Masturbation as self-care? Hell, yes! The days of associating masturbation with shame are long gone. Masturbation is about feeling good and taking care of yourself.
Self-pleasure should be a major part of everyone’s self-care practice.
“Sex is like a jungle gym for adults,” says Kat Thomas, CEO, and Founder of This Way Adventures, LLC. “Once you’re invited to the playground, why would you ever want to leave? Which means you should be playing with yourself daily, either alone or with a partner or two.”
When you masturbate you connect with one of the most important people in your life—You! There’s a reason why masturbation is referred to as “self-love” because you are paying attention and loving your entire body.
There are many benefits to masturbation that if you’re not doing it on the reg, you’re missing out. The truth is, there’s no downside to masturbation, and how many things can you say that about?
Masturbation is about loving our bodies without fear. You can’t get pregnant or get sick from masturbating—it’s the safest sex around. In the end, masturbation is just about feeling good and having as many orgasms as you can without pressure. You don’t need to keep count or make it a competition, just have fun while taking care of yourself and your needs.
Here’s why masturbation is essential to your self-care:
Helps you love your entire self: We may not mean to, but there are times when we focus on certain parts of our bodies and ignore other areas completely. Tara Struyk of Kinkly says, “Masturbation is about loving your whole self (even the parts you may have been taught were dirty or bad) and appreciating your body for the pleasure it can provide (as opposed to how it looks). Don’t hate on your body, worship it, and in the process make it feel good.
Masturbation makes you roar: When you masturbate, you take charge of your own orgasm which can make you feel powerful. “It’s [masturbation] also self-care in the sense that it teaches women to take control of their pleasure, which is so empowering,” says Struyk.
As humans, we crave touch: Yes, it’s great when someone other than yourself strokes and caresses you, but it can be just as satisfying if you do it yourself. Show your body how much you love and treasure it. It does a lot for you—it’s time to show it how much you appreciate it. Demonstrate your gratitude for your good health and well-being.
It helps you stay healthy: “As with any sexual activity, masturbation is actually a minor form of cardiovascular exercise and promotes a healthy heart,” says Samantha Morrison, health and wellness expert for Glacier Wellness. “Additionally, sex hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone help regulate the body by influencing the circulatory, neural, and renal systems.” Heart-healthy cardio that gets you off! It’s easier and more fun than 30 minutes on the elliptical.
Masturbation boosts your immunity: Masturbation improves your immune function by increasing cortisol levels which help to strengthen your immunity. “In women, data shows that sexual activity drastically increases estrogen levels in the brain and blood, which has a major impact on the immune system,” Samantha Morrison says. “In practice, estrogen boosts immunity by facilitating the production of B cells, which are responsible for developing highly-specialized antibodies. This is why women typically have lower rates of infections and have overall healthier immune systems.” If masturbation can help cut down on the number of colds and other illnesses you might get, why wouldn’t you make it a regular part of your self-care practice?
Lets you focus on your own pleasure: No one wants to be completely selfish when having sex with a partner, so we may compromise when it comes to our own satisfaction. Masturbation lets you concentrate on you. “It takes the pressure off from ‘performing’ with a partner,” says Fiona Gilbert, self-care expert. “And allows a woman to explore all the changes that have happened to her body [pregnancy, surgery, menopause, etc.] and reconnect to a new way of exploring pleasure and self-care.”
Masturbation helps you decompress and de-stress: Think of the feeling of intense relaxation that you get post-masturbation. You’ve cleared your mind and focused on your climax, and in the process made the things that were causing you stress and tension to go away. “Masturbating is honestly a fun way to decompress after a long day,” says Mackenzie Riel. “If you’re sad, stressed, anxious; it’s a way to take you out of your day to focus on personal pleasure.”
It’s a mood-enhancer: When you masturbate and have an orgasm, you feel great. It’s as if all your cares and worries have disappeared and all that’s left is a feeling of satisfaction and bliss. It’s challenging to feel happy when you’re stressed out or under pressure—masturbating can help with that.
Helps you prepare for sex with a partner: When you masturbate, you learn about your body and what it responds to. This makes you a better lover and helps make you feel better about having sex with someone else. You doing you is good for everyone. “When you know what your body needs and prefers in order to get off, you’ll be able to communicate that to your sexual partner, so they can mimic similar motions or actions,” says Riel.
Self-pleasure helps cultivate self-confidence and self-acceptance: Masturbation does so many good things for us, and among those things is how it gives us confidence and helps us to love our bodies. “Masturbation is one form of self-pleasure, “says Stef (Sauce) Osofsky. “But it’s a hell of a way to cultivate self-confidence, to practice self-love and acceptance and embody worthiness, to become a more conscious lover and all-around human being, and to honor the ever-changing nature of your needs, which is what self-care is really all about.”
Improves your sleep: After an orgasm, your body feels relaxed as you have been relieved both physically and emotionally of tension. You feel calm and are able to fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. It may take you a little while to come down off that high, but once you get sleepy, the quality of your sleep will be improved.
Gives you a greater understanding of your body: Masturbating teaches you how your body works, and it demonstrates all the cool things, like making you feel amazing, that it does.
Helps you release sexual tension because women get blue balls too: If you’ve decided to focus on being single or are between partners, masturbation is an obvious way to release all that pent-up sexual tension. It’s not just men who “gotta have it,” all humans need sex no matter what their gender or sexual orientation is.
Masturbation is a natural pain-reliever: Whether you’re somebody who loves period sex or hates it, the fact is that masturbating can help alleviate cramps and other pelvic pain when you’re having your period. It can also help with body aches and pains. I find it helps with endometrial flare-ups.
It can assist you in breaking bad habits: If you reach for your clitoris rather than a cigarette, you’re (as John Wilder, author of “Sex Education for Adults, Secrets to amazing sex and happily ever after too” says, “[you’re] substituting a healthier self-soothing activity rather than smoking.”
Masturbation isn’t expensive: Sure, you can buy a variety of toys (which is super fun) or you can just use your fingers. Some of the most inexpensive vibrators and dildos are the most effective. On the other hand, if you want to splurge on something high tech, go for it. You deserve it. Whatever gets you there is encouraged.
Self-stimulation helps your body to stay sexual: The longer you go without any kind of sex, the harder it will be for you to enjoy sex in the future. When you’re having sex on a regular basis, you’re able to keep your tissues from atrophying and keep your blood circulating.
Masturbation is everything you need in a self-care practice: Kat Thomas puts it this way, “Orgasms stimulate the release of oxytocin (which is known as the LOVE hormone), boosts testosterone levels, creates a powerful pain relief (for females, it can double your tolerance for pain...), reduces stress, detoxifies, improves circulation, makes you look younger, and the list keeps going…”
Dr. Cara Tucker sums it up this way, “Masturbation and self-care: Women are to experience and understand themselves. They are to know their anatomy, know their desires—what they like, what they don’t like. To experience the relationship with themselves is to have the ultimate self-care.”
The bottom line is that masturbation is a wonderful gift that makes you healthier, happier, and more relaxed. And isn’t that what we want most from a self-care practice?