At Good Vibes we respect masturbation as a pleasurable, accessible, fundamental aspect of our sexuality. But it can be beneficial in so many other ways too! Let’s dive in and explore, just as we encourage you to do if you choose to masturbate.

Why masturbation feels good

The short answer to “Why does it feel awesome to touch this part of my body in particular” is: because nerves! Although it’s worth a reminder that many parts of the body can generate erotic feelings for you, be eroticized by stimulation you like, and even result in orgasmic experiences for some, but the so-called genitals (we like to call them “pleasure parts!”) are most peoples’ true hot spot for sexual sensation. Everything in that high-powered nether region is well-served by nerves that carry sensations up the spinal cord to the brain, which processes the feelings of pleasure (as well as the “don’t touch that right now, not into it” responses too). 

The most sensitive parts for most are the clitoris and penile head (aka corona)—these develop from the same tissue and their neurology functions in comparable ways. The anus is very sensitive too, for people who enjoy that type of stimulation, and the prostate and g-spot (aka “prostata femina” or paraurethral sponge) are also erotically sensitive for many people. The area between the anus and the penis/testicles or vagina is sensitive—it’s all pretty delightfully sensitive! Explore and learn what you most enjoy!

Good Vibes: Incredible Health Benefits to MasturbationWhat are the physical health benefits of masturbation?

We’ve been telling you for years—it’s good for you! But don't just take our word for it, here's the details:

Relaxation of the body through orgasm

High arousal and orgasm are delicious sensations on their own, but they are also often accompanied by increasing muscular tension (it’s where toe-curling and sheet-clutching come from). Orgasm releases this built-up tension and can result in a wave of relaxation. For some, it’s enough to help them get to sleep.  

Release sexual tension

The other kind of relaxation orgasm can provide is relief of built-up sexual tension. This release can happen during partner sex too, but isn’t it awesome that if we’re aware of sexual tension, masturbation helps us handle it? (Er, literally.) 

Relieve menstrual cramps

Masturbation, especially to the point of orgasm, can be a great pain reliever. It’s especially well-known as a source of relief for menstrual cramping. The overall pain-relieving effects of orgasm can be explained by chemistry: Heightened levels of endorphins (our body’s own pain-relieving agents) circulate through our systems, as do hormones like dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. These are all helpful when various types of pain are bothering you, including menstrual cramps. But the way blood flow supports arousal and orgasm makes masturbation extra-good for cramp relief: arousal is associated with blood flowing into the pelvis and genitals (this blood flow is the source of penile and clitoral erection, and other signs of turn-on). The extra blood flow of arousal plus the pelvic floor and uterine contractions of orgasm (only one of the many functions of oxytocin) can help relax the uterus when it’s all cramped up. One study suggested it was as helpful as taking medication! 

Strengthen muscle tone in your pelvic region.

Stronger pelvic floor muscles can result in stronger orgasms (because part of the fantastic sensation of an orgasm is the rhythmic pulsing that results—stronger muscles pulse harder). These muscles are an extremely important part of sexual functioning in other ways too—weaker muscles impact sensation, and too-tense muscles can cause pain with penetration and sometimes even pain with orgasm. Muscle tone is important everywhere in your body—and definitely including your pelvic floor and genitals!

Good Vibes: Incredible Health Benefits to MasturbationWhat are the mental benefits of masturbation?

Wellbeing isn’t just about pain relief or the ability to fall asleep. Your mental state is intimately linked up too (and of course the brain and body are one amazing system). So let’s see what masturbation can do for your mind! 

Boosts your mood

Pleasure of any kind can give us a lift. But that’s especially true of masturbation, with the uniquely pleasurable experiences of arousal and orgasm (and the neurotransmitters that ride along, including those that affect the brain’s reward center and other sites of mood and emotion).

Release of calming hormones

The hormone flood we mentioned above includes neurotransmitters with specific effects on the brain. Dopamine is a feel-good chemical. Oxytocin, sometimes called the “love hormone,” affects us whether or not there’s someone going through the sexual excitation cycle with us. Love the one you’re with, right? And serotonin in particular has relaxing properties. These chemicals all stand up to stress hormones like cortisol so it doesn’t have the upper hand. Orgasm is a top-notch activity for stress release—calm feelings and better sleep are right around the corner.

Good Vibes: Incredible Health Benefits to MasturbationSexual health benefits of masturbation

There are so many ways to improve your sex life through solo play—and remember, it’s safer sex! 

Get to know your body and what sensations you enjoy

It’s a myth that there’s one “normal” way to experience sexual excitement and arousal. Our bodies and preferences are different, and there’s a wide range of perfectly natural ways we might best respond sexually. That means it’s a huge advantage to learn what you like! Masturbation is a perfect context for this kind of get-to-know-yourself exploration. During solo play you can take your time; your fantasies are your own; you can minimize distractions; and you can follow your arousal where it takes you. Partner sex is awesome but it can be hard for people who don’t already know what they respond to, much less communicate about it—do the homework during masturbation, as so many do. Or simply make solo pleasure the focus of your sex life! 

Avoid unwanted pregnancy and STIs

Solo sex is safer sex. Unless you are using dangerous items as toys (nothing sharp, scratchy, breakable, or toys that have not been cleaned), you are in good hands with yourself! In addition to all the benefits we’ve mentioned, there is no risk of pregnancy or disease transmission during masturbation. Choose a body-friendly lubricant and you’re good to go!

Good Vibes: Incredible Health Benefits to MasturbationWhy people fear health disadvantages

Despite all the beneficial aspects of fingering, stroking, and other types of self-pleasuring, many people have fears about masturbation. Most of these are simply myths, or are associated with messages learned before people had access to sex-positive (or even scientific) information. To help you access the powers of solo play for your wellbeing, we have to debunk these ideas. Here we go!

Religious rhetoric

Sexual behavior is often monitored in religious circles—even though many religions and spiritual practices are sex-positive or neutral about sex (including orientation, diverse ways to experience pleasure, and of course masturbation). The idea that there is a narrow “moral” path that sexual desire and experience must follow causes real shame and grief for many. It can be hard on a person’s self-esteem, sense of belonging, and ability to communicate and grow even in an “acceptable” context like a heterosexual marriage. 

Anyone who has been impacted by messages like this should know that there are other and much more accepting paths that many religious denominations or teaching traditions follow. 


Shame is not just an effect of an anti-masturbation religious upbringing, because there is a sense of shame or stigma that many have learned outside of a faith context. This can be linked to notions that masturbation is a problem because all sex should happen within a relationship; that it is somehow immature; that it means you’re not strong enough to resist. All of this is sex-negative opinion—NOT fact. Anti-masturbation rhetoric preys on—and encourages—shame. Any such ideology isn’t there for your best interests. 

Good Vibes: Incredible Health Benefits to MasturbationTrauma disconnecting people from their bodies

It is certainly true that many people have had a hard time with sex and fear sexual touch, arousal, or situations that include them. Too many people have not only been shamed, but impacted by nonconsensual trauma. It can be hard to reconnect with your body in a situation like this—but masturbation is among the safest contexts to do this. In masturbation, you’re in control and can focus on good feelings and immediately stop if you get overwhelmed. Masturbation is not your only friend if trauma has impacted your life; sex therapists are trained to help. Look for trauma-informed and sex-positive professionals to help as you heal the damage. Or start with Staci Haines’ excellent book Healing Sex.

Belief that masturbation is addictive

Sex is not addictive—it is a natural function, and sexual interest and arousal can be enhancers to your overall wellbeing. But many people believe that sex addiction is a thing, and may even state that the desire to masturbate is a symptom of it. If you are able to include masturbation in a lifestyle where you’re keeping your commitments, you’re on the right track! If you do feel you are compulsive and don’t have enough control over your solo sex experience—or anything else you feel a lack of control over—therapists are standing by to help. You can find support that doesn’t negate your own sexuality.

Belief that it impairs pleasure with partnered sex

We hear customers expressing this fear so often: that masturbation “ruins” people for partnered pleasures! When we ask these worried people whether they were having good sex and orgasms before, but toy use or other masturbation changed that, the answer is no. So please allow us to reassure you: The more you know about your own sexual interests and responses, the more pleasure you can have with a partner! The keys are communication, exploration, and choosing a partner who respects your experience and listens to you. 

And by the way, don’t forget that your partnered play can include mutual masturbation! It’s a fantastic way to share pleasure, stay safe, and teach each other more about what you both like. 

Good Vibes: Incredible Health Benefits to MasturbationHow to access these physical and mental health benefits

Learn about sex and pleasure in all the ways you feel comfortable, and explore! Here are some elements that might improve your solo experience

Clean your room and set the scene for relaxation with candles

Sure, you can masturbate in a cluttered hovel! But exploring the lovely sensations of pleasure in a pleasant, beautifully-scented room is much nicer, and sends yourself the message that you deserve this kind of environment. Studies have shown that clutter is a stress trigger for many. We don’t know what Marie Kondo would say about this, but she IS all about sparking joy! Plus, you can multi-task by lighting a candle that doubles as massage oil or a kinky BDSM toy - yes, please!

Have a bath or shower first

Getting clean is another way to self-signal that you’re doing something special. But there’s another plus too: It’s relaxing! And a comfortable, relaxed state is a great place to start exploring pleasure. You can either freshen up before your solo play, or dive in then and there with some shower-friendly waterproof toys.

Set your phone on airplane mode

Or leave it in the other room! Don’t let your boss, your mom or a bill collector harsh the pleasure-filled vibe you are creating. If you’re using your phone to enjoy a little porn, fine, but at least turn off the ringer!

Take your time, there’s no rush

So many people rush through masturbation without ever understanding that they could be reaping even more mood, pleasure and well-being benefits if they slowed down. The longer you extend your state of arousal, the more powerful an orgasm you may be building toward. Don’t leave all those neurotransmitters on the table by speeding through the experience!

Good Vibes: Incredible Health Benefits to MasturbationTry different toys to experiment with varied sensations

Sex toys are not a requirement for masturbation—but they are a terrific category of enhancers, allowing you to explore self-stimulation in many ways you wouldn’t easily (or at all) be able to do without them. Strokers and sleeves are great for people with penises; vibration is an optimal kind of sensation for many people with vulvas, but is a fantastic type of stimulation for the penile corona too. Anyone who enjoys penetration can enjoy a dildo, butt plug, or anal-safe vibe. Some people like to include kink play toys too! 

Toy play lets you experience multiple types of sensation—but is also an ideal way to explore a particular toy to see if it’s something you might want to share with partners. All kinds of masturbation are great for sensation’s and pleasure’s sake and for gathering intel useful for other aspects of your sex life as well.

Turn it into a mutual masturbation session to spice things up a little.

We’ve heard some people say that it feels a little lonely to masturbate. Awww! Use it for a self-love session! But another option is to invite someone to masturbate with you. Most people probably never experience this, but it can be super-sexy and help you expand your ideas about what your sex life can look like. Hot, informative, and safe—love it!

Try lube

Many people start fooling around with their pleasure parts without even knowing there’s such a thing as lube. And a hand on a sensitive body part can be delightful! But seriously, check out how it feels with lubrication adding slipperiness and extra sensation. If it’s too intense at first, slow way down. Lube is the only sex toy some people ever use—it’s a fantastic addition to your solo sex game!