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We Need To Talk About Sadsturbation

Two ~releases~ in one.

So, we need to talk about masturbating when you're sad, because apparently it's A Thing.

Dreamworks / Via

AKA, sadsturbating, mastursobbing, or whatever you want to call using masturbation to distract yourself, to feel better, or to straight up induce a cathartic cry by helping your hormones go haywire through a good ol' trusty orgasm.

It makes sense as a concept, sure, but I hadn't realized it was an actual, recognized, Urban Dictionary-defined behavior until not one, not two, but THREE of my friends responded to my complaints of crushing existential despair by telling me to masturbate.

Exhibit A:

Anna Borges / BuzzFeed

OK, I thought, my friend is super in touch with her emotions and sexuality and has some highly specific coping mechanisms. But then...

Exhibit B:

Anna Borges / BuzzFeed

OK, I thought, maybe this is just a symptom of having sex-positive oversharers for friends. Still doesn't mean it's A Thing.


Exhibit C:

Anna Borges / BuzzFeed

After that, I couldn't help but ask around at work (y'know, straddling the line between HR violation and investigative reporting), and responses fell into one of three camps:

# "Yeah, sadsturbation is totally a thing."

# "Oh, huh, yeah I guess now that you mention it, that makes sense."

# "Uh, no."

At that point, there was no denying it: THIS IS A THING AND WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT.

So, okay, can masturbating as a pick-me-up really work? Sure it can.

Universal Pictures / Via

Obviously, masturbation feels good on a physical level, but there's a lot going for it that makes it a pretty effective response to sadness.

"It relieves stress, it helps you feel more relaxed, and it does boost endorphins and testosterone levels, which can improve your mood," Dr. Madeleine Castellanos, psychiatrist specializing in sex therapy and author of Wanting to Want, told BuzzFeed Health when I called for an #expert opinion on whether or not this was legit.

Or, you might find yourself crying after masturbating, which can help you have a healthy ~emotional release~ on top of a physical one.

NBC / Via

There are a ton of reasons this might happen and it'll be different for everyone, but according to Castellanos, when you orgasm, there's such a shift in hormones, oxytocin, endorphins, etc., that it can easily trigger a strong emotional reaction.

So, that response might be related to an emotion (like feeling happy, sad, lonely, overwhelmed, generally verklempt, etc.), or it might just be because you've been a little emotionally stuffed up lately and your body finally has a way to let it out thanks to that orgasm. So, tears.

And if the tears come, Castellanos definitely recommends letting it out and feeling your feelings because not only is crying itself a great stress reliever and cathartic AF, but also, suppressing emotions is good for NO ONE. "If you keep yourself from the full expression of it, you never really fully give it release, so it sticks around," she says.

Obviously you shouldn't do it all the time, in case it turns into a crutch.

Channel 4 / Via

If you find that getting yourself off is the only way you have to cheer yourself up, that's when it becomes a problem, says Castellanos. You don't want to wind up in a place where you can only deal with sadness via sadsturbation session, so, you know, make sure you're mixing it up when it comes to mood boosting activities so it's not all masturbation all the time.

Also, you want to be careful because you might wind up conditioning yourself to get horny whenever you're sad and that's awkward. / Via

Think Pavlov's dogs, says Castellanos: If you're masturbating every time you're sad, sadness might start to trigger some internal Marvin Gaye and your body will be all, "Oh, sad again? Guess it's time to masturbate! LET ME JUST GET HORNY REAL QUICK."

So just...keep that in mind.

THE POINT IS if you're doing it in a healthy way, it can be awesome.

HBO / Via

"If you use it for the purposes of making yourself feel better, it’s important to allow yourself to really celebrate feeling vital, feeling sexy, feeling powerful, feeling pleasure, and to understand that that feeling can be beyond masturbation," says Castellanos.

If you do all that — and enjoy in moderation — go ahead and EMBRACE SOME SADSTURBATION.

  1. So now I have to ask: DO YOU DO THE THING?

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So now I have to ask: DO YOU DO THE THING?
    vote votes
    Yup, I love masturbating when I'm sad
    vote votes
    I don't set out with the intention of sadsturbating or whatever, but I'm all for a good post-masturbation cry
    vote votes
    Every once in a while is cool
    vote votes
    I tried it and it was THE WORST
    vote votes
    Nope, but now I'm going to try it
    vote votes
    Uh, no