Skip to main content
Log in

The Role of the Levator Ani Muscle in Evacuation, Sexual Performance and Pelvic Floor Disorders

  • Review Article
  • Published:
International Urogynecology Journal Aims and scope Submit manuscript


This paper reviews the role of the levator ani muscle (LAM) in evacuation, sexual performance and pelvic floor disorders. The LAM fixes the vesical neck, anorectal junction and vaginal fornices to the side wall of the pelvis by means of the suspensory sling and hiatal ligament. On contraction it shares in the mechanism of evacuation (urination, defecation). During the sexual act vaginal distension by the erect penis evokes the vaginolevator and vaginopuborectalis reflexes, with a resulting LAM contraction. The LAM also contracts upon stimulation of the clitoris or cervix uteri, an action mediated through clitoromotor and cervicomotor reflexes. LAM contraction leads to upper vagina ballooning, which acts as receptacle for semen collection, to uterine elevation and straightening and to elongation and narrowing of the vagina. These actions enhance the sexual response and prepare the uterus and vagina for the reproductive process. During ejaculation LAM contraction facilitates semen ejection. Levator subluxation and sagging leads to levator dysfunction syndrome, which may present as pudendal canal syndrome.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Shafik, A. The Role of the Levator Ani Muscle in Evacuation, Sexual Performance and Pelvic Floor Disorders. Int Urogynecol J 11, 361–376 (2000).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: