MASTURBATION: HOW IT CAN IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

MASTURBATION: HOW IT CAN IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

Masturbating. It’s something nearly every human does, or at least, feels the urge to do. Let’s get one thing straight, though: there’s nothing “dirty” about masturbating, and it actually could improve your overall well-being. Yeah, you read that right.

Sexual Empowerment of Masturbation

While masturbation can come with shame for some, it can also hold possibilities for sexual empowerment. Indeed, it can offer a healthy approach for people to learn more about their bodies and how to enjoy sexual pleasure in a variety of ways. Especially for those who may have been raised to view their sexual pleasure as taboo, masturbation may provide a rare opportunity for them to get to know their bodies in a loving way. 

 

The Relation Between Masturbation and Mental Health 

Self-gratification, when devoid of guilt and shame, can have loads of positive benefits on both our mental and physical health. 

During masturbation, feel-good chemicals including dopamine and oxytocin are released into the body. Dopamine, makes you feel good and puts you in a better mood. Oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, contributes to feelings of well-being and attachment. In addition to stress relief, this “cocktail of chemicals” can also improve self-esteem and confidence, enhancing happiness and even social harmony with others. 

Suffice to say, stress relief, happiness and social harmony are all things we could use a little more of these days, and masturbating your way there seems like a win-win. That said, there’s a difference between mindlessly rubbing one out and actually masturbating with improved mental health as the goal.   

Be mindful when masturbating

Masturbating more mindfully is the secret to gaining those mental health benefits. Mindfulness really just means alertness, paying full attention to what you are actually doing and feeling, and not getting lost in distraction or fantasy. 

In a society that tends to prioritise orgasms — especially male ones — as the goal of any sexual encounter, partnered or solo, it can be difficult not to treat masturbation as a race to get yourself off. Reframing this orgasm-centric view is key to more mindful masturbating. Rather than thinking of every stroke as a step toward orgasm, instead focus on paying attention to how each physical sensation actually feels in the moment.

Remind yourself that it’s not about the orgasm or how quickly or slowly you get there. It’s actually about the pleasure — about allowing and inviting pleasure to spread throughout the whole body. 

  

Feeling guilty after masturbation?

If you find yourself feeling guilty following masturbation, it can be helpful to remind yourself that this is a healthy activity for sexual expression. If these negative emotions persist, it may be worth talking through with a trusted loved one or a therapist to unpack stigma or shame regarding masturbation. 

While masturbation is not inherently harmful, any activity should be reassessed if it has a substantial negative impact on your relationships or other areas of your life, as can be the case with any sexual behaviour. This may be reflective of a sexual addiction, which may require treatment.

And remember: Masturbation isn't a consolation prize, it is self-love in practice.

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