Whether you're partnered up or flying solo, the most important relationship you have is with yourself. And you deserve love, pleasure, and all the feel-good, toe-curling, mind-blowing benefits of a rockin' sex life, no matter what your relationship status is.
True self-love includes sexual satisfaction, and sometimes that means masturbation.
Here's how often women should masturbate and why it's worth considering an ongoing self-pleasure practice.
How often should you masturbate?
The more, the better. Women can masturbate as often as they want without any real health risks, and there are many physical and mental benefits of masturbation in addition to the simple pleasure of doing it.
If your current regimen feels good to you, keep at it. It's also not necessary to masturbate if it's not pleasurable to you or if you only feel like it every once in a while.
The numbers vary, but in general, regular masturbation among women is common:
If you want to develop a masturbation practice, start with two 15- to 20-minute self-pleasure sessions a week and build from there if it's feeling good.
You can also consider cycle-syncing your self-pleasure to capitalize on your body's natural endocrine ebbs and flows.
The best path to orgasm changes depending on which phase of your cycle you're in and what's happening with your hormones (your sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone are higher around your ovulation phase).
Tracking will help you know the info that can lead you to better Os.
Why masturbating is good for you
So many women let their sexuality fall by the wayside, especially when they're not in a relationship. But there are many benefits of masturbation, physically and mentally, and you shouldn't have to rely on a partner to deliver the goods.
The hormones produced during orgasm (oxytocin and nitric oxide) are power players when it comes to maintaining hormonal balance, healing adrenal fatigue, and maintaining regular ovulation.
Here are just a few benefits of masturbation:
- Improved circulation: Orgasm boosts blood flow, which helps circulate vital nutrients and regulate your menstrual cycle. Studies show women who have intercourse at least once a week are more likely to menstruate normally than women who don't do the deed often or at all.
- Regulated reproductive system: By energizing your hypothalamus gland, orgasms help regulate everything from your appetite to your emotions, and the subsequent boost to your pituitary regulates reproductive hormones necessary for regular ovulation and adequate cervical fluid production.
- Natural detoxification:Orgasms provide3 an overall lymphatic massage to your body, which improves your digestion and mood and flushes out toxins.
- Healthy estrogen production: This keeps your vaginal tissues supple4 and helps protect your bones and heart.
- Deep relaxation support: Virtually nothing makes you feel more at peace than the amped-up endorphins and cortisol flush you get from an orgasm.
- Brain boost: Orgasm spikes your body's DHEA levels, which help keep your brain, skin, tissues, and immune system healthy.
- More youthful appearance:Research has shown that sex three times a week in a stress-free relationship can make you look a decade younger.
- Immunity support: Regular orgasms increase the amount of infection-fighting cells in your body by up to 20 percent.
- Increased pain tolerance: Orgasms kick your pain threshold up a notch, making it much easier to cope with life's aches and pains.
- Interpersonal benefits: Thanks to increased oxytocin5, orgasm can make you more passionate, intuitive, and social.
How to enhance masturbation
Use the five C's
There are five Cs to consider when you're just getting familiar with your body: center, circle, clitoris, climax, and calm.
Set the mood and get centered with some relaxing music or mood lighting.
Then, spend 15 minutes circling the areas you'd normally go to for direct stimulation (nipples, areolae, and clitoris); instead, focus on your inner thighs, hips, abdomen, and upper chest.
Then take the time to build your orgasmic sensation by stimulating your inner labia and areas around your clitoris with your hands, and when you're ready to climax, use your hands to get you there.
When it's all said and done, take the time to feel the cortisol-flush-calm after you climax; this is called the resolution phase. Put one hand on your heart and the other on your belly, breathe, and relax.
Forego the vibrator every now and then
This may blow your mind, but just like you don't need to rely on your partner for your orgasms, you don't need to only rely on electronics either.
Some of you vibrator devotees may be shocked, but it's true: Battery-operated toys shorten one of the most important phases of your orgasm—the plateau phase, cheating you of some monumental benefits.
Here's why: Your orgasm isn't just a one-dimensional shebang; it's made up of several important phases including arousal, plateau, climax, and resolution. The longer the plateau, the more nitric oxide and oxytocin you build up in your body, and this is where the real hormone balancing payoff is.
While your vibrator may send you straight to climax fast, it bypasses the beautiful benefits of a full orgasmic experience. Why cheat yourself of all that good stuff?
If the thought of abandoning your power tools leaves you anxious, trust me: You can get the big O on your own, and when you learn how to pleasure yourself manually, you'll be on your way to reaping all the big-time benefits.
One vibrator technique to consider to still get yourself that extended buildup: Use it on the lightest setting over your panties.
This will protect your delicate clitoral nerve endings from overstimulation, ensuring you maximize that amazing orgasmic plateau every time.
Always, always, always use lube during your dry phases (menstrual and follicular).
You may be less likely to need extra lubrication during ovulation and luteal phases if your hormones are healthy. These are also the times to really rely on your hand to get you to climax, since more of those sex hormones are flowing.
Alisa Vitti is a women's hormone and functional nutrition expert and pioneer in female biohacking. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Vitti has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, Lifetime, and has been a regular contributor for Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, and Women’s Health. She is the founder of The FLO Living Hormone Center, the world's first menstrual healthcare platform that has helped hundreds of thousands of women around the world put their period issues like PCOS, Fibroids, Endometriosis, and PMS into remission naturally using her highly effective FLO Protocol and the FLO Balance Period Supplements, and the creator the MyFLO period app—the first and only functional medicine period tracker. She is also the author of the best-selling book WomenCode. She has presented at SXSW, TEDx, Talks@Google, Summit Series Outside, and SHE Summit and regularly trains women in the workplace on how to use her Cycle Syncing Method for greater creativity, productivity, and wellbeing at work.