According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 is a pandemic. As such, many of us are being encouraged to self-isolate, to socially distance ourselves, to refrain from physically connecting with others.
Amongst the anxiety and uncertainty, an opportunity has presented itself. Many of us have a chance now to spend time with ourselves, to connect with our own body, to explore our pleasure. This is an invitation to you to expand your self-pleasuring by experimenting with seven elements; breath, sound, movement, touch, container, distractions and closing practice.
Self-pleasuring, especially when fully engaging the above elements, can have a whole host of mental and physical health benefits, from reducing stress and blood pressure to increasing self-esteem and relieving pain.
Breathing deeply and powerfully may actually boost your body’s immune system (Kox et al., 2014; Asimakos et al., 2018). Movement may release endorphins (Dishman & O’Connor, 2009) and improve immune regulation (Nieman & Wentz, 2019). Touch can be a self-soothing activity that is linked to well-being and anti-stress effects (Unväs-Moberg et al., 2014). Being mindful of our container and distractions can also be beneficial.
While we cannot definitively say that self-pleasuring boosts the immune system, a 2004 study published in the journal Neuroimmunomodulation did find that sexual arousal increased the absolute number of leukocytes (white blood cells) in a group of male participants, suggesting that chemicals related to the body’s immune system are impacted by sexual stimulation.