Usually if I put objects other than a tampon into my vagina it’s for pleasure. In other words, I can be certain of an orgasm sometime in the very near future.
So when I sat watching Uta, a soft-spoken teacher and practitioner of Taoist sexual arts, tell a small group of women about popping a tiny jade egg attached to a wee little string up one’s punani as a sort of vaginal maintenance, I was sceptical.
Of course, I was a firm believer in Kegel exercises and diligently squeezed and contracted from sphincter to clit at every available moment. But this seemed far more natural than challenging my lady bits with accessories like jade eggs or ben wa balls. Images of lazy Thai dancers blowing trumpets with their love muscles flashed before my eyes and made mine retract a bit. I mean, who needs fanny weight training right? Well...
Your vagina is an elastic, muscular canal and, like all muscles, can be toned and strengthened. And there are many reasons you might want to do this.
Vaginal and pelvic floor muscles can weaken from being overweight, from age, lack of exercise and childbirth, making matters like experiencing orgasm or the dreaded sneezing pee uncomfortable realities. I’ve also spoken to women who use balls as a sort of ‘daily dilator’ to get their vaginal muscles ‘used to’ insertion if they find they clam up during penetrative sex.
So toning these muscles makes a lot of sense for just about all women of any age and vaginal inclination. While practising Kegel exercises is very effective and the most popular way of doing so, it’s a lot like simply flexing and relaxing your biceps. Placing a weighted object inside your vagina on the other hand, and having to keep it there or moving it up, is more like using a dumbbell – you get better results.
All the balls in the yard
Like all good kink, the origins of vaginal balls are in the East. Taoist jade egg practices were used to awaken sexual energy, improve the health of their sexual organs and enhance the quality of lovemaking in the royal courts of China. Ben wa balls – originally small, marble-sized metal balls – are said to come from Japan, where they were used during coitus up any and all orifices, including a guy’s urinary tract to increase penis size.
These days the shape and use of ben wa or vaginal ‘balls’ have morphed to suit all kinds of preferences. They’ll be weighted and shaped differently and can be made from metal, glass, silicone and stone. But all good balls will have a cord for easy removal, will be made of non-porous material and, where possible, have a little tingling ball on the inside. This little ball basically tinkles away on movement ‘reminding’ your muscles to tense and contract. A very yummy feeling.
Getting the balls rolling
Beginners should start with larger, lighter balls. The more toned your muscles you become, the smaller and weightier your egg or ben wa balls can become. Apart from simply walking around with them inserted all day, there are also exercises you can do, such playing a little game of tug and war with your vag muscles as you pull on the cord. Although the vaginal balls I’ve listed are by no means the only ones I’ve listed, it’ll give you a good idea what’s out there.
Teneo Smartballs by Fun factory
These balls come in a single (Uno, 42g) and double strand (Duo, 85g) and, due to their size, are perfect for beginners. I prefer the double strand as it’s weightier and requires more ‘work’, but insertion is definitely trickier due to the size of the balls. Nothing lube can’t fix mind you.
Made from medical grade silicone these smartballs are probably also some of the most accessible. My only gripe with them are the ridges, which are supposed to be for an ‘intimate massage’, but are quite frankly a pain to clean, especially if you want to whip your balls out (*giggle*) in a public toilet and aren’t able to give them a rinse immediately. Which reminds me, get a little ball bag (*snort*) handy for keeping them safe in your bag if you do need to take them out.
Ami by Je Joue
I really like this set because you get the whole three-step beginner to ‘expert’ range. They like to call it their ‘tease as you tone’ exercise set which is cute and true.
Beginners start with the Ami 1, a large, soft and lightweight single ball. Then you move on to the medium-sized double ball that’s still soft yet slightly heavier and then the last Ami 3, a small, hard and very heavy double ball. The weight on this one actually surprised me and I’ve not yet moved on to this one. Kinda worried it’ll pop out when I sneeze. Made from a smooth-textured silicon and ABS plastic, all the Amis are body safe and easy to clean.
A small egg-shaped jade stone with a hole through the bottom to attach a nylon string to can probably be considered the uber-expert, super-serious vaginal muscle master. Not very easy to come by and with a weight of philosophy and culture attached to it, getting into jade egg practise is really just that. There are classes for specific exercises (irregular in South Africa) and the egg itself needs to be of the highest quality stone.
Although high-quality jade is smooth and non-porous (and therefore not a bacteria fest) anything attached to it as a cord needs to be non-porous and non-fibrous also.
Should you run out and buy one now?
See, although they’re not technically sex toys and although I wasn’t expecting the balls to be so much fun for sexy time, I’ve found that wearing them for a few hours a day is quite a turn on. Apart from the occasional private naughty tingle in my privates, there’s a constant sensation of being filled or of mini contractions. Also, using the balls during oral sex or while you’re masturbating makes for one very awesome orgasm. I can very honestly say that if your were going to run out and buy one sex-oriented toy today, it would be a ben wa ball.
All toys and lube are supplied by Whet Sensuality Emporium.
For more info about vagina-tightening toys visit www.thedotspot.net or follow her on Twitter.