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7 Health Benefits To Masturbating (As If You Needed An Excuse)

Feeling yourself isn't just fun, it's good for you too. Though you might think that masturbation is just something to do when you're feeling sexually frustrated and need to pass the time, that's not the case. There are actually a number of health benefits to masturbating. As if you needed a good excuse to partake in a little bit of self love, science has shown that masturbating can actually provide plenty of awesome benefits for your body. And who doesn't love to score some health benefits while enjoying a little one on one time with yourself?

Gloria Brame, a clinical sexologist, told Men's Health that masturbation is perfectly safe and totally harmless for your body. "Masturbation is a part of a healthy sex life," Brame told the magazine. Aside from the obvious benefits, like helping you to get more acquainted with your own body, and being able to point your partner in the right direction, masturbation has some more serious health related benefits that might surprise you.

So the next time you're itching to get down with yourself and wondering whether or not you should, take the following health benefits into consideration and coax yourself into a blissed out state of healthier living thanks to masturbation.

1. It Can Reduce Stress

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In a 2007 report for Planned Parenthood, Carol Rinkleib Ellison reported that orgasms can actually relieve stress. "Orgasm relieves tension as oxytocin stimulates feelings of warmth and relaxation," Ellison explained. "Low levels of oxytocin are correlated with higher incidence of anxiety disorders." And, as Ellison noted,  increased levels of oxytocin reduce stress levels and change a person's response to stressors.

2. It Can Relieve Menstrual Cramps

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You know that cramps can be debilitating, but did you know that masturbating can actually help relieve those cramps? Before you reach orgasm, your uterus is more relaxed, and at the moment you climax, your blood flow increases, according to registered sex therapist Judith Golden. Golden told Best Health magazine, “the strength and intensity of an orgasm can relieve cramps.”

3. It Can Strengthen Your Pelvic Muscles

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According to Planned Parenthood, masturbating can actually help strengthen your muscle tone in your pelvic and anal areas, reducing your chances of involuntary urine leakage and uterine prolapse.

4. It Can Increase Your Self Esteem

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In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Dr. Tanginika Cuascud said that masturbating is an easy way to improve how you feel about yourself. "You cultivate very good feelings with yourself," Cuascud said. "And you can transfer that to the rest of the world." Though masturbating might not be the first thing you think of when you're looking for a self esteem boost, it can very well be something that helps.

5. It Can Improve Your Sleep

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Cuascud also told Cosmopolitan that the incredible feeling you get after you masturbate is attributed to the flood of endorphins that get released after you orgasm. And that those endorphins promote deeper sleep. So the next time you're struggling to fall asleep, why not try masturbation to help you fall asleep?

6. It Can Relieve Pain

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Masturbation can be a great natural way to relieve pain, according to Betty Whipple, sexologist and author of The Orgasms Answer Guide. "Orgasm produces the greatest increase in pain thresholds," Whipple wrote in her book. Whipple also referenced studies that show that masturbation can increase pain threshold by up to 60 percent.

7. It Can Be Good For Your Heart

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Heart disease is the number one killer of women, but adding in regular exercise to get your blood flowing can help combat the dangers of heart disease. And how lucky that masturbation gets your blood flowing too. According to Women's Health Network, several studies suggest that women who masturbate regularly are less susceptible to heart disease.