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The ‘Masturbation Gap’ Widened This Year: When Will Female Pleasure Be Prioritised?

Australian women experience 53 per cent less pleasure than men, per year.

You’re likely aware of the ‘gender pay gap’ (the average difference in remuneration between working men and women) but did you know that there is also a ‘masturbation gap’ that exists between women and men in Australia?

It might sound a bit left of field, but measurements like the masturbation gap are actually extremely important to understand how Australians are approaching pleasure, and which subsects of society aren’t getting enough (hint: it’s also the group that gets paid less than their male subsidiaries). 

So, without further ado, here is everything you need to know about the gap in pleasure that just keeps getting wider in Australia (and why it should be so important to you). 

What Is The Masturbation Gap And Why Is It Important?

The masturbation gap encompasses how many times we engage in self-pleasure per year, and then compares the difference between those who identify as men and those who identify as women.

Masturbation can have plenty of positive knock-on effects for our health and happiness, and has even been shown to reduce period pain, so the fact that women are not masturbating as much as men can in turn impact their wellbeing.

What Is The Masturbation Gap In 2023 And When Is Equal Masturbation Day?

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For the last four years, sex toy brand Womanizer has been mapping the amount of pleasure Australians experience every year, noting that women get considerably less pleasure overall.

Last year, we saw the masturbation gap narrow, from 62 per cent to 43 per cent difference. But this year, it widened again, up by 10 per cent to 53 per cent.

Womanizer measures the gap by naming an ‘Equal Masturbation Day’. This date is found using the gap statistics. For example, this year, if men start masturbating on January 1, women don’t start until 13 July. We’ve essentially gone nearly seven months without an ounce of self-pleasure in comparison.

Last year, by June 23 both women and men had enjoyed the benefits of masturbation, so we’re definitely not fairing as well in 2023. The data highlights the need for greater awareness and discussion around sexual equality and pleasure. However, in its debut years Equal Masturbation Day fell in August, so we’ve still come a long way.

We’re Masturbating More Overall This Year Though

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Despite the statistics showing that women receive 53 per cent less pleasure than men per year, both genders were engaging in more self-pleasure overall.

On average, females masturbated 85 times per year in 2023, up from 79 in 2022, while males masturbated 181 times, up from 139 in 2022.

The team of sexologists working on this data believe that the increased uptake of self-pleasure overall is the result of improved access to sexual education, the growth of sexology in the public eye, and greater frequency of public conversations around female sexuality and pleasure.

Do Australians Masturbate Less Than Other Countries?

While us Australians can get a bad wrap for having a so-called ‘stiff upper lip’, we sit a little higher on the global masturbation day scale compared to other nations.

Women in the Japan fair the worst, with Equal Masturbation Day falling on August 29. Also sitting at the bottom of the table are Canada (August 24), the UK (August 18), France (August 20), Germany (30 July) and Switzerland (29 July).

Women in Hong Kong fair the best in terms of the masturbation gap (May 21), followed by Spain and Singapore (July 1), Australia (July 13) and USA (July 19).

Is Libido To Blame For The Masturbation Gap?

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It’s easy to look at the findings and think, well what if women just don’t want as much pleasure, or don’t have the same sex drive as men.

It’s a topic researchers have looked into extensively, finding that there is a tiny gap in libido, but not enough to make up for the stark difference in pleasure experienced by women and men. The survey found that the average libido for females in 2023 is 5.73 out of 10, while for males, it is 6.8. In 2022, the average female libido was 5.76, while for males, it was 6.53.

According to Womanizer, “These findings suggest that while there may be differences in masturbation habits, there are no significant differences in overall libido between genders.”

Why Do Women Get Less Pleasure Than Men?

According to Womanzier’s sex and relationship expert and founder of Good Vibes Clinic, Christine Rafe, social stigma still sits at the heart of the disparity.

“Although pleasure and masturbation for women is being more publicly spoken about and promoted as part of healthy human functioning, we can’t deny the impact of a lifetime of social and cultural conditioning that stigmatises and shames women for having a sexual desire and masturbating,” she explains.

“In practice, I continue to see negative beliefs about masturbation and pleasure for women as the biggest influencer in their sexual desire and willingness/interest in masturbation and sex with other(s).”

Along these lines, she feels that there is a lot more work needed to shed the veil of negativity towards self-pleasure, and encourage healthy self-exploration and masturbation for wellbeing.

It’s important to note, it’s not just that women have been socialised to think that self-pleasure is bad, there is also the element of time and the mental load.

Rafe explains, “In heterosexual relationships, women continue to take on the majority of household responsibilities and act as the primary caregivers for children, despite most also working in paid employment.

“This results in a disparity of available time to prioritise pleasure and self-care (which includes masturbation) for many women. We also know that desire for eroticism, self-pleasure and sex is heavily impacted by stress, energy levels, responsibilities and emotional load, and could certainly account for differences in masturbation frequency between men and women.”

Why Has The Masturbation Gap Widened This Year In Particular?

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While it is fair to say that women have a lot going on that turns their attention away from themselves and their own wellbeing and towards others, it has been that way since the dawn of time. Our question: why is the gap widening this year when it narrowed last year?

While the data doesn’t exactly dive into that niche, most women could probably agree that life has only gotten busier over the last year, with the world finally out of lockdowns and restrictions and many workplaces forcing people back to brick-and-mortar offices.

According to sexual wellness expert for Womanizer, Cheryl Fagan, it all comes back to our down time this year being at an all time low.

“It comes down to time — is prioritising your pleasure important to you? For women it can be challenging to set a time just for ourselves, just for pleasure,” she says. “Because it can often take women some time to feel physiologically aroused, I always recommend being intentional, and setting time aside for solo play.”

Her parting wisdom? “Solo sex shouldn’t be seen as another self-growth or improvement tool, and it’s certainly not a guilty pleasure! Masturbation is actually good for you, akin to meditation or working out, and there are many benefits to masturbation like stress relief, and releasing all the feel good neurochemicals like oxytocin and serotonin.”

RELATED: These Luxury Sex Toys Deliver Next-Level Pleasure

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide To The Best Sex Toys For Women

The Best Sex Toys To Try For Masturbation

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Rose Clitoral Suction Stimulator, $89.95, Lovehoney

It’s hard to go past this rose-shaped clit-stimulator. Its non-offensive, almost-sweet style is great for beginners, and the rose style shape allows for great stimulation all around the vulva area for an even more enticing ‘O’. 

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The Double Entendre, $95, Frenchie

A great option for double stimulation and even couples scenarios, The Double Entendre is a great choice whether you’re playing alone or want to up your game in a partnered moment.

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Piper, $25, Normal

A classic ‘rabbit’ style, the Piper is a great way to get the most of your double stimulation in one toy. It offers clitoris vibrations alongside internal G-spot stimulation and even a grippy handle for easier use. 

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Tiff, $169, Girls Get Off

Offering clitoral stimulation as well as extremely approachable internal stimulation, the Tiff is a powerhouse (that also looks adorable in your cabinet). 

(Credit: Image: Lovehoney)

Womanizer Duo 2 Rechargeable Silicone G-Spot and Clitoral Stimulator, $329.95, Lovehoney

The gold-standard sex toy for self-play, the ‘Duo’ is offers clitoral suction technology alongside a vibrating internal stimulator with bulb-ed end for even better G-spot contact. The flexible ‘arm’ allows you to find the exact angle that’s perfect for you and she offers great power for whatever strength and vibe you’re feeling. 

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