The pleasure part of self-play might be your go-to reason for getting it on solo, but masturbation has a lot more to offer than feel-good friction or toe-curling orgasms.

It turns out that mastering your own domain can be good for your physical and mental health, relationships, and overall happiness.

Tuning your own instrument is a great way to relieve sexual tension without the risk of unplanned pregnancy or contracting an STI. No need for contraception or protection, when it’s just you and your sexy self.

It’s also a great stand-in for when you’re not ready to take a relationship or encounter to the coitus level.

Plus, many self-strokers say personal play is a serious stress reliever. Survey results from a 2019 “Self-Pleasure Report” published by a company that makes adult toys, asked respondents to rank 14 activities based on their stress-relief effectiveness.

While sex was ranked number one, masturbation came in at a close second, with sleep following at number three. Journaling came in last. Take that, Dear Diary!

Frequent orgasms in general have been shown to lower blood pressure. Masturbation can also give our relationships and sex life a boost. By going on solo treks we get in touch with our own pleasure points and needs, which can help us communicate our desires during partnered-up adventures. Hello, O!

Getting frisky with yourself has some mental health payoffs, as well.

“Masturbation can be a self-soothing behavior that calms down our minds […] gets us in touch with our bodies, and gives us time to focus on ourselves instead of worrying about what others think,” says Megan Andelloux, a sexologist and sexuality educator.

Self-pleasure is never a reason to feel ashamed or guilty. Those are outdated and unrealistic notions. The truth is that most of us masturbate, according to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior. But Andelloux says she often sees history repeating itself.

“As children, many people were shamed or chastised when caught masturbating,” she explains. “If they don’t get taught that sexuality and masturbation are common and can be healthy, then they can’t have those conversations with their own children down the line.”

Cultural discomfort with the topic of self-touch is further exacerbated by some stupid myths. Rest-assured, masturbation won’t stunt growth or cause hairy palms. We’d all be shaking some pretty fuzzy hands if it did. And don’t worry: you can’t really overdo doing yourself either.

In reality, so long as it doesn’t interfere with a person’s relationships or daily life (or cause serious chafing), masturbation is perfectly safe, says Andelloux. More than that, it’s good for us.

If you’re still on the fence about playing DJ at your own party, the best way to get more comfortable is just to give it a spin.

Take matters into your own hands with this seven-step action plan for solo play.

1. Choose some prime personal time

You don’t need to get too hung up on the right time, because any time is a fine time for making yourself feel good. Just make sure you aren’t going to be rushed toward your happy ending or interrupted. You don’t want a roommate barging in, for example.

2. Find a space for your solo romp

A private spot is really all you need. Hey, you could take care of business in a bathroom stall (though that may be illegal in some places and we wouldn’t recommend). But comfort can go the extra mile too.

That might mean you’re in your bedroom with pillows galore or in a steamy shower or bath. The right physical space can also help ease you into the headspace to focus on yourself.

3. Set the me-time mood

Dim the lights, light candles, put on some tunes — whatever you need to do to help yourself feel relaxed and present. Most importantly, commit to providing a judgment-free atmosphere for yourself.

4. Consume some sexy time media

Literary erotica or porn can help you feel aroused, but they’re certainly not a requirement for a satisfying experience. The imagination can prove just as powerful of a stimulant.

5. Remove your clothes

Obviously, you don’t need to get into your birthday suit to access the bits that bring on self-satisfaction. But if you have any hang ups about masturbation, it can help to just get acquainted with your body first.

Take a moment to gaze at and appreciate your naked form. If you struggle with body image, draw your attention to the features you like most. Or just relish in the things that your body can do. One of those is to provide you with pleasure.

6. Touch yourself

Begin to explore your body with your hands (or a toy). Take the time to experiment with what feels good to you — different pressures, strokes, textures, etc., can all yield different sensations.

7. Don’t fixate on orgasm

No need to put pressure on yourself to “make it” to orgasm. There’s plenty of enjoyment (and health benefits) to be had just from stimulating your erogenous zones.

Every person is different, meaning there’s no right or wrong way to masturbate. It’s just one of those things that requires a little touch and go action. What we can be sure of is that self-pleasure itself is not wrong.

On the contrary it can be quite good for us — both physically and mentally. So, there’s no reason to abstain from getting yourself off.