Does Masturbation Increase Libido?
Increased stimulation has been shown to enhance overall sexual arousal and functionality. It’s a common misconception that once someone enters a relationship, masturbation is no longer a necessity to experience pleasure. However, masturbation has plenty of benefits that can improve your sex life, from counteracting sexual shame to developing a more intimate relationship with your body and intuition. Here are five ways that masturbation enhances your sexual experiences.
1. You Prioritize Your Pleasure
Many people feel the need to have to orgasm during sex with a partner, whether it’s faked or real. However, masturbation can help settle any pressure people feel around climaxing. There’s no need to perform; only you and your pleasure matter.
“Sex is between the ears, not just between the legs," said certified sex therapist Melinda de Seta in an interview. "So if you tell yourself you won’t have an orgasm, you absolutely won’t. Remove that goal of an orgasm and just put your goal as pleasure.” Some individuals only rely on a partner to achieve an orgasm, resulting in grown women who have never masturbated or achieved an orgasm.
2. You Confront Shame and Stress
Masturbation can be an effective tool in combating stress in your life, including sex-related stress with your partner. “Sexual stimulation is very good at capturing attention, like other emotional stimuli,” said neuroscientist and Liberos founder Nicole Prause, Ph.D, in an email. “Stress often escalates with rumination, a pattern of negative thinking that is difficult to disrupt. Genital stimulation is very difficult to ignore, though, so masturbation could be very effective in disrupting the ruminations that increase stress.”
The more pleasure we experience, the more likely we are to want sex, whether that’s with ourselves or a partner. Many people have grown up with a stigma of shame surrounding masturbation. However, it’s important to challenge the idea that it’s wrong to allow yourself to feel pleasure. Every time you masturbate, sink into a feeling of pleasure that sexually liberates you.
3. You Tune Into Your Body
Whenever we think of enjoying sex, many people automatically consider genital stimulation. However, sex doesn’t always mean penetration; there are so many erogenous zones, like the nipples, neck, shoulders, or lower abdomen. Masturbation can help you develop a closer relationship with your body as you begin to learn how different parts of your body respond to stimulation.
While everyone has their own unique stimuli and zones, “any part of the body can acquire sexual feeling by conditioning, but some may be biologically prepared to acquire sexual sensations more easily than others,” says Dr. Prause. “For example, hairy skin is especially sensitive to moderately slow patterns of stroking that uniquely activate c-afferent fibers,” which are a part of our somatosensory system. As you learn your body’s unique stimuli through masturbation, you can later communicate your preferences to a partner during sexy time.
4. You Take Control of Your Orgasm
Masturbation is a great way to level out the disparate libido between you and your partner. “We do not know if masturbation causes increased libido, but more frequent masturbation is strongly associated with higher libido,” said Dr. Prause.
Have you ever experienced a time when you or your partner was in the mood for an intimate night, but the other person simply wasn’t? Masturbation, whether it’s on your own solo time or during sex with your partner, will reduce resentment and keep all parties satisfied.
According to Prause, mutual masturbation is an exciting activity that can improve a connection to your partner and identify pleasurable areas or patterns of stimulation. You may feel closer after trusting your partner to witness an otherwise private moment.
5. You Explore New Boundaries
As masturbation increases the level of comfort you have with your own body, you’ll be able to feel confident in communicating your desires to a partner and even begin to explore your sexual dynamic further. “Masturbation gives us what I call your Sexy Confidence, feeling confident on the inside of the body,” said de Seta. She suggests that women ask themselves, “Do I feel comfortable doing this? Am I doing this for pleasure? Experiment with what feels good to you. We’re more likely to have better sex with somebody else because we have the information that we need to tell that partner what feels good.”
Whether you introduce toys, CBD lube, massage oils, or anything else you desire into the mix, you’ll feel more in touch with your intuition in understanding what turns you on. You may discover toys have the stamina that a tired partner can’t re-create, or that CBD oil has a calming effect that takes you out of your head and into your body. Alternatively, you may discover you don’t enjoy masturbating in any capacity, and that’s perfectly OK too.
It’s important to learn about your desires and prioritize your pleasure with partners or alone. Expressing your wants can lead to a passion-filled sex life, and you may find yourself beginning to prioritize your needs in day-to-day living. A better sex life begins with taking control of your pleasure through masturbation.