I wish more women talked about getting themselves off as much as men do because then we'd probably all know the answer to questions like, "Is masturbation healthy for women?" Just so you know, it is healthy for a number of reasons. But before I get into those, I'd like to point out that it's totally fine to masturbate simply because it feels good! You don't need to justify this to anyone with a thousand-word thesis on the health benefits of rubbing one out. If there were ever an apt time to quote Nike, it'd be now. Just do it.
That said, it doesn't hurt to know what other benefits you could be reaping when you tango solo. Bet you didn't know that masturbation can reduce your risks of cystitis, UTIs, and, diabetes. Yup, in the case of cervical and urinary tract infections, masturbation helps to circulate cervical fluids and flush out bacteria through a process called "tenting," which stretches the cervix when aroused. Plus, the mood-enhancing and sleep-inducing benefits of masturbation are to thank for its prevention of Type 2 diabetes.
I spoke with Dr. Tami Prince, OB-GYN and owner of Women’s Health and Wellness Center of Georgia, LLC, who says those game-changers aren't the only reasons you should be masturbating regularly. It's not technically exercise (although it's possible to work up a sweat) but masturbation also offers more general, wellness benefits.
Masturbation can give you orgasms — great orgasms, in fact.
I mean, this is reason enough, no? Dr. Prince tells Elite Daily, "Masturbation can increase vaginal lubrication as well as sexual desire, which can then in turn enhance the orgasm phase." If, through masturbation, you're more frequently aroused, your sex drive tends to be higher and, as a result, your orgasms more enjoyable. It's like they say, "Practice makes perfect."
Masturbation allows you to explore what you like in bed.
Speaking of practice, there's no better way to get in touch with yourself than to literally touch yourself. This way, you'll learn what works for you in bed and which stimuli result in maximum arousal. For example, do you enjoy speed more than you do applied pressure? Does it help to take deep, slow breaths or would you rather hold your breath right before climax? Do you prefer the lights on or off? Use this time alone to experiment with different rituals.
Dr. Prince explains, "Masturbation allows for women to explore their bodies so that they can have pleasure as well as be able to guide their sexual partners. A sexual partner can't be expected to pleasure to the point of orgasm if a women is unable to tell them what her likes and dislikes are." Sorry ladies, this one's on us.
Masturbation helps you identify when something is wrong with your body.
You know your body, which means you know what feels good. You also know when something feels really, really off. Dr. Prince says, "Masturbation also allows for women to become acquainted with their bodies enough to distinguish normal and abnormal changes in their bodies." If you experience unusual pain or discomfort during masturbation, you should consult your physician as soon as possible.
Masturbation reduces sexual and bodily tension.
Unsurprisingly, "Masturbation allows for women to release sexual tension either due to sexually unfulfilling relationships or celibacy," Dr. Prince says. Nothing like a little TLC to get you through your dry spell... and your period cramps, believe it or not.
Among the chemicals released during masturbation are dopamine, which sends a message to your brain's pleasure center to reduce stress, and endorphins (same as with physical exercise) that enhance your overall mood and reduce pain. So, yes, masturbating while on your period is a good idea if you're in the mood.
Masturbation helps with insomnia.
I'm starting to think masturbation is a cure-all. You know, like coconut oil? Anyway, your body also secretes prolactin when you masturbate, which acts as a sleep aid and wow, OK. I'm definitely pro-diddling now.
So is Dr. Prince, who says, in general, "Women who masturbate tend to have better sex, better moods, and better sleep." What's not to love?
The point is, there are so many reasons to do it and so few not to. According to Dr. Prince, the only real risk (for women who aren't pregnant) is becoming addicted to masturbation.
She says, "People have been found to become addicted to masturbation where it interferes with daily life, relationships, and work. This addiction will need to be treated by a physician and possibly in conjunction with a psychiatrist if medications are needed or a psychologist if no medications are needed."
And as for women who are pregnant, masturbation is generally safe, though not recommended in high-risk pregnancies due to possible increased risk for pre-term labor and delivery.
Knock yourself out (well, not literally, but you get it).