Teenage boys have a reputation for being avid masturbators, while teenage girls aren't really thought of in that way all too often. A new study in the Journal of Sex Research, however, suggests that young men and women have pretty comparable masturbation habits.
The researchers surveyed 1,452 men and 1,566 women between the ages of 18 and 22 about their self-love rituals, and while there were a few gender differences, the study's findings show that "a large proportion of men and women reported similar experiences."
For example, the vast majority of participants of both genders—98.9 percent of men and 85.5 percent of women—said they had masturbated before, with men starting at age 12.5 and women starting at age 13.7 on average. Meanwhile, 95.4 percent of men and 86.8 percent of women admitted to using fantasies while masturbating, while 97.6 percent of men and 81.6 percent of women said they had orgasmed during masturbation.
The study also debunked the notion that, as Sarah Silverman once put it, "girls need toys to get off." Only about 8 percent of women—compared to 1.4 percent of men—said they brought objects into bed regularly for masturbation purposes.
These numbers aren't exactly the same, but the differences are smaller than you'd expect given society's attitudes towards men's and women's sexual behaviors.
Mind you, this study was done in Sweden, where attitudes about sex and gender are so progressive that "klittra," a word for female masturbation, was part of the Swedish Language Council's official 2015 new word list.
Still, maybe the rest of the world could learn from the Swedes: when there's more gender equality and less sexual shame, men and women may not be all that different.
The authors of the Journal of Sex Research study declined to comment when contacted by Complex.