In light of Valentine’s week, we’re exploring all aspects of intimacy and love here at The Optimist Daily, so of course we had to write a feature on that most important of all love relationships — our relationship with our own self. It is perhaps the first sexual relationship you ever had, and it’s the only one you know will last as long as you live. Yep, we’re talking masturbation. Self-pleasuring, wanking-off, spanking the monkey, pressing your button, petting the cat… you get the idea. Not that anyone will need a reason to keep doing it, but there are numerous benefits of regular masturbation for both men and women.
Without further ado, here are six great reasons to get busy with yourself:
It is great stress-relief
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of masturbation is how nicely it can relax you. It really is an amazing shortcut. Orgasms release major relaxing neurochemicals like oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphins which are all major players in how we feel pleasure.
It improves body awareness and acceptance
Another benefit of touching yourself is that it teaches you what you like sexually and what you don’t like. In addition, making friends with the more intimate parts of your anatomy leads to an overall appreciation for your body,
It boosts your immunity
Masturbation can actually improve your immunity. It engages the adrenal glands which release cortisol. While this hormone can be harmful in larger quantities, in smaller quantities it can help to keep your immune system steady, ready, and in tip top shape.
It enhances your complexion
Orgasms also increase heart rate and blood flow by dilating your blood vessels, and enjoying some intimate alone time can do wonders for your skin. It will give you a healthy flush and rosier cheeks. Did you ever notice a special glow on your friend’s face after a nap? There could very well be a good reason for that that they’re not telling you.
It improves cardiovascular health
Sex, orgasms, and the elevated heart rates they stir up have been commonly thought to be a risk to your heart health, but a Harvard study found that regular orgasms can greatly reduce your risk of a heart attack. The study found that men who only had sex a couple of times a month were 45 percent more likely to suffer fatal cardiovascular issues than men who had sex a couple of times a week.
It protects the prostate (if you have one)
And speaking of avoiding things, as far as health for men, regular masturbation not only helps lower the risk of prostate cancer. Many studies have proven that men who masturbate almost every day are up to 33 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer than those who might do it weekly. It can also lower the risk of erectile dysfunction and even incontinence later in life by strengthening your pelvic floor.
Masturbation is a safe and mentally and physically healthy expression of self-love which even the most active of sexually active adults practice. At the end of the day, masturbating can help you sleep, and exploring yourself and learning to give yourself pleasure can be empowering and help to improve your body image. Not to mention that it is the form of sexual pleasure least likely to transmit STDs. Hopefully, you never felt shame about putting the moves on yourself, but now that you know how healthy it is, you can proudly explain that your self-pleasure is all about living your best life.