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Dr. Jacquelyn Paykel
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Home>>Sexual Health>>
Masturbation
Sexual Health
Even today masturbation is still one of the most uncomfortable topics for women. Generally
important than those of our male partners. It is in our physical and emotional best interest to give
our own needs and desires a seat at the table. Because of cultural taboos, many women feel that
the urge to masturbate is somehow wrong, or they feel guilt or shame. There is enormous potential
for healing through honoring our sexuality, expressing it, and experiencing it with joy.

The reality is that women who “self-cultivate” their sexuality experience a wide range of
health
benefits
, and here are just a few:

  • Masturbation helps prevent cervical infections and helps relieve urinary tract infections.
    While it is general knowledge that regular masturbation can reduce the risk of prostate
    cancer in men, studies are showing that female masturbation can also provide protection
    against cervical infections because when women masturbate, the orgasm “tents” or opens
    the cervix.  In her book Sex: A Natural History, Joann Ellison Rodgers describes how the
    process of tenting stretches and pulls the mucous within the cervix, allowing for a rise in
    acidity in the cervical fluid. This increases “friendly” bacteria and allows more fluid to move
    from the cervix into the vagina. When“old” fluid moves from the tented cervix, it not only
    lubricates the vagina, but also flushes out unfriendly organisms that can cause infections.
  • Masturbation is associated with improved cardiovascular health and lower risk of type-2
    diabetes. In a number of studies, women who experienced more orgasms, and overall
    greater frequency and satisfaction with sex — whether with a partner or not — were shown
    to have greater resistance to coronary heart disease (CHD) and type-2 diabetes.
  • Masturbation can help work against insomnia naturally, through hormonal and tension
    release. Many women masturbate as a means to wind down after a hectic day or to fall
    asleep at night, but they often don’t know that there’s a hormonal reason why it works.
    Dopamine, or the “feel-good” hormone, is on the rise during the anticipation of a sexual
    climax. After the climax, the calming hormones oxytocin and endorphins are released,
    making us feel the warm afterglow that helps us sleep.
  • Orgasm increases pelvic floor strength. There are so many benefits to having a healthy
    pelvic floor. In the “plateau” stage of orgasm, the pelvic floor gets a real workout. The clitoris
    surges with increased blood pressure. Muscle tone, heart rate, and respirations increase.
    The uterus “lifts” off the pelvic floor, increasing pelvic muscle tension. This strengthens the
    entire region, as well as your sexual satisfaction.

Psychological and emotional benefits of masturbation are plenty, too.  Women most often cite
fatigue as the reason for a decrease in, or loss of, libido. Most tired women do not care a bit about
sex. Appropriately so, as a tired body is focused on taking care of itself. The second most common
reason women say they have decreased interest in sex is their dissatisfaction with their
appearance. Given the often unrealistic yet prevailing standards of American beauty, it is
challenging for many women to feel attractive. Masturbation is one way to honor our sexuality
conveniently and privately and start feeling fulfilled onto ourself.

Because we are in control of our bodies when we masturbate, we can learn a lot about who we are.
We can cultivate positive feelings about our miraculous bodies, giving us confidence from the
inside out and the potential to heal any past negative sexual experiences.

These are all good reasons to reconsider our views on masturbation, but there are also several
other reasons why masturbation can help us feel more confident and connected:

  • Improves our mood. Masturbation helps relieve depressive emotions. As we become
    aroused, the hormone levels of dopamine and epinephrine soar in our bodies. Both of
    these hormones are mood-boosters. Many studies show that women who report personal
    satisfaction with their sex lives live a better quality of life overall.
  • Relieves stress. In her book For Yourself, noted sex therapist Lonnie Barbach explains that
    the stress resulting from avoiding sex can create the kind of body imbalances we
    mentioned earlier. She writes that masturbation can help relieve emotional stress by taking
    time for ourselves, amidst the demands of home, family, and work.
  • Strengthens our relationship with ourselves. When we know, love, and nurture ourselves on
    emotional and physical levels, we gain confidence and grow through self-awareness. Being
    able to recognize, articulate, and experience what brings pleasure is a powerful step toward
    fulfillment.
  • Strengthens sexual relationship with partner. Many couples have different sexual drives and
    needs. Masturbation is one way to meet personal needs not met by a partner. It can be
    shared with a partner. Witnessing a partner masturbate can teach us what methods our
    partners use so we can learn what they enjoy. It can also open the lines of communication
    between partners who otherwise might be assuming that the “routine” is still working.

What's the
best way for women to have an orgasm through self-stimulation?  If you don't know
exactly what it is you like or what it takes for you to reach orgasm, it's a good idea to practice.  For
some people the very idea of stimulating themselves can seem worrying, or unappealing, or
shameful. It’s a good idea if women can rid themselves of these feelings.

Masturbation is a great way to lessen tension in your body. It’s a very safe way to have an orgasm.
And it’s probably the best way to learn about how your body likes to be loved.  But masturbation, like
most things, takes practice. And the only way to learn about your own sexual response is to try it.

If you have never tried masturbation, or you want to do it in such a way that will be more pleasurable
and satisfying then it has been in the past, then you might need to plan how and when to do it,
rather than leave it to chance.

For a start, you need to ensure that you’re going to have adequate time to yourself and that you
won't be interrupted.

  • Begin by taking a shower, or a long, luxurious, scented bath. Soap your body all over and
    enjoy touching your breasts and your genitals in particular.
  • Dry yourself carefully, then rub your favorite lotion all over your body. Keep touching your
    body everywhere - it might be a good idea to stand in front of a mirror while you do it. This is
    your body – a body capable of giving you great pleasure – so enjoy looking at it and getting
    used to the sight and feel of it.
  • At this point, as long as you know that you're in no danger of being disturbed, move to your
    bedroom. Make sure that it is warm and comfortable. Put on some relaxing music if you like.
    And just enjoy yourself.
  • Lie down on your bed and use a mirror to look at your private and intimate places. Gently
    spread your labia: you may want to use a spot of lubrication There are very nice modern
    ones that increase the sensuousness of the occasion – such as Wet, Liquid Silk and Pjur.
    But if you don’t have any lubrication, then use vaginal secretion.
  • Try to tighten and relax the muscles at the base of the pelvis.
  • If you find it difficult to know whether you're doing this successfully, try inserting a couple of
    fingers inside your vagina. That way, you'll be able to feel whether you're tightening and
    relaxing the muscles or not. Many women much prefer masturbation if they can feel some
    bulk in the vagina at the same time as they stimulate the clitoris – so touching yourself
    internally might feel very good indeed.
  • If you now tighten and relax the muscles in rapid succession you will feel contractions of the
    kind that many women experience when having an orgasm.
  • You might also notice a warm sensation in your abdomen. Try touching yourself all over
    your body, including the breasts and your genitals where you will quickly find the most
    sensitive spots. In particular, experiment near the opening of the vagina and clitoris and
    stimulate yourself in whatever way feels best. So long as you do not rush, and you are
    keeping relaxed, then your own fingers will automatically do the right thing and will move
    with the right amount of speed and intensity for you.
  • Try to familiarize yourself with exactly how touching yourself makes you feel. Ignore
    everything around you. Just think about what is going on inside you, or fantasize about
    making love with someone you care for, or with a celebrity, or in some beautiful and
    romantic place.
  • While you touch yourself, you might like to look at something that turns you on - pictures,
    perhaps, a film; even a sexy book. Interestingly men and women differ somewhat is what
    they find arousing. Most men like graphic pictures of sexy women or of people having sex.
    Women are frequently much more turned on by words – so an erotic novel can often
    increase a woman’s pleasure.
  • If your sexual tension rises, keep going. If you have never previously masturbated to
    orgasm, you might suddenly feel tired and want to stop. Or you may be nervous about the
    build up of excitement in your body. Don’t worry about this. Just take your time. And if you
    don’t want to go on right now, then that’s fine. You can always try again another day.
    Eventually, the pleasant feelings will build up and you’ll be comfortable with this and
    increasingly excited and you won’t want to stop. When that happens, you will almost
    certainly suddenly experience a huge rush of ecstatic feeling and you will bring yourself to
    orgasm.
  • For some women it is not enough to just use their fingers - they like to use sex aids as well.
    A vibrator may be useful, or you could try stimulating yourself with the hand spray when you
    are in the shower. Use your fingers at the same time.
  • If they follow the guidelines above, almost everyone should be able to learn to masturbate
    and have an orgasm. But remember, these are only guidelines. Experiment, and you may
    well find a better way to turn yourself on.

Like other sexual activity, masturbation can be improved by varying how you do it.  This is
particularly true for women who are between relationships and for whom masturbation is the sole
sexual activity at that period in their lives. Most women find that their fingers do the trick wonderfully
– as they instinctively match their speed or weight to our requirements. But a vibrator can help
someone who finds it hard to get to orgasm and can also be useful as a change from digital
masturbation.

When it comes to vibrators, don’t necessarily assume that something that is a market-leader is
necessarily going to be the best thing for you. It might not be. We all have different likes and
dislikes. And do remember that not all vibrators now look like lurid penises. Some are quite
different nowadays. Those which work on a suction principle can be very effective. And there are
others that have been designed by women sex therapists that have quite unconventional shapes. .
Buying vibrators and other sex aids including lubrication and erotic literature is now much easier for
women than it was in the past as there are a number of online sex shops for women that are a
pleasure to ‘shop’ in.