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MASTURBATION AND SOLO SEX

25 Hot and Healthy Benefits of Masturbation

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Published: MAY 4, 2022 | Updated: MAY 9, 2022 07:53:28
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Reviewed by Dr. Sunny Rodgers
on April 21, 2022
Pleasure isn't the only benefit of masturbation—though that never hurts! From alleviating migraines to boosting self-confidence, getting off can be good for you.

There are few things sexier than experiencing self-love and solo pleasure. But that isn't the only reason a hands-on habit can be beneficial.

Don't believe us? We consulted some experts about the many benefits of masturbation.

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Here's what they had to say:

1. Masturbation Can Alleviate Migraines

Many people with chronic health issues use masturbation for pain reduction.

One study on people with migraines, for example, found that 60% of those who'd had sex while experiencing a migraine experienced pain relief,” says Suzannah Weiss, resident sex educator for FrolicMe. “While they asked about sex, not masturbation, the analgesic effects are likely due to the endorphins released, which you can also get from masturbation.”

2. It Can Alleviate Menstrual Cramps

“Some people who experience menstrual cramps also use masturbation for pain relief because after orgasm, your pelvic muscles relax,” says Weiss.

“There's also been research showing that [people] are less likely to notice pain when they're masturbating.”

READ: How to Have Period Sex - with No Mess.

3. You’ll Sleep Better

“In one survey, 32% of women who masturbated said it helped them fall asleep,” says Weiss.

Weiss says this could be, in part, due to the stress relief that sexual arousal and pleasure provide. “One study found that looking at erotic images alone caused women's levels of the stress hormone cortisol to drop,” Weiss adds. “That's a case for watching porn if I ever heard one—and if you want to watch porn that's free from exploitation and harmful stereotypes, that's where sites like FrolicMe come in.”

4. Masturbation Can Improve Your Brain Health

“One study on rats found that those who engaged in daily sexual activity generated more new neurons in a brain region associated with memory than those that didn't,” says Weiss.

“As far as humans go, more research needs to be done specifically on masturbation. But there was a study finding that women who had more frequent sex scored higher on a memory test. So, take that study or work break to pleasure yourself and it may actually help you perform better!"

5. It Reinforces Your Sexual Agency

“In a recent study by Kiiroo surrounding intimacy during the 2020 pandemic, the average American had gone 219 days since they last had sex,” says Ashton Egner, marketing operations and communications manager of Kiiroo. “Therefore, 45% of Americans said they practiced self-love more often than they did before the pandemic—highlighting the ability masturbation has to please yourself without the need of another partner.”

6. Masturbation Can be Done With Others

Mutual masturbation, also known as long-distance sex, can be practiced by anyone—whether in the same room or across the world,” says Egner.

“Research from Kiiroo’s study on intimacy during the 2020 pandemic showed that 28% of Americans have engaged in long-distance sex with a partner, and of the 72% who have not, a third (33%) say they would consider doing so if they found themselves in a long-distance scenario.”

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READ: 5 Ways to Add Heat to Long-Distance Love Affairs.

7. It Soothes the Nervous System

Antonia Hall, transpersonal psychologist, pleasure coach, and author of "The Happy Human Playbook: A Practical Guide to Healing Body, Mind and Emotions With Joy and Pleasure," says orgasms release feel-good hormones like endorphins, dopamine and oxytocin, which reduce pain and leave you feeling more relaxed.

“This, in turn, lowers stress hormone cortisol levels—soothing the nervous system.”

8. It Keeps Your Sexual Game on

“When sex organs are regularly getting blood flow, it keeps them healthy,” Hall says.

“The pleasure experienced also reminds your brain that sexuality is an important part of life, which is key to arousal health. Bonus: That flush and orgasmic release helps give skin an incredible glow.”

9. Masturbation Can Help You Explore Your Thoughts, Feelings and Fantasies

Jacob Brown, a San Francisco-based psychotherapist, says masturbation provides a way for people to have sexual experiences that may not be available to them with their partner.

“These experiences may be an important part of your sexual identity—they are very real for you,” says Brown. “By masturbating, you prevent yourself from being cut off from these parts of yourself.”

READ: The Joy of Finding Your Fetish.

10. It Increases Self-Esteem

“One study showed that men who masturbated felt better about themselves than those who did not do so,” says Reda Elmardi, registered dietician, certified nutritionist and owner of The Gym Goat.

11. Masturbation Helps With Depression

According to Elmardi, a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry showed that women who masturbated daily were less likely to suffer from depression than those who did not masturbate.

12. It Can Help You Live Longer

According to a Welsh study of 1000 men over the course of 20 years, men who had two or more orgasms per week died at half the rate of men who had less than that number of orgasm per month.

13. It Can Connect you to Your Body

“In today's society, so many of us feel like we should be 'more' or look 'differently' for us, or another, to find us attractive,” says Louise Rumball, sex and relationship expert and founder of the OPENHOUSE Podcast.

“We are constantly comparing ourselves against others and society has equally taught us that our vulvas should 'look' a certain way to be sexy, cute or desirable. The truth is that every body is different—and no two bodies or vulvas look the same and masturbation can help you to connect with your sexuality and physical body, and not reject it.”

Rumball believes building a strong foundation of self-esteem, self-respect and self-love for our bodies is a critical part of building a healthy relationship with ourselves and others.

READ: Diet Culture Equals Bad Sex.

14. Masturbation is a Great Teacher

“Until we connect with ourselves, we will never truly understand what we like, want, or need in the bedroom and how to communicate this to others,” says Rumball.

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“Our pleasure, ultimately, starts with us first—and masturbation and self-pleasure is amazing way to build a safe, stable, loving, caring and sexy relationship with ourselves and ask ourselves what feels good and how we like to be pleasured. Once we understand this, we can then verbalize this and vocalize it externally to another so we can bring our ultimate pleasure into a relationship or sexual encounter. Communication is key.”

15. It Can Help Re-Sensitize You to Sexual Stimulation After Sexual Assault

Sexual violence, particularly against women, is rampant,” says Lauren Johnson, co-founder of BerryLemon, a queer-owned pleasure product company.

“This type of trauma can rob us of the ability to openly connect sexually or emotionally. One amazing benefit of self-pleasuring is it can help re-sensitize you to sexual stimulation in a safe and loving environment—with yourself. It can be deeply emotional to reconnect after sexual assault, so self-pleasuring can be a wonderfully therapeutic and empowering practice when the time is right.”

READ: How Sex Toys Can Help You Reclaim Your Sexuality After Assault.

16. Mindfully Self-Pleasuring Can Help Lessen Performance Anxiety

Once you mindfully get in touch with your own sensuality and sexual energy, Johnson says you learn that an orgasm isn't the only goal of sex or masturbation.

“The real goal is pleasure, intimacy, grounding and loving connection,” she says. “Understanding this can help those who feel like sex is a stage (psst, it's not) and teach you how to connect to your partner(s) in a brand new way.”

17. Masturbation is the Safest Form of Sex

There's nothing safer than solo sex—if you are cleaning your toys properly and using safe materials when exploring with those toys," says Carmel Jones, sex expert at The Big Fling.

“It's safe emotionally and physically!”

18. Masturbation is Good for Your Skin

According to Dr. Brenda Dressler, sexologist and author of "Sex Toys: Putting the BOOM Back in Boomers," masturbation and orgasm three times a week leads to less wrinkles around the eyes.

19 Masturbation Improves Bladder Control

Madeleine Ross, sex expert at The Dildo Hub, said this about masturbation and bladder control:

"There are a number of tiny muscles in the pelvic area that few people are familiar with. During orgasm, the vagina contracts, making the pelvic floor muscles 'work out,' which is directly linked to bladder control. In a nutshell, using a vibrator can make it easier to control your bladder, which is certainly a benefit that you want to take advantage of during pregnancy or during your older years. In addition, the stronger the pelvic floor muscles, the better the orgasms!"

20. Masturbation Can Improve Concentration

“Masturbation can improve concentration by reducing or eliminating thoughts related to sexual desire from your stream of thought,” says Dr. Greg J. Marchand, an Arizona-based board certified physician in obstetrics and gynaecology. “A good comparison [for] this is to imagine doing a difficult task—and then try to imagine doing it while starving. Humans do not perform as well when one of their primary needs (food, warmth, water, sex, etc.) is not being met.”

21. It Can be a Spiritual Experience

Cultivating pleasure and being with yourself are some positive side-effects of self-pleasure, says Erica Wiederlight, sexual empowerment and love coach. “Masturbation can be whatever you want; it can be a quick release or a deep experience,” says Wiederlight.

“If you’re wanting a deeper experience, it can connect us to our breath, sensations and emotions.”

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READ: How Mindfulness Can Help You Have Better Orgasms.

22. Masturbation Helps you Understand How You Like to be Stimulated

“Masturbating allows you to learn about what types of stimulation you enjoy, your arousal patterns, and your boundaries,” says Isabelle Uren, certified sex expert, writer and website manager for Bedbible.com.

“Having this understanding makes it much easier to communicate your needs and desires with a partner.”

23. Masturbation Helps with Premature Ejaculation

If you suffer from premature ejaculation, masturbation can help. “People who masturbate an hour or two before sex with their partner can often last longer the second time,” says men’s health researcher Eric Ridenour.

24. Masturbation Can Help You Improve Edging

Edging is a technique of waiting until just before you climax, at which point you pause having sex for a moment, let the orgasm reduce and then get back to sex.

“Masturbation can help you 'practice' by learning how to time it just right,” says Ridenour. “Edging is a common practice used by porn stars. They use edging to switch positions at that moment to help them last longer while filming.”

25. It Can Help Lower Your Risk of Prostate Cancer

A 2004 study found that people who ejaculated more than 21 times a month reduced their risk of prostate cancer by roughly 33 percent, compared to those who only came four to seven times a month.

So, if you're looking for a reason to enjoy some self-love today, take your pick! 😉

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Photo for Ryn Pfeuffer
Ryn Pfeuffer

Ryn Pfeuffer is a versatile print and digital writer specializing in sex, lifestyle, and relationship topics. Over the past two decades, her work has appeared in more than 100 media outlets including Marie Claire, Playboy, Refinery29, The Globe and Mail, The Washington Post, WIRED, and Thrillist.

She adopted a pseudonym and was AVN’s (Adult Video Network) first female porn reviewer – while penning children’s books at the same time. More recently, she is the author of 101 Ways to Rock Online Dating (2019). She lives in Seattle with her rescue dog, Mimi. You can find her on Twitter @rynpfeuffer or IG @ryn_says

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