While it’s likely that the concept of masturbation was a source of stress when you were younger (because when you’re 11 it’s easy to believe masturbation can, indeed make you go blind), solo sex is great for your health. In fact, the mental health benefits of masturbation are so bountiful that I’d go so far as to claim masturbation is self-care.
If you’re not already masturbating regularly, you might want to add it into your routine (Ugh! What a horrible chore!) Aside from making you feel great, masturbation is great tool for de-stressing. Not convinced yet? Here are some ways masturbation helps you calm down.
Feel-good hormones are released
Masturbation causes dopamine, a chemical associated with pleasure, to be released into your body. Simply put, dopamine makes you feel good and puts you in a better mood. On top of that, the hormone oxytocin, which is released during orgasm, lowers cortisol levels. Cortisol is a main stress hormone, and is usually present in high levels in stressed out people. Touching yourself and climaxing can boost these chemicals and, in result, help you feel more at peace.
You can learn to love yourself
Your self-esteem and body image are linked to your overall well-being including your stress levels. Having poor self-esteem may make it harder for you to deal with everyday stressors. Not to mention, being self-deprecating takes a lot of energy. Being kind to yourself can take some stress off your plate. One way to practice self love is, well, making love to yourself! Get to know your body and appreciate how it works. Regular masturbation can help improve your body image and self-esteem. Yep, that simple!
You’ll sleep better
I’ll never forget one of my previous roommates who said lovingly of her Hitachi magic wand, “That thing has put me to sleep many a night!” We all know sleep deprivation is no good for stress, so before you turn to sleeping pills, why not turn to masturbation — with or without the help of a magic wand? An orgasm can act like a sedative to help you wind down after a long, stressful day and tire you out for bed, because climaxing releases hormones like prolactin and oxytocin, which get you nice and sleepy. Bonus: getting a good night’s sleep boosts your libido. Win, win.
Relieve physical pain, reduce stress
Physical pain can really be a nuisance and add onto your stress levels. Masturbation resulting in orgasm can release chemicals called endorphins, which have pain killing properties. They interact with the opiate receptors in your brain to alter your perception of pain. These are the same chemicals that are released after a long exercise session or… eating some dark chocolate. Get your mind off your pain by indulging in a solo sex session and you might find yourself free of pain, and in a zen state of mind.
No risks, no worries. Reap the benefits of sex without the risks.
For many people, sex can be more anxiety inducing than it is pleasurable. Sexual intercourse and oral sex come along with a slew of risks like unwanted pregnancy or STDs. You can avoid these dangers all together by having sex with yourself. Masturbation comes with a whopping 0% chance of contracting STDs or getting pregnant! Those who find themselves unable to relax during sex with a partner, because of the possible risks, can let themselves go solo. The safest sex you can have is solo sex!
Go on and flick your bean, spank your monkey, whatever you want to call it! I promise it won’t make you lose your vision (or experience any other bizarre side effect), and you might just find yourself feeling a lot less stressed out. Masturbation may be just what the doctor ordered.
April is “Stress Awareness Month,” where health professionals and advocates team up to provide solutions for the modern stress epidemic. This piece is part of our series on understanding and combating daily stressors.