Let’s talk about masturbation: Tenga study reveals many of us do

Posted: May 10, 2017

Tenga has released the results of a UK study it conducted earlier this year and it appears that many Brits are more than comfortable with, and talking about, the subject of masturbation. The YouGov study commissioned by Tenga polled 2,035 UK adults between 28th February – 1st March 2017 and the results have been unveiled now to coincide with May being International Masturbation Month.

Despite our national stereotype of prudery when it comes to sex, more than four in five (83%) British people in a relationship say they masturbate when they are alone and over half (51%) of these say their other half is aware of it. The most popular person to think about when masturbating for all adults was their current partner (35%), rather than fantasising about a celebrity (16%) or past lover (23%).

And although baby boomers grew up in the generation of free love, its today’s youth who are embracing self-love. A fifth (18%) of millennials (18-34s) talk openly about masturbation at least once a month, compared to only five per cent of Generation X (35-54s) and two per cent of baby boomers (55+). Nearly half of millennials (40%) say they are comfortable talking openly about masturbation compared with just 26% of Gen X-ers and 20% of baby boomers respectively.

Over half of Brits feel that talking about masturbation still isn’t culturally acceptable (55%) but the study found that it’s a very different story behind closed doors. 85% of people who have masturbated alone and been in a relationship say they would have no issues with their partner indulging in some self-love from time to time. Most of these (78%) say it’s OK for their partner to masturbate because it’s a natural thing to do and 60% say it would be OK as they do it too.

Furthermore, a desire to be more open about the ‘M’ word in relationships is a growing trend, as a fifth of those who masturbate without their partner’s knowledge (22%) want to be more open about their masturbation habits with their partner.

While the most common reason for masturbating is to achieve sexual pleasure while solo (52%), many under 35s are also using masturbation as a sex-positive tool. A fifth (21%) of millennials (18-34s) use masturbation to explore their sexual preferences and desires and 16% say they do it to feel more comfortable with their body. One in ten (11%) feels that masturbation helps them improve their sexual performance.

Alix Fox, sex and relationships educator and ambassador for Tenga [pictured], commented: “Let’s not (ahem!) beat around the bush: the truth is that the majority of Brits masturbate, but it’s a subject that culturally, not all of us feel comfortable and confident about discussing openly. It seems we find it a great deal more acceptable to converse about partnered sex than we do about solo sex – and that’s an imbalance we need to put right, because the root of all good sex is exploring and knowing your own body, preferences and needs.

“By not talking about masturbation, we’re missing key opportunities to have constructive conversations about sexual health, happiness and wellbeing. Chatting about self-love can introduce us to fresh ideas, tools and techniques that could potentially bring us new levels of joy. Masturbation is a natural, healthy, positive thing to do. It’s high time we stopped shrouding it in silence, stigma and shame.”

The study was commissioned to understand Brits’ habits and views about masturbation in today’s society to mark International Masturbation Month. Tenga says that previous studies have found that masturbation can help prevent depression by increasing the level of endorphins in the bloodstream and it enables couples to explore their sexual relationship with a lower risk of contracting STIs.

The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+). For more information on the survey visit www.masturbationmatters.co.uk