Female Masturbation Statistics [2022]: How Often Do Women REALLY Masturbate?

We reveal all female masturbation statistics compiled from the US and various parts of the globe. It seems women still have a lot of catching up to do. Read on:

Masturbation is normal. But it’s still considered a taboo topic for women. That’s why it seems women “don’t” masturbate.

Female masturbation is real. 

It’s just not as talked about because some women lie about it as they feel ashamed to admit or talk openly about it. At the same time, some women don’t masturbate because they feel ashamed or they simply don’t know how (again, because it’s not as talked about).

It’s time to start self-exploration and solo sexual pleasure for women.

Top Female Masturbation Statistics You Should Know

  • Men (73.8%) masturbate (or, at least, reveal to masturbate) more than women (48.1%).
  • On average, women started masturbating at the age of 14.
  • Younger women (aged 25-29) masturbate more than older women (aged 60-69), at 72% and 47%, respectively.
  • 21.8% of women reveal never masturbating in their entire life.
  • 4 out of 10 women prefer masturbation over sex.

Nature of Female Masturbation

Let’s start with the basics. How do experts define female masturbation?

  • A sexual response cycle of desire, excitement, orgasm, and resolution.
    • According to a 2009 study by Barbara Andersen, clinical psychologist and professor at Ohio State University, published in the National Library of Medicine1
  • A sexual activity that puts a woman in tune with their desires, so they get to know their body, ultimately making sex—solo or with a partner—better.
    • According to Yvonne Fullbright, Ph.D., a sexologist and sexuality educator at American University at WebMD.2

Global Scale of Female Masturbation

Women might not talk about masturbating as often and as loudly as men, but women from around the world HAVE masturbated at some point in their lives.

  • UK: 71.2% of British women revealed they had masturbated at some point in their lives.
    • According to the second British National Survey (NATSAL2 in 2000) by CORE.3
  • France: 34% of French women aged 18 to 19 and 38% of women aged 20 to 24 reported masturbating.
    • According to a 2012 study on Masturbation Among Women from the French National Behavior Survey by CORE4
  • Germany: 94.5% of German women masturbated at least once in their life.
  • Portugal: 91% of Portuguese women indicated they had masturbated at some point in their lives.
    • According to a 2012 web-based survey of 3,687 Portuguese women by ResearchGate6

The frequency of how often women masturbate varies from each country as well.

  • The majority of women reported masturbating 2 to 3 times a week (26.8% of the respondents) or once a week (26.3%).
  • 29.3% of female respondents revealed they masturbated within the past month.
    • According to a 2012 web-based survey of 3,687 Portuguese women by ResearchGate6
  • 36.8% of the female participants shared they had masturbated recently within the previous 4 weeks.
    • According to the second British National Survey (NATSAL2 in 2000) by CORE3
  • 23% of Croatian women reported masturbating a few times a year or less frequently.
    • According to a 2012 study of 410 Croatian young women aged from 18 to 25 years old by CORE7

That said, some women share that they have never masturbated:

  • 40% of female participants reported that they never masturbated.
    • According to a 2012 study of 410 Croatian young women aged 18 to 25 years old by CORE7

Do Women Masturbate?

Men are more vocal and honest when asked if they masturbate. But that doesn’t mean women don’t. Women are just more reserved about it, and they even go as far as lying. But women masturbate as well.

  • 81% of women and 95% of men revealed they masturbated in their lifetime.
  • 22% of women revealed lying when asked if they masturbate.
  • Some of the reasons women lied are embarrassment and fear of being judged by their family, friends, or partner.
  • 30% of women find masturbation more pleasurable than having sex with a partner.
    • According to a 2016 survey out of 1,200 Americans called The United State(s) of Masturbation by TENGA8

How Does Female Masturbation Feel?

Female masturbation feels different from woman to woman.

  • Stimulating erogenous zones like the clitoris and/or vagina can feel good for women, which may lead them to orgasm. During orgasm, vaginal muscles contract and cause intense feelings of pleasure.
  • An aroused woman gets “wet” as vaginal fluid increases in the vagina (the body’s way to prepare for penetration, biologically). She may reach orgasm at her maximum arousal.
    • According to an article on female masturbation by BodyTalk10

How Often Do Women Masturbate?

Various factors affect the frequency of how often women masturbate. There’s neither too seldom nor too often. 

Look at these stats if you’re wondering:

  • At least once every 3 months for more than half of American women aged 18-49 surveyed.
    • According to a 2022 medically-reviewed article by Carol DerkSarkissian, MD, Emergency Medicine Specialist in New York by The Kinsey Institute11
  • A few times a year according to 45.5% of women and at least twice a week according to 22.5% of women.
    • According to a 2011 survey of US representative samples of adolescents aged 14 to 17 years old, wherein 406 of the respondents are female by JAMA Network12
  • 40.8% of women had masturbated within the previous month; 21.8% reported they have NEVER masturbated in their lifetime.
  • Twice a week for an average of 13 minutes each session for women aged 18 to 72.
    • According to a survey of 979 participants from Clickworker from ages 18 to 72 (84% were European and 16% were Americans) by OnlineDoctor14

Do Married Women Masturbate?

Masturbating is a solo activity, so some might assume that people in a relationship and married no longer do it. Well, that’s not necessarily the case, according to the stats below.

  • Masturbation can be an enjoyable activity—shared or solo—for some married couples. Some people also report that they find it arousing if they know their partner is masturbating.
    • According to a medically-reviewed article by Amy Morin, LCSW, psychotherapist Editor-in-Chief of VeryWell Mind15

That said, being sexually content and having sex (or NOT having sex, rather) are some factors that affect masturbation for married women.

  • People who are sexually content within their relationship were 30% less likely to masturbate in the last 2 weeks.
  • Women who are sexually content but reported no sex in the last 2 weeks are 21% more likely to masturbate.
  • 33% of the same sexually content women (having sex 4 or more times) reported masturbating.

What Percentage of Women Masturbate?

Women masturbate, yes. But the frequency and the group of women who do it varies.

One of the most compelling factors is AGE.

So let’s look at it by age groups who reported masturbating:

  • 18-19 years old: 60% of women.
  • 25-29 years old: 72% of women.
  • 60-69 years old: 47% of women.
    • According to Indiana University’s National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior with stats published from Health.17

That’s understandable.

Women in their twenties are more open to exploring self-pleasure and their sexualities. This is also the age where they are no longer trapped in the throes of school, exams, and roommates. It’s awkward to use a vibrator when your roommate is sleeping in the bed right across from you.

As teenagers, it’s also the time when curiosity flares up. That’s why female masturbation activity increased as a woman ages at a rate of:

  • 43.3% at 14 years old.
  • 58% at 17 years old.
    • According to a 2011 survey of US representative samples of adolescents aged 14 to 17 years, where 406 of the participants are female from JAMA Network12

Difficulties in Women Masturbation

Women can rage from sexually-frustrated to just-don’t-care when it comes to masturbation. It’s not a straightforward activity for many women, so there are difficulties surrounding it.

For example, women don’t masturbate when they don’t find as much pleasure from it. Plain and simple.

  • Women enjoy orgasmic pleasure more during partnered sex than solo sex, according to women who both masturbated and had partnered sex.

But (!) that MOSTLY applies to women who have no trouble climaxing.

  • From the same study, women who find it hard to orgasm view masturbation as equally or more satisfying than partnered sex.

That’s interesting, and you can easily figure out why. If a woman finds it hard to orgasm alone, it would be even more difficult to climax when doing it with another person.

But for women who can orgasm without much difficulty, they will find partnered sex more satisfying as they know their bodies and what they like. So, they can enjoy sex better with a partner.

Then again, the social norms of masturbation being “taboo” for women is one of the biggest factors why women hesitate to do it.


Can Masturbation Replace Sex With A Partner for Women?

One can’t replace the other. And it shouldn’t! In fact, they co-exist. Each one makes the other better.

  • With masturbation, you can discover what you like and don’t like. By knowing this, partnered sex becomes more pleasurable.
    • According to Sadie Allison, PhD, sexologist and co-founder of GoLove CBD lubricant published at Well+Good20

Some women might prefer masturbation over partnered sex for various reasons.

  • Women prefer to masturbate if emotional connection is lacking or missing.
  • Four out of ten women prefer masturbation over sex.
    • According to a 2003 online survey of 178 women by healthystrokes.com via an infographic by Adam and Eve22
  • 75% of women don’t orgasm from intercourse ALONE—meaning, there’s no help from sex toys, hands, or tongue.
    • According to a 2009 article on female masturbation and orgasm by ABC News23

But if a partner isn’t present, well, there’s really not much choice but to explore masturbation. And that’s how the pandemic opened the door to female masturbation for many women.

  • One out of every three singles learned how to pleasure themselves.

How Are Women Masturbating?

There are many ways to masturbate for a person with a vagina.

For many women, they masturbate by:

  • Clitoral stimulation for the majority of the female respondents
  • Vaginal stimulation for half of the female respondents.
    • According to a 2020 study of 2,215 women living in the US and Hungary by ScienceDirect24

According to Healthline, these are the most common ways women masturbate:

Clitoral Masturbation
Stimulating the clitoris using the fingers or sex toys like a vibrator. This orgasm feels like a tingly sensation on the skin and brain.
Vaginal Masturbation
A solo sex where the vagina is penetrated by a finger or sex toy. The orgasm feels deeper in the body with a throbbing sensation in the vaginal muscles.
Anal Masturbation
Stimulating or penetrating the anus using a finger or sex toy. During orgasm, you can feel the contractions around the anal sphincter and a feeling of needing to pee.
Combination of Clitoral, Vaginal and/or Anal Masturbation
Stimulating the clitoris, vagina, and/or anus at the same time. This orgasm may feel more explosive and convulsing. Some women may also experience ejaculating.
Erogenous Zones
It’s also possible to orgasm by stimulating erogenous zones like the nipples, ears, neck, lower back, and more, depending on the woman. 

Methods of Female Masturbation

How do women masturbate? With their hands or with a sex toy?

  • Women are more than twice likely to own a sex toy than men.
    • According to a 2016 survey with 1,200 American participants by TENGA8
  • 60% of women use their hands to masturbate, and 40% use sex toys.
    • According to a survey of 979 participants from Clickworker aged 18 to 72 by OnlineDoctor14

How do women get turned on when masturbating?

  • 30% watch porn videos
  • 14% fantasize about their significant other
  • 14% read erotica
  • 12% fantasize about a stranger
  • 6% fantasize about a friend
  • 3% fantasize about an ex
  • 2% watch a porn live stream
    • According to a survey of 979 participants from Clickworker aged 18 to 72 by OnlineDoctor14

Male vs. Female Masturbation

The masturbation gap between men and women is REAL.

  • 68% masturbation gap internationally: On average, women masturbate 49 times a year while men masturbate 154 times a year.
  • 60% masturbation gap in the US.
    • According to a 2020 study of 6,000 women and men from 12 countries by Womanizer25
  • For 14- to 17-year-olds, more men (73.8%) masturbated than women (48.1%).
    • According to a 2011 survey of US representatives (414 men, 406 women) aged 14-17 years old by JAMA Network12

Men also masturbate more frequently than women.

  • 49.1% of male participants reported masturbating at least twice A WEEK.
  • 45.5% of female participants reported masturbating a few times PER YEAR.
    • According to a 2011 survey of US representatives (414 men, 406 women) aged 14-17 years old by JAMA Network12

Conclusion

Studies and stats show female masturbation is common for women. Still, there should be more discussion and exploration about it to make it more accessible for a larger group of vagina-owners.

Footnotes

  1. “Women’s Sexuality: Behaviors, Responses, and Individual Differences”. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2707786/.
  2. “Female Masturbation: 5 Things You May Not Know”. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/women/features/female-masturbation-5-things-know.
  3. “Masturbation Among Women: Associated Factors and Sexual Response in a Portuguese Community Sample”. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/70650767.pdf.
  4. “Masturbation Among Women: Associated Factors and Sexual Response in a Portuguese Community Sample”. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/70650767.pdf.
  5. “Masturbatory Behavior in a Population Sample of German Women”. National Library of Medicine. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31155389/.
  6. “Masturbation Among Women: Associated Factors and Sexual Response in a Portuguese Community Sample”. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235668234_Masturbation_Among_Women_Associated_Factors_and_Sexual_Response_in_a_Portuguese_Community_Sample.
  7. “Masturbation Among Women: Associated Factors and Sexual Response in a Portuguese Community Sample”. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/70650767.pdf.
  8. “United States of Masturbation”. Tenga. https://www.tenga.co/campaign-archives/UnitedStatesofMasturbation/.
  9. “Masturbation”. Center for Young Women’s Health. https://youngwomenshealth.org/2013/07/24/masturbation/.
  10. “Female masturbation”. Body Talk. https://bodytalk.org.au/how-it-works/female-masturbation/.
  11. “Female Masturbation: 5 Things You May Not Know”. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/women/features/female-masturbation-5-things-know.
  12. “Prevalence, Frequency, and Associations of Masturbation With Partnered Sexual Behaviors Among US Adolescents”. Jama Pediatrics. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/1107656.
  13. “Sexual diversity in the United States: Results from a nationally representative probability sample of adult women and men”. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5519052/.
  14. “Masturbation Confessions”. OnlineDoctor. https://onlinedoctor.superdrug.com/masturbation-confessions/.
  15. “Masturbation and Your Marriage”. VeryWell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/ever-wonder-who-masturbates-2300805.
  16. “Masturbation and Partnered Sex: Substitutes or Complements?”. National Library of Medicine. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28341933/.
  17. “I Masturbated Every Day for a Week. This Is What Happened”. Health. https://www.health.com/condition/sexual-health/female-masturbation-challenge.
  18. “The Experience of Orgasmic Pleasure during Partnered and Masturbatory Sex in Women with and without Orgasmic Difficulty”. National Library of Medicine. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30836851/.
  19. “The Role of Masturbation in Healthy Sexual Development: Perceptions of Young Adults”. SpringerLink. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-010-9722-0#author-information.
  20. “Can Regularly Masturbating Replace a Person’s Desire for Partnered Sex? Sexologists Weigh In”. Well+Good. https://www.wellandgood.com/can-masturbating-replace-sex/.
  21. “Singles in America”. Match. https://www.singlesinamerica.com/home.
  22. “Wild & Wacky Masturbation Facts”. Adam and Eve. https://www.adameve.com/sex-guides/sex-tips/masturbation/masturbation-facts-64490-1910.aspx.
  23. “Female Orgasm May Be Tied to ‘Rule of Thumb'”. ABC News. https://abcnews.go.com/Health/ReproductiveHealth/sex-study-female-orgasm-eludes-majority-women/story?id=8485289.
  24. “Relationship Between Masturbation and Partnered Sex in Women: Does the Former Facilitate, Inhibit, or Not Affect the Latter?”. ScienceDirect. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1743609519314705.
  25. “Equal Masturbation Day: It’s Time to Close the Masturbation Gap!”. Womanizer. https://blog.womanizer.com/equal-masturbation-day/.
Aliyah Moore

Aliyah Moore

Aliyah Moore (she/her) is our resident sex expert at SexualAlpha. She’s a certified sex therapist with a Ph.D. in Gender & Sexuality Studies. Aliyah is a proud Black, bi-sexual femme passionate about empowering minority voices to embrace their sexuality and identity. She loves to write about everything sexual wellness and gives no-nonsense sex and relationship advice.

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