How Much Masturbation Is Normal? The Answer Might Surprise You

Isla Murray/Bustle Stock

When it comes to masturbation, there's a sort of quiet understanding among most people that it's not really something to bring up in a normal conversation. But is masturbation normal? Well, what's the use of having a top notch statistics firm like Five Thirty-Eight running around out there in the world if they can't answer that sort of thing?

After someone wrote into Five Thirty-Eight's new "Dear Mona" series asking if their masturbation habits were normal, Mona did the guy a favor and crunched some numbers from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, and came to the conclusion that his masturbation habits weren't typical, at least according to the average self-report in the survey. But what about the rest of us? Well, thankfully, Five Thirty-Eight has an infographic for that.

According the numbers, men masturbate more than women across the board, regardless of age range. But women still masturbate more than society at large might like to admit. In fact, over 50 percent of women in all age groups between 18 and 59 spend at least some time pleasuring themselves, though it's unusual in any age group for women and girls to do so more than three times a week.

Of course, the stigma around female sexuality and the internalized shame that creates might be lowering these numbers. Even though responses to the survey were anonymous, that still doesn't stop people, especially young women, from being embarrassed and changing their answers accordingly. After all, in the age of Internet surveillance, everyone I know thinks twice before they post anything, regardless of how unlikely it is anyone will ever know. Plus, the "four times a week or more" category is the most frequent category offered, and who want to feel like they fit into the way far end of the spectrum, even if no one else ever knows?

Among guys, predictably, masturbation was more common. In fact, more than 45 percent of guys in their 70s are still masturbating, 1.7 percent of them more than three times per week. Not an image I want in my head, thanks.

So see how your masturbation habits stack up against the rest of your age group. And if it turns out you're an outlier, congratulations! Keep up the good work (you'll probably live longer). Head on over to Five Thirty-Eight for more enlightening charts and info on the subject.