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Masturbation has come a long way since the infamous apple pie incident in “American Pie.”

We’re moving far away from the outdated thinking that touching ourselves is shameful. Because frankly, it’s not. Science tells us that rubbing one out is perfectly fine — even healthy.

By now, hopefully you’ve heard the satisfying news that personal play won’t make you go blind or burst into flames.

But you may be wondering if masturbation affects your sex drive either positively or negatively or if it boosts your ability to get it on IRL. We’ve got answers.

Thinking about going on a solo expedition? Well, enjoy the journey. You’ve got nothing to worry about. Masturbation has minimal impact on your level of testosterone, the sex hormone that’s linked to libido for all genders.

You aren’t depleting your testosterone (and therefore your desire) by choking the chicken or double-clicking the mouse, as they say. What you are doing is giving yourself a nice release and yes, possibly priming yourself for future pleasure.

In the “Self-Pleasure Report,” published in 2019 by a company that makes sex toys, survey respondents ranked activities by the level of stress relief they provided. Masturbation came in second, just behind sex.

Why is orgasm so fabulous? As we come, our bodies flood us with feel-good stuff like oxytocin, called the “love hormone,” and dopamine, according to a review article written in 2011.Magon N, et al. (2011). The orgasmic history of oxytocin: Love, lust, and labor. DOI: 10.4103/2230-8210.84851

Masturbation can actually help keep your sexual pilot light on, says Megan Fleming, PhD, a sex and relationship therapist.

So the answer is yes, it probably can increase your sex drive. If you get in the habit of bringing yourself to climax and experiencing the pleasure and relaxation that comes with it, you’ll be in good practice for getting to O-town with a partner.

While no one’s going to touch you exactly like you do, having a super-great time with yourself won’t diminish a bout with someone else, says Megan Stubbs, a sexologist and sex educator.

Instead, being super tuned in to what turns you on can actually be a precursor to better sex. You can look at masturbation as an opportunity to communicate with your partner — touch yourself in front of them, show them what works.

Whether or not you want to make masturbation a part of partner play, there’s no reason to worry about self-love ruining your libido. After all, there’s no hard and fast rule for how much of a sex drive you should have, says Ian Kerner, PhD, LMFT, a licensed therapist and sexuality counselor.

And the refractory period, the time it takes a person with a penis to get aroused again after coming, can range from a few minutes to a few days, depending on the individual’s overall health, diet, exercise, and stress level.

People with a clitoris don’t typically require a reset time — hello, double O! — unless their parts feel too sensitive to go at it again.

Still, if you’re worried that pleasing yourself is going to make you less excited for later orgasmic activities, try getting the friction on without finishing the job to “store the sexual energy,” Kerner suggests.

In addition to feeling pretty fine, masturbation may have other important benefits.

A landmark survey from 2011 showed a possible link between self-stimulation in female adolescents and more positive sexual experiences and self-image later in life.Robbins C, et al. (2011). Prevalence, frequency, and associations of masturbation with partnered sexual behaviors among US adolescents. DOI: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.142

That same survey showed a possible correlation between teen girls viewing masturbation as positive and having a good first partnered sexual experience.

Thankfully, today there are shows like “PEN15,” which made masturbation a topic for an entire episode (on Hulu, season 1, episode 3). It’s more likely than ever for the media to show fluffing the fajita in a positive light — rather than as something to feel shameful or guilty about.

That 2019 pleasure report says 84 percent of Americans have some experience with lone-rangering it (impressed yet with the number of slang aliases we’ve used?).

In other words, most of us do it, and it’s nothing to feel weird about. Masturbation is all good (really good). It keeps us revved up and in tune with our bodies.

There’s no way to tap out of desire — so feel free to spank the monkey, pet the kitten, paddle the pink canoe, wax the dolphin, beta-test the hardware… (now you’re impressed). We’ll leave you to it.