How People Use Masturbation To Improve Their Health, According To A New Survey

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For all its benefits, talking about masturbation remains a pretty strong taboo. We know masturbation helps relieve stress and helps us sleep, but even if it didn't do all that, it still feels pretty dang good. A new survey shows the many different ways people use masturbation to improve their health, and it couldn't come (ahem) at a better time.

It’s Masturbation May, the month we celebrate getting ourselves off! Started in 1995 by Carol Queen of the San Francisco-based sex toy shop Good Vibrations, Masturbation May is all about breaking down the taboo of self-pleasure. In fact, Queen and her team decided to launch Masturbation May way before the idea of a viral online campaign even existed because U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders lost her job after saying this about masturbation: “I think it is something that is part of human sexuality and a part of something that perhaps should be taught.” Fortunately, in 2019, Americans are more open about masturbation — and its benefits — than ever before.

To investigate how people around the world feel about self-pleasure, the sex toy company TENGA surveyed 10,000 people in nine countries: the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea. I looked specifically at the report for the United States to find out how Americans feel about masturbation and sex toys. How does they help? Are people into them? Here's what the survey found.

1. It's A Form Of Self-Care

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Self care isn’t just about popping rosé and taking bubble baths — not that there’s anything wrong with either of those activities. It’s also about taking care of your sexual needs and 74% of Americans know that masturbation is absolutely a form of #selfcare. In fact, it may be the ultimate!

2. It Can Improve Wellbeing

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You can download a meditation app. You can go to therapy. Or you could rub one out. That’s according to 54% of Americans, who say that masturbating improves mindfulness and their general state of mind.

3. It's Excellent Stress Relief

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While having sex beat out masturbation for the best stress reliever for Americans, masturbation still pulled a very respectable #2. Also important to note that sex and masturbation beat out even sleeping, listening to music, taking a bath, meditating, or yoga for stress relief.

4. It Positively Affects Multiple Aspects Of Life

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And masturbation isn’t only good for sleep. The vast majority of Americans — between 80 and 90% — said that masturbating has a positive effect on mood, health, brain function, sex appeal, self confidence, energy, relationships and married life, and productivity.

Not to say you should cancel your yoga studio membership — because the best life is a balanced life — but who says you can’t up the masturbation frequency while you’re at it?

5. It's One Of The Most Pleasurable Things You Can Do

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While masturbating made it in as the third most pleasurable thing a person can do — losing out to sex at #1 and “being with people you love” at #2 — it was right up there. Adorably, Germans ranked “hugging someone you love” over sex and masturbation. Can we have all of the above?

6. Sex Toys Can Improve All Kinds Of Sex

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Both men and women in this survey said that sex toys improve all aspects of sex — including quality of orgasm, emotional connections with partners, quality of sex, and even their partners’ sexual performance. And that applied for both solo and partnered sex! So grab a vibrator or a masturbation sleeve or a dildo (or all three) and go for it.

7. Masturbation Is Associated With Better Sex

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Slightly more people who masturbate regularly — 43% — said they were satisfied with the quality of their sexual experiences than Americans overall (42%) and people who don’t masturbate regularly (39%). Knowing your own body and how it works is absolutely one of the top ways to enjoy sex. After all, it’s much, much easier to show a partner how you like to be pleased if you know how to do it yourself.