May has been masturbation month for many years. In May 1995, a sex shop in San Francisco took the initiative to encourage people to masturbate more often. They organised Masturbate-A-Thons for 10 years in a row. Since then, there have been countless initiatives all over the world to get people to masturbate more and to remove the taboo from masturbation.
We at NBRplaza are curious about your masturbation habits. Therefore, we held a survey among our readers in April 2021. In total, the survey was completed by 115 people over the age of 18. About one third of the respondents were women.
Men start masturbating earlier than women
We asked at what age you started masturbating. Almost three quarters of the respondents indicated that they started masturbating between the ages of 10 and 15. Of the men, almost 90% started before the age of 15, while about 65% of the women started masturbating before the age of 15. 98% of the men indicated that they had started masturbating before the age of 20, while 20% of the women only started after the age of 20. Almost 6% did not even start until after the age of 35.
It may be obvious, but sexual orientation makes no difference.
We masturbate at least once a week
Half of the respondents indicated that they had masturbated on a weekly basis during the past month. About a quarter did so daily. The frequency of masturbation also seems to be a lot lower for women than for men. Just over 40% of the men do it daily or several times a day, while for women this is only 17%. The number of men who masturbate every day is twice as large as the number of women who do so.
The number of women who have not masturbated in the past month is also twice as high as for men (5% of women have not masturbated in the past month compared to 2.5% of men).
The main reason for masturbating is very simple: because we are horny. About 90% give that as the main reason, followed by ‘I masturbate to relax’ (55%). 15% masturbate especially when they are stressed and 10% do it out of pure boredom. Other reasons given as open answers are “I masturbate so as not to ‘bother’ my partner”, or “I only masturbate when allowed by my mistress”. A few women indicated that they did not like masturbating or that they did not masturbate at all.
We masturbate mostly in bed in the evening
The most favorite times to masturbate are the evening and the morning. Combined with the answers that stress-relief and relaxation are the main reason to masturbate, it seems that after a long day at work we masturbate in the evening to relax. There are no significant differences between men and women in this answer.
It is perhaps not surprising that the favorite place to masturbate is the bed (73%). Other favorite places are the bathroom (26%), and the living room (22%). Especially among women the bed is favorite. Among men, the bathroom is their favorite, but men indicate (in open answers) that it actually seems to matter less to them. About 12% of the men also masturbate on the toilet, behind their desk, in the car, in the open air, … in fact everywhere that is convenient.
We know what we are doing: men use their hands and women a sex toy
It seems that we know exactly what we like. Half of the men and half of the women say that they know exactly what works and that is the action they perform every time. Thirty percent of the men and 40% of the women have no fixed routine and do whatever comes into their head at that moment. Some 12% of men and 9% of women like to experiment and keep looking for new ways to satisfy themselves.
Our hands are our favorite means of self-gratification. Almost 44% use their hands exclusively and another 39% use mainly their hands and occasionally a sex toy. Yet here is a striking difference between men and women. Not a single man has indicated to masturbate exclusively with a sex toy, while no less than 12% of the women masturbate exclusively with a toy. Conversely, 58% of men say they masturbate exclusively with their hands, compared to only 12% of women! Also, 35% of the women say they masturbate mainly with a sex toy and occasionally with their hands. With men, this percentage is only 5%. The group which masturbates mainly with the hands and occasionally uses a toy is about the same size (38% of the men against 43% of the women).
Besides sex toys and our hands, about 1 in 5 of both men and women occasionally use an object that is not intended as a sex toy. Objects that have been mentioned by women are a pillow, an electric toothbrush, a hairbrush, a candle or a cucumber. Men also use household objects such as a hairbrush, a toothbrush, a candle, and fruit or vegetables.
Women (32%) more often indicate that masturbating with a sex toy gives a better orgasm than men (16%). Men (58%), on the other hand, indicate that their hands work better than a toy than women (40%).
Incidentally, 60% never use lubricant when masturbating. Of the 40% who do use lubricant, there is little difference between men and women about the type of lubricant. Men use more hand lotion, massage oil or coconut oil as a lubricant.
Nothing beats sex with a partner
No less than 38% of the heterosexual women think that a self induced orgasm is more intense than the one with a partner!
Masturbation is nice, but 60% of both men and women say that sex with a partner gives a more intense orgasm. Interestingly, there is a substantial difference between men and women in the remaining 40%. Men (21%) indicate that it makes no difference: masturbation or sex with a partner. But women (32%) say that masturbating is nicer than sex with a partner! If we zoom in even further, it is mainly heterosexual women who think masturbating is nicer than sex with a partner! No less than 38% of the heterosexual women think that a self induced orgasm is more intense than the one with a partner!
It is also interesting to note that 49% of men and women enjoy masturbating with their partners. About 23% even do this regularly. Bisexual women do this twice as often as heterosexual women.
Men masturbate more often if they have not had sex with their partner for a while. No less than 70% give this reason, against 46% of the women. Women talk more easily about masturbation. More than three quarters of the women talk about it with their partner or girlfriend, against 55% of the men. Both men and women who sometimes talk about masturbation with others, do most of this with their partner and not with friends.
Many people use a tool to stimulate the imagination. After porn movies, fantasies and erotic stories are popular, followed by memories of sex. Women seem to have a slight preference for fantasies and erotic stories, and men for visual stimulation of porn.
Moreover, more than three quarters of the respondents said that they did not masturbate more or less during the corona crisis, but here too, a big difference can be seen between women and men. 81% of the men said they masturbated as often as 57% of the women. They actually did it more often during the coronary crisis, say 20%. Only 10% of men say they masturbated more often. Also, 12% of women say they masturbated less, compared to only 5% of men.
About the survey
This survey ran from 12 April to 30 April via this website. The results are not representative for the Netherlands, because only readers of this website participated. Still, it gives an idea of the differences between the masturbation habits of men and women. However, it does not provide an answer to the ‘why’ of these differences. For that, further research is required.