The Ins and Outs: The hidden benefits of masturbation

That late-night rendezvous with a stranger didn’t go quite as planned, did it? It’s too late to bait a new one, and you’re just too fired up to sleep. Sounds like someone has to go home and take care of their own business.

People like to think that it’s their personal dirty little secret, but 91.8 percent of men and 76.8 percent of women aged 20 to 24 admitted to the 2010 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior that they have masturbated at least once in their lifetime.

Why wouldn’t you? The perks of masturbation are endless, starting with zero risk of STDs and pregnancy. The masturbator can get as creative as he or she wants in terms of fantasy, position, routine and masturbatory implements, including a lubed up toilet paper roll or pool floats for the guys and a back massager or a turkey baster for the girls. In a real pinch, pretty much any regular and appropriately-shaped household item will work, in addition to anything that vibrates or grips. It can even be done at any time of the day or night, permitting the roommate is in class, of course.

According to “The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex,” there are numerous health benefits, which alone is a great reason to make it a healthy part of your daily routine of taking care of yourself, pampering and all-around self-loving.

For the ladies, there’s freedom from menstrual cramps with masturbation during menstruation and a decreased likelihood of yeast infections because of the increased blood flow into the pelvis. For the men, there’s a reduced risk of prostate infections and cancer because masturbation exercises and flushes the prostate gland.

Both sexes can look forward to stronger pelvic muscles, which leads to better sex and masturbation in the future, and the obvious relief from stress and tension that comes from getting that perfect, and often much-needed, orgasm. Not to mention the burned calories, released endorphins and the cardiovascular workout – all icing on the cake.

Masturbation can also increase the ability to have orgasms. People can learn how they like to be stimulated sexually so that sex is that much better when it includes a partner, improving overall body image and self-esteem, according to Planned Parenthood.

“It lets you know about your body, and I think that’s the most important part that people don’t think about is that when you masturbate, you’re getting to know your own body and you’re getting to know what you like and you’re exploring different things,” said 21-year-old Lauren Miner, psychology major and sexual health educator at SF State. “It’s that part of learning your identity and getting to know who you are.”

The best news of all: it’s impossible to overdose or overindulge. The more the better, so have at it! Let yourself feel good. Yes, it’s indulgent. Yes, it’s selfish. So what? It’s not for anyone else; it’s for you! Give it to yourself, however you want it. Show yourself how much you care.