Historically, masturbation has gotten a bad rap, but a party for one is still a party. And this is one party you'll actually feel better after attending. Masturbation has some awesome health benefits and feels really really good.
Research shows most women over the age of 18 have masturbated at least once, but few women do so routinely. According to Indiana University's National Survey Of Sexual Health And Behavior, only 7.9 percent of women between the ages of 25 and 29 masturbate two to three times a week whereas 23.4 percent of men do. C'mon ladies, we deserve better than that.
Masturbation is a normal, enjoyable and healthy experience. It's time to put the taboo subject of women and masturbation to bed and realize a little menage a moi might be exactly what you need.
The Huffington Post spoke with Dr. Lauren Streicher, an Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University and author of Sex Rx: Hormones Health And Your Best Sex Ever, about the health benefits of masturbation. She said that masturbation can benefit your health by helping you sleep, relieving stress and simply being more comfortable with your body. She also noted that, similar to working out or getting a massage, self-stimulation is a great way for you to relax both emotionally and physically. Instead of buying an expensive massage, you can just stay in and give yourself one.
So, dim the lights, burn some candles and hop into bed (or whatever your routine may be) -- it's time to partake in a little self exploration. Here are 13 reasons every woman should masturbate on the reg:
1. It makes you happier.
“We know that pleasure makes people feel good," Streicher said. It's really that simple. Orgasms release the endorphins dopamine and oxytocin, which can improve your mood and create a natural high. Who needs drugs when you can make your own?
2. You become more comfortable with your body.
Your body should be your best friend -- it's one of the only things that will be with you your entire life. And part of becoming besties with your body includes exploring it. “It is extremely important that women have an appreciation of their own anatomy and how to self-pleasure,” Streicher said. Time to hit the books, ladies.
3. It can improve your sex life.
Masturbation allows you to explore your body and find out what feels best. Knowing your body in this way can make you more confident in bed and more vocal with partners. Once you figure out what you like, you can tell your partner where to touch you.
4. It helps you sleep.
There's a reason most of us feel so sleepy after those toe-curling climaxes: Orgasms physically and emotionally relieve tension and exhaust the body, which allow you to fall asleep quicker. “Generally people do sleep better after masturbating, but very often it’s from feeling relaxed and satisfied," Streicher said. Masturbation helps people sleep the same way reading a book before bed does -- you feel calm and relaxed after.
5. It's a great way to release sexual tension.
If you've chosen to not have sex or are simply going through a dry spell, masturbating is a great way to satisfy your libido.
6. Masturbating can ease body aches and menstrual pain.
“If you have a uterine contraction while self-stimulating and a uterine contraction can help menstrual blood come out faster... theoretically it’s going to help with cramps,” Streicher said. While she cautioned that the research behind this benefit is relatively limited, Streicher said there's no reason not to masturbate while on your period: “It’s never a bad thing and if it seems to help you then go for it.” Either way, it's more fun than a heating pad.
7. It relieves stress.
“Anything that makes you feel more relaxed and gets you to turn off the day, whether you do yoga or get a foot massage, it’s all the same thing," Streicher said. "It’s not that it has to be sexual but sex and self-stimulation is definitely one of the ways to relieve stress." Sounds like an awesome way to unwind.
8. Masturbation helps your body stay sexual... even when you're not having sex.
“If you’re between partners, there’s a very strong benefit to keeping things going by self-stimulating -- not only in terms of keeping the tissues elastic and healthy and increasing blood flow, but just getting your brain going," Streicher said. "We know that sex and arousal starts in the brain… The more sex you have, the more sex you want because you think about sex more. If you have someone who hasn’t been sexual for a very long period of time, in most cases, they’re not even thinking about it."
10. If you're in a relationship, it's a great way to mix things up -- and keep you coming back for more.
As Streicher noted, the more sex you have, the more sex you'll want to have. It follows that the more you masturbate and become comfortable being sexual with your own body, the more you'll want to be sexual with your partner. "We know that being self-sexual is going to stimulate the part of the brain that is going to keep your libido alive and well," Streicher said.
11. Multiple. Orgasms.
Understanding how your body works helps you know exactly how to pleasure it. Once, twice, three times -- it's up to you! Climax is often times only at the end of sex for men, but women can keep going. Why stop at one?
12. There are no downsides to it.
Masturbation has "absolutely zero negative effects," Streicher said. "Nothing bad can happen from doing it -- you can’t catch anything, you can’t get pregnant, you’re not going to get sick. It’s the best thing out there as far as a feel-good vice that isn’t going to have any negative repercussions.”
13. It feels f*&^%$! amazing.
No explanation needed.