Why Do People Masturbate? The Most Popular Reasons For Solo Sex

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Masturbation isn't always about sexual urges — a fact I had to explain to a friend who walked in on her husband masturbating, took it as a personal affront, and locked herself in the bathroom for hours to cry. Those who masturbate regularly, have less stress, stronger immune systems, sleep better and, honestly, I can't think of a more fantastic way to kill time when you're bored — and none of these reasons to masturbate are necessarily affiliated with sexual desire. If anything, they're more affiliated with the healthy positive effects masturbation has on us not just physically, but mentally and emotionally, too. A well-masturbated body makes for a very happy brain.

"Get your brain on board with masturbation and your body will thank you," Emily Morse, Doctor of Human Sexuality and host of the Sex With Emily podcast, tells Bustle. "Remember that arousal starts in your head and works its way down. If your mind is good and turned on, it won’t be long until the rest of your body follows suit. To get that big sexy brain on board, start exploring your fantasies and finding new mental triggers that can fuel your self-love sessions."

A lot of people masturbate. Actually, almost everyone masturbates. According to a new survey by Tenga of 1,200 Americans, 95 percent of men and 81 percent of women have masturbated in their lifetime. As for how often people are masturbating, the survey found that men do it, on average, 15 times a month, while women do it eight times a month... I did it almost eight times before work today, but I digress. But why people masturbate is another story entirely.

Tenga asked those 1,200 Americans the reasons behind their masturbation practices. And while sexual pleasure was, naturally, on the list, it's definitely not the only reason people indulge in the ever-popular practice of self-love.

1To Relieve Sexual Tension

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According to the survey, 59 percent of respondents masturbate to relieve sexual tension. Which, at least in my humble opinion, defeats the positive impact on one's sex life that sexual tension can offer. Sexual tension, if allowed to build, can actually create even better sex. Just a bit of food for thought right there.

2For Sexual Pleasure

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Well, of course this is on the list because, well, of course. The survey found that for 56 people, sexual pleasure is the top reason they masturbate. I mean it is, after all, linked to sex, so it makes sense that it's going to pop on the list at some point.

3For Relaxation And Stress Relief

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Of those surveyed, 54 percent masturbate to decrease stress and relax. Between the endorphins that are released during masturbation, the lowered blood pressure it can produce, and release of stress-related tension, turning to masturbation as a healthy — and natural — way to take a load of, so speak, is great option. And a far healthier habit than reaching for a bourbon, at least in the long run.

4To Sleep Better

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I can attest to the fact that masturbating before bed is far more efficient (and fun) than any sleeping pill I've ever taken, and as someone who struggles to fall asleep and stay asleep, my doctors have prescribed a lot of sleeping aids to try. But, time and time again, it's masturbation that wins and 26 percent of those surveyed know this, because this is why they masturbate. Again, we have the releasing of those endorphins that will knock you right out, helping you sleep like a baby.

Millennials Do It To Improve Their Performance

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For 13 percent of Americans, they masturbate to improve their sexual performance. When broken down by generation, 18 percent of millennials masturbate for this reason, while 13 percent of gen-Xers and seven percent of baby boomers report the same.

Masturbation improves sexual performance in a few ways. For starters, it strengthens the pelvic floor, leading to not just the frequency of orgasms, but the intensity of them, too. Secondly, masturbation teaches you what you like, what you don't like, and what techniques work for you. The more you know about your body, the more satisfying your sex life with someone else will be. Thirdly, regular masturbation keeps you feeling sexual, which adds to your desire... and the more you desire and crave sex, the better your sexual performance will be and your sex life will reap the benefits.

People Who Try Mutual Masturbation Love It

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If you haven't tried mutual masturbation, it's time. Mutual masturbation isn't just a fun way to get a sex session off on the right foot, but when you masturbate in front of your partner, you're giving them a very personal, one-on-one lesson in what you like, and, in doing so, it makes you more comfortable with your body.

Of the 1,200 people surveyed, 95 percent of them who have masturbated in front of a partner describe the experience as "good," "very good," or downright "excellent."

Some Find It More Pleasurable Than Sex With A Partner

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As much as I love sex, sometimes I prefer masturbation. I can get in, get out, don't have to cater to someone else's need, and masturbation, in regards to orgasms, is always a sure thing. That being said, for 21 percent of men and 30 percent of women, the reason they masturbate is because they prefer it — and there's nothing wrong with that. No one knows your body like you do, so it's up to you what feels best at any given moment.

Of course these are just a few reasons reasons why people masturbate. I'm surprised as to why the stats on how many people do it out of boredom isn't on there, because according to We-Vibe's 2015 Masturbation Report, 26 percent of people jerk off when they're bored. These are my kind of people.

But no matter the reasons why you're masturbating, what matters most is that you are masturbating. There are no downsides to solo sex, so you really have no reason not to do it — and I can't stress enough just how beneficial it really is.