May is Masturbation Month in the United States. This month just wouldn’t be complete without delving more into this subject.
Masturbation is defined as the stimulation or manipulation of one’s own genitals, especially to reach orgasm. Even though masturbation has been found in all societies, regardless of cultural attitudes and values, there’s still a lot of negative connotations around it. Solo pleasure may take more than giving ourselves permission to overcome our guilt, shame or embarrassment around self-pleasuring.
Hence, I’d like to begin demystifying this sexual act by sharing some benefits of masturbation:
- It’s safe: Medical science has debunked many myths formally associated with masturbation, such as hair growing on the palms, insanity, or drained energy. It’s a safe sexual alternative for those of us who wish to avoid pregnancy and the dangers of sexually transmitted infections.
- It feels soothing: When we masturbate, the body releases dopamine, more commonly known as the “feel-good” hormone. Solo sex helps boost our sense of well-being.
- It releases tension: Masturbation releases bodily tension, including premenstrual tension for many women.
- It makes sleep better: Self-soothing is one great way to end a hard and stressful day at work. After we reach orgasm, the body also produces oxytocin and endorphins, making us feel calm and sleepy.
- It works the heart: Masturbation improves cardiovascular health and helps prevent type-2 diabetes. Orgasms provide the gentle workout our body needs to stay healthy.
- It boosts immunity: Studies have shown that men who masturbate until orgasm have a bigger number of leukocytes, our bodies’ natural defenders against infectious disease. Ejaculation also increases levels of the hormone cortisol, which also has a positive effect on health.
- It encourages blood flow: Masturbation keeps our blood flow to the genitals at healthy levels. This way, we will enjoy stronger and more powerful orgasms in time. Additionally, it strengthens muscle tone in the anal and pelvic areas. Therefore, masturbation helps prevent erectile dysfunction and incontinence in men and involuntary urine leakages and uterine prolapse problems in women.
- It reduces the risk of prostate cancer: Scientific evidence suggest that masturbation may aid men in clearing carcinogens from the prostate. These are the toxins in our urogenital tract that can be flushed away only by ejaculation.
- It helps us become comfortable with our sexuality: Masturbation can help teach us about how our genitals feel and look. In getting to know our body and exploring what we really like, we can increase our chances of feeling sexual pleasure in bed. As such, masturbation builds our confidence and comfort level for when we are sexual with somebody else.
- It is the start of love: Self-pleasuring helps us return to nurturing ourselves in a deep way. It reminds us of our need for self-acceptance and self-love. This, in turn, it can help us gain confidence in our ability to attain sexual fulfillment when relating with our partners.
- It relieves post-menopausal pains: During menopause, the drop in estrogen levels reduces the amount of moisture available. One good way to boost our blood flow and increase sexual desire is to masturbate using an organic lubricant.
- It’s an opportunity to meditate: We can begin masturbation and use sensation as well as pleasure to enter into a deep meditative state. In combining masturbation and meditation, we can easily enter and sustain a state of joyful bliss.
- It feels good: Above and beyond the above, why do anything if it doesn’t feel good? In giving ourselves the gift of time and the pleasure of sensation in our body, we can feel vibrant, joyful and alive.
To me, masturbation has many more layers of meaning and it can cultivate and stimulate sexual energy. Enjoying sexual pleasure is a key part of our human experience and masturbation can be the first step we make to accept and feel our bodies. Happy Masturbation Month!
Author: Martha Lee
Editor: Evan Yerburgh