woman in bed

A new infographic shines light on the surprising issue women are experiencing in bed.

This article contains sexually explicit material.

According to an infographic from the sex toy retailer Adam & Eve in honor of National Masturbation Month, approximately four in ten women prefer masturbating to sex with a partner.

The source for this statistic appears to be from an online survey conducted by healthystrokes.com, a website that appears to be run by a single person and is devoted to recommending that women never masturbate by using toys, instead recommending that women use “traditional methods,” such as hands or shower heads only. So make of that what you will. 

But does the idea that women prefer masturbation to sex hold any water? Maybe. Given the endless advice articles and Reddit threads of women bemoaning their troubles reaching orgasm from partnered sex, it’s not crazy that some women may prefer masturbation.

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Many women on an old thread on the women-centric subreddit /r/TwoXChromosomes said that they liked masturbation because it was generally quicker and easier to reach the big O, but that they enjoyed sex for the emotional intimacy. 

“Great sex is better than great masturbation, but there’s nothing worse than crap sex (it happens sometimes!),” one woman wrote. “I’d take lazy, mediocre, orgasmless masturbation over boring sex any day.”

Another issue is that many women find it much easier to climax by using vibrators, and with those easier orgasms comes a lot of hand-wringing about how vibrators have caused “dead vagina syndrome.”

But we’ve already debunked all that. Vibrators do not destroy your clitoris or vagina, and even if you do have decreased vaginal sensitivity (for whatever reason), orgasms and sexual pleasure are definitely still possible, according to science.

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Instead, perhaps women prefer dancing alone to doing the tango because their partners don’t know how to please them and the women don’t know how to ask for it.

Communication about likes and dislikes is incredibly important to a happy, healthy sexual relationship with another person or people. But research shows that many people struggle to communicate with their partner about their turn-ons and turn-offs. When you’re going it alone, you’re free to explore and take your time without having to worry about pleasing and performing for another person. 

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Given the many pressures women (and men!) feel to have orgasms—and the “right” orgasms—from sex, maybe masturbation is just easier and more relaxing. But with a little education and communication, maybe we can all reach a place of not worrying so much about the “right” and “wrong” ways to enjoy ourselves and then we can actually just enjoy ourselves—and each other.

Photo via Paul Cleary/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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