10 Reasons Why You Should Masturbate When You're in a Relationship

This article was written by Ronnie Koenig and provided by our partners at Prevention.

You might think of masturbation as something that you only do when you're single, but regular self-love sessions can have a seriously positive impact on the health of your marriage or relationship. According to Sadie Allison, Ph.D., founder of TickleKitty.com and author of Tickle Your Fancy—A Woman's Guide to Sexual Self-Pleasure, studies show that women who masturbate regularly have more fulfilling orgasms and can orgasm more easily with a partner.

And it's not just about the big O: Masturbating can improve your happiness and confidence, as well as lower your stress levels—all things that boost the health of a relationship. So close the curtains, lock the bedroom door, break out your favorite vibrator (or just get hands-on), and be prepared to reap loads of relationship benefits. (Looking to take back control of your health? Prevention has smart answers—get 2 FREE gifts when you subscribe today.)

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1. It keeps your sex drive revved.

When you've been together for a while, it can feel hard to maintain the high levels of passion you had when you first met. But masturbation can keep you feeling like a sexual being. "Having sex alone can build your drive," says Allison. "For both women and men, masturbation maintains the healthy functioning of your sex organs. Like the old saying goes, the more you have it, the more you want it."

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2. It encourages you to have an active fantasy life.

Allowing yourself to daydream about a sexy actor or the checkout guy at the grocery store during your private time can help keep sex in the forefront of your mind. The sky's the limit on the scenarios you can dream up, and your relationship will reap the benefits of your increased interest in sex. "Fantasizing is completely normal, and anything you wish to imagine is absolutely OK," says Allison. "It's safe, private, and no one ever has to know about it. That's why they're just fantasies!'"

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3. It takes your happiness out of your partner's hands.

When you've been together for a long time, it's easy to fall into a sexual routine. Masturbation is a way of declaring that you're responsible for your own pleasure, whether or not someone else is there to provide it. "It can be a great reminder that ultimately you are the one in charge of your own happiness," says Allison.

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why you should masturbate when in relationship
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4. It's a stress-reliever.

Whose relationship isn't better when they're feeling less stressed? Masturbation floods your body with feel-good endorphins, so it's a no-brainer that anyone, including those in a long-term relationship, can benefit from a little self-love. "Research suggests that orgasms can improve your mood as your body releases the pleasure chemical called dopamine, which can give you a natural stress-relieving high," says Allison.

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5. It keeps you in touch with what works for you.

The best way to be a generous lover is to know your own likes and dislikes so you can share that information with your partner. So think of masturbating as a self-discovery mission. "As your body changes with age, what you find sexually pleasurable can change, as well. A method that may have worked for you in the past may no longer be as effective," says Allison. "Masturbation will always provide a safe, private space for you to try new toys or techniques."

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6. It takes the edge off of that time of the month.

Masturbation is an easy fix for PMS, and it's thought to reduce irritability and cramps through the power of orgasm. "Orgasms induce a state of peacefulness by releasing endorphins," says Allison. "When you climax, your blood flow increases, which also helps to relieve pain." And hey, it goes without saying that most marriages could benefit from some feel-good vibes during that time of the month.

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7. It may save you from being a bleary-eyed insomniac.

If you want to be a more attentive, loving partner during the day, try masturbating as part of your nightly ritual. One 2010 study found that 32 percent of women masturbated before sleep, says Allison. And they're on to something. "It may be due to the sedative powers of endorphins, or maybe just the vigorous bedtime workout tiring you out, but many find it more natural and helpful than a sleeping pill."

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8. It can keep you from straying.

Even if you're in it for the long haul with your other half, that doesn't mean that from time to time you won't find other people attractive. Masturbation can be a positive way to indulge your daydreams while keeping the fires burning in your marriage. "Just because two people choose to share their lives doesn't mean their bodies share the same schedule, sex drive, sexual appetite, or stamina," says Allison. "Masturbation is a great solution for when these differences arise."

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9. It can keep you feeling young.

Let's face it, sex with yourself can be invigorating. If you want to stick around for many more years of adventure with your partner, it's time to take steps to increase your vitality. "Masturbation can serve as a nice internal workout that increases blood flow," says Allison. "In a study in which participants were faced with hard math problems, those who reported sexual activity beforehand tended to have lower baseline blood pressure or less of an increase in blood pressure in stressful situations." So even if you're not crunching numbers, use masturbation as a tool to remain calm, cool, and collected.

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10. It can boost your self-confidence.

One of the reasons many couples' sex lives fade is that one or both partners stop feeling attractive. Masturbation is all about self-appreciation—it can make you feel powerful, beautiful, and downright sexy. "Taking control of your own pleasure is a great way to boost self-esteem, overcome personal inhibitions, and fulfill your sexual desires," says Allison. "You'll have the confidence in the bedroom to communicate with your lover and show them exactly what you like and how you like it."

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