What Are Ben Wa Balls?

Medically Reviewed by Carmelita Swiner, MD on July 05, 2023
3 min read

Ben Wa balls have seen a recent surge in popularity after being featured in the Fifty Shades of Grey series, but they’ve been around since about 500 CE. They’re used by people with vaginas both in and out of the kink community.

Ben Wa balls are small, weighted balls designed to be inserted in the vagina. They usually come in pairs and are sometimes linked together by a string. They may also have a string that dangles and can make their removal easier. They come in a variety of weights and sizes and can be made from many different materials, including metal, glass, silicone, and plastic.

Ben Wa balls are also known as kegel balls. People buy them for use either as a sex toy and masturbatory aid or as a training device used to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.

People like Ben Wa balls for several reasons, depending on the use for which they were purchased. 

Pelvic Floor Training

Strong pelvic floor muscles may make sex better for both women and their partners. During heterosexual intercourse, a woman’s ability to contract around her partner can intensify his sensations. Increasing blood flow to the area and making it easier to contract the muscles may also make sex more enjoyable for a woman. However, it should be noted that the evidence for this benefit is mostly anecdotal. 

In addition, aging, childbirth, and obesity can all weaken these muscles and lead to incontinence. Training these muscles can help you prevent potentially embarrassing urine leaks.

Ben Wa balls aren’t necessary for these exercises. Ordinary kegel exercises work just fine, as do many core exercises that require you to engage many different muscles at once. However, Ben Wa balls can help focus these exercises or provide an alternative. 

You can use Ben Wa balls to strengthen the pelvic floor in one of two ways:

  • Insert them, holding them in place for several minutes as you move about naturally
  • Perform kegel exercises around them

Sex Toy

Ben Wa balls may be used on their own or with other sex aids, such as a vibrator. Most people do not move them repeatedly in and out of the vagina as you might use a dildo. Instead, they find that the balls can heighten awareness, arousal, and sensation when left inside or moved gently.

Ben Wa balls can be used safely by most people with vaginas. However, Ben Wa balls should never be used in the anus where they can fall too far into the colon.

Anal beads on the other hand are a sex toy with multiple small balls attached together in a row. Both men and women can insert and remove anal beads from their rectum for pleasure.

Ben Wa balls should not be used for more than four hours. Additionally, they should not be used either during pregnancy or while recovering from childbirth.

Make sure to avoid porous materials to lessen risk of infection. Additionally, make sure you clean your Ben Wa balls after every use.

Many women find that using a gentle lubricant can make the insertion of Ben Wa balls more comfortable. Just remember that if you are using a silicone device, you should use a water-based lubricant.

Cleaning sex toys is vital to your sexual health. You can clean Ben Wa balls with anti-bacterial soap and water. If your toy is silicone, stainless steel, or Pyrex, you may be able to use the top rack of your dishwasher. 

Most sex toys will come with instructions for their proper care and cleaning.