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Thursday, March 28, 2013

“Silver Balls” For Those Not Fortunate Enough To Have a Vagina

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Need some help! Got really turned on by Fifty Shades of Grey and want some “silver balls” and other fun things. A question regarding “silver balls”: what do you suggest for those not fortunate enough to have a vagina...like my man?

It still astonishes me that the most popular item mentioned in the Fifty Shades trilogy were the “silver balls,” a set of weighted spheres that are inserted vaginally and can be used both for sexual pleasure and for exercising the pubococcygeus (PC) muscle, which is the muscle that contracts during orgasm. I wrote about how to use these balls last year during the height of the Fifty Shades craze. However, since then, I’ve received a lot of questions like yours about similar toys that can be used by someone who doesn’t have a vagina to achieve the same pleasurable or muscle-toning effects.

People of all genders have a PC muscle. It extends from the pelvic bone to the pubic bone and wraps around both the vagina/root of the penis and the anus. During orgasm, this muscle contracts rhythmically and involuntarily, and exercising it can lead to stronger orgasms and improved orgasmic control for all genders. Anyone can exercise these muscles by doing what are often referred to as “Kegels,” after a physician who prescribed such exercises to patients. Kegel exercises simply involve squeezing and releasing the muscles repeatedly—for example, contracting and relaxing the muscle while you imagine that you are “sucking in” and then “pushing out” water from the anus and/or the vagina. “Silver balls” can add weight and motion to these exercises, increasing resistance to further strengthen muscles and stimulating muscles with their rocking motion.

However, balls that are designed for vaginal use should ONLY be used vaginally—NEVER in the anus. Only toys that have a flared base that will prevent them from slipping all the way inside the body should be used anally. Many balls have a convenient retrieval cord that looks kind of like a tampon string. This cord is not enough to keep them from slipping all the way inside the body. As many sex educators say, “Without a base, without a trace”—meaning that a slippery toy without a flared base can easily slide all the way into the rectum, beyond the reach of your fingers.

There are a few toys that are specifically designed for anal use that are similar to vaginal balls. One is a butt plug with a flared base that contains a weighted ball inside. This plug can be inserted anally and used for sexual pleasure, the way the “silver balls” are used in Fifty Shades—worn during spanking, for instance. The rolling motion of the ball may also stimulate the PC muscles, causing them to contract involuntarily and thus strengthening them.

Another option is the Aneros Peridise or Tempo. Although these long, slender toys look nothing like “silver balls,” they are designed to stimulate and strengthen the PC muscles when inserted anally. They can also be used to focus PC muscle exercises—squeezing and releasing around the toy lets you know you’re working the right muscles. The Tempo, which is made of stainless steel and heavier than the Peridise, can also add weight.

In short, everyone can get in on the PC muscle action, regardless of whether or not you have a vagina. I’m glad that this particular trend, which can greatly improve a person’s sexual health, shows no sign of dying down!

Laura Anne Stuart owns the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee’s East Side. She has a master’s degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than fifteen years. Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXPress? Send them to laura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.