Self care is an important way to relax and take time for yourself, whether that includes a walk in the park, journaling, or a date with Netflix.

Another perfect self care activity is masturbating.

If you need to relax after a long day, recharge, or just make yourself feel amazing, touching yourself is a free and easy way to bliss out. Even though women enjoy and practice masturbating as much as men do, female masturbation is very often left out of sex education. The surrounding stigma makes the subject seem too “taboo” for pop culture, (or even conversations with friends!) resulting in embarrassment or anxiety with women exploring their own bodies.

However, masturbating is the best way to build a strong sexual relationship with yourself and with your partners. Whether you include a vibrator and lube or go solo, making time for your pleasure should be a priority. Self care is about tuning into your body and fulfilling your needs.

Here’s how masturbating goes above and beyond:

1. Improve your health 

Masturbation helps prevent cervical infections and relieve urinary tract infections by stretching the cervix, allowing cervical fluids full of bacteria to get flushed out. Just make sure to use lube instead of saliva to avoid interfering with the natural pH balance of your vagina, which could cause a yeast infection. Masturbating is also associated with improved cardiovascular health and lower risk of type-2 diabetes. The contractions from masturbating strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which support the womb, bladder, and bowels (aka continence and reproductive health). All good reasons to add masturbating to your workout routine.

2. Build sexual confidence 

Spending quality time alone with your body is the best way to get to know your sexuality. Finding out what turns you on and exploring the many different kinds of orgasms you can have helps you have more orgasms more consistently — and who doesn't want that? Masturbation can also be an important tool in aiding recovery from trauma by replacing the memory of negative sexual experiences with positive ones. Sexual empowerment starts with yourself — knowing and being able to articulate what brings you pleasure makes it easier to ask your partner for what you want.

3. Get to know your body

Masturbation is the ultimate form of self love. Building an intimate relationship with your body promotes body mindfulness, making it easier to tune in to your physical needs, sexual or otherwise. Think of it as meditation, but sexier. Loving your body can be hard, but masturbating helps spread some much-needed body positivity by proving that your body can bring itself pleasure. Get busy in front of a mirror and enjoy the view.

4. Chill out

Masturbation is a major stress reliever. When you masturbate, your body floods with endorphins and dopamine (the happy hormones), even without reaching climax. All these relaxing hormones relieve tension in your body, and can even help cure headaches and migraines. You may have heard that sex helps relieve period cramps — so does solo sex. Magic.

Besides providing mood-lifting hormones, masturbating causes extra blood flow to your pelvic areas, relieving painful PMS symptoms like cramping and backaches. Need some extra Z’s? Masturbating is a natural sleep aid and can help prevent insomnia through all that hormonal and tension release.

5. Feel good

Bottom line, masturbating feels amazing. Not only does it improve your mood and relax your body, it’s a great way to show yourself some well-earned TLC. What else can make you feel empowered, sex positive, and body positive, all on your own terms? So whether you are horny, stressed, sleepy, or just plain bored, make a date to take care of yourself.

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