Ah, another new year. A time to set goals and make resolutions for all the great things you’re going to accomplish in the year to come. We all know the usual – lose weight, exercise more, spend less money on junk, etc. If you’re bored with those, however, I’m here to offer you what may be a novel suggestion: Make your sexual pleasure a priority. We promise you won’t regret making this one, and you certainly won’t want to abandon it early! Read on to learn the how and the why.
Whether achieved through partnered sex or self-stimulation, sexual pleasure is an important and necessary part of our overall well-being. It fulfills those carnal urges and very human needs that can only be calmed when desire is met with satisfaction. Masturbation and sex can even have mental and physical health benefits, especially when you engage with pleasure regularly.
We know you’re busy and life is crazy, but promising you’ll slow down often enough to achieve sexual pleasure is an important goal to set this year. While it may not be a new year’s resolution you want to discuss among polite society, there’s nothing wrong with putting YOU on your to-do list. Here are some reasons to make time for pleasure every week:
You’ll get to know your body better.
The first step to starting a new self-pleasure routine is understanding your anatomy. Regardless of sex, most folks could benefit from sitting down in front of a mirror, with a clearly labeled diagram of your genitals, and getting to know your bits and pieces…and if you have a partner of the opposite sex, you should get to know theirs, too!
Once you know where your genitals are and what they’re called, you can begin to physically explore them more easily, with fingers or toys, and you can learn to guide a partner to do the same. Self-exploration and self-pleasure is an important way to learn about yourself and what feels good. Once you zero in on what feels the best, you’ll always know exactly how to bring yourself to orgasm any time you need a quick pleasure fix.
You’ll get to know yourself better.
Getting intimate with yourself regularly includes the emotional aspect. The more you prioritize your pleasure, the more you’ll learn about yourself. What gets you in the mood or turns you off, what you enjoy, what your boundaries in the bedroom may be, and how often you require sexual gratification are just some of the many things that will come up in a self-pleasure routine.
You may even find yourself getting more comfortable with talking about pleasure, so you can discuss things with your partner or BFF and continue to learn more from others. If you can develop a sex-positive attitude and working to erase the stigmas surrounding these topics, you’ll have more avenues to information as you become more open to talking about sex and self-pleasure.
There are plenty of reasons that some people may NOT engage in sexual activity or even identify as sexual beings. All too often, past sexual trauma or a negative view of/relationship with sex or their body is one of them. If you’re coping with any of those challenges, adding some regular sexual exploration time to your ongoing therapy routine can be a powerful way to heal and take back your sexual power, if that’s something you would like to do. Take it slow and pay attention to what may trigger you so you can avoid that, but also what helps you feel good so you can revisit that.
You’ll feel better.
Enjoying regular sexual pleasure, whether on your own or with a partner, has an important role in improving your mental and physical health. We discussed it more when talking about ways your body lets you know it’s thankful for sex, but for a quick rundown, experiencing regular sexual pleasure can:
- Lower your blood pressure.
- Reduce stress.
- Provide natural pain relief, especially during your period.
- Improve the quality of your sleep.
- Keep your libido steady.
- Enhance your orgasms and the satisfaction felt from them.
- Boost your mental and emotional well-being and helps stave off depression and anxiety.
You’ll get to know your partner better.
Sex with a partner has all the same above (and below) benefits of masturbation, in addition to the following:
- Increased closeness and emotional intimacy with your partner.
- A stronger immune system.
- Decreased depression and anxiety, especially as you form a secure bond with your partner.
- Increased libido (so you’ll want each other more often).
Getting to know how your partner experiences pleasure and how you can turn them on and bring them to orgasm is an important benefit of regular sex and healthy communication about sex, too.
Even if your partnered sex doesn’t always end in orgasm, or doesn’t involve sexual intercourse at all, any regular close, physical intimacy such as oral or anal sex, caressing and cuddling, or making out with your lover can help produce these same physiological benefits.
Sex and masturbation will be better.
This may seem intuitive, but a lot of people don’t know that the more often you orgasm, the more easily you’ll be able to orgasm in the future. Some women may have a hard time reaching orgasm, period; there are easily many women in their 20s and 30s who have never experienced a proper orgasm. By learning more about your body through self-pleasure, many women can learn exactly what does it for them so they can do it again in the future, or guide a partner to do the same. When you regularly engage in masturbation or sex, your brain will start to pick up on those signals that pleasure is coming. It will activate all the important neurotransmitters and hormones and will get your body ready for orgasm, so it will be easier to achieve every time!
Enjoying regular sex, solo or partnered, also serves as a workout for those pelvic floor muscles. A good orgasm provides even more strengthening & conditioning to those muscles than regular kegel exercises will. While a strong pelvic floor is important for physical reasons like preventing urinary incontinence in older age, it’s important for great sex, too. Strong pelvic floor muscles will help make sex feel better for you and your partner, as you can squeeze your vaginal walls tightly around a penis or a toy to bring it in for closer sensation, or activate those muscles to “pulse” your way through an intense O.