When Do Men Begin Masturbating?

Male masturbation (Lerablog)

Male masturbation (Lerablog)

Did you know that May is National Masturbation Month? Time to (officially) celebrate self-love (though I personally do every day)!

I’m always curious about the different stages of sexual initiation: first kiss, first intercourse, etc. Of course, one more milestone is the first time a person masturbates (and subsequently finds out that touching yourself feels amazing). Conventional wisdom has held that men begin masturbating in their early teens. But is this true?

Weirdly, I couldn’t find much official, hard (heh) data on this. Dr. Alfred Kinsey briefly touched on this topic (wow, I just can’t stop) and found that 92% of men reported that they had masturbated. (Interestingly, Kinsey took a deeper-dive into female masturbation. Pretty surprising for 1953!) But the stat I found didn’t delve into when the first age for masturbation for boys occurred.

I did find an informal poll on a Coachella-related message board. Here are the findings:

Masturbation poll (Coachella)

Masturbation poll (Coachella)

I have no idea how close to the sexual “norm” this is. This data is problematic for a couple of reasons: First, it’s self-reported, and the respondents could easily be lying about how old they were when they first touched themselves. Also, it’s self-selected, meaning that respondents decided of their own accord to answer the question. It’s improbable that the responses represent an even swath of people that would be comparable to that of a formal study.

Again, I’m really surprised that more research hasn’t been done on this topic. Kinsey Institute, get on this!


Colleges and Universities with Graduate-Level Sexuality Programs: By The Numbers

The Kinsey Institute (Wikipedia)

The Kinsey Institute (Wikipedia)

For those who are thinking (or planning on) making a career in the study of sexuality and would like to go the academic route, there are some schools which offer programs geared towards the subject. Several schools have undergrad courses and certifications, but there are also some graduate programs in which one can get a master’s or a Ph.D. degree.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but a general smattering of the options out there.

Number in California: 2

San Francisco State University:

Program: Sexuality Studies

California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS):

Program: Human Sexuality

– Concentrations: Clinical Psychology or Sexual Policy Leadership


Number in Indiana: 1

Indiana University Bloomington:

ProgramThe Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction


Number in Hawaii: 1

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Program: Pacific Center for Sex and Society


As I mentioned, there are several programs out there, but these should be enough to pique your interest!

#ThrowbackThursday: Dr. Alfred Kinsey Lecturing at UC Berkeley, 1949

Dr. Alfred Kinsey lecturing at UC Berkeley, 1949 (The Guardian)

Dr. Alfred Kinsey lecturing at UC Berkeley, 1949 (The Guardian)

Dr. Alfred Kinsey, known to be one of the (if not the) father of modern sexology, lectured to a packed house at the University of California, Berkeley in 1949. This lecture capped off a big decade for him: He began by teaching a class on marriage (attended mostly by women) in which he espoused his beliefs on sexual frankness and equality for both genders. In 1947, he founded the Institute for Sex Research (now called The Kinsey Institute) at Indiana University. The following year, he wrote the breakthrough work “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male.”

I couldn’t find any further information on this image. But look how many people are there to hear him speak! I’m sure it helped that his book had sold 200K+ within the first two months of its release. He was truly a rockstar, and I wonder what it would’ve been like to hear him speak.

Why is There an Orgasm Gap in Hook-Ups vs. Relationships?

Orgasm (NYC Barstool Sports)

Orgasm (NYC Barstool Sports)

In honor of International Women’s Day yesterday, let’s examine a very real issue that a lot of women face: the orgasm gap in hookups vs. relationships.

There have been a few studies on this. A 2013 study by the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University found that “women were twice as likely to reach orgasm from intercourse or oral sex in serious relationships as in hookups.” The study surveyed 600 male and female college students. A study out of New York University found that only 40% of women achieved orgasm during their most recent hookup that included sex, where 80% of men reported climaxing. This study polled 24K students at 21 colleges.

But when a woman is in a committed relationship, their orgasm rate shoots up to 75%.

Why is this?

There are several reasons for this: more frequent and consistent practice with a steady partner, communication with a partner and/or feeling empowered and confident within one’s sexuality.

Dr. Debby Herbenick of The Kinsey Institute points out that men tend to report orgasms more than women, so the number of women having orgasms might well be higher. Also, the term “hook(ing) up” includes sexual acts that might not result in having an orgasm, such as kissing.

But women can have sex and get pregnant without climaxing. So why are we so worried about having one (or multiples)?

Dr. Elisabeth A. Lloyd, author of “The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution,” puts it best:

“The female orgasm is for fun.”

And she’s so totally right. So get out there and go get yours!

“Fifty Shades of Grey:” What the Hell is BDSM, Anyway?

'Fifty Shades of Grey' still (MoviePilot)

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ still (MoviePilot)

This week, we’re examining different aspects of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” in preparation for the upcoming movie, opening on Feb. 13th. 

“Fifty Shades of Grey” depicts BDSM as pretty hardcore: There are whips, chains and cable ties all in Christian Grey’s Red Room of Pain. A person (let’s be honest, woman) reading the book with no prior knowledge and/or experience of BDSM would likely be inclined to believe that’s primarily what the consensual sex practice about.

But BDSM isn’t just about the hardcore stuff. It encompasses a wide variety of activities. The four letters can be arranged to refer to different practices under the BDSM umbrella: B&D (bondage & discipline), S&M (sadomasochism), D&S (dominance & submission).

Dr. Richard A. Sprott, executive director of the Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities (CARAS), notes that BDSM can be synonymous with “kink, fetish, leather, and S&M.” The term can denote “a practice, lifestyle or orientation.”

Sprott labels the two most important components as “consensuality and mutually defined activities.” Other common aspects include “eroticization of power, role-playing/fantasy, and intense sensory stimulation and/or physical restriction.” Roles include the dominant, submissive and switch (someone who plays both dom and sub roles as needed). A BDSM “scene” (single session of play) has three parts: negotiation (deciding what will happen), play (the scene itself) and aftercare (coming down from the scene).

The Teramis website concedes that “no acronym is ideal in defining” the term, and open communication must be used to find out a person’s specific kink. The most important rules are that things are kept “safe, sane and consensual.”

How widespread is it? The 1990 Kinsey Institute New Report on Sex found the following:

Researchers estimate that 5-10 percent of the U.S. population engages in sadomasochism for sexual pleasure on at least an occasional basis, with most incidents being either mild or stage activities involving no real pain or violence.

As “Fifty Shades of Grey” makes clear, audiences will react to the most extreme version of BDSM. But there are a lot of, dare I say, shades of grey within the moniker for practitioners.