When my Deputy Editor handed me a pelvic floor trainer saying ‘you probably need to give this a try’, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it, or what my male colleague Phil thought must be going on up my va-jay-jay (very little, as it happens: online dating’s a minefield). But I accepted it – out of curiosity not necessity, I would like to stress – and agreed to document my vaginal muscles’ experience in the name of journalism. Look, I’m sure Woodward and Bernstein started somewhere…
Elvie is described on their website as “your most personal trainer”, and basically its a Fitbit… for your bits. Carefully inset it up yourself, and a set of accelerometers and sensors Bluetooth directly to a smartphone app for one of the weirdest fitness classes you’ll ever attend (at least, unless you’ve done Dogcersize).
Claiming to be ‘the No.1 Kegel trainer worldwide’, Elvie reckons its futuristic gadget, coupled with a series of five minute online classes, can get your pelvic floor noticeably stronger in just four weeks. Which is ideal for anyone who’s recently given birth, or women that suffer with bladder control issues (more common than hay fever, apparently (and a double-whammy during a sneezing fit)) and, of course, for curious journalists who may or may not be searching for even more intense orgasms.
The device itself is discrete, It lives in a box sort of resembling a phone battery pack, with Elvie’s clean and simple aesthetic making the device pleasingly low-key; so no embarrassment if someone’s rooting through your handbag (not a euphemism). If the man at Border Control does manage to find your ‘device’ in your bag, then you’re on your own withthe excuses as it definitely looks like a sex toy of some sort.
We are a sharing office, I share details of my love life and someone clandestinely shares my almond milk. But even in an workplace as open as ours I didn’t exactly fancy getting personal with a vagina Fitbit in the vicinity of curious colleagues. So it was on a quiet Monday evening that I sat on my bed ready for my first session.
I’m a regular gym goer and a mildly (read: extremely) competitive type, so I was slightly disappointed with my first attempt. Once I’d carefully slipped it into it’s temporary new home, the various exercises my phone suggests included squeezing to try and hit targets (think Mario hitting coin blocks), squeezing to keep a floating ball above a line (a bit like Flappy Bird) and just generally squeezing as hard as you can (like a high striker at a carnival) while the device transmits the information to your iPhone in real-time.
All of which left me a spasming mess, twitching all the wrong muscles and coming out with vagina scores so poor that an octogenarian nun would scoff, assuming they were judgemental that way (I know what they get up to in those convents). Disheartened I rinsed my new toy and put it to bed in its special hutch.
But as my mother always said, if at first you don’t succeed… pop a silicone coated micro-computer up your flue. And round two, a few days later, went a lot better. Ya hear me fellas? A LOT better! Elvie claims to teach you how to activate the correct muscles and it actually did. Not only did I smash my pathetic previous records, I was finally flexing muscles I didn’t even know I had.
A few sessions on and can I tell the difference? Yes! Not only are my muscles now toned inside as well as out, I feel healthier for it.
While I may not be their target audience, prevention is better than cure, and strengthening your pelvic floor muscles (important for, among other things, keeping your organs in place) can also improve your sex life and you orgasms. Where do we sign, right? Whatever preconceptions you may have about shoving a device into the great unknown, you will at least find it really fun. And having now used Elvie a number of times I can say it’s not a valuable tool in tackling my pelvic floor muscles, but also it’s far less disappointing than other things that have entered that space…