The 7 surprising health benefits of self-pleasure

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Did you know that masturbating can boost your immune system?

Turns out, there are plenty more health and wellbeing benefits as well!

And, with May being International Masturbation Month, we spoke to Lovehoney Sexologist Chantelle Otten to find out more.

Chantelle Otten, Lovehoney Sexologist
"Solo play has numerous health and wellbeing benefits," says sexologist Chantelle Otten. Source: Lovehoney

Passionate about educating Aussies on the benefits of exploring and experiencing their own erotic pleasure, Chantelle shares the seven benefits of solo self-pleasure.

1. Relieve stress and feel more relaxed

"Solo play has so many benefits so I'm going to group a couple of them together - it's great for relaxing your body as a whole," says Chantelle.

"It helps you to relax by releasing tension and also reducing stress - and Aussies agree. Lovehoney's Masturbation May Research found that Aussies' top reasons for self-pleasure were as a way to relax (30%) and for stress release (29%).

"When you orgasm your body releases endorphins, dopamine and oxytocin (the happiness and love hormones), boosting your mood so you're calmer and happier.

"This combined with being relaxed means you're likely to have a more restful and deeper sleep."


2. Boost your immune system and reduce pain and cramps

According to Chantelle, masturbation increases immune function by releasing immunity-boosting hormones.

"A play a day helps keep the doctor away. It also acts as natural pain relief for aches, pains and migraines.

"This one is more for the vulva owners out there - self-pleasure can help relieve menstrual cramps and muscle tension."

According to the Lovehoney Sex Trends Report 2022, 90% of women would recommend masturbation to combat period pain. External stimulators like a wand, bullet or clit sucker are best.

Illustration of young woman looking on her reflection in mirror with love
Self-pleasure has been found to support healthy body image and self-confidence, by helping folks build a better understanding of themselves and what they enjoy. Source: Getty Images

3. Improve your self-esteem and self-confidence

"Self-pleasure can improve your confidence because you’re focusing on your own body and what feels good.

"The more you understand yourself, the greater impact it will have on your self-esteem and body image.

"Everybody is different and responds in different ways - it’s just about finding what works for you.

"This confidence translates to sexual confidence as you're aware of your turn-ons and how to get you off, which can be used with a partner", says Chantelle.

4. Boost your stamina

"This one is for the penis owners," explains Chantelle. "Solo play can help with lasting longer and be beneficial to people who struggle with premature ejaculation.

"Self-pleasure can help identify strokes or sensations that will push you over the edge or keep you from finishing earlier than you would like.

"Understanding your body's natural responses helps your know when you're getting close and you can then practise edging - stopping yourself from reaching orgasm just when you're on the cusp.

"This takes practice, and often you will go over the edge so don't feel discouraged and just try again. I encourage people to use toys for this technique."

5. Learn about your erotic self and what turns you on

"Masturbation is about experiencing erotic pleasure yourself - it’s a time that allows you to experiment and explore your own pleasure without pressure or any expectations.

"You can discover your turn-ons - like your erogenous zones and where you like to be touched, how you like to be touched (think pressure and techniques) and the rhythm, how fast or slow you like it.

"Just remember to change things up, you might discover new sensations or stimulations and expand your sexual repertoire."

A female and male couple romantically engaged in a kiss
Another benefit of self-pleasure is an improved sex life with other people. Source: Getty Images

6. Increase your sexual desire

"Solo sex is a sure-fire way to ignite your sexual desire.

"If something feels good, we will want to do it again. The happier we are, the more open we are to intimacy and arousal, and by focusing on our own pleasure we are fuelling our desires and our erotic selves."

7. Improve your overall sex life

Self pleasure can have a dramatic influence on your sex life with other people. Exploring yourself and finding out what gets you off makes it easier to replicate this with a partner.

"You can tell or show them how you like to be touched, where you want them to touch you and how soft, hard, slow or fast to go.

"By focusing on pleasure, there is greater enjoyment and satisfaction, so you will want to do it again!"

Chantelle's passionate about reminding folks that "self pleasure, solo play, masturbation or however you like to describe the practice, is a completely normal and healthy part of your sexual experiences and eroticism."

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