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Masturbation. Everyone does it, but it’s not something most people want to discuss or even acknowledge. Why is something as basic as pleasuring oneself relegated to the hall of shame? Because we still have lingering religious influences on the notion – ingrained beliefs that masturbation causes a series of ailments, ranging from insanity to blindness. To be sure, we’ve come a long way since Victorians designed cruel instruments to prevent “self-abuse” with painful metal teeth and electric currents. Still, masturbation is one of those things mainstream society just doesn’t want to acknowledge.

The truth is that masturbation is so ubiquitous, even animals get off with themselves. First-hand knowledge of your own body is a powerful tool, unrivaled by any X-rated video or sex-ed courses. Romantic and sexual relationships fluctuate, but you’ve always got yourself! Solo sex isn’t just about getting yourself off either – it has numerous health benefits! Here are five reasons to shamelessly revel in masturbation:

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Benefits of Masturbation

  1. A Natural Cure For Pain: During climax, the “cuddle hormone” oxytocin is released from the pituitary gland, increasing natural pain-killing hormones. In the moments leading up to an orgasm, oxytocin surges up to five times the normal level. This increase then leads to the release of endorphins, our natural pain-killing hormones. So before you pop that aspirin, take a turn at the self-service station and see if your muscle aches, migraine, or menstrual cramps get any better.
  2. Kill Junk Food Cravings: Oxytocin does more than slay pain; it reduces stress and subsequently makes it less likely that you’ll binge on sugar or salt-laden comfort foods that contribute to energy crashes and weight gain. Whether or not an orgasm is achieved, masturbation releases the powerful neurotransmitter and could contribute to a flatter belly.
  3. Women Who Masturbate Like Themselves: According to a national survey conducted by Indiana University, over 50 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 59 spend time pleasuring themselves. Women who know how to bring themselves pleasure have higher emotional intelligence when it comes to dating and sex, and enjoy stronger mind/body connections. More orgasms also strengthen pelvic floor muscles, preventing incontinence or other problems associated with childbirth or post-menopause.
  4. Men Who Do The Five Knuckle Shuffle Arent Losers : For men, there is a persisting stereotype that those who stroke themselves are social misfits who can’t get laid. Traditional masculinity emphasizes men’s ability to conquer and accumulate notches in their bed posts, rather than get it off with themselves. However, research shows regular sexual activity resulting in ejaculation reduces risk of developing prostrate cancer, and improves sperm mobility, making it easier for heterosexual couples to conceive.
  5. Banish Insomnia: If you’re someone who struggles with insomnia, consider making sweet love to yourself part of your bedtime ritual. Rather than potentially habit-forming pharmaceuticals that come with a host of terrifying side-effects and an increased risk of death, try the free sleep aide called masturbation. It relaxes the body, clears the mind, releases stress, and relaxes your muscles so you can happily slip into sleep.
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