You might have heard about strengthening pelvic floor muscles and think that this was just something that women had to think about, but in a recent article in the Mail Online a physiotherapist spoke out about how a strong pelvic floor can help men overcome erectile dysfunction (ED) have a healthy sex life.

Rosemary Lillie, 66, previously worked for the NHS and in private practices before founding West Wimbledon Physiotherapy Clinic in 2003, and estimated she’s helped ‘hundreds of men’ find sexual satisfaction.

While failure to stay erect is often due to tiredness, stress, anxiety or alcohol, and is no cause for concern, it can also be a sign of an underlying health condition, so it’s important to discuss erectile issues with your GP.

But one way the Physiotherapy Clinic recommends helps men experiencing ED is by improving the strength of their pelvic floor—a part of the body many man are unaware they even possess.

“Some men who come to me haven’t ever had a sex life. Being a man and being unable to get erect means you can’t have sex and that can be incredibly distressing,” said Rosemary, and she and the staff at the clinic understand just how personal and emotional the issue can be.

“There can be tears and some do pour their hearts out to me. We always have a box of tissues at hand in case men need them,” Rosemary continued. “Sometimes I go home drained emotionally, but it’s comforting knowing I can help.”

She went on to say that she’s now well-versed in people’s varying approaches when they come to the clinic. “Some men use humour to get them through it and to mask their pain,” she said, “you do get occasions when a patient removes their trousers and says, ‘bet you’ve seen a few of these in your time’ and I have to say, yes I have!”

After an initial discussion, Rosemary carries out a physical examination on patients which involves a full assessment of their pelvic floor muscles.

“The method of obtaining an erection is that the penis contains spongy material, and blood is forced into it which causes the penis to become erect,” said Rosemary. “And you have surrounding muscles which help with the erection. So if you have a strong pelvic floor you have a much better chance of that erection lasting.”

She says that because the pelvic floor is a muscle, its task is to tighten and relax and create a counter-pressure in case of pressure increase—something such as sneezing.

“It’s interesting most women have a good idea of their pelvic floor while most men don’t,” said Rosemary, “so if you ask them to exercise their pelvic floor, they will just look at you and say they have no idea where to start.” 

Rosemary points out that lifestyle can also be a big player in affecting the male pelvic floor, and men who don’t do much exercise are more likely to have a weak pelvic floor.

However, if you are generally fit and healthy and you exercise, then your pelvic floor will be fine, as anything that involves core muscle work will help build up the pelvic floor—it doesn’t need to be anything specific, just getting moving will naturally build up your pelvic floor strength, which will in turn help overcome ED.

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