It seems like the answer to "Does everybody masturbate?" would be a resounding "Yes!". It feels amazing and, quite frankly, I can barely stop doing it. But new data shows that factors like your age and where you live can effect whether or not you make the most of your alone time.
That's why TENGA, a sex toy brand, looked into masturbation habits around the world for their Global Self Pleasure Report 2018. They looked at over 13,000 men and women from 18 countries and what they found is really interesting — partially because there is evidence that masturbation still holds a big taboo status, especially in some parts of the world. But it also looks like that taboo is effecting pleasure, especially female pleasure.
In fact, according to their data 30 percent of adults worldwide have lied about masturbation. It's worrying — especially because they also found that people in cultures where they talk more openly about sex and masturbation were more likely to be sexually satisfied. Talking about masturbation is not only really freeing, can be a great resource.
"I think there are three main ways talking about [masturbation] can be beneficial," Sexologist and author Dr. Nikki Goldstein tells Bustle. "First of all to normalize it, especially for woman. The more we talk about it the more we start to understand that everyone does it or at least has the desire to. The other is swapping secret and tips. Masturbation shouldn't just be straight forward. There are so many ways to do it and to make it feel good. If we defined it as self-pleasuring instead of masturbation we also might be able to help people expand the ways they experience it. It is also important that couples discuss it as often one or both people in the relationship define masturbation as cheating. Masturbation in a relationship can be very healthy but to get to that point there needs to be a certain amount of discussion first."
But here was the really interesting, if slightly concerning part — there was a huge difference in the percentage of women and the percentage of men who reported masturbating. Even though most people do it — 78 percent of people overall reported some solo exploration— there was a big discrepancy between the amount of females and males who masturbate in any given country.
Although some countries had bigger discrepancies than others — and certain areas of the world seemed to have fewer female who do it, perhaps due to more constrained gender norms.
Here's what the TENGA survey found, because the U.S. was not number one this time.
1United Kingdom: 78%
The United Kingdom came in at #1. And although 78 percent of women masturbating may seem like a lot, it's still well below the 96 percent of UK men who do it.
Germany came tied for second, with 76 percent of women masturbating. Though, interestingly 93 percent of German men do the same.
2United States: 76%
The U.S. was tied for second, with 76 percent of women masturbating from time to time. U.S. men were actually fifth on the list, with 92 percent of them masturbating. That's not even a bronze medal, guys.
Sixty-five percent may seem like a pretty large chunk of female masturbators, but in Taiwan 94 percent of men reported doing it — so we're starting to see some really large differences between men and women.
Now, 58 percent of women may be more than half, but it's nothing compared to the 96 percent of Japanese men who masturbate. According to TENGA's statistics, the biggest discrepancies between male and female masturbation levels seems to happen in Asian countries.
6South Korea: 56%
Although over half of women in South Korea reported masturbating, 96 percent of men did — which is a whopping 40 percent difference.
In China, less than half of women — 48 percent — reported masturbating. Now, Chinese men also had relatively low rates, with only 80 percent reporting they masturbated, but even here you can still see a huge divide between male and female levels.
Masturbation is a totally natural, totally wonderful form of self-care — and a great way to get in touch with your body. It shouldn't matter where you live or what gender you are — if it feels good, do it.