Masturbation in the United States

J Sex Marital Ther. 2007 Jul-Sep;33(4):301-17. doi: 10.1080/00926230701385514.


Using data from the nationally representative National Health and Social Life Survey, this study queried the correlates of masturbation in the United States in 1992. Among those aged 18-60, 38% (CI, 35-41) of women and 61% (CI, 57-65) of men reported any masturbation over the preceding year. The system of factors underlying masturbation was similar for both genders, consistent with a convergence in gender patterns of sexual expression in the United States. Among both women and men, masturbation responded to a stable sexualized personality pattern, catalyzed by early-life factors and manifested in current sexual traits. Strikingly, the masturbation-partnered sex linkage, often conceptualized either as compensating for unsatisfying sex or complementing a satisfactory sex life, appeared to be bimodal for both genders. For some, masturbation complemented an active and pleasurable sex life, while among others, it compensated for a lack of partnered sex or satisfaction in sex.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Masturbation / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sexual Partners
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology