Last week, I wrote an article about vulva owners and the positive experiences they can have using masturbation with the intention to improve aspects of their lives. The same benefits can also be found for penis owners looking to make changes or connect with their own bodies. Whether you are looking to make an impact on sexual functioning or want to learn more about who you are, masturbation can have excellent benefits. Here are my favorite three pluses for masturbation:
Masturbation increases your mental health
The parts of your brain associated with processing, memory, and emotion regulation, the cerebral cortex and the limbic system, are both activated during sex or masturbation. When you are masturbating, your limbic system activates and allows you to experience feelings of pleasure and experience positive sexual memories again and that can increase overall feelings of happiness and joy. Additionally, masturbation releases oxytocin and prolactin, which can help you fall and stay asleep!
Sleep is critical for brain functioning, cognition, and decision-making, and without an adequate amount, you can notice problems with concentration, brain fog, and emotion regulation. Have you ever felt really sleepy following a sexual encounter? Post-masturbation, you will have a sudden rush of the neurochemicals needed for good sleep. Overall, masturbation or partnered sex can be very beneficial for your brain!
Masturbation decreases sexual dysfunction: erectile dysfunction
Yep, you read that right—decrease sexual dysfunction! Many might think that masturbation can negatively impact erection to the point of creating erectile dysfunction, but research shows that is not true. In fact, the opposite can be seen! Masturbation has been shown to decrease cortisol levels which plays a large role in stress management. If your cortisol level gets too high, you are likely to see an impact on your ability to achieve and maintain an erection.
Cortisol can restrict your blood vessels and when this happens in the penis, it becomes difficult for blood flow to happen as normal, therefore causing a problem with erectile dysfunction in sexual settings. Masturbation can be helpful as there is no stress of engaging with a partner and also does not have a timeline attached, so can be a great time to practice achieving an orgasm and decreasing your cortisol! Overall, you will also notice a decrease in stress symptoms as a whole when using masturbation with intention.
Increase overall physical health
There are a variety of physical health benefits for penis owners who masturbate regularly. For example, a recent study showed that those who ejaculate five or more times a week are at a lower risk for prostate cancer as the toxins that naturally build up in the body are removed from the body at a regular rate and can help keep the urogenital tract clear. Endorphins are also released after masturbation, which offers a variety of benefits such as reducing pain symptoms and overall increased functioning. If you’ve ever heard that sex is a good cure for headaches, this is why!
Additionally, the penis is made up of muscles just like all other areas of the body are. Masturbation helps keep the muscles healthy and prevent atrophy, which can open the door to various physical issues.
Reminder, while masturbation has huge benefits for you regardless of genitalia, it is important to note that there can be a thing such as too much masturbation. Symptoms of an excessive amount can include fatigue, blurry vision, lower back pain, weakness, or injury to the penis and should indicate taking a break. This level can be different for everyone, so try to stay in touch with your body and be aware of what is telling you!
Masturbation is healthy and can greatly improve sex with your partner, and you should have no reason to feel shame or guilt for enjoying it. If you notice having a challenging time enjoying masturbation or post-sexual experiences, please reach out to a sex therapist near you!