Masturbation is a healthy sexual activity that has many benefits for your physical and mental health. There are limited studies on the benefits of masturbation, but studies on sexual intercourse and anecdotal reports suggest that sexual stimulation, including stimulation through masturbation, may help you:
- relieve built-up stress
- sleep better
- boost your mood
- feel pleasure
- relieve cramps
- release sexual tension
- have better sex
- better understand your wants and needs
Couples may also mutually masturbate to explore different desires, as well as avoid pregnancy. Self-pleasuring also helps you prevent sexually transmitted infections.
Stress and Pain Relief
Masturbating, like any sexual activity, releases endorphins, chemicals in our body that promote a sense of happiness and can relieve stress, Best Health Mag reported.
“In both men and women it [masturbation] provides release of stress, a time to commune with oneself (taking stock of one’s emotional state and needs), and for some even the possibility of greater self-awareness or insight,” Dr. Jordan Tishler, of inhaleMD.com, a Harvard physician who focuses on human sexuality, told Medical Daily in a recent email.
In addition, the calming effects of masturbation can also help you sleep better, and can even reduce the pain associated with menstruation and postmenopausal intercourse.
“It causes more blood flow to the pelvic region, which hastens periods and decreases pain,” Dr. Sandra LaMorgese PhD, author of Switch: Time for a Change, and an expert in sexual intimacy, told Medical Daily. “For postmenopausal women, a narrowing of the vagina can make pelvic exams and intercourse painful, but masturbation, particularly with a water-based lubricant, increases blood flow to the sex organs.”
Believe it or not, there may actually be some positive health benefits associated with masturbation, for both men and women. For example, according to LaMoregese, masturbation could help to prevent prostate cancer by allowing men to safely get rid of toxins that naturally build up in their urogenital tract.
“Men who ejaculate over five times per week decrease these toxin levels, and thereby possibly lower their risk of prostate cancer by a third,” wrote LaMoregese.
In addition, LaMorgese explained that masturbation could help to fight urinary tract infections in women by flushing out the cervix.