Despite its numerous benefits, masturbation is still perceived as a “dirty” or “sinful” act to many people, especially individuals with conservative beliefs.
Masturbation also comes with many misconceptions, one of which is that self-pleasure can cause mental disorders. This isn’t the case, though! In fact, masturbation provides tons of positive effects to the brain.
Now, if you’re wondering about these mental health benefits, we gotchu. For today’s featured guide, we’re going to discuss the benefits of masturbation to one’s mental health. We’re also going to answer some of the frequently asked questions about masturbation, so make sure to stay tuned to that!
But before we move to the benefits, let’s have a quick refresher first on what masturbation is all about.
What is Masturbation?
We know most of you are fully aware of this act, but for the folks that just heard this term just now, masturbation is the act of touching or rubbing your own genitals for sexual pleasure. People usually use their hands, sex toys, or even everyday items to stimulate their erogenous zones.
Also known as self-pleasure and solo play, this activity is a natural and healthy way of exploring your body and sexual preferences.
Benefits of Masturbation to Your Mental Health
Aside from exploring your body and preferences, masturbation can also be beneficial to your mental health. This doesn’t mean that solo play alone can treat mental health conditions; it can only relieve some symptoms from the said conditions, such as sleeping difficulties or concentration difficulties. Let’s take a deep dive into these benefits below.
1It boosts your mood.
According to numerous reports, orgasms from masturbation and other sexual activities can trigger the release of feel-good hormones and chemicals. It includes dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, endorphins, prolactin, adrenaline, and endocannabinoids.
Most of these hormones are involved in the brain’s pleasure reward center, bringing satisfaction, happiness, and reduced stress once you’ve tapped them out. So if you ever feel that blissful satisfaction after a steamy solo play, don’t forget to thank your trusty hormones for giving that sweet release.
2It reduces stress and anxiety.
As we’ve mentioned above, orgasms from masturbation can unlock certain feel-good hormones. One of them is oxytocin which is also known as the “love” hormone. Now, this particular hormone isn’t just giving positive physiological effects and supporting behaviors associated with happiness; its presence also lowers the level of your cortisol, a hormone associated with high stress.
This is why you feel calm and relaxed after touching yourself. Whenever you’re orgasming, your mind is easing off the stress hormone and bringing in the feel-good ones. So if you’re feeling a bit stressed out or anxious with something, maybe a quick solo play may do the trick.
3It improves sleep quality.
A common symptom that people experience from certain mental health conditions is sleeping difficulty. If you’ve been going through something, you’ve probably found yourself tossing and turning all night, frustrated about not being able to sleep.
There are tons of products that can help you with this symptom. But if you want a simple and safe temporary solution, try going for self-pleasure. You see, orgasms have been known to be a natural sleeping aid. As the feel-good hormones get released during an orgasm, your mental state becomes more relaxed and somewhat warmed up for a good night’s sleep.
Numerous studies have also backed up this claim, one of which is a 2016 study from Central Queensland University named “Sex as Sleep Therapy.” After conducting the study, which involved 460 adult participants, they’ve found out that 64% of the participants have better sleep quality after sex, especially if they’ve reached climax.
There’s also a 2019 study published in the National Library of Medicine regarding this benefit. According to this study: “Orgasms with a partner were associated with the perception of favorable sleep outcomes; however, orgasms achieved through masturbation (self-stimulation) were associated with the perception of better sleep quality and latency.”
4It improves focus and concentration.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, an orgasm releases a set of feel-good hormones. Now, these chemicals aren’t just responsible for boosting one’s mood. Some of them, particularly dopamine and endocannabinoids, are also involved in motivation, learning, and memory.
So after reaching that euphoric peak, your mind may feel sharper than before. This can then lead to improved focus and concentration.
5It improves self-esteem.
Did you know that masturbating can leave a positive impact on your self-esteem? Yes, you’ve read that right. In fact, it’s actually considered to be one of the key benefits of masturbation.
As we’ve mentioned on the first point, a certain set of hormones gets released after orgasming. Some of the chemicals released are responsible for boosting your confidence, such as dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. These hormones elevate your drive, increase your optimism, and provide self-satisfaction.
6It empowers your sexual self and improves body image.
Touching yourself is a fun and natural way of exploring your body. It takes you on a blissful trip down your erogenous zones and lets you learn about the things you desire in bed. By masturbating regularly, you become more in tune with your body and become fully aware of your preferences. It then leads to sexual empowerment, as you become more in control of your sensual self.
This is why masturbation is essential; it’s a crucial part of learning about your body. The more knowledgeable you are with your sexual self, the more confident you become in the bedroom. Not only that, but masturbation also helps you have a more positive perception of your body. As your body brings pleasure, you become more appreciative of it. So go ahead, unleash that fun and sexy self through solo plays!
7It makes you physically and mentally relaxed.
Ever had those days where everything seems overwhelming? You have tons of stuff just rummaging through your head, and you feel sooooo anxious and hopeless about it? If you want a quick way to calm your mind, you may want to consider self-pleasure.
There are online testimonies, such as this online forum, saying how masturbation has helped ease their anxiety symptoms. According to them, it enables them to become more present with the moment and calm their nerves.
Now, there are some cases wherein masturbation can cause anxiety (due to the stigma of the said act). If you’re not comfortable masturbating while experiencing anxiety symptoms, it’s best to refrain from it and instead seek support from family, friends, or a professional counselor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you’ve learned the different mental health benefits of masturbation, we hope you feel more engaged with self-pleasure. Trust us, solo plays are beneficial to your mind and body.
However, if you still have a few questions lingering in your mind about this practice, don’t worry, as we’ve answered some of the common inquiries related to masturbation and mental health. If your questions aren’t on the list below, you can also share your question with our Dr. Sex— she’ll be glad to help you out!
1Though masturbation does feel great, I still feel guilty about doing it. What should I do?
If you ever feel ashamed for doing it, you’re not alone with this. Most people often feel a sense of guilt and shame after masturbating. This is due to the stigma and misconceptions surrounding self-pleasure; most people overlook the benefits of masturbation and instead feel ashamed for doing the said act.
However, we encourage you to let go of the guilt and change your perception of masturbation. Pleasuring yourself is a safe and natural activity with mental and physical health benefits. This process isn’t quick nor easy to achieve, so just take the baby steps when changing your perspective about it— you can start by reading our masturbation guides.
2How about in relationships? Are there benefits in masturbating with a partner?
Masturbating with a partner, commonly known as mutual masturbation, can be highly beneficial for you, your boo, and your relationship! What’s great about this activity is pleasure is guaranteed, since you fully know how to please your body.
It can also be a learning experience for both of you since you’ll see each other’s preferred techniques when it comes to stimulating your erogenous zones. Not only that but trying out a new sexual activity such as this one can solidify your intimacy, strengthening your relationship in the long run.
3I’m depressed. Can masturbation help me with it?
As we’ve mentioned earlier, masturbation can help you relieve some of the symptoms of certain mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. For example, if you have some trouble sleeping due to depression, you can engage in solo play to make yourself fall asleep faster.
However, self-pleasure isn’t a treatment for the said conditions. It’s still best to seek professional counseling as proper treatment.
4Are there downsides to masturbation?
Along with the benefits of masturbation, there are also negative side effects that you could get from masturbating. If you’ve been touching yourself as a coping mechanism and not as a way to release sexual tension, this may lead to excessive masturbation. And once you become addicted to it, it may disrupt your daily life or your relationships.
That’s why if you feel that you’re using masturbation to cope with something, instead of exploring your body or releasing the sexual tension, we suggest consulting a healthcare professional or a counselor about it.
There are tons of mental health benefits from masturbation. It makes you feel good, boosts your self-esteem, improves your sleeping quality, and even alleviates symptoms from mental health conditions.
Deciding whether to engage in self-pleasure or not is a personal choice. But we hope that by reading this brief guide, you’ll be able to see masturbation in a different light. By opening yourself to solo plays, you’re opening yourself to sexual satisfaction.