Literal self-love is an essential part of self-care. And aside from being seriously fun, it provides some major health benefits, too; here are some of the bennies that come along with giving yourself an orgasm.
There has never been a better time to masturbate. There’s so much focus on and awareness about pleasure and orgasm right now, and to say we’re excited about it is the understatement of the century.
Women are more comfortable than ever talking about turn-ons and turn-offs and experiencing their own bodies and taking care of them. So here’s a friendly reminder: Self-love isself-care. And it’s high time for some self-love.
If you’re not already masturbating, take this as a call to arms: Get to it! There are so many reasons to go do you, and the first and best reason is that it feels really, really supremely good.
Spend time getting to know what you like and what works and what results in all the feels and, hopefully, eventually, an orgasm. Not that you have to—take all the time you want stroking yourself with no goal in sight, as long as it feels great. This is not so you can go make a partner happy, this is for you. Because as every sex expert says, every time anyone brings up orgasm, the vast majority of women don’t get there from penetration alone. So it’s a good idea to learn how you personally get there.
Once you’ve perfected what sends you over the edge, it will be easier to replicate in real time with someone else in the bed, should you so desire. You can either teach them your tricks (what’s hotter than communication?), or you can work your skills while they watch, or otherwise participate—hand over your sex toy of choice. Whatever works!
But first, it’s time to get busy—alone. If you’re already masturbating—and chances are you might be, because five out of ten adult women do—take this as inspiration to do it even more. Beyond feeling great, masturbating is actually good for you, both mentally and physically.
There’s bona fide scientific data to back up that it relieves stress, among other fab benefits. And all that with zero health risk! It’s kind of like a wonder wellness boost you should add to your life as much as you want to. It’s certainly more enjoyable and relaxing than green juice! (No offense to green juice.)
And while you’re at it, try chatting with your friends about it. You might learn a thing or two.
The health benefits of masturbation
The benefits of masturbation, like sex, are no joke fantastic—both mentally as well as physically. What’s better than knowing something fabulous is also medically recommended? It’s kind of like how red wine has antioxidants: hell yes.
The basic deal is orgasms cause your body to release a bunch of hormones, including oxytocin, the “love” hormone. These reduce all kinds of bad-for-you things in your body, including lowering cortisol, a notorious stress hormone, which has been linked to weight-loss issues, inflammation, stress eating, insomnia…you name it, cortisol seems to be to blame. But give yourself an orgasm to combat that cortisol and then you’re more than chill, you’re healthier. Here are some of the many ways masturbation can benefit your health.
A little sexual tension can be, well, sexy. But tension overall isn’t good for you, especially if there is no way to get rid of it.
Orgasms have been linked to lower blood pressure and lower risk of heart disease. Masturbation probably won’t beneficially raise your heart rate as much as going for a run or even an energetic romp with a partner, but both help your heart. Win-win.
You’re getting sleepy…
There are plenty of people who pop off to sleep, literally, using masturbation like natural Ambien. Awake and stressed at night? Do you, then get back to sleep. After orgasm, a hormone called prolactin is released, which makes you tired. Even if you’re not headed directly to ZZZs, prolactin is proven to trigger relaxation.
Privacy can be revealing
According to the Center for Sexual Health, only 64 percent of women reported having had an orgasm at their last sexual encounter. When you’re alone, you’re in charge of upping that statistic. Also, according to the Kinsey Institute, up to 70 percent of women need clitoral stimulation to orgasm. Again, when you’re alone, this is much easier to attend to. It bears repeating when you’re comfortable with and feeling confident about your body and how it functions, this can translate well to when you’re with a partner.
Boost your immune system
Research has shown that people who orgasm regularly take less sick days. This is precisely why masturbation should be considered a critical part of a wellness routine. Speaking of work, studies even show that a “wank break” (instead of a smoke break) at work can increase your focus. Not that we’re encouraging you to get it on with yourself in the communal bathrooms, but, still, good to know.
Do you get cramps? Try masturbating. There are hormones orgasm releases that basically raise your pain threshold. This means it can help more than cramps. Give it a whirl for a headache. Studies have shown that stimulation—even without orgasm— can help block both back and leg pain.
Research shows playing with yourself raises the capacity for more orgasms thanks to increased lubrication and blood flow. Depending on what toys you use, if any, you may also be boosting elasticity. But sexuality is more than physical; it’s also mental. The more you masturbate, the more you think about sex (even solo sex), the more you’re going to want it. All of this makes the experience better—alone or with a partner.
Orgasm can strengthen your muscle tone—in both the pelvic and anal areas. It also makes you mentally fit, as in it can increase your self-esteem and up your body image. Feeling toned and hot, in turn, make you more interested in sex.
There is nothing not to love about unlimited pleasure with zero risk of STIs or pregnancy. Bring it on.
Excerpted from Get on Top of Your Pleasure, Sexuality & Wellness: A Vagina Revolution. Copyright © 2018 by Meika Hollender by permission of Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.