One in five men indulge in self-love at least four times a week. But only 5 percent of women between the ages of 25 and 29 do the same, according to Indiana University's National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior. And that’s the group of women who solo sex themselves the most!
What are you waiting for, ladies? Masturbating is more than just a ticket to O-Town—it can offer loads of health benefits, too. “Even for women who are partnered, it can be a very healthy part of self-care,” says Kelley Johnson, Ph.D., a North Carolina-based clinical sexologist. She recommends women schedule “me time” at least twice a week.
Here, 10 damn good reasons to schedule a party for one tonight.
1. It keeps your pelvic floor strong. You know practicing your Kegels on the reg keeps those deep muscles working in tip-top shape, but bringing yourself to orgasm will do the same and then some. Essentially, masturbating also keeps the body’s orgasmic functions—like vaginal lubrication—tuned up so you’re ready for your next romp, says Johnson.
2. It’ll help you chill. Exploring your land down under can pump out endorphins and mood-boosting hormones that reduce stress, tension, and feelings of depression, says Johnson. Bonus: Achieving that orgasm can help you sleep better, too, she says.
3. It can help relieve pain. The hormones that help you think happy thoughts can take away the discomfort that comes with issues like low-level headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, and menstrual cramps. “A good orgasm can really have a positive impact on pain itself,” says Johnson.
4. You’ll uncover your deepest sexual fantasies. When you’re alone, your (dirty) mind is free to wander to whatever revs your engine. “With masturbation, we’re stimulating fantasy and the mental component of sexual health, which is really important,” says Johnson. “That fantasy can pique your interest into sexual scenarios worth trying in the future," she says. "And it may open doors to things that you’ve never thought about.” Adding a third party, perhaps?
5. No mood setting required. Light the candles if that’s what you’re into, but the real beauty of masturbating is you don’t have anyone to impress.
6. It’ll help you figure out how things work. “Guys are kind of easy to figure out sexually, but women are much more complex,” says Johnson. Between the clitoris and the vagina, there are plenty of potential areas for stimulation. Your mission: Figure out what gets you off. “We have to discover that for ourselves, and then we communicate that to our partner,” says Johnson. “It allows us to know who we are as a sexual person and what it takes to help us enjoy sex the most that we can.”
7. There are no risks involved. Solo sex is the safest sex. “Of course, you can’t get pregnant masturbating,” says Johnson. “And if you’re only using your toys, no STDs.” There’s also no “what if the condom breaks” panic getting in the way of your pleasure. Peace of mind is such a turn on, amiright?
8. It’ll boost your libido. The more you masturbate, the more comfortable you’ll be with your body and your sexuality, which can make your next two-person sesh more satisfying. “We really need to maintain a regular practice to maintain an interest in our sexuality and desire,” says Johnson. “If we’re not actively stimulating ourselves on a regular basis, sex just becomes completely unimportant.” In other words: If you don’t use it, you lose it.
9. You can do it your way. Who cares about his favorite position? Masturbation is all about you. “A question I get a lot is, ‘This is the way I masturbate, is it normal?’ and the answer is always yes,” says Johnson. Whether you use a vibrator or your fingers, lie on your back or your belly, press your vulva against a pillow or cross your legs and squeeze, if it helps you head to O-town, you’re doing it right.
10. It feels really freakin’ good. The best reason of all.