Do you make masturbation part of your self-pleasure routine? You have one of those, right? A favorite snack, a movie or Netflix show you watch, a podcast, some treat you buy yourself, quiet bath time, and/or even some bit of pampering you buy for yourself. Self-pleasure of any kind is an important part of any self-care routine, whether that pleasure is sexual or not. Masturbation as self-pleasure has benefits, we don’t always take time to appreciate.
What are the benefits of self-pleasure?
I sat down with a few of my friends, Holly, June, Angel, and Marty (all names protected for privacy) to brainstorm some of the benefits experts claim to see which of them they’ve seen in their lives. I won’t say I was surprised by what they confided – I’ve believed in self-pleasure for years – but it was enlightening to see how they felt about the impact.
It Just Feels Good!
The first thing all of us agreed on was that masturbation just feels good. There is something about getting that rush of energy and pleasure surging through your body, leaving you feeling elated, that is wonderful. Just describing it explains it all. It’s a great feeling and one you can experience on your own.
That good feeling is from endorphins your brain releases on orgasm. These are the “good mood” chemicals that help us feel happy. They also help us build relationships. When you feel closer to your partner after good sex - endorphins play a role. That good feeling from masturbation can also help you feel better about you and your body.
It Helps Relieve Stress & Make You Happier
Angel works in marketing while raising two kids with her spouse. Many evenings she comes home stressed beyond reason only to have everyone demanding her time. The kids want mom. Her spouse needs her. “I get overwhelmed. When it’s all too much I’ll tell my husband ‘Watch the kids for a while’ and he knows what I mean. I lock our door and take a shower.” Angel likes to masturbate in the shower as a way to get release and let go of her day. “It really helps, and I can enjoy the rest of my evening.”
You Sleep Better
“If I’m having trouble getting to sleep,” Holly said, “I’ll masturbate. I almost always fall right to sleep afterwards.” All of us had some similar experiences, though Holly uses it as a primary sleep aide.
Increases Your Libido
Angel confessed that after their first child, she experienced a huge dip in her sex drive. Pregnancy can do a number on a woman’s hormones. As her body started to get back to normal, though, she found it hard to get her libido going. When she started masturbating regularly, though, she noticed that she started wanting sex more.
Improves Your Pelvic Health
Muscles need a workout, even our pelvic muscles. As June discovered, though, those pelvic muscles can be – delicate. She had pulled her pelvic muscles on more than one occasion trying different workouts at the gym and sometimes at work when she worked in a warehouse. As part of one recovery, her OB had recommended Kegel exercises to help her build strength in the muscles. That was how she had gotten into regular self-pleasure sessions. “Turns out masturbation makes Kegel’s fun.” Kegel exercises aren’t just good for women who have experienced muscle injury, though. Women who experience incontinence after pregnancy or with menopause can benefit from strengthening the pelvic muscles both through Kegel exercises and masturbation. I brought up how I have used them to ease period cramps as well.
Know Your Body Better and What You Like
I knew Marty would be shy to talk about their experiences masturbating, but I really wanted them to share. Marty is genderqueer. Early on in moving from living as femme to GQ, they had experienced a lot of anxiety around sex and masturbation. “My partner wanted to treat my body like I was a woman, but I didn’t feel like a woman. I felt different and it made me not like sex.” Their therapist recommended a self-pleasure routine that started out non-sexual and helped them progress into masturbation to relearn their body. Starting with just dressing up and exploring themselves, they eventually moved onto masturbation and fantasy. They were able to discover what they liked and eventually share that with their partners.
Masturbation Gives You Tools to Communicate and Improves Your Sex Life
Angel and Marty both perked up when Marty shared their experience of using masturbation to relearn their body. Like Marty, Angel also used masturbation as a time to enjoy fantasies. Over time, Angel learned to communicate those fantasies with her husband, which strengthened their intimacy and her sexual desire for him. Marty said they had a similar experience. When they found partners who wanted to listen to how they wanted to enjoy intimacy and were eager to experiment with them, they found their libido increasing. Both Marty and Angel found pleasure in sex with other people through masturbation.
These were just the benefits that we talked about together. I have seen more that we didn’t touch on. In talking with my friends, though, there were things that I noticed. One, we all had different ways we enjoyed it. Angel’s ideal self-pleasure time was in the shower. Holly preferred just using her fingers, since she often fell asleep right afterwards and didn’t want to deal with cleaning sex toys. June and Marty, however, both enjoyed sex toys, both when masturbating and fantasizing and later with their partners.
The other thing I noticed was that no one had a specific frequency that they enjoyed self-pleasure. Holly and Angel were frequent masturbators. For Marty, the need to pleasure themself varied. Sometimes they would do it a couple of times a week, other times they might go weeks in between. June considers herself a frequent masturbator, at once a week on average, to which Holly and Angel smirked.
Whatever benefit appeals to you, the most important thing about self-pleasure is that you do it as often and for as long as you want. Your pleasure is the entire point.