8 Ways Masturbating Improves Your Sex Life

How solo sex makes you a better lover.

Practice makes perfect, so the saying goes. For many of us, practicing giving and receiving pleasure on our own has multiple long-term benefits for both ourselves and our partners.

Not to mention being a lot of fun, of course.

Masturbation brings up complicated or confusing feelings for some. It can be hard to shake shame around sex when we live in a sex-negative society.

However, the truth is masturbation is a completely normal and healthy activity with many upsides for lovers of all gender identities and bodies. It’s also the safest form of sex in many ways.

Masturbation isn’t just natural and safe — it also has many benefits.

Photo by Javon Swaby

Due to cultural, spiritual, and/or religious beliefs, many people struggle with guilt around masturbation. Even people who have worked to embrace sexuality or who live in more sexually liberated places can have a hard time shaking sexual shame.

True sexual liberation is rarely (if ever) complete. Rather, it’s an ongoing journey to find more ways to embrace sex-positivity in our lives and let go of pervasive sexual shame.

Masturbation is one activity we can do all on our own to practice embracing sexuality as a normal part of life. In addition to helping us become more sex-positive, masturbation comes with many benefits — especially when it comes to our sex lives.

If you struggle to feel good about masturbation or are worried about compulsive masturbation, reach out to a sex coach who can help you unpack those feelings. If you’re ready to learn how self-pleasure supports all forms of sex, however, read on.

Here are 8 ways masturbating improves your sex life:

1. You have more sex.

Photo by Godisable Jacob

Masturbation, also called solo sex, is a type of sex. Don’t let jokes about ‘having sex with yourself’ take away from the most accessible sex available to us all!

While we all deserve fulfilling sex lives, no person is obligated to participate in sexual acts with us. When no one is available to help meet your needs, it’s time to learn how to meet your own.

And that’s a good thing; it’s where the fun and exploration start.

2. You learn what turns you on.

You may already know quite a few things that arouse you. If so — that’s great! One wonderful thing about sex, however, is how truly endless the possibilities for desire and satisfaction are.

It’s impossible to try every enjoyable masturbation method and fantasy that has ever existed.

Your experiences, desires, and hopes are uniquely yours, and all play a significant role in what gets you off. Entire forums are dedicated to people sharing and talking about their creative approaches to solo sex.

Take time with yourself to let your mind wander and see what gets you excited. Learning what kicks off your sexual response cycle helps you better know your sexual self. This knowledge comes in handy both for future solo sex as well as when communicating desires with partners.

Extra tips:

  • Think back to experiences that aroused you. What was so arousing about them? Would anything have made them more arousing?
  • Reading or listening to erotica can be a great way to expose yourself to new ideas.
  • If sexual shame overpowers your ability to fantasize, consider seeking out a sex coach, therapist, or sex-positive community support group.

3. It helps you stay in the moment.

Photo by SHVETS production

Believe it or not, your masturbation habits follow you into partnered sex sessions.

If your mental to-do list or worries have ever intruded on your sexytime, solo sex is an excellent way to practice being present with your pleasure.

Get ‘out of your head’ and into your groin — focus on what physically feels good about touching your body. The next time you have partnered sex, those pleasurable memories will help keep your mind focused on what’s happening.

Extra tips:

4. You’ll discover new delights.

If your usual masturbation fantasies start to feel ho-hum, you can explore new ones to spice things up in your solo bedroom activities. Whether you do this mentally or by seeking out porn or erotica, fresh and exciting ways to get off with partners will certainly come up.

Most people who watch porn have stumbled across new ideas they hadn’t previously known were possible.

And while not every porn video will turn every person on, there’s a good chance there’s something out there that’ll get your sensual gears turning.

If porn feels like too much, erotica is a great option. Share your most exciting findings with a partner, or keep them to yourself as a sexy secret.

Extra tips:

  • Search for porn sites using an incognito browser window. This will keep the sites from popping up in your search history.
  • Remember that porn is often created by paid actors and professional camera crews. Don’t expect yourself or your partners to look like everyone you see on-screen, or to be able to do what they do.
  • Your local library probably has some erotic books you can check out if you’re on a budget. They may even have audio erotica on an app like Libby or Hoopla.

5. You can test out toys.

Photo by cottonbro

Speaking of spicing things up for yourself, many regular masturbators take it upon themselves to shop for toys to meet their pleasure needs. For many, this results in finding a toy that does things just right.

Adding a toy and its stimulation to partnered sex can add a whole new level of eroticism to your encounters.

If you prefer to keep your personal toy private, take a trip to a sex toy store or visit a website with one or more of your partners. That way, you can select a separate toy everyone’s excited to use together.

Sex toy stores have come a long way from their seedy history. If the idea of shopping in person still worries you, online shopping is a fairly safe way to browse and explore new ways to stimulate your body and embrace sensuality.

Extra tips:

  • Large toy collections can sometimes be overwhelming. Try searching for women-owned boutique shops in your area and visit in person or online. These collections are often smaller and less intimidating.
  • To double down on the above point: shop local. Your local sex toy sellers are likely also educators providing a necessary sex-positive service to your community.
  • These days, plenty of options exist for people of all gender identities and anatomies — don’t be shy to ask about which toys are designed for you.

6. It allows you to practice orgasm control.

Orgasm control, or edging, is the practice of stopping sexual stimulation before you climax. Sound undesirable? Wait until you hear about the benefits.

People who practice edging report that stopping stimulation before orgasm creates a sense of having an orgasm ‘on hold’. This pre-orgasm sensation can be extremely erotic.

Many people will repeatedly approach and then back away from their orgasmic threshold to ‘build up’ bigger orgasmic potential. When they finally do stimulate themselves all the way to orgasm — watch out!

Orgasm control can lead to very powerful orgasms. And while orgasms are not the end-all, be-all of pleasure, they can certainly be helpful.

Edging also helps gain more control over when they orgasm with partners. You can learn to delay or speed up when you climax with just a little practice.

But that’s not the only way masturbation helps with orgasms…

7. Delayed orgasm for penis-owners.

Photo by RP Singh

For those struggling with early ejaculation, masturbation is an effective proactive treatment.

Simply masturbate to orgasm in the hours before an expected or potential sexual encounter. The release will both physically and psychologically put your body into what is called the refractory period.

Also known as the ‘resolution stage’ of the human sexual cycle, the refractory period is a time after climax during which a person is unable to become aroused again.

For some people, this period is longer or shorter than others — that’s totally normal.

It may take a few tries to figure out your refractory period and the best time to engage in pre-coital masturbation. With practice, though, you’re sure to see benefits.

Extra Tips:

  • If you’re struggling with delayed ejaculation, loss of sensitivity, or anorgasmia, taking a break from masturbation or changing the way you perform solo sex can help.
  • As penis-holders get older, masturbating before sex may make it more difficult to get and stay erect, @dieppe notes on Twitter. (Thanks for the insight, Dieppe!)

8. More enjoyable sex for vulva-owners.

Two studies have connected vibrator use among women to an increase in desire, arousal, and overall sexual function. Participants in the study also reported increased lubrication.

All of these things can combine to produce two wonderful outcomes: better sex and a much higher potential for orgasm.

The more you play with yourself, the more familiar your body becomes with enjoying pleasure.

Extra tips:

  • Vulva-owners can have many different kinds of orgasms, but clitoral orgasms seem to be the most achievable one for many. Read up on them if you’re having trouble orgasming.
  • Many people with vulvas require just the right conditions to experience arousal, desire, and orgasm. Do what you can to create a relaxed and luxurious atmosphere, and try not to pressure yourself to climax. Enjoy the journey without stressing about the destination.
  • Share your masturbation methods with partners! Once they know how to get you off, sex will become much more fun.

Sex and Masturbation Go Hand in Hand

Whether you’re single or partnered, it’s clear that the benefits of masturbation apply to everyone who cares to try it. In addition to improving your sex life, masturbation has also been shown to relieve stress and improve sleep.

So, for the sake of self-care and pleasure, feel free to love on yourself as you please. I’ll be here cheering you on.

Need more personalized help with masturbation or your sex life? Check out my classes or schedule a private session to talk about your needs.

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Published by Shannon Burton

Sex educator and writer by day, poet and flash fiction author by night, I occasionally manage to get out of the house to enjoy New Orleans as it's meant to be.

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