Image: Corbis

Even in the 21st century, female masturbation is still a (pardon the pun) touchy subject, unlike its male counterpart. Not a lot is said about it and women generally flush with embarrassment when asked about it. The more women realise that it’s a normal and, in fact, healthy experience, the more they’ll begin to enjoy it. While sex with a partner is generally satisfying and pleasurable, you’ll be surprised by the physical and mental health benefits of masturbation. Here are 10 of them.

Let’s Talk About Stress
It’s commonly acknowledged that sex helps to reduce stress and the same can be said about masturbation. It’s a bit of ‘me time’ where you enjoy your own company and forget about all of life’s stresses so why wouldn’t it make you feel more relaxed? Think of it as getting a massage or doing yoga…you tune out to your surroundings and simply relax. And, because you’re the only one involved in the act, there is no pressure or rush to get anywhere – if you even want to get there. 

Goodnight, Sweetheart
If you have problems falling asleep, masturbation is a great, natural sleep aid. It’s a healthy way to get to sleep, as opposed to using any kind of prescription drugs. This is because the ‘feel good’ hormone, dopamine, is released in anticipation of a sexual climax, after which oxytocin is released, which calms you, along with the endorphins that help to lull you to sleep.

Relationship Enhancer
If you’re in a relationship and think that you shouldn’t be masturbating because you’re already having sex, you’re wrong. Not only does masturbation add to your overall sexual satisfaction, it also helps you to better communicate your sexual needs to your partner. Once you know exactly what turns you on – literally – it will improve your sexual escapades with your man too. 

Feel That Body
Masturbation is not just about sexual pleasure, it also helps you to explore your body and appreciate what you have. You’ll feel more comfortable about your body and, thus, improve your body image which, in itself, leads to a whole other list of positive connotations, such as an increase in self-esteem.

Help Your Heart
Several studies have been conducted on the connection between masturbation and heart health and the results are promising. Female masturbation is good for heart health and also reduces the risk of developing type-2 diabetes. In general, women who have more or regular orgasms are more resistant to coronary heart disease and have a lower chance of developing type-2 diabetes, so the more you climax, the more your heart will thank you.

Work That Cervix
Masturbation provides relief for women who suffer from urinary tract infections (UTIs) as it lubricates the vagina and flushes out bacteria from your cervix, through the process of ‘tenting’, or the opening of the cervix, which happens when you’re aroused. Clearing out bacteria from that area is healthy and could also precent cervical infections. 

In A (Better) Mood
The process of masturbation increases blood flow throughout your body and also releases endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals that make you, well, feel good. As a result, your mood is improved and these endorphins in your bloodstream also help to prevent depression in the long run. 

Get More Immune
Masturbation results in an increase in cortisol levels, which improves your immune system. This means that it indirectly lowers your chance of getting pesky colds which, face it, nobody enjoys. 

Build Those Muscles
Having an orgasm is a great work out for your pelvic floor muscles. The act itself lifts your uterus and contracts, which results in the strengthening of that whole area. Stronger pelvic floor muscles also leads to better sexual satisfaction so don’t just stop at those recommended exercises to strengthen them, add some DIY action into your schedule too.

Come Again?
Two words – multiple orgasms. That’s got to make ANY woman feel good!