Stereotypically, the only act of self-love a woman treats herself to on her period involves pain killers, elastic-waist pants, and gargantuan tubs of ice cream. But turns out that menstruating women should start taking their self-loving a little more... literally.
To put it bluntly, your period is a great time to masturbate.
“I don’t think it’s why you should, it’s why wouldn’t you?” says sexuality and relationships expert Logan Levkoff.
According to Logan, a lot of people tend to think of menstruation as an “other” time, when regular life gets put on hold. “And it’s really silly,” she says. “It’s also steeped in a lot of misunderstanding and misogyny.”
And there are other benefits to masturbating on your period on top of, ya know, fighting patriarchal stigmas. Orgasms don’t only feel good, but they can also decrease menstrual cramps. When you orgasm, your body releases dopamine and oxytocin—a natural pain reliever that can get rid of some of the worst period cramps.
“An orgasm can also help you sleep,” she says. “There are a lot of health benefits.”
Plus, you might just be hornier during your period. Researchers at the University of Chicago call this the "sexual phase," a six-day period (no pun intended) that starts three days before the luteinising hormone, which triggers ovulation, surges during your period. During these six days, women were not just more sexually active on their periods but they had more sexual fantasies, too. And while sexual desire was “more robust in women with regular sexual partners,” single women felt it, too, also reporting feeling “less lonely at the time.”
Also, a study out of the University of Virginia found that women had greater satisfaction from orgasming during their menstruation cycles.
So the next time PMS has you stressed out and cramping, put Ben & Jerry on ice and spend some quality time with yourself. Worried about making a mess? Put a towel down.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health US