Let’s get physical.

There are holidays to support just about every cause nowadays; from National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day to Dog Weekend and International Celebrate Bisexuality Week – celebrating what’s unique about us has become more important than ever.

And it’s hard to acknowledge our diversity without addressing masturbation; arguably one of the most universally practiced and non-discriminatory activities there is. Because whether you’re young or old, religious or atheist, Black, white, or otherwise; we all indulge in a little self-love. In fact, surveys suggest most women masturbate at least once a week (and some of us do it every single day).

And if there’s ever been an excuse to get self-pleasuring, it’s during the month of May, which happens to be arguably one of the greatest observances in existence: National Masturbation Month (NMM). Instigated by Californian sex toy store, Good Vibrations, in response to then-President, Bill Clinton’s firing of then-surgeon general, Jocelyn Elders, following a 1994 speech she gave promoting masturbation during United Nations World AIDS Day, NMM has become an annual global event.

But besides being a great way to encourage a more sex-positive culture through breaking down the stigma around talking about masturbation, NMM is the perfect time to enjoy some of the unexpected perks of self-loving, which include…

1. Fighting depression

Masturbation has been shown to promote the release of endorphins, which are the neurotransmitters responsible for giving us happy feels and even helping to stave off depression.

2. Promoting shut-eye

Have trouble falling asleep? Try a little self-love. Because masturbating lowers your blood pressure and puts the body into a state of relaxation, it allows you to fall into a deep sleep afterwards.

3. Easing Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) and cervical infections

Orgasming ‘tents’ or opens the cervix and lubricates the vagina, promoting the flushing out of unfriendly bacteria from the cervix and vagina. And as an added bonus, it’s a natural pain-reliever, too.

4. Going STI-free

It’s impossible to get a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) through masturbation alone, so you can self-pleasure to your heart’s content, totally stress free.

5. Toning up

Regular masturbation and orgasms can help to strengthen muscle tone in the genital and pelvic floor area, which can lead to better sex.

6. Lessening period pain

Masturbation is an ideal remedy for sufferers of painful menstrual cramps, thanks to the fact it increases blood flow to the pelvic region, thereby reducing pelvic cramping and related backaches.

Images via giphy.com and tumblr.com.