How often do women masturbate? All your female masturbation questions answered

    Updated 14 March 2022 |
    Published 24 December 2019
    Fact Checked
    Medically reviewed by Rebecca Rampe, PsyD, Assistant professor–psychologist, department of psychiatry and behavioral neurobiology, University of Alabama, Alabama, US
    Flo Fact-Checking Standards

    Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

    Masturbation is a normal, healthy, and pleasurable part of life. But how often do women masturbate? Here’s what the latest data says.

    Let’s look at the facts: most people you know probably masturbate, and for good reason. “Solo sex” is a perfectly natural form of self-love that has some great health benefits, too. Hello, stress relief!

    Masturbating also allows you to explore your body in a safe and pleasurable way so you can learn what turns you on and then communicate those sexual desires to a partner. This is particularly important in heterosexual relationships because we know there’s an “orgasm gap”, meaning women orgasm, on average, less frequently than their male partners

    Some experts think the stigma surrounding female masturbation might be to blame. In fact, a 2014 study by researchers at Minnesota State University found just that: Women who were exposed to negative messages about masturbation when they were young often had negative attitudes about masturbation as adults.

    Getting to know your sexual needs via self-pleasure is key to a satisfying sex life, especially when it comes to closing the orgasm gap because lots of us can’t orgasm through penetrative sex alone. 

    In fact, 64% of women who participated in a 2016 U.S. study said they needed a combination of clitoral and vaginal stimulation to orgasm. Interestingly, those who use clitoral stimulation to orgasm also masturbate more and have greater control over their arousal. One study in 2015 researched 1,055 women in the United States aged 18 to 94. It found that how we like to be touched intimately differs from person to person, especially when it comes to the pressure used. So, as these studies prove, it’s helpful to figure out what you like with some solo pleasure! 

    But how often do other women masturbate? Read on to find out.

    Female masturbation: How often do women masturbate?

    Although there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to masturbation, we do have some interesting new data on how often women masturbate around the world. 

    A study of 6000 women and men from 12 countries, commissioned by sex toy brand Womanizer in 2020, found that the women surveyed masturbate roughly once a week or 49 times a year. The men, however, masturbate on average 3 times a week or approximately 154 times a year. 

    The research also showed that 35% of the women questioned never masturbated, compared to just 18% of the men, even though they rate their libidos pretty equally. Womanizer’s experts say “internalized shame, social stigma and a lack of education” around female masturbation are likely to blame here.

    Remember though that self-pleasure isn’t about statistics. The number of times someone masturbates is unique to every person and can vary depending on their age, libido, stage of life, and the culture or community they are part of. Some people rarely or never masturbate, and that’s okay too! 

    Everyone is different. That’s why it’s helpful for each of us to figure out what works for us by exploring our bodies on our own terms.

    STI basics

    Understand STI symptoms and causes better

    How often do married women masturbate?

    If you’re wondering how often married or older women masturbate, you might be disappointed to know that there’s no clear answer. Masturbation habits are unique and can change throughout a person’s life. 

    What we do know is masturbation can help keep a woman’s libido active at all ages and stages of life. However, it’s not necessarily a requirement of a healthy sex drive.

    Is masturbation safe?

    Masturbation is arguably the safest form of sexual activity. Why? Well, self-pleasure puts you at a much lower risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) than other sexual activities. Plus, there is little to no risk of getting pregnant if you masturbate with a partner.

    Discover articles on topics you care about

    Read articles like ‘Learn how to masturbate really well with these masturbation tips’ and ‘7 myths that stop us from enjoying masturbation’.

    Learn more with Flo

     

    Even still, there are some precautions you should keep in mind when masturbating

    • Wash your hands before and after masturbating to reduce the spread of bacteria.
    • Use lubricant if you’re experiencing vaginal dryness.
    • Masturbate in private or in the company of consenting adults.
    • If you’re using sex toys to masturbate, be sure to clean the toys thoroughly before and after use. 
    • If you’re masturbating with a male partner, don’t let any precum or semen come into contact with your genitals to avoid the risk of unplanned pregnancy. 

    Masturbation tips and topics

    A safe space to discuss masturbation with others around the world in our Secret Chats.

    Female masturbation: Can you masturbate too much?

    Until recently, masturbation was a bit of a taboo topic that was wrongly blamed for causing things like acne. Now lots of us are more open about enjoying self-pleasure. But something we still don’t really talk about is whether you can masturbate too much.

    In some rare cases, masturbation can become addictive and compulsive, especially if you’re depending on it to alleviate tension or escape from the stress of daily life. While there are no limits around how much someone should or shouldn’t masturbate, these are some signs that masturbation could be becoming an unhealthy habit for you:

    • You’re using masturbation to distract you from daily life.
    • You’re spending hours masturbating each day, and it’s interfering with your daily responsibilities.
    • You fantasize about masturbation so much that you can’t focus on work, relationships, or social interactions.

    If you’re worried about whether you’re masturbating too much, you can talk to a health care or mental health provider. They’ll be able to help.

    Join a course

    Discover the Mastering your orgasm course

    Learn more with Flo

    Is masturbation harmful to your sex life?

    Contrary to some internet myths, masturbation is not harmful to your sex life. In fact, self-pleasure can have the opposite effect because it allows you to figure out what you do and don’t like. One study found that women who masturbate report higher sexual satisfaction with their partners than those who don’t.

    Some couples also enjoy masturbating together, which can bring you closer together sexually. It’s also believed that masturbation is linked to a wider sexual repertoire and more frequent orgasms — all very good reasons to enjoy some self-love!

    If masturbation has become an unhealthy habit that’s negatively impacting your sex life or relationships, speaking with a health care professional can really help.

    There’s more in the Flo app

    Want better sex and a stronger connection? We’ve got you covered with expert tips and personalized advice.

    Female masturbation: What are the health benefits of masturbation?

    Not only can masturbation feel good, but it can be good for you too! Although the research on female masturbation is more limited compared to other areas of health, it is believed that masturbation can have both physical and mental benefits. These include:

    How often do women masturbate? The takeaway

    How often you masturbate is totally up to you. Whether you masturbate every day, several times a day, once in a while, or not at all, as long as you’re enjoying yourself, keep doing what you’re doing!

    References

    “Variation in Orgasm Occurrence by Sexual Orientation in a Sample of U.S. Singles.” The Journal of Sexual Medicine, vol. 11, no. 11, 1 Nov. 2014, pp. 2645-2652, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25131299. Accessed 15 Feb. 2022.

    “Differences in Orgasm Frequency among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Heterosexual Men and Women in a U.S. National Sample.” Archives of Sexual Behavior, vol. 47, 17 Feb. 2017, pp. 273-288, link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-017-0939-z. Accessed 15 Feb. 2022.

    “Clitorally Stimulated Orgasms Are Associated with Better Control of Sexual Desire, and Not Associated with Depression or Anxiety, Compared with Vaginally Stimulated Orgasms.” The Journal of Sexual Medicine, vol. 13, no. 11, 1 Nov. 2016, pp. 1676-1685, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27667356. Accessed 15 Feb. 2022.

    “Women’s Experiences with Genital Touching, Sexual Pleasure, and Orgasm: Results from a U.S. Probability Sample of Women Ages 18 to 94.” Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, vol. 44, no. 2, 2018, pp. 201-212, www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0092623X.2017.1346530?journalCode=usmt20. Accessed 15 Feb. 2022.

    Heyne, Julia. “Equal Masturbation Day: It’s Time to Close the Masturbation Gap!” Womanizer, blog.womanizer.com/equal-masturbation-day. Accessed 15 Feb. 2022.

    “Masturbation.” Center for Awareness, Response and Education - Northwestern University, www.northwestern.edu/care/get-info/sexual-health/pleasure/masturbation.html. Accessed 22 Feb. 2022.

    “Compulsive Sexual Behavior - Symptoms & Causes.” Mayo Clinic, 7 Feb. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/compulsive-sexual-behavior/symptoms-causes/syc-20360434. Accessed 22 Feb. 2022.

    “The Role of Masturbation in Marital and Sexual Satisfaction: A Comparative Study of Female Masturbators and Nonmasturbators.” Journal of Sex Education and Therapy, vol. 17, no. 4, 1991, pp 272-282, www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01614576.1991.11074029. Accessed 22 Feb. 2022.

    “Masturbation in the United States.” Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, vol. 33, no. 4, 2007, pp. 301-317, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17541849. Accessed 22 Feb. 2022.

    “Masturbation among Women: Associated Factors and Sexual Response in a Portuguese Community Sample.” Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, vol. 39, no. 4, 2013, pp. 347-367, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23421789. Accessed 22 Feb. 2022.

    Lastella, Michele. “Sex and Sleep: Perceptions of Sex as a Sleep Promoting Behavior in the General Adult Population.” Frontiers in Public Health, 4 Mar. 2019, www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2019.00033/full. Accessed 22 Feb. 2022.

    History of updates

    Current version (14 March 2022)

    Medically reviewed by Rebecca Rampe, PsyD, Assistant professor–psychologist, department of psychiatry and behavioral neurobiology, University of Alabama, Alabama, US

    Published (24 December 2019)

    In this article

      Try Flo today

      Sign up for our newsletter

      Our latest articles and news straight to your inbox.

      Thanks for signing up

      We're testing right now so not collecting email addresses, but hoping to add this feature very soon.