Masturbation is an important and wonderful way of knowing yourself physically and emotionally. Research shows that women who masturbate are more likely to have fulfilling sex lives, better health, better partnerships and marriages, and increased self-confidence. Even with all that going for it, masturbation is still difficult for many women to talk about, much less do.
Generally speaking, women often think their sexual needs and desires are less important than their partners. Because of cultural taboos, many women feel that the urge or desire to masturbate is somehow wrong, or the idea of it makes them feel guilty or ashamed.
The fact is there is enormous potential for healing, growth and wellbeing through exploring your sexuality, expressing it, and experiencing it with joy. Women who masturbate experience a wide range of health benefits, and here are just a few.
Physical benefits of female masturbation
1. Female masturbation helps prevent cervical infections and relieves urinary tract infections. Studies are showing that female masturbation can provide protection against cervical infections because when women masturbate, the orgasm “tents” or opens the cervix.
Many women with urinary tract infections (UTI) report the desire to masturbate when they feel a UTI coming on, and for a good reason: masturbating helps relieve pain, lubricates the vagina, and flushes old, “unfriendly” bacteria from the cervix.
2. Masturbation is associated with improved cardiovascular health and lower risk of type-2 diabetes. In a number of studies, women who experienced more orgasms, and overall greater frequency and satisfaction with sex — with a partner or not — were shown to have greater resistance to coronary heart disease (CHD) and type-2 diabetes.
3. Masturbation can help prevent insomnia naturally through hormonal and tension release. Many women masturbate to wind down at night or to help them fall asleep, but they might not know that there’s a hormonal reason why that works. Dopamine, the “feel-good” hormone, rises during the anticipation of a sexual climax. After the orgasm, the calming hormones oxytocin and endorphins are released, allowing you to feel a warm afterglow that helps you sleep.
4. Orgasm increases pelvic floor strength. There are so many advantages to having a healthy pelvic floor. In the “plateau” stage of orgasm, the pelvic floor gets a real workout. The clitoris surges with increased blood pressure. Muscle tone, heart rate, and respiration all increase. The uterus “lifts” off the pelvic floor, increasing pelvic muscle tension and strengthening the entire region, as well as your sexual satisfaction.
Psychological and emotional benefits of female masturbation
Women say fatigue is the main reason for their decrease in, or loss of, libido, and it’s a legitimate one. A tired body should focus on resting and taking care of itself. The second most common reason for women’s decreased interest in sex is dissatisfaction with their appearance. Given the often unrealistic standards of American beauty, it is challenging for many women to feel attractive. Because it’s done privately, masturbation is one easy way to feel beautiful and sexual on your own terms.
Since you’re in control of your body when you masturbate, you can learn a lot about who you are. You can cultivate positive feelings about your miraculous body, which gives you confidence from the inside out. Masturbation also has the potential to heal the memory of past negative sexual experiences and replace them with positive ones.
Masturbation can help you feel more confident and connected because it:
1. Improves your mood. Masturbation helps relieve depressed feelings. As you become aroused, the hormone levels of mood-boosting dopamine and epinephrine soar in your body. Many studies show that women who report personal satisfaction with their sex lives live a better quality of life overall.
2. Relieves stress. In her book For Yourself, noted sex therapist Lonnie Barbach explains that the stress from avoiding sex can create body imbalances. Masturbation can help relieve emotional stress because we’re taking time for ourselves, amidst the demands of home, family and work.
3. Strengthens your relationship with yourself. When you know and love yourself on deeply emotional and physical levels, you gain confidence and let yourself grow through self-awareness. Being able to recognize, articulate and experience what brings you pleasure is a powerful step toward fulfillment.
4. Strengthens sexual relationship with your partner. Because many couples have different sexual drives and needs, masturbation is one way to meet the personal needs not met by a partner. Still, it can be shared with a partner. Watching a partner masturbate can teach us what methods our partners use and enjoy. It can also open up communication between partners who might assume that the old routine is okay when it could use a refresher.
Myths and truths about the female orgasm
The top myths about female orgasm:
- A woman needs a man to feel sexually fulfilled.
- The vaginal orgasm is the “true” orgasm.
- The perfect orgasm is simultaneous with your partner’s.
- An orgasm only happens through intercourse.
We want you to know that these myths do not accurately reflect women’s real-life experiences. More than 70% of women who are sexually active report not having vaginal orgasms during intercourse. This statistic indicates that there may be as many ways to arrive at climax as there are women!
What is certain is that both the vagina and the clitoris are the central physical players in orgasm but we shouldn’t overlook emotional factors because they’re just as important as the physical ones.
It’s also important to understand the fundamental, hormonal difference between the sexes. For heterosexual couples, being in a relationship where each partner feels able to communicate their desires can lead to a wonderful sex life.
If you have a male partner, it helps to talk about these differences. But no matter who your partner is, sharing details about your own desire builds intimacy with your partner. It’s one of the deepest, most personal ways we can communicate and grow closer to the ones we love.
Masturbation builds healthy connections
Masturbation is a way to learn about, and understand, the connections between our minds and our bodies. And if you’re in a relationship, it can expand and enrich your sex life with your partner. If you’re interested in exploring these connections, plan some romantic time for yourself. Light a candle, take a long, sensuous bath or try reading an erotic book. Then, see what happens and go with the flow.
Masturbation is self-pleasuring at its best — a positive, enjoyable and healthy experience. If you’re not comfortable with masturbation, that’s okay because the choice is always completely up to you. We hope that knowing more about the very real health benefits of masturbation will encourage you to give it a try, if you haven’t already.
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