Polishing the pearl.
Choking the monkey.
Paddling the pink canoe.
Beating the meat.
Is masturbation good for you??
May is National Masturbation Month! Yet, it's funny the lengths we go to avoid saying the word "masturbation" when it's something that most adults have tried at least once. This silence is also quite disheartening as masturbation, or whatever phrase you feel most comfortable using to describe touching your body for sexual pleasure, has many health and sexual benefits.
Masturbating is totally normal -- and everyone’s doing it.
Masturbation is stereotyped as something done only by lonely people, single people, and men, regardless of relationship status. Yet 78% of all Americans age 14 and older say they’ve masturbated at least once in their lifetime. This includes about 70% of men and 50% of women.
These numbers are not super surprising. Sexuality is an inherent part of you from birth and masturbation is one of the many ways you can express it. You can do it solo or with a partner (“mutual masturbation”). No matter how you choose to do it, one thing is certain: masturbation is pretty darn good for you!
Masturbation has physical and mental health benefits.
Masturbation has both physical and mental health benefits. Many of these benefits are a result of the hormones that get released during the sexual response cycle, particularly when you orgasm. Thanks to these hormones, masturbation can:
- Relieve stress
- Improve your sleep
- Reduce inflammation
- Enhance your skin
- Strengthen your PC muscles
- Increase self-esteem and improve body image
- Relieve menstrual cramps, headaches, muscle tension, and other aches and pains
- Flush your system and can help to prevent cancer-causing chemicals especially in the prostate
It is important to note that not all of these benefits are experienced by everyone. Research is ongoing and our understanding of how and why masturbation can help with these factors continues to evolve.
Masturbation helps you learn about yourself sexually.
The benefits of masturbation go beyond your physical and emotional health. Taking matters into your own hands teaches you how you like to be touched. Every single person is different when it comes to what turns them on and get them off. Knowing what feels good for you helps you become more confident sexually. When you are more self-confident, you are more likely to be able to talk to your partner about what you like and don't like. Communication with your partner lets them know exactly what feels best, which in turn increases your pleasure during partner sex.
Masturbating helps strengthen your relationship.
In addition to being incredibly intimate, mutual masturbation teaches you what your partner likes. By watching one another, you learn exactly how and when to stroke just like so. As an added bonus, masturbating together is a practical alternative to intercourse. Try it when:
- Time is short. Many people orgasm more quickly on their own. Try masturbating together when there’s limited time...or you really just want to get to sleep.
- You aren’t a fan of period sex. Not that there's anything wrong with period sex!
- One of you is too tired/achy/stressed. Or any other time intercourse feels like “too much work".
Masturbating helps you be more sexually responsive.
It's the best time to switch things up. There’s no judgment and if something embarrassing happens, no one else has to know! Change your position or technique, experiment with different personal lubricants, and use different luxury sex toys. Doing this teaches your body that there are a variety of ways to feel pleasure and reach your climax.
Masturbation is always available.
Even if a partner is not!
Women are more likely to orgasm during masturbation.
Many of the health benefits related to masturbation are a result of the hormones that get released during and after orgasm. Women are more likely to orgasm while masturbating than during intercourse because they give themselves the stimulation they need and love. This means means that they are also more likely to experience all the orgasm-associated benefits.
Masturbation helps you have stronger orgasms...and stay harder longer.
As explained in the Science of Orgasms, an orgasm is really just a series of super fast muscle contractions. By having more orgasms, including those during masturbation, you continue to strengthen those muscles. This, in turn, helps you have stronger muscles. If you have a penis, it also helps ward off erectile dysfunction.
Masturbation helps you stay harder longer.
Penis or not, masturbating is the perfect time to practice the Stop-Start technique (also known as Edging). To do this follow these 4 steps:
- Masturbate until you feel like you are about to orgasm.
- Stop and take a few deep breaths.
- Begin masturbating again.
- Repeat as many times as you’d like/have time for.
If you’re worried about climaxing too quickly, masturbating an hour or two before you have sex will help diffuse some tension.
Masturbation can be part of your health routine.
Think of it as the same way you would think of eating healthy, working out, or enhancing your communication skills. It isn’t a cure all for health or sexual issues, but masturbation feels pretty good and it certainly won’t hurt you! It also means that if you chose not to masturbate, that’s totally ok too -- there are other ways to gain these benefits and continue living a sexually healthy life.
Written by Kait Scalisi, MPH, Director of Education and Training, My Secret Luxury