The subject of masturbation has always been a little taboo, especially female masturbation. While it is considered normal – even healthy or necessary – for men to please themselves, the idea that a woman might crave or even benefit from the same treatment has sometimes been considered less acceptable. Masturbation is about more than stress relief – it can benefit your physical and mental health in numerous ways.

The truth of the matter is the relationship you have with yourself as a woman is the most important one there is. Not only do you need to know yourself mentally and emotionally, but physically as well. Exploring and appreciating your own body is key for understanding yourself and, if you choose to, helping someone else do the same.

If you haven’t tried it yet, here are 6 reasons you should please yourself:

1. It’s a great way to learn about your body

As a woman, you’re used to your body being the subject of criticism. Whether that criticism comes from men, from other women, from the media, or from yourself, it can make you feel like your body is something to be ashamed of rather than cherished. Self-love is a wonderful way to see your body in a new and positive way, to experience its beauty in a way that is deeply personal. Masturbation is about getting to know what feels good to you and learning how to experience pleasure at your own hands.

2. There’s nothing abnormal or unhealthy about it

While the subject of masturbation may not be dinner party conversation, there’s nothing unhealthy about it. Many women have been led to believe self-pleasure is somehow wrong or embarrassing, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, between 60% and 80% of women have masturbated during their lifetime. It’s simply a tool to help you discover and understand the most intimate parts of yourself. It doesn’t hurt that it comes with some potential health benefits, either.

3. It comes with some useful health benefits

There are certain things you know to be good for your health – things like exercise, eating fresh veggies and whole grains, and getting enough sleep. Some women’s health experts like Kelley Kitely, LCSW, suggest masturbation is on the same level of importance as these essentials. It’s a completely natural function and one that comes with a number of significant health benefits.

Here are some of the health benefits associated with masturbation and orgasm:

● It helps relieve stress, even if just temporarily

● An orgasm releases endorphins that improve your mood

● The release of orgasm can be very relaxing and improve sleep

● Masturbation boosts blood flow to the genital region

● Endorphins released during orgasm are natural pain killers

● It can boost libido and improve sexual experiences with a partner

Masturbation is sometimes portrayed as a selfish act but there’s nothing wrong with making yourself feel good if it doesn’t hurt anyone else in the process. With health benefits like the ones listed above up for grabs, it’s hard to make an argument against self-pleasure!

4. It’s completely customizable and all up to you

When it comes to masturbation, there’s no playbook. You have the freedom to do whatever you’re comfortable with and what feels good. Take the time to explore your own anatomy and to experiment with different sensations. The more you know about yourself the better, and you’ll have plenty of fun in the process of learning. When you become more in-tune with your body and your sexuality, you may become more confident as well. Though your sexuality is not what defines you as a woman, it’s part of your identity, and confidence in your sexuality can really boost your self-esteem.

5. It may help improve your sexual relationships

The benefit of learning how to make yourself feel good is that you never have to rely on someone else to do it for you. If you choose to engage in sexual intimacy with a partner, however, your knowledge of your own body and what you like can greatly enhance the experience for both of you. Masturbation can heighten your sexual awareness, as well, which may boost your libido or increase your desire in having sex with your partner. When you do, you’ll be able to direct your partner based on your likes and dislikes to create a more intimate and mutually pleasurable experience.

6. It’s fun and you’ll never get bored with it

Once you discover the pleasure to be had at your own hands, you’ll see what you’ve been missing. The best part is you’ll never find it boring. Every self-love session can be completely unique and there are plenty of ways to spice things up when you want to. Dildos and vibrators come in all shapes and sizes, some with unique designs that can help you discover and stimulate your G-spot. Something as simple as using personal lubricant can completely change the experience and some offer tantalizing sensations.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with spending a little time getting to know your body and what feels good for you, but if you’re not feeling the vibe, there’s no reason to pressure yourself. If you struggle with low libido or you’re dissatisfied with your current sex drive, you don’t have to just live with it. Talk to a medical professional about Addyi (flibanserin) to help boost your sex drive, enabling you to experience the sexual desire and pleasurable satisfaction you deserve.

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