Queer Women Masturbate More Than Straight Women, Our Sex Survey Says

Hello marvelous creatures! Since we last spoke, the world has changed and become a better place because of lesbian sex. Our post about how often queer women have sex served to enlighten the readers of New York Magazine about the mysteries of the female libido and to inform the readers of The Daily Dot that lesbian bed death is a myth. Today we continue fighting the good fight with data on how you get off… by yourself.

The Lesbian Sex Survey — open to all female-identified folks who have sex with other female-identified folks — garnered 8,566 complete responses (and another 7,000 incompletes), of which 89% came from people between the ages of 18 and 36.  In addition to asking about the sex you have with other humans, we had quite a few questions about the sex you have with yourself. Let’s get into it.

How Often Do You Masturbate?

First, let’s look at data about the entire population to see how we compare. Five Thirty Eight’s analysis of data from The 2009 National Survey of Health and Behavior found that 10.4% of women 18-24, 12.9% of women 25-29 and 10.5% of women 30-39 masturbated twice a week or more. Men reported a much higher frequency of masturbation — 39.6% of men 18-24, 43.5% of men 25-29 and 34% of men 30-39 masturbated twice a week or more. Here’s that infographic:

It’s statistically unlikely that you’ll be surprised to hear that your masturbation habits go above and beyond those of the average straight woman — and even, apparently, above those of the average straight man. A full 54.73% of the women in our survey reported masturbating multiple times a week or more and only 2.02% reported never masturbating. 10.71% of you reported masturbating once a day or more.

how-often-do-queer-women-mastrubate

Although Five Thirty Eight found significant disparities by age, our variance wasn’t quite so dramatic. We’re also dealing with a smaller sample size for women over 40 than we are with the younger groups, but regardless, this is what we came up with:

By-Age

When it comes to us queers, there are other factors with much more of an impact on masturbation than age.

Do single ladies masturbate more than coupled ones do?

Slightly more, yes, but not dramatically more. It’s a popular misconception that masturbation is a reluctant substitute for partner sex, when in fact people who have sex regularly masturbate more than those who don’t. In the wise words of Psychology Today, “Why give up chocolate cake once you’ve discovered apple pie?” In fact, those of you in non-monogamous relationships and single folks masturbate at very similar rates — 64.42% of the former and 64.66% of the latter masturbate multiple times a week or more, compared to 46.97% of those in monogamous relationships.

How does that compare to women in general? Looking at that same National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior Study analyzed by Five Thirty Eight, 43.6% of single women had masturbated in the last 90 days, opposed to 69.7% of those who were “single and dating,” 59.5% in a non- co-habitating relationship and 50.8% of those in a co-habitating relationship. The only group who masturbated less often than single women were married women.

Five-thirty-eight spoke to Babeland co-founder Claire Cavanah about why women who were dating were more likely to masturbate than those who weren’t, and her answer makes perfect sense: “Sex begets sex. Once the sap starts flowing you’re going to do it more… once you’re saying yes to pleasure, it’s easier to keep the groove going.”

This is consistent with our findings: as we touched upon in How Often Do Queer Women Have Sex?, masturbation rates on our survey were highest amongst those who had sex once a year or less and those who had sex multiple times a week or more. Masturbation rates were lowest amongst those who had sex once a month or multiple times a month. That curve looks like this:

Masturbation by Sex FrequencyStill, to some degree, the longer we go without having sex the less we seem to crave it — although this doesn’t seem to be the case for men. According to FiveThirtyEight, men were much more likely to have masturbated recently if they’re single. 72% of single guys had masturbated in the last 90 days.

This variance by relationship style may explain another area in which there was a significant variance between our study groups — women who identified as lesbians masturbated less often than women identifying as bisexual, queer or pansexual. (Although we permitted survey-takers to select more than one sexual orientation, so there might be some overlap.) 53.27% of lesbians masturbated multiple times a week or more, compared to 59.11% of bisexuals, 61.7% of pansexuals and 59.31% queer-identified folks. See, although lesbians are only slightly less likely to be single than the other groups, they’re significantly more likely to be in a monogamous relationship (60.87% versus 43%-48%) and significantly less likely to be in a non-monogamous relationship (10.2% vs 20%-27%). Those in monogamous relationships, as discussed above, had lower rates of masturbation than single folks and non-monogamous relationshippers.

One more thing: We didn’t ask our subjects if they’d masturbated in the last 90 days, but if you masturbate monthly or more, it’s safe to say you’ve masturbated within the last 90 days, and thus it’s safe to say that 95.8% of our single ladies have masturbated within the last 90 days. That’s double what all single women reported to the NSSHBS. DOUBLE.

Do people in long-distance relationships masturbate more?

Yes. Relative scarcity of queer people in general means that LGBTs are more prone to long-distance situations than the heterosexuals, even moreso now that so many queer couples are initially connecting online. And those monogamous long-distance lovers are beating the beaver more frequently than monogamous couples who aren’t long distance — 73.9% are masturbating once a week or more, compared to 61.3% of locally-located lezzers.

relationship-type

However — people who are “dating casually” also masturbate more often than the other groups. “Long distance” and “dating casually” are two situations in which one’s desire is wildly outpacing one’s access to the subject (or subjects) one desires. Socially imposed restraint (carefully pacing the progression of a new relationship) or wild, passionate longing heightens the senses and makes you more likely to make the time to get off solo.

Furthermore, it’s likely that those in long-distance relationships are having long-distance masturbation sessions. 67.65% of long-distance daters sext, compared to 46.34% of the entire survey group. 28.44% have phone sex (compared to 13% of the whole group) and 31.6% have video/skype sex (compared to 10.26% of the whole group).

So, what do we do when we do ourselves?

As illustrated below, you get off quickly, and usually you do so using your hand and your imagination. We’ll be talking more about your erotica/fanfic and pornography habits later this week, but here’s an initial overview of your masturbatory practices:

Masturbation-Activities

(click to enlarge)

We also found 4% of the group reporting BDSM involved in their masturbation and 2.33% using nipple clamps. Although we intended for “fingering (genitals, external)” to also apply to non-op trans women who masturbate their penis manually, several comments indicated that the language was confusing — trans women (who comprise 2.9% of the study group) who noted this method in the comments were added to the “fingering (genitals, external)” numbers and that larger category has been re-named “external manual genital stimulation,” above.

Time spent masturbating was consistent across all potential demographic groups, although trans women did report taking significantly more time to get off than other survey respondents — only 39% of trans women masturbated for an average of 15 minutes or less, compared to 62.7% of the entire group, 59.9% of genderqueer folks and 50% of intersex people. There are numerous possible explanations for this depending on many factors such as surgery status, including: dysphoria, internalized social stigma, re-learning one’s post-surgery body and decreased sensitivity or gradual adjustments due to hormones. Trans women were also much more likely to involve anal play in masturbation — 29.55% reported anal play with toys, compared to 6.45% of genderqueer folks and 4.71% of cis women.

Also interesting is that most survey-takers are somewhat or very in favor of watching a partner masturbate, but are a a bit more bashful about revealing their own poodle-petting practices. However, although only 49.5% are very much or somewhat in favor of being observed, only 15.4% are truly against it —35% selected “neutral/if my partner is into it.”

Furthermore, a lot of you included descriptions of your masturbation practices that fell outside the bounds of the multiple choice responses. The most popular thing we failed to include was water play, showerheads and bath faucets (things that often come up in “my first orgasm” stories, too) but we also got a lot of “fantasizing about fictional characters.” Other descriptions of your methods included:

  • Riding furniture tbh, ex: arm of couch
  • #1 technique, squeezing legs together
  • Friction with underwear on labia
  • Watching haircut videos
  • Recall scenes from movies famous actresses then I rewrite scene adding others and myself
  • Kegel exercises – some people can cum from doing them in a certain way.
  • Grinding my heel in between my legs, rubbing legs together.
  • Fantasizing about Xena
  • Fantasizing about engaging a male in anal intercourse as another male
  • reddit.com/r/gonewildaudio, the 100-1 challenge, you’re welcome.
  • Balloon fetish
  • Sending pictures or receiving pictures from partner or people I know
  • Whipping/impact play/riding crop/butt plug
  • Fantasizing having a different body
  • I can achieve orgasm by tensing my muscles a certain way without touching
  • Hanging ab crunch with legs crossed
  • Sometimes “fantasizing about an ex” sneaks up on me but then I just end up crying instead of coming. 0/10, do not recommend.
  • Thinking about non-sexual abstraction: logical structure, energy, intangible stuff like that. Something about the concatenation of the carnally, primally physical and the metaphysical is hot, in a transcendental kind of way.
  • Overhearing sex sounds from a neighbour — rare but awesome.
  • Reading craigslist ads
  • Drawing porn for myself
  • G-spotter, rope bondage, clothespins
  • Fantasizing about monsters having sex with humans
  • Inserting my clit into a condom covered water bottle (homemade fleshlight)

So, why do queer women masturbate more than straight women?

We have a few theories — but we’re interested to hear yours, too, so please chime in in the comments.

In general, queer women might just have a more intimate sexual relationship with themselves than straight women due to the private way in which early desires developed. Whereas straight women are often socialized to view their sexuality in relationship to straight men — a thing you discover as you discover men and men discover you — queers learn early on that the dominant sexual narrative doesn’t have a role for them. Thus much of their early exploration happens outside of public purview, making the leap to uber-private (read: solo) pleasure-seeking not all that dramatic. Many queer women lack access to other queer women for potential hookups and perhaps, then, their imagination is the only place queer sex can conveniently take place.

So much of how women feel about sex is a result of what we’ve been told to feel about sex. But queer women and genderqueer folks aren’t told much at all about how to feel about queer sex, which could mean that our sexual habits are more revelatory of “innate” desire than researchers have previously considered. How do we decide what we like or dislike when we’re not privy to the same type of sexual socialization as cis hetero women are? We figure it out alone.

Furthermore, cis heterosexual women can have decades of heterosexual sex without having to know where their own clitoris is, let alone somebody else’s. For cis queer women, what little sex advice we do get often amounts to “get to know your own body.” Meanwhile, heterosexual sex advice for women, until very recently, focused on pleasing one’s man and saving one’s orgasms for him.

There’s still a significant stigma around female masturbation, too, but for queer women, there’s a stigma around pretty much everything we want to do in bed. We have to let go of those stigmas in order to live with ourselves pretty early on, which could make us less prone to masturbation-related hang-ups. Anecdotally, we get started pretty young.

In Conclusion

Honestly ladies, the more I get into this data, the more it seems to me that pretty much every stereotype about lesbian sexuality is nonsense and we’re actually very sexually active, very sexually adventurous and very sexually preoccupied. It’s a loose hypothesis for now, and of course we realize the implicit bias of a voluntary survey, but we’re gonna dig into it and see what we can find.

For now, we know simply this: y’all love yourself, it’s not a sin, you can’t control what’s happening, ’cause you just discovered, imagination’s taking over, another day with (or without) a lover, the more you come to understand the touch of your hand. You feel me?


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Profile gravatar of Riese

Riese is the 35-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City and mellowed out in California before returning to Michigan for reasons that are unclear to her now — she is currently plotting her return to the West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2384 articles for us.

51 Comments

  1. 0

    Probably it has something to do with how women are socialized not go enjoy sex – and by extension masturbation – and they are also told to love men. So when we realize that it’s okay not to love men, we might also realize that it’s okay to masturbate.

    That, or we’re just more okay with touching a vagina.

  2. 0

    This is an awesome human: “Thinking about non-sexual abstraction: logical structure, energy, intangible stuff like that. Something about the concatenation of the carnally, primally physical and the metaphysical is hot, in a transcendental kind of way” !!!

  3. 0

    I found this incredibly interesting and it would have made baby gay me much less self conscious about not caring much for penetration. Now there’s data that proves I’m actually averagely mainstream!

  4. 0

    Ha, this totally takes me back to a decade-old conversation with my now-wife in which we agreed that it’s pretty weird that straight people masturbate at all–because come on, masturbation is pretty hella gay.

    • 0

      Plenty of Victorian-ish “doctors” were of a similar opinion and turning gay was just one of the supposed ill effects of masturbating. For AMAB people mind you though.
      Too mellow right now to bother with breaking down the hysterics of hysteria.
      Still masturbation is good, they were evil.

  5. 0

    Riese the songwriter:

    y’all love yourself, it’s not a sin,
    you can’t control what’s happening,
    ’cause you just discovered, imagination’s taking over,
    another day with (or without) a lover,
    the more you come to understand
    the touch of your hand.
    You feel me?

    Now someone set that to music!

  6. 0

    Rieeeeeeeeeeeeeese these are the beeeeeessttt aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! I want to post these all over Facebook but now my mom is on my FB a lot and stuff so like? I dunno. Bits and pieces.

    Anyways, I wanted to chime in that I personally have more sex now and masturbate more now than I did 3+ years ago because, duh, I was with a man and then I realized I don’t like having sex with men so part of that process of realizing I liked ladies was masturbating without him, and then now having sex with a woman. I’m actually surprised that this wasn’t one of your suggestions about why queer women masturbate more now since there are a lot of us that didn’t come out until after we had relationships with (cis) men. Turns out, recognizing that I’m sexually attracted to women instead of men makes me hornier! WHO KNEW!

    • 0

      “I’m actually surprised that this wasn’t one of your suggestions about why queer women masturbate more now since there are a lot of us that didn’t come out until after we had relationships with (cis) men.”

      When you say “now” do you mean later in life? If so I can understand what you mean, because the more you what really life sexually can enhance your desire. But on the other hand, it’s also possible than younger queer persons may masturbate more if they already now what they want, but aren’t sure if it’ll ever happen. Because of “compulsory heterosexuality” many probably group wondering if they ever would, could, or should be pursing sex with someone of the same sex, even if they know there attraction early on.

      I remember Heather Matarazzo saying when first saw “Go Fish” as a teenager her thoughts weren’t that different from a horny boy. Something life “enough talk-start kissing.” Because she knew even than she wanted to girls, but wasn’t sure if that was going to happen in real life. So if you weren’t sure you’d get to do it, you could at least enjoy watching it.

      • 0

        POF if you don’t mind: I’d like to rewrite my question/theory since it sort came out bad in parts. Here goes…

        When you say “now” do you mean later in life? If so I can see what you mean, since knowing what it is you like sexually can enhance your desire. But on the other hand, it’s possible than younger queer persons also masturbate more if they already now or suspect their attract, but not that’ll ever pursue it with somebody else. Because of “compulsory heterosexuality” many probably group wondering if they ever would, could, or should be purse sex with someone of the same sex, even if they know there attraction early on.

        I remember Heather Matarazzo said when she first saw “Go Fish” as a teenager her thinking was life that of a horny boy. Something like “enough talking-lets see some action.” Because she seemed to know even than she wanted to kiss girls, but didn’t now if that would ever happen in real life. So if you aren’t sure you’re going to do it, at least you could watch it.

  7. 0

    Okay, but now that I’m done – I honestly think the reason our numbers are higher is we’re honest about it? I’ve never felt like those numbers in the National Survey were really accurate, but then I’m assuming the survey was taken in a way that would make some people reluctant to answer honestly. (Okay let’s be honest I’m imagining Joey Lucas and phones. I’m not sorry.)

    I also 100% agree with Jen up in the #1 slot, being comfortable with being me also freed me up to enjoy my body more.

    • 0

      I agree that it is partially probably an issue of honesty. I also think that women are told by society that they should not masturbate for fear of social disdain and being seen as “weird” or “wrong.” Since we lady-loving-ladies already function outside of the mainstream social conventions of sexual relationships, we really have nothing left to lose. People are much more likely to judge you harshly for having sex with another woman than for touching yourself, I think.

  8. 0

    A-this is amazing data and I love everything about it.
    B-the numbers are probably skewed because it’s a voluntary survey. My intuition is that folks most willing to take time out to fill out a survey on masturbation are people who masturbate more often. Which is not to say that lesbians don’t masturbate more than straight women. Just that we now need to fund a comprehensive study on masturbation.

    • 0

      As someone who responded to the survey – nope! Did not inflate my numbers at all. I’m not really sure if there should be a difference between this kind of survey, and one in which the participants are not…volunteers…? How does that determine honesty in self-reporting data?

      • 0

        Whilst maybe it’s a bit of an assumption, I’d guess there’s a light correlation between ‘being willing to/interested in answering a semi-extended questionnaire on your sexuality, sex life, etc’ and feeling less of a taboo around sex and sexuality, which, in turn, very likely correlates being more at ease with masturbating and, therefore, with masturbating more.

        • 0

          As a former sociology major, I definetly agree with Liv, this most probably is the case. Basic survey stuff. So – again – more surveys! Great! (This is not to diminish the glory of Autostraddle’s survey, just to point out the obvious that I think the staff realizes anyway.)

  9. 0

    So, why do queer women masturbate more than straight women?

    We have a few theories — but we’re interested to hear yours, too, so please chime in in the comments.

    Hmm, well assuming that most people prefer partnered sex to masturbation, then a difference in libido between straight women and straight men could explain this.

    (consider the scenario where every straight woman was partnered with a man who never refused sex — straight women would always have the option of sex)

    • 0

      Yes, I can totally see the way that “a difference in libido between straight women and straight men” could explain why queer women masturbate more than straight women. I think you’ve really hit the nail on the head. Clearly all us queer women with opinions on our own masturbation habits can go home now. Thank you!

        • 0

          I appreciate the apology, but I think maybe more importantly you could look at some of the things you are assuming and implying with your comment. First of all assuming that people prefer partnered sex to masturbation ignores a huge part of this survey. It literally says “It’s a popular misconception that masturbation is a reluctant substitute for partner sex, when in fact people who have sex regularly masturbate more than those who don’t.” You’re also assuming that partnerships will always be sexual in nature, which ignores a huge group of people and all the nuanced ways in which each partnership functions.

          The whole tone of your comment seems to be that straight women have the option for straight sex with straight men and thus are fulfilled, while queer women need to masturbate because we can’t get any. This article (at least the way I read it) is more of a celebration about the awesomeness of the high results in frequency

          eg. “thus it’s safe to say that 95.8% of our single ladies have masturbated within the last 90 days. That’s double what all single women reported to the NSSHBS. DOUBLE.”

          and also an invitation for our community to discuss the reasons we think we have these higher numbers (something we aren’t often encouraged to talk about, as for “queer women, there’s a stigma around pretty much everything we want to do in bed”).

          Anyhow, I don’t mean to be snarky but I think it’s fucking awesome that queer female-identified folks are getting down with their bad selves.

          • 0

            The whole tone of your comment seems to be that straight women have the option for straight sex with straight men and thus are fulfilled, while queer women need to masturbate because we can’t get any.
            I’m very sorry that it came across that way. That’s horrific.

            What I was trying to convey was that the numbers could be different, in part, because when you survey straight women, it might be that you are more often talking to the lower-libido partner in the relationship, whereas when you survey queer women, you are just as likely to be talking to the higher-libido partner as you are the lower-libido partner. So, I was wondering if maybe we could be seeing something that’s affected by the delta between how much sex you and your partner want.

            So yeah, that is kind of asking whether the higher-libido partners would make up for the delta by masturbating (enough anyway to affect the survey results), but I don’t think that’s out of the question.

            The survey results show that people who have more sex also masturbate more, but that doesn’t mean that more sex causes more masturbation. It could be, for example, that a higher sex drive causes both more sex and more masturbation.

    • 0

      Although I don’t think your theory makes any sense (even assuming that most straight women are low-libido and most straight men are high-libido, which I think is hogwash, people have stuff to do – if suddenly the stars align and Angie wants sex right now, her boyfriend might be at spin class or rock collectors united or whatever it is, and then what do you do?), I have to say, David, that I appreciate your uncommomly seen politeness in men who venture on this site.

      • 0

        if suddenly the stars align and Angie wants sex right now, her boyfriend might be at spin class or rock collectors united or whatever it is, and then what do you do?

        Oh absolutely — there are lots of scenarios where the lower-libido partner masturbates. I’m just wondering if it has an overall effect on the rate. Even in the case you mentioned, if Angie’s partner is pretty much always up for sex, she might pause and consider whether she would want to wait until he got home (or maybe even text him and tell him to get home ASAP). On the other hand, if she knows that her partner usually only wants sex a couple times a week, and they just had sex last night, she might be more likely to go it alone.

        Also, if you are with a higher-libido partner, that person is going to be kind of maxing you out in terms of sex. For example, if Angie would ideally want sex just a couple of times a week, but she accommodates her partner and has sex every night instead, she might be less likely to masturbate on a random afternoon when she is alone, because she is satiated from the previous nights’ activities.

        • 0

          Seems like a reductive view of sex and sexuality – as if Angie and her partner (let’s say “Joe”) could be characters in a story problem:

          “Angie wants to have sex 4 times per week. Joe wants to have sex 6 times a week. Angie and Joe have 20% overlap in their schedules. How often will Angie and Joe respectively masturbate?”

          From my personal perspective, sex is not like this. Masturbation is part of my self-care, and overlaps with my feelings about a partner but not completely. If I had sex with a partner as often as I could want, I would still want to masturbate. Also, I’m not sure that assigning “higher-libido” and “lower-libido” roles is valid. Relative libido levels shift over time – over the course of a day, weeks, months, and years (not to mention possibly being a response to other factors in the relationship, like trust and care, as opposed to always being an individual trait). I think the assumptions you make to draw your conclusions in your first post are not relevant to many people’s experience.

          • 0

            Relative libido levels shift over time – over the course of a day, weeks, months, and years (not to mention possibly being a response to other factors in the relationship, like trust and care, as opposed to always being an individual trait).

            Absolutely — that is consistent with my experience as well. It’s actually part of what led me to think about the question the way I did. I’ve personally noticed that during the periods of time when my partner is wanting sex less often, I tend to masturbate more often, whereas when her libido matches or exceeds my own, I masturbate more rarely (in part because I have less time, actually, but also because I’m more satiated)

            Also, I’m not sure if I see how the fact that higher/lower-libido status changes over time for each individual would result in a different outcome. If I was better at math, I could probably use some kinda of fancy term for this, but it seems like you could divide the timeline up into little chunks(like 1week intervals), and then if the model works for each week then it would apply to the sum of all those weeks. [assuming that during any given week, straight women have less than a 50% chance of being the higher-libido partner for that week]

  10. 0

    I totally agree with your reasons as to why lesbians masturbate more often than straight women.

    But I think that women, in general, are still taught, consciously or unconsciously, to be ashamed of our bodies and our sexual pleasure.

    I do remember my sex-ed classes, dealing with 3 main issues:

    – How to avoid pregnancy (early on I knew this wouldn’t be my problem).
    – The mechanics of hetero sex (insert Part A on Part B, kinda like some IKEA instructions).
    – Prevention of STDs and STIs (once again related to heterosexual coupling, with maybe some reference to HIV related to gays, because, you know, you can’t skip all the info going around in the world all the time). This could have been very helpful on my late teens, if I could relate to the information I received, but it wasn’t directed at me.

    I do remember some words about love, but about pleasure? No way in hell. So, my only option was, as Sofia so eloquently said so, “GET TO KNOW YOUR OWN CHA-CHA”.

    Sorry, I can help it. I need to shared that video…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SChcTUtyDR0

    PD: THANK YOU, RIESE. Believe or not, this is a great service to mankind.

  11. 0

    I think there many reasons why straight women are less inclined to masturbate:

    1. Women’s sexual response is more complicated than men’s, you actually have to know what you’re doing.

    2. There is a “hush-hush” mentality about women’s sexuality.

    I would’ve loved to learn in sex-ed that direct clitoral stimulation is necessary for the majority of women to climax. That would’ve helped me out a lot earlier.

    3. We live in a culture that sexually shames women.

    I remember when I was like 12, a fried of mine confided in me that she would touch herself. She thought she was some sick freak. And I was like “um, I’m pretty sure everybody does that?”. (She turned out to be bisexual by the way 🙂 )

    A few years later I learned that in the religion I was raised, masturbation is considered a sin. All the girls already knew this.

    Thankfully I had been BLISSFULLY unaware.

    I feel like queer women, in discovering their identities, also discover a lot about society. We are more likely to be aware when we are being bullshited by our culture, and are more likely to take education in to our own hands (so to speak).

    That comment probably could’ve been shorter, I’m in a rambly mood today.

    • 0

      “I would’ve loved to learn in sex-ed that direct clitoral stimulation is necessary for the majority of women to climax. That would’ve helped me out a lot earlier.”

      Yeah, ditto!! It’s funny because I grew up in a liberal college town with feminist hippie parents and went to a private school that employed a lot of grown-up hippies with the most comprehensive sex education class I’m aware of with a full and accurate unit on birth control — we even learned that females actually have orgasms, which is more than I hear most students learn — and never once did the existence of a thing called a clitoris or its functions warrant mention. I was probably 20 before I figured that one out, even though I’d been sexually active since I was 16.

  12. 0

    Considering possible causes for the conclusion made in the headline is a fun game. I have two less exciting possible explanations to contribute for why the AS survey numbers were higher than the National Survey numbers. (1) Queer vs. straight is likely not the only difference in the populations. An AS survey may have reached a more sexual slice of humanity than the other survey did for several reasons. People who visit this sexuality-themed website that sells “you do you” gear may be more interested in sex/masturbation on average. (2) The questions given did not have exactly the same options. The National Survey options ranged from “not in the past year” to “>4 times per week,” while the AS options ranged from “less than once a month” to “once or more per day.” I expect this difference could skew the results to inflate the AS numbers.
    I’m loving these data and the charts and analysis!

  13. 0

    Is it possible that women in tune with their sexual selves enough to know that they’re not straight, and who find that important enough to their daily lives to read a website devoted to sexuality, might be more sexually-aware people and much more likely too masturbate? Sexuality is a lot more than sex, of course, but it is related.

    My thought is that I had a lot of friends in school who had never been in relationships, never really talked about sex, probably did not masturbate. They would say they were straight, because everyone’s straight until proved otherwise, but really they weren’t very sexual at all. I feel pretty comfortable saying that since I just married one of them – she would have said she was straight and not particularly sexual until she fell in love with me.

    My point is that I, the gay one, is probably the only one in that group who would respond to a survey about masturbation, and the only one who probably masturbated (I guess I have no way of knowing that for sure).

    Also, religion probably plays a role in this. Most gay people have rejected religious beliefs that restrict sexuality. But a lot of straight Americans haven’t.

    Fascinating stuff, so glad you’re doing these surveys!

  14. 0

    Personally, I didn’t masturbate before I realised I was bi, which I did at the age of 20. Prior to that realisation, I knew what it took to get a cis guy off and I thought that it was all I really needed to know, which is a problem that our heteronormative society perpetuates and it needs to change. After I realised I was bi, I was kind of like “well, I’m attracted to girls and if I’m gonna have an idea of how to get them off then I should probably practice on myself”. Also, as I entered the realm of queerness, I just naturally got clued into more things about sex, sexuality, gender identity and feminism.

  15. 0

    I remember, when I was about eleven, my two friends from church and I got into a circle and the eldest and most religious one of us had a sly look and asked : “Do you *masturbate*?” (in the same tone someone would say “do you SIN?!?”)

    My friend an I looked at the floor and exclaimed ‘….Noooo!’

    For a few years there I thought I was a freak until I realized I probably wasn’t the only one lying.

  16. 0

    Ok this article reminds of a very long, and open conversation I had a few weeks ago two of my sisters. Me who is a soon to be devoice from a man lesbian (Yeah), my younger sister who is single and straight, and my older sister who is straight and married. We all grew up in the same situation with a religious upbringing that drilled the moral sin of premarital sex and masturbation into us, and was reinforced by parents who teenage sex talk to us was “you all know that sex is bad don’t do it, or you will be grounded and I will take you to the church to talk to the bishop”. I am not joking that was literally word for word the sex talk we received myself and all 4 of my sisters ages 15-2 all at the same time sitting on our living room floor together. So we all grew up very sexually confused, and all dysfunctionally disconnected with who we were, and from our own sexuality. Which probably explains why it took my 27 years to realize that I was a lesbian and 31 years to come out of the closet. Anyways it took me a long time, but I am now very connected to my sexuality and who I am. So is my younger and much opened minded non-religious younger sister, who has done quite a lot of sexual exploration by herself and with others. My exploration experience was with my soon to be ex-husband (which was not sexually satisfying), and then solo (which is where I found my true sexuality, and resolved my confusion and issues with sex, but did not start doing it until a year before I discovered my sexuality). My older sister still has issues with hers. Her sexual exploration is limited to hetero sex with her husband. We told her that she needs to do some solo exploration, and she just look at us like we were crazy,. Anyway this conversation is too long to cover all here, but it all started by discussing the fact that the world around us is full of sexual images, movies, Victoria secret adds, magazines, etc. and my older sister classifies this as soft porn. All 3 of us agree that these images are distorted and dysfunction of what true sex and sexuality is. Two of the 3 of us do not feel insecure and confused by these images masturbate, the one who is, does not go solo sometimes.
    Long tangent story but relative to topic story. Take what you can from it.

    • 0

      some how part of my post did not make it on the page, but the important part is that my older sister feels that masturbating is cheating on her husband (which is also what religion and society taught us when growing up). And most if not all of those hetrosexual images exploits women as sexual objects for men.

  17. 0

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  18. 0

    In my particular case, I would be one of those straight women who masturbates a lot (several times per week, and sometimes, several times per day).

    I think that we have to take some things in consideration. This questions were asked to lesbians who admit that they are lesbians. I know that it sounds stupid, but several LGTB people says that they have to pass for several obstacles before to get out of the closet (even to admit to themselves, that they are gay). If you break these mental obstacles, probably is accompanied with breaking other several beliefs about sex and feminity. The first time I questioned myself what really means being a virgin or having sexual pleasure, it when I was been talking with lesbians (you can lose your virginity without a dick, you can enjoy sex without penetration…).

    From other hand, straight women don’t have to faced with these beliefs. You accept them, and that’s all. “Women only enjoy with penetration”, “sex is dirty it’s only for sluts”, “women don’t enjoy sex as much as their partners (men)”…lesbians tend to questioned these beliefs more often.

    I think that these are the main reason why this happen. Probably in a better future (one without sexism, homophobia, and hate to sex) the difference will be unexisted.

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