When I was a young kid, I noticed that it felt good to touch myself “down there.” I even noticed that the longer I stimulated myself, the more likely I was to reach a “release” at the end, where I didn’t feel like doing it anymore.
Somehow, I knew that this was something I shouldn’t tell anyone, and for years, I felt like there was something deeply wrong with me.
I truly believed that no one else touched themselves down there… and that I was some sort of freak.
That is, until I sat in health class in my suburban Michigan middle school, where I heard the word “masturbation” for the first time ever and felt absolutely floored.
I wasn’t the only one?!
Everyone else did this too?!
This was… healthy?! And natural?! I was so relieved that there was nothing wrong with me.
In fact, I laughed at the soup of shame I had been living in… over something as benign and natural as masturbation.
And today, that’s what I wish for my sex coaching clients — I want everyone to understand that when it comes to sex and self-pleasure, there is no such thing as normal.
When it comes to sex and masturbation, there is no such thing as normal.
Here’s a truth bomb: whatever your masturbation habit entails… it’s normal.
Whether you masturbate first thing in the morning before you get out of bed, whether you masturbate before going to bed at night, whether you take an afternoon break, self-pleasure every day, or only do it twice a year on a full moon…
You are perfectly normal.
In fact, as an ex-sex researcher turned sexologist, I prefer to not use the word “normal.”
Every human being is different, so we need to remember that no two people are going to have the same preferences or habits.
And that’s awesome. We should celebrate our sexy differences!
But beyond being “normal”, there are reasons you should be masturbating even more often, and we’ll get to that in a minute. But first — how do the genders stack up in comparison when it comes to wank habits?
Do Women Have Different Masturbation Habits than Men?
A myth about women has lived on through the eons.
This myth says that women aren’t as sexual as men…
That women don’t want sex as often as men, that they have basement-low libidos, and that they rarely think about porn and never masturbate.
Guys and gals, I’m here to happily bust that bubble, because just as no human has the same sexual needs or preferences, the same applies to the ladies.
“But Caitlin,” you say, “I identify as female, and I am genuinely curious about the masturbation habits of women… so I know where I stand among my lady friends…”
First of all, studies show that men and women have similar masturbation habits. So the stereotype that men wank off and women don’t… is a little misled.
As the study puts it, “98.9 percent of men and 85.5 percent of women—said they had masturbated before, with men starting at age 12.5 and women starting at age 13.7 on average. Meanwhile, 95.4 percent of men and 86.8 percent of women admitted to using fantasies while masturbating, while 97.6 percent of men and 81.6 percent of women said they had orgasmed during masturbation.”
We need to remember though — this study has limitations.
Whenever we see a sexual research study with self-reported results, we need to consider the fact that not everyone is going to be completely honest about, say, how old they were when they started masturating or how often they self-pleasure as an adult.
In fact, since we have so much shame in our culture around self-pleasure, especially for women, women might especially feel the need to bend the truth a bit.
So imagine — everyone’s PROBABLY a little freakier than they’d like to admit.
Just know — you are not weird. You are a perfectly normal, beautiful human who deserves self love and pleasure.
Different Women Masturbate Differently
Perhaps you’ve been posed the question with friends over wine: “Are you a clit girl, or a g-spot girl?”
While about 75% of women can only achieve orgasm if they have their clitoris stimulated, other women prefer g-spot stimulation.
Many women masturbate without a dildo or vibrator, and other ladies have multiple toys in their nightstand that buzz, pulse, and rub. Whatever gets you off!
So if you’re wondering, “is it normal that I only use a single finger on my clit and always masturbate while laying on my belly?” I promise you, you’re doing what’s right for you, and that’s awesome.
Am I masturbating wrong?
A lot of women ask me if they’re masturbating wrong. “I only rub my clit to get off,” they say, “Aren’t you supposed to orgasm through penetration?”
Actually, not necessarily.
Most women need clitoral stimulation in order to reach orgasm. In fact, most women don’t even NEED penetration by a penis or dildo in order to come.
For the most part, the secret to the elusive female orgasm is through the clit. So if that’s what you rub to see rainbows, go you!
Why masturbation should be your new self-care ritual
Listen — we live in a world full of drudgery and suffering.
If you’re like many of us, your life can feel overwhelmingly stressful at times. It can feel like there’s absolutely no time in the day for pleasure.
Especially if you have kids, a demanding job, a house that needs to be cleaned, bills that need to be paid… you might fall into the belief that there’s no time for the small pleasures of life.
Because like other self-care rituals: long hot baths, biting into a chunk of dark chocolate, or going on a meandering walk, there are serious health benefits to masturbation.
Health Benefits of Masturbation
Go figure — it turns out, something as ubiquitous and natural as masturbation is actually really good for you.
Masturbation can help relieve stress
When you masturbate, you flood your body with feel-good hormones such as endorphins, which act as a powerful pain reliever and stress reducer. Furthermore, masturbation lowers cortisol levels, which in turn, lowers feelings of stress.
Masturbation might be the perfect mid-day break afterall.
According to Healthline, a regular masturbation habit can help you have better partnered sex, help you relax, release sexual tension, boost your mood, give you a greater sense of what you need when it comes to sex, and even relieve period cramps.
Solo sex boosts the production of dopamine and oxytocin in your body — some feel-good happiness hormones.
Speaking of feel-good hormones, when you pleasure yourself, you release dopamine, the feel-good hormone that activates our “award” system and even helps us sleep by releasing oxytocin.
Look, our bodies were made to have and enjoy sex. Our bodies respond positively to it.
Masturbation can help you figure out your sexual preferences.
The women who ask me about how good it feels to rub their clit versus their g-spot are onto something… they’ve discovered what works for them!
Masturbation can be used as a tool to empower you. Through self-pleasure, you can discover what lights you up, what turns you off, and what doesn’t do anything for you at all.
Furthermore, while masturbating to porn can sometimes exacerbate premature ejaculation in men, mastubrating to porn can still be a liberating experience.
Discovering that “the weird stuff” you’re into is actually not rare or “weird” at all can be a huge relief.
And discovering fun sex positions, new things you can do with sex toys, and ways to role play are also great ways that masturbating to porn can help spice up your sex life.
Masturbation can help you sleep.
Ever notice that it’s way easier to fall asleep after a good romp in the sack? Masturbation delivers the same benefits.
The same feel-good hormones we talked about in point number one is exactly why masturbation can help you sleep soundly until morning.
an orgasm reduces our body’s production of the natural stress hormone, cortisol,” Reports Blood & Milk, “In fact, one study found that 65 percent of participants who had the Big O before bed reported an improvement in their sleep.”
So before reaching for the sleeping pills, consider a self-pleasure session. Chances are, you’ll be sawin’ logs in no time.
Self-pleasure can boost your immune system
The doctor is ordering you to masturbate. There’s a global pandemic going around, for crying out loud. (Just kidding, this is not medical advice, but you SHOULD go see your doctor anyways, because I believe people don’t go to the doctor enough.)
But if you’re looking to give yourself the best chance in fighting any virus or bacterial infection that comes your way, start wanking every day.
According to Insider, “A study of 11 men published in the journal Neuroimmunomodulation found that sexual arousal and orgasms activated components of the immune system.”
This shouldn’t be a huge shocker for anyone who knows that masturbation, sex, and orgasms lower cortisol levels, or the stress hormone. Less stress means a stronger immune system, which means less sick days. Huge win.
Masturbation can improve migraine symptoms.
Scientists aren’t sure why, but orgasm seems to relieve migraine pain.
According to Healthline, “Researchers still aren’t exactly sure how sex relieves headaches, but suspect that the rush of endorphins during arousal and orgasm play a role.
Endorphins are the brain’s natural pain reliever and act like opioids.
According to the Association of Migraine Disorders, they provide rapid pain relief that’s even faster than IV morphine. Yes, please!”
So next time you’re laid down by a headache, consider a session of self-pleasure before popping NSAIDS. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Masturbation is good for heart health.
Hey, it gets the blood flowing, and anything that reduces stress is good for the heart. But beyond that, research suggests that men who orgasm more often have healthier hearts, according to a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology.
Inspires you to do more things that are happy, healthy, and productive.
Because it serves as a good reminder of how good it feels to put your pleasure first. It helps us release the sexual tension that keeps us feeling desperate and distracted.
Think about it …
When you’re horny and dealing with a lot of pent-up sexual frustration, you’re not going to perform your best at work and you’re not going to necessarily make the healthiest decisions. A self-pleasure practice can keep us feeling balanced and satisfied, and remind us the importance of taking care of our own needs.
There are some health benefits to masturbation that are unique to men.
I’m encouraging EVERYONE to stop what you’re doing for some self-love right now, but men probably stand to gain even more from the health benefits of masturbation.
The way you jack off can help you overcome premature ejaculation
The way you masturbate can either help or harm your efforts to cure premature ejaculation. If your masturbation sessions only last two minutes, sex with your partner will probably only last a couple minutes, too.
But through a healthy masturbation habit where you train yourself to last longer .. you can eventually reach the point where you’re having simultaneous orgasms with your partner … even a full hour into penetrative sex.
Some research suggests that frequent masturbation can help you avoid prostate cancer.
The human body was designed to have sex, to enjoy sex, and yes, to orgasm. And in a man’s case, to ejaculate. It’s no small wonder that ejaculation is good for a man’s health.
“Over the years, there’s been growing evidence of a link between ejaculation and lower chances of prostate cancer,” reports WebMD, “But the 2016 results of a major study made the strongest case yet. The researchers asked men to answer questions about how often they ejaculated. How didn’t matter — sex, masturbation, or wet dreams were all included. Then they tracked almost 32,000 of these men for 18 years.
The researchers found that guys who did it the most (at least 21 times a month) had about a 20% lower chance of prostate cancer, compared with those who did it less (4 to 7 times a month).”
So, eat an apple a day, go to the gym, and wank off.
Masturbation may improve sperm quality
The science is still out on this one, but SOME research suggests that masturbation might benefit the quality of his swimmers.
“In humans, masturbation increases sperm quality (by promoting younger sperm) without affecting sperm numbers in the female reproductive tract,” notes biologist Jane Waterman of the University of Central Florida in a new paper in the journal PLoS One. As far back as 1993, biologists had observed that masturbating decreased the number of sperm a man delivered the next time he had sex with his partner, but not the number of sperm the woman retained. They concluded that “masturbation is a male strategy to increase sperm fitness.”
So, How Often Should You Masturbate?
There are no hard and fast rules, here.
Considering all these health benefits, you can masturbate multiple times a day, if you want. It’s all good.
How do you know if masturbation frequency becomes a problem?
Maybe you clicked on this article because you’re worried you masturbate too much. Here are some ways to tell if you have an unhealthy relationship with masturbation:
- Do you enjoy masturbating, or do you feel like you get no pleasure from it?
If you find yourself singing the refrain to “I can’t get no satisfaction”, you might be masturbating out of compulsion, not out of genuine pleasure. This could be a signal that you have an unhealthy relationship with masturbation.
- Do you find that the time flies away from you when you’ve been masturbating? Maybe you click over to a porn site and then the next thing you know, a surprising amount of time has passed.
- Does your masturbation habit get in the way of your daily commitments? Do you find yourself putting things off that you have to do … so you can enjoy a long self-pleasure session?
Your home, work, or personal life is suffering because of how often you masturbate. This signals a problem.
- You masturbate even when you don’t feel horny
- Sometimes you feel such a strong pull to masturbate that you’ll do it anywhere — in the car, in the bathroom at work, at a friend’s house…
- You feel guilty or upset after masturbating
What If I Always Feel Guilty After Masturbating?
You feel amazing when you’re wanking off, but as soon as climax hits and the glow fades, you feel crappy.
In fact, you feel dirty. Like you have to shower for three hours and wash all your clothes.
What can you do about this? Is this a surefire sign you should stop masturbating entirely?
Here’s why: the reason for your guilt is more important than your actual guilt.
For example, many religions and cultures around the world villainize masturbation, citing it as either immoral, dirty, sinful, or straight up evil. Because of this, myths prevail: that you’ll grow hairy palms if you keep pleasuring yourself, or you won’t be able to enjoy sex with your partner if you continue with solo sex.
These myths couldn’t be further from the truth, so consider where your guilt is coming from… there might be much reason to feel guilty in the first place, since masturbation is healthy and normal.
However, if you find yourself experiencing guilt because you’re using masturbation to avoid ticking off your to-do list, avoiding feelings, or letting it get int the way of actual sex with your partner… you might have a larger issue on your hands.
If you worry that you might be addicted to masturbation, don’t hesitate to reach out. Sex coaching can help you achieve the healthiest sex life possible… and help you find a healthier relationship with self-loving.
How to make masturbation more enjoyable
For too many of us, masturbating is like scratching an itch.
It’s “nothing special”… and barely fun.
But what if we treated masturbation like a self-love ritual? Perhaps if we treated masturbation like self-care, we wouldn’t feel so much guilt and shame around it. We would use it to improve our sex lives… instead of giving us a reason to feel icky.
Here’s my challenge to you: the next time you feel like masturbating, catch yourself before you just mindlessly dive into your own pants. I challenge you: go to a comfortable place, whether it’s your bedroom or the couch. Light some candles. Put on some sexy music. Break out your favorite sex toy and lube. And enjoy yourself!
When you’re done, key into how you feel. Do you feel a little less “icky” than you did before treating masturbation like a positive, healthy act?
If we change our mindset about masturbation, it can hold a healthier place in our lives.
Sex and Relationship Coaching for A Better Sex Life
Let’s bust the myth right now that an amazing sex life is supposed to come easy. News flash: it doesn’t. The path to a great sex life is hard work and communication with your sexual partner… and sex coaching can help you achieve your most burning sex goals. Looking to overcome premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction? Looking to become better in bed? Sign up for coaching today and become the best lover they’ve ever had.