Mind the Masturbation Gap

Lovehoney marks International Equal Masturbation Day 2023 as wanking gap widens

Cancel your plans for Sunday, as we’re here to inform you that this year’s International Equal Masturbation Day takes place on the 30th July.

Based on the results of the fourth annual global Lovehoney x Womanizer survey, the day highlights a significant disparity in the frequency of masturbation between genders. With Equal Masturbation Day impending, the sexual wellness brands want to draw attention to the social imbalance surrounding the taboo of female pleasure and the shame associated with it.

What is Equal Masturbation Day?

Equal Masturbation Day (EMD) is a day coined by sexual pleasure brand Womanizer to represent the masturbation gap between men and women, using data from a global study (now in its 4th year, this time in collaboration with Lovehoney). Using similar logic to the various Equal Pay Days around the globe, the day marks the moment in the year that women would need to start masturbating at their current rate to have wanked the same amount of times as their male counterparts come the end of the year.

For example, International Equal Masturbation Day falls this year on the 30th July, because the global masturbation gap is 57.7%, and 57.7% of 365 (days) is 211, and the 211th day of the year is the 30th July (trust us, we have checked and double-checked the maths). Incidentally, the UK’s Equal Masturbation Day falls even later this year, but more on that in a moment.

When is UK’s Equal Masturbation Day?

If you thought that this forward-thinking and sexually liberal nation is ahead of the curve when it comes to wanking equality, you would be sadly mistaken. While the International Equal Masturbation Day falls on the 30th July, the UK equivalent takes place a fortnight later, on the 18th August. While the UK boasted one of the earliest EMDs in 2022 – the 8th May – it has this year fallen well behind the global average, with the masturbation gap rising to a significant and eye-watering 63%.

The Masturbation Gap Widens

UK masturbation gap

Surprising statistics from Lovehoney’s latest insights on masturbation habits, suggest that it is women across the globe, that are feeling the effects most significantly.

With world-wide economics in declining crisis, females admit to masturbating less, creating a gender disparity in self-pleasure and leaving the global masturbation gap at a record breaking 57.71%, a 10% increase from numbers recorded during the previous year. In the UK specifically, the masturbation gap has ALMOST DOUBLED, rising from 35% in 2022 to 63% in 2023.

More for the Men, Less for the Women

Inequality of masturbation between men and women

Despite almost closing the masturbation gap in more recent years, the pressures of every day living, mounting costs and economical changes seem to be causing havoc with our intent to indulge in self-pleasure, almost reversing the progress made when it comes to narrowing down the masturbation gap between males and females.

Globally, the gap widens not from women masturbating less, but from men choosing to prioritise their self-pleasure more frequently.

While female participants reported rates of masturbation for 2023consistent with those recorded in 2022 (an average on 70 times per year), males masturbated 166 times (an increase on 2022’s numbers of 145 times).

In the UK however, the masturbation numbers show a significant difference to 2022, with women masturbating much less frequently on average, and men doing quite the opposite. In 2022, men masturbated an average of 154 times, with the nation’s women hot on their heels with an average of 100. This year however, men’s numbers have increased to 191, with women’s dropping to 71 times per year.

Is the Difference in Libido?

Libido difference between the sexes in the UK

With an increasing masturbation gap, the question arises whether men also rate their own sex drive higher than women do. However, the survey found that the average libido for females in 2023 is 5.73 out of 10, while for males, it is 6.8. In 2022, the average female libido was 5.76, while for males, it was 6.53.

These findings suggest that while there may be differences in masturbation habits, there are no significant global differences in overall libido between genders.

Once again however, the United Kingdom somewhat bucks the trend; the 2023 numbers are a rating of 6.8 for males and 5.5 for women (an increase from 6.32 for males in 2022, and a decrease from 6.13 for females). So not only has the masturbation gap between men and women in the UK significantly widened, but a libido gap has also opened up.

A Global Impact

Globally, masturbation for both males and females differs dependant on country and culture. The Lovehoney & Womanizer annual masturbation survey revealed that 25% of global females do not masturbate, while 11% of global males reported not masturbating (in 2022, these figures were 21% for females and 14% for males).

When it comes to the masturbation championships though, it’s the American women taking home the gold, with average of 90 masturbation sessions per year. French females take bronze, masturbating the least often with 66 times per year.

Same as for women, American men also lead the ranking with an average of 144.75 times per year, while Singaporean men on average masturbate 99 times per year. These findings show that cultural and regional factors play a role in sexual behaviour.

Lovehoney’s annual global survey involved 14,816 participants from 11 countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

An Economic Disaster or Sexual Wellness Crisis?

Money worries and financial pressures don’t just affect our bank balances – it seems they can put our desire for sexual self-pleasure well into the red too.

An Expert’s Take

Lovehoney’s sex and relationships expert Annabelle Knight noted that “there are many reasons as to why the masturbation gap exists, but one of the primary ones is that there is still a stigma and taboo around female masturbation, where the same doesn’t exist for males. It’s the exact reason why we continue to do this study, to try and break down the societal taboo around masturbation and sex in general.”

Knight added: “the fact that the masturbation gap has widened and libido among women has actually fallen is alarming – it's no secret that economic downturn hits women harder than it does men, and this could be a reason for this. All we can do is encourage people of all genders to embrace sex positivity and be proud of it.”

All Work and No Play

Across the globe, there are common themes for feeling the impact on our sexual wellness. One of those contributing factors is a lack of time for personal activities such as self-pleasure. To meet financial demands, more individuals need to work longer hours, or take on additional jobs to afford the cost of living.

Sandwich generations, in particular, who are tasked with caring for their parents and young children, may find it difficult to find time and energy for sexual self-exploration.

Too Tired to Tango

The combination of financial stress and increased responsibilities can lead to a sense of overwhelm and fatigue, making it difficult for women to find the time and energy to engage in sexual activity.

In addition, the return to commuting to work can also contribute to stress and fatigue, making it difficult for women to feel energized and interested in sexual activity.


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