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4 surprising benefits of masturbation

4 surprising benefits of masturbation

“Masturbation is bad and might be addicting”. You probably have heard this statement at some point in your life, right?
Is it true? Are there even any benefits from masturbating? Let’s begin by understanding what masturbation really is, its benefits, and whether anyone can in fact become addicted to this practice.

What is masturbation?

Masturbation, also known as self-pleasure, is the act of stimulating, rubbing and/or caressing the genitals or other parts of the body for various reasons, but typically for pleasure. It can be done solo, which involves  stimulating their own genitals or body parts, or it can be dual, with two individuals simultaneously stimulating their body parts, including the genitals, or taking turns to stimulate each other.

This stimulation can be carried out with the bare hands or using sex toys, , and it could be for pleasure,  relaxation or easing built-up sexual tension. Not just for orgasms.

What are the benefits of masturbation?

Aside from having orgasms, there are many other reasons why people masturbate:

  1. Reducing sex anxiety: the fear of the sex act redounding in pregnancy and/or getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI)  might make an individual anxious during sex. Solo masturbation can help reduce this anxiety, as there is no pregnant risk, as well as very little chance of getting STIs  if compared to, for instance, a dual session using  shared sex toys.
  2. De-stressing and better sleep: if you masturbate for sexual pleasure, you probably feel a heightened level of satisfaction and maybe fall asleep after the act. What happens is that your body releases hormones called vasopressin and  melatonin, which promote better sleep.
  3. Self-check: during masturbation, some individuals also perform breast examination, vulva examination or penis examination to check for lumps, rashes, sores or abnormalities, and get medical help as soon as possible if needed.
  4. Improved pleasure: sometimes masturbation is incorporated into the sensate focus, a type of sex therapy that centres on touching genitals and other erogenous zones and focusing on how that feels. This is also a very useful exercise for survivors of sexual assault who want to gradually relearn sensual and intimate touch.

What if I get addicted? Is ‘Masturbation Addiction’ Possible?

Masturbation is not an addiction; it could be compulsive. While addiction is driven by the need of seeking pleasure from a harmful behaviour and involves   a slow lose of control and the struggle to withdraw, compulsive behaviour is driven by the need to do something urgently and repeatedly, usually out of fear, anxiety or satisfaction; it typically doesn’t ruin or interfere with regular activities, but it could.

Therefore, although masturbation can become a compulsive behaviour,  doing it frequently doesn’t mean you are addicted to it.

What are the signs of compulsive masturbation?

There are many different signs of compulsive masturbation, as they vary from person to person. The most common ones are:

  • reduced sexual desire for your partner,
  • physical harm to a genital,
  • delayed ejaculation, and
  • increased performance anxiety.

How can I avoid this?

Remember a behaviour becomes compulsive when there is an intense and repetitive routine. A study shows that a major way to stop compulsive behavior is to try something new instead of the old habit. In case of masturbation, here is what you can do:

  • Mindful masturbation: this is simply a practice of focusing on all your senses and observing what each touch feels like how you feel about it and how you react to it. This doesn’t only help in mapping your pleasurable zones, but also with scanning your body to notice, in time, any possible dangerous changes.
  • Practice outercourse: outercourse simply is non-penetrative sex. It includes other forms of sexual intimacy like caressing and frottage.

Hopefully these tips will help you with your next masturbation session. Remember, don’t feel guilty or sad; and make pleasure a priority.

Do you have something to share? Leave your comments below, contact us on our social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok, send us an email to info@findmymethod.org. For more information on contraception, visit findmymethod.org

About the author: Amos Sanasi is an award-winning sex educator who specializes in sexual enlightenment. Her book “BDSM CHEAT SHEET” is a beginner’s guide for those who want to be kink-positive. She is also the founder of West Africa’s first sex-Ed tech startup RevaginateNG. She tweets at @thesanasi.