Masturbation. It’s a topic many of us probably did not talk about growing up. Maybe you grew up in an ultra-conservative household or perhaps your church or spiritual community told you it was bad. Maybe you even felt ashamed or embarrassed to bring it up with your friends or significant others.
Let me tell you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with masturbation. It’s completely normal and even healthy. Aliyah Moore, Ph.D. and Resident Certified Sex Therapist with a Ph.D. in Gender and Sexuality Studies at SexualAlpha, says, “Masturbation is a healthy sexual activity that improves a woman’s overall mental, physical and sexual well-being.” Plus, there are some pretty awesome benefits of masturbation.
Whether you are single or in a relationship, hormones happen all of the time. Hey, sometimes a girl just wants to get frisky—with herself. If you’ve mastered orgasming in your sleep and are looking for an alternative way to have some fun, try masturbation. Here are some of the benefits of female masturbation.
Benefits of female masturbation
1. Can help relieve stress and tension
One of the benefits of masturbation is stress relief. During orgasm, dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin are released from the brain, which can decrease cortisol levels and thereby diminish stress.
“Masturbation is an avenue for releasing sexual tension and relieving any pent-up stress that women have,” says Moore. “When you masturbate, your body releases feel-good hormones (endorphins), getting your mind off any pain or stress that you are feeling.”
Another benefit of masturbation can be attributed to oxytocin. “When you orgasm from self-pleasure, you feel calmer because of the release of oxytocin,” says Moore. “Oxytocin lowers your stress hormone, cortisol, making you feel [much] more relaxed.” In a mood? Skip the stress cravings and instead, spend some quality time with yourself by masturbating.
2. Counts as physical activity
Mix up your daily walks and weekly workouts with something different—masturbation. One of the benefits of masturbation is that it counts as physical activity. Although solo sex is less intense than partnered sex, it’s still in opposition to a sedentary lifestyle. Go ahead and add masturbation to those active rest days and get physical with yourself.
3. Dulls pain, especially period cramps
Remember how one of the benefits of masturbation is that it releases the feel-good hormones dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin? (Okay, good, you’ve been paying attention). Not only does this trifecta of hormones help you feel good, but they can also dull pain, including period cramps.
During menstruation, as the uterus sheds its lining, sometimes the uterus contracts to help the process along. That can result in some pretty gnarly period cramps. Moore advises her clients to masturbate when they are on their period because endorphin and oxytocin release means they will feel less discomfort and pain.
She says, “If you go through menstrual bloating and cramps, masturbation provides natural pain relief from these uncomfortable symptoms with dopamine and serotonin release along with endorphins and oxytocin.” The next time you have period cramps, skip the heating pad and touch on another form of relief.
Another benefit of female masturbation is that it can lead to shorter cycles. Yep! You read that right ladies. “Oxytocin contracts your uterus more [and] more uterine contractions mean your uterine lining is pushed out faster, leading to shorter cycles,” shares Moore. (Cue females rejoicing everywhere).
Not on your period because you are pregnant? Masturbation can be great for you too. Rachel Sommer, Ph.D., a clinical sexologist with many years of experience helping single people and couples manage their sex life, says masturbation is great when you are pregnant. “Depending on the pregnancy stage you are in, partnered sex can be awkward, so masturbation offers an ideal option, especially when one partner is unsure whether they want to have sex during pregnancy.”
4. Helps you get to know yourself better
We know our likes and dislikes when it comes to things like fashion, fitness, and food, but shouldn’t we also know what we like sexually? “When you explore your body through masturbation, you feel empowered to feel pleasure and better understand what arouses you and turns you off,” says Moore.
“Exploring your pleasure zones enables you to feel comfortable in your desires as well as your body. You can then apply the things you have learned about yourself to your sex life so you will have better sex and attain sexual satisfaction with or without a partner.”
5. May support better sleep
One of the benefits of masturbation, especially a benefit of female masturbation is that it may support better sleep. Moore explains once the effects of oxytocin wear off, prolactin kicks in. “The release of this hormone promotes better sleep in women.”
In a recent study, participants reported falling asleep faster and had better overall sleep quality if they masturbated before bed. If you are looking to clock more quality zzzs at night, consider adding masturbation to the top of the list.
6. Promotes blood flow
Okay, so promoted blood flow may not sound like a super stellar benefit of masturbation, but it is. Moore enlightens us some more with her expert insight. “Regular masturbation in women promotes more blood flow into the genitals. This leads to more arousal and sensitivity around the clit, vulva, and other erogenous zones like the nipples.”
As if this benefit of female masturbation was not enough already, lucky for us, there is more. “When you masturbate, all this blood flow makes your orgasms more powerful,” claims Moore. “Some women even get multiple orgasms that they could not have otherwise with solo or partnered play.”
Besides more powerful orgasms, one of the other benefits of masturbation for both men and women is that masturbation can help individuals practice controlling their orgasms better.
“Once you train your body, you can even last longer during sex,” shares Moore.
7. Strengthens pelvic floor
The pelvic floor is a diamond-shaped group of internal muscles that work together to support the pelvic organs including the bladder, bowels, uterus, and vagina. When we orgasm, we experience a series of muscle contractions, which can help strengthen the pelvic floor.
Other benefits of masturbation
Though some of these points are specific benefits of female masturbation, there is a multitude of other benefits to masturbation for both men and women including:
- Can lead to more pleasurable partner play
- Counts as a safe sex practice
- Helps relieve symptoms of depression
- Improves skin – Hello post-orgasm glow
- Increases libido
- Instills a new sense of confidence
- Makes you feel more energized
- Motivates you to potentially engage in more partnered sex
- Strengthens cognitive function
Whether you are paired up in a relationship or riding solo, carve out some time for individual intimacy with yourself.