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Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 87–98 | Cite as

Gender differences in masturbation and the relation of masturbation experience in preadolescence and/or early adolescence to sexual behavior and sexual adjustment in young adulthood

  • Harold Leitenberg
  • Mark J. Detzer
  • Debra Srebnik
Article

Abstract

A comparison of male and female masturbation practices was undertaken in a sample of university students to determine if the long-standing finding that young adult men in this country masturbate more than young adult women was still evident in the 1980s. Despite the efforts in the past quarter century to encourage women in our society to take greater responsibility for their own bodies and their own sexuality and to engage in more sexual self-exploration and self-stimulation, results show that women continue to masturbate much less than men. Twice as many men as women had ever masturbated and the men who masturbated did so three times more frequently during early adolescence and young adulthood than the women who masturbated during these same age periods. A second purpose of this study was to determine whether having masturbation experience during preadolescence and/or early adolescence was related to intercourse experience, sexual satisfaction, sexual arousal, or sexual difficulties in relationships during young adulthood. No such linkage was observed, suggesting that early masturbation experience is neither beneficial nor harmful to sexual adjustment in young adulthood.

Key words

masturbation sex difference gender adolescence young adulthood 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harold Leitenberg
    • 1
  • Mark J. Detzer
    • 1
  • Debra Srebnik
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA

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