5 Ways Masturbating Can Help With Anxiety And Depression, According To An Expert

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Not only is masturbation the safest sex there is, but the benefits of masturbation are endless. Sure, the orgasm that sometimes results from masturbation is fantastic, but the positives don't stop there. Masturbation can be good for you physically, mentally, and emotionally,

"Masturbation is the best research study you can do on yourself," Dr. Uchenna "UC" Ossai, pelvic health physical therapist and sex educator for LifeStyles Condoms, tells Bustle. "It is the best way to not only learn about your body, but to also understand how your pleasure can be cultivated through touch. It is not [a] secret that research has shown that women who masturbate [have] higher levels of self-esteem, positive body and genital image, as well as reporting higher satisfaction in their sex life."

In knowing and understanding how your body and mind works, and the hormones that are released during masturbation, you can have a better grasp on your mental state. Of course, masturbation shouldn't replace therapy or medication, but it's something to consider making a daily habit. Here are five ways it helps.

1. Oxytocin Is Released

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"Masturbation helps to release dopamine and oxytocin, the feel-good chemicals, which would help with symptoms of anxiety or depression," licensed psychologist, Dr. Jennifer B. Rhodes, PsyD, founder of Rapport Relationships, tells Bustle.

So while an apple a day may keep the doctor away, an orgasm a day can help keep your depression and anxiety at bay.

2. It Inspires Mindfulness

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Studies have found that mindfulness isn't just good for our everyday lives, but also great for our sexual health. When we practice being mindful, we're more in touch with our bodies, our breathing, what we eat, how we interact with others, and the space in which we reside.

"Masturbation helps you connect to yourself," Dr. Rhodes says, "and if practiced with a mindful approach, could quiet the mind and help with anxiety."

If you're fully connected and completely aware, you can find peace in places where it may have been difficult to find peace before.

3. It Helps You Re-connect With Your Body

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"Anxiety and depression can also be related to a spiritual disconnection between our mind, body, and soul," Dr. Rhodes says. "Practicing self-love and honoring your body is one way to bring the connection back into alignment."

People who practice self-love are very much into self-care and mindfulness. All these things tie in together to create a greater understanding of one's mind and body. If you take time to practice self-love regularly, and masturbation is absolutely a form of self-love, it can help detangle what's going on in your mind.

4. It Teaches You About Your Body

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"Masturbation helps you learn about your body and your likes/dislikes," Dr. Rhodes says. "Better understanding yourself is the first step to reclaiming your power — which always helps to decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression."

While you may not be able to talk yourself out of an anxiety attack or out of a severe bout of depression, when you reclaim your power by having a deeper understanding of your body, you may be able to handle these things a bit better. You'll realize, even in the throes of them, that they're temporary and will pass.

5. It's Empowering

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While empowerment may not whisk away depression and anxiety, it can give you strength when you least expect it. From the self-love, to the mindfulness, to understanding your body, these all lead to being empowered. Meaning, yes, masturbation is empowering and because of this, you're more likely to be inspired to use that power in other aspects of your life — especially your mental health.

While masturbation shouldn't replace therapy or medication, it can be a healthy addition of your daily routine.