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High Heel Shoes and Sex?

What's the Connection?

By

Updated June 02, 2008

High Heel Shoes and Sex?

Black high heeled wedge shoe.

Photo © Terence Vanderheiden, D.P.M.
With all of the talk about bunions, corns, hammer toes and neuromas, is there anything good about wearing high heel shoes? One 2008 study investigates the issue -- sort of.

There have been many discussions about the link between high heel shoes and sexual attractiveness, but a study in the journal European Urology found that wearing high heels slightly enhanced the contracting power of the pelvic floor muscles. Kegel exercises are used to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles to help control urination and to also improve sexual sensation. Some people have said the findings from the study mean that wearing high heels will enhance your sex life. However, that's not correct. The study really looked at continence versus incontinence, and not sex performance.

Dr. Maria Angela Cerruto, the study's lead author, compared women who are incontinent (can't control urination) to women who are continent. People who have problems with incontinence have weak pelvic floor muscles. The study compared flat shoes (moccasins) to shoes with varying heel heights. The heel heights ranged from 2-7 cm. In the women with incontinence, the resting pelvic floor muscle activity (rPFMa) stayed pretty much the same and the maximal pelvic floor muscle activity (mPFMa) (contraction) increased quite a lot. In the women who were continent, the rPFMa decreased slightly and the mPFMa (contraction) decreased moderately.

What does all that mean? The women with incontinence had weaker pelvic floor muscles but they showed some improvement when wearing high heel shoes. In the women who were continent, the opposite occurred. The continent women had decreased muscle contraction in their pelvic floor muscles when they wore high heel shoes.

Bottom Line: Study Showed No Benefit from Wearing Heels

Therefore, if you do not have a problem with incontinence, this study does not show any benefit of wearing high heels. I would recommend that you do not wear heels over 1 1/2 inches in height. The foot problems that may occur due to wearing high heels greatly outnumber the small benefit to your pelvic floor muscles.

Sources:

Cerruto MA, Vedovi E, Mantovani W. Women pay attention to shoe heels: besides causing schizophrenia they might affect your pelvic floor muscle activity!! Eur Urol. 2008 May;53(5):1094-95. Epub 2008 Jan 24.

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