Show Yourself a Little Love: The Scientific Benefits of Masturbation
What happens when your self-care routine includes a little extra self-care? According to scientists, showing yourself a little love—whether you’re coupled up or single—means you’ll reap some important health benefits.
If you’ve been stressed, tired or sick, it’s time to consider what masturbation can do for you. Activating manual override might be exactly what you need to put the spring back in your step. Who are we to question science?
Solo orgasms: the cure for what ails you?
Masturbation is still considered a taboo topic, even in 2022. Even though about 95 percent of the male population and 81 percent of the female population admit to taking the self-guided tour, few people find it appropriate to discuss those good vibrations.
According to Psychology Today, “Masturbation is also a cornerstone of modern sex therapy. Those who seek professional counseling for sexual difficulties, including inability to orgasm, are typically instructed to masturbate to learn about their bodies and then encouraged to communicate what they discover to their partners. Many outstanding self-help books, such as Becoming Orgasmic and The Elusive Orgasm, suggest masturbation as a core strategy, and sex educators including Betty Dodson and Corey Silverberg, tout the benefits of the practice and provide how-to guides.”
When you need a mood, self-esteem boost or want to get your heart pumping, solo orgasms might just do the trick. Orgasms release feel-good chemicals, including dopamine and oxytocin. This chemical dump is the biggest one you can achieve without drugs. There’s no health risk involved, and you don’t have to consider a partner’s needs, which takes off the pressure.
To begs the question: is it time to blow your own horn?
Go ahead and give yourself a hand
Here are some of the health benefits you’ll enjoy:
- Better sleep: When your body is awash in endorphins and oxytocin, it’s a lot easier to get to sleep—there are entire sitcom tropes built around the way people pass out after sex. It turns out that the same sleep-enhancing benefits of partner sex are present when you masturbate.
- Boost your heart health: Workouts can be a drag, especially if you’re missing your motivation. One easy way to get the blood pumping is a solo session. It’ll reduce potential weight gain and fight off Type 2 Diabetes. Just remember that playing five against one is no substitute for actual, sustained exercise.
- Get the immune system going: Orgasms cause us to release a tiny amount of cortisol, the stress hormone. In turn, this stimulates immune function.
- Ward off prostate cancer: One study shows that men who ejaculate 21 times or more in a month experienced a 33 percent lower risk of prostate cancer, when compared to men who ejaculated four to seven times a month.
- Prevent vaginal infection: When women orgasm, the cervix “tents.” This is thought to reduce your risk of urinary tract infection and cervical infections.
- Strengthens the pelvic floor: Kegels exercises are famous for strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, but orgasms work, too. You’ll be less likely to suffer from incontinence or erectile dysfunction later in life.
- Improves your confidence: There are psychological benefits to masturbation, too—especially if you don’t have a partner right now. Anyone can benefit from getting to know their body better. If you struggle to reach orgasm with a partner, going solo gives you the opportunity to find out what works. And when you feel good, your self-confidence will soar.
- Enhances partner sex: Similarly, masturbation promotes better partner sex. When you know what you like and how to get it, it’s much easier to communicate what you need to your partner. The self-confidence and increased physical health won’t hurt, either.
- The safest sex there is: Finally, masturbation is safe sex. Instead of firing up the old dating apps and finding a consenting partner, you can meet your own needs—without the risk of STIs, midnight “u up?” texts and broken hearts.
While masturbation won’t replace exercise, vitamins, a healthy diet and a real, three-dimensional partner, it does help bridge the gap. And since we’re constantly reminded that self-care is important, there’s no reason not to tickle your pickle on a regular basis. There might be a societal taboo in talking about it, but it’s a perfectly normal part of sexual development and pleasure.
Now, go schedule some “me” time!