Since you’re here, there’s a good chance you know—or have at least heard—of Ben Wa balls. These little insertable spheres make appearances in erotic books, sexy shows, and steamy movies and are basically a sex shop staple. But while Ben Wa balls might seem simple, there’s much more to them what you saw in Fifty Shades of Grey. (Read: the iconic scene where Anastasia Steele, wide-eyed with panic, asks Christian if he’s going to put the Ben Wa balls in her butt. Relatable!)
Ben Wa balls are insertable weights that go inside the vagina to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles (also called PC muscles). Ob-gyn Dr. Nita Landry, cohost of The Doctors, explains that when you insert Ben Wa balls into your vagina, your pelvic muscles work to hold them in place. And while they were originally designed to rebuild strength and support lost in PC muscles over time, more and more people started using them as sex toys due to the stimulation they provide on the anterior vaginal wall, which is full of sensitive nerve endings, says ob-gyn Candace Howe, MD, who compares the added weight of these balls to what it would be like using free weights on other parts of the body.
Now, a super-strong vagina won’t necessarily lead to more amazing orgasms. But the point of exercising your PC muscles is to strengthen them, which can help increase friction during intercourse, explains Monica Grover, head gynecologist at VSpot Sexual Health Spa. And, uh, in case Anastasia Steele didn’t clue you in, Ben Wa balls create a super-sexy sensation inside your vagina that’s actually v pleasurable and discreet.
TL;DR: If you’re curious about Ben Wa balls, you’ve come to the right place. This beginner’s guide will answer everything you ever wanted to know about your new favorite sexcessory.
What’s the difference between Ben Wa balls and Kegel balls?
Ben Wa balls are also often known as Kegel balls, and although people tend to use the words interchangeably, experts usually use “Kegel” for medical or strengthening purposes and “Ben Wa” for sexual pleasure, explains erotic educator and founder of Organic Loven, Taylor Sparks.
Is there any medical reason to use them?
Even though Ben Wa balls can be a fun challenge, you don’t really medically need to use them unless a doctor tells you otherwise. In fact, you’ve probably exercised your pelvic floor muscles without even knowing it. “Any core-strengthening exercises that work the obliques, transversus, and rectus abdominal muscles along with the lower back and upper thighs—such as lunges, crunches, bends, and leg lifts, to name a few—can help strengthen the levator muscles and pelvic floor,” says Dr. Howe.
But Dr. Howe says there may be some benefits to using them after childbirth, for people with urinary leakage, or for people who have suffered other pelvic trauma that has caused their PC muscles to weaken over time because they can help give “focus and directed intention to exercises designed to rebuild that support and strength.” If this sounds like you, talk to your doctor to determine the best routine.
Can they, uh, make your vagina tighter?
Let’s get one thing straight: You don’t need to worry about how “tight” your vagina is. I don’t care if you’ve given birth or how many people you’ve slept with—the whole “tight vagina” thing is something to never ever worry about. Seriously.
But if you’re one of the many people interested in trying Ben Wa balls to restrengthen your PC muscles after giving birth, know that they can help but they’re not completely necessary. Doing any Kegel exercises after birth properly can, once again, accomplish the same objectives.
Sexologist Marla Renee Stewart, sexpert for Lovers sexual wellness brand and retailer, says people who might pee a little when they sneeze or experience some form of vaginal prolapse tend to get the most out of Kegel-ball-induced vaginal workouts. But are they 100 percent necessary? Def not.
How far up do they go?
You’d put Kegel balls or Ben Wa balls about as far up as you would a tampon, says Sparks. (And don’t worry, they’re not going to go farther than they’re supposed to.)
“You want to put them in deep enough where you can ‘grip’ them with your pelvic walls to keep them from falling out,” explains Sparks. It’s also always a good idea to use lube when inserting them. And if for some reason they keep falling out, Stewart suggests trying a lighter weight to see what feels best.
Can you walk around with Kegel balls or Ben Wa balls in?
Public health practitioner Janielle Bryan says not only is it okay to do, but walking around with Kegel balls inserted might actually help further strengthen your pelvic floor too. “By standing upright, you’ll contract your muscles to withstand the weight of the balls and the gravitational pull,” Bryan explains. “Just remember, start with smaller weights and increase the size gradually.”
Are there any risks?
It is possible to go overboard with Ben Wa balls. Ob-gyn Sherry Ross, author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health. Period, says leaving them inside the vagina for too long can stress the pelvic floor muscles and cause vaginal infections, so make sure you’re cleaning them with a vagina-friendly, fragrance-free soap and warm water after each use.
Additionally, Rachel Gelman, physical therapist and founder of Pelvic Wellness & Physical Therapy, suggests relaxing your pelvic floor after exercising it, just like you’d rest after any other workout. Clinical sexologist Valerie Poppel, PhD, cofounder of the Swann Center, says to start wearing the balls for about five minutes to test them out before working your way up to longer training sessions. If you feel pain, discomfort, or notice any unusual discharge along the way, Poppel says to stop using the balls immediately and see your doc.
How to actually use Ben Wa or Kegel balls
Dr. Ross recommends using them for 20 to 30 minutes a day, squeezing your pelvic floor muscles together in reps of 15 or 20. If that seems too long or too little, chat with your doctor to determine the appropriate amount of time for you, but Dr. Howe says not to leave them in for more than six hours to avoid placing too much pressure on your urethra.
The best materials are nonporous, like metal (stainless steel) or glass. But just so you know: The material can also impact a user’s overall experience. “Compared to plastic Ben Wa balls, stainless steel Ben Wa balls are typically more difficult to hold in,” says Dr. Landry.
As for removal? It probably won’t be as difficult as you think. While some Ben Wa balls are made of metal and don’t come with a string, there are newer, less intimidating versions with silicone strings that make removal much easier. And thanks to your cervix, the balls can’t migrate beyond your vagina, so don’t worry about losing them inside you. “If you’re having difficulty removing the Ben Wa ball, just relax, change your position, and/or bear down,” says Dr. Landry.
How to use them for sexual stimulation
If you’re ready to use your Ben Wa balls for something a lil sexier, Ashley Cobb suggests inserting the balls and then massaging your clitoris with a vibrator or internally squeezing them repeatedly while your partner performs oral sex on you. Stewart adds you can also try pulling the balls out while you orgasm for a super-intense release-like feeling.
Cobb also suggests inserting them into your vagina while your partner penetrates your anus with a toy, finger, or penis. This will push the balls against the internal portion of your clitoris to create super-intense sensations. Just please, please remember: Ben Wa balls do not belong in your anus, ever. Ever! Dr. Landry says they can easily fall too far into your colon. And no matter how good the balls feel, try not to go overboard, especially at first. According to Dr. Howe, moderation is key when it comes to Ben Wa usage.
Now that you’re up to speed on the basics, you’re ready to try the best-selling Ben Wa balls on the internet yourself. Go forth and conquer. (Psst: We won’t judge if you just buy ’em all.)
1. Fifty Shades of Grey Inner Goddess Mini Silver Pleasure Balls
For anyone who wants to experience some of that Christian-Ana chemistry, these Fifty Shades of Grey Inner Goddess mini Ben Wa balls will give you a taste of the BDSM life. These petite, hypoallergenic spheres are strung on a cord for easy removal (which you’ll def want if you’re a Ben Wa novice). While there are a lot of Fifty Shades options on this list, these cuties are a beginner’s best bet.
2. Fifty Shades of Grey Delicious Pleasure Silicone Ben Wa Balls
If you have some Ben Wa ball experience or you want a pair you can grow into as you start your training, Cobb highly recommends this silicone Fifty Shades of Grey option. “These balls are perfect for both beginners and intermediate wearers,” she says. “They are the perfect internal accessory for massaging your internal hot spots with a combined weight of 64 grams.” Pop ’em out of the silicone strap after you’ve been practicing for a while for a whole different experience.
3. Lovehoney Sensual Glass Blossom Ben Wa Balls
Most Ben Wa balls are either silicone or metal, which is why these glass ones from Lovehoney are too pretty to pass up. With a pink floral design at the center, these glass balls are temperature sensitive so you can cool them down or heat them up for even more play options—one of the many perks of glass toys. Plus, did I mention how pretty they are?!
4. We-Vibe Bloom Kegel Balls
Get a workout in and find pleasure with one of Sparks’s favorite Kegel ball options, the We-Vibe Bloom. The waterproof, rechargeable toy is made from body-safe silicone that’s both comfy and flexible. The set comes with three different progressive weight options for strength training, and it vibrates!
5. She-Ology Weighted Kegel Set
If you’re going all in with your Kegel workouts, Stewart suggests this multicolored set from She-Ology. “This set is great because it has a bunch of different weights you can experiment with to see which ones are right for you,” she says. “You can even add or subtract the weight depending on your experience.” Select your preferred weight and slip them into a double or single ball holder (or omit the holders completely) for a one-of-a-kind experience every time. Just make sure to lube up before inserting and take your time before moving up or changing the weight. Vagina fatigue is real, people.
6. CalExotics Kegel-Training Strawberry Set
Theses six strawberry-shaped Kegel balls gradually increase in weight from 45 grams to 115 grams, and they’re color-coordinated so you’ll know where you are in the system without having to physically pick up and test the weight of each strawb. The set also comes with recommended exercises (they suggest inserting, then squeezing for 10 seconds, relaxing for 10 seconds, and then doing 10 reps at a time). This is good because you’ll be less likely to overdo it if you follow their guide.
7. CalExotics Kegel-Training Mango Set
This one is also made by CalExotics, and at $32 for three balls, it’s conveniently half the price of the larger strawberry set if you just want to dip your toe in the waters of Kegel balls without the $60 commitment. These include 45-gram, 60-gram, and 75-gram balls (although the color gradation isn’t quite as easy to follow as the strawberries), and the set also comes with recommended exercises so you can clench responsibly.
8. Lovelife Krush Kegel Exerciser
If you lurve data and smart workouts, the Lovelife Krush Kegel Exerciser is def gonna haunt you until you buy it. A scored workout where you can see your improvements over time? Commence PC muscle FOMO starting…now. The Krush isn’t as Ben-Wa-ball-y as, y’know, actual free-floating balls, but the hourglass shape makes it pretty clear that Ben Wa balls had an influence in the design here. For what it’s worth, I’ve personally tried this out, and I was disappointed in my lack of superhuman PC muscles, but alas!
9. Lelo Luna Beads
These best-selling beads come in two sizes, classic and mini, and are pretty universally loved across the board. Each set comes with a two sets of weighted beads (one lighter and one heavier), so you can mix and match or work your way up as you get more comfortable. There’s a silicone strap that connects both beads and a removal cord, and each plastic bead has a smaller, weighted metal bead inside. There’s enough space between the outer plastic casing and the weighted ball that you can feel the balls roll and move around inside the plastic as you move around.
10. Lovehoney Main Squeeze Single Kegel Ball
If you’re looking for a no-frills entry-level Ben Wa ball, try this purple Lovehoney toy. The single ball is made of smooth, seamless silicone for easy cleaning and a comfortable experience. Because it’s silicone, make sure you’re using a water-based lube to insert! After that, you should be good to go.
11. Kegel Toner Balls
If you want the temperature-play options of OG Ben Wa balls with the modern convenience of a pull cord, try these. The metal balls have a silicone strap, which makes removal super simple—but if you want to turn up the intensity, pop the balls out and use them without the strap.
12. Black Obsidian Ben Wa Balls
Dr. Howe likes these, as they’ve been recommended to her by patients and physical therapists. “They are not permeable, so they are easy to clean and won’t harbor bacteria as easily.”
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