The search for pleasure is one of the main objectives of human beings . Men and women do not live only from reflection and hard work. Pleasure, in its multiple facets, is associated with happiness and is (or at least should be) something we should all seek.

There are many ways to feel pleasure, including sex, either with other people or with yourself. We will talk about this last possibility today, deepening in masturbation and its multiple positive effects for our physical, psychological and physiological health .

Related article: “Smart People Masturbate More, Study Shows”

Masturbation: giving pleasure to oneself has its advantages

Masturbation is a sexual behavior that can be defined as any form of sexual self pleasure obtained through any type of direct physical stimulation. This sexual behavior is widely practiced, since 95% of men and 63% of women have masturbated at some time .

Masturbation as a common practice usually starts during adolescence, with boys starting earlier than girls as a trend, with an average age of onset of 14 and 16, respectively. A curious fact is that women tend to masturbate more frequently when they are in a stable relationship, while men tend to masturbate more when they lose a relationship and become single again.

This sexual behaviour is not specifically human, since is also observed in other animals , especially among mammals.

Historical view of masturbation: religion and taboo

Masturbation has been condemned throughout history , giving it a negative connotation and causing or attributing various physical and mental problems to people who have practiced it.

Thus, for example, the Christian religion has historically persecuted it, considering it even a worse sin than incest or rape in past times. Culturally, masturbation was considered the cause of health problems such as loss of vision or sterility, something that science strongly denies. However, at a time when information and access to scientific sources were utopian, people strongly believed that masturbation would lead to severe problems, and therefore suppressed their instincts to practice it.

But it is not only religion that has transmitted negativity and generated cultural taboos towards this sexual behaviour: several scientists and health professionals have written extensively about the negative effects of masturbation on the health of people who practice it. For example, Tissot , in 1758, considered masturbation to be a cause of brain softening .

It was also theorized that this practice was one of the causes of homosexuality, and Kraepelin explained that masturbation was a symptom of several mental illnesses.Sigmund Freud also wrote about this sexual behavior, and he had the theory that masturbation was normal in childhood but a symptom of immaturity in adulthood, especially in the case of female masturbation.

Physical and psychological benefits of masturbation

Clinical research has been able to demonstrate that masturbation is beneficial on both physical and psychological levels , and in fact, it is widely used as a technique in sex and couples therapy

These are some of the benefits of this practice.

Physical benefits

  • Causes an analgesic effect and can help with menstrual cramps, as it causes a deflation of the genital area.
  • Allows to maintain a healthy state of the genitals : helps to maintain a good lubrication in the case of women, and a good reflex of erection and ejaculation in the case of men.
  • Some studies indicate that masturbating helps strengthen the immune system and prevents infections, due to the higher levels of immunoglobin A that can be seen in people who have more orgasms.

Psychological benefits

  • It helps improve sleep, especially for men, due to the release of serotonin and opioids.
  • It has a relaxing effect and a feeling of well-being , helping to release sexual, physiological and psychological tensions.
  • It helps to explore and learn about one’s own sexuality , promoting positive attitudes towards sex and the genitals, and may in turn improve sexual functioning in the couple.

Bibliographic references:

  • Hair, F (2010). Manual of sexology and sex therapy. Madrid: Editorial síntesis.