What drives masturbation?

Although sexologists say that masturbation is normal, it often is a taboo topic. It is certainly a common habit, although it’s unclear what drives self-eroticism in men and women who have a stable partner. A team of researchers from the University of Texas in Austin and Brigham Young University interviewed more than 7,600 men and 8,000 women aged between 18 and 60 and asked them how often they masturbated over the last two weeks, and how much sex they had with their partner during the same period. The answers helped wipe out some pre-conceptions. First and foremost, the idea that masturbation is a substitute for regular sexual intercourse and comes into play when the couple's sex-life becomes less frequent. However, the study showed that the frequency with which the participants had sex with their partner did not change in those who admitted masturbating over the past two weeks (about 61% of men and 35% of women). The study showed a dependence on subjective satisfaction with intercourse frequency rather than the absolute frequency. Participants who admitted they masturbated more frequently were, on average, less satisfied with their sex-life.

Regnerus, M., Price, J., and Gordon, D., Masturbation and Partnered Sex: Substitutes or Complements?, Archives of Sexual Behavior (2017)

PP-SH-UK-0016 | Date of preparation: Feb 2018