#GirlBoner Quickie: Solo Sex and Body Image

“Good sex is like good bridge. If you don’t have a good partner, you’d better have a good hand.” ― unknown

Young woman playing with her self on bed

One thing I’ve learned about body image is that self-nurturing goes out the window along with it. When we perceive ourselves as not attractive or worthy of love, we treat ourselves as though we don’t deserve either. Our healthy eating habits tank. We work out excessively or not at all, sleep too much or struggle for any, and let everything from annual physicals and dental checkups to well-deserved rest time slide. If sex enters our brain, it’s likely to seem like a chore, a waste of time or even something horrifying. (“I can’t let him/her see this!”) Luckily, we can turn all of these factors around. From a Girl Boner standpoint, I believe that doing so starts with masturbation.

There’s SO MUCH I’d like to say on this topic, and probably will (though some is top secret for publishing reasons—shhh!). *secures blurt guard* Since we explored self-perception last week, I couldn’t resist at least dipping in today. (I ♥ GB puns!)

“Women who masturbate are usually more comfortable with their bodies and with sex in general,” says Ian Kerner, PhD, a sex therapist and the author of Sex Detox

Multiple large-scale studies have shown that women who masturbate routinely also have more positive self-esteem, positive views on sexuality and happier interpersonal relationships. Sadly, many women feel uncomfortable masturbating or discussing self-stimulation. (I certainly was, early on.) The more we learn about our bodies, and the beautiful things we’re capable of sexually and otherwise, the more comfortable and fulfilled we’re likely to be in our bedrooms, relationships and big, wondrous lives. Don’t you think?

5 Fab Facts About Female Masturbation 

1. Masturbation boosts our moods, instantly. Our levels of feel-good hormones, epinephrine and dopamine, skyrocket during self-arousal. Orgasm furthers these effects, making way for relaxation and a sense of euphoria.

2. Masturbation is a form of self-nurturing. Taking time for ourselves and prioritizing self-pleasure, in my opinion, is a lot like treating ourselves to healthy, gourmet meals rather than scarfing processed food from packages. All self-care habits lend themselves to others; we essentially tell ourselves we’re worthy, which goes a long way.

3. Masturbation staves off infections and disease. Masturbation stretches the mucous in the cervix, according to Sex: A Natural History, by Joann Ellison Rodgers, which acid levels and stimulates “friendly” bacteria production. This allows more fluid to move from the cervix to the vagina, washing away bacteria that cause urinary tract and yeast infections. Sexy self-play also helps relieve pain when infections set in. Masturbation and orgasm are associated with a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes and improved cardiovascular health.

4. Masturbation promotes restful sleep. Many women masturbate to “wind down after a hectic day or to fall asleep at night,” says Carrie Levine, a certified nurse and midwife. In addition to simply feeling good and distracting us from the day’s stress, the happy-hormones released during arousal and climax provide a “warm afterglow” that can help us sleep with peaceful ease.

5. Masturbation improves sex and intimacy with our partners. We can learn so much about our bodies, what feels great and what doesn’t, through self-exploration. “[Masturbation] helps build sexual confidence,”  explains Kathleen Segraves, PhD, a sex therapist and associate professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University. “It helps you guide the partner when you have a partner.” It also helps women who have difficulty reaching orgasm climax with ease, making sex more satisfying for both partners.

All of these solo sexy play perks are associated with positive body image. Stress, illness, a lack of self-care and sleep deficiencies make us feel worse about ourselves. (If you don’t believe me, try looking in the mirror after after a spree of sleepless nights, or when your whole body is pressed with worry.) Next time you’re feeling challenged in any of these ways, I hope you’ll consider a little naked TLC. When you do, try looking in the mirror afterward. I’m telling you—instant improvements. 😉 If you’re new to masturbation, check out Dr. Laura Berman’s article, A Woman’s Guide to Masturbation, for some stellar tips.

Have you noticed a link between your body image and sexuality? Are you comfortable talking to girlfriends or your partner about masturbation? Any related questions or topics you’d like Girl Boner to address? All respectful thoughts are welcome. You can also join me on Twitter and the Girl Boner Facebook page for between-post fun.


Leave a comment


  1. You’re the bravest woman I know!

  2. I have started about five different comments and each one just sounds too provocative *laughing* — But I am in great health – yeah – most times get a really great night’s sleep, uh huh – and most times in a pretty danged good mood – and I self-nurture most efficiently – . . . *winks*

    You are awesome!

    • LOL There’s no such thing as “too provocative” around here, Kat. (But I get it!) Many cheers to your healthiness. May that self-nurturing go on forever. 😉

  3. Amen, sister!

  4. Masturbation comes up now and again, in a joking way, in discussion with my two women’s groups. I like that there are mental and physical health benefits in addition to the pleasure aspect. Not that any more reason was needed, mind you. 😉
    As always, I have a great appreciation the frank discussion here.

  5. I just plugged you on my blog, August!
    Wait, that didn’t come out right.. or did it?
    Either way, great post! I’m proud to promote your enlightening and fun blog.

  6. This MUST be the reason I don’t often struggle with my self confidence.. 😉 Love this post. There is something very sexy about a person who is self aware sexually. Honestly, I couldn’t agree with you more. Having said that…there’s something very hot about having the confidence to sit across the room from your lover for a mutual masturbation session. It’s amazing how quickly men can recover when given visual stimulation. 😡

    • There’s definitely a correlation for many, Kitt! And I 1000% agree about sharing in masturbation with our partners, and love that you use it to keep the party going. LOL

  7. I’ve been quite open to and about the benefits masturbation.

    Gaaah! I almost looked for a wordplay way to express that, August. I’m not there, yet. No. Not there!

    I’ve traveled to and enjoyed the benefits of MEGA and prodigious numbers of self-realized orgasm since your series began. What changed for me in terms of self-image?

    I realized I was worthy of being pampered, and began to keep all hairs on my body well-groomed and pampered. I relish showers (yes, for a number of reasons) AND massaging lotion into my skin after. It’s as if there’s a secret beautiful me hidden beneath my clothes when I go out and about.

    I L-O-V-E wearing flirt skirts now. Whether or not I look sexy to those around me, I feel sexy to me with soft skin and wind blowing up my skirt. Now, if I could tote around a potted palm and find a man…

    Frustrating? Those friends (most of my face-to-face friends) who haven’t yet read and embraced the Girl Boner philosophy. I sometimes feel like Mae West at a Southern Baptist quilting bee. IYKWIM.

    Ooooh! Another book! My library grows. Off to The Amazon. GB*(er)

    *Coincidence that my maiden name is Gloria Burns? You decide… 😉

  8. August, kudos to you yet again for your open, candid and oh-so-informative chats here! If you didn’t get everyone talking about this, I’m not sure who would. Well done you … er … IYKWIM 🙂

  9. I love these posts. Your writing just oozes confidence and feminine power. We would’ve been besties while I was studying women’s gender and sexuality in college. I’ll settle for virtual writer fan geeks now. 😀

  10. I have found that, excepting my friends on here, that talking about masturbation makes them so uncomfortable that I get uncomfortable. It would be nice to have people to sit down and seriously talk with about such stuff. I think that, around here at least, the attitude is that if you are doing it yourself, you are in sad shape…sigh.

  11. Yet another wonderful Girl Boner post! Thanks, August!

  12. prudencemacleod

     /  April 30, 2013

    Forgive me, but isn’t this stating the obvious? I figured out that taking the situation in hand made for a good night’s sleep well over fifty years ago. shhhh, don’t tell anybody, but a little self nurturing goes a long way and also helps to lose weight. shhhhh

  13. Reblogged this on Doing ItTrue Diva Style and commented:
    It’s difficult to think of what to write when other bloggers are doing such a wonderful job. If you get a moment, stop over at August McLaughlin’s blog for more great posts like this.

  14. Woo Hoo August!

    I la la LOVE this post and I la la LOVE masturbation… mutual or solo!

    Masturbation also helps the gals flying solo stay tuned in and turned on to their Beloved and oh so delicious Self – woo hoo!

    Thanks for sharing the LOVE!


  15. August,

    When i am writing erotica, I *know* I’ve got a good scene when I need to stop for a few minutes and masturbate. =)

    I read this with my first cuppa of the day. It’s soft and sunny outside, with birds chattering. Hubby (who sometimes helps me test scenes) is working out, and the children aren’t awake yet…

    I realized my good fortune, and took swift and certain advantage of it.

    Now I am relaxed yet present, my skin feels alive , and my soul is smiling.

    Thanks! =D

  16. Reblogged this on Trueborn Jottings and commented:
    A little solo eroticism for your Thursday afternoon, courtesy of the very wise August Mclaughlin!

  17. Here’s the deal: I’m a man. Is it okay for me to read these articles? There’s certain things I can’t do. (I’m talking specifically about point #3.) Someone once told me that I tried (certain aspects of) #3, but that was a long time ago, and I honestly do not remember. I do have a heart of gold, but I can’t be sure where that came from. Nature SHOULD take its course; it should also take boredom, depression, loneliness…you get the picture. Thx. Rob

    • Of course! We can all stand to learn more about and celebrate female sexuality. All respectful thoughts and folks are welcome, so please — chime in any time. 🙂

      • Okay. Believe it or not, I am a respectful folk. And I know this is important to you. Don’t know what I’ll ever have to offer, but you never know. All the best to you, August.

  18. Raani York

     /  May 5, 2013

    I love your post August!! It’s great!!
    When it comes to me: keeping myself healthy in this kind of way seems to be necessary at times since I’m still in a long distance relationship. How else would I keep my inner balance? *grin*

    • So glad that you’re staying healthy and balanced GB-style, Raani! Sure your partner appreciates it, too. 😉

      • Raani York

         /  May 5, 2013

        I think he does, after all he’s allowed to… oh… never mind. 😛 LOOOOL

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