Masturbation, once the unspoken act that only a few decades ago was regarded even more shameful than sex itself has never been more necessary than it is currently.

During this time of forced hibernation, if you are fortunate enough to be sharing isolation with a partner, then sexually things can continue pretty much as before. But if you are away from your partner, single and on your own or isolating with family or friends, then for both men and women masturbation will have become a necessary outlet for sexual frustration and probably boredom.

Paradoxically, its is men who have earned the reputation of being sexually voracious and who can’t not think about sex, but when it comes to masturbation, though they may be more frequent, they tend to be less creative than women and do not experiment beyond the one style stroke. Whereas women who may masturbate less frequently ( though recent studies say not the case) have the advantage of using both hands and toys, the latter coming in all shapes sizes and speeds. Although male sex toys have been available for some time, these toys are only now beginning to be used by men. The slow take-up possibly because for a man to use a sex toy at all was an admission of failure to be the sex god he aspired to be.

Covid 19 and Masturbation

In the past three weeks, since the world went into isolation, I have received emails and texts from men and some women, asking about ways to expand their enjoyment of masturbation. It is not surprising that with so many people cooped up in their homes without access to any form of physical touch with another person, self-pleasure has become a daily necessity. Never before in the history of humankind has there been a global restriction on sexual activity like there is now. Even in war, people have sex, often more so as our instinct as a species is when under threat, our sexual drivers increase. So not only is the situation most of us find ourselves in is causing anxiety and frustration we don’t have any outlet other than masturbation. My other observation is that if a society is a sexually frustrated history shows us that often society will revert to aggression as an alternative expression to vent that frustration. So never before has there been a more critical time for everyone to either have plenty of sex with a partner or just wank away. 

Masturbation is out and proud 

Masturbation is the most common sexual activity. Ironically, it is also probably the one people talk about the least. Big people, small people, practically all people masturbate. It is ironic that masturbation, arguably the safest sexual act, has for millennia been thought to lead to horrible physical and mental consequences. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, masturbation has generally been condemned as sinful, mostly due to the mandate to “be fruitful and multiply.” During the Victorian age, masturbation was thought to lead to impaired morals, depression, social failure, epilepsy, tuberculosis, blindness, insanity, sterility, and early death.

Since masturbation was thought to be so dangerous, many “cures” were developed to eliminate its practice. Men of the time were encouraged to wear straight jacket pyjamas or erection alerts to discourage handling of the penis. Some would wear a little suit of armour that would fit over the penis and testicles. Others wore a spermatorrhea ring; these rings fit along the base of the penis with spikes on its inner lining to prevent erection. As a last resort, some chronic masturbators had their foreskin stapled shut, or were castrated. In the nineteenth century, John Kellogg invented cornflakes as one part of a diet that he felt would lessen the sex drive and diminish the practice of masturbation.

Humans didn’t invent masturbation. We get the urge because our ancestors did too, even back to the earliest mammals and reptiles. It’s likely that as soon as animals evolved brain circuitry that made stimulating sexual organs rewarding, individuals started taking the opportunity to reward themselves.

The diversity of animals that have been caught taking a bit of alone time goes far, far beyond dogs humping legs. Primates, Elephants, Walruses, Rodents, Lizards, Turtles and even Penguins are all seen to masturbate

Everyone can benefit from some masturbation tips and guidelines to better master self-love — it’s not like you’re going to learn about this stuff in school. 

Health benefits of masturbation

Not only is it totally natural to masturbate, but it can also help reduce stress, help you sleep better, improve your body image, and more. And as an added bonus, there’s no chance of contracting STIs, unwanted pregnancy, or any of the other risks involved in partnered sex.

While this might not be a straightforward health benefit, masturbation also helps you figure out what you like sexually and what you’re comfortable with. That way, if and when you decide to have partnered sex, you’re better able to communicate what you want and what you don’t — which is an important part of consent.

Health benefits of masturbation for men

It can help lower your prostate cancer risk.

In a recent study men who ejaculated more than 21 times a month reduced their risk of prostate cancer by roughly 33 per cent, compared to guys who only did the deed four to seven times a month

It makes a man’s erection harder.

As men age, they naturally lose muscle tone — even in the penis.

Regular sex or masturbation works out your pelvic floor muscles to prevent erectile issues. The smooth muscle of the penis needs to be enriched with oxygen, which is delivered whenever there’s a rush of blood to your member (i.e., when you get an erection).

It helps you last longer during sex.

Some men can orgasm before they want to simply because they haven’t had enough practice, either with a partner or solo. Regular masturbation before sexual activity with another person can take the intensity off the arousal and so when sex is actually taking place, the arousal and intensity are less intense. And give you more control. Edging yourself to near orgasm then back again and time how long it takes is a good way to practice. If it usually takes two minutes for you to orgasm solo, go for three next time, or count how many strokes you need to get to ejaculation.

It boosts immunity.

Ejaculation increases levels of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone, but in small does it actually helps regulate and maintain your immune system. So masturbation can produce the right environment for a strengthened immune system.

It boosts your mood.

Masturbating releases feel-good neurochemicals like dopamine and oxytocin that is a mood enhancer and increases a sense of wellbeing and activates the reward circuits in your brain. An orgasm is the biggest non-drug blast of dopamine available.

It can help you fall asleep.

Masturbation and having orgasm releases chemicals like prolactin, serotonin, and oxytocin into the brain, all of which have been linked to feelings of happiness and relaxation. So if you find that having difficulty sleeping the either get the imagination going or get some porn and view something erotic to get you going. Breaking the monotony of not sleeping with a short burst of activity plus the release of these chemicals should soon get you back into a deep slumber.

It can increase your lifespan. 

According to a Welsh study of 1000 men over the course of 20 years, the men who had two or more orgasms per week died at half the rate of men who had less than that number of orgasm per month. 

It can improve your skin. 

Orgasm causes increased blood flow to the skin, which makes your blood vessels open up; for some people, this can result in slightly rosy cheeks, or what’s better known as the post-sex glow. The oxytocin that’s released with orgasm can reduce inflammation, making spots and rashes less noticeable. 

It helps you get to know your own body better.

You may believe you are familiar with your body, particularly if you started masturbating at a younger age. But it’s always helpful to try new things and give yourself a refresher course in what your penis likes. 

It improves heart health. 

Contrary to popular belief that rigorous sex can increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke, regular orgasms can actually help protect you against cardiovascular disease. A report from recent studies has found that men who had sex once a month or less were 45% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease.

Men may talk about it more often, but women do it, too.

More than half of women 18-49 masturbate at least once every 3 months, according to a study from The Kinsey Institute, and that’s true for single women and those who are coupled up. Self-pleasure doesn’t have the stigma it once did but myths still affect the way that some women feel about it — and how they do (or don’t) touch themselves.

Some health benfits for women who masturbate

1. It’s good for you.

Masturbating increases blood flow throughout a woman’s body and releases feel-good brain chemicals called endorphins. While men are more likely to talk about blowing off steam by masturbating, research suggests it’s a stress-reliever for both sexes. “It takes your mind off your worries while activating areas of the brain associated with pleasure.

2. It improves your sex life.

Masturbation can make you sexually comfortable and confident. “It puts you in touch with your desires and gives you the chance to get to know your own body. Experimenting with what feels good and makes you respond positively can lead to better sexual experiences, both alone and with a partner. If you have trouble reaching orgasm, it’s a private, stress-free way to try different types of touch and pressure to see what helps you climax.

3. It can ease postmenopause sex problems.

Many women see changes during menopause. Masturbation can help.

The vagina can actually narrow, which can make intercourse and vaginal exams more painful. But masturbation, especially with a water-based lubricant, can help prevent narrowing, boost blood flow, relieve some tissue and moisture problems, and increase sexual desire.

4. It doesn’t have to be quick (or end with an orgasm).

Rushing can make it less enjoyable, and so can focusing too much on orgasm. Give yourself time to touch all parts of your body or try different positions, and don’t feel pressure to climax.

Ten masturbation techniques to enhance your pleasure.

1. Men & Women Find your stroke

Use your hand to find a rhythm you love. Finding your rhythm when you masturbate takes time and practice. Some people enjoy rapid strokes; some enjoy slower strokes and others like a variety. There is no limit to the ways you can use your hand to explore your penis. When in doubt, stay consistent until you reach orgasm.

2. Men & Women – Once you’ve found your stroke, experiment.

Masturbation is not a one-size-fits-all thing, and it’s something you can practice regularly. You may find that a stroke you liked at one point makes way for something else in the future. That’s totally normal. Enjoy some variety in your masturbation, using varied strokes or trying new ones to keep things spicy.

3. Men & Women – Take your time

Masturbation doesn’t need to be this super fast, shameful thing you do in the dark corner of your bedroom. It doesn’t need to be a race to finish if you don’t want it to be. Set some time to actually enjoy masturbating. Don’t rush it. Listen to your body and see what feels good for you. Men do you prefer stimulation at the head of the penis? The base? Everybody is different, and every person enjoys different things. If you learn what you like, you will be more fully equipped for interpersonal sexual experiences down the road.

Lube or Massage Oil? If you cant get lube due to isolation use grapeseed oil from the supermarket

The friction of your hand directly on your penis for a prolonged period of time is not particularly good for you. It can cause some minor desensitization in the penis. Lubrication is important for all sex acts, from masturbation to intercourse.

5. Men – Give your balls some love

You may want to explore your body even more, and that is fantastic. Don’t ignore your balls. They are very sensitive and packed with nerve endings.

Try rubbing them gently with one hand while the other maintains a stroke. You can even stop stroking altogether and just pay close attention to the balls. How much pressure you put on your sack will depend on your individual preference. Try a few different options and see what works for you.

6. Men – Prostate stimulation is definitely an option, too

Masturbating need not be relegated solely to the penis. Your prostate is a gland just inside the anus that can feel great when stimulated. Use lube and try using your fingers or a small butt plug by inserting it into the anus. Be sure you go slowly and relax the anus before insertion. Or invest in some prostate massagers

7. Men & Women – Try different positions

Try out different positions to not only switch things up, but also to enhance your pleasure and find what works best for you. You can stand up, lie down, push your hips forward or elevate them with a pillow — really, the options are endless.

8. Men & Women – Introduce toys 

Adult toys can be a great way to take things to a new level when you masturbate. You can opt for a traditional vibrator, using it to massage your balls or shaft for a new sensation, or you can try a masturbation sleeve for a new sensation (be sure to use a water-based lube with these!). If you’re interested in prostate stimulation, there are anal toys specifically for that purpose, too.

9. Men & Women – Make it a group thing

Whatever sexuality you define yourself as with the internet and webcam, you can invite others to masturbate with you. Joining in with others not only gives you the visual stimulation; it also creates an intimate relationship all be it at a distance. Remember if you do not want your identity show make sure your camera is pointed to the appropriate parts of your anatomy.

10. Men & Women – Remind yourself that masturbation is a healthy form of self-care

Hopefully, you have a supportive community that values sexual health and free expression, but this isn’t the case for most people. We live in a sex-negative culture, one that puts a lot of pressure on people to act in a certain way, without providing information about the significance of sexual health in a person’s life.

Masturbation is a healthy practice, and you should in no way feel ashamed for wanting to engage in it. Enjoy

To view a live demonstration by Mack on how this mens Pulse 3 Solo masturbation toy ca used to give pleasure go to Intimate Tutorials 

Colin Richards is a Sex & Relationship Engineer at Intimacy Matters, and he provides support and advice with sexual performance and fulfilment via one to one appointments, private and group workshops or for those not able to see him in London, webcam and skype sessions Click here to find out more or book a session