You might think of wondering why people masturbate as an awkward sex ed question, but even as an adult it's worth asking. Because my friends are all pretty open when it comes to talking about masturbation, and despite being of similar age with a lot of things in common, our masturbation habits and preferences are all really over the map. Some of us do it all the time (and by some of, I mean me), some hardly ever masturbate, and others go through phases. With porn, without porn. With vibrators, without vibrators. There are a lot of options — and I have no idea what most people are doing during their solo sessions.
TENGA, a designer of pleasure products for men, interviewed 1,200 Americans to get a better idea of why and how Americans masturbate — as well as any effects it has on their relationships and beyond. This is fascinating, because I find that among my friends there are some very different reasons for— and effects of— masturbation. A few of my friends swear by it as a pre-bed technique for when they can't fall asleep, but I find it's more of a "Wow, I have an itch I need to scratch now" situation. And in fact, it always seems to wake me up, so I've never really bought the idea that it was a sleep aid. I was interested to see if the study agreed. So here's why people are masturbating, because some people are really just trying to prefect their form:
1. To Relieve Sexual Tension
2. Sexual Pleasure
Not far behind, with a 56 percent response rate, was sexual pleasure. I mean, yeah. I feel like it almost goes without saying, but I suppose there are those luxurious sessions that are way more about treating yourself than letting off steam.
3. Stress Relief & Relaxation
Fifty-four percent of people said that they masturbated to relax or relieve stress. Interestingly, Millennials were more likely to say this then Gen Xers or Baby Boomers, with 63 percent of Millennials needing to get off to destress. Student loan debt and knowing we're never going to buy a house is driving us to masturbate. There are worse ways to handle stress.
4. Sleep Aid
Some people do use masturbation to fall asleep, but only 26 percent of respondents named it. The rest must be like me and find that masturbation doesn't make them want to sleep it just makes them want to masturbate more. It's a vicious cycle.
5. To Get Better At Sex
Finally, some people were hoping that masturbation would make them better in the bedroom— but only 13 percent of people are using it as a skill-builder. This was another motivation that was more popular among Millennials. Eighteen percent of Millennials said they were hoping to up their game, compared to 13 percent overall. I'd like to think that we're just multitaskers.
Images: Andrew Zaeh for Bustle; Giphy (5)