Sex

All The Perks Of Masturbating Before Bed

Experts and science say nighttime could be the right time for pleasure.

Does masturbating before bed make you tired? Here's why you should consider it.
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By Laken Howard and Bustle Editors
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Sometimes, the stars align perfectly and something you love to do winds up being good for you, too. For many, masturbation is one of those activities, boasting tons of benefits that range from sleeping better to improving your awareness of your own sexual desires. As psychologist and sex therapist Janet Brito previously explained to Bustle, "For those who may have a tendency to prioritize other people’s needs, feel unworthy, or have hang ups about experiencing self-pleasure, masturbation is a great start to reclaim their sexuality on their own terms."

And while when you choose to masturbate is totally a matter of personal preference, as sex therapist Vanessa Marin explains, there are some specific benefits to masturbating at night, like helping you relax.

So even if you're typically a morning orgasm kind of person, it might be worth giving a nighttime routine a try to reap some of these benefits.

1. Masturbating Before Bed Can Help You Sleep

As Marin explains, the main reason why masturbating might make you tired or why it may help you sleep is a “straight up neurochemical thing.” One study published in Frontiers in Public Health, citing existing literature, explains that the release of oxytocin and prolactin following sexual activity are some of the factors behind improved sleep. And while you might be concerned that you won’t get those sleep-inducing effects without the physical exertion involved in partnered sexual activity, there’s hope. The same study found that masturbation alone was enough to improve reported sleep quality.

Even if you don’t orgasm, masturbating without a climax could still help you nod off. “For some people, it can lead to a general sense of relaxation, even if they haven't had an orgasm, or if their orgasm hasn't brought that sense of relief or release with it,” Marin adds. Basically, masturbation can make you tired with or without an orgasm.

2. Masturbating Can Aid Stress Relief and Relaxation

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Another brain chemistry benefit of masturbating is the inhibition of cortisol, the chemical associated with stress. Naturally, if you’re trying to wind down for the night, stress typically isn’t super helpful when it comes to relaxing. But there’s more than just chemicals at play. “For some people, masturbation can feel very transactional, like, ‘I just want to have my orgasm, get it over with, get that sense of release, or go to bed,’” Marin explains. “But I usually recommend that people, at least some of the time, try to approach masturbation by giving themselves more time to really focus on exploring their bodies — making it feel like a form of self care,” she adds.

Basically, rushing through masturbation to get to an orgasm may not be as beneficial as it could be if your aim is for evening relaxation. “If you do take a little bit of time to explore your own body, to see what feels good today, it can be a really nice ritual for bringing you back home into your body, reconnecting with yourself, and can be meditative in some senses. All of that could really contribute to a sense of relaxation,” she adds.

3. Masturbating Before Bed Could Be More Practical

From a logistics standpoint, masturbating before bed might be your best bet. By the time you’re turning down the sheets, there are no meetings to be late to and, likely, no tasks urgently requiring your attention. “You might have a little bit more privacy if the kids are in bed or roommates are asleep,” Marin explains. This sense of privacy could help your mind feel a bit more clear, she says, and perhaps make it less likely that you’ll feel rushed.

But it’s important to keep in mind that when it comes to masturbation, nighttime might also be a double-edged sword. Marin cautions that some people might start to feel anxious about cutting into their sleep time. You might start watching the clock, worrying that each extra minute you spend on yourself is one less minute you get to sleep. Knowing yourself and what your unique concerns are will help in discovering the best moments for intimacy.

4. Your Sex Drive Might Be Higher At Night

“Some people feel like they have a higher sex drive at night,” Marin explains. “So if you're just feeling more desire to, that's always a great time to do it. That's a very personal thing; sometimes some people have higher sex drive in the morning, but a lot of people have higher sex drives at night,” she adds.

One study based out of Poland found that the female-identifying subjects felt the strongest sexual desire in the evening, from 6 P.M. to midnight. So if you’re finding nighttime tends to be your peak horny hours, just going with it might be the key to unlocking a slew of other evening masturbation benefits.

5. Masturbating At Night Might Help With Body Self-Consciousness

As Marin explains, many people struggle with their body image when they masturbate. If that’s you, blaring sunlight, reflective mirrors, and other visual cues that might be present during daytime could steal focus to those anxious thoughts about your body at the exact moment you want to be focused on making yourself feel good. “For some people having that cloak of darkness can make it feel like a more enjoyable experience for them,” she adds. You want to set yourself up for a positive experience, and altering the time of day you masturbate might be one way to achieve that.

And if you’re someone struggling with body image, there are lots of little ways to be gentler with yourself.

Time of day aside, one of the most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to masturbating, Marin underscores, is that you do what feels right for you.

Studies:

Lastella, Michele et al. “Sex and Sleep: Perceptions of Sex as a Sleep Promoting Behavior in the General Adult Population.” Frontiers in public health vol. 7 33. 4 Mar. 2019, doi:10.3389/fpubh.2019.00033

Konrad S. Jankowski, Juan Francisco Díaz-Morales & Christoph Randler (2014) Chronotype, gender, and time for sex, Chronobiology International, 31:8, 911-916, DOI: 10.3109/07420528.2014.925470

Sources:

Janet Brito, PhD. PSY, LCSW, CS

Vanessa Marin, sex therapist

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