As Woody Allen famously said, “Don’t knock masturbation. It’s sex with someone I love.” And considering that up to 95 percent of men and 89 to 92 percent of women masturbate, it’s probably safe to say that no one really needs much convincing to keep doing it. But if you’d like a hand giving yourself a hand, here’s something to get you started:
1. Masturbation helps you sleep. That’s because getting handsy with yourself lowers blood pressure and produces endorphins, the chemicals responsible for helping ease stress and increase relaxation.
2. Masturbation relieves cramps. Flying solo during that time of the month increases blood flow to the pelvic area, easing pain. The intensity of orgasm can also help—and it sure beats a hot water bottle.
3. Masturbation prevents prostate cancer. Toxins build up in the urogenital tract, leading to disease—but masturbation flushes those toxins out of the body, making men who ejaculate more than five times a week a third less likely to develop prostate cancer.
4. Masturbation alleviates urinary tract infections. Once you’re tired of drinking all that cranberry juice, turn to the other cure for UTIs: masturbation. It helps flush out old bacteria from the cervix, giving UTI sufferers some much-needed relief.
5. Masturbation might relieve Restless Leg Syndrome symptoms. Researchers estimate that 10 percent of people suffer from RLS, a neurological disorder categorized by a constant urge to move the limbs, often causing leg pain, cramps, tingling, and itching. But there might be help in sight—a letter published in the medical journal Sleep Medicine reported on a patient who used sex and masturbation to relieve symptoms of RLS.
6. Masturbation boosts your immunity. Ejaculation releases the hormone cortisol. It’s a stress hormone, but in small doses, it can help strengthen and maintain your immune system.
7. Masturbation makes sex better. Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes. “Sex therapists strongly recommend that women who have not had an orgasm begin by pleasuring themselves,” according to registered sex therapist Judith Golden. “This puts them in touch with the genital pleasure that they like.”