Over the course of history, masturbation has been notoriously badgered by some bad science and ridiculous conjectures. No, those who indulge in self-pleasure won’t experience blurred vision, as a Swiss physician in the mid-1700s warned. And then came Jean-Etienne Dominque Esquirol, the French psychiatrist in the 1800s who linked masturbation to mania, who was also wrong. Masturbating won’t cause you to grow hair on your palms, either. What we do know about masturbation is thin — there are few real studies on masturbation, which is why we’re turning to a We-Vibe survey that polled 1,032 people. The survey by the sensual lifestyle company asked both male and females about their masturbation habits, routines, and desires. Here’s what it found:
Celebrities are a masturbation muse for 1 in 3 men
About one in three men think about celebrities while they’re masturbating. Those who fantasize about celebrities while masturbating named Jennifer Lopez as their chief object of desire. Other leading ladies in fantasies include Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Alba, Emma Watson, Kim Kardashian, Megan Fox, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, and Kate Upton.
One in 5 women fantasize about celebrities while masturbating
About one in five women fantasize about celebrities while masturbating. Among the men who landed the starring roles in their sexual fantasies? Channing Tatum (chalk that one up to the Magic Mike movies), Ryan Gosling, Adam Levine, Johnny Depp, and Justin Timberlake.
Those who earn $100,000–$150,000 are most likely to have masturbation routines
The largest indicator as to whether you’ll follow a masturbation routine? Your income bracket. Eighty percent of respondents who earn $100,000 to $150,000 used a routine, making them the most adept to habits. Only half of the respondents earning $150,000 or more use a routine. Fifty-nine percent of those who earned $50,000 or less used a masturbation routine; 62 percent of those earning $50,000 to $75,000 relied on routine; and 72 percent of those earning between $76,000 and $100,000 had go-to routines.
Most men follow masturbation routines
Men are creatures of masturbation habit. Or, at least more men have habits and rituals surrounding masturbation compared to their female counterparts, the We-Vibe data shows. Overall, 62 percent of respondents follow a routine when they please themselves — viewing or watching adult content, listening to music, looking at photos, or using a vibrator. Of those who follow routines, 69 percent are males and 54 percent are females.
One in five people have masturbated in a car
The bedroom is the most common place for practicing self-love. Eight out of ten respondents in a previous We-Vibe study say they prefer to masturbate in their bedroom. However, 20 percent of men and 19 percent of women admit to having masturbated in their car. In the Midwest, 35 percent of people have masturbated in their cars.
59% of people say masturbation relieves their stress
Masturbation may not replace the gym. Or a hike in nature. But masturbation as a form of stress-busting? Yes, say 59 percent of respondents in a past We-Vibe study who say they felt satisfied after doing so. Seventy-six percent of respondents say they feel relieved after masturbation. Beyond alleviating tension, masturbation’s benefits are many, says Dr. Jenni Skyler, director of The Intimacy Institute in Boulder, Colorado. "Masturbating is also a healthy way for an individual to fill in the gaps between sex with a partner who might have a lower sexual desire," she says. In addition, Skyler says masturbation is a key practice for men who experience premature ejaculation, as it helps with their mind-body connection.
5 percent of men always use sex toys when they masturbate
No surprise here: Women are 16 times more likely than men to report always using a sex toy when masturbating, according to the We-Vibe data. Twenty-two percent of women and 5 percent of men almost always use a sex toy when masturbating. A separate study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that 16.6 percent of men said that they have used a vibrator alone during masturbation.
91% of men believe watching new adult films spices up their routines
Eight out of 10 survey respondents in the We-Vibe study say they’re always on the lookout for new adult content to watch. Ninety-one percent of males believe watching new content is the best way to spice up their routine; only 67% of women agree. Meanwhile, 53 percent of women believe incorporating new toys is the best way to spice up their routine and only 22 percent of men agree.
People masturbate more in the winter
Forget summer self-loving. We-Vibe data has shown that people perform to heat things up with themselves in the winter. Eighty-two percent of respondents in a past study said they tend to masturbate more in the winter than any other time of year.
More people are willing to talk about masturbation thanks to TV scenes
Masturbation has been getting some attention in popular shows like Broad City, Transparent, and The Mindy Project. Thanks to seeing sketches about masturbation on TV, 85 percent of respondents say they were more comfortable than ever before to talk about masturbation, according to a previous We-Vibe survey. Nearly seven out of 10 participants in that study reported they have talked about masturbation with their friends. (But, those in Gen-X, the demographic right before Millennials, are less likely to talk about masturbation, as about 65 percent admit to talking about masturbation).