Half of the world’s population get their periods each month and most of them struggle with different painful side effects. Although these symptoms are common, they are hardly researched – like so many topics around women’s health. The so-called Gender Health Gap describes this gap and shows that women have historically been neglected in medicine and research.
In May 2020, Womanizer launched the Menstrubation Study (Menstruation + Masturbation) – the first clinical study worldwide to find out whether masturbation can help against period pain. Over a period of six months, a total of 486 people who menstruate took part in the study.
The result: Yes, masturbation helps against period pain.
The study design and procedure
The study was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Jones, a clinical psychologist and sex therapist. Almost 20,000 people who menstruate responded to the call for participation last May. The final study participants were selected through a randomised procedure. In the first month, the participants recorded the current status of their period pain in a questionnaire. For a period of three months (test phase), they were asked to forego their traditional methods of pain control and to masturbate instead. Each month they recorded their symptoms in another questionnaire. The fifth month served as a control month in which they went back to using their usual tools. After another month, the last survey took place.
Why do women experience period pain in the first place?
Dr. Andrea Burri, Psychosexologist, founder of the “Institute for Sex Counselling and Sexual Sciences (ISCSS)” and Sexual Wellness Expert at Womanizer explains: “During menstruation, the uterus contracts spasmodically to shed the lining of the womb that built up over the month for a possible pregnancy. This causes cramps. The contractions of the uterus are also controlled by the hormone prostaglandin. This hormone is a pain messenger and is also involved in inflammation, for example. The higher the levels of prostaglandins, the stronger the period pain can be”.
90 per cent recommend masturbation
When asked whether masturbation or medication worked better for period pain, equal numbers favoured each method: 43 per cent chose medication, 42 per cent masturbation. The most common answers from the remaining 15 per cent were: A mix of both , heat, CBD (oil), sleep and exercise. A full 90 per cent would recommend masturbation for pain relief and 85 per cent plan to maintain their (new) masturbation routine after the study.
Pain intensity and frequency demonstrably decreases
Participants recorded both the intensity and frequency of their pain each month on a standardised 10-point scale. The results show that both parameters decreased noticeably over the course of the test phase. And even more remarkable: even after the control month, the values were still lower than at the beginning of the test phase. The average intensity in the initial survey was 6.7 points, after the end of the test phase only 5.4. This corresponds to a decrease of 1.3 points. After the control month, this value was 5.9 and thus still 0.8 points below the initial value.
The same effect was also visible in the frequency of period pain. On average, the score was 7.4 points at baseline, but after the test phase the score decreased by 2.8 points and stood at 4.6. After the control month, the value was 6.7, which still corresponds to a decrease of 0.7 points.
Why can masturbation help against period pains?
Dr. Burri says: “Following orgasm, a number of hormones are released, including dopamine which reduces stress and activates an inner bliss. As a result, other physical processes take a back seat. This feels like pain relief. Furthermore, the metabolism and blood circulation are stimulated. Both counteract pain. Finally, during orgasm, the musclescontract and relax, which can relieve painful cramps. While these chemical processes are strongest during and after orgasm, they also take place during masturbation – just in a slightly less intense form”.
Dr. Jones, head of the study: “It is remarkable how quickly the participants felt an improvement in their symptoms. 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.”
So far, the launch resulted in about 50 articles in mainstream media, with a potential reach of almost 200M.
All results and the full report are available at www.menstrubation.com