Self-pleasure has a bad reputation. In movies, it’s either the butt of the joke or designed for someone else’s gratification. In mainstream culture, it’s essentially never talked about. But there are numerous benefits to self-pleasure, besides the obvious.
Most of the masturbation myths came from one source, a 1756 book called Onania, or the heinous sin of self-pollution and all its frightful consequences (with all sexes). The book was published anonymously, and alleged masturbation caused infertility, acne, loss of eyesight and palm hair growth. It’s not a stretch to say that the shame surrounding masturbation was created by design solely to scare people away from self-pleasure, but, thankfully, we’re not in the 1700s anymore.
Unlike our counterparts from the 1700s, we look at the health benefits of masturbation, from aiding in sleep quality to improving pain reduction and even how it helps us with concentration.
How self-pleasure improves sleep
The importance of good quality sleep is vital, with chronic sleep deprivation leading to higher risks of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure or stroke. Self-pleasure releases neurotransmitters that help reduce blood pressure and stress; the key result is that you end up far more relaxed. The side effect of this increased relaxation is that you’ll be able to sleep far more quickly than before. In fact, a 2019 study found that orgasming before sleep made participants get to sleep easier, noting that it was quicker to fall asleep, and their sleep times lasted longer than otherwise.
Does self-pleasure reduce pain?
The above sounds far-fetched at first glance. But not once you factor in that an orgasm releases endorphins, widely known as nature’s painkillers. Orgasms also release endocannabinoids, which further work to reduce pain and inflammation. Additionally, both endorphins and endocannabinoids combined help ease menstrual pain; for those who suffer from menstrual woes, it helps to time your self-pleasure for certain times of the month. If you need further evidence of the benefits of self’ pleasure, a 2013 study discovered that orgasms led to either a complete or partial relief of migraines as well as cluster headaches.
Endorphins are more widely associated with exercise, but they come into play here too, bringing to mind Arnold Schwarzenegger’s infamous quote about “the pump” he feels in the gym. Without going into detail, let’s just say he really enjoys it. And you can feel the same!
Self-pleasure for improved mood, focus and concentration
Masturbation can increase hormone levels by releasing endorphins and oxytocin alongside dopamine. Dopamine is that excellent chemical release we feel when we eat fantastic food, take stimulating drugs, or, more commonly, receive an interaction on social media. Dopamine can also be found in concentration drugs like Ritalin, making you more motivated to complete a given task. Next time you need that dopamine hit you’re unconsciously looking for, try putting away the phone and focusing on yourself.
Getting rid of shame
Like most of us, your journey to unlearn the shame and guilt surrounding masturbation and sex may take more than just reading one article. And that’s okay; it’s just important to remind yourself that there is no shame in prioritizing your care and your pleasure. Our sexual health is integral to our overall well-being, so consider making time for some highly beneficial self-pleasure – it’s good for your health.