Objective: To assess masturbation prevalence, frequency, and associations with partnered sexual behaviors. Design: Cross-sectional survey. Setting: The United States of America. Participants: Nationally representative samples of adolescents aged 14 to 17 years. Main Outcome Measures: Solo masturbation, partnered sexual behaviors, and condom use. Results: Across age groups, more males (73.8%) reported masturbation than females (48.1%). Among males, masturbation occurrence increased with age: at age 14 years, 62.6% of males reported at least 1 prior occurrence, whereas 80% of 17-year-old males reported ever having masturbated. Recent masturbation also increased with age in males: 67.6% of 17-year-olds reported masturbation in the past month, compared with 42.9% of 14-year-olds. In females, prior masturbation increased with age (58% at age 17 years compared with 43.3% at age 14 years), but recent masturbation did not. Masturbation was associated with numerous partnered sexual behaviors in both males and females. In males, masturbation was associated with condom use, but in females it was not. Conclusions: Sexual development is a dynamic process during adolescence, and masturbation is an enduring component of sexuality. Fundamental differences appear to exist between male and female sexual expression. Health care providers should recognize that many teens masturbate and discuss masturbation with patients because masturbation is integral to normal sexual development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health