More Reasons to Masturbate

by Haley Rosenberg

You're on your period, feeling gross and bloated and cramping up a storm. You decide, "I'll stay in tonight," because your friends want to go to a bar, and there's no way you're going to enjoy standing for multiple hours in heels, let alone try to go home with some attractive stranger. So you throw on the Twilight saga as a joke and settle in for a nice night of ragging on mid-2000s romance dramas, but wait...was Robert Pattinson always this sexy? You feel like you would have remembered this. What started as the beginning of an abstinent week is slowly turning into a night full of temptation, but you're on your period! You can't, right? You shouldn't…"but you must." Who said that?

Our time of the month is not usually when we think to break out the vibrator or showerhead, but maybe it should be. Not only can the big O relieve stress and help you understand your body, but multiple studies have shown that orgasms during your period can alleviate menstrual cramps as well. As if you needed another reason to masturbate, right?

This is because orgasms promote higher pain tolerance within the body and increased blood flow to the uterus (which helps with an easier menstruating experience for your body), thereby soothing uncomfortable cramps during your session. And when orgasms release all those pleasurable endorphins into your body, your brain is hyper-focused on that and not your cramp pains. The specific hormones released are dopamine and oxytocin, which balance out favorably with cortisol, the stress hormone, thereby helping your body reach an excellent hormonal equilibrium that will improve your mood and metabolic workings.

Another way masturbation helps our bodies in ways we don't think about is that it can help with digestion and bloat, thereby making workouts more effective with your new and improved metabolism. A study was done with a single woman who had never masturbated and struggled with stomach bloat, gas, and stubborn stomach fat. She reported that after purchasing and regularly using her first vibrator, she saw significantly less stomach bloat within weeks and had noticeably better digestion.

According to Toronto sex therapist Judith Golden, masturbating can help with our sense of well-being, self-confidence, sexuality, and ability to orgasm during intercourse with a partner. The more we explore our bodies, she claims, the more comfortable and in touch we become with ourselves, which helps us be more comfortable and open with our sexual partners. Golden also claims that masturbating can help with insomnia because blood pressure lowers, and the resulting flow of endorphins creates a relaxing feeling throughout the body, making a quick flick the ultimate nightcap.

If you need more reasons to start masturbating regularly, keep in mind the positive physical and mental processes it facilitates. Be it restlessness, PMS, cramp pain, or mental stress, an orgasm can work wonders to set your body back to equilibrium and give your brain a break, as well as a much-needed overdose of some happy feelings. So ditch the warm glass of milk before bed and the Advil for your cramps, and get down to business instead.