As much as we wish it weren't true, there's still some cultural stigma surrounding the idea of masturbation, even in today's progressive age — particularly for women. We're not sure why, exactly, self-pleasuring remains so taboo. The truth of the matter? There's absolutely nothing embarrassing about it! We talked to Dr. Kat Van Kirk, licensed marriage and sex therapist and resident sex expert for Adam and Eve, about the intriguing reasons to get your rocks off all on your own.
1. Women who masturbate are more confident.
"Frankly, masturbation is a public health issue. Research suggests that women and men who learn to masturbate early have higher self-esteem and are less likely to have early unprotected sex, a lower incidence of STDs, and higher satisfaction when it comes to their sex life later on."
2. It's especially important to masturbate as you get older.
"As we age, masturbation and sex become even more important, as they are tools in maintaining not only pelvic/vaginal/penile performance, but also keeping the muscles and tissues toned and lubricated, as well as helping us maintain our hormone levels. Older adults who masturbate also indicate that they have a more satisfying overall relationship with their partner, [and they] feel more emotionally bonded to them. Masturbation is also useful in stress management."
3. It's recommended that you masturbate as often as you work out.
"I usually suggest that we treat masturbation like we do exercise. It needs to be done regularly enough that you can experience the benefits of it. At least once or twice a week would be a minimum."
4. You should celebrate masturbating alone.
"I recommend to women that they should always be getting a little masturbation time in as part of their own wellness and sexual health. It's important to feel empowered and engaged around our sexuality and not rely on a partner. Plus, there are health benefits that include better vaginal tone."
5. You should never be ashamed to masturbate to porn.
"It certainly can be healthy [to masturbate to porn]. It's just that most women haven't been socialized to be very good porn consumers — learning about what they like visually and how to find it. I think it can be a great tool for arousal and fantasy fodder, as well as something to share with a partner someday to spice things up."
6. Sex toys provide AMAZING benefits.
"Toys are great tools for several reasons. They can help your body learn to become aroused and orgasm to a wider variety of sensation. Toys can help you and your partner learn to have better communication about what works for you sexually so that everyone is more satisfied. They can help you feel more creative and spontaneous when it comes to bedroom exploration, which helps couples not only avoid boredom, but also it can actually increase your overall sense of trust and emotional intimacy."
A few of Dr. Kat's favorite toys . . .
- Silicone G-Gasm Rabbit: "This is the perfect toy for finding that elusive G-spot of yours, and it can make it easier to stimulate for periods of time than trying to use just your fingers for sustained pleasure."
- Waterproof Finger Fun Vibrator: "The clitoris never seems to get enough love. This toy is perfect for targeted stimulation and with your partner, it can help make sure that your clitoris gets the love it needs regardless of position."
- Easy Anal Buddy: "Don't knock it until you try it. Too many women never attempt anal masturbation because they think there is no way it could be pleasurable. Wrong. Masturbation is actually the perfect time to explore this area slowly, gently, and with the right slender toy. Many women get converted to anal play pretty quickly and if you want to dive into anal play or sex with your partner, you'll know exactly how it needs to be done to maximize your pleasure."
- Duo Kegel Balls: "Masturbation as exercise? Yes! It's been found that women who use Ben Wa Balls to masturbate on a regular basis tend to be more orgasmic and have more intense orgasms. Plus, it can help with incontinence and postpartum vaginal issues. Millions of women have found out that Ben Wa Balls play during masturbation is actually pleasurable too."
- Couple's Enhancer Ring: "Want the perfect toy to bring into masturbation or sex play with your partner? Try the Couples Enhancer Ring. It's got a clitoral stimulator that vibrates while he wears it as a penis ring, which means he gets to enjoy the pleasure too."