orgasm gap international masturbation month

International Masturbation Month Might Never Happen In A Quarantine Again, So Seize The … Day

Y’all. It’s here. International Masturbation Month aka Maysturbation. We’ve chatted about normalising masturbation and its many benefits here at Syrup before, it’s a subject close to our hearts—and other parts. But it’s come to our attention (again) that some people are getting the short end of the vibrator.

Despite sex toy sales rising and a concerning spike in searches for homemade sex toys during the coronavirus lockdowns, the data tells us there’s a disparity in who is actually doing all this orgasming.

In recent research, Dr Kristen Mark, the Assistant Professor of Health Promotion, and Director of the Sexual Health Promotion Lab at the University of Kentucky, found that despite a supposed air of women’s sexual empowerment, a big orgasm gap still persists between men and women. Unfortunately, a tonne of the research we have into human sexuality is still conducted along heteronormative lines and isn’t the most inclusive, but it’s worth exploring nonetheless.

In her study, “25 percent of male respondents reported masturbating almost every day, compared to 8.7 percent of women.” If you think every day sounds like a lot, we’d say that sex drives do vary, but even among less frequent pleasure seekers, the gap remained. Only 24 percent of women reported masturbating two to three times a week, compared to 35 percent of men.

These stats are reflected previous studies, which, as well as the general social stereotypes and expectations suggest that the majority of women aren’t watching porn and jerking off four times a day like this champion gal. Which… is a damn shame.

Leading Australian psycho-sexologist and Womanizer ambassador Chantelle Otten reckons that the time is now to start closing the orgasm gap. We’ve spoken before about the anxiety coronavirus is causing, not least of all because of the weird pressure to be productive as normal (if not even more). But can we suggest, you set down aspirations of writing that 100k BTS fanfiction epic aside and consider gently using this time to focus on pleasure?

“Social distancing due to COVID-19 has us all looking for side hustles and learning new skills, but it’s also a great time to seek out a deeper connection with ourselves,” Otten told Syrup. Even if we could still go on hot dates in The Outside, centring and romancing yourself is going to lead to a better understanding of what you and you alone derive pleasure from. It’s an opportunity to “prioritise self care and really think about what gives up pleasure and makes us happy.”

And even if you aren’t self partnered at the moment, jerking off—either alone or in front of a partner—can be an “effective way of conveying important information about how you experience pleasure,” says Mark. In her study, Mark found that only 23.2 percent of respondents had never masturbated with a partner. She stresses that, “Masturbation is a healthy part of sexual expression, and it’s a very low risk form of sexual expression. You can engage in it without the risk of unintended pregnancy or STI transmission.” It could also be an aid in closing an orgasm gap between you and your partner.

Other than literally ~getting down to it~ there are endless ways that you can get yourself comfortable with exploring your sexuality and your body. Light a paraffin-free candle (because you gotta seduce yourself a little) and read our previous masturbation guide, as advised by Otten.

You could set yourself up a “self love” session, as one gal put it to Glamour: “It’s an hour-long event for me and nobody else; it’s for self-reflection and cherishing myself in private.” If you’re feeling it, make it an event: “I also put on music, lingerie, and take photos of myself. It’s fun, it’s nourishing–physically and mentally.”

Another thing we’d suggest is having a look at different pleasure journals: tools that can help you explore your sexuality and discover new quirks. Maybe you really like edging? Maybe you enjoy a lot of self-massage? Two that we’re into are the Pleasure Journal from Georgia Grace and specifically for couples, A Sex Journal, which is available for a free download right now.

Finally, if you haven’t already please have a browse of our first-timer’s guide to vibrators. Closing the orgasm gap this month: it’s the vibe y’all.

Lead image via Instagram @naras._.

Monisha is a writer with a background in publishing and digital media. A chronic Pisces, she’s into trying to be a better person and sparkling water.

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