Top 10 List: Reasons to Masturbate
Hello again. I know. I've been talking a lot about masturbation this month. Guess what? I'm going to keep talking about masturbation! This week, instead of busting myths of why we shouldn't masturbate, I'll just go ahead and compile a top 10 list of reasons masturbation is so great (in David Letterman style). Some of these reasons I may have already touched upon in earlier weeks of my "Masturbation Month" writings, but that's just because there are so many good reasons it's hard to keep track of them all! In any case, this will be a handy list for you to share with any friend in need of masturbation validation.
Without further ado, top 10 reasons to masturbate!
10) Masturbation can help treat insomnia.
Orgasms release oxytocin, an "intimacy" hormone. This hormone is very soothing and promotes better sleep. Masturbating to orgasm while in bed with lights out (electric lights can also keep you up at night) is a nice tension-relieving activity filling you with wonderful relaxing hormones that send you off into dreamland.
9) Masturbation is good for your health.
In addition to helping you sleep—which is also good for your health—masturbation has medical benefits.
For men, frequent ejaculation (at least five times per week), has been correlated with lower rates of prostate cancer. Clearing out those pipes seems to be a very good thing. Similarly, women benefit from clearing out those pipes too, as masturbation and orgasms have been linked to lower rates of cervical infections.
Basically, a woman's cervix opens or "tents" during orgasm which stretches the cervical mucous which in turn creates higher acidy, and finally, this acidity promotes "friendly" bacteria. Additionally, the fluids that are flushed-out are also flushing out the not-so-friendly bacteria.
While cleaning out the pipes seems like medical reason enough to self-inspire orgasms, that's not the only health benefit. Frequent orgasms are also correlated to better circulation, better resistance to heart disease, and lower rates of type 2 diabetes. Of course, correlation is not causation, so this may also just mean that those with better cardiovascular health are simply able to have more orgasms. If that's the case, giving yourself orgasms regularly can be a great way of testing your cardiovascular health! (Please don't substitute regular doctor's office visits with masturbation, though.)
Finally, masturbating to orgasm while menstruating can lower a woman's risk of endometriosis.
8) Masturbation is good for your mood and for your self-esteem.
Dopamine and epinephrine are mood-elevating hormones that are released during the arousal phase and during the build-up toward climax. After climax, oxytocin, while it may help us sleep, also provides feelings of pleasure.
Furthermore, women who masturbate report higher levels of self-esteem. Masturbating is another way of providing time and space for self-love and self-nurture. Again, we may run into the chicken and egg quandary—does higher self-esteem give us permission to self-love or does carving out this kind of time for ourselves foster higher self-esteem? Or perhaps it's the realization that we have the power to bring so much pleasure to ourselves that engenders this self-confidence.
7) Masturbation is good for our partnered sex lives.
Women who masturbate report higher rates of orgasmic sex with partners. There can be several reasons for this. It can simply be related to lower inhibition leading to higher orgasms. However, one thing is for sure, if we know our own bodies responses on a sexually intimate level, we can more effectively guide our sexual partners to achieve these same pleasurable responses. This is true for all genders.
6) Masturbation increases the frequency and intensity of our arousal. (AKA It increases our "libido.")
When we have an orgasm, our pelvic floor muscles contract and pulse. The contractions tone these muscles, priming us for stronger and easier orgasmic contractions in the future.
Think of orgasms as pull-ups. OK, that may be a difficult comparison to imagine, but the point is that these muscles get stronger and easier to use. Stronger pelvic floor muscles not only lead to stronger orgasms, but firmer erections, too.
And even before an orgasm, the arousing lead-up still creates increased blood flow. Regularly arousing one's self, in and of itself, can keep our heart-to-genitals blood flow nice and primed. Good blood flow also leads to firmer erections. I'm talking about penile and clitoral erections!
5) Mutual Masturbation is a great road map for your lover.
Remember how I was talking about how masturbation helps you learn your own body so that you can share that information with your partner? Well, mutual masturbation is a terrific way of demonstrating said info.
Not only can this be a sexy as heck activity in and of itself (it's like watching live porn!), but is also a great intimacy builder. Sharing ourselves on this level takes courage and trust, and in turn, engenders stronger bonds between us as lovers.
4) Masturbation is the safest form of sex.
Either alone or mutually with a partner, masturbation runs a very low risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. I refrain from saying "no risk" because someone always seems to find a loophole somewhere. Thus, if you and your partner are concerned with contracting or spreading STI's, mutual masturbation is a great way of sexually communing with minimal risk!
3) Masturbation can compensate for imbalances of sexual desire between partners.
It is not uncommon for sexual partners to have different levels of sexual desire at different times in their relationship. All else being equal, masturbation can be an effective method of compensating for these differences.
And I preface it with "all else being equal" because sometimes different levels of desire can be indicative of other relationship dynamics. This is for you and/or a couple's therapist to decide. If you're otherwise happy in your relationship, masturbation can bridge the desire gap.
2) Masturbation can keep the juices flowing between lovers in long-distance relationships.
I had always found phone sex to be an inferior stand-in for "real sex" until a long distance relationship found my partner and I having phone sex on the regular. It was during these hot sessions that I learned that phone sex is its own particular pleasure to be experienced. My lover and I were able to immerse ourselves into mind-blowing fantasy sex by the verbal narratives we created for each other. The kind of sex that defies physics that we would in no way be able to recreate live. Really, this deserves it's own article.
The point being, touching yourself comes in real handy during these steamy over the phone conversations and keeps that sexual fire burning while you're physically far apart. Skype sex is a whole other approach. Discover your desire to perform! Enjoy the personalized show!
And drum roll please...
1) The number one reason to masturbate is because it feels good!
Need more be said?
Ally Booker is a pleasure activist. She is passionate about educating herself and others on cool sexuality related things like communication skills, creating and respecting boundaries, sexual self-determination, destigmatization, gender and sexual expressions, sex toy use and safety, and all the other mechanics of pleasure. You can often find her milling around her Tucson shop, Jellywink Boutique, 418 E. 7th St. Contact the shop at 777-9434 or AllyBooker@Jellywink.com.