Sex Experts Say the Best Way to Relieve Stress Is Getting Off
In case you needed a reminder of the impact that this glorious year has had on all of us, it's National Stress Awareness Day. But instead of lamenting all of the bad, we're going to turn lemons into lemonade and think about arguably the best way to get rid of stress: masturbating.
"Masturbation is a fantastic way to learn more about your body and de-stress," sex therapist Carolanne Marcantonio, LMSW, SIFI, CST, tells InStyle. "It can release dopamine. Dopamine is our happy chemical that gets released when we eat a good meal, complete a task, or celebrate a small victory in our life. It's a reward chemical."
She says that, especially now during the pandemic, our bodies could be experiencing a "slowdown" of these happy releases, so masturbation is a form of self care that can help you get back in touch with yourself.
Sex expert Zachary Zane agrees with this sentiment. He told us via email that, in addition to making you feel good post-orgasm, masturbation also helps you sleep better. "When we're stressed, we often have trouble sleeping, and then that causes us to be more stressed. It's a vicious circle, so it's crucial to get a lot of sleep when you're stressed or anxious, and masturbating can help facilitate better sleep."
This natural form of melatonin makes sense: self-pleasure shifts your focus from all of the negative feedback loops that your brain experiences from stress, so it's basically the best way to get out of your own head (it can also help with period pain). Plus, compared to other ways to alleviate anxieties, getting off is healthy.
"It's free, doesn't take long at all, and is actually good for your body — unlike common unhealthy stress coping mechanisms like heavy drinking," Zane says.
There are so many ways to pleasure yourself, but having a dependable sex toy around as a helpful assistant is something experts like Zane recommend.
"Sex toys lead to more powerful orgasms and pleasurable experiences that can potentially help you de-stress even more," he says. Danyell Fima, the co-founder of sex toy company Velvet Co, says the key to effective masturbation is getting comfortable and being in control.
"A great sex toy is empowering and can keep you happy all day," she says. "The best sex toys are the ones that make you do the least amount of work… Ultimately, masturbation and stress-relief are all about clearing the mind and taking time to reset physically and emotionally."
Luckily right now a whole host of sex toy companies are reading the room and holding sales on their top-rated products, from dildos to clitoris stimulators. In fact, there's even one top-rated vibrator that's basically free.
The Better Touch vibrator is a compact clit stimulator that shoppers say is "perfect for zoning in'' on your erogenous zones. The unique shape makes it an accessory you can use in any position, from lying on your stomach to standing up. Similar to other non-gendered pleasure products, this is a toy you can use anywhere on the body, whether you're alone or with a partner.
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