From improbable porn movies to cringe worthy sex manuals, there’s been little to educate us in performing well in the bedroom. But a new generation of smart gadgets aims to whip our limp selves into shape – by giving a workout to our nether regions.

Today’s intelligent sex toys focus on developing your pelvic floor – muscles that run from your tailbone to public bone. This part of our anatomy is responsible for bladder function, controlling erections in men, and our ability to achieve orgasms. The gadgets’ creators claim that, through a series of contracting and relaxing kegel exercises, you’ll be better equipped at whatever comes your way between the sheets. 

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How do they work? 

Pelvic-thrusting gizmos come in him-and-her versions. Created by the London-based startup Chiaro, Elvie is an exercise tracker and trainer built to encourage and strengthen women in their intimate areas. “This is a pebble-shaped device that you place inside you, a bit like a tampon. It talks via Bluetooth to your phone,” says creator Tania Boler. Use it three times a week for about 5 minutes - that’s your vagina workout done. The product is $200, available at elvie.com As for the gents, San Francisco-based company Minna Life have spawned the kGoal Boost, a bicycle seat-shaped contraption which users sit on, putting them through five-minute kegel exercises, all the while tracking their progress via a synchronized app. “A lot of people, both men and women, have been a bit reluctant to talk about this because they find it embarrassing. But that is just crazy because it’s such an important topic,” says Brian Kreiger, CEO and co-founder of Minna Life. The device is currently seeking funds on Kickstarter.

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How to use them? 

The principle of Elvie is by squeezing down there, you make a gem visible on your app move up and down – your vagina is controlling the on-screen icon. Different levels are available to make the experience more fun, indeed pleasurable. But don’t mistake it for a Candy Crush for your private parts. “It’s serious in the sense that we designed it with physiotherapists, and we have made it beautiful and elegant,” says Boler. “There is a gaming aspect, but it’s based on the fact that if exercise is fun, then you will enjoy it and come back and do more.” With the kGoal Boost, men place the inflatable central pad goes underneath the perineum, the area between the genitals and the anus. When the user con- tract the muscles, the device tracks the movements. “The device measures pelvic floor exercises and is connected to an app that gathers data and shows you your history and progress. You can put the pad on a chair, but the most important thing is making the experience more fun,” says Kreiger, who recommends using it for five min- utes, three to four times a week.

What can they do for your health? 

Prowess in the pelvic floor is indeed crucial for men’s health and quality of life, such as sexual performance and bladder control, but there is a huge lack of information to help them understand how important that is. Women, on the other hand, are much more used to it. “My inspiration came when I had a baby but it’s not only for women who just gave birth,” says Boler. “It’s the moment when everybody has got to use it, because your pelvic floor has gone through a lot of change, but women who don’t have babies can also use it to strengthen their muscles.” So far, about 60% of Elvie’s customers are mothers, meaning 40% of clients do not have children yet. While the main health consequence of a weak pelvic floor is incontinence, about half of women over the age of 50 will at some point experience ‘pelvic organ prolapse’, which normally occurs after menopause when the muscles lose their collagen and elasticity. “One in ten women need to have an operation at some point of their lives. There is evidence that if you exercise, it can help both in terms of prevention and treatment,” Boler adds.

What about sex life?

The promise of a better love life is indeed the main appeal of these smart sex gizmos. “Pelvic floor muscles affect our sexual function; they play a really critical role in generating, sustaining and controlling the erection,” says Kreiger. A recent study led in Istanbul found that women who just gave birth and did kegel training reported enhanced lubrication, heightened orgasms and a stronger libido than those who didn’t exercise. “Elvie is not a sex toy, it’s not at all like a vibrator; it’s about feeling confident and sexy in your own body, and it’s all linked,” Boler concludes.

By – Elodie Noël