Why is masturbation mostly seen as a ‘male thing’?

Mar 20, 2021

Young men have long-held the reputation for being the world’s most avid masturbators—but what about their female counterparts? Let’s unpack some gender-related masturbatory stereotypes, by looking at the data shared in some of the world’s most recent sexual studies.

A new study published in the Journal of Sex Research, suggests (perhaps unsurprisingly) that young men and women have closely comparable masturbation habits.

This self-love study compiled survey results from 1,452 men and 1,566 women between the ages of 18 and 22. And while of course, there were a few gender differences, the study's general findings state that, "a large proportion of men and women reported similar experiences.”

For example, men generally begin masturbating at the age of 12.5, while women started by age 13.7, on average. Meanwhile, 95.4% of men and 86.8% of women admitted to using fantasies while masturbating.

The study also debunked the notion that, girls need toys to get off. Only about 8% of women - compared to 1.4% of men—said they brought objects into bed regularly for solo purposes.

Again, these numbers aren't 100% the same, and do vary from country to country, but the differences are still much smaller than our society would have us believe.

A study conducted in Sweden, where attitudes about sex and gender are among the most progressive in the world, found stats that were even more similar, despite gender. This is undoubtedly due to the fact that there is less and less sexual shame associated with female pleasure and the female body there. We can see this in the Swedish language, where the word klittra, (meaning female masturbation), was added to the Swedish Language Council's official new word list in 2015.

When society starts beginning to accept female masturbation as equal to male masturbation… just as pleasurable, just as frequent, just as casual— then we’ll really be getting somewhere. Perhaps then the orgasm gap will be a thing of the past.

But today, our work is far from over — not just in raising awareness of its existence — but in exploring the deep and complex reasons as to why it’s so difficult for women to ask for and receive orgasms. We must give people the tools they need to explore their own sexual pleasure, and the confidence to communicate that with their partners, and with themselves.

 Sexual equality starts with acceptance of female empowerment and pleasure… 

And pleasure is an endless exploration…


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