What’s the worst thing about getting your period? Cramps and overall body discomfort? Diarrhea? Bloating?
If your answer is all of the above, we’ve got good news. A new study has found an organic way to alleviate period pain and it might be our favorite one yet: masturbation. Yes, it’s encouraging us to schedule a ménage à moi to paddle our pink canoes when Aunt Flo visits or whatever you want to call it.
In May 2020, adult toy brand Womanizer teamed up with menstrual cup brand Lunette to launch the “Menstrubation Study.” The clinical study aimed to find out whether masturbation could help against period pain as well as fight taboos against menstruation and masturbation. Although the myth surrounding masturbation’s negative effects on the body has been disproven, it doesn’t hurt knowing the extent it can serve as a natural alternative to pain relievers.
Clinical psychologist and sex therapist Dr. Christopher Ryan Jones headed the study, which was conducted over a period of six months and with a total of 486 participants. During the first month, participants were asked to record the status of their period pain. In the three months that followed, they were required to forego their usual pain control methods and masturbate instead. The fifth month served as a control month in which they returned to their usual routine.
The study showed that regular masturbation reduces the intensity of period pain symptoms such as mental restlessness, the need for rest and heat, cramps, abdominal pain and bloating, diarrhea, breast discomfort, back pain and inner thigh pain.
Based on the study, nearly an equal number of participants favored a specific method for reducing period pain: 43 percent chose medication while 42 percent preferred masturbation. The most common answers from the remaining 15 percent were a mix of both, heat, CBD oil, sleep and exercise. When asked whether they’d recommend masturbation for pain relief, 90 percent said yes and 85 percent stated that they plan to maintain the masturbation routine after the study.
“After only one month of conscious masturbation, the values already dropped significantly. In addition, my assumption that masturbation also has a long-term, positive effect on well-being was confirmed. Even after the participants returned to their usual methods of pain relief, the values for intensity and frequency remained lower than at the beginning. It is likely that both parameters would have improved even further with an even longer test phase,” said Dr. Jones.
Sexual wellness educator Andrea Tan further explained the science behind it. “We know that masturbation can have positive effects on health and general well-being. After climax, the hormone dopamine is released, which activates inner bliss. In this way, other physical processes tend to take a back seat, which in turn is similar to pain relief. At the same time, metabolism and blood circulation are stimulated. Both counteract pain. Ultimately, when the muscles contract and release during masturbation, this creates a relaxing effect.”
A caveat though: The researchers recognize that every body is different and the method might not be for everyone, especially those who experience intense period pain. There were participants who stated that medication provided longer relief and that the pain can be so severe that they didn’t feel like masturbating.
Will you be playing with yourself the next time you’re on your period?
Art by Neal Alday
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