Masturbation. Let’s just get that word out in the open from the get-go. We all do it, or at least feel the urge to do it at some point, and while men may brag about how many they can knock out in one day, there’s no denying that a stigma still exists when it comes to female masturbation.
So let’s get one thing straight; there’s nothing wrong or dirty about it. And aside from making you feel pretty damn good in the moment and beyond, masturbating can actually come with some incredible mental health benefits and actually improve your mental wellbeing. Eleanor McKenzie, editor-in-chief of erotica subscription service Lady Victoria Howard explains exactly why masturbation is good for your body and your mind.
With most of the world coming out of lockdown only just now, it’s fair to say that we need a little self-love more than ever. Social distancing is awkward for all of us. No kisses, hugs, or even shaking hands is contrary to our norms of politeness as well as ways of showing affection and warmth.
A lack of human touch definitely affects our emotional and mental health. Those people who were fortunate enough to have partners, children or pets with them throughout lockdown have not missed out on touch in the same way as those who live alone.
Nobody started lockdown thinking their mental health might be affected by lack of physical contact; it’s something that creeps up on them and that makes it more dangerous for the most vulnerable in mental health terms.
So let’s take a look at why masturbating should be as part of your daily routine as taking a vitamin or brushing your teeth. Just maybe not at the same time.
How we feel is all controlled by hormones in our brains, and when there’s an imbalance of those hormones our mood can swing wildly from soaring on cloud nine to the depths of depression. Masturbating helps to stimulate and release the very best of these hormones. Dopamine is responsible for making you feel good and put you in a better mood, and oxytocin (the ‘love’ hormone) helps to combat cortisol (the stress hormone).
So grab your favourite toy or lube up your fingers, and get those hormones swimming.
Dr Earim, medical director of wellness platform Manual, spoke about the incredible cocktail of hormones released when you get down with yourself: “Research and anecdotal reports suggest that sexual stimulation, like masturbation, can: relieve stress and tension, boost your mood, help you sleep better, improve your sex life by better understanding your wants and needs and so on. Orgasm causes the release of endorphins, which are known to reduce stress and boost confidence. Also released is serotonin, which is a known antidepressant.”
Masturbation, also known as the ultimate stress reliever.
Your self-esteem and how you feel about yourself is intricately tied to your overall mental and physical health, especially your stress levels. Having low self-esteem and feeling bad about yourself can make it harder for you to be able to cope with everyday tasks and stresses, and beating yourself down all the time takes up a lot of energy.
Fortunately, there’s an enjoyable way to boost your self-esteem available right at your fingertips. Did you know that masturbating has been linked to a positive body image? Spending time getting intimate with yourself is a relatively untapped form of self-love and self-acceptance. The more you get to know and understand your body, the more you’ll start to cultivate a loving relationship with it.
Speaking to Megwyn White, a certified clinical sexologist and director of education at sexual wellness brand Satisfyer, she explained that we can develop a deeper connection between our mind and body when we masturbate: “It’s not only orgasms that can conquer the negative impacts of lack of social touch. When we explore self-pleasure we can also help to activate neural receptors within the skin called C-tactile afferent nerves, which especially respond to slow and gentle touch.”
“We can help support this neutral connective feature of mind and body awareness through slow conscious touch of the body, and this can result in a slowing down of the stress response and a more positive relationship to our surrounding environment. In a very real sense, when you touch your own body you are in direct communication with your mind,” White added.
Sleep is vastly underrated. In a world that thrives on hustle culture, if we’re not constantly busy then the likes of Instagram can make us feel as though we’re being lazy. That, in turn, fuels our anxiety and stress which can cause us to lie awake at night, and then the sleep deprivation makes us more stressed and anxious, which can lead to low moods and poor physical health. It’s a terrible cycle.
But before you start popping sleeping pills, why not give masturbation a try? Orgasms can act as a kind of natural sedative to help you unwind and relax. Those delicious hormones we talked about earlier—like prolactin and oxytocin—are released and can help you feel nice and sleepy once you come down from your high, helping you get that good night’s sleep you’ve been daydreaming about.
When you’re stressed, what kind of food are you going to reach for first? It’s probably not going to be the healthy option, but rather junk or food that may make you feel better at first, but over time will leave you feeling sluggish and low. Another terrible cycle. But fortunately, those happy hormones that are released when you climax are more likely to give you a positive outlook on life, which in turn will make you less likely to crave addictive junk food or other kinds of addictive negative behaviour such as endless social media scrolling.
Orgasms are just the gift that keeps on giving.
Let’s face it, we’re all having a tough time at the moment. Lockdown hasn’t been easy on any of us, especially those who live alone or are away from partners. And while nothing can replace the touch of a loved one, masturbation could be a way to fill that gap.
Here again, Dr Earim weighs in, “During this period of lockdown, human touch isn’t as available to us, and singles have had to put dating on hold. Masturbation allows you to take pleasure into your own hands if you’re self-isolating. As we know, masturbation is great for your mind and might reduce some negative emotions you’re experiencing presently. Above all else, it’s important to enjoy yourself and embrace your sexuality.”
If there’s one thing we’ve learned here, it’s that masturbation is a wonderful thing. Not only does it make you feel like you’re getting electrocuted in a good way, but it turns out it’s fantastic for your health. So, if anything, masturbation is just what the doctor ordered.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), an international trade show for consumer tech and innovation held in Las Vegas once a year, has always served as a proving ground for many innovators and new products. However, last year, it also made headlines for taking back the CES Innovation Award in Robotics from the female sex toys company Lora DiCarlo. CES later reinstated the award after Lora DiCarlo’s founder Lora Haddock DiCarlo vocalised the gender-based discrimination she experienced—with the story going viral across the media. Shortly after, DiCarlo helped re-write the rules to create a safer and more inclusive environment at CES.
This year’s CES started on Monday, 6 January and will finish on Friday. On Tuesday, a specific keynote called ‘The path to the future of work” made waves even before its beginning. Why? Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, had, for some reason, invited Ivanka Trump to join him on stage for a “fireside” chat.
When it was announced that President Trump’s daughter will speak at CES 2020, many wondered why she was invited in the first place. Among them was Lora DiCarlo, who posted an open letter to the tech community questioning why Ivanka Trump was chosen as a speaker and asking for input on who they would like to see take on the prestigious keynote talk next year.
So why exactly did Ivanka Trump speak at CES 2020, and what did she have to share? Is it possible that Ivanka Trump’s appearance at CES was requested by the White House? Shapiro refused to speak about it in an interview with the BBC, but it should be remembered that Ms Trump didn’t come only as the President’s daughter—she came as the advisor to the President of the US, and as co-chair of two governmental advisory boards, including the National Council for the American Worker.
So what did Ms Trump talk about? Despite controversy surrounding her invitation, she managed to get more than a few words in, unlike what happened at the G20 meeting with President Macron, the then UK PM Theresa May and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau this summer, which resulted in a trending #unwantedIvanka.
Ms Trump’s main point was that Americans’ CV data should be stored and updated on their phones as a way to make applying for jobs easier. “Why can’t you have your high school degree verified and on your phone, so an employer doesn’t need to call your high school?” she asked Shapiro. The highly anticipated talk was, to say the least, quite boring—some attendees even said it lacked “drama.”
Screen Shot spoke to Lora Haddock DiCarlo about Ms Trump’s invitation to CES, how it didn’t correlate with last year’s reaction to her product Osé and DiCarlo’s open letter. “I published a letter asking this very question. Why [was Ivanka Trump invited]? I genuinely am curious,” said DiCarlo. When asked about the tech industry’s reaction to her invitation, DiCarlo responded that, “We are still gathering feedback and hope to have a better idea of what the community thinks by the end of the week.”
This year, DiCarlo returned to CES 2020 with a two-part product similar to 2019’s Osé. Baci and Onda, the latest innovations from the brand, were unveiled on the first day of the event and each received the highly-coveted CES Honoree Innovation Award. This marked a major shift from the company’s ban from CES 2019 and proved that DiCarlo’s work from last year resulted in real change. “We became change agents, initiating a critical public conversation about gender equity and creating a safer and more inclusive environment for all CES attendees,” stated DiCarlo.
And yet, CES still seems to stay on the fence when it comes to change. On the one hand, the previously banned sex toys company Lora DiCarlo became one of the biggest winners of this year’s event. But on the other hand, Ivanka Trump was invited for an hour-long keynote, while there are numerous other women with more expertise in the field who are fighting for real change.
When asked about which women she would have picked instead of Ms Trump, DiCarlo said she would have loved to see advertising consultant and founder of the IfWeRanTheWorld and MakeLoveNotPorn companies, Cindy Gallop. Well, who knows, maybe next year? Or maybe for CES 2021 we’ll witness Gary Shapiro having a little chat with Donald Trump himself.