We can get a whole load of pleasure from masturbation, sure, but benefits? Does playing with ourselves really bring so many advantages that it can be considered an important part of human sexuality? The answer is here, loud and clear: Yes.
Masturbation is not only important as sexuality develops, but also once it is established. Being aware of what pleasure your body can bring you, as well as other people, is a source of knowledge which helps you have more satisfactory and fulfilling sexual relations. Exploring your boundaries, your anatomy and your desires gives you a clearer picture of what your body is capable of experiencing, thus allowing you to consciously choose the pleasure it seeks.
In terms of communication, seeing masturbation as another natural act, something completely legit and even beneficial, will bring you ever closer to expressing your true desires in a more assertive way. We could say that masturbating is an empowering act, which places you in the centre of your body and conscience so you can enjoy pleasure for pleasure’s sake. And it would be just as valid without all this investigation attesting to its benefits: at the end of the day, pleasure for pleasure’s sake.
The physical benefits
But this is only a small example of the importance of masturbation, because on top of the benefits experienced at the height of sexual pleasure, it also brings physical benefits. Masturbation can decrease stress levels and help you relax; it can even help you get to sleep or sleep more deeply. Furthermore, orgasms release endorphins (a protein that they generate as a neurotransmitter), thereby creating states of wellbeing or euphoria. Something to bear in mind in times of period cramps too, since endorphins relieve pain. Hooray for orgasms!
Beyond brain chemistry, orgasms also help at a muscular level. The best thing for your pelvic floor? Some contractions to tone it up. And we all know that, when it comes to the pelvic floor’s favourite contractions, orgasms win hands down! This is because climaxing produces rhythmic and involuntary contractions lasting 8-15 seconds which work the: levator ani, superficial pelvic floor, urethral and anal sphincters. Quite a marvellous bit of choreography, don’t you agree?
The safest way to experiment
Something which is not so often mentioned when talking about masturbation is the ability to feel pleasure in a 100%-safe way when practised alone. Despite the fact that in sexual relations, the risk of unplanned pregnancy and of catching STIs decreases dramatically with protection (that is to say condoms, dental dams, or non-barrier contraceptives*) it is never not one hundred percent effective, however masturbation is. That said, if you’re using toys to masturbate, make sure they’re your own and good quality. Maintaining good hygiene is still important, even when it comes to masturbation.
*REMEMBER: Non-barrier contraceptives don’t protect against STIs.