Mind the Masturbation Gap

Our 2024 study finds that men are still masturbating much more frequently than women

A wank a day keeps the doctor away*, but it appears that only half of the country are receiving this memo, as new Lovehoney data finds that the masturbation gap between men and women in the UK in 2024 is 56%.

*not medically proven

Yes, according to our latest research¹, in spite of movements towards the normalisation of masturbation (endorsed by yours truly), there is still a significant gap between the amount that men and women are pleasuring themselves, meaning half of us are missing out on the fun! So, let’s delve into this then.

The Masturbation Gap

UK Masturbation Gap | Lovehoney UK

Lovehoney’s 2024 study reveals that 64% of men in the UK are masturbating at least once a week, while comparatively just 34% of women in the UK are masturbating at least once a week.

Using the average amount that both men and women are masturbating, the boffins at Lovehoney HQ were able to work out that the ‘masturbation gap’ in the UK sits at 56% in 2024. According to the data, the average man masturbates 127 times per year, while the average woman masturbates 56 times per year.

The story is the same across Europe, with an average masturbation gap of 55% between the two genders in question.

A Gendered Taboo?

A Gendered Taboo? | Lovehoney UK

Looking at how open men and women are when it comes to talking about masturbation, it was found that across the board men were more likely to have spoken to someone about the topic. 54% of men in the UK have spoken to friends about masturbation, while just 38% of women have done so.

Similarly, men in the UK were more likely to have spoken to their partner (65% vs. 53%), family (32% vs. 17%), and even strangers online (36% vs. 16%), leading to the interpretation that there is a link between openness talking about masturbation and actually doing it.

A Libido Gap

Libido difference between the sexes in the UK

As well as a difference in the frequency of masturbation, the study found a marked difference between the libido levels of men and women. In the UK, 79% of men testified that their libido was at least 'rather high’, while the number was just 52% of women.

Across Europe the men quoted a similar level of libido, with 80% attesting to having one that was at least rather high, while the European average for women was slightly higher, with 60% saying their libido was rather high or above.

Knowing the men-efits of masturbation

We should all know by now that the benefits of masturbation are manyfold, and reach beyond a simple release of pleasure. For example, studies have shown that masturbation can improve sleep, reduce stress, and have even wider benefits for our overall health.

But are people aware of this? Not everyone, according to the data, which shows that 22% of people in the UK don’t think there are any health benefits to masturbation. This line of thought was found to be much more common in women, 27% of whom said there were no benefits, vs. 17% of men.

Similarly, when asked if they thought improved sleep was a benefit of masturbation, 46% of men said it was, compared to 39% of women, and 64% of men cited stress reduction as a benefit, vs. 60% of women.

An Expert’s Take

Commenting on the findings, Lovehoney’s sex & sexual health expert Sarah Mulindwa said: “There has been a real positive movement towards the normalisation of masturbation generally, and particularly in women in recent years, but the findings show there are still societal taboos that differ between genders. A large part of this stems from the misconceptions about the health benefits of masturbation too; if more people knew and accepted these, the practice in general would become more accepted.”

To help close the masturbation gap, Sarah had the following advice for those who have never tried masturbating:

Set the mood – Just like you might do for a date or a relaxing evening in, it can help to set the mood, to get into the zone. Run a bath, light some candles – do whatever it takes is to relax yourself into your body.

Get to know your body – You don’t have to ‘dive right in’, as it were, when it comes to masturbation. Instead, learn your body first and what makes it tick – lightly touch any erogenous zones to find out what it is you might like.

Start slow – The great thing about masturbation is that you can go completely at your own pace – if you want, you can even build up to it over a series of days, or you can just start slowly touching yourself and build up momentum (or slow down) as fits you. Once you’ve got into your rhythm, you can start to look at bringing in beginner’s toys – like a simple bullet to enhance your experience.

1 Lovehoney survey conducted by Appinio in February 2024. 5,000 respondents in total: 1,000 each from the UK, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, and France. Question asked was “How often do you masturbate / engage in self-pleasure”, and answers available were: “(Almost) daily; Several times a week; About once a week; Several times a month; About once a month; 3-4 times a year; Less than that; Never”.


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