During our teenage years, we suddenly found ourselves in an embarrassing predicament. With the onset of puberty, hormones were running rampant and our libido was skyrocketing, but where was the outlet for all this sexual tension? Well, masturbating, obviously.
But in most cultures, masturbation has consistently been viewed in a negative light, with parents shunning it and religion badmouthing it. If we were ever caught masturbating, it was seen as a punishable offense and one that would never be spoken of again. Masturbation became taboo — something that was laden with guilt and that you were ashamed of but had to do out of necessity.
As we mature into adults, most of us carry this notion of “masturbation as a crime” with us. Our need for it may be somewhat less urgent than in our teenage years, but it’s still there. But when it comes down to it, masturbation is a healthy, normal part of being a post-pubescent human, and it’s time to bring it out in the open and give it the credit it deserves.
Here are seven reasons to help you do just that.
It can improve your sex life
Contrary to popular belief, masturbation can actually improve your sexual relations with others. This is because it enables you to work out your hotspots — what gets you going, what doesn’t, and how to get the most out of pleasuring yourself. You can pass this on to your partner during sex, making the experience more enjoyable for both of you.
You’ll feel great
It’s a well-known fact that sex makes you feel good. Newsflash: so does masturbation! That’s because our bodies release a heady wave of dopamines, endorphins and oxytocin, all of which make you feel great and improve your mood. This influx of feel-good hormones helps to lower the feel-bad hormones swimming around in your body, specifically cortisol. Chronically elevated cortisol can have a strong detrimental effect in your body, increasing inflammation, feelings of anxiety and weight gain.
And you’d be hard-pressed to find a more enjoyable way to get rid of it!
Your waistline will thank you
Not only does masturbation keep the pounds at bay by fighting off elevated cortisol in your body, it also reduces your junk-food cravings. During and after masturbation, the inflow of oxytocin into our brains makes us feel happier and keeps emotionally triggered food cravings for sugar-rich or salt-rich foods away.
It promotes a healthy heart
We all know that exercise is good for your heart, but it turns out masturbation, similar to exercise, gets your heart pumping and your blood flowing. Done regularly, this significantly lowers your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
It helps you sleep
Happily, masturbation has the same effect as sex in dropping you into a gloriously deep sleep. It’s believed that this is due to the flood of endorphins produced during orgasm, which produces deeper sleep and can even help you get to sleep faster, as you’ll be more relaxed.
For men, it improves sperm health
Men will be universally pleased to know that frequent masturbation keeps your sperm production on top of its game. This is because regularly masturbating minimizes DNA damage to sperm and encourages good sperm motility.
Oh, and it lowers your risk of prostate cancer, too.
For women, it improves vaginal health
Orgasms from masturbation help keep your pelvic floor strong and healthy, helping to prevent urinary problems and promote general sexual health. If you have uncomfortable periods, muscle contractions from masturbating can help to relieve period cramps.
Part of who you are is being comfortable with masturbation and the benefits it can provide. Keep these benefits in mind next time you feel the misguided taboos of masturbation creeping in.
Liivi is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and is training to become a doula. She inspires women to find peace and personal power by taking control of health and fertility naturally. Liivi‘s passion is ancestral nutrition and primal lifestyle design. She and her partner Will live between Toronto, Canada and Queenstown, New Zealand.