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    10 minutes read
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    May 20, 2023
    Pleasure & Relationships
    No Shame in Self-Pleasure: Why Masturbation Can Be Good for You!
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    By Dr. Sophia Murphy, DBH, SXI

    May is “Masturbation” and “Self-Pleasure” month which makes it the perfect time to discuss solo-sex! For many people, the idea of touching themselves for sexual pleasure is tainted with shame and stigma. There have been historical myths of negative consequences that would come from sexual acts with oneself. For some people, sex in general has become synonymous with feeling bad about themselves due to either misinformation or lack of information. Shame is a tricky topic to navigate and the less we talk about it the harder it is to manage.

    What is Shame and How Does it Impact Sexual Enjoyment?

    Shame is the feeling we experience when we believe we’re less than others or even inherently bad. It’s highly correlated with feeling depressed and anxious. We all feel a little shame because it’s a feeling that signals to us that we care how others see us and there’s nothing wrong with that! Shame becomes toxic when it negatively impacts our abilities to be ourselves.

    There are many shaming messages in our society about sex, specifically masturbation. Many of us learned that sex is only for procreation, something to occur only with a partner, and only during marriage. Because of this narrow definition of “good” sex, anything outside of that can become synonymous with “bad.” Touching yourself and enjoying it may have been lumped into the “other” category and now bring up difficult emotions.

    Reference: The Dangers of Purity Culture _**

    Moving Through Shame to Acceptance

    You can take some time and explore what you really believe about sex and whether messages you received in the past really align with how you feel. Just because we learned something doesn’t make it a fact and doesn’t make anyone “bad” for seeing it differently. We can work through shame by acknowledging it, talking with people we trust, and learning new information. Masturbation is totally normal, common, and promotes well-being too!

    6 Benefits of Masturbation

    • Masturbation promotes many positive outcomes and can be beneficial to your health including stress management, mental health, and overall wellness. Learning your own likes/dislikes: Every person is different, and everyone has different sexual interests. Masturbation is a great way to better understand what turns you on, how you like to be touched, and what feels good to you specifically. It can also improve your ability to orgasm since you know what works best for you
    • Improved sex with partners: The more you learn about your body, the more you can enjoy it. This is also a great way to improve partnered sex because you can readily communicate what you want (and don’t want). Masturbation isn’t just something to do because you don’t have a partner. Research has shown that masturbation can increase libido and improve sexual connection between partners too.
    • Increased self-esteem: Research shows that masturbation can enhance self-esteem and improve your overall relationship with yourself. Better sleep: Masturbation and orgasm have relaxation effects on the body and can improve sleep as part of a bedtime routine. Mood boost: During orgasm, the body releases “feel good” hormones including oxytocin and dopamine, which improve mood and even have anti-depressing effects.
    • Improved physical health: For people with a prostate, frequent ejaculation is correlated with a decreased risk of developing prostate cancer.

    Read More: Masturbation: Pleasure In Your Own Hands_**

    There’s No Wrong Way to Love Yourself

    Curious? Ready to get to know yourself more? There’s no wrong answer when it comes to your sexual wellness as long as it feels good to you and stays safe, sane, and consensual. It’s OK if you have some old shame to address or stigma to work through. Continue to learn how your body works and expand your knowledge on sex in general. Talk to people you trust and identify what you believe about sex and masturbation specifically. You’re allowed to be a sexual being and figure out what’s best for you. It’s OK if self-pleasure doesn’t end up turning you on. And it’s definitely OK to enjoy it if it does!

    Reviewed by Adrienne Ton, FNP-BC on May 16, 2023

    This article provides information about sexual health, healthcare and/or related subjects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be construed as a substitute for, medical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or person with a medical concern should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes. The views expressed herein are not sponsored by and do not represent the opinions of TBD Health Inc.

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