What Your Masturbation Habits Really Say About Your Sex Life
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Whether you're in a relationship or not, masturbation is a healthy, fulfilling, and incredibly common act. Despite the fact that singles do tend to masturbate more often than couples, a Tenga survey conducted in 2016 found Americans in relationships masturbate an average of 10 times per month (singles do it an average of 16 times). But when you're in a relationship, can your masturbation habits affect your sex life in a negative way of any sort? According to a new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, it's actually the other way around, which of course, makes total sense because masturbation can teach us so much about our sexual desires and body.

"There are an endless number of reasons to masturbate. Learning how to make yourself orgasm is the most empowering experience you will ever have," Vanessa Marin, sex therapist and founder of Finishing School, tells Bustle. "You'll also learn how to teach a partner how to bring you pleasure."

Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and Brigham Young University surveyed over 7,600 men and 8,000 women, between the ages 18 to 60, on masturbation and their sex lives. They wanted to explore the relationship between sexual frequency and masturbation to see whether masturbating compensated for unavailable sex, complemented it, or really had no effect at all. So participants were asked questions like whether or not they masturbated in the past two weeks, how often they had sex throughout that time, and if so, how happy they were with the sex.

So does masturbating help or hurt your sex life? Here's what the study had to say:

Frequency Isn't An Issue

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People who do and don't masturbate often had similar amounts of sex. But, there's really no link between how often you have sex with a partner and how often you go at it solo, the study found.

So just because someone masturbates a lot, it doesn't necessarily mean they're not having a ton of sex.

Your Sex Life Actually Determines How Often You Masturbate

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The thing that really matters here is sexual satisfaction. How happy are you with the sex you're having with your partner? According to the study, men in particular, tend to masturbate more when they're less satisfied with their sex lives. Overall, less satisfied men had the highest rates of masturbation.

Women Are More Likely To Find That Masturbation Complements Their Sex Lives

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While men were more likely to use masturbation as a way to compensate for the lack of satisfying sex, women used it complement it. Since unfortunately the orgasm gap is still alive and well and straight women tend to orgasm less than everyone else, it makes sense. But again, how satisfied they were with their sex-lives determined how often they masturbate.

The biggest takeaway here is, when you're in a relationship, you shouldn't ever think of masturbation as a sex life killer. For some, it can actually enhance it. For others, it can compensate for the sex they wish they were having. So if you're questioning whether or not you're having good sex, your masturbation habits may have the answer.