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Masturbation study provides material for the lovers AND the haters

A recent study published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine looked at the masturbation habits of American teenagers (age 14 – 17), and the results are likely to please both the self-lovers and those who think that adolescent boys and girls should be forced to sleep in mittens to keep themselves pure.

So here’s the news that will please Team Masturbation: Among teens who engage in oral or vaginal sex, boys who masturbate were eight times more likely to use a condom than boys who don’t. (Unfortunately there was no correlation for girls.) Of course, correlation is not causation, but still, it’s something. For whatever reason (the study authors say they need to do more research to know exactly why), masturbation seems to be associated with a more careful attitude to safer sex. Go salami slappers!

And here’s the news that will no doubt provide ammunition to the Anti-Mastubation Brigade: Kids who masturbated (both boys and girls) reported having more sex, both vaginal and oral, than the non-masturbators. Again, correlation does not equal causation, but for anyone wanting to argue that masturbation is a slippery slope, we think they’ll like this finding.

But what we were most heartened by was the number of teen girls who reported masturbating. Sure, the numbers are dwarfed by the boys’ stats, but that’s to be expected. After all, teen boys get stiffies on a bumpy bus ride. But still: At age 14, 43.3% of girls said they had masturbated, and by age 17, that number goes up to 58%. (In boys the stats are 62.5% and 80%, respectively.) For those people who say that “nice girls don’t,” 58% is a decent rejoinder. It’s a bummer that female masturbation doesn’t seem to correlate to safer sex, but other studies have found numerous other benefits to female masturbation (better sex life, more orgasms, more likely to ask for what she wants in bed, etc.). Go beaver beaters!

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