How Masturbation Helps Us Relax and Destress: the Feel Good Hormones Released Through Masturbation

Masturbation, although a normal, natural activity, is still a taboo subject for many people. Even though as recently as in TENGA’s 2020 Global Self Pleasure Report 84% of all adults in the US alone admit to having masturbated at least once, masturbation is still generally seen as something that is difficult to talk about with others. In the same report, 84% of adults either agree or strongly agree that masturbation is a private matter and yet, 74% of those same adults either agree or strongly agree that those taboos need to be lifted. 


In recent years, a general shift in public perception, masturbation has started being seen as a valid form of self-care. There are plenty of articles that can be found online stating the benefits of masturbation such as on the Insider and the BBC. We thought we’d focus on one specific aspect of how masturbation benefits you; how it helps to relax and destress through releasing ‘feel good’ hormones.

Masturbation releases a mix of “feel good” hormones

Masturbation has plenty of benefits, from body confidence boosts to increased sexual satisfaction both solo and in partnered sex and even giving a boost to your immune system! One of the biggest overall positives of masturbation however can be the concoction of “feel good” hormones and chemicals that are released when you take the time to take care of yourself. Here’s the key chemicals that come into play.


Dopamine is probably one of the most infamous of the “feel good” hormone family, known as the chemical that rewards the body with pleasure. Dopamine is a hormone and neurotransmitter that’s a part of your brain’s reward system, so can be associated with negative aspects such as addiction. It’s not that simple, however. Dopamine is also associated with learning, memory, motor system function, as well as the all important relaxation from doing something that feels good.

Oxytocin & Prolactin

The hormone oxytocin is the key component in curbing that troublesome stress that might be affecting you. A 2009 University of Michigan study shows orgasm helps the body release oxytocin, known to lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is one of the main stress hormones, and stressed out people tend to present high levels of this. Taking the time out to touch yourself a bit can help to not only lower these more troublesome hormones, but also release an additional beneficial chemical in the form of prolactin which is responsible for that relaxing, sleepy feeling associated with a bit of self-care. 


Serotonin is another one of those important hormones which can be beneficial in many areas. Serotonin can help you regulate your mood as well as your sleep, appetite alongside many other positive benefits. The key to how they help after masturbation are the first two; mood regulation and as a sleep aid. A good session of masturbation can not only help to send you off to a good night's sleep as noted in the previous example of oxytocin, but can help you feel a bit more body positive via a better overall mood.


Endorphins are another amazingly beneficial chemical and neurotransmitter that can help in more ways than one. Endorphins can be beneficial as a natural pain relief, as well as being responsible for that sense of euphoria that thrill-seekers look to achieve. Pretty good for just taking the time to touch yourself a little from time to time! As with dopamines, there may be a negative association occasionally to this hormone, through masturbating from time to time you can get that endorphin boost without the risky skydiving like others! 

Relaxation through masturbation

To summarise, there are a lot of “feel good” hormone boosts that can come from the simple act of masturbation. Taking the time out here and there for a little self-care can have plenty of benefits in multiple ways. It seems this idea is catching on too. In TENGA’s 2016 Global Self Pleasure Report only 54% of people surveyed use masturbation for relaxation. In 2020 this raised to 58% of men & 61% of women masturbating for relaxation, and 42% to help them sleep better. Additionally, 84% think masturbation is a form of self-care and is good for your health!

All of this seems like a good indication of a positive shift in perception and knowledge of the benefits of masturbation. A better knowledge and understanding of the benefits of healthy masturbation can only be a good thing and could lead to a more positive outlook on a subject that really shouldn’t be as taboo as it is. If masturbation is used as a healthy form of self-care from time to time, it can help to naturally improve many aspects of your health, both in body and mind.

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