve had kids or occasionally “sneeze pee” you should follow a Kegel exercise regiment. It’s also important to do your Kegels with something inserted to give you resistance. This video by Betty Dodson and Carlin Ross explains who should do Kegel exercises and why you should do them with something inside the vagina (as a bonus they also talk about how Kegels can give you stronger orgasms!).
Strangely, when my Eclipse Kegel exerciser had arrived, I had just purchased Fun Factory’s SmartBalls Teno Duo a week before. Smartballs are one of the best selling, top-shelf, Kegel exercisers and I wondered how California Exotics SmartBalls version would stand up.
After using both on multiple occasions and carefully comparing, the Couture Eclipse is not only comparable to SmartBalls but near identical. Although they look slightly different, the weight and size are almost exact, they are both made from premium silicone and they feel the same when worn. What stood out to me most was the Eclipse averages about $10 less than the Fun Factory Teno Duo. Cheap ass that I am, that’s awesome in my book!
Unfortunately, though, I don’t think the dual ball system is for me. When I purchased my Kegel balls I thought “I have kids, I sneeze pee, I like fisting— OF COURSE I need the bigger model with 2 balls!” (That’s what she said! No, I couldn’t let that one pass by!).
I may not have been correct in my rationale. Wearing both the Eclipse and the SmartBalls I kept feeling as if they were falling out. I tried over and over, with different amounts of lube, in different situations, various positions and they were still uncomfortable. They seemed too big which I can’t quite wrap my mind around. I always thought my vagina was 8 miles wide. How can this be?
It could be one of two reasons. I found out later women who already have strong P.C. muscles are most likely to find the dual ball Kegel exercisers most comfortable. They already have the proper muscle tone established to hold the balls in place. Women who’ve delivered children vaginally and don’t already regularly exercise their Kegels may be best off starting light. In this case, it’s advised you start with a lighter, single vaginal ball exerciser and work your way up to a heavier two ball model after 6 weeks or so of daily wear.
Secondly, not all women are built the same. Some are simply smaller on the inside and we all have different cervix placement. My cervix is slightly lower than average so this could certainly be the issue. In this case, a smaller, one ball vaginal exerciser may also be the solution. I’m going to keep trying though. On my “fuck-it” list is a smaller single ball Kegel exerciser to start me off. I will get this exercise routine down!
I talk with A LOT of women about their experiences with sex toys and do a ton of research. I’ve found my experience isn’t the usual. Although comfort level does depend on muscle strength and anatomy, most women are fine with the dual ball model. But how do you know if you are one of them? The hard way. Get a Kegel exerciser and try it out. Some companies sell an interchangeable multi-ball Kegel kit that allows you to work up from one ball to two but those are pricey. Some are in the neighborhood of $50. If you’re not on a tight budget this is an option.
If you feel your Kegel health is average, going straight to the Eclipse Couture vaginal exercise balls will likely work for you. You also can’t beat the price tag. They average in the $20 range. Eclipse gives you the same features and premium, medical grade silicone as the luxury sex toy brands but at a fraction of the price.
To use Ben Wa balls, wear them for at least 20-30 minutes a day (some wear them for hours) during daily tasks, like going to the grocery store, at the office or even out for a jog. The jingling of the inner weighted ball will cause your P.C. muscles to involuntarily contract and release rapidly. This exercises your pelvic floor far better than just squeezing alone. Keep up with this routine for five or six weeks before expecting to note a difference in vaginal muscle strength.
As an added benefit, Kegel exercisers feel damn good! Many women find them arousing. You can wear them while you masturbate with a clitoral vibrator, for a double penetration sensation while having anal sex or for a little secret stimulation while performing oral sex. You can also follow in the footsteps of Ana and Christian and use Eclipse Kegel exercisers for extended, naughty foreplay or in your red room of pain for a little BDSM style spanky, spanky!
Side note: Although you may be tempted, don’t put these in your butt! Remember my little mantra “without a base, without a trace!” Even with the retrieval cord on this thing, it’s still not a solid base. Your butt could suck that up in a heartbeat. You don’t want to go to the ER with Kegel Balls stuck in the dark recesses of your colon. If you’re still not convinced, watch Ducky Doolittle’s “Not in Your Butt Video.”
Disclosure of Material Connection: I did receive this product free of charge from California Exotic Novelties in exchange for my honest review. I will never misrepresent products, publish a false review or compromise my good name for free stuff. If something sucks, I’ll tell you it sucks. I only endorse products I truly believe in and have used myself. I am disclosing this in accordance to the Federal Trade Commission’s Guidelines: CFR, Part 255
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