The phrase “self-care routine” is very catchy right now and has floating around the internet, making Facebook scrollers & Buzzfeed quiz-takers stop and open articles at an alarming rate for the last two decades– and we love to see it!
The creation of a self-care routine seems to be at an observable pinnacle of a shift within society: Individuals are moving away from focusing on what’s expected of them in our capitalist society and working towards what’s GOOD for them (while still being able to function in our societal structure).
How are they doing this, you ask? By creating an intentional space and time to focus on and care for themselves (aka. A self-care routine)– and what better time to give yourself a little more pleasure than during that designated space?
I know, I know… Another, unfortunate taboo in our society tends to focus on humans experiencing pleasure– of any sort, really! Masturbation, in particular, is still a shied away topic after thousands of years of religious persecution & persuasion that masturbation is unhealthy, abhorrent, and all-around bad.
All of those reasons are why we love to chat about it! Because after all this time, it turns out that masturbation is actually the best-kept secret to the self-care routine, and we don’t want it to be a secret anymore.
So without further ado, here are some ways that intentionally set aside time to pleasure yourself & can improve your physical health, mental health, and relationship confidence —
aka REASONS TO ADD MASTURBATION TO YOUR SELF-CARE ROUTINE
Okay, WHAT could be more exciting than pleasure-giving us better skin? According to a Forbes Article that interviewed several doctors to find some answers, masturbation not only has an immediate effect on our skin– causing that after-sex glow– but actually can lead to some long-term benefits!
The article explains that a study conducted by The University of Michigan showed an increase in estrogen levels caused by masturbation. Estrogen helps create collagen in our bodies, which stops wrinkles and other signs of age.
Masturbation can literally make you have healthier skin?? So, forget the aging creams & buy a vibrator, am I right?
Our self-esteem and confidence can have A LOT of layers, and masturbation will not be the end-all-be-all answer to having more confidence in yourself, but it can really help!!
When we take the time to get to know our bodies, we also have the opportunity to LOVE our bodies– which can, in general, be hard to do when society tells you you’re wrong pretty much all the time! We know… we wrote a whole article about it here: How to Embrace Your Sensuality in a World That Tells You Not To.
Taking some space and time to explore your erogenous zones, look at yourself in the mirror, and explore what brings you pleasure can be a great way to reconnect with yourself!
We also highly recommend checking out Rachel’s Workshop, Sex & Body Positivity: Be Unapologetically Confident in Your Body; She & her co-teacher, Amanda Katherine Loy, walk you through some exercises to help you reconnect and start to heal your relationship with your body!
When you take the time to build in exploration, play, and pleasure for yourself, it reminds you that you, your body, and your pleasure are IMPORTANT– increasing your self-confidence and self-esteem.
Endorphins, baby, endorphins!!
We love a little kick of endorphins in the morning!! Or evening… or anytime, really. It’s no secret that sex releases endorphins and chemicals into your body!
Many of these endorphins & chemicals specifically increase feelings of happiness & pleasure; But did you know that it’s not just the act of sexual activity that can increase our happiness but the affection that gives us those happy feels?
According to a study from 2017, affection can actually mediate the connection between sex and happiness- aka. It can help bring about those good feelings!
So when you’re looking to give yourself a little pleasure kick– remember being physically and emotionally affectionate to yourself or your partner(s) can really make a difference!
Practice makes Perfect! Or… It Makes More Fun…
Speaking of partner(s), if you’re in a relationship, single and dating, or even on the lookout for a future partnership, masturbating more opens up some fun and helpful doors in your shared sex life, too.
As we mentioned, masturbation helps you learn about yourself and helps you build confidence, which both have a phenomenal impact on partnered sex!
When you know yourself better, you can better show & tell your partner what pleases you, which helps create a satisfying interaction for everyone involved!
When you feel confident in yourself and your body in general, you also feel less self-conscious during sex, leading to more fun times and fewer times trying to pull yourself away from icky feelings and into the moment.
Those two things combined also lay a fantastic foundation for communication– aka our favorite subject! Even communication about your masturbation habits can be a sexy experience during partnered sex!
If you’re feeling a little shy about dirty talk, here’s an article we created with some tools to help you get chatting: How to Make Uncomfy Bedroom Talk Shameless and Sexy.
As we mentioned early, our capitalist-driven society can be very… STRESSFUL. A huge focus in our lives is making money, and often just finding and maintaining a job that gives you enough money to pay for your basic needs is a trip!!
So more often than not, stress tends to take a front seat in our lives, even when we’re desperate to kick it to the curb, which is why it’s excellent news that masturbation can give us a helping hand!
That endorphin bump we talked about earlier isn’t just for giving us some good feels — it also helps signal to our brain that we’re safe, okay, and even happy! Our brain responds to this and determines that whatever cause(ed) us stress is over, therefore stopping stress in its tracks — you can learn more about this incredible process in Emily Nagoski’s Come As You Are.
Another great side-effect of the endorphin release associated with sexual pleasure? Pain relief!
From menstrual cramps to migraines, these lovely neurotransmitters can help increase your pain tolerance by 40%, according to this wonderful article by Gabrielle Kassel– another exceptional sex educator & journalist (we love her).
It Helps Take Away the Pressure to Orgasm
One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding sex is that it always needs to end with an orgasm.
Well, we are excited to tell you that that’s NOT TRUE. Here, at Team RW, we have our own definition of what sex is: “A meaningful experience of pleasure.”
Notice we don’t mention orgasm? That’s because we don’t absolutely need an orgasm to reap the benefits of sexual pleasure! Just exploring ourselves and our pleasure is enough.
When we take the time each day to take that “end-goal” out of the equation, we give ourselves the freedom, space, & time to explore what truly brings us pleasure. Then if we get into a partnered experience, we have the mindfulness of that type of pleasure in our back-pocket to be explored with another without feeling shame!
This brings me to my last point– and maybe my most important:
Wipe Away Shame
Sexual shame seems to be ingrained in every aspect of our culture: From whispered lessons about sex that teach the bare minimum to middle schoolers to the criminalization of sex work, we can’t seem to get away from the idea that sex is something to hide, not talk about, and overall feel bad about (particularly if you’re a vulva owner).
Masturbation is even more hush, hush! This is why it’s even more critical that we talk about it, practice it, and share all of the wonderful benefits masturbation can have, like in this article!
It’s also important to note that vulva-owners tend to experience masturbation shame more than penis-owners do. For some reason, while still uncomfy talking about it, our society has deemed it relatively normal for penis-owning individuals, especially as young adults, until they grow up and learn to “control” themselves (I hope you felt my eye-roll there).
Vulva-owners though? There’s a long history of women’s repression, particularly involving sex & sexual rights, that boils down to society still believing women masturbating is either weird or downright wrong. WILD right?
Masturbation, because of all that built-up history, even with all the advances in society, has remained a taboo topic.
The good news? Even you reading this article is starting to break that shame cycle! And adding masturbation into your self-care routine can even help shift that inner shame that we carry around with us every day!
Even if you necessarily feel horny, masturbation is a sweet, kind way to remind yourself that you matter and your pleasure matters– and there is absolutely 0 shame in that!
So what do you say? Ready to kick off adding masturbation into your self-care routine? Maybe with a little something, something for yourself?
Check out our article, The 9 Best Sex Toys for Vulva Owners, for some great recommendations!
Penis-owners, we highly recommend checking out Rachel’s review of the Fleshlight line! Also, this article on the best toys for penis and prostate-owners!
And for our loves that prefer gender-neutral pleasure aids, we love, love, love Cute Little Fuckers — and don’t worry; you’re getting a dedicated article soon, so stay tuned!