Masturbation and Partnered Sex: Substitutes or Complements?

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10508-017-0975-8

Cite this article as:
Regnerus, M., Price, J. & Gordon, D. Arch Sex Behav (2017). doi:10.1007/s10508-017-0975-8

Abstract

Drawing upon a large, recent probability sample of American adults ages 18–60 (7648 men and 8090 women), we explored the association between sexual frequency and masturbation, evaluating the evidence for whether masturbation compensates for unavailable sex, complements (or augments) existing paired sexual activity, or bears little association with it. We found evidence supporting a compensatory relationship between masturbation and sexual frequency for men, and a complementary one among women, but each association was both modest and contingent on how content participants were with their self-reported frequency of sex. Among men and women, both partnered status and their sexual contentment were more obvious predictors of masturbation than was recent frequency of sex. We conclude that both hypotheses as commonly evaluated suffer from failing to account for the pivotal role of subjective sexual contentment in predicting masturbation.

Keywords

Masturbation Sexual desire Gender differences Partnered sexual behavior 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture

    Copyright information

    © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

    Authors and Affiliations

    1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
    2. 2.Department of EconomicsBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
    3. 3.Marriott School of ManagementBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

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