For long, masturbation has been perceived as a shameful act that needs to be hidden or punished. The strong religious roots in the Latin American culture has led the vast majority of the Latino population to believe that “masturbation constitutes a grave moral disorder,” since it represents the “deliberate use of the sexual faculty outside of marriage,” according to the Religious Institute.
This is particularly true when it comes to women.
However, the act of touching one’s genitals for pleasure is something even small babies do. It’s a natural and normal part of a healthy sexual development. It should not be something that causes embarrassment or shame.
Both men and women practice masturbation as a natural response to their body’s desire to feel pleasure. Is masturbation really wrong? According to the doctors, it is not only a safe way to get sexual pleasure but it also offers many health benefits.
1. Masturbation helps to promote healthy blood flow to the genitals. Improving circulation to this area contributes to the body’s response to sexual stimulation, which leads to better sex and stronger orgasms.
2. For women, it can help prevent cervical infections and urinary track infections through the process of “tenting,” or the opening of the cervix that occurs as part of the arousal process. As the cervix stretches, fluid circulation increases, allowing for cervical fluids full of bacteria to be flushed out of the body.
3. In the case of men, masturbation reduces the risk of prostate cancer, by flushing out potential cancer-causing agents.
4. Masturbation acts as a stress reliever. Concentrating on only one thought (self pleasuring) helps the mind relax, while the production of dopamine, a chemical release by the brain that gives the sense of pleasure, induces the body into a calm state.
5. Self-pleasuring decreases the chances of developing depression by elevating the amount of endorphins in the bloodstream. Endorphins also serve as natural painkillers.
6. Just as people tend to fall asleep easier and be more relaxed after sex, masturbation achieves the same result of lowering blood pressure and releasing endorphins, which serves as an effective “sleeping pill.”
7. As an added bonus, according to Dr.Vanessa Cullins, Vice President of External Medical Affairs at Planned Parenthood of America, “masturbation is a great way to learn what you like and don’t like sexually without the risks (pregnancy or STDs.) When you decide to have sex with someone, knowing how you like to be touched can greatly increase your sexual experience with your partner.”
Trilce Ortiz is a sexpert and love advisor. Follow her on twitter @trilceo.