The topic of masturbation is still a bit taboo today—at least, among women. As a result, what we know and openly talk about (giggling about sex toys doesn’t count) can be a bit limited. We’re hoping to change all that, however, one article at a time. Here, five surprising facts about solo pleasuring that you may not know about.

1. A good many women masturbate.
Masturbation may seem more like a guy’s thing, but WebMD reports that 89 percent of women masturbate. Unsurprisingly, 95 percent of men masturbate. Then again, considering they get an average of 11 erections a day (not counting the ones at night~), as cited in sexualhealthmatters.org, perhaps it’s only logical. Or merciful--whichever way you want to look at it.

2. Masturbation can help ease those evil menstrual cramps.
If you’re suffering from debilitating dysmenorrhea, you’ll be glad to know that masturbation may help alleviate it. “The strength and intensity of an orgasm can relieve cramps,” registered sex therapist Julie Golden tells Best Health Mag. Of course, it’s not the same for everybody. In some cases, the muscle contractions may also worsen the cramps.

3. It helps you relieve stress.
While the office environment might seem like the perfect place to put this to the test, we suggest waiting until you get home instead. According to Fox News, solo stimulation makes for a great mood booster, not just for women but for men as well.

4. Masturbation prevents yeast infection.
Cosmopolitan.com reports that women who masturbate more often are less likely to get a yeast infection. Isn’t it nice to know that something that could bring you pleasure can also help you save on OB-GYN bills?

5. It can also be addicting.
You might laugh now, but addiction to masturbation or compulsive masturbation is a very real thing. Haven’t you seen Shame? Scratch that, we know you’ve seen it! But Michael Fassbender’s Oscar-worthy performance aside, this overwhelming need to masturbate can take over your life. What's worse is that, according to sexualrecovery.com, “The man or woman who compulsively masturbates with or without the use of porn is often the last to seek help, often not seeing or understanding their behavior as problematic.” Now, we’re not saying you shouldn’t masturbate, just that you should always know your priorities and learn to ask for help when you see that it's becoming a problem.

(Screencap from Girls courtesy of HBO)

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