Masturbation: Mental and Physical Benefits of Self-Pleasure
Self-pleasure, or masturbation, is an act that is more important than it’s given credit for, both from a physical and mental health standpoint. Despite being a natural human act, it is still often treated as a taboo or something to be ashamed of, which impedes understanding of both its benefits and how to do it safely. In this article, we will provide an overview of masturbation from a scientific and health standpoint, including its physical and mental benefits.
What Is Masturbation?
Masturbation is simply the self-stimulation of one’s genitalia in order to achieve sexual arousal and pleasure. It is a private and solo activity that does not typically involve the participation of another person. Despite its private nature, it is a very common sexual activity; according to the 2015 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behaviour, more than 95 percent of adults have masturbated at least once in their life.
Masturbation can be done in a number of ways, such as manual stimulation through the use of fingers, the use of objects to derive sexual pleasure, and even fantasy and/or visualization. Masturbation is generally done for the ultimate purpose of sexual pleasure, however sometimes it is done to solely experience relaxation.
Physical Benefits of Masturbation
Masturbation yields a wide array of physical benefits. In addition to reducing stress and tension, it can help to increase blood flow to the pelvic region, thus potentially increasing sensation and heightening sexual pleasure. There is also evidence that suggests it can help to improve sleep quality, reduce aches and pains, and even alleviate menstrual cramps.
Masturbation can also help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which are a group of muscles that support the bladder and uterus. This can help to reduce incontinence, which is defined as the unintentional passing of urine or faeces. It can also enhance sexual arousal and orgasm, as well as provide a way to safely explore one’s sexuality and desires.
Mental Benefits of Masturbation
In addition to the physical benefits, there are a variety of mental benefits that come with masturbation, such as an improved body image, increased self-confidence, higher self-esteem, and improved psychological well-being. Masturbation can help to reduce feelings of guilt or shame surrounding sexual desires or thoughts, and it can also reduce stress and anxiety.
For those seeking to explore their sexuality and desires, masturbation can be an effective tool. It can provide an opportunity to explore fantasies and learn more about one’s own body, and allow individuals to explore these aspects of their sexuality with no fear or judgement.
As with all sexual activity, safety measures should be taken in order to reduce the risk of infection and other health risks. Clean hands should be used to masturbate, and if using any objects, be sure that they are cleaned and disinfected before and after use.
It is also recommended to practice safe sex while engaging in any sexual activity, including masturbation. This includes the use of a condom or dental dam to protect against STIs (sexually transmitted infections), the use of a lubricant to reduce the risk of tearing or friction, and the use of clean hands and objects when needed.
In conclusion, masturbation is a normal, healthy, and natural activity. It can provide both physical and mental benefits, with no known risks or harms, if practiced in a safe and responsible manner. Understanding the potential benefits of masturbation can help individuals to explore their sexual desires and strengthen their relationship with their body, while maintaining optimal sexual health.