Breaking the stigma surrounding masturbation, specifically, was a topic touched upon in the most recent episode of Glowing Live With Latham on Well+Good’s IGTV. In the episode, doula and wellness activist Latham Thomas, founder of Mama Glow, and sex educator Cindy Luquin, MA, CSE, founder of sexual-health education platform Howl at the Womb, discussed why it’s important to do away with the taboos surrounding masturbation and orgasms.
To hear the full discussion, check out the episode of Glowing Live With Latham below:
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“For the longest time—again, this Christian-Catholic guilt that likes to pop its head up once in a while—I used to feel real deep shame about masturbating, about self-pleasure,” says Luquin. “The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized I’m actually a happier person when I make time for that. I’m better at my job [and] I have a better relationship with people.”
This makes sense, because not only can masturbation help you, personally, feel good (and expose you to a great many benefits), but it can also lead to orgasms, which helps reduce stress and releases happy chemicals, like oxytocin and dopamine, say behavioral health scientist Kristen Mark, PhD, and relationship and well-being coach Shula Melamed, MPH. For this reason, we all definitely stand to benefit from incorporating pleasure into our daily self-care practices, especially if they end in an orgasm.
While there hasn’t been a ton of research conducted to analyze the benefits of a daily orgasm, specifically, Dr. Mark says we can draw conclusions based on the overlap between the research that exists about orgasm and satisfaction and the anecdotal upsides of daily orgasms.
Below, learn about three benefits of daily orgasms, according to the experts. (Of course, orgasm alone is not a metric of good sex or successful masturbation, so remember to focus on the pleasure you feel if you’re not reaching the big O.)
3 benefits of daily orgasms
1. Daily orgasms relieve stress by releasing feel-good chemicals, like oxytocin and dopamine
“We know that when you have an orgasm, both oxytocin and dopamine are released, and those hormones are quite powerful,” says Dr. Mark. “That’s part of the reason why having an orgasm decreases stress. Having more of that, and being able to integrate that more into your life is going to be a net benefit,” she says, adding that “being able to facilitate that yourself or with a partner will be beneficial every day.”
Melamed agrees, adding that the endorphins released during a daily orgasm “can be really good because [they are] protective against pain. It's also that rush, that feeling of that stress reduction that comes from releasing.”
2. Having a daily orgasm may increase your sex drive.
“Sexual desire feeds more desire on a day-to-day basis,” says Dr. Mark, pointing to data that her team analyzed where they found that “couples who had sexual desire and engaged in sex on day one were more likely to experience more pleasurable outcomes on day two.”
That’s because she says pleasure and orgasms can have a cumulative effect in terms of desire. “Engaging in sex and allowing [yourself] to get those sexual needs met actually fuels the extent to which you might want sex the next day," Dr. Mark says. "Our experience of orgasm and that pleasurable release that we feel is likely to be driving additional feelings of euphoria and [the] wanting of that feeling again the next day.”
3. Daily orgasms can help facilitate mindfulness.
“Adding [orgasms] to that overall mindfulness and wellness routine can be really helpful,” Melamed says, adding that the event provides an opportunity to be more present and in tune with our bodies. Whether you're with a partner, using a toy, or using your hand, when you think about your orgasm as a way “to commune with your body,” she adds, you’ll “really pay attention to the sensations rather than the performance.”
In fact, not being present is something that can often get in the way of our orgasms. “A lot of times, in order to have an orgasm, there's a bit of surrender, and there's a bit of not watching oneself and not critiquing oneself,” says Melamed. So the mindfulness benefit of daily orgasms is connected to helping us not get in our own way or psych ourselves out when it comes to sexual encounters.
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