With access to social media and more talks about sex education, women are becoming aware of exploring the wonders of self-exploration. It is safe to say that masturbation, which involves sexual stimulation of one’s sexual organs for self pleasure, is a safe practice. But it is important that you do it right, with safety and hygiene tips in mind.
Overindulging in self pleasure or not following hygiene tips for masturbation can be detrimental for health. However, when done in moderation and control, there can be many physical and mental health benefits of masturbation. Let us tell you all about it and some healthy masturbation tips too!
What is masturbation?
Masturbation involves people touching their own bodies for sexual pleasure. This experience may be different for each person. It can depend on what you personally enjoy.
For some women, touching or rubbing their clitoris may lead to sexual pleasure. For some, using sex toys to penetrate the vagina may do the trick. Men typically rub or stroke the penis to masturbate.
There is a societal stigma about masturbation, but sexual health experts reckon that it is a healthy way to learn about your body and know how it feels good.
What are the health benefits of masturbation?
1. Masturbation is a mood booster
According to clinical psychologist Dr Bhawna Burmi, dopamine and endorphins are released during masturbation, which helps in achieving pleasure. Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter that can help you improve your mood by reducing stress.
2. Helps reduce vaginal dryness
Frequent sexual activity can alleviate vaginal dryness by promoting the release of vaginal discharge, thus maintaining vaginal moisture. Likewise, masturbation can have a similar effect on addressing vaginal dryness by facilitating the release of vaginal lubrication.
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3. Boosts better sleep
Orgasms released during both masturbation and sex cause muscle spasms, as well as increase the heart rate and breathing, which in turn induce a sense of relaxation and help you get better sleep.
4. Improves Immunity
Masturbation stimulates an increase in white blood cell production, enhancing the body’s immunity. This boost in immune cells lowers the risk of infection.
How to masturbate safely
1. Clean your hands properly
Your hands can accumulate various bacteria, virus, dust and dirt. Prior to masturbation, ensure that you clean your hands to prevent the entry of harmful bacteria and germs into the vagina, reducing the risk of infection. Additionally, it’s essential to clean your hands after masturbation as well.
2. Your nails should be short and neat
For many women, hands, and fingers are common tools for masturbation. So, simply washing your hands isn’t sufficient. It is crucial to maintain clean nails as well. While long, beautiful nails are appealing, they can harbor germs. The vaginal skin is delicate, so using long nails during masturbation can lead to potential cuts.
Furthermore, inserting fingers can cause inner skin to peel and heighten the risk of infections and inflammation. Therefore, always keep your hands clean and your nails short to safeguard your vaginal health.
3. Use the right sex toy
If you’re new to masturbation, it’s best to start with your fingers and then gradually incorporate sex toys for added pleasure. However, selecting the right sex toy is crucial. Do some research to make an informed choice, and if needed, consult your gynecologist for guidance.
Keep in mind that materials like latex and plastic in sex toys can easily accumulate dust, dirt, and bacteria. So, it is essential to clean them thoroughly before each use to prevent potential infections. If you use lubricant, clean the toy immediately after use, and ensure it’s properly cleaned before the next use.
4. Choose the right lubricant
Using various lubricants can harm the cell lining of the vagina and rectum, elevating the risk of contracting STIs. Additionally, chemical-rich lubricants can trigger allergic reactions in women. Therefore, it’s crucial to make a wise choice when selecting a lubricant. For a safe option, consider using a household lubricant like coconut oil.
5. Practise breathing and relaxation
Your mental state plays a crucial role in the quality of your masturbation experience. Deep, slow breathing and relaxation techniques can enhance pleasure and mood. Stress and anxiety can hinder your ability to fully enjoy the moment, so take a few moments to center yourself before starting. This can make a profound difference in your mood-enhancing experience.
6. Avoid using fruits and vegetables for masturbation
Some women use fruits and vegetables such as zucchini, cucumber, or bananas for masturbation. If you’re among them, it’s important to stop doing this immediately. Many of these items are treated with pesticides, and simply rinsing them with water isn’t sufficient to eliminate bacteria and germs. This could potentially lead to severe vaginal infections. Therefore, it’s strongly advised to refrain from using them altogether.
7. Don’t forget to urinate after masturbation
Similar to the recommendation of urinating after penetrative sex, it’s advisable to urinate after masturbation as well. This helps expel bacteria and germs from the vagina without them entering the bladder, effectively reducing the risk of infection.
8. Don’t mix vaginal and anal pleasure
During masturbation, when you’re making movements with your vagina, do not try to stimulate the anal area with a sex toy or with your fingers. In such a situation, the risk of UTIs and other infections increases due to the entry of anal bacteria into the vagina.
9. Be more conscious of masturbation during periods
Many women refrain from masturbating during their menstrual periods. Indulging in self pleasure or even sex during periods is normal. In fact, masturbating during periods may give you relief from menstrual pain. However, it’s crucial to maintain proper hygiene during this time to reduce the risk of vaginal infection.
If you use tampons or a menstrual cup, remember to remove them before masturbating with a sex toy as movement can inadvertently push a tampon inside, making it challenging to get it out.