Masturbate Your Way To A Better Sex Life

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Photographer: Lori Kaye

“Don’t knock masturbation. It’s sex with someone I love.” — Woody Allen

Just a couple of generations ago, masturbation was completely taboo. Those who admitted to taking part were stigmatized. Some parents scared their adolescent children by telling them, “You’ll go blind.”

Proper society wasn’t comfortable with free or desire-driven exploration of sexuality, and out of this discomfort and fear, people treated masturbation as something dirty, morally wrong, and way beyond the boundaries of social acceptability.

With the advent of the Sexual Revolution and around the same time as the Kinsey Report, however, science started to delve into the physical and psychological effects of sexuality, and what they found went against all traditional thinking on the subject.

As it turns out, there are a lot of benefits to expressing sexuality, especially through masturbation. (Isn’t it amazing how long it took us to admit this?) For many, the stigma remains, but for practitioners of manual self-love, the rewards are better health and a more satisfying sex life. Do you have trouble sleeping? Masturbation can help. It relieves tension and stress by flooding the system with endorphins, which are the body’s natural feel good chemicals.

For men, masturbation may help prevent prostate cancer. Toxins build up naturally in the urogenital tract, but men who ejaculate over five times per week decrease these toxin levels, and thereby possibly lower their risk of prostate cancer by a third. Ejaculation also releases a little cortisol, the stress hormone, which in small doses is known to boost the immune system.

For women, manual self-love can help relieve cramps. It causes more blood flow to the pelvic region, which hastens periods and decreases pain. Masturbation also fights urinary tract infections by flushing out the cervix. For post-menopausal women, a narrowing of the vagina can make pelvic exams and intercourse painful, but masturbation, particularly with a water-based lubricant, increases blood flow to the sex organs. This can help relieve moisture problems and prevent the narrowing of the vagina.

Lastly, masturbation can improve your sex life. Self love allows both sexes to become more familiar with their bodies and pleasure centers. What makes you orgasm? Where do you like to be touched? What kinds of sensations, pressures, speeds, and rhythms cause you to climax?

Masturbation isn’t just about pleasure — it’s a process of self-discovery. This is especially important for women, many of whom have been trained by our current society to repress sexual impulses and desires. Women often don’t often feel comfortable touching themselves, even when they’re alone. Sex experts, however, always emphasize how important it is that women explore their bodies all over and learn how they like to be touched. This exploration will not only help a woman to get in touch with her body but her desires and fantasies too. Even without an orgasm, the experience can be relaxing, empowering, and enjoyable.

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Photographer: Lori Kaye

For women who are new to self-love, the key is to relax. It might feel awkward or embarrassing, but remember, you are the best expert on your body, so no matter what you do, you’re doing it right. To create an enjoyable, relaxed environment, schedule some alone time, put on some music, light candles, and even take a warm bath. Touch your body all over, and think about things that put you in the mood. Don’t even worry about orgasm — just enjoy your body and allow yourself to try new things, explore, and learn. Different rhythms, positions, and sex toys can help. Masturbating with a partner is fun too. It can be erotic as well as a great learning experience that can reveal likes and dislikes you may not even have known you had. It can open the door for discussing fantasies and desires as well.

We are so lucky to live in a culture today that is slowly becoming more comfortable with the idea of sexuality, but always remember that ultimately, your sexuality is your own. We should all feel free to explore our desires without fear and to practice self-love at our own pace and without worry or shame, and certainly without the looming threat of blindness. Let today be the day you begin a brand new relationship with yourself — one that is based on freedom, desire, authenticity, and pleasure. Let your body be your guide, and remember: the better you are at loving yourself, the better you’ll be at loving other people.

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