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Masturbation survey results

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Highlights of the survey:

  • Heterosexual males are more likely to have Traumatic Masturbatory Syndrome than gays or bisexuals
  • Guys who masturbate prone tend to start masturbating slightly earlier than guys who masturbate on their backs
  • Guys with TMS masturbate more often than guys without TMS
  • Males who never masturbate prone have 6.6 times more sex with partners than males with TMS
  • Guys who masturbate face-down do 85 percent of their masturbating in bed, compared to only 37 percent for guys who masturbate face-up
  • There's no difference in age at first intercourse between TMS guys and non-TMS guys
  • Five times as many TMS guys than non-TMS guys suffer erectile dysfunction most of the time during sex
  • FULLY HALF of TMS guys almost always suffer from inorgasmia when having intercourse; only nine percent never do; less than one in twenty face-up guys does even half the time
  • Guys with TMS are less likely to have premature or painful ejaculation
  • The majority of non-virgin TMS guys have experienced intercourse only in the missionary position; the majority of non-virgin non-TMS guys have experienced sex in five positions
  • 83 percent of non-TMS males say intercourse is more fun than masturbating, but only 56 percent of TMS males agree; the other 44 percent say masturbating is more fun
  • 64 percent of males have suspected themselves of masturbating compulsively at some point, and 42 percent have tried quitting altogether

A survey was conducted in September and October 2002 to determine the sexual experience of males who suffer from Traumatic Masturbatory Syndrome (TMS) and to compare this with a group of males who don't have TMS. TMS is the practice of masturbating in a face-down (prone) position. (To learn more, go here.) The survey was conducted over the WWW and was advertised to members of an online support group for TMS sufferers and on certain Usenet groups dealing with masturbation. It is acknowledged that people who read groups like those are apt to be more avid practitioners of masturbation than the general population, and these survey results therefore cannot be stated as applying generally. However, the main purpose of the survey is to compare TMS males with non-TMS males, and the survey accomplishes that.

Here are the results of the TMS survey. There were 119 responses, and much to my surprise, not a single response was derisive. I expected to get a load of them basically making fun of the survey but there was not a single one like that. One or two were discarded because the person was vague about important things.

Although the survey said women were welcome to respond, all were from males. 100 of the respondents were white, 9 were Asian/Pacific, 1 was black, 5 were Hispanic, 2 were Middle Eastern, and 2 were mixed/other. 87 live in the USA (28 in the Northeast, 20 in the Midwest, 19 in the South, and 20 in the West). 4 live in Canada, 16 in Europe, 8 in Australia, and 3 in Asia.

Of the 119, 47 were from males for whom TMS makes up 50 percent or more of their lifetime masturbation. (These are referred to as the lifetime TMS guys.) 34 were from males who currently practice TMS.

The average age of the respondents is 30.4. The average respondent first masturbated to orgasm at age 12.2 (range 5.17 to 21.1). For the lifetime TMS guys, the average age was 11.8. For the guys who have never masturbated prone, the average age was 12.4. The median age for the whole sample is 12.4. For the lifetime TMS guys, it is 12. For the non-TMS guys, it is 12.5. This suggests that guys are more prone to develop TMS when they start masturbating at an early age.

114 of the 119 respondents provided an age at first masturbation, although only six remember the exact date.

Here is the breakdown by ages. The first column is the age (e.g. 12-13 means between 12th and 13th birthdays), the second is the number of responses that gave that age, the third is the percent of the 114 that represents, and the fourth is the cumulative percentage.
Age Number Pct Cumulated Pct
<10 10 8.8 8.8
10-11 7 6.1 14.9
11-12 18 15.8 30.7
12-13 35 30.7 61.4
13-14 22 19.3 80.7
14-15 15 13.2 93.9
15-16 5 4.4 98.2
16+ 2 1.8 100

These numbers are a little different from what I cite in A Young Man's Guide to Masturbation. (50 pct by age 13, 74 pct by age 14, almost all by age 15) I think I will stick with those numbers since they are more scientific.

It is not so surprising that TMS guys start younger on average. This is due in part to some TMS guys who first masturbated to orgasm well before puberty (ages 5 to 10). It is not surprising that a child trying to have an orgasm would do it prone; stroking a prepubescent erection by hand is not apt to yield much, but the same child might find results rubbing it against something. However, there are other males in the survey who masturbated to orgasm at those ages (although not as high a proportion) who have never done it prone.

102 learned by self-discovery, 13 from another person (although only one TMS guy), and two from media.

The total sample was 77 heterosexual (64.7 pct), 18 mostly het (15.1 pct), 10 bisexual (8.4 pct), 7 mostly gay (5.8 pct), 4 gay (3.4 pct), and 3 confused (2.5 pct). Of the lifetime TMS guys, 38 (80.9 pct) are het; 3 mostly het; 2 bi; 3 mostly gay; 0 gay; and 1 confused. Why so many more straight guys with TMS? My guess is that gay guys practice masturbation among themselves and would set somebody straight (no pun) if he masturbated prone.

88 guys said their parents said nothing about masturbation; 7 parents misinformed them by telling myths; and 24 guys' parents told them it's normal. The average age of the guys whose parents misinformed is 49.7.

The average guy in the survey masturbated an average of 7.1 times per week when he discovered masturbation. (Which is not too far off the average of 8 times a week I have on the website.) The average current weekly frequency is 7.2 times. For those with partners, 7 times, and for those without, 7.47 times. Strangely enough, guys who currently have sex with a partner three or more times a week masturbate 8.24 times a week. This seems to corroborate the often-heard remark that people who have the most sex also masturbate the most. Current TMS guys masturbate 7.79 times a week.

The average yearly masturbation frequency is 349 times. For current TMS guys, the annual average is 389.1. The median yearly frequency is 254.1. For TMS guys, it is 329.7. I suspect that TMS guys masturbate more because they have less sex with partners. The average guy in the survey has sex with a partner 3.2 times per week. For those who have never masturbated prone, it is 3.97 times. For current TMS guys, it is .6 times. THAT'S A RATIO OF 6.6 TO 1.

The average guy in the entire survey takes 10.2 minutes on average to masturbate. For guys under 20, the average is 10.9 minutes. For men 35 and over, it is 12.3 minutes. For current TMS guys, it is 7.41 minutes. The median time is 7 minutes. Under 20, 5 minutes; over 35, 10 minutes; TMS guys, 5 minutes. Why do TMS guys take less time even than teenaged males? Probably because it takes so much less effort to get to orgasm when masturbating prone.

50 of 119 guys in the survey have tried to quit masturbating at some point.

One of the most striking differences between TMS guys and other guys is in location. Overall, the respondents do 54 percent of their masturbating in bed, 20 percent in the bathroom, and 26 percent in other places (the living room and computer desk were frequently mentioned venues). But these averages are revealed to be nonsense because one's masturbation style is the key determinant. TMS guys do 85 percent of their work in bed, only 1.65 percent in the bathroom, and 13 percent in other places (mostly the floor, unfortunately). Non-TMS guys only do 37 percent of their masturbating in bed, 25 percent in the bathroom, and 38 percent in other places.

18 guys in the survey only masturbate in bed and 50 do it there more than 80 percent of the time. Only one does it exclusively in the bathroom and only 10 do it there 80 percent of the time.

The differences in time of day are not as great. Overall, respondents do 23 percent of their masturbating upon waking up, 43 percent at bedtime, and 32 percent at other times. For current TMS guys, the numbers are 28, 50, and 23. For non-TMS guys, 19, 45, and 37. My explanation for why TMS guys masturbate at bedtime and after waking up somewhat more often than normal guys is that TMS guys do almost all their masturbating in the bedroom (85 percent in bed and a lot of the rest on the bedroom floor).

39.4 percent report using lubrication, 81.5 percent use pictures, 17.7 percent use sex toys, and 10 percent use condoms. 11.7 percent reported using other aids, although they didn't say what. Among the current TMS guys, only 14.7 percent use lube, 67.6 percent report using pictures, and only small percentages use other aids. It makes sense that fewer TMS guys use lube since it makes a mess when you're thrusting into bedding, pillows, etc.

Of the 24 current TMS guys in the survey, 13 thrust into their hand, 14 against the mattress, 11 into bedding (comforters, blankets, etc.), 12 into a pillow, 6 against the floor, and 6 against other surfaces. The numbers don't add to 34 because many guys thrust against more than one type of surface.

In the total sample, 102 guys are right-handed, 10 are left-handed, and 3 are ambidextrous. 53 masturbate with their right hands, 15 with their left hands, 32 switch, and 16 (all but one who masturbates prone) don't use their hands. Among current TMS guys, 29 are right-handed and two are left-handed. 15 use no hands, 12 their right hands, 3 their left, and only two switch. Why so little switching among TMS guys? Because TMS guys are more habituated to certain feelings than guys who masturbate normally, and even a little thing like switching hands makes a big difference in feeling. (A more puzzling question is why so few lefties responded to this survey?)

Correlating handedness and hand used, in the total sample, here are the numbers:
right handed - use right 51
right handed - use left 10
left handed - use left 5
left handed - use right 2

Among TMS guys:
right handed - use right 12
right handed - use left 2
left handed - use left 1
left handed - use right 0

Asked if they flip onto their backs at the point of orgasm, 23 TMS guys say they never do, 7 sometimes do, 1 usually does, and 1 always does. 6 non-TMS guys also say they flip at least sometimes, which makes me wonder if they understood the question.

78 guys reported experiencing wet dreams, 73 manual intercourse (i.e., sex with a partner's hand(s)), 83 vaginal intercourse (including only 16 of the 34 current TMS practitioners), 62 oral intercourse, 15 anal intercourse with males, and 31 anal intercourse with females. REMEMBER THESE ARE RAW NUMBERS; NOT PERCENTS.

The average age of first intercourse is 19; for current TMS guys, 20.2, and for lifetime TMS guys, 18.5. The median ages are 18, 18, and 18.5, respectively. Point: No difference in age of first intercourse depending on masturbation style. So, TMS guys are trying to have normal sex lives in adolescence.

SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION:

Among those who never masturbate prone, these reported erectile dysfunction:
almost always, 0
most of the time, 4.8 pct
sometimes, 9.5 pct
rarely, 40.5 pct
never (yeah, right), 45.2 pct

Among those who never masturbate prone, these reported inorgasmia or delayed orgasm:
almost always, 0
most of the time, 4.7 pct
sometimes, 16.3 pct
rarely, 37.2 pct
never, 34.9 pct

Among those who never masturbate prone, these reported premature ejaculation:
almost always, 0
most of the time, 7.3 pct
sometimes, 24.4 pct
rarely, 34.1 pct
never, 34.1 pct

Among those who never masturbate prone, these reported painful ejaculation:
almost always, 0
most of the time, 0
sometimes, 2.5 pct
rarely, 15 pct
never, 82.5 pct

Among the current TMS guys, these reported erectile dysfunction:
almost always, 9.5 pct
most of the time, 14.3 pct
sometimes, 42.9 pct
rarely, 4.8 pct
never (yeah, right), 28.6 pct

Among the current TMS guys, these reported inorgasmia or delayed orgasm:
almost always, 50 pct
most of the time, 9.1 pct
sometimes, 19 pct
rarely, 13.6 pct
never, 9.1 pct

Among the current TMS guys, these reported premature ejaculation:
almost always, 8.7 pct
most of the time, 4.3 pct
sometimes, 8.7 pct
rarely, 4.3 pct
never, 74 pct

Among the current TMS guys, these reported painful ejaculation:
almost always, 0
most of the time, 0
sometimes, 0
rarely, 8.7 pct
never, 91.3 pct

What do we have here? Among guys who masturbate normally, only 4.8 percent have erectile dysfunction most of the time, while 24.8 percent of TMS guys do. THAT'S MORE THAN FIVE TIMES AS MANY!

Not one guy who masturbates on his back reports having inorgasmia (or delayed orgasm) during sex almost all of the time, while fully HALF OF TMS GUYS ALMOST ALWAYS SUFFER THIS PROBLEM! 34.9 percent of normal guys say they NEVER have this problem, something only a lucky 9.1 percent of TMS guys -- one in 11 -- can say. 59.1 percent of TMS practitioners have inorgasmia most of the time, compared with 4.7 percent of guys who masturbate normally.

The questions about premature and painful ejaculation were put in as controls (to measure if an eager survey taker was saying, "oh yeah, I always have that too!"; there was no problem). It might be a silver lining for the TMS sufferer that a higher percentage NEVER experience either condition relative to guys who masturbate normally.

Only 16 of the 34 current TMS guys reported which sexual intercourse positions they've achieved orgasm through (although it's believed a few others have done so but skipped this question). 15 of the 16 (93.8 pct) have succeeded in the missionary position, 7 in woman on top, 7 in rear entry (43.8 pct for each), 2 sitting, 2 standing (12.5 pct for each), and 3 other (18.8 pct). While this is better than anecdotal evidence until now has suggested (and it is truly abysmal if the percents were calculated based on 34 instead of 16), it is less diverse than among males who never masturbate prone. Among those guys, 92.9 pct had done missionary, 81 pct woman on top, 71.4 pct rear entry, 54.8 pct sitting, 61.9 pct standing, and 28.6 pct other.

It should be no surprise that for guys who never masturbate prone, intercourse takes an average of 16.7 minutes, but for the current TMS guys, the average time is 23.3 minutes.

Going in, I thought the most intriguing question on the survey would be which is more fun, intercourse or masturbating. The results are curious for a number of reasons. Overall, 69.7 percent of guys say intercourse is more fun. I expected a higher percentage of TMS guys would choose masturbation, and of the current TMS guys, 56.5 say intercourse. Of the lifetime TMS guys, 60.6 percent say intercourse. This is encouraging. Since the lifetime group includes men who have abandoned TMS, it suggests that a TMS sufferer is apt to gain a greater appreciation of intercourse when he quits masturbating prone. Among guys who never masturbate prone, an overwhelming 82.5 percent say intercourse is more fun. TMS guys, I tell you, almost half of you think masturbating is more fun than intercourse. Not very many other men think so.

Interestingly, a majority of the males who took the survey have suspected themselves of masturbating compulsively at some point, and this is true regardless of masturbation style. Overall, 63.8 percent of males believe this. However, 74.2 percent of TMS guys do compared with only 56 percent of guys who never masturbate prone. The clinical definition of compulsion (it's on my site) is sufficiently rigid that very few people (definitely less than one percent) could ever be diagnosed as masturbating compulsively, yet the majority of males have suspected they are. Why TMS guys more than "ceiling-watchers"? Probably because of the intensity with which they do it, and because it has so often caused them to lack other forms of sexual release.


Here are the survey questions:

What is your gender?
Male
Female

What is your age (in years and months)?

What is your sexual preference?
Exclusively heterosexual
Mostly heterosexual
Bisexual
Mostly gay
Exclusively gay
Confused

Which of the following best describes you?
I currently masturbate face down
I used to masturbate face down but have learned to masturbate normally (i.e., face up)
I have never masturbated face down regularly and only masturbate normally

If you said you used to masturbate face down but have learned to masturbate normally, can you describe how you came to change?

Which of the following best describes what your parents told you about masturbation?
They told me myths like I'd go blind, hair would grow, etc.
They told me it was normal
They never said a word, not even when Joycelyn Elders got fired

How old were you when you first masturbated to orgasm? (In years and months)

Do you remember the exact date? (No need to provide it here)

How did you learn how to masturbate?
Self-discovery
From a friend or brother or another person
From a book or movie or other media

When you first started, how many times a week did you masturbate?

How many times a week do you masturbate now?

How many times a week do you have orgasms with partners now?

Please estimate the number of times you've masturbated in your life.

What percent of your lifetime masturbation has been TMS style (prone)?

How long does it take you to masturbate to orgasm on average? (In minutes)

Since you started, what's the longest you've gone without masturbating? (In days)

Have you ever tried to quit masturbating altogether?
Yes
No

Where do you do your masturbating? (These three percentages should total 100)
Bed
Bathroom
Other

What time of day do you masturbate? (These three percentages should total 100)
Upon waking up
At bedtime
Other

Which of the following do you use while masturbating? (Check all that apply)
Lubricant
Pictures or videos
Sex toys
Condoms
Other (please specify in the comments box at the bottom)

What do you thrust against or into when masturbating face down? (Check all that apply)
My hand(s)
The mattress
The bedding that goes on top (sheets, comforter, etc.)
A pillow
Floor
Other (please specify in the comments box at the bottom)

Are you left or right handed (for writing, etc.)?
Right-handed
Left-handed
I'm ambidextrous

Are you left or right handed for masturbating?
Right-handed
Left-handed
I'm a switch hitter
My TMS is such that I don't use my hands

When practicing TMS, do you flip over to your back as you orgasm?
Always
Usually
Sometimes
Never

In which of these ways have you experienced orgasm? (Check all that apply)
Wet dreams
Manual stimulation by a partner
Vaginal intercourse
Oral intercourse (fellatio)
Anal intercourse with male
Anal intercourse with female

If you have never had sexual intercourse, please skip the next set of questions which pertain to sexual intercourse.

How old were you when you first had sexual intercourse? (In years and months)

How often do you experience erectile dysfunction when attempting sexual intercourse?
Always or almost always
Most of the time
Sometimes
Rarely
Never

How often do you experience inorgasmia or delayed orgasm when having sexual intercourse?
Always or almost always
Most of the time
Sometimes
Rarely
Never

How often do you experience premature ejaculation when having sexual intercourse?
Always or almost always
Most of the time
Sometimes
Rarely
Never

How often do you experience painful orgasm when having sexual intercourse?
Always or almost always
Most of the time
Sometimes
Rarely
Never

In which of these positions have you reached orgasm during intercourse? (Check all that apply)
Man on top (missionary)
Woman on top
Rear entry
Sitting
Standing
Other

Which is more fun?
Masturbating
Intercourse

How long does it take you to reach orgasm on average during sexual intercourse? (In minutes)


Have you ever suspected yourself of masturbating compulsively?
Yes
No

How did you find out about TMS?

What is your race/ethnicity?
White
Black
Hispanic
Asian or Pacific Islander
Middle Eastern
Mixed or other

What part of the world do you live in?
U.S.: Northeastern states
U.S.: Southern states
U.S.: Midwestern states
U.S.: Western states
Canada
Latin America/Caribbean
Europe
Africa
Asia
Australia
Pacific Ocean
Other

Do you have any other comments you'd like to share with us?


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