If there’s one thing most of us have in common, it’s the exploration of our bodies. You’ve heard the whispers, the giggles, and maybe even the silence around it.
Here, we’ll peel back the layers to explore this taboo-yet-universal practice. We’ll dive straight into the world of self-love. Yes, we’re talking about masturbation—an integral part of sexual health and overall well-being. So, let’s get right to it: how often do people masturbate?
Masturbation Frequency: Unveiling the Numbers
We’ve all asked it, or at least thought wondered how often people take time out for self-pleasure. The truth is, it varies. A lot. A person’s masturbation frequency can change like the tides, influenced by factors such as health, stress, daily routine, and if they feel the urge to do it. As a sex educator would say, it’s a part of the wide range of human sexuality.
Looking at gender differences, men usually masturbate more frequently than women, but both genders do it. The frequency of masturbation naturally ebbs and flows as people age and have changes in their physical health, mental state, relationship status, hormones, and medication intake.
That’s right, folks—whether single or partnered, stressed or relaxed, young or old—people masturbate, and it is a regular part of many people’s lives.
Men’s Masturbation Habits
The average man engages in self-pleasure about 140 times a year, or 2.6 times per week. But is there a golden number of times men should aim for? Not exactly.
Younger men may masturbate more frequently compared to their older counterparts, but don’t let that fool you. Many older men continue to engage in this personal pastime, proving that pleasure doesn’t go away with age.
The key takeaway here is that there’s no “normal” frequency—it’s very much up to the individual.
Women’s Masturbation Habits
In contrast, women’s masturbation habits also show a wide array of frequencies and routines. While the frequency is generally lower compared to men—averaging around 53 times per year—this by no means indicates a lack of interest or enjoyment in the realm of self-pleasure.
Just like men, women’s masturbation habits can change with age. Younger women, especially those between 18 and 24, tend to masturbate more frequently. However, even older women, including those over 65, continue to do it, proving the timeless nature of self-pleasure.
Age and Masturbation: A Closer Look
Masturbation frequency is significantly influenced by various factors, including age. Almost all male and most female adolescents and young adults admit to engaging in the practice. However, as people age, there tends to be a slight drop in frequency.
So why exactly does this happen? Various factors contribute to changes in masturbation habits as one ages. These factors include:
In addition to all of those reasons, societal and cultural perspectives can also influence the frequency of masturbation across different age groups.
Adolescents and Young Adults
When it comes to adolescents and young adults up to age 29, masturbation is a common practice and a part of their sexual behavior. Almost all males and around 85% of females in this age group report engaging in the act. The frequency tends to increase as young adults explore their sexuality and seek methods of stress relief, relaxation, and pleasure.
Men’s masturbation frequency peaks at 23.4% of men self-pleasuring 2 to 3 times per week, and 20.1% doing it more than 4 times per week when they are between 25 and 29 years old.
The data shows that women’s masturbation frequency peaks during that same age range, with 7.9% doing it 2 to 3 times per week, and 5.0% doing it more than 4 times per week. A big gap in frequency, to be sure.
Young people (and perhaps even older people) who are religious tend to masturbate less. The Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and some Christian denominations teach that masturbation is a sin.
These belief systems teach that masturbation is “lust of the flesh,” which is a sin (1 John 2:16) and that “fornication” is to be avoided except with one’s spouse (1 Corinthians 7:2).
Societal perspectives and taboos also have an impact on adolescents’ masturbation habits. In certain cultures and societies, such as some Middle Eastern and Islamic cultures, there’s a stigma around masturbation.
Though attitudes can vary widely, these cultures tend to view self-pleasure as haram (forbidden), leading to adolescents engaging in the act less frequently or feeling guilty about it.
From age 30, the frequency of masturbation for both genders stays relatively stable. The percentage of men pleasuring themselves 2 to 3 times per week declines to 20.6%, with women increasing slightly to 9.0%. From age 40, men are at 16.8% and women are at 5.2%. From 50 years of age, it’s at 17.5% for men, and dives to 2.6% for women – never to recover.
This is the beginning of the end.
The golden years of life, starting at age 60, see a steady increase in the percentage of both men and women who haven’t masturbated at all in the past year, with men at 38.8% and women at 54.0%. It then continues to get worse.
That doesn’t mean that older adults don’t have sex. It just means that they masturbate less. Studies show that 53% of people who are 70 years old and older have a regular sex partner.
The Impact of Relationship Status
Contrary to popular belief, being in a relationship does not necessarily mean less solo action. Yes, people in relationships might masturbate less if they’re sexually active with their partner.
But there are many reasons to for self-pleasure even if you get action with your partner. Sex with your partner might not be fulfilling in terms of climaxing, variety or fulfilling fantasies. Your partner might not want sex as often, and so masturbation bridges the gap. You might want to do it to relax or relieve stress.
In addition to all this, spending time with yourself and getting to know your own body can actually improve the sex with your partner since you are more comfortable with your body and more in tune with what feels good to you.
So, whether you’re single or committed, self-love is a practice enjoyed regardless of relationship status.
Health Benefits and Risks of Masturbation
Despite the stigma and taboos surrounding it, masturbation offers numerous health benefits. From mental clarity to mood enhancement, regular self-pleasure can contribute positively to both mental and physical health.
Research shows that it’s a natural stress reliever, can delay the onset of menopaus in women over 40, improve sleep, increase self-esteem, and can even relieve cramps.
On the other hand, potential risks associated with excessive masturbation should also be taken into account. While there is no set number that constitutes “too much,” excessive masturbation might lead to:
An interruption to daily life
Anxiety about being caught
Guilt if masturbation conflicts with the societal, religious or other views
Skin chafing, reduced genital sensitivity if grip is too tight or activity is too rough, or edema (penis swelling)
Each of the above can be fixed, talked through with a trusted friend or therapist, or heal over time.
Prostate Cancer and Men’s Health
For men, regular ejaculation may lower the risk of prostate cancer. Studies suggest that men who ejaculate 21 times a month or more are less likely to develop prostate cancer compared to those who masturbate less frequently.
The reason behind this benefit lies in the ejaculation process. Regular ejaculation helps clear the prostate of toxins and fluids that could potentially lead to cancerous changes. So gentlemen, there’s more to masturbation than meets the eye—it might just be a preventative health practice.
Sexual Health and Satisfaction
Beyond physical health, masturbation can also contribute to improved sexual health and satisfaction. The act of self-pleasure allows individuals to:
Explore their bodies
Understand their sexual desires
Enhance their sex lives
Experience more orgasms
Boost personal and sexual self-esteem
Intensify sexual desire
Improve relationship satisfaction
By exploring one’s body and understanding personal sexual preferences, individuals can boost their sexual confidence and improve their overall sexual experience.
Methods and Preferences: How Do People Masturbate?
Masturbation practices can differ significantly from person to person. Some common methods include:
The traditional hand method
The use of sex toys
Relying on erotic literature or pornography for arousal
The choice of method often depends on individual preferences, comfort levels, and desired outcomes. While there’s no right or wrong way to masturbate, it’s important to remember that the ultimate goal is pleasure and satisfaction. So, whether you’re a fan of toys or prefer good old imagination, the choice is entirely yours.
Imagination vs. Pornography
When it comes to arousal during masturbation, there’s a split between those who prefer imagination and those who turn to pornography. While both methods serve the purpose of arousal, personal preference often dictates the choice. Many individuals find that using their imagination provides a healthier and more satisfying experience compared to watching porn.
Though pornography provides visual stimulation that some individuals find appealing, experts suggest that using porn can lead to negative outcomes, including porn addiction. It’s important to remember that there are healthier ways of arousal, such as reading erotic literature, being with a partner, or using sex toys.
Cultural Factors Influencing Masturbation Habits
Views on masturbation are heavily influenced by our cultural background and societal norms. Attitudes towards masturbation can range from positive acceptance to completely taboo, depending on one’s upbringing.
Religious beliefs, in particular, can often label masturbation as sinful or immoral, potentially leading to guilt or shame around the practice. Women are particularly affected by societal expectations and may be less likely to admit to masturbating due to the stigma society often holds towards female self-pleasure.
This emphasizes the importance of fostering a more open and accepting perspective on masturbation across all cultures and societies.
Expert Advice: How Much Masturbation Is Too Much?
The question, “How much masturbation is too much?” is common, and experts have not come to a consensus. There’s no amount of time that is labeled as “too much” or “too little.” The answer lies in if it is negatively affecting your day-to-day life, including your thoughts and relationships with others.
If masturbation becomes excessive to the point where it’s interrupting your daily life, causing distress, controling your thoughts or actions, decreasing your interest in having sex with people, it is likely time to check in with a therapist about your habits. Remember, while masturbation is a healthy and natural act, like anything else in life, it’s best enjoyed in moderation.
Tips for a Healthy Masturbation Practice
Adopting a healthy approach to masturbation can enrich the experience and guarantee maximum pleasure without negative repercussions. Exploring different techniques and positions, setting the mood, and even switching hands are some ways to enhance your self-pleasure sessions.
Lubrication is another essential component of a healthy masturbation routine. Lubrication can significantly enhance the pleasure and comfort of the experience, while also reducing the risk of skin irritation.
Exploring Different Techniques
Switching up your masturbation routine can lead to new discoveries about your body and sexual preferences. Exploring different techniques, positions and sensations can prevent over-reliance on one method and enhance your overall sexual satisfaction.
Moreover, experimenting with new techniques can also lead to more intense orgasms and a better sexual experience. So, whether it’s trying out edging (cycles of stopping right before the orgasm), using toys, or stimulating different areas, don’t be afraid to venture out of your comfort zone.
The Importance of Lubrication
Lubrication is a key component to ensure smooth and pleasurable masturbation. It can make it more comfortable, reduce skin irritation, and even intensify the sensation.
But not all lubes are created equal.
Oil-based lubes can cause problems with condoms, can irritate some people’s skin, and also leave oil stains on clothes and unfinished furntiure (like the insides of nightstand drawers).
Silicon-based lubes can also stain.
Only water-based lubes generally don’t stain, but they don’t last as long and can start to feel sticky when you need to apply more. The plus about water lubes is that they are the safest for use wtih condoms.
There are also flavored lubes out there, but the ones containing glucose or glycerine can cause UTIs (urininary tract infections) and yeast infections in women. Water-based lubricants containing glycerin can also cause yeast infections. Lubes with acetate or propylene glycol should also be avoided, if possible, as they can irritate delicate skin.
The take-away is that it’s important to try out different lubrication types and brands, and be careful if you are using one that is going to reduce the protection of a condom, cause infections, or irritate your skin.
So, what’s the bottom line? Masturbation is a natural, healthy, and personal experience that varies greatly among individuals. Whether you’re young or old, single or in a relationship, male or female—there’s no “normal” or “right” way to masturbate.
Studies have shown that masturbation is a typical part of human sexuality, with numerous health benefits and potential to improve mental well-being and sexual satisfaction. So, go ahead—explore your body and enjoy the journey.