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We all know we’re meant to do exercises for strong pelvic floor muscles.
For the uninitiated, your pelvic floor muscles are kind of important. They’re shaped like a sling and hold your uterus, vagina, bowel and bladder in place. For cis women, as we get older, or when we have kids, our pelvic floor muscles tend to weaken. This can lead to things like urinary incontinence and decreased sensitivity during sex. Which don't sound very fun at all.
At some point, you’ll likely have been taught a "kegel" exercise – probably the urinary flow one, where you sit on the loo, go for a wee and try to stop the flow mid-stream using your pelvic floor muscles. It was semi-fun to begin with but, really, who’s got the time?
If you're anything like us, you’ve probably forgotten all about them.
However, as anyone with any sense knows, preventative measures are always better than restorative. Just like with skincare, fitness and the rest, starting early makes everything easier in the long run. And so, enter Elvie – the Gwyneth Paltrow-approved (obviously) pelvic floor exerciser. Which I tried out, for your pleasure. Thank me later.
The device looks like a bean – a green bean with an antenna. It’s actually kind of cute. With just a squeeze (using your hands), it connects wirelessly to an app on your phone.
Elvie does eventually, of course, go inside you. I’d recommend waiting until you’re within easy reach of a bathroom, unless you're a real exhibitionist. And learn from my mistake: make sure you connect Elvie to your phone before you put it inside you. Speaking of which, getting it in isn't all that easy. It is slightly bigger than a tampon and, as a result, could do with a bit of lubrication. You'll probably have most luck turning it to the side, inserting it and turning the flippy bit round to face the front.
Once in, though, Elvie is not falling out so don't worry about walking into the living room and accidentally laying your device, chicken-style, at the feet of your housemates. Then the first thing to do is test whether your phone is picking up Elvie, by giving your pelvic floor a squeeze. If it works, this cute little icon on the screen bounces up in the air – if you let go, it drops.
This is where the fun begins. And by fun, I literally mean games you can play and win by squeezing your vaginal muscles. What a time to be alive.
There's loads of different games: games where you have to hit a target (2/5 first time around, NBD); a high striker; a game that challenges you to keep a rock above a continuous line by squeezing… it’s ridiculous, and hilarious, and actually super-fun.
By the end of the five-minute round, I feel very silly but also keen to have another go. I want to beat my original scores – all of which are recorded in graphs, so I can check back and see how well my vagina has done at its workouts.
Will I use Elvie every day? TBH, I will try. Really. After just a few days, I think I feel a difference – and in the long run, five minutes of Elvie has to be much more beneficial than five minutes of Candy Crush, surely.