Thursday, February 3, 2011
Masturbation and Self-esteem
Many of you (or few? My marketing abilities fell by the wayside on this one) may remember a survey I designed via Survey Monkey back in November. I had been brainstorming about how self-esteem affects masturbation: frequency, intensity, gain, and felt a mini-study might provide some insight. Noticing I felt turned on more frequently and more mentally engaged in personal sexual conduct when happy with my appearance and social life, I pondered if these psychological manifestations might be positively correlated.
So... I designed a pretty shitty survey. I have yet to take experimental psychology and asked what I thought *might* probe at my hypothesis. For example, my first questioned asked, "Do you genuinely like yourself?" Vague but somewhat revealing. 71% of my 50-person (facebook-induced!) data pool said "Yes, my personality and my looks." An interesting 23% said "Yes, my personality but I don't find myself attractive." We could be getting somewhere...
After having respondents rank on a scale of 1-10 their self-esteem (common answer: a high-medium 7), masturbation frequency questions revealed that 30% masturbate quite often (once per day) and another 30% masturbate a few times per week. Again, standard figures from a pool of people approximately 70% white, 98% ages 20-25.
Here I probe, "Do you ever think about yourself while masturbating?" Though this question may have nothing to do with my hypothesis (you can have high-self esteem without being incredibly narcissistic!) 41% of respondents admitted that they sometimes do. Respondents enjoyed thinking about their accomplishments, abilities, intellect, confidence, positive attitude, and success with the opposite sex.
However, the majority of frequent masturbating twenty-somethings never have thought about themselves while masturbating (54.2%.) This diversity of opinion points to a major flaw in my mini-study--lack of information. Further questions could have accessed why said respondents decidedly do not think of themselves while self-pleasuring. Is sexuality something they view more externally from themselves? Do accomplishments and confidence contribute at all to their understanding of sexuality and dominance?
One study published in the Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology measuring self-efficacy as well as self-esteem in sexually active 18-year-olds (1991) concluded, "There is need for adolescents to achieve a sense of mastery and self-worth in the sexual domain." Though this outcome supports my hypothesis, it still skims the periphery of the individual's self-perception and how that is linked to perception of pleasure in a fully safe place (alone). Perhaps I'll get back to you after I read the classic Masturbation, Self Esteem and Other Variables* (1973)...Google scholar, you allude me!