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All About the Pelvic Floor: What It Is, and How It’s Impacting Your Sex Life, Self Esteem, and More

Ladies! If you’re reading this…congratulations, you have a pelvic floor! Everyone, regardless of their sex or gender, has a pelvic floor. None of us would be able to go to the bathroom without one.

Why should you care about the health of your pelvic floor? Because it can impact everything from your lesbian sex life and your ability to enjoy sex, to your self-esteem (whether you’re “too loose” or “too tight”)…and some “TMI” topics that we’re about to dive into.

What is the Pelvic Floor?

Your “pelvic floor” is comprised of three layers of muscle that connect your pubic bone in the front of your body to your coccyx in the back. The coccyx is the small, triangular bone at the base of your spine, also known as your tailbone. These layers of muscle keep everything below tucked inside. They allow you to perform essential functions, such as peeing, with relative ease and comfort. (Sexy stuff, I know!)

For many women, pelvic floor health has become a more prominent topic lately.

Common Pelvic Floor Problems

Have you recently had any of the following issues? (Don’t worry; I won’t tell anyone.)

• You constantly need to use the bathroom
• You can’t “go” (constipation) or you can’t control the flow (incontinence)
• It hurts to poop (evacuation)
• It hurts during sex (you feel a ripping, burning, or tearing sensation—ouch)
• You have lower back pain (ugh)
• You feel ongoing pain in your pelvic region with or without needing to pee

These are all common signs that may indicate that you aren’t relaxing and using your pelvic floor muscles correctly. Depending on who you ask, these may be a sign of pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD).

I prefer to think of these issues as an invitation to get to know your pelvic floor. You can start practicing using the muscles, squeezing them, and relaxing them “on demand” like Netflix.

Are You “Too Tight” or “Too Loose”? (Or Somewhere In Between?)

Like any muscle, the pelvic floor muscles can be “too tight” or “too loose.”

When you’re too tight, it means the muscles holding everything in can’t stretch or expand to let anything out…or in (if you know what I mean). Inserting your fingers, a toy, or even a tampon can feel painful. It can feel like a ripping, tearing, or burning sensation.

If you’re too loose, that means the pelvic floor muscles have been stretched out to the point where they can’t contract. A “too loose” pelvic floor can feel like incontinence. Think: peeing a little when you sneeze (“peezing”), or feeling like you always have to pee, but can’t hold it. This looseness can happen as a result of weight gain, injury or trauma to the pelvic area, genetics, or even pregnancy.

…And maybe the problem isn’t purely physical at all. Maybe there’s an emotional component to it, in which case, a therapist or counselor who specializes in sex-related issues may help. Here’s a great resource . (You may also reach out to me for sex therapy services .)

Sexual Discomfort from Pelvic Floor Issues

According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, there are no known physiological differences between lesbian women and straight women. So pelvic floor problems can bother you whether you’re a lesbian or other sexual orientation.

If you’re too tight or too loose (or somewhere in between), you can experience a lack of pleasurable sensation during sex. One study showed that pelvic floor disorders were associated with lower libido, infrequent orgasm, and decreased arousal. Out of 282 participants in the study, 5 (1.7%) were homosexual, 2 (0.7%) were bisexual, and (97.6%) were heterosexual.

Don’t Feel Shame Over This Stuff

It’s estimated that 1 in 3 women will suffer from some kind of pelvic pain in their lives, whether it’s during sex or in daily life. If that’s you, you’re not alone. You don’t have to be in pain forever. You don’t have to feel embarrassment or feel bad about any of this. You deserve to feel good in your own body . And you deserve to fully enjoy sex.

For that to happen, you need a healthy pelvic floor with strong muscles. “Tight and strong are two very different concepts. We want strong pelvic floor muscles. We want the muscles to function optimally,” says Dr. Francesca Warner.

As with any muscle, it just takes some practice, getting used to working with it, and knowing what you’re doing. It’s your pelvic floor, so have some fun with it!

How to Work with Your Pelvic Floor
Depending on how severe your pelvic floor issues are, you can either explore natural solutions on your own…or, for severely injured muscles, you may wish to consult with a physical therapist.

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