High heels make a woman more than sexy. In fact, they boost her sex life by increasing the tonus of her pelvic floor muscles. This is the finding of an Italian urologist, published in the journal "European Urology," challenging an array of issues connected to high heels revealed by other researches, from corns and backbone problems to schizophrenia.
The study led by Dr. Maria Cerruto of the University of Verona, Italy, was carried out on 66 women under 50, who completed questionnaires about their sex life, exercise regime and shoes, and revealed that women wearing high-heels with a 15-degree angle to the ground (similarly to a two inch (5 cm) heel) had a better posture than those wearing flat shoes, displaying much less electrical activity (relaxation) in their pelvic muscles. This showed that these muscles experienced the optimum position, increasing their strength and tonus, in the case of ''moderately high heeled shoes.''
''Heels work the pelvic muscles and reduce the need to exercise them. Wearing heels during daily activity may reduce the need for the pelvic floor exercises necessary to keep that part of a woman's anatomy toned and elastic,'' Cerruto said.
The pelvic floor muscles are crucial for a women: they are involved in sexual performance and satisfaction (including orgasm), delivering at the same time an essential support to the pelvic organs, from bladder to bowels and uterus. But their capacity can be negatively affected by pregnancy and childbirth, and also by the aging. There are exercises aiming to strengthen these muscles, but who cares about them when the heel solution would be more pleasant?
"Women often have difficulty in carrying out the right exercises for the pelvic zone and wearing heels could be the solution. Like many women, I like high-heeled shoes. It's good to know they have potential health benefits," said Cerruto.
"The findings did not suggest that stilettos were a good thing for those keen on improving their pelvic floor function. But for women who like a slightly higher heel, these are reassuring findings - although we haven't yet done away with the need for regular exercises to maintain what is such an important part of the female body," Gill Brook, a women's health physiotherapist in Bradford, told BBC News.
''This is wonderful news. I've been hounded for years about how bad it is for posture, but. . . when you put on a high heel it makes life more exciting. For women, it's a way to appeal to the male species. There's a limit. Anything over 11.5cm, you can't walk properly; it's no longer elegant," Manolo Blahnik, whose shoes are worn by Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw.