The word masturbation makes a lot of people blush. Even reading it on your screen may have made your cheeks flush. Masturbation, masturbation, masturbation. Okay, there. Now that we’ve got it out of our system, let’s get frank: the stigma around self-love has got to go. Because we’re not masturbating enough. It’s an epidemic! A gosh darn lack-of-self-pleasure epidemic.
In a nationwide study completed by condom giant Trojan and the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada (SIECCAN), 2,400 midlife Canadians (half men, half women; 91.5 per cent heterosexual) ages 40-59 were asked to get down and dirty, and shed light on their sexual habits.
Of the men surveyed, 60 per cent said they masturbated once or more per week. (Sounds a bit low, if you ask us.) But that number is actually much higher than the women polled—just 23 per cent of the ladies said they get off once every seven days.
Interestingly, though, women are keen to use toys. “Vibrator use was common, with 40 per cent of women reporting that they used a vibrator the last time they masturbated,” the study reported.
It also found that the frequency of masturbation declines as we age—just 74 per cent of men and 50 per cent of women in the 55-59 age group touched themselves once per month. C’mon, you guys!
Is it laziness? Lack of desire? Feeling embarrassed? We need to get back in the bedroom, even if it’s for a solo endeavour, because there are so many health benefits to getting off. Let us count the ways for you. (We’re looking at you, baby boomers.)
Those stairs that used to leave you in a huff? Not so much anymore
Masturbation helps improve cardiovascular strength. According to research published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, “orgasms induced elevations in cardiovascular parameters.” It’s that same increased heart rate and blood flow boost that you get from your boot camp class.
It’ll make your sex life better
If you have trouble orgasming during sex, masturbation is the best way to practice. You’ll teach yourself the exact moves required to get off without relying on—or feeling pressured by—someone else.
And, in turn, improves confidence
According to WebMd, masturbation can increase confidence, feelings of sexuality, and leads to a greater understanding of one’s own body. The more comfortable you feel in your own skin, the higher you’ll carry your head.
You’ll sleep like an itty-bitty baby
We feel pretty confident relying on anecdotal evidence here. Honestly, you can feel the release and the increased level of relaxation that follows a good bout of sexual pleasure. Go ahead and tuck yourself in tonight.
In general, you’ll be a nicer person
Having an orgasm releases all those feel-good neurochemicals, like oxytocin and dopamine, in the brain. Similar in sensation to certain mood-enhancing drugs… but, ya know, the natural and legal way.
It’s good for your vagina muscles
Female orgasms strengthen the pelvic floor by expanding and contracting the muscles same way that kegel exercises do.
During menopause, many women will experience a narrowing of the vagina that can lead to increased discomfort during sex or vaginal exams. The solution? You guessed it! Flick that bean! Webmd recommends using a water-based lubricant for added benefit.
You’ll lower your risk for cancer
In 2013, a University of Australia study found that masturbation can mitigate the risk of cancer. For men, it gives “the prostate a chance to flush out potential cancer-causing agents,” the researchers discovered.
And reduce your chances of getting an annoying UTI, too
In the same University of Australia study, researchers discovered that “masturbation can help prevent cervical infections and urinary tract infections through the process of “tenting,” or the opening of the cervix that occurs as part of the arousal process.” That so called “tenting” allows the body to flush out toxic bacteria and increases fluid circulation. Hm, now we know.
So, touch yourself tonight. You can thank us when you wake up tomorrow morning feeling like the most confident, happy and refreshed person in the world.