I think we can all blame Fifty Shades of Grey for our knowledge and misconceptions about Ben-Wa balls — or at least I can. I've known about the existence of them for a long time — and it's why I always giggled when Ben Wallace took the court during an NBA game — but I never imagined myself actually putting them into play (sports pun!) In case you're not familiar, Ben-Wa balls go by a dozen different names: Kegel exercisers, pleasure balls, vaginal exercise balls, duotone balls, vaginal beads, orgasm balls and love balls to name a few. They've been around since a Japanese courtesan called Rino-Tama discovered their pleasurable benefit and have since had both a medical and naughty use, but it wasn't until Christian Grey gave Anastasia a set in the first '50 Shades' book that their popularity really took off.
Medically, they're used to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, as you have to keep your vagina clenched to keep them in. There are also versions that are connected by string (usually silicone) and as you tug on the string you use your Kegel muscles to keep them in. It's basically like tug-of-war with your vagina. (Not sure what your Kegel muscles are? Imagine someone told you to stop peeing mid-stream. Those are them.) They can also help with urinary incontinence as well as tightening up the ol' girl after childbirth, since your Kegel muscles are also the muscles that get all riled up during an orgasm. Basically, strong Kegels = strong climax.
Still with me? Good.
In addition to medical use, rumor is when you use Ben-Wa balls during everyday activity, the friction and motion they cause from within, combined with a clenching of your muscles, can bring about orgasm, or at least teasing pleasure. Naturally, I had to see for myself.
My first reaction was, "Whoa, these are heavy for such little balls!" but I remained steadfast to use them to their full potential. I washed them well and inserted them one at a time. It was tricky to get them up to what felt high enough in my vagina, but I figured in was in, right? Wrong. As soon as I took one step to the side, they slid out onto the floor. Undeterred, I tried to insert them lying down. I hiked my hips up into the the air and gave them a good solid shimmy — hopefully moving them higher, so they wouldn't fall out. I stood up, making sure to keep my muscles contracted. (After all, that was part of the challenge wasn't it?) After about a minute of serious - and I mean serious - clenching, I realized I wasn't going to be able to walk, much less make it through an entire night with my vagina clenched that tight — in fact, she was beginning to go numb. I eased up ever so slightly, waiting for them to slip out. Surprisingly, they didn't. SUCCESS! After a few minutes passed, I felt like I might be in the clear, so I proceeded to get dressed for my date that night with my husband.
Shortly after, my husband joined me in the bathroom to finish up a few things himself and that's when it happened.
I went to step around him when one ball popped loose. I must have not felt it slide down! (To be fair, my Kegel muscles were still recovering from a lack of oxygen.) It fell to our stone tile floor with a 'THUD' before I could even register what was happening. My husband and I locked eyes, as my cheeks turned not 50 Shades Of Grey but...50 Shades of Red. "Uh, did that just fall out of your...?" my husband asked. And as soon as he did, that's when I felt the other little guy break free, landing on the ground and rolling to its final resting place at my husband's foot.
Ever been standing in the bathroom with your lover as two steel balls fall out of your skirt? No? Just me?
That was the beginning and the end of the pleasure balls. I accepted that the combination of the ball's weight and small size with my birthed-two-children vagina was a coupling never meant to be - until two weeks later when I went out and bought bonus-sized silicone balls that promised to do their job with more efficiency and less, you know, droppage.
However, my pride still hasn't allowed me to try them. And the sound of steel balls dropping onto stone rings forever in my ears.