In 2014, I reported that “[GW students] enjoy being physical with someone else, but we don’t have to fall for the “college is just for casual sex” monologue. In a hookup, we’re sort of dependent on each other without being connected. Hooking up is fun, quick, and selfish – masturbation, but with someone else.” While there is a difference between masturbation and being physical with someone, there might be some implications worth considering when it comes to masturbation’s effect on relationships.
Not only is there an orgasm gap, there is a masturbation gap as well. I recently published an article, “Gendered Behavior: GW’s Masturbation Study,” which gave insights on the masturbation gender gap at GW. Fifty-five percent of female respondents said they “always” orgasm during masturbation compared to the 19 percent that “always” orgasm with “hookup/sex. In my 2014 article, 69 percent of female participants reported not orgasming during “hookup/sex” but still enjoying it. Masturbation is not only for single people; it is can also be for those in relationships, or help one explore what they want out of sexual encounters.
On February 24th, I circulated a GW wanking survey, which asked for the sexual behaviors of GW students. As a result, 713 anonymous students participated in the survey! Fifty-two percent of the respondents were males, 48 percent were females, 1 percent were transgender or other specified (percentages rounded to the nearest whole number). The class participation was almost evenly split as seen in the Table 1. A representative sample of sexual orientation demographics are shown in Table 2; a majority of respondents were heterosexuals, and members of the LGBT community represented 29 percent of participants. Keeping with the liberal GW tradition, 63 percent of participants were Democrats, 15 percent GOP, and 18 percent independent. So, what is really going on in our bedrooms, or in Marvin Center, Gelman, Phillips/Rome Hall, Science Engineering Hall, Duques, Funger, Eckles (remember Eckles?), frat basements, Lisner, Old Main, Smith Hall, and the other campus buildings participants claimed to have either masturbated or had sex in?
Relational Implications of Wanking
Where do GW statistics stand? Masturbation can be a great addition to the sexual health of a relationship, when both partners are involved. A male participant comments that since getting a girlfriend, his dates with Jill have been reduced. Some are relatively unhappy to discover that their partners enjoy time alone. When asked, “In which instance do you orgasm more?” 55 percent of females said “masturbation,” and 48 percent of males said “masturbation.” Fifty-three percent of participants overall suggest that they enjoy orgasms more with a partner. While we enjoy the company others, we tend to orgasm more when alone. Why? One reason is that we can stimulate ourselves more, and that porn stars do more in bed. Some may liken this discovery to what a transgender freshman asserts, “Guys are shit at finding the clit!”
Only 9 percent of GW females say they “always” reach an orgasm while hooking up. Meanwhile, 45 percent of males report “always” orgasming during a hookup.
Sociology professor of NYU, Dr. Paula Englandfound that “the orgasm rate increases for both men and women based on the number of hookups, but the rate is always higher for men.” In an another article, England says, “The orgasm gap is an inequity that’s as serious as the pay gap, and it’s producing a rampant culture of sexual asymmetry.” One of her students says, “Most guys felt like ‘they are masturbating into you.’” Only 9 percent of GW females say they “always” reach an orgasm while hooking up. Meanwhile, 45 percent of males report “always” orgasming during a hookup. How do we attempt to fix this?
For those in relationships, try viewing pornography together. It is researched that watching together might actually work. Sex lives and orgasming should not be dull or become a chore to achieve. More and more females report viewing porn. But, the next question is, when does pornographic consumption become too much? What are the signs? How does this impact our encounters with others?
A study from Cambridge University finds that “scientists reveal changes in brain [activity] for compulsive porn users which don’t occur in those with no such habit.”
Too many dates with Jill?
Whether you’re dating someone or living the single life, researchers always have something to say about going into the spankbank too often. With smartphones, porn images and videos are literally in our pockets with 42 million websites to choose from. A study from Cambridge University finds that “scientists reveal changes in brain [activity] for compulsive porn users which don’t occur in those with no such habit.” Other reports suggest negative side effects of solo play, besides ruined socks, may include desensitization (seeking new levels of arousal), expecting more unrealistic novelty from your partner, sexual appetites become more extreme, and erectile dysfunction. If you’re missing class or late to work because of Jill, you may want to reconsider how much energy you invest in these solo sessions. However, GW students, male and female, comment that it’s relaxing, helps maintain sanity, and a great way to procrasturbate your way through midterms and finals. Our relationship with ourselves may help illuminate experiences of our relationships with others.
Aside from singing, even John Mayer enjoys his time alone. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he confidently states, “I am the new generation of masturbator. I’ve seen it all. Before I make coffee, I’ve seen more butt holes than a proctologist does in a week.”
Remember this, masturbation isn’t all about sex. There should be no war on masturbation, or gendered behavior. As Mayer so eloquently phrases it, it’s about taking a “brain bath,” enjoying a pleasant exchange of dopamine, and for a brief moment, ignoring the problems life throws in your face.
Thank you to all of the participants in this survey.