Masturbation is largely overlooked as a form of self-care and has numerous benefits your physical and emotional health. It’s free and has few, if any, negative side effects. There are a number of myths surrounding masturbation (including that it causes blindness and hairy palms), but they have all been disproven and have no basis in medical or scientific fact. Many people experience shame and guilt when it comes to masturbation, which makes them hesitant to openly practice or talk about it, but overcoming these societal stigmas can positively support your physical, mental and interpersonal well-being.
Solo play is completely normal. 80% of females masturbate at least once a month, and as many as 49% do so at least once a week. There is a multitude of positive reasons to masturbate. Self-pleasure helps satisfy sexual arousal, relieves stress and tension, and increases many people’s sense of well-being. Some masturbate because it helps them sleep better, others are exploring their body, and some are on a mission for the best orgasm. Whatever your reason, masturbating is not something to be ashamed of. It’s a natural part of being human. When we take our pleasure into our own hands (quite literally), we’re also taking charge of our overall health.
MASTURBATION AND YOUR HEALTH
Safely Explore Sexual Desires
You are in control when masturbating. Self-pleasure provides a no-pressure scenario in which you can explore your fantasies, experiment with new kinds of stimulation, and learn exactly what it is you enjoy, and equally as important, what you don’t. When you know this about yourself, you can effectively communicate your turn-ons (and offs) to a sexual partner for better sex.
Everybody’s anatomy is different, so there is no “one size fits all” approach to fulfilling sex. Masturbating is the best way to get to know your unique anatomy, and how to engage with it to have greater pleasurable experiences. The same is true for masturbating with sex toys. The more experience you have with your tool(s) of choice, the more confidently you can employ them during partnered sex.
Boost Your Brainpower
Researchers at Rutgers University began recording MRIs of women having orgasms in the mid-2000s. Here’s what they saw: a symphony of blood, oxygen, and neurotransmitters light up nearly every region of the brain as the subject approached and achieved climax during self-stimulation. The researchers also found that the region of the brain that responds to painful stimuli is the same region that responds to pleasure.
These findings have promising implications for how doctors may be able to treat patients suffering from chronic pain in the future. Masturbation is a natural painkiller because it releases a host of happy hormones, including dopamine and endorphins, which help to regulate experiences of pain and stress. Bad day at the office? Instead of binge-watching an entire season of your favorite show, try masturbating.
Improve Vaginal Health
Changes in vaginal health and therefore sexual desire can be attributed to a number of common life circumstances, including aging, stress, and disease. Vaginal dryness or weak pelvic muscles can cause pain during sex, which can create a self-perpetuating cycle of disinterest and lack of sexual fulfillment for you and your partner.
The most accessible treatment for many of these common ailments is, you guessed it, masturbation. People with vaginas who masturbate regularly report increased vaginal lubrication and have an easier time becoming aroused. Remember those happy hormones? The more you trigger them, the more you’ll want to engage in the activities that released them—masturbation!—and hopefully, that’s all the more “happy hormones” you’ll receive. The vaginal and uterine muscle contractions that occur during orgasm can help tone weak pelvic floor muscles, which not only makes penetrative sex more pleasurable but can also help stem incontinence.
But masturbation benefits more than our physical health, it also does wonders to boost our self-confidence.
SELF PLEASURE AND BODY IMAGE
Body positivity encapsulates acceptance; translating the love you have for yourself into self-care i.e. getting enough sleep, drinking water, making good decisions for your body and emotional state. While we wade through the constant flow of media designed to profit off our negative self-worth, one of the best ways to find that personal connection with yourself and your body is through masturbation.
Embracing self-pleasure brings about the symbiotic stasis of body positivity
If you make yourself feel good, your brain will reward you, and you will begin to create new neural connections, making it easier to exist in a state of self-acceptance and self-love. In the same vein of how body positivity started, (if you see yourself represented, you will believe in yourself), pleasure raises a loving flag and encourages the body to seek out more.
In our recent study on Female Sexual Pleasure, we found that only 30% of women are comfortable with their body and sexuality. Masturbation releases an incredible amount of dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin (the love and bonding hormone); connecting the mental you to the physical you. By giving yourself pleasure, you’re telling yourself that you deserve to feel pleasure, and that is interchangeable from how you treat yourself in private to how you represent yourself in public.
Body positivity is transferable
Being body positive means allowing it to live in our day-to-day, not just when we are naked or considering the current state of our bodies. Solo play, literally, puts the power in your hands to figure out what you like, don't like, want more of, and how; providing you with the agency to have the sex you want to be having. This translates to feeling more comfortable when you’re making decisions about your body day-to-day. Body positivity often has nothing to do with our physical state, but how we speak, represent, and treat ourselves. Simply: If you can get yourself off, you can for sure tell your doctor you’d like a second opinion, or ask a boss for a raise.
Erotic self-exploration promotes greater communication about your pleasure wants and needs. Only 54% of participants in our Female Sexual Pleasure study reported that they enjoy sex with their partner. Communication is key to having great sex, but we need to know our pleasure points in order to build on that. Prioritizing pleasure nourishes autonomy providing a healthier relationship with ourselves and with the people, we’re playing with.
Solo Play and Adult Toys
When it comes to pleasure, especially solo play, adult toys are a great addition. They can help you explore the types of stimulation you enjoy, and some products, like Osé, can even help you understand your anatomy. Osé is designed to help you achieve a blended orgasm. Made up of simultaneous clitoral and G-spot orgasms, the blended orgasm is often referred to as the holy grail of orgasms. Most of us are familiar with our clitoris (you can learn more about this powerful source of pleasure here), but our G-spot can be a bit tricky to pinpoint. When searching for your G-spot, be patient and keep at it; our internal anatomies are just as unique as our external. Designed to mimic the human mouth, tongue, and fingers, Osé is also completely customizable. Meaning, that beyond just getting a perfect fit, you’re able to explore the exact sensations that get you off.
Learning about our bodies is empowering. We can better articulate to our partners what we enjoy while taking our pleasure into our own hands. So, whether it’s with your hands, a toy or even with a partner, self-pleasure is an enjoyable, healthy and natural expression of our sexual selves and an intrinsic part of being human.