Mind And Body: The Neurological Effects Of Self Pleasure

We know masturbation is good for the soul, but can it also have an effect on our well-being? Turns out masturbation can alter your mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health in more ways than one.

Masturbation and hormone release

Masturbation, both during and following, causes your body to release several hormones. These hormones include:

  • Dopamine. This is one of the “happiness hormones” that are related to your brain’s reward system.
  • Endorphins. The body’s natural pain reliever, endorphins also have de-stressing and mood-boosting effects.
  • Oxytocin. This hormone is often called the love hormone and is associated with social bonding.
  • Testosterone. This hormone is released during sex to improve stamina and arousal. It’s also released when you have sexual fantasies, according to a 2011 study by the National Library of Medicine.
  • Prolactin. A hormone that plays an important role in lactation, prolactin also influences your mood and immune system.

Masturbating can cause you to release healthy amounts of the above hormones, which is why many point to it’s ability to positively affect your mood and physical health.

Masturbation in both sexes has also been found to lead to increased focus and mental clarity. You might have heard of “post-nut clarity” — The enlightenment feeling you have where your brain suddenly focuses after orgasm.

Indeed, many people find that masturbating helps them concentrate better. As such, they might masturbate before working, studying, taking a test, or in some cased making a big life decision.

It can help alleviate stress and anxiety

While oxytocin is commonly known as the “love hormone” and is associated with social bonding, it’s also associated with de-stressing and relaxation.

As one 2005 study points out, oxytocin plays an important role in regulating stress and reducing anxiety.

It does this by reducing blood pressure and lowering your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone associated with stress.

So, if you’re hoping to relieve some tension after a tough day at work, masturbating might be a good relaxation technique.

It can help you fall asleep

Anecdotally, many people use masturbation to fall asleep — and it’s no wonder.

Oxytocin and endorphins are associated with relaxation, so it makes sense that masturbation can help you sleep, especially if stress and anxiety are keeping you from getting some shut-eye.

It may also affect your self-esteem

For some, masturbating can be a way of practicing self-love, getting to know your body, and spending quality time on your own.

Because you’re learning to enjoy your own body and figuring out what feels pleasurable for you, masturbation can boost your self-esteem.

All of which could improve your sex life

Many sex therapists suggest masturbating regularly — whether you’re single or partnered.

In addition to the physical benefits derived from masturbation, a boost to self-esteem coupled with relaxation can be great for your sex life.

As for your libido, there’s some evidence that masturbating can help you maintain a healthy sex drive. For example, this 2009 study links frequent vibrator use to a high sex drive and positive sexual function, as well as general sexual wellness.

Masturbating can help you figure out what’s pleasurable and exciting for you, which can help you show your partner what you enjoy.

But the effects aren’t always positive

While there are proven benefits, some people do have negative experiences with masturbation.

It’s important to remember that it’s okay not to masturbate.

You might dislike the feeling, or it might be against your belief system, or you might simply be uninterested in it. Whether you choose to masturbate or not is up to you.

If masturbation is difficult for you, and this difficulty is bothering you, consider reaching out to a doctor or therapist.

Some people experience negative feelings related to social or spiritual expectations

Masturbation is considered a sin in some religions. There are also many societal stigmas attached to masturbation: Some people believe women shouldn’t masturbate, or that masturbation is immoral.

That’s not to mention the anxiety-inducing myths around masturbation.

Many of us have heard the rumors that masturbation causes you to go blind, or that it can cause you to grow hair on your hands — both completely false claims that seem to circulate widely among preteens!

If you believe those things and go on to masturbate, you might experience feelings of guilt, anxiety, shame, or self-loathing afterward.

It’s okay to abstain from masturbation because of your personal beliefs, but if you want to work through feelings of guilt and masturbate without anxiety, talking to a therapist might help.

Certain underlying conditions may also play a role

Aside from societal and spiritual difficulties, underlying health conditions might make masturbation difficult.

For example, masturbation may be frustrating if you experience:

In addition to this, masturbating might be upsetting if you’ve experienced sexual trauma.

If you think you have an underlying condition that makes it difficult to masturbate and it’s bothering you, talk to a doctor you trust.

Likewise, if you’re struggling to masturbate due to emotional distress, you may find it helpful to talk to a therapist.

End the end weather you choose to or not, It ultimately depends on your individual needs and desires Whether you masturbate and how you feel about it is individual. Masturbate if you’d like to, and enjoy the benefits it brings, but don’t feel pressured to masturbate if you don’t enjoy it.