As Valentine’s Day rolls around, you may be thinking about the kind of romantic present you’ll be jonesing to receive. Well, I’m here to let you in on a lil’ secret that’s the best damn gift ever. It’s both totally free and completely priceless at the same time. Folks, we’re about to get very real about the most fabulous form of self-love you can offer yourself this February 14.
Yup. I’m talking about masturbation, baby.
Growing up, I had a very complex relationship with my vagina. Neither of my parents gave me “the talk,” so I learned how to masturbate by sneakily reading Cosmopolitan as a teen. One day, I saw a particularly fascinating article about how to get your rocks off in a bathtub. The experts advised you to lay down, shimmy your legs up the side of the bath faucet, and let the warm water do its magic. Needless to say, this method kept me from ever manually exploring my lady bits until college.
Thankfully, I made friends with a forward-thinking gal who explained exactly how to masturbate over brunch in my university’s dining hall. I sat in awe as she gave me a presentation with her hands. Now, get your heads out of the gutter – she just mimed the actions in the air. It was not only a delightful conversation, but quite an education for my college boyfriend who was sitting right there with us.
I was so relieved after someone finally gave me “the talk” that I really needed. I even felt liberated enough to stop faking orgasms. Maybe by figuring out how to do this shit on my own, I could take the phrase “treat yourself” to a whole new level.
Fast forward to these days, and I’m a mom who loves to love on herself as much as possible. Sure, it’s much harder to find sexy alone time when you have needy, young humans running around your house. But I make a point to step away, lock the doors to my bedroom (or bathroom or closet) and masturbate enough to consider it a regular practice.
I’m one of those magical unicorns out there who can get off multiple times in a single self-lovemaking session. Beyond feeling good again and again (and again), I’ve recently learned the unexpected additional benefits that masturbation can have on our overall well-being. I just can’t keep these gems to myself anymore, because any time you find a reason to masturbate is a good time. Below, please enjoy the top eight perks of devoting your Valentine’s Day to sticking your hand down your pants and goin’ to town.
1. It can improve your relationship.
A study conducted by the Journal of Sex Education and Therapy found that women who masturbated had more orgasms on the regular, a greater desire to get down and dirty, higher self-esteem, and more satisfaction in their relationship. And get this — they were also turned on quicker than their non-masturbating counterparts. If this isn’t an excuse to start polishing your jewels, I don’t know what is.
2. It reduces stress.
Exploring your body in the way nature intended can help you relax, which is great for aiding in sleep. Having a big O also releases endorphins that make you feel good, can ease pain, and can even help with period cramps.
3. It’s good for your vag.
Do you remember how Cosmopolitan taught teenage me how to get off in a bathtub? Well, now they’re teaching us all the benefits of strengthening our vagina with regular masturbation.
“Orgasms help keep your pelvic floor strong and healthy, which can prevent urinary incontinence and promote your overall sexual health,” Cosmopolitan says. That’s more than enough of a legitimate reason to give yourself a solo afternoon delight.
4. It improves your cardiovascular health.
We all want to live as long as possible, right? So, it makes sense to care for our tickers. Several studies suggest that women who masturbate a lot have greater resistance to coronary heart disease and type-2 diabetes. Win-win!
4. It can help ease anxiety.
Touching yourself leads to the release of serotonin endorphins and oxytocin, two feel-good hormones that create a wave of calm in our bodies and also offer pain relief. I totally get why nervous dudes jerk off before a first date now!
5. It gives your skin a nice glow.
Since orgasms up the blood flow to your skin, don’t be surprised if someone asks you what kind of facial you got after you do the deed. Another surprising perk is that those feel-good hormones I just mentioned also reduce stress-inducing cortisol levels in your body, which helps decrease skin inflammation.
6. It can boost your memory.
A study in The Journals of Gerontology found that frequent sexual activity, including masturbation, resulted in higher scores on cognitive tests for memory and verbal fluency. For someone like me with a high-frequency mom brain, this type of perk is extra beneficial.
7. It’s empowering AF.
Because masturbation is a great way to get to know yourself, experts suggest that it can help us feel more comfortable about our bodies and even help improve our body image. It also gives us ladies the chance to learn what is most pleasurable for us, which helps us advocate for what we want and need in the bedroom. Talk about a real way to incorporate self-love into your life!
So there you have it. A bunch of fucking awesome reasons to throw yourself a sexy party of one with your downtown bae. In case you’re wondering how I’ll be spending my Valentine’s Day this year, just ask my husband why his wife locked herself in the bathroom. I assure you, it’s not because I had to pee.
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