How Often Should You Masturbate? Balancing Pleasure and Well-being

Discover the difference in how often men and women masturbate, if that changes with age and if there is such a thing as masturbating too much.

Published Sep 13 2022 10 min read

How often should I really be masturbating? The odds are you’ve asked yourself this question at some point in your sexual life. Maybe even multiple times. You might have asked yourself when you were a teenager when it seemed like you couldn’t get enough of solo play time. You might have asked yourself this question when you are ovulating and your body desires more sexual activities. Whatever might have prompted the question, the answer depends on you and your needs. 

Masturbation is much more common than you may think and is normal for all sexes. It is a healthy sexual behavior anyone can engage in. However, when it comes down to it, masturbation is a pretty personal thing, and there's no straight answer to this question. This article provides answers to burning questions you may have on how often men and women masturbate on average, whether masturbation frequency changes with age, and the benefits and downsides of masturbating. By the end of the article, you should easily be able to answer the question of how often you should masturbate for yourself.

How often do men masturbate?

How often do men masturbate?  

It's a little challenging to answer how often men masturbate because each person is different. Each individual has unique sexual urges and needs and goes about satisfying them in varying ways. Factors such as whether or not you have a sexual partner, age, and health come into play when determining how often men masturbate.  

Some research shows that men between 18 and 59 masturbate a few times a month or week. About 20% of participants in the study masturbated two to three times a week, and less than 20% masturbated more than four times a week. Researchers also found that the average man spent around 4.89 minutes masturbating before they climaxed. 

You might find that if you masturbate twice or more in quick succession, it takes longer to ejaculate; this is normal. However, the masturbation myth that it lowers your sperm count has been completely disproven. And while we are addressing male masturbation stigma, men also use sex toys or vibrators to masturbate (vibrators are not just for women). Approximately 43.8% of men reported using a vibrator in their lifetime. So enjoy solo time as often as you want and play around with male sex toys; you may discover a ‘sensational’ thing or two. 

How often do women masturbate?

How often do women masturbate? 

While generalizations are a slippery slope, women seem to masturbate significantly less often than menHowever, the reasons are nuanced. For centuries, masturbation has been seen as more taboo for women than men in many societies, and this sentiment lingers today. Women don’t necessarily masturbate less because they have lower sexual drives and urges, but they are more likely to be discouraged from masturbating than male counterparts. Female masturbation is healthy and normal and should be encouraged for all women to have healthy and active sex lives.  

How often a woman masturbates typically depends on a couple of things such as age, sexual drive, and other factors. Women with higher sexual drives tend to masturbate more often. In a 2019 study, the majority of women reported masturbating between 1 and 3 time a week, and 91.5% of participants also reported that they continued to masturbate while in a relationship.  

Another fun fact about masturbation? Over 50% of women have used a vibrator. That’s right female sex toys can seriously improve the masturbation experience, and masturbating with a vibrator is one way to learn what you like best by exploring erogenous zones. That checks out since women are more likely to climax or climax faster when masturbating than when having sex. On average, women reach orgasm in 8 minutes when masturbating versus 14 minutes during sex with a partner. 

Women masturbate for varying reasons, from sexual desire to stress relief and relaxation, and there's no limit to the number of times you can masturbate in a week or month. It all comes down to your wants and needs.  

How does masturbation frequency change with age?  

Looking back at your teenage years, you may wonder how that seemingly unending libido dissipated. This is because sexual desire and urges morph with age; as a result, masturbation frequency is likely to also change with age. However, it’s not as cut and dry as the older you get the less frequently you masturbate. People who didn't masturbate as teenagers and only just discovered sexual desire in adulthood may masturbate more frequently than those who have been masturbating since adolescence. The newness of experiencing the pleasures of solo play may cause you to do it more often.  

Across all age groups, men and women report masturbating more often as they age – to a certain point, and then it does decline, but not as much as you’d think. During those hormonal teenager years, 74% of men and 48% of women report masturbating. And plenty of people in their 50s and 60s continue to engage in healthy masturbation with 63% of men and 32% of women continuing their self-care regimes. 

Interestingly, in a survey of sexual health and behavior carried out by the Kinsey Institute, researchers found that teenagers and people over 70 masturbated more often than they had sex. There’s a wealth of sexual satisfaction to be had in midlife and beyond, so the adage rings true when they say, “age is nothing but a number,” at least in terms of masturbation.  

How often should you masturbate in a relationship?

How often should you masturbate in a relationship? 

How often you masturbate in a relationship really depends on you and what you want. Your masturbation practice and frequency are yours to decide, regardless of your relationship status. Masturbation can not only boost your sexual health, but it can also increase the pleasure and intimacy you share with your partner. When you masturbate, you become more attuned to what your body wants. You have a better understanding of the things that turn you on and the things that don't. Sharing this with your partner can help them discover the best ways to please you. Mutual masturbation with your partner is also a great way to add variety and spice up your sex life. However, it’s also understandable if you prefer to have your needs fulfilled by your partner.  

There are scenarios where you may find yourself masturbating more in a relationship. For instance, if you’re involved in a long-distance relationship and your partner isn't physically present to meet your needs. Even from afar, you can still involve your partner in your masturbation practices to keep intimacy alive. Phone sex, sexting, and dirty talk are ways to keep sexual intimacy alive with a partner who is far away. 

Masturbation habits can also look different for men and women in a relationship. One study found that women who were more sexually active and satisfied actually masturbated more, and conversely, men who were having less sex or less sexually satisfied masturbated more. Everyone’s reasons for masturbating are going to be different depending on their preference and circumstance. The only absolute is that there is no absolute.  

Is it possible to masturbate too much?

Is it possible to masturbate too much? 

Generally speaking, masturbation has no health consequences, unless you’re overly enthusiastic and find yourself with friction burn, which needless to say, can be quite uncomfortable and painful. Lubricant is your ally in avoiding friction burns – use it. 

Now, the caveat here is if masturbation is getting in the way of you maintaining healthy relationships, work, and social life, that may be a sign of a broader issue that you can discuss with a qualified healthcare professional. Frequent masturbation doesn't inherently necessitate a problem, it could also indicate an abundance of energy, but if it becomes problematic or too time-consuming, you may want to find another method of exerting that energy, such as engaging in sports or other non-sexual physical activities.  

Benefits of masturbation  

Is masturbation good for you? The short answer is that it can be. One of the most significant benefits of masturbating is that it encourages a healthy sex life with yourself and with a partner if you have one. Masturbation has been linked to several other health and wellness benefits that may surprise you. They include:

  1. Stress relief: Masturbating has been shown to help relieve stress and anxiety. When you climax, your body releases endorphins. Endorphins are chemical messengers that have been proven to lower stress levels.  
  2. Strengthen your pelvic muscles: Masturbating gives the muscles on the floor of your pelvis a good workout, strengthening and helping to prevent conditions like erectile dysfunction or urinary incontinence. 
  3. Prevent UTIs: For women, masturbating can help to prevent urinary tract infections. Masturbating helps to rid your cervix of harmful bacteria that can cause infections. 
  4. Boosts your mood: When you climax, your body releases a cocktail of hormones such as dopamine and epinephrine, which are natural mood boosters. 
  5. Encourages self-love and awareness: Masturbating helps you to get to know yourself and your body more intimately. The process of discovering the things you like and the things you don't sexually encourage self-love and awareness. 
  6. Reduced risk of developing prostate cancer: A study shows that frequently climaxing may be linked to reduced cancer risk.
  7. It's safe sex: Masturbating is the safest sexual activity you can engage in. With masturbating, the risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection or disease is almost non-existent. 
  8. Agency over your sexuality: Masturbating gives you great agency over your sexuality. It allows you to explore your sexuality through audio porn, books, or other ways in a safe and judgment-free zone.   

Benefits of Masturbating

Benefits of not masturbating  

Many of the most commonly touted downsides of masturbating have been debunked. One such study claimed that men who didn't masturbate for up to a week experienced a boost in testosterone, but that study has been retracted. Another common claim is that abstaining from masturbation can lower stress levels and boost your mood. However, more evidence supports that masturbating can reduce stress levels and raise spirits. There seems to be very little evidence of the adverse effects of masturbation. Some people claimed that abstaining from sex helped them improve their sexual self-regulation. However, when looked at by researchers, they found that this abstinence was mostly motivated by conflicting attitudes about masturbation, decreased genital sensitivity, and pornography addiction. In a nutshell, different strokes for different folks, if it works for you, then just do it (or not).  

So how often should I masturbate?  

21 times a month... just kidding (unless you’re into it, then go crazy). You may have seen that number floating around on the internet with regard to the recommended amount of ejaculation for men. That’s because one such study found that men who ejaculated on average 21 times a month were less likely than those who did it less to be at risk for developing prostate cancer. The takeaway is that masturbation can increase overall health and wellness, but that’s not a hard and fast number to live by.  

The answer to how often you should masturbate all depends on you and your sexual needs. While some people find it normal to masturbate daily, you may find it excessive. The key is finding what works for you and makes you most comfortable. If your masturbation practices don't affect your daily functioning or cause you to become less social, that's a sign that you are on a healthy path.

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