The Nest

5 Reasons Why Masturbation (and Sex Toys) Lowers Depression and Anxiety

Masturbation is a perfectly healthy, natural, and fun (!) form of self-expression. Many of us grow up with messed-up notions of sexuality and masturbation, linking it to shame, guilt, or immorality. But self-love (of every form) is actually good for you — it doesnt just feel good; its also good for your physical and mental health. In fact, theres plenty of evidence to suggest that regular masturbation, especially with sex toys, lowers depression, anxiety, and stress!

The following are a bunch of reasons to consider entering masturbation into your calendar, preferably with sex toys.

1. Masturbation releases dopamine and other feel-good hormones.

When you masturbate, your body releases dopamine, a chemical that makes you feel good and elevates your mood. And if you masturbate to completion, your body rewards you with some oxytocin, a hormone that reduces the stress hormone cortisol. When present in high volumes, cortisol leads to immense stress and anxiety. Regular masturbation helps you control your bodys cortisol level, countering it with feel-good hormones. Its a simple equation — more feel-good hormones, less feel-bad hormones, equals better mental health.

2. Masturbation enhances mindfulness.

Mindfulness means being connected to our emotions, bodies, and our immediate surroundings. Masturbation necessitates that we are mindful of our minds, bodies, and desires — they force us to truly contend with what we want. Once you connect to your body and mind, you can find internal peace and satisfaction. It’s worth taking the time to truly explore your desires and your erotic body.

3. Masturbation relieves physical discomfort and bodily stresses.

Masturbation releases pain-killing hormones called endorphins. When the endorphins interact with the opiate receptors in your brain, they minimize your perception of pain. Masturbation essentially releases the same hormones and chemicals as eating dark chocolates or going on a really intense exercise. And you’re probably aware of the immense satisfaction you feel after both those activities. By relieving physical pain, masturbation also elevates your mood and helps you feel better.

4. Masturbation is completely safe.

For most people, and in most situations, sexual intercourse isnt as relaxing as masturbation. Sexual intercourse often involves anxiety and stress related to performance, fear of STIs, etc. If youre looking for casual sex, you may also have the inherent fear of being intimate with someone you dont really know. Sexual intercourse can often also be stressful in committed relationships because of potential power imbalances. All of these problems prevent you from experiencing the true joys of sexual satisfaction and orgasms. But masturbation doesnt include any of those hang-ups. You can explore your body in your own time, not worry about someone elses pleasure, fulfill all your fantasies without shame, and not worry about STIs. Masturbation liberates you from all external concerns, allowing you to enjoy your body without fear or anxiety.

5. Masturbation makes you love yourself.

Self-esteem and confidence issues lead to severe social anxiety and depression. Studies show that self-esteem issues have a direct link to a higher risk of depression. Masturbation is a great way of learning to love your body. Once you discover your erogenous zones and learn to make yourself feel good physically, its a small leap to feeling good emotionally. Masturbation makes you feel better about yourself, which, in turn, minimizes the risk of anxiety and depression.

Sex toys give you the same psychological benefits as masturbation… and then some.

Sex toys can essentially amplify the benefits of masturbation. They give you a stronger understanding of your sexual desires, they make you feel better, and they give you more powerful and more consistent orgasms. Sex toys also allow you to explore every inch of your sexual body without fear of stigmas, censure, or shame from others. Sex toys can also help people overcome sexual dysfunction, making them perfect for those who want to keep mental health issues at bay.

And honestly, it’s never been a better time to whip out a sex toy. We’re living in a golden age for sexual liberation, and you can find a wide range of sex toys with incredibly specific goals. You can find sex toys for prostate stimulation, vaginal penetration, clitoral stimulation, and so much more. Clitoral suction toys, for instance, send powerful sonic pulses that shake your entire clitoral structure, delivering powerful orgasms impossible to achieve with just your hands or a sexual partner.

If you truly want to maximize the psychological and emotional benefits of masturbation, its worth getting a sex toy.

Important Note: Any symptoms of depression you feel after masturbation are tied to cultural/religious notions.

As the previous sections show, science clearly suggests masturbation should make you feel better. So why do some people feel worse after masturbation? Well, the answer is simple — lots of us grow up believing masturbation is an immoral act either because of cultural or religious notions, and childhood conditioning has a pernicious way of following us well into adulthood. As such, people who are taught to fear their sexual desires often have a hard time dissociating guilt from masturbation.

So, if you find yourself feeling bad after masturbation, remind yourself that what you’re doing is perfectly natural and healthy.

Studies have shown that masturbation doesn’t lead to depression — quite the opposite. So, if you find yourself feeling bad after masturbation, remind yourself that what you’re doing is perfectly natural and healthy. Of course, awareness of our issues doesn’t automatically equip us to deal with them. If you find that you’re consistently incapable of enjoying masturbation, maybe consider talking to a therapist, someone who can help you untangle masturbation from your conditions responses.

Masturbation is a beautiful, natural, and healthy thing that all of us should be able to enjoy to the fullest. Why not start with Obii?

About Author
Ellie Cooper
Ellie is a freelance writer and pleasure enthusiast. She is very comfortable talking about vaginas, scaling mountains and eating spicy food, but not parallel parking. She lives with a very tubby cat named Charles who likes to get involved with the writing process by sleeping on her keyboard.
Further reading
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