How Do I Find My PC Muscle?

Riko Pictures/Photodisc

The pubococcygeus muscle (or PC muscle for short) is a sling of muscles that run like a hammock from the pubic bone to the coccyx.  Your PC muscles are involved in a variety of important functions related to the pelvic floor.  And they play an important role in your sexual response and experience of physical pleasure during sex. 

Many people hear about their PC muscles first when they learn about kegel exercises.

  These are exercises designed to strengthen the PC muscle, and are recommended both as a way of dealing with incontinence, and also as a way of boosting or enhancing your sexual response.

The problem is that when many of us first try to do kegels, we aren't squeezing the right muscles.  It's important to make sure you are exercising the correct muscle as doing exercises incorrectly can, at best, be a waste of time and at worst could exacerbate a pre-existing issue.

How to Find Your PC Muscles

Because the PC muscles are used to stop the flow of urine, a common suggestion to find the right muscle is to stop the flow of urine while you're peeing and take note of what that feels like and where you feel it. Doing this often or for prolonged periods of time isn't a good idea as it can make an existing problem worse.

For most people with a vagina, the best way to find your PC muscle is to insert one finger into your  vagina and try to squeeze down around your finger.

When you feel your muscles tightening around your finger you're squeezing your PC muscle. You may also feel a kind of lifting in that area as you squeeze and then a dropping down as you release.

If you don't have a vagina you can also try putting the tip of your finger at your anus. Imaging squeezing the muscle you use to stop the flow of urine when you are peeing.

You should be able to feel both the tightening and relaxation at the anal opening with your finger. Once you can feel what it's like to tighten and release you know how to control the PC muscle.

One common mistake people make is that they engage their stomach muscles instead.  When you're squeezing your PC muscles you shouldn't be pulling in your stomach at all.  One way to avoid this is to keep one hand on your belly while doing the exercises and focus on contracting your PC muscles and at the same time keeping your stomach relaxed.


When In Doubt, Ask a Professional

There are so many online articles about kegels and PC muscles that it can be tempting to do it all yourself.  But iff you are wonderinga bout your PC muscle because of a medical concern or condition, you should try and talk with a health care practitioner, preferably one who has expertise in the pelvic floor. 

If you have a family doctor, you can start there, but often the best professional is a physical therapist with expertise in pelvic health.

Instructions like these online can help in general, but every body is different and if one-on-one consultation is possible, it is usually preferable.