Ben Wa Balls, also known as Kegel Balls, Rin-no-tama, or Orgasm Balls, are small, weighted balls designed to be used inside the vagina. They generally come in pairs, tied together by a string, and there is a great option of different sizes to choose from, depending on your goal. The balls can also be made from a variety of materials, such as metal, glass, plastic or silicone. They’re mostly used as a sex toy for sexual stimulation, and/or as a tool for pelvic floor training, that is, to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
Considered one of the world’s oldest sex toy, the Ben Wa Balls are thought to be invented in 500 A.D in Japan, where their goal was to increase male and female pleasure during intercourse. Soon these “Geisha Balls” as they are also known, spread to China and it’s said to have reached Europe around the 18th century.
Uses and Alleged Health Benefits
As a sex toy, keeping the balls inside can be an aid to masturbation, as it heightens arousal and sensation.
As for pelvic floor training, it’s used as an aid to doing Kegel exercises. After inserted, you can press and hold the balls inside for several minutes, and perform the Kegel exercises around them. It’s thought that doing this type of exercise will strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, making it easier to contract them and making sex more pleasurable for women and their partners.
Another aim of pelvic floor training is to prevent the natural weakening of the pelvic floor muscles due to aging, childbirth and obesity, which can cause incontinence among other problems. By the way, Ben Wa Balls and Kegel exercises can be combined with so-called Yoni Yoga exercises.
In any event, for beginners it’s recommended to start with a lighter and larger ball, and with time and practice switch into heavier and smaller ones. Depending on your goal, you can choose a different design, weight or material to suit your needs.
In addition, practitioners of spiritual traditions such as Tantra and Chinese Taoism believe that Ben Wa Balls are helpful tools to exercise control and to explore our sensual side.
Risks and Contraindications
Be aware that there is no in-depth research and scientific evidence to prove all the benefits claimed, and some precautions should certainly be taken into consideration.
When choosing a set of Ben Wa Balls, make sure they are from a reliable source and of good quality – you certainly wouldn’t want to insert poor-quality plastic balls with sharp edges on them in your vagina; be sure to be extra careful with hygiene, always wash your hands before use and follow the instructions of how to clean the balls properly to avoid any risk of infections.
Initially, start using them for a short time, like five minutes, to give your body time to get used to them. It’s not recommended to keep Ben Wa Balls inside for longer periods of time, like sleeping with them or using them for a whole day, as it may cause the pelvic floor and vaginal muscles to overly contract.
Some of the other risks of using the balls are discomfort or pain from pressing and holding the balls inside or tearing tissue of the vaginal walls. Please always check with your physician before using Ben Wa Balls and be aware of any symptoms after their use, like unusual discharge, odd odors, discomfort or pain.