May is “International Masturbation Month,” and here at Good Clean Love, we don’t shy away from talking about masturbation and self-pleasure. We agree with physicians and sex therapists the world over that it is a natural part of a sexually healthy life.

To celebrate, we’re sharing four things you might not know about masturbation and the practice of self-pleasure.

1. Nearly Everyone is Doing It

According to WebMD, 95% of males and 89% of females reported that they have masturbated at least once in their lives, and about a quarter (25% of males and 22% of females ages 25-29) masturbate more than once a month. So even though we don’t often talk about it, the majority of us have done it – and many of us do so on a regular basis. For humans all over the planet, masturbation and self-pleasure is an activity that, when practiced with moderation and as part of a healthy sex repertoire, is nothing to be worried about or ashamed of.

2. It Can Provide Pain Relief

Most people don’t relate sexual satisfaction with pain relief, which is a shame. As it turns out, one benefit of masturbation is the cascade of hormonal triggers that happen in an orgasmic release that do a lot of good for everything from sore joints to menstrual cramps to headaches. Although the jury is out when it comes to migraines (some studies show it relieves, while others that it increases pain), it is worth a test run to see how a little self-loving might re-calibrate your pain threshold.

3. Sex with Your Partner May Improve

It seems counter-intuitive to think that pleasuring yourself will have positive impact on your romantic partnerships. But, many sex educators call masturbation the cornerstone to all other sexual acts. If you take the time to get to know your body and find out what makes you reach an orgasm, you’ll be better able to communicate to your partner what you like and don't like.

The practice of mutual masturbation – while not strictly solo self-pleasure – can further open up doors in terms of learning what makes your partner tick. According to Wendy Strgar (Good Clean Love CEO and Founder), talking about masturbation with your partner and exploring it together "not only provides a safety valve for differing sexual drives in relationships, but also offers front row seats to what turns your partner on." 

4. You Might Even Sleep Better

Stress keeping you up at night? One of the most effective remedies for both stress and insomnia is literally right in your hands. A study showed 32% of women found masturbating helped them fall asleep. Like with pain relief, the oxytocin and endorphins that are released with orgasm invite a more calm state and probably better dreams, too. Taking time to fall into your own private fantasy life is a great de-stressor and also contributes to you becoming a better lover.

To seek self-pleasure is something that comes innately to human beings, and at many times throughout our life, self-pleasure can be healing. It acquaints us with our body’s natural capacity for physical pleasure and those same oxytocins and endorphins that help you sleep can also make you feel really good about yourself and your body.