Female self-pleasuring doesn’t hold the same stigma as it used to, but there are plenty of myths that still affect the way some women feel about masturbation.
In honour of Masturbation May, let’s take a look at some of the amazing benefits of masturbation, dispel some masturbation myths, and discover why masturbation should be embraced, talked about openly, and celebrated!
What Is Masturbation?
Masturbation is a normal, common, healthy activity involving the stimulation of one’s genitals for sexual pleasure. The act may or may not lead to an orgasm.
People masturbate for a variety of reasons including fun, tension release, and pleasure. While many individuals masturbate alone, some do it with their partner (mutual masturbation).
Many myths — some of them quite bizarre — surround masturbation, even though these assumptions are not founded in science. Masturbation will not cause:
- Physical weakness
- Mental Illness
- An unsatisfying relationship with your partner (quite the contrary, a study found that women who masturbated reported having happier marriages compared to women who did not self-pleasure)
Does Masturbation Cause Side Effects?
Although masturbation is harmless, some people do experience slight chafing or tender skin if they are too rough.
Other potential side effects of masturbation include:
- Guilt – Women who feel masturbation conflicts with their cultural, spiritual, or religious beliefs may experience feelings of guilt surrounding the act of self-pleasure. In this case, it can be helpful to talk with a therapist, friend, or healthcare professional who specialises in sexual health to help learn how to move past these feelings of shame.
- Decreased Sexual Sensitivity – Excessive or aggressive use of a vibrator may lead to a decrease in the sensations in a woman’s clitoris. This is why I prefer the use of my fingers or a wand for self-pleasuring.
Ultimately, how you pleasure yourself is up to you, but I do like to make women aware of this topic so they are empowered to choose a different method if they are experiencing any issues from using a vibrator.
7 Health Benefits of Masturbation
Although few studies focus specifically on masturbation’s perks, there is enough research to suggest a host of health benefits.
1. Masturbation Is a Mood Booster
Similar to a great workout, masturbation can release feel-good chemicals in your body known as endorphins. It’s a great way to take your mind off any worries and activate areas in your brain that are associated with pleasure.
2. Masturbation Can Enhance Your Sex Life
Masturbation can be immensely helpful in making you feel more confident and comfortable when it comes to your sexuality. Self-exploration and experimentation is a wonderful way to truly get in touch with your body and desires.
Whether alone or with a partner, it is a stress-free way to test out different strokes, touches, pressures, and speeds to see which methods your body goes crazy for.
3. Self-Pleasure Can Improve Post-Menopausal Sex Issues
Many women report changes to their sex life during menopause. This can be a result of the vagina actually narrowing. Fortunately, masturbation — especially paired with a good lubricant — can help boost blood flow to the area and help relieve some of the moisture and tissue problems, thereby leading to improved sexual desire.
4. Masturbation Puts the Focus in the Right Place
While movies and magazines can make it seem like masturbation should be a rushed experience that always leads to an orgasm, it can be as short or as long of a session as you want. And an enjoyable, successful masturbation session *does not* have to include an orgasm.
If something feels good, do it. It’s that simple. Enjoy the moment, pay attention to your body’s cues, and go with it! If it leads to an orgasm – awesome! If not, as long as you explored, connected with yourself, and enjoyed yourself, consider it a huge success!
5. 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 the uterus and bladder. A strong pelvic floor offers a host of benefits, including helping you avoid the chance of 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 — along with intense pleasure — 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!
6. Masturbating Can Help Relieve Menstrual Cramps
If you are dealing with cramps during your period, it may be tempting to curl up on the couch. However, an orgasm can actually help temporarily relieve menstrual cramps.
How? When you have your period, prostaglandins — hormone-like chemicals — prompt contractions in your uterus to get rid of any endometrial lining that built up to support a potential pregnancy. These contractions result in what we know as menstrual cramps.
Here’s where the power of masturbation comes in by releasing feel-good neurotransmitters (remember endorphins?) to help relieve stress and pain. This can help lessen the severity of your cramps, maybe even significantly. I know of several women that love this using this method along with other ways to reduce period pain.
7. Masturbation Can Deepen the Connection Between Yourself and Your Partner
Mutual masturbation — self-stimulation with or in front of a partner — is a beautiful way to deepen your connection with your partner and grow your intimacy together. Stimulating yourself in front of your partner or watching your partner stimulate themselves can be immensely pleasurable, freeing, exciting, and fun.
Ready to Celebrate May in the Most Pleasurable Way Possible?
Masturbation is an absolutely amazing way to get in touch with your body, experience pleasure, and even reap some health benefits. Whether you do it regularly or have never tried it before, Masturbation May is a great time to enjoy yourself!
If you need some inspiration or tips for your self-pleasuring sessions, check out some of my favourite blog posts around this topic:
- 10 Simple Tips for Mind Blowing Self-Pleasure
- How To Be Your Own Sexual Muse: Self-Pleasure 101
- 5 Benefits of Mutual Masturbation
Wishing you a happy and pleasurable International Masturbation Month!