MASTURBATING MAY NOT be a touchy subject for you—well…you know what we mean—but for women, it’s not exactly the subject of regular conversation.
But that’s changing.
Now that it’s May, which has been declared National Masturbation Month by people who presumably care about publicizing these things, a number of sexual health advocates are working to normalize self-pleasure. In lieu of driving the conversation, there’s plenty of research popping up about men and women’s masturbation habits. The latest comes from Lovehoney, one of (surprise!) the world’s biggest global sex toy retailers.
Lovehoney conducted a survey of 4,500 people, polling them about how often they touch themselves, what it does for their mood, and what they usually think about in the process.
The poll revealed that 59% of men and 51% of women masturbate regularly, regardless of if they’re in a relationship or not. What’s more, 60% of men and 69% of women said masturbation made them feel uplifted, and that it enhanced their sex life (20% of men and 34% of women, respectively).
Fantasies were pretty streamlined among sexes, too: About 69% of men and 60% of women conjure up sexual scenarios of their current partner.
Another good chunk of people (58% of men and 48% of women) envision dirty thoughts about a former lover when they masturbate—which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. “Fantasies allow monogamous couples to get all the pleasure of ‘new’ sex without the pain of broken hearts and relationship,” Tracey Cox, a sex and relationships expert, said in Lovehoney’s press release. “Most people have the odd struggle balancing the pros of monogamy (history, soul mate connection, love, comfort, kids, support) with the cons (having to say no to temptation just because you’re in love doesn’t mean you don’t find others attractive),” she adds. “A rich fantasy life can offer the solution to keeping everyone happy.”
Of course, women—like men—also turn to erotic clips or pics they’ve seen online, think about roleplay scenarios, and mentally go through racy situations involcing BDSM, according to the survey.
Oh, and just in case you’re wondering: Here are 9 more benefits of solo sexy time.