Masturbation used to be a hush-hush topic saved for private conversations. But these days, as we're rinsing shame out of sexuality, the holistic importance of sexual pleasure has come into full view. Backed by tons of positive science and research, we're finally starting to see masturbation for what it really is: a wellness practice.
We tend to think of wellness as green smoothies and cycling classes, so where does masturbation fit in? To get clear on the subject, we connected with Dr. Holly Richmond, Ph.D., LMFT, CST. "I believe we should consider masturbation as a wellness practice because sex and self are not dualistic," she describes. "There's not my general health over here, and my sexual health over here."
As Dr. Holly confirms, sexual health is a holistic part of our being. And that doesn''t necessitate a partner. Masturbation is just as effective at promoting sexual health…especially with the help of brands that stand for pleasure and its role in our daily lives, like Dame. Their products, designed to nourish sexual wellness and deepen connections, make it easier for us to enjoy masturbation more and claim the many health benefits behind it. And BTW, there are many.
The health benefits of masturbation.
In order to fully reap the health benefits of masturbation, we need to understand what it's about on a deeper level. "I prescribe [self-pleasure] all the time," Dr. Holly shares. "I don't call it masturbation because people tend to think of that as goal-oriented, and the goal is usually to have an orgasm. Sexual pleasure is also good for us, and that doesn't have to include an orgasm." The bottom line is: Sexual pleasure comes with all sorts of health benefits, orgasm or not. So let's dive in:
1. Masturbation strengthens your pelvic floor.
According to Dr. Holly, self-pleasure helps make our pelvic floor stronger. And while orgasms aren't necessary, they certainly help. "Orgasms are like a mini-workout for the pelvic floor," she describes. "When we orgasm, there are these micro-contractions that help enhance our pelvic floor… This prevents incontinence and makes our orgasms stronger." So the question on everyone's mind: How do we make orgasms easier and frequent? Dame's AerTM is a powerful arousal tool that uses thrilling pulses of air to simulate oral stimulation. Designed to take us all the way, right away, consider this one workout you'll never skip.
2. Self-pleasure boosts your mood.
Most of the benefits that come from sexual pleasure happen as a result of the oxytocin and dopamine released by the body. As Dr. Holly describes, these natural chemicals wash our prefrontal cortex and our brainstem, leaving us with an overall sense of wellness. Along with boosting our mood, the PomTM can help us get in the mood too. Fitting snugly in the palm of your hand, the Pom offers broad or targeted stimulation for more pleasure, with more ease. With five different intensity and vibration settings, it'll get the dopamine flowing.
3. Orgasms help us sleep better.
"For some of my clients, having an orgasm is something they do at the end of the day that helps them sleep," says Dr. Holly. For many of us, sexual pleasure is something that deescalates the nervous system, leaving us in a state of peace and calm. Studies show that sexual activity can lead to a release of oxytocin (the cuddle hormone) and prolactin (a hormone that makes us sleepy) while inhibiting cortisol (the stress hormone)—like a neurotransmitter nightcap for better sleep.
4. Self-touch can help promote the health of our skin.
Exfoliate, moisturize, and self-pleasure…your new skin care routine. The hormonal release that happens with sexual pleasure decreases stress, improves our sleep, and promotes relaxation. Add all these benefits up, and you get glowing skin. On top of that, sexual pleasure has been proven to raise estrogen levels, which can help maintain the youthfulness of our skin. So for the sake of your skin, enjoy extra pleasure with a partner by trying out Dame's famous and bestselling EvaTM. This wearable clitoral vibrator stays in place during sex to enhance partner play without getting in the way.
5. Masturbation helps us stay present.
We all have the meditation apps and mindfulness books, but we may be forgetting that sexual pleasure is a simple practice to bring us here and now. "To have great sex with ourselves, we do have to be in the present moment, so there is another benefit," Dr. Holly confirms. "When we're taking care of ourselves with our self-pleasure practice…it's going to help us feel more present instead of being in the shame or depression of the past or in the anxiety of the future."
Make pleasure a practice.
The conversation surrounding masturbation is quickly changing. It's no longer something to blush about or keep secret. (And if 76% of women and 92% of men masturbate, was it ever really a secret?) It's important to remember that talking about masturbation means talking about pleasure. As Dr. Holly puts it, "I'm very much an advocate of any time that we're defining or looking at sexual health—we're talking about pleasure." Dame offers sexual wellness products that put pleasure at our fingertips. But they also offer other products, like their Arousal Serum and Massage Oil, which help us turn pleasure into a practice.
"Dame's sexual wellness products help us receive more benefits from masturbation because there's literally something for everyone," Dr. Holly says. "There's lube to get you started and so many different kinds of vibrators based on your own sexual template. Dame does such a good job of checking all of those boxes."
The more pleasure we experience, the better we feel—there's no question about that. But the science shows that more pleasure also means more health and well-being. From better moods to deeper sleep to brighter skin…we officially have every reason to masturbate more.