NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Sexual Wellness: The 2021 Self-Pleasure Survey

I was listening to a recent episode on the Sex and Psychology podcast called The Magic of Masturbation hosted by Dr. Justin J. Lehmiller, who is a psychologist and a sex researcher for the Kinsey Institute (see my articles: Sexual Pleasure and the Erotic Self - Part 1 and Part 2).

Sexual Wellness: The 2021 Survey

The guest was Marie Aoyama from the Japanese sexual health and wellness brand, TENGA.  They were discussing the findings of the TENGA 2021 Self-Pleasure Report (in this article, I'm using the terms "self pleasure" and "masturbation" interchangeably).

The organization surveyed 1,000 American adults, ages 18-54, and the findings offered some interesting insights into their attitudes and practices about masturbation as well as the changes that resulted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2021 TENGA Self-Pleasure Survey Results
The survey revealed that 50% of adults ages 18-54 years old included self pleasure as part of their self care routine.

In addition, the respondents reported the following sexual wellness benefits:
  • Improved mood:  73%
  • Reduction in stress: 73%
  • Improved sleep: 74% 
  • Improved body image: 51%
  • Improved self confidence: 57%
  • Improved sense of sex appeal: 59%
Forty-two per cent of the respondents also revealed that during the COVID-19 pandemic, they coped with stress, anxiety, uncertainty and boredom by masturbating more often than prior to the pandemic.

Of the total 42%, the breakdown for men and women was as follows:
  • Men: 49%
  • Women: 32%
General Findings of the Survey:
  • People who masturbated over the last year: 86%
  • People who felt comfortable talking about masturbation with their partners/spouses or close friends: 60%
The discrepancy between the 86% and the 60% indicates that people still feel there's a stigma involved with masturbation, and they don't feel comfortable enough to talk to their own partners/spouses about it (see my articles: Are You Too Ashamed to Share Your Sexual Fantasies With Your Partner? and How to Talk to Your Partner About Sex - Part 1 and Part 2).

This reticence to talk about self pleasuring exists despite the fact that most people masturbate and despite the health benefits cited above--improved mood, reduced stress and so on.

In addition to the benefits cited above, masturbation helps you to explore what you like and what you don't like sexually, which can improve your sex life with a partner (see my article: Women's Sexuality: Tips on Sexual Self Discovery).

Self pleasuring, also known as masturbation, is a healthy, normal and safe way to practice self care as part of a sexual wellness routine.

Masturbation has many benefits for your body and mind, as described above.

Getting Help in Therapy
Many people grew up in a family where masturbation was considered taboo.  

If you're struggling with guilt and shame about masturbation or about your body, you could benefit from seeking help from a licensed mental health professional.

When you free yourself from guilt and shame, you can lead a healthier, more fulfilling life.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT and Somatic Experiencing therapist (see my article: The Therapeutic Benefits of Integrative Psychotherapy).

I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.