The use of sex toys has continued to grow over the years. Celebrities are even getting in on the act — just ask Barbra Walters. She has extolled the virtues of owning a vibrator on national morning television. It’s been estimated that at least 50% of women over the age of 35 own a vibrator. That means that if you don’t own one, that your neighbor, co-worker or best friend most surely does.
As far as I’m concerned, owning a sex toy goes beyond simple pleasure. Using vibrators to masturbate can feel good in the moment, but they can also help support your health and allow you to feel your best beyond your session of self-pleasuring.
Using vibrators to masturbate can certainly lead to more orgasms and in turn, there are a multitude of benefits. Regular climaxes can help elevate your mood through the release of endorphins and oxytocin. These biochemical substances help soothe the central nervous system by relieving stress and anxiety. They actually foster an overall
sense of well being, and medical research has shown that masturbation and orgasm increase cardiovascular health and improve your immune system as you age.
Knowing your body’s own orgasmic response can help make you more orgasmic with a partner. It is believed that sex begets sex, so the more often you are engaging in it, the more often you’ll be likely to become aroused and seek it out. This is especially important for women who struggle with issues of desire. Many women simply wait to become sexually inspired. However, because we are not testosterone driven beings like men, research has indicated that women often need to engage in physical stimulation in order to become aroused. That means that self-stimulation or physicality with a partner needs to come first in order to allow arousal to build. Using sex toys as a tool to increase your desire is a fabulous way to go.
It is also a great option if you have a partner with premature ejaculation, or has trouble maintaining or keeping an erection (also known as erectile dysfunction or ED). The possibility of your partner experiencing ED increases with age as our bodies experience vascular problems and a decrease in testosterone. We also tend to take more medications that affect our ability to become aroused or orgasm. This can mean certain medications for heart conditions, anti-depressants and hormone therapies taken for menopause can wreak havoc on our sex lives.
There are toys that can help couples with certain forms of ED. Penis rings can be worn prior to and during sex to maintain the vascularity (blood flow) in the penis, making erections harder and helping them last longer. Many men without ED also enjoy the use of penis rings simply because they enjoy the sensation and can ejaculate more forcefully. Besides the obvious benefits to female partners, there are penis rings on the market that come equipped with clitoral stimulators and/or vibrators. This means that a woman can experience additional pleasure through the use of the toys and could possibly enjoy even more orgasms as the attached stimulators target the clitoris in more sexual positions. It is a well-known fact that few women orgasm from intercourse alone; typically there must be additional clitoral stimulation during sex play.
The use of sex toys also allow for more types of orgasms for women and men. Many women realize the power of G-Spot stimulation. This is equivalent to prostate stimulation and orgasm in men. It’s been noted in several studies that there is a different and often more intense quality to these types of orgasms. As you might guess, there are a multitude of toys available that specifically target this sensitive area. For women, the G-Spot is located about two inches inside the vagina on the upper wall. For men, prostate stimulation is achieved through the anus. Physiologically, both the Prostate and G-Spot have been found to be of very similar tissue, as well as that the ejaculate fluid of both men and women have been found to contain some of the same compounds. There is an added benefit for men in that it appears that regular prostate stimulation and ejaculation can actually reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Although, there is some benefit with regular penile masturbation and ejaculation as well.
Women aren’t left out of additional health benefits either. It’s been found that women who masturbate and orgasm on a regular basis have stronger pelvic muscles as a whole. This includes increased continence (ability to hold urine), better pelvic muscle tone (especially for those with certain types of pelvic/vaginal prolapses), and overall improved ability to orgasm when desired. Many women have stated that their orgasms have become more intense and satisfying as a result.
In addition to regular masturbation, women can also improve their pelvic muscles by doing Kegel exercises. These exercises involve the contraction of the pubococcygeus muscle (the muscle that runs in a figure eight around the vaginal and anal opening). This is the muscle in both men and women that contracts during orgasm and is used to stop the flow of urine. You can practice Kegels by contracting and releasing or contracting and holding the muscle at any time, however the use of sex toys designed for this this type of purpose can be helpful and pleasurable too. Ben Wa balls were designed thousand of years ago in Asia for just such a purpose. They’ve even been recently featured in the Fifty Shades of Grey book series because of the pleasurable sensation it causes. Women can tone their pelvic muscles by holding these weighted balls in the vagina. Some even enjoy the sensation of wearing them out as they go about their day or for something a little discreetly erotic when out on a date.
Engaging in masturbation and sex for pleasure is a good enough reason alone, but I always encourage my clients reap the other health benefits of engaging in these acts. If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, I’m willing to bet that an orgasm a day might keep the doctor away as well when it comes to certain types of sexual and physiological issues.
By Dr. Kat Van Kirk
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