All the ways that masturbation can make you healthier

Originally Published on Jun 16, 2020 Health | By Jenna Birch

  • When you masturbate to orgasm it releases hormones like oxytocin and serotonin which can have a host of benefits including reduced stress, better sleep, and pain relief.
  • Women climax more quickly and easily during masturbation than sex, but masturbation could also lead to more orgasms for women during sex, too.
  • For men, masturbation may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer and is also a good way to satisfy your sex drive if it’s significantly higher than your partner’s.
  • This article was medically reviewed reviewed by Sherry A. Ross, MD, OB-GYN, Women’s Health Expert and author of she-ology and she-ology. the she-quel.
  • Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.

Much stigma surrounds masturbation — for both men and women. Yet, most doctors regard it as not only safe, but a healthy sexual behavior and an important part of overall sexual health. Here are the many health benefits of masturbation.

Overall benefits of masturbation

Much of the evidence for the benefits of masturbation for both men and women are linked more to orgasm than masturbation, says Nicole Prause, PhD, a neuroscientist studying sexual behavior and physiology and the founder of the sexual biotechnology company Liberos

When you orgams, your body releases a flood of hormones including:

  • Endorphins, which are known to reduce pain.
  • Oxytocin, which helps regulate stress, pain, fear, and wellbeing.
  • Serotonin, which reduces stress and helps balance mood. 

As a result, masturbation that results in orgasm can come with numerous health benefits like: 

  • Increased relaxation
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Better sleep
  • Relieved headaches 
  • Improved partnered sex
  • Increased sexual satisfaction

There’s also some evidence to suggest that masturbation may strengthen the immune system.

Masturbation can also be more enjoyable than engaging in sexual acts with a partner because it eases any sort of pressure. “For a lot of people when they’re masturbating, especially solo, there’s a relaxation component to it,” says Susan Milstein, PhD, a certified sexuality educator and professor of health and kinesiology at Texas A&M University. “They don’t feel the need to perform when they are just there for themselves.”  

If you are trying to abstain from sex or are worried about the risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), masturbation is also great. “It really is one of the safest forms of sex out there, as long as you’re not sharing toys and cleaning in between,” says Milstein.

Unique benefits of masturbation for women 

Masturbation has several unique advantages for women. 

More orgasms

Women generally climax more quickly and easily during masturbation than sex. For example, a 2017 study surveying over 52,000 adults, found that only 65% of heterosexual women and 66% of bisexual women usually reached orgasm during sex. On the other hand, 95% of heterosexual men who ejaculated regularly during sex.

The reason women orgasm less frequently during sex could be because they struggle to discover their preferences, says Milstein, let alone communicate them. However, masturbation may help with that because it offers the opportunity for women to be more in touch with their bodies so they know how they feel and what they need.

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