With COVID numbers still rising, a recent Gallup study reported that 52% of US workers are still clocking in at home. While office distractions are always present — the chatty coworker, the vending machine, or the temptation of the worldwide web — home distractions can be a bit more encompassing.
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If you're one of the many Americans still working from home and you're struggling to focus, you might consider adding masturbation into your daily routine. Planned Parenthood says that masturbation can reduce stress, help you sleep better, and improve your self-esteem.
We all know how crucial good sleep is for a productive workday; could masturbation be just as important? We dove into studies and spoke with experts, and it turns out, masturbation has many benefits, one which could be helping you focus better.
How Masturbation Can Help Ground You
Eli Scriver, a sex educator of five years and a sex education undergraduate at Knox College, writes college and high school curricula about sex and pleasure for a living. He believes in the power of masturbation and its ability to ground you.
"When you masturbate, there are a series of neurotransmitters that go off in your brain," Scriver explains. "This is true for orgasm as well in partnered situations, but masturbation is convenient because you only need one person."
Neurotransmitter oxytocin is released during orgasm and also when you breastfeed. Because oxytocin is the "bonding hormone," Scriver says, it can help you bond with yourself.
"You may experience, before orgasm or after orgasm, this physiological feeling of bonding and intimacy with whoever you're working with, and that might be yourself if you are masturbating," Scriver says. "And so that feeling of bonding with yourself can help facilitate that relationship, that trust with yourself, which can help implement routine and structure."
If you're having regular orgasms with a partner, you might think you don't need to masturbate because oxytocin is released during climax. But Renee Hilliard, certified sex and relationship coach and former OBGYN, says masturbation has some advantages over sex.
"Many people report that they experience less stress with masturbation than with sex, less pressure to perform or reach a goal," Hilliard explains. "The brain simply focuses better and performs tasks better in relaxation mode than stress mode."
In addition to oxytocin, nitric oxide, serotonin, and dopamine are also released during sexual pleasure. Nitric oxide, released during arousal, relaxes your arteries and makes you less sensitive to pain. Serotonin, which reduces stress, and dopamine, the pleasure hormone, are both released after orgasm.
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"Those relaxation practices, as well as the pain sensitivity and the bonding, really come together to create this meditative mind-body state where you are calm and independent from whatever you were thinking about before," Scriver explains. "It helps you get out of your mind and into your body."
Scriver describes attaining orgasm by masturbation as a way to bookend to your thoughts.
"Once that orgasm happens, it clears your head and lets you start new about whatever you were thinking about," Scriver says.
Insider reports that masturbation contributes some benefits that sex does not have, in particular for women: "Women generally climax more quickly and easily during masturbation than sex. For example, a 2017 study surveying over 52,000 adults found that only 65% of heterosexual women and 66% of bisexual women usually reached orgasm during sex."
The Benefits of a Masturbation Routine
Hilliard encourages people to create a regular masturbation practice, even if they have regular sex and orgasms with a partner.
"People who masturbate regularly report greater life satisfaction and confidence," Hilliard explains. "They feel a greater sense of self-love and report more pleasure in life and confidence in partnered sex. They are shown to be better at self-soothing and managing stress."
No matter what type of stress one may have — from work, family, or home — adding masturbating might be the safest and most natural way to help you better focus and release stress. Both experts agree that implementing a masturbation routine into your schedule could change your life, whether that's daily or weekly. Says Hilliard, "I like to think about it like eating healthily and exercising. The evidence is starting to support that it may be equally important."
"Creating that routine and building it in can help a lot with maintaining a sense of pleasure in life," Scriver says. "If you're doing one thing every day or every two days that bring you immense pleasure, that's going to increase your quality of life."
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