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For centuries, adolescents have been warned that the sin of self-gratification can lead to blindness, impotence, acne, and even furry palms, and in fact, some people still believe that mastur bation can cause mental health problems or damage to your genitals.

But that is blatantly untrue — getting se xy with yourself is actually good for you. Showing yourself some love is never a bad thing.

But is mastur bation necessary for your health overall?

If you’ve been wondering whether you’re missing out on some benefits beyond the obvious, here’s a closer look at whether you need to make mastur bation a part of your wellness regimen.

Do you have a healthy and satisfying se xual life? If you do, does mastur bation feature anywhere? Whether you’re single and haven’t had a se xual encounter in months, in a committed mono gamous reIationship, or have multiple partners and a buzzing se x life, mastur bation can feature as heavily (or not) as you like. It’s the great equalizer that needs no other partner, no schedule other than your own and doesn’t expose you to the risk of contracting any se xually transmitted diseases or getting someone (or yourself) preg nant. What’s not to Iove?

But if you haven’t been mastur bating, are you missing out? Should you consider making the practice of se xual self-pleasuring a part of your routine? Here’s an inti mate look at the activity no one wants to discuss too openly.

Mastur bation is a great mental and physical release and can serve a range of purposes – from helping you discover what you like in bed to gaining control over your 0rgasms. It comes with the added benefits of being a complete no-strings-attached se xual experience, without the pressure that comes with trying to please a partner. Here are just some of the ways in which mastur bation can work in your favor.

Healthy Se xual Development

What is hard for many to reconcile is that mastur bation is perfectly normal, healthy se xual behavior. However, due to social conditioning and mixed messaging, there is often a struggle between reconciling this act that’s both a pleasure and a stigma. As one study found, women are more likely to struggle with the dilemma of whether it is right or wrong to mastur bate. Men on the whole, however, embrace the benefits of mastur bation as part of their se xual development more readily.1 But there’s no doubt that both can benefit. Women can use mastur bation to understand what can be a pleasurable experience culminating in an 0rgasm. Men can learn to gain control over how soon they experience an 0rgasm.

Improved Inti macy In ReIationships

Mastur bation is a commonly recommended tool by se x therapists. They believe mastur bation can play a key role in improving the overall se xual health of a reIationship and the way the partners approach the act. As the National Health Services says, it can also be useful for couples to individually discover what they like and do not like in terms of se xual activity.

Less Unwanted Preg nancies

When you mastur bate on your own or with a partner, without any vag inal se x involved, you do away with the risk of preg nancy. This can take a lot of the pressure off the experience among couples who do not want to conce ive. For adolescents on the threshold of their se xual lives, masturbation offers a chance to explore and discover, without running the risk of teen pregnancy.5
Lower Transmission Of HIV And STIs

Mutual mastur bation where you mastur bate in the presence of your partner can be an enjoyable experience. It allows you to gain insight into what your partner enjoys, but without the risk of contracting a se xually transmitted infection (STI) or HIV. However, you should be aware that if you touch your own geni tals and then your partner’s, or vice versa, you expose yourself to the risk of passing on or contracting an STI through the vagi nal fluid or se men. This transmission could also happen if se x toys shared by both of you are not cleaned properly after use.

Positive Body Image

Mastur bation doesn’t just feel good, but can actually make you feel good about yourself too. Beyond the physical pleasures of a session with yourself, you also stand to reinforce a positive body image. One piece of research looked at the link and found that a positive connection between mastur bation and body image among European American women who were surveyed. Do remember, though, that whether or not this holds true for you will be determined by your personal beliefs, culture, and background. In the same study, African American women’s body image did not appear to be influenced by their mastur bation.

The Downside To Mastur bation

There is no major downside to mastur bating. However, the psychological impact of se xual self-pleasuring can vary. For some who see it as a taboo, feelings of guilt or negative emotions may surface after they mastur bate.

Excessive mastur bation can be problematic if you find it interfering with your daily life. If it goes from being a normal part of your routine to becoming an obsession or addiction, you have reason to worry. Public mastur bation too is an issue and a sign that you may need counseling to address an underlying problem.

Besides this, heavy mastur bation that’s done very roughly can cause bruising or soreness and even cuts, so be careful when you indulge in se xual self-service. Men may also develop a swelling, called an edema, of the pe nis. While the appearance of your enlarged swollen pe nis might be scary, the fluid accumulation in the tissues of your pe nis should subside in a couple of days. If you have a compulsive mastur bation problem, this may result in chronic peniIe Iymphedema.

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