Stress Release: How to incorporate masturbation into your self-care routine
Taking time for ourselves has become an essential part of self-preservation amidst a tumultuous and draining year.
I’ve explored just about every self-care practice that Instagram can throw at me while I try to navigate the seemingly never- ending stresses of life as we know it.
You know the usual advice: take breaks from work, go outside, wash your face, workout often, and light a scented candle. If you get really desperate, douse your skin with lavender essential oil and try to fall asleep for a few blissful hours.
But one piece is missing from the popular rhetoric surrounding self-care. It’s something we tend to avoid talking about, especially women. But Billy Idol didn’t write “Dancing with Myself” for us all just to ignore the very real and natural process of masturbation.
While some individuals may not react positively to sexual activities, for many, sexual release can be a great tool for de-stressing. One study found that denying ourselves self-pleasure can lead to serious psychopathy over time. Many people avoid masturbation because it is often linked to shame or guilt despite being perfectly natural.
This is especially true for women, for whom sexual pleasure is often disregarded or viewed as taboo. Conversely, for men, masturbation is labelled as a necessity. But this need for sexual release is felt by both men and women, and for that reason, both men and women should feel free to partake in masturbation.
Including masturbation as part of your self-care routine can have profound benefits on your mental health. It may reduce stress, help with sleep, boost mood, and even help improve your sex life. By exploring your body privately, you may become more attuned to what you want from a sexual partner. The most common side effect of masturbation is guilt, but that is a culturally learned response that can (and should) be changed. That guilt can be targeted through therapy or simply by exploring the process of masturbation for yourself.
Sometimes the biggest hurdle to addressing the guilt and fear surrounding masturbation is to just do it. Pleasure is a natural process that your body likely craves. If self-care is a priority for you, then masturbation should be, too. It is literal selflove.
Masturbation can also work as a great tool for body positivity, another important step in the selflove process. By exploring your body and providing it with physical release, you are reinforcing the idea that your body is worthy of pleasure. You are giving your body the love and attention it deserves, just like you might do with exercise or skin care.
Finding time to give our bodies attention might feel like an indulgence right now, but indulgence might be just what we need the most. In the midst of a year fraught with stressors, finding new ways to relax is more important than ever. You are worthy of every kind of release, and sometimes self-care takes more than just a bubble bath or a walk in the park.
Studies show that sexual release triggers an unprecedented response in the brain, allowing our bodies to release and achieve powerful pleasure. So get comfortable with what your body needs, and consider adding this completely natural form of self-love to your self-care schedule.