While it used to taboo, female masturbation is finally becoming a more normal topic.
In honour of May -- International Masturbation Month -- let's look at some of the phenomenal benefits masturbation has to offer.
11 Benefits of Masturbation
1. Stress Relief
Reaching orgasm requires a state of focus and calmness, meaning any stressful thoughts are pushed out of your mind. Between erasing these thoughts and experiencing waves of pleasure, masturbation can help shift the focus away from any issues or concerns that are causing you stress.
While there isn't necessarily concrete scientific-proof behind this, I think we can all agree that any kind of sexual pleasure -- whether it results in an orgasm or not -- is a great way of temporarily ridding your mind of stress.
2. Mood Boost
As a result of relieving stress, masturbation can also deliver an excellent mood boost. Further, it is a generally accepted medical fact that having an orgasm releases endorphins -- powerful feel-good neurotransmitters -- that can help temporarily decrease stress.
3. Possible Sleep Aid
Having an orgasm can help make you feel calm, tired, blissful, and relaxed, making it a potential way to help fall asleep.
During masturbation, the body undergoes several stages, each with different physiological changes. In the first phase, the heart rate climbs and breathing gets faster, the clitoris becomes engorged, and muscles tense up in preparation for release. These changes continue to ramp up as you near orgasm.
Upon reaching orgasm, all the pent-up tension gets released and your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing are at their peak. No wonder the next phase may result in feeling a bit fatigued!
4. Increased Sexual Confidence and Self-Assuredness
There's still a certain degree of stigmatisation when it comes to female self-pleasure. This can translate into feelings of guilt and shame when it comes to a woman's sexuality and her body. Masturbation offers the benefit of moving past this shame. We are sexual beings. It's time to embrace it!
5. Libido Boost
Likely, the more a woman stimulates herself, the more she'll want to be stimulated. Talk about a wonderful cycle!
This can be helpful knowledge for women, as some of us will experience low libido at some point in our lives. While low libido can have a wide variety of causes, from depression to pain during sex to chronic illness, masturbation can be a wonderful way to stay sexually connected to yourself.
Of course, it is important to talk with your doctor if you are experiencing low libido, but in the meantime, stimulating yourself might be a great way to help awaken your sexuality and make your body crave more.
6. Increased Desire For Your Partner
Similar to the cycle above, once you feed your libido, it will probably want more. This means stimulating yourself may lead to an increase in the desire for your partner, meaning the quality and the quantity of your sex life may increase.
Masturbation also helps increase your self-awareness and sexual confidence, making it easier to give your partner clear, confident cues such as:
I like my clit rubbed quickly and firmly in circles, but not sucked
I love being spanked
I don't like my hair pulled
I like my clitoris touched to get warmed-up before penetration
Go as deep as you can
Please start slow and don't go too deep or hard at first
I'd love to watch some porn together first
I love when you watch me touch myself
I want to watch you touch yourself
Go faster...go slower...go harder...go deeper, etc.
I love being on all fours (or on top, standing up, etc.)
And any and all variations of these! It's so important to feel comfortable and confident in expressing your needs and desires. If you aren't there yet, it's okay! With commitment and practice, I know you'll get there!
7. Masturbation Can Work the Muscles of Your Pelvic Floor
Your pelvic floor is an extremely important group of muscles that support internal organs such as your uterus and bladder. A strong pelvic floor offers a host of benefits, including helping you avoid leaking pee when you cough, laugh, or sneeze, especially if you have had a baby.
Just like other muscles in your body, the pelvic floor responds to strengthening exercises. Most of us have heard of Kegels, but a new paper in the Journal of Women's Health, Issues, and Care suggests that the female orgasm serves to tone and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
During orgasm, the pelvic floor muscles contract, making an orgasm a brief burst of exercise for your pelvic floor muscles. And, unlike Kegels, there is no need to wonder if you did an orgasm right or wrong!
8. Butt and Thigh Workout
While masturbation won't compare to or replace a leg and glute session at the gym, it may provide a bit of a mini-workout for your thighs and butt.
Since the sexual response cycle involves tensing of the muscles as you build up to and achieve orgasm, it is a natural way to engage the muscles in your inner thighs and butt as you stimulate yourself and work toward getting off. Talk about a fun workout session!
9. More Comfortable Menopause
While most women have heard of menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, menopause can have vaginal effects as well.
During menopause, the ovaries produce less estrogen and progesterone, halting the menstrual cycle. Once this happens for a full year, a woman has officially entered menopause. Procedures such as a hysterectomy or cancer treatment can also initiate menopause.
Along with regulating the menstrual cycle, estrogen also plays a role in vaginal lubrication, meaning lower estrogen levels could lead to a vagina that is drier. This decrease in natural lubrication can lead to discomfort during sex.
There are a variety of treatments to address this, making it important to speak with your doctor. However, if it sounds potentially enjoyable to you, masturbation may be a great way to counteract some of the effects of menopause by increasing blood flow to the vagina and promoting lubrication.
10. Menstrual Cramp Relief
Period cramps have you longing for the couch? You might want to try masturbating first since having an orgasm can actually help temporarily relieve menstrual cramps.
How? When you have your period, hormone-like chemicals called prostaglandins prompt contractions in your uterus to get rid of any endometrial lining that built up to support a potential pregnancy. These contractions can be painful, resulting in what we know as menstrual cramps.
Here's where the power of masturbation comes in by releasing feel-good neurotransmitters to help relieve stress and pain. This can help lessen the severity of your cramps, maybe even significantly!
11. Multiple Orgasms
Why have one orgasm when you can have two? This is where masturbation comes in. If you have one orgasm, there's a high chance you can have another one soon.
When you consider the sexual response cycle, the fourth phase involves your body returning to normal functioning. At this point, you can continue on with your day... or go for round two!
While the penis requires a specific recovery time -- known as a refractory period -- before reaching orgasm again, women are able to experience another orgasm a lot quicker. The time varies from woman to woman, so it's worth experimenting to see how your body responds.
For some women, they can go for round two almost immediately. For others, it may take a bit more time. Either scenario is totally normal!
Are You Ready?
Whether you use your fingers, your favorite sex toy, or enlist the help of your partner, masturbation is a wonderful way to experience pleasure and deepen your connection to your body.