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!


Dell Williams, Influential Sex Shop Entrepreneur, Has Died

Sex shop founder/entrepreneur Dell Williams (Refinery29)

Sex shop founder/entrepreneur Dell Williams (Refinery29)

Sad news from last week: Dell Williams, founder of the first woman-friendly sex shop Eve’s Garden, died at the age of 92.

Her origin story begins in the early ’70s, when she decided to purchase a Hitachi Magic Wand, “the Rolls-Royce of vibrators” after attending famed sex educator Betty Dodson’s “Body/Sex Workshop.” (Dodson was a huge proponent of the Magic Wand.) When Williams attempted to buy the device at a New York City Macy’s, she was shamed by a younger male sales associate.

She reported her lightbulb moment as follows:

Someone really ought to open up a store where a woman can buy one of these things without some kid asking her what she’s going to do with it.

This experience led Williams to build Eve’s Garden from her kitchen table, pursuing it as a side-hustle while working a 9-to-5 as an advertising executive. She was working on this at an interesting time: Discussions about female sexuality were beginning to bubble up, contrasting with the point that sex shops were run by, and catered pretty exclusively to men.

She showed an aptitude for entrepreneurship, as the thriving mail-order business (founded in 1974) grew into a storefront, and later went online. The site sells condoms, sex toys, and books, including Williams’ biography “Revolution in the Garden.”

Williams quickly became one of the go-to women to comment on sexuality changes amidst the larger society. In 1973, she organized a conference on women’s sexuality that received a lot of attention, and was consulted on sexual matters ranging from how to up the passion during Valentine’s Day to Britney Spears’ own ode to female masturbation “Touch of My Hand.”

But perhaps Williams was destined to go into the sex industry: Legend has it she was named for journalist Floyd Dell, who was an ardent supporter for Margaret Sanger’s work.

Williams started something that (thankfully) continues to thrive to this day: the woman-friendly sex shop, where women can go in and explore without fear of being shamed or side-eyed.

Above all, she knew the power of a sexually healthy and knowledgable woman (and how scared the rest of the world is of her). For her dedication in her biography, she wrote:

It has long been my unassailable belief that orgasmic women can change the world.  By this I mean that a woman who is unfettered sexually is unfettered politically, socially, economically and she is unstoppable.


Thursday Trends: Technology in Sex Toys

Crave's Vesper vibrator (Fast CoDesign)

Crave’s Vesper vibrator (Fast CoDesign)

Legend has it Cleopatra may have been one of the first women to use a vibrator. (In her case, it was a calabash filled with buzzing bees.) The legendary queen/sex toy early adopter clearly knew she needed some extra stimulation, and the simple invention paved the way for a future industry.

Now, things have become a little more complex (and thankfully bee-less). Some sex toys have become more high-tech, and take advantage of opportunities within that field. Clearly, when technology enters the bedroom, fun follows.

Below are just a sampling of what tech looks like…in bed:

We Vibe:

The couples’ vibrator We-Vibe 4 Plus makes use of an app designed to maximize each users’ experience. It can used during sex, stimulating both partners. But it can also be used at a distance, with one wearing and the other controlling via the complementary app. The controller can choose the sensations, which the other partner then receives.


Sometimes you just want oral. Enter the Ora 2, which simulates cunnilingus via a rotating hub that stimulates the clitoris.


One central component of technology is that it must look good (thank you Steve Jobs for making this commonplace). Sleek is generally the operative term. Crave’s Vesper is a wearable, thin vibrator the consumer can wear around her neck (and only use externally). Creators of the Vesper made sure the product is as elegant to wear as it is useful.


…And into the future:


This company doesn’t yet have a product on the market. But their goal is to sell a “smart” vibrator that learns from what the user likes. It’ll be interesting to see how this one takes shape.


As technology continues to evolve, it’ll be interesting to witness how sex toys incorporate the new tech into existing and new toys. Who knows? We could soon see something that looks straight out of “The Jetsons.”


Mutual Masturbation: How Common Is It?

Couple at sunset

Couple at sunset

I learned an interesting stat last night: According to The Kinsey Institute, 85% of men have masturbated with another person in the room, while 66% of women have done the same. The sex educator who told me this said the numbers were higher than previously  thought, and could be higher still due to self-reporting.

What do you think? Are you surprised by these stats?

How Many People Use Vibrators?

Rabbit vibrators

Rabbit vibrators

You might think this is a no-brainer, that everyone uses one. Sure, it might be common in your circle of friends, if you’re pretty open about it. But what exactly are the hard stats on vibrator use?

A 2008 study shows that 53% of women have used a vibrator at some point in their lives. The study surveyed 2K+ women ages 18-60.

The study also found that 45% of men have used a vibrator at least once, out of a sample of 1K+ men within the same age range. However, the study does not mention whether the vibrators were used with or without a partner, and what age ranges within the larger set reported the most vibrator use. (This was true for the womens’ results as well.)

These results show that while most men may not be up for using vibrators to please their partners, there are some that exist out there.