Kanika is studying in college. In her biology class, she read that stimulation of the clitoris leads to pleasure. While many of her friends studied and forgot about it, Kanika decided to try it out… and it worked! In fact, it worked wonderfully well! Gradually, she started doing it whenever she felt the urge and it felt blissful!
Kanika masturbates and it is perfectly normal and healthy. Masturbation is the sexual stimulation of one’s own genitals for sexual arousal or other sexual pleasure, usually to the point of orgasm. The stimulation may involve hands, fingers, everyday objects, sex toys or combinations of these. It is frequent and common among both sexes and all ages and for many, it is the first sexual encounter.
Here is What Happens in the Body When You Masturbate
1. The Genital Area: When you start becoming aroused, several physical responses occur, including an increased heart rate, faster breathing, and increased blood flow through the body, including the skin. Muscles contract, and with the increased blood flow, genital organs such as the clitoris get bigger, in a male, the penis is enlarged. In a woman, the vaginal wall becomes more lubricated and the uterus even moves position to create space for penetration.
2. The Brain: It is said that the orgasm happens in the brain and physiology is a small part! The prefrontal cortex of the brain in women appears to be more active during masturbation than sex, which appears to happen when touches are imagined rather than felt. This is seen much more in women. As stimulation continues, the nerves in that area also become more responsive. Touching the erogenous parts of the body initiates the physiological responses described above. If sustained, usually leads to orgasm in most people.
Within the brain there is an increase in hormones, including dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin as you start masturbating. These are ‘feel good’ hormones, which reduce feelings of stress, and increase feelings of bonding between individuals. During masturbation, it is just you!
3. Blood: There is an increase in blood cells that help fight infections. In one small study, sexually active women had higher immunoglobulin G (IgG) at ovulation than sexually abstinent women. IgG is an antibody response and is the most common antibody expressed in blood. It acts directly on pathogens by either paralysing target cells or by immobilising them and marking them for disposal.
Why is it good for Health?
- It’s good for you! Literally! It is FINE to masturbate and release that pent up energy. An excessive of it is not! Read more in the next article. The hormones dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin are released during masturbation. These are ‘feel good’ hormones, which reduce feelings of stress, and increase feelings of bonding between individuals. During masturbation, it makes you feel fulfilled. (Not undermining your partner here but this feeling comes up in many!). A study found a 74.6% increase in pain tolerance with masturbation, and pain detection ability increased by 106.7% due to the release of related hormones.
- It is an exercise since the increased blood flow and muscle contractions during masturbation helps to exercise the pelvic floor effectively.
- Cleaner vagina: Since the secretions from the vagina during and post orgasm keep it clean and at a normal acid-base level, thus decreasing the risk of infections, and the increased lubrication.
- A beautiful fire lights up the brain: The hippocampus, amygdala, cerebellum and hypothalamus combine to get you to your peak. In a female, during masturbation, the brain’s prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain heavily associated with creative thinking turns up the volume. In the case of partner sex, it seemed that certain elements of it are actually turned off, specifically the part that seems responsible for self-control, overtime for you.
- Becoming sexually aware: Masturbation also helps you figure out what you like sexually. Where do you like to be touched, stimulated. This can help you guide your partner if any.
- There are speculations of reduced prostate cancer with frequent ejaculation.
- It might help some men to practice solo and then with a partner. It might help you to understand how long it takes you to orgasm.
Well, coming back to Kanika, she read this article, and had the following questions. And we are here to help her
Kanika: Will my partner know that I masturbate? Is it correct to masturbate even though I have a partner?
Me: Your partner will never know unless you tell and pleasuring yourself is fine! Don’t be guilty, just enjoy!
Kanika: Will I lose my sex drive in the long run?
Me: There is nothing scientific about losing your sex drive because of masturbation. But yes, since you release the energy, many people report that the urge to be physical with the partner reduces. But for many, the physical act is equally important.
Kanika: Is it okay for women to masturbate?
Me: Yes. Yes. Yes.
Kanika: My friend seems to be addicted to masturbation. How do I know if I am addicted? How much masturbation is good or bad?
Me: That’s tricky. Let us look at it in detail.
Stay tuned for the next article!