We’re not talking applause, folks. Here are four reason masturbation is a gift to give yourself.

Masturbation is a touchy subject for a lot of people (get it? Yeah. You get it.). Nearly everyone is doing it, but not a lot of people are talking about it. And when they do, it tends to be in negative terms: Masturbation is dirty. Masturbation is for women who can’t get a man and vice versa. Masturbation will desensitize you. Masturbation makes you a sex addict. Masturbation is selfish (especially when you have a partner).

In case you didn’t know this already, every last one of those ideas is a myth. It’s time to change the masturbation conversation, because it turns out that not only is it totally normal, it’s also healthy … for your body, mind, spirit, and yes, your relationship too!

The Real Truth About Masturbation

Masturbation is good for you. Men and women get a wide variety of health benefits from masturbating, including increased blood flow, improved sleep, and stronger pelvic floor muscles. Plus, women get a few added bonuses from self-pleasure: regular masturbation can help relieve menstrual cramps, and it can reduce the effects of vaginal atrophy during menopause.

Masturbation is good for your mental health. Want an endorphin rush like the ones your fitness-guru friend is always talking about? Don’t hit the gym—hit the sheets! Masturbation releases endorphins (even if you don’t orgasm) and is a serious stress reliever—it allows you to focus on something besides your stressors while activating the brain’s pleasure centers to help chase those cares away! Plus, many who masturbate regularly report higher self-esteem. Now that’s therapeutic!

Masturbation is good for your relationship. It turns out that loving yourself can help you love others! Women who masturbate are generally more orgasmic (which your partner will definitely enjoy) and better informed about what turns them on. Better yet, solo sex can actually prime you to have a higher sex drive! According to one study, married women who masturbate experience greater sexual desire and marital satisfaction. That’s right—rather than “spoiling” you for partnered sex, masturbation could actually make you a better (and friskier) lover.

Finally…masturbation feels great! This one is pretty self-explanatory. Whether you’ve never had an orgasm or you’re experienced in the art of the big O, masturbation is a great way to feel oh-so-good.

OK, I’m Sold! Got Any Awesome Masturbation Tips?

So glad you asked! Here are some ideas for improving your solo style.

Try something new. Your sexual desire can grow and change at different points in your life, so it pays to switch up your routine every once in a while. Try running your hands everywhere to check for hot spots that excite you. Experiment with heat or cold to see if you like temperature play. If you haven’t already, try finding and playing with your G-spot. You might find a toe-curling new technique you hadn’t considered before!

Add a little fantasy. The next time you’re thinking of going solo, take a moment to let your mind wander. Imagine a fantasy scenario with the location, partner, and acts of your choice. Fantasy can make masturbation even hotter—or open up sexy new possibilities to try the next time you have a partner around.

Partner up. Seeing you pleasure yourself could be a real turn-on for your significant other, so don’t be surprised if your partner wants to lends a hand too! Mutual masturbation with a partner can be a great way to increase intimacy and show them what turns you on (always remember that it’s totally normal and healthy to masturbate entirely on your own, too).

Use the right tools. You probably already know that a vibrator can offer a fun new dimension to solo sex. What you may not know is that a premium lubricant can be even more important to your self-love! Lubricants help reduce friction and increase comfort and pleasure, which is just as important during masturbation as partnered sex. So next time you get down with your bad self, do it with a lubricant! For an added bonus, try a Pure Romance enhancement cream for a tingling sensation that makes every touch more intense.

Above all else, have fun! There’s no right or wrong way to masturbate, so do whatever feels good to you. Enjoy your next solo session!