According to a survey conducted by Indiana University, 94% of men and 85% of women in the US admit to masturbating. But the stigma attached to masturbation still prevails. The taboos attached to it have resulted in the creation of several myths. To name a few, it is believed that masturbation causes insanity. It is a disease which can lead to infertility. It can make your sexual organs fall out. Such myths make it a reason for shame and guilt.
Before we speak about the health benefits of masturbation, let’s answer an important question.
What is Masturbation?
Masturbation is a natural and common activity for both women and men.For many individuals, masturbation is their first sexual activity. It involves touching your body parts such as breasts, buttocks, anus or genitals for sexual pleasure.
How is Masturbation beneficial?
Though there are several myths about masturbation, it is actually healthy for our body as well as the mind.
Physical Health Benefits:
Masturbation improves the functioning of the immune system by increasing cortisol levels which can regulate it in small doses.
Prevents Cervical Infections:
For women, masturbation prevents cervical and urinary tract infection through the process of “tenting”. Tenting is the opening of the cervix that occurs during the arousal process. It stretches the cervix and thus the cervical mucous released which flushes out the bacteria.
Reduces The Risk Of Prostate Cancer:
For men, masturbation helps in reducing the risk of prostate cancer. It gives prostate the chance to flush out potential, harmful cancer causing agents.
Lowers The Risk of Type-2 Diabetes:
In a number of studies, women who experienced more orgasms and had greater satisfaction with sex – with or without a partner – were concluded to have greater resistance to coronary heart disease and type-2 diabetes.
Dopamine or the “feel-good” hormone is released during the anticipation of a sexual climax. After the climax, the calming hormones Oxycontin and Endorphins are released which help in sleeping. Masturbation can thus naturally fight against insomnia.
Sexual Health Benefits:
Safest of all Sexual Behavior:
While you masturbate, there is no risk of pregnancy or the transmission of sexually transmitted infections.
Increases Sexual Satisfaction:
When you masturbate the pelvic floor is strengthened. When the pelvic floor is strong it increases the muscle tone, heart rate, and respiration. The uterus “lifts” off the pelvic floor, strengthening the entire region. This result is a better sexual satisfaction.
Reduce Performance Anxiety:
There is no way you can disappoint your partner while masturbating mutually. It removes the performance anxiety and there is no emotional baggage to be held.
Improves Sex Life:
For beginners, masturbation is a good way to learn more about the likes and dislikes of each other. It helps in open communication which will improve your sex life.
Mental Health Benefits:
Masturbation helps you get relieved from depressive emotions. While you are aroused, dopamine and epinephrine hormones increase. These hormones act as mood-boosters.
As Lonnie Barbach writes in her book, For Yourself: The Fulfillment of Female Sexuality, stress can be a result of avoiding sex. Masturbation can help relieve such emotional stress by giving out time for yourself amidst other responsibilities.
Helps To Know Yourself Better:
When you love and nurture yourself, you are more self-aware. When you can recognize and articulate your body you get to know yourself better.
Hence, masturbation is beyond the myths attached to it. There is no harm in masturbating.