Why Masturbation is Important According to Experts
Masturbation is natural, healthy, and good for you. Unfortunately, too many of us got the message at some point in life that we should hide our habit or feel guilty when we do it. From your overall health to the state of your sex life and sexual pleasure, masturbation has an important place in many people’s lives.
Here’s what the experts have to say about it.
Get to Know Yourself
Masturbation is about pleasure, sure, but it also gives you greater insight into yourself. According to sex coach Suzannah Weiss, masturbation “helps you get to know your body. Once you know how you like to be touched, you can tell (or even show) a partner.”
Marriage therapist Nicole Arzt agrees. “I see so many individuals and couples who struggle to express their sexual needs to their partners. This is often because they don’t know their needs or desires in the first place! Masturbation helps you figure out what you like most, and you can share this insight with your partner. This can naturally boost your sex life.”
Set Better Boundaries
Marriage therapist Julia Alperovich acknowledges the “get to know yourself” benefits of masturbation but shares an added benefit. “Masturbation allows you to set boundaries with sexual partners around things you don’t like or want. In learning about how one’s body experiences pleasure, you can enjoy partnered physical intimacy more by knowing exactly how to direct your partners.”
“Once you know you can rely on yourself to give yourself pleasure, you won’t settle for partners who aren’t meeting your needs in the bedroom (or who are but are lacking in other areas),” says Weiss.
Get Out of Your Head
“You can use masturbation to help get out of your head and into your body,” states Weiss. “Sex with a partner comes with lots of pressure for some people, so it may be hard to just focus on what’s going on in your body. But if you can practice mindful masturbation, you can get better at practicing mindfulness during sex.”
Being more present for sex with yourself or a partner makes the entire experience better. Masturbating could be the boost your sex life needs — on multiple levels.
Good for Your Health
“Orgasms, and even just pleasure, can help with stress relief, sleep, skin, and overall health,” states Weiss. Arzt agrees. “Masturbation can be a natural sleep aid. Orgasms release prolactin, which is associated with relaxation and sleep.”
Alperovich adds, “When someone rarely looks at or touches their genitals, they may be unaware of a potential infection, pelvic pain disorder, or other problem. Masturbation can potentially help someone detect an issue sooner rather than later. In men, studies have shown that regular ejaculations actually help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. To be clear, they do not prevent cancer. But if an orgasm can help lower the risk, why not?”
She continues, “Masturbation stimulates our body to release various hormones (i.e. prolactin, endorphins, oxytocin, dopamine) which offer benefits such as mood regulation, aiding with sleep, pain relief, stress reduction, relaxation, and boosting the immune system. It’s healthy to engage in activities that stimulate the production of these hormones on a regular basis for mental health, and masturbation is one of many ways to do this.”
Build Another Kind of Self Love
Yes, yes, we know, masturbation is literal self-love. But intentional masturbation takes it to a new level. Arzt states, “Sexual satisfaction shouldn’t just be about what you do with a partner. It’s powerful to learn how to give yourself pleasure. It’s a sign of self-compassion and self-love.”
Sex coach Sarrah Rose of Tantric Activation agrees. “Many people masturbate in a very disassociated way and use it as a means to escape rather than to better their current reality. Masturbating from a place of self-love and excitement about the pleasure that you can bring to your body is a much healthier mindset. It’s also very empowering to know that the source of your pleasure is in your own hands and that you aren’t dependent on someone else to provide pleasure for you.”
Does masturbation have to always be this serious? No. Doing it for fun or to relieve boredom is completely valid. But when you start feeling guilty for your solo sex habit or a partner tries to tell you it’s not good for you, refer back to this list. Masturbation is an important part of your sexual health and well-being. That it’s fun and feels good just makes it that much better!
Do you masturbate regularly? Have you experienced any of these effects? Let us know in the comments below!