These are the health benefits of masturbating on the regular

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In middle school health class, masturbating wasn’t exactly a popular topic. In fact, talking about masturbating in almost any social—or even educational—setting was a big no-no. It was almost as if masturbation was seen as this offensive, completely inappropriate act, and was therefore off limits in conversation. The older we all got, though, the more we realized that masturbating is a part of everyone’s life, just like sex is. And there’s nothing shameful or gross about it.

May is International Masturbation Month, so we’re spreading the masturbation love by talking about all the ways flying solo in the bedroom can do wonders for you and your body.

HelloGiggles spoke with Stephanie Keating, Brand Manager at We-Vibe, a company that creates state-of-the-art couples and solo vibrators. Keating says there are a lot of benefits that come from masturbating on a regular basis. If it’s something that doesn’t feel comfortable quite yet, fret not.

“Don’t worry if you’re not sure how to go about masturbating,” Keating tells HG. “Like with anything new, the more you do it, the more comfortable you get, so stick with it.” Sounds like pretty solid advice to us. Now let’s talk about why giving yourself orgasms is such a magical thing.

Here are seven health benefits of masturbating on the regular.

1It helps you sleep way better at night

If you’ve had a stressful day or there’s a lot on your mind, you may have trouble falling asleep at night. About 35 percent of American adults have suffered from insomnia at some point in their adult life, so you’re not alone. However, you may not know that masturbating can help you sleep like a baby.

“While you could reach for some melatonin or a sleep aid, nature’s best sleep aid is actually an orgasm,” Keating tells HG. “Masturbating before sleep can help clear your mind and make you feel good as you drift off to sleep.” She also says 54 percent of all women will masturbate before bed at some point to help them fall asleep. That’s how reliable of a tool it can be. You’ll wake up energized and ready to go—and hopefully with less bags under your eyes.

2Your stress levels decrease after you’re finished

According to Keating, the stress hormone cortisol is warded off when you masturbate. “Orgasms curb the effects of cortisol by releasing oxytocin and endorphins,” she advises. We-Vibe conducted a study on masturbation, finding that 76 percent of participants said they felt very satisfied after an orgasm, while 59 percent reported feeling relaxed and de-stressed. You can’t argue with those numbers.

If you think about the last time you had really great sex, you can probably recall feeling relieved afterwards, like you didn’t have a care in the world. You don’t need a partner to achieve that. All it takes is some time alone and a little curiosity.

3It helps you tap into your creative side

Women who report dull sex lives or having “lost” their orgasm often say they feel dull and uninspired in other areas of their life. That’s because the the dopamine and oxytocin that floods your brain when you masturbate contributes to intuitive, creative thinking. In fact, if you think about some of the most influential artists and authors in the past, such as Gertrude Stein and Georgia O’Keefe, many of them were producing their best work when they were having some kind of passionate sexual relationship or affair.

So if you feel like you need a boost of creativity in your life, whether it’s for work or a personal hobby, close the door and start masturbating. Those orgasms could lead to something mind-blowing.

4It can make you better at problem solving

When you masturbate or have an orgasm, your brain produces a huge amount of dopamine, a chemical you might automatically associate with excitement, addiction, and any kind of extreme pleasure. But Dr. Jim Pfaus of Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec has done research proving that healthy rushes of dopamine can strengthen the part of your brain that’s associated with decision making. In other words, yes, masturbating can sort of help you figure out what to do with that big project you’re slaving over at work.

5Your skin will glow

“Women who masturbate regularly can actually see some positive effects on their skin and in their overall health,” Keating tells HG. “Sex and orgasms get your blood circulating, which results in more oxygen for your skin, giving you that ‘O’ glow.” You might not notice it, but when you masturbate, your heart increases and it almost starts to feel like a workout. All that blood flow gives you rosy cheeks and a natural glow that you just can’t achieve with a highlighter. And it’s free.

6You’ll feel more confident and at ease in your own skin

After sex, does it ever feel like you can rule the world? That’s because you’re armed with even more confidence than you had before. In the We-Vibe Masturbation Study, Keating says they found that a third of participants reported much happier after masturbating. That’s because all the chemicals that are released when you orgasm, including testosterone, make you feel more bold when you go about your daily life.

You’ll feel more confident to speak up in social settings and you might even struggle less with body image issues. It’s no wonder that people without enough dopamine and oxytocin in their system tend to be much less interested in trying new experiences, and they often have trouble enjoying themselves in social situations.

7Your sex life with your partner will improve

Learning what turns you on sexually isn’t just a benefit for you. Your SO will have a much better time in the bedroom now as well. “As you get to know your body, you will be able to open the lines of communication with your partner and feel more comfortable exploring together,” Keating says. Plus, the more you know about what you need to orgasm, the easier it is for your partner to get you there as well.

Keating says there are all sorts of We-Vibe couples toys you can play with if you want to spice things up. “Every body and every couple is different and that’s why we have a wide range of products,” she tells HG. “But if you’re a couple that wants something to use together, Sync should be your first choice.”

Whatever you choose to do in the bedroom, and whoever you choose to do it with, just make sure you’re making enough time in your busy life to give yourself some TLC. Because masturbating has some major health benefits that extend far out beyond the bedroom.

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