Check out this article about the health benefits of masturbating. Sexual health encompasses so much. Unwanted pregnancies, STDs, contraception, and safety are all really important aspects of sexual well being. As a sex educator I know that sexual health is also about learning to enjoy sex in a safe manner. Its about unlearning that sex is dirty, nasty, shameful, and dangerous. I believe one the most important parts of a healthy sexuality is being able to enjoy your own body.
At work I am a sexual educator. The other day a patient said to me, "I don't know how I get pregnant, he never cum inside of me." I responded by explaining that sometimes there are sperm that come out before the man ejaculates and maybe she should consider condoms or hormonal birth control. Each day I am dispelling myths and teaching women about how sex functions. But masturbation is never a topic of conversation with patients. I wish there were a space for people to get accurate information about masturbation -- the safest form of sex!
People are taught from a very young age that self-pleasure is shameful. Based on my own experience, I believe women are taught to feel like masturbation is an act of desperation. When in actuality a healthy sexuality begins with understanding your own body and sexual responses. Self-pleasure is related to power and liberation. When a woman can please herself and knows that it's healthy to do so, I believe we as women also begin to stop looking to external sources for validation.