From www.private-shades.com and Wikipedia
|History and status|
Ben Wa Balls have a varied history; their origin and method of construction varies depending upon location. Most information concerning Ben-Wa Balls is vague and probably apocryphal. Originally they were made of a single ball placed in the vagina, used to enhance the act of coitus, but then evolved into multiple metal covered balls linked by either a chain or silk string for easy removal. Usage of Ben Wa balls creates a subtle stimulation, not meant to bring the user to immediate orgasm but rather to tease. It is possible to leave Ben Wa balls in one's vagina all day, or use them while seated in a rocking chair, for an effect that some find pleasurable. At the end of the sixteenth century, Ralph Fitch, an English traveller, encountered them in the Shan States of Myanmar. He described their use there by men. Less than a dozen years later, the Florentine merchant Francesco Carletti also reported their use in Thailand, where they were used to enlarge the penis.
Ben Wa balls may also be used to simply increase the strength of the pelvic floor muscles, much as the Taoist practice The Deer Exercise has been used for centuries, and the Kegel exercises are used today. Similar to Kegel exercises, Ben Wa balls and other shaped vaginal weights are recommended by gynecologists and obstetricians to increase vaginal elasticity and bladder control. Vaginal weights come in a spherical shape and are used in increasing weights to strengthen the vagina, which improves sexual performance. Mild urinary incontinence, such as that which occurs while coughing, laughing, or sneezing and occurs more often as women grow older, can be treated with Ben Wa balls, vaginal weights, or Kegel exercise.
Practitioners of such spiritual traditions as Tantra and Chinese Taoism believe that Ben Wa Balls are helpful tools to exercise control and to explore the sensual side of an individual.