By Tawney Seren
Masturbation is a topic that is often still thought of as taboo or approached with criticism. Despite how healthy and normal masturbating is, it can be hard to pry yourself away from the misconceptions around this sexual act and see the benefits that playing with yourself can bring. So whether you’re looking to start your ‘self-sexploration’ or are already a seasoned player, let’s learn about the benefits of masturbation on your mental health!
Common Misconceptions and Myths About Masturbation
Before we talk about the benefits of masturbation for mental health, we must first destroy some common misconceptions about playing with ourselves. Some of these myths have been said to deter others from masturbation, and we have to ensure they are not weighing on our mind during play.
Before we attack one of the largest misconceptions about masturbating, let’s take these things off the table. There is no science to back up claims of blindness, hairy palms, penis shrinkage, erectile dysfunction, infertility, or physical weakness that accommodate the act of masturbation.
Those who masturbate in a relationship are less satisfied with sex...
Incorrect! Research has shown that those who masturbate in relationships have reported higher levels of satisfaction with their partner. It is believed that this can be due to a better understanding of what they want to obtain in regards to pleasure and communication in the bedroom. If you aren’t sure what you enjoy, it is difficult to tell someone what you need.
Mental Health Benefits of Masturbation
It makes your brain feel good
Yes, I know this is a given, but it’s scientifically proven! Masturbation releases dopamine and oxytocin that will activate your ‘yay I did a good job’ reward circuits in your brain. It plunges you into a euphoria that, during times of stress, can do wonders to alleviate your mood. So next time you’re feeling down in the dumps, spend some quality time with yourself!
Masturbation assists with sleep
There is no arguing that better sleep equals a better mental state. We must have sleep in order to operate and masturbation is a quick and pleasurable way to help us achieve slumber. This is said to be due to the release of endorphins after orgasm. This is why we often feel like rolling over, curling up, and jumping into dreamland after sex or playing with ourselves. Before reaching for the melatonin, grab your favorite lube instead!
It’s good for your body
Aside from the release of endorphins, masturbating will get your heart rate up and blood flowing! Our physical health directly correlates with our mental health as poor physical health can lead to an increased risk of mental health problems. If you’re feeling restless and full of energy, it can help to burn some of that energy up with masturbation! Good for your body, good for your mind.
There are several studies that suggest that those with a vagina who experience more orgasms have a greater chance at prevention against type-2 diabetes and coronary heart disease. For those with penises, masturbation may help lower risk of prostate cancer.
It’s a safe place
Sexual trauma can make it difficult to trust others with your pleasure and body. Masturbation allows for a private and safe time to explore your body at your own pace and how you desire. You do not have to worry about things like STIs, pregnancy, or the actions of the other parties involved. It’s just about you and your body. Some people with sexual trauma have reported masturbation assisting with their comfort around sex and mental state regarding sexual activities.
Do whatever you need to make this the perfect moment with yourself. Whether that’s locking a door and closing the windows, or lighting a candle and jumping in the bath… this is about your time with yourself. Explore as slow or as fast as you want without any judgment or rules.
Boosts confidence and your view of your body
Growing through self awareness is a very real thing. When we are spending time with ourselves without the eyes and judgment of others, we eliminate the worries within our mind that rise with these experiences. We aren’t thinking about whether or not we are doing something ‘well enough’ or what our face and body look like. (I have a unique ‘o’ face, so I feel this struggle) We have more of an opportunity to leave these insecurities at the door and take advantage of the privacy and time with ourselves.
We are able to navigate and experiment with new things we otherwise may not have the courage to try with a partner. During this time with ourselves we can find out what we love and dislike. Finding our confidence in our beautiful bodies and what they can do assists with vocalizing and discovering what we want and deserve with others.
Things to Remember…
Although masturbation can be fantastic for your mental health, it’s important to be gentle with yourself. Some of us experience bouts with depression and anxiety and that can make it near impossible to want to touch ourselves or strip us of our libido. The choice to masturbate is always up to you and the amount you choose to do, or not do it, is your business. Masturbation is meant to be a comfortable action that you share with yourself, so if you do not desire it, do not beat yourself up for that.
There are also instances where you may feel guilt after masturbation due to societal standards, religion, or something else entirely. In these cases, it can be helpful to educate yourself further about the benefits of masturbation and remember it’s healthy and normal.
I wish you the happiest of self-sexplorations!
Whether you’ve masturbated a great many times before or not at all, I hope this has helped to shed light on the mental health benefits of playing with yourself. So grab a toy, lube, or your hands and enjoy! Remember, masturbation is your own private time with yourself and is healthy for both your body and your mind. There is no need to feel ashamed or anxiety over the act of self pleasure and self love.