Masturbation has become the new self-care according to a growing number of surveys conducted in major markets around the world.
Sex toy maker Tenga, which tracks self-pleasure annually, found in its survey this year that 86% of Americans masturbate and it seems that the Covid-19 pandemic has a lot to do with it.
According to the survey, 41% of women and 31% of men admitted to increasing their frequency of self-love since the beginning of lockdown last year.
For millennials and generation Z, masturbation is also becoming a replacement for actual intercourse.
Sally Baker, a British sex therapist, told online publication Metro that a clear sexual trend among younger generations is that they will start having intercourse much later in life, focusing first on love.
She said that abstinence or non-penetrative sex may just be the next big thing. The reason for this, experts across the internet suspect, is the growing phenomenon of online social media relationships, pandemic influenced minimal physical contact and access to online erotica and porn.
Metro suggests that people are just not comfortable being face to face anymore.
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Benefits of masturbation
In fact, popular culture seems to be on a mission to legitimise masturbation, too. Whether it’s breaking taboos about pleasuring yourself in the comedy the 40-Year-Old Virgin, suggestive streaming flicks or innuendo in episodes of Sex and the City, masturbation especially for women, is on the media rise, too.
But touching yourself is not only limited to pleasure. The wellness benefits are being widely publicised and it’s said to improve self-image, confidence and body autonomy or having the exclusive right to your own body. Centurion kinesiologist and therapist Iain Janse van Rensburg offers an amorous massage, using life-force energy generated by orgasm to heal and remove blockages.
The sixties saw the sexual revolution making it okay to get laid. Since then, naughty has come a long way. Today Metro says sex toy brand Love Honey has reported significant growth in the sale of items like strap-on penises, used for anal sex where a woman penetrates a man.
And consumers are getting younger. It said that the use of strap-ons, anal sex and oral have become the norm rather than a taboo.
And South Africans seem to love masturbation, too. In a 2017 survey chatbot pollster Ratepop said that 25.2% of men and 9.8% of women in Mzansi admit to masturbating daily. But few other local resources talk about the subject. Elsewhere, the word is out.
Australia’s Body and Soul interviewed Down Under relationship expert Dr Nikki Goldstein who said masturbation simply feels good. It allows people to explore their bodies and learn about their own, individual sexuality.
She says that when you end up in a sexual situation with someone, it allows for better communication and understanding of what works for you sexually and what doesn’t.
Consensus though, across online conversation and relationship experts, is that masturbation for wellness reasons or as a rule of thumb in personal and coupled sexual lifestyle is becoming the norm.
The pandemic has a lot to do with concentrating this trend but, technology has been the driver of social distancing, penetration reticence and a focus on a deeper connection beyond intercourse.
Chelsea Reynolds at the department of communications at California State University told Metro that mutual masturbation and online mediated sex is a likely outcome of where we are at today.
If the sexual revolution gave us the green light to getting laid, the 70s and 80s gave us the blowjob and the early 2000s anal sex in all its incarnations, the next logical step would be for masturbation to enter the mainstream.