The Science-Backed Ways Masturbation Can Improve Your Mental Health
It’s May, so we’re talking all about masturbation and mental health. We know masturbation is a topic that is often shrouded in shame and secrecy, but the truth is that it can have many positive effects on mental health for people of all genders. In this post, we'll explore the science behind masturbation and its positive impact on mental health.
First things first, let's talk about why masturbation is so great for mental health. Studies have shown that masturbation can positively affect mental health, including reducing anxiety and depression, promoting body positivity and self-esteem, and reducing stress.
For example, Mitchell et al. (2017) found that a higher frequency of masturbation was associated with greater sexual self-esteem and lower levels of anxiety and depression among young women and men. These results suggest that self-pleasure can be an important tool for promoting positive body image and reducing negative mental health outcomes.
In addition, a study by Dunn et al. (1999) found that sexual problems were associated with higher levels of social, psychological, and physical problems in both men and women. These results indicate that addressing sexual issues, such as masturbation, can have positive effects on overall mental and physical health for all genders.
Furthermore, sexual activity, in general, can have positive effects on stress reduction and overall mental health. A study by Brody (2006) found that people who engaged in sexual activity had a more significant reduction in blood pressure reactivity to stress compared to those who did not engage in sexual activity. So, whether you prefer to explore solo or with a partner, sexual activity can be important for promoting positive mental health outcomes if the person is allosexual.
Moreover, masturbation is associated with better psychological well-being for both [cis] women and [cis] men, as indicated by a study by Melin (2003).
Partner sex can also positively affect mental health, but masturbation may be especially beneficial in promoting psychological well-being. This suggests that masturbation can significantly improve your mood, reduce stress, and promote relaxation.
It's worth noting that masturbation is a normal part of sexual development for all genders from a very young age. While it may have once been seen as taboo, it's important to remember that there's nothing abnormal or wrong about self-pleasure.
A study by Tobiansky et al. (2010) found that people of all genders masturbate, but women may face more stigma around self-pleasure. However, the belief that masturbation is a sign of mental illness or abnormality is a myth, as found by Leitenberg et al. (1983).
So, what does all of this research mean?
It means that masturbation can be essential for promoting positive mental health, like reducing anxiety and depression, improving body image, and promoting overall psychological well-being.
It also means that there's no need to feel shame or guilt about self-pleasure, as it is a normal and healthy part of sexual development.
If you're looking to incorporate masturbation into your self-care routine, keep a few things in mind. Firstly, masturbation is a normal and healthy behavior for people of all genders, so there's no need to feel shame or guilt about it.
Secondly, masturbation can significantly reduce stress and promote relaxation, so consider incorporating it into your daily or weekly self-care routine. And finally, remember that everyone's experience with masturbation is different, so don't be afraid to experiment and find what works for you.
In conclusion, masturbation can have many positive effects on mental health for people of all genders, including reducing anxiety and depression, improving body image, and promoting overall psychological well-being. So, what can you do to implement a more consistent self-pleasure/masturbation practice?
Create a container for self-pleasure and put it on your calendar: Literally, schedule some time in your calendar for self-pleasure. This can be a great way to ensure that you prioritize your own pleasure and make time for it regularly.
Experiment with different techniques and toys: Don't be afraid to try out different techniques and toys to find what feels best for you. Maybe even try making your own DIY homemade sex toy. Everyone's experience with masturbation is different, so it's important to find what works for you. If you’ve never tried a toy, check out a Zumio, a Magic Wand or LeWand and an internal toy to see what types of sensations or combinations you like.
Figure out your desire type (spontaneous, responsive, or contextual) and create an environment to support that: To help reduce stress and promote relaxation, create a calming and comfortable environment for your self-pleasure sessions. This might include dimming the lights, playing soothing music, or using aromatherapy candles. For other people, the environment doesn’t matter. You do you!
- Be kind to yourself: Lastly, be kind to yourself and don't feel guilty or ashamed about masturbation. Remember that self-pleasure is a healthy behavior for people of all genders and ages, and you deserve to prioritize your own pleasure and well-being.
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