Historically (thanks to religion and culture), masturbation has gotten a bad rap, and has been blamed for everything from blindness to mental illness.
Thankfully, most people no longer believe in such myths, but masturbation still holds a stigma as something to be done when you’re not in a relationship. Or you’re a 15-year-old boy. Or you’re Samantha from Sex and the City. But it’s time to break some of those taboos.
According to Dr. Hernando Chaves, sexuality professor and marriage therapist, “It’s important to continue our sexual self-expression throughout the life cycle, for physical, psychological and relational benefits.”
In other words, if you’re wondering: is masturbation is good for you? It is.
Masturbation Lowers Blood Pressure
This one is a no-brainer. Anything that makes you feel good is likely to help lower blood pressure. But there’s also science behind it. Orgasms cause the body to release dopamine and endorphins, flooding your body with feel-good chemicals. The positive side effect? Lower blood pressure.
Masturbation Can Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Remember the old phrase, “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it”? Turns out that applies to sex as well. One study found that men who had sex or masturbated once a week were less likely to develop erectile dysfunction (ED). Erections help maintain penis health and stave off ED.
Masturbation Is Good for Your Mental Health
According to Dr. Chaves, masturbation can also lead to a “reduction in anxiety and stress and increased self-esteem and body image perception.” Low self-esteem isn’t just for teenagers and stress isn’t just for those still in the workplace. Taking care of one’s mental health throughout the later stages of life is just important as it is during the earlier ones.
Masturbation Decreases Pain
According to sex therapist Dr. Ava Cadell, healthy masturbation can decrease those chronic aches and pains that plague us as we get older. “It can help relieve muscle aches, stress – even unblock a stuffy nose!” Dr. Cadell says. And just think: masturbation is free and healthier than popping another painkiller.
Masturbation Is Good for the Libido
Age is often blamed for lowering libidos, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Consistent masturbation can keep your “motor running,” so to speak. Much like a car, our parts can get a little rusty if not used consistently. Even if you’re widowed or divorced there’s no reason you can’t continue to masturbate. That way, if and when you do meet someone special, you’re ready to go.