Masturbation isn’t only a source of pleasure – it’s a form of physical and mental therapy that keeps you in good health.
You’ll go blind, lose your strength, or grow hair on the palms of your hands. Those are just a few of the myths people used to tell about masturbation and health. Of course, most of us don’t need medical science to tell us those just aren’t true. What science does say about masturbation, however, is that it has a whole bunch of benefits for both men and women. Here’s how a little self play can keep the doctor away.
The Benefits Are Nothing New
Got your masturbation prescription? Despite all the admonitions against it, it seems that doctors knew that a little five-finger fun was good for our health … or at least women‘s health. In the 19th century and earlier, women could visit the doctor or midwife for a nice, relaxing genital stimulation session to treat their “hysteria”. And we should be thankful, because that era led to a lot of developments in vibrator technology to save those poor doctors from repetitive strain injury! (Read more about the history of vibrators in Vibrators: Bigger and Generating More Buzz Than Ever.)
It’s Good for Your Body
Whether you’re male or female, masturbation is a fun way to stay in shape. It keeps your pelvic muscles in good condition, which in turn helps you avoid incontinence as well as enjoy more powerful orgasms. (Learn more about the importance of the pelvic muscles in For Better Orgasms, Flex This Muscle.)
For men, regular masturbation can make for stronger erections, and may help prevent prostate cancer. For women, it can alleviate menstrual cramps and speed up recovery from urinary tract infections.
Paying yourself some sexual attention also helps to boost your immune system and keeps you in good physical shape. It’s a form of exercise! Plus, the muscle relaxation you feel after an orgasm can help with short-term aches and pains, while the longer-term benefits include lowering your heart rate and blood pressure.
Masturbation and orgasm both burn calories, and the phenethylamine that floods into your bloodstream when you orgasm is an appetite suppressant, so it can even help you stay slim.
“The Masturbation Diet” – now there’s a plan more people would be likely to stick to!
It’s Good for Your Brain
Can’t sleep? Start playing. A survey by JimmyJane found that 32 percent of women do. Putting in a little selfy time not only relaxes your muscles and warms your body, it also sparks the release of your nervous system’s happy chemicals like dopamine and oxytocin. That means it’s a great natural way to beat insomnia – and get your beauty sleep.
If you’re feeling stressed or depressed, some self-love might be just what the doctor ordered. Along with the mood-boosting effects of dopamine and oxytocin, the endorphins you release when you orgasm help to fight depression and anxiety.
It’s Definitely Good for Your Sex Life
You’re here because you care about your sex life, right? Well, you’ll be pleased to know that masturbation increases your orgasmic potential and actually makes you more attractive! Some of that attraction is hormonal, but the circulation boost you get when you masturbate will also give your skin a natural, healthy glow. In other words, it’ll make you look awesome. Of course, that big smile on your face helps too.
For men, regular masturbation helps maintain a healthy hard-on and can even help men learn to prolong sex (something ladies really appreciate).
For women, masturbation makes orgasmic sex more achievable and boosts body confidence. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that 43 percent of Americanwomen experience some degree of sexual dysfunction. When you look at it that way, it’s a tragedy that more women aren’t discovering and experimenting with their bodies. (Read more about how masturbation can help sexual response in 10 Things You Don’t Know About Self Love.)
The Bottom Line on the Big M
The idea of touching ourselves carries a lot of baggage. Maybe some people have told you it’s harmful, or shameful or just plain wrong. Science says the opposite. It’s good for your body, your brain and your sex life and it’s side effect free. If there was a pill that could do all that we’d all be buying it. The good news is, you don’t even have to.
Tell us how you feel masturbation has helped you stay healthy and happy!
Sophie Lizard writes about sex, science, social media and a whole bunch of other stuff in her career as a freelance blogger and copywriter.