Masturbation is NOT necessary for men’s health and does NOT improve male reproductive functions. In the vast majority of men, nocturnal erections as well as occasional nocturnal emissions (wet dreams) are all that is necessary to maintain sexual health during periods of sexual inactivity. Men who hold personal or religious beliefs against masturbating should feel confident that their choice to not masturbate does not have negative impacts on their reproductive health. In fact, men can and often do become addicted to masturbation. Only in specific situations can masturbation improve reproductive symptoms in which it may be prescribed for men suffering from certain types congestive prostatitis or prostatic congestion. Nothing in this section should be seen as promoting masturbation, but more shedding light on it's prevalence, discovery during puberty, and frequency in the general public. For thos seeking to overcome a masturbation habit or addiction, click HERE.
Masturbation is defined as physical or manual stimulation of the genitals (almost always the penis) to elicit sexual sensations that lead to ejaculation.
However, one form of masturbation is often referred to as “sexual denial”. This occurs when physical stimulation increases sexual tension and fluid production. However, the individual stops physical stimulation before ejaculation and orgasm can occur. This is sometimes seen in men who try to prolong masturbation times. It can also occur in men who want to quit a masturbation habit or addiction. In these men, they have often made a goal not to ejaculate or towards the end of the process rethink their decision and cease stimulation. Sexual denial is not physically healthy for the male reproductive system as sexual stimulation increases seminal fluid production within the reproductive glands that can create swelling, congestion, and some discomfort.
For the remainder of this section, we will refer to masturbation as sexual stimulation that results in ejaculation and as a form of sexual self-indulgence.
PREVALENCE & AWARENESS
It is estimated that over 90% of men masturbate or have masturbated at some point in their life. This number may be different in religious groups such as some Christians (Catholics, Latter-day Saints, and some other denominations), Muslims, some Jewish sects, and some other faiths where masturbation is discouraged. However, these groups may often still see high rates of young men and adult men who have masturbated at some point in their life although perhaps less frequently and for shorter periods of time in their life. This high masturbation rate even in these religious groups may be due in part to the fact that in many young men are not educated about masturbation until after the young man has already discovered either through self-experimentation or from outside sources (friends, internet pornography, etc.) how to masturbate.
We conducted two separate surveys and both showed that 91% of men and young men either masturbated or had masturbated at some point. However, it is most likely that masturbation rates vary in different groups of men. For example groups who have religious beliefs prohibiting masturbation may have rates that are lower than those seen in these surveys. On the other hand, men in sexually saturated societies may have higher rates of masturbation.
When men were asked about their masturbation habits as teens, two-thirds (66%) indicated that they masturbated regularly throughout their teen years. This was compared to 22% who masturbated at some point but had at least one full year during/after puberty where they did not masturbate. Only 12% of men indicated they had not masturbated as teenagers.
Masturbation can begin at a young age. In fact, one of our studies looked at 188 men who reported masturbating regularly during their teen years. This survey found that 60% had their first ejaculation through masturbation, so they had masturbated before their body was sexually mature enough to ejaculate via a wet dream. The age of first experience with masturbation in our survey found the following:
When these same men were asked how they first discovered masturbation. Over half discovered how to do it randomly/accidentally. An additional one-fourth discovered how “finish off” ejaculation after waking up trying to have a wet dream, and the other one-fourth learned how to masturbate from friends or watching porn. Exact breakouts are show below:
This actually isn’t too surprising given the sources young men had about masturbation before actually masturbating. One third didn’t have any knowledge of what masturbation was before they first masturbated. Below is a chart indicating where young men had learned/heard about masturbation before masturbating for the first time:
CONSISTENCY & FREQUENCY
In men who have masturbated, there is some variation in how consistently masturbation was a part of their life. One survey asked 370 men if they ever had times in their teen years that they didn’t masturbate. 75% masturbated regularly without ever having periods where they didn’t’ masturbate. This was compared to 25-57% of teens who had years where they didn’t masturbate and other years where they did. Up to three-fourths of men reported masturbating consistently as a teenager, but this number dropped to nearly one-third by adulthood.
As far as frequency, we asked 243 men who reported masturbating consistently as teenagers, how often they engaged in masturbation. Half reported masturbating multiple times per week or most days.
As you can see from these results, nearly three-fourths of men reported masturbating most days to multiple times per day. Which begs the question, is masturbation addictive? The short answer is “it can be”. For some men, masturbating may only be a habit, something that they can stop doing with minimal effort. The number of years a man has masturbated may play a role as to whether masturbation is simply a “habit” or if it has progressed to an addiction. This was shown in our surveys where 29% of teens were able to quit masturbating cold turkey compared to only 12% of adult men. An addition 27% of teens were able to quite masturbating within two months compared to 21% of adults. Overall, this resulted in nearly 56% of teens being able to quit masturbating within two months compared to just 31% of adults. See the results of the study below:
From the above data, you can see that some teens and men are never able to quit, and some take years to be able to stop masturbating. This is considered masturbation addiction which is discussed here.
All tables shown in images are original content