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

Exploring your sexuality is a beautiful thing but society has traditionally never been too keen to talk about it. A taboo topic, discussions about sex are always fraught with awkwardness and embarrassment. The sad results of this are twisted notions about it, incorrect information replacing actual facts and most importantly, excessive shame and guilt associated with it.

We’re going to attempt changing this with our four-part series on sexual exploration and we decided to start with the basics: masturbation. Before you can explore your sexuality in the context of a relationship with another person, you truly need to understand yourself. What better way to embark on this journey than through a little self-loving?

In this article, the first part of the series on masturbation, we talk about how self-loving is good for you. The benefits work on several levels—emotional, mental, romantic, spiritual, creative and even productivity wise. Regardless of your gender and sexual orientation, here’s why you need to indulge in this healthy activity.

  1. Happy Hormones: It’s not just chocolate, exercise and hugs which release dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin into your system. Just like sex, masturbation is a great way to let these babies loose and let them lift your mood, energize and motivate you.
  2. Less Stress: As a bonus, high amounts of these happy neurotransmitters flooding your body means automatically lower levels of cortisol, the bad guy stress hormone that causes all kinds of awful things like inflammation, lack of sleep and inability to lose weight.
  3. Fewer Cravings: Since you’re already so happy and less stressed, you’re unlikely to reach for junk food, cigarettes, and alcohol, all of which are damaging and harmful in excess.
  4. Better Fertility: When men masturbate regularly, it means better sperm quality and motility. Women also suffer fewer gynecological issues thanks to the blood circulation boost, tightening of the pelvic muscles and general sexual wellbeing.
  5. Fewer Tummy Troubles: A happy person is less likely to have a bad gut because you’re relaxed, breathe better and digest more efficiently, all of which help tackle issues like indigestion, acidity, gas and bloating.
  6. Increased Confidence: Being in touch with your private needs tends to make you more body-positive, have greater self-assurance and a certain level of cool thanks to the release of all that tension. You tend to enjoy higher self-esteem and will ensure you take care of yourself.
  7. Painless Periods: Arousal and orgasms tend to up the flow of blood to your brain and sex organs, which leads to fewer headaches and cramping.
  8. Enhanced Mindfulness: Getting rid of all the anxiety that hounds you will free you up to be more present in the moment, to enjoy what you have been blessed with and to appreciate your environment in many ways. It’s also a great way to be more centered if you’re wary of or unprepared to try meditation right away.
  9. Genuine Relationships: Since your base needs are being satisfied without having to resort to casual sex, or being fooled by your body into falling head over heels for an unworthy partner, you stop looking for validation elsewhere. You’re sexy and you know it, and you don’t need to hear it from someone else. Those lucky enough to get together with you intimately will benefit from your solo explorations and most likely appreciate being guided on how to make you feel good. Until then, stick to having sex with someone you love—you.

In the second part, we will discuss the most commonly asked questions about masturbation.

Image: Shutterstock

PS: Explore our Wellness section for spa DIY, natural home care and more.
Here’s your complete guide to 
Emotional Well-being.

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Simona is a journalist who has worked with several leading publications in India over the last 17 years, writing on lifestyle topics and the arts, besides interviewing celebrities. She made the switch to public relations and headed the division as PR Manager at ITC Hotels’ flagship property, the ITC Grand Chola, but has since returned to her first love, journalism. Now she writes on food, which she is sincerely passionate about and wellness, which she finds fascinating and full of surprises. When she isn’t writing, she is busy playing the role of co-founder and communications director of The Bicycle Project, a six-year-old charity initiative that empowers tribal children in rural areas, while addressing the issue of urban waste.