Mainstream Masturbation: Masturbation 'Norms' In Parts Of Europe

In 2020 TENGA surveyed over 5,000 men and women aged between 18-54 across 5 countries, with 1,000 in the US alone. You can see more about our in-depth look into masturbation norms in the US here! In this blog we’ll be looking a bit more into the other 4 countries involved in the survey; the UK, Germany, France and Spain. The survey asked participants about their habits related to sex, masturbation and sex toy usage. So, what does a ‘normal’ masturbation session look like in Europe? How does it compare to the US? Let’s take a look at the average masturbation habits in parts of Europe.

The State Of Masturbation Globally


Although this was our fifth annual Global Self Pleasure survey, this was the third time that the report was done globally. In our third year of tracking the perceptions of masturbation globally, we found a clear positive shift in attitudes towards masturbation. In fact, nearly 80% of Europeans consider masturbation to be a form of self-care! An impressive number that has grown since our last survey in 2019.

In terms of who masturbates, it seems the numbers are on the rise in this already very normal activity. Around 9 in 10 people in the UK said they masturbate, with the same numbers being reflected in Germany and Spain. Only France differed with four out of five of those surveyed reportedly masturbating. The vast majority of French men masturbate but interestingly fewer women report having masturbated.

When it comes to the frequency of masturbation there is a similar correlation. Over half of people surveyed in the UK reported masturbating more than once a week. Closely followed by just over half of Germans reporting once a week or more. Half of Spaniards also say they masturbate once a week or more too, but notably, most French adults masturbate less than once a week. Clearly, the city of love needs a little more self-love!

The Popularity Of Sex Toys Between Borders


As it’s TENGA conducting the survey, we were obviously interested in the usage of sex toys. It turns out more than half of UK adults have used sex toys, while most men haven’t. Germans seem far more open to sex toys, with more than half of Germans saying they use them, including about half of German men and two-thirds of women. Spain is also fairly open to sex toy usage with nearly two-thirds of Spanish women stating they’ve used sex toys before, compared to about half of Spanish men. Again, less than half of French adults say they have used sex toys. Unlike in other countries where women lead in sex toy usage, however, French men and women that do use sex toys do so in similar numbers. 

People’s perception of sex toys and masturbation took a noticeable shift towards the positive across the board. France once again trails behind with a smaller percentage increase for both masturbation and sex toys. Interestingly, both Spain and the US have shown a relatively large increase in positive perceptions of both masturbation and sex toys.

People's Perception Of Masturbation Globally 


While the pandemic has kept Europe socially distanced, it will likely have lasting positive effects on the way society views masturbation and sex toys. Nearly 20% have shifted their views on sex toys and masturbation to a more positive one, and around 60% of Europeans who used a sex toy during isolation plan to continue increased use of their sex toys post-pandemic!

The UK, Spain and Germany are all sex-positive, with France trailing behind with their answers to questions such as ‘Masturbation is a natural thing to do’ and ‘Masturbation is a form of self-care or “therapy’ being marginally less positive than the other countries. All countries agree that masturbation has a lot of positive benefits, however, something we have written about in this blog on those positive effects!

Global Masturbation During Quarantine


Speaking of the pandemic, when asked about masturbation during the lockdowns, it became clear that self-pleasure was very important. Many used self-pleasure as a coping mechanism to deal with the stress of COVID-19, data shows that nearly 10% of European adults purchased additional sex toys in anticipation of self-quarantine, and a majority (over 60%) - in Spain a stunning 82% - agree that sexual pleasure helped them feel better or acted as a form of 'self-care' during self-isolation aiding in stress relief.

With masturbation being so important during the pandemic, an interesting percentage of people who had previously used sex toys to masturbate before bought additional sex toys in anticipation of the quarantines. Germany took the number one spot, with 13% of people buying additional sex toys, while in France only an additional 5% made the purchases. Additionally, more than 30% of those surveyed say that they increased their frequency of masturbation during self-quarantine.

Mainstream Masturbation Around The World


We can see throughout the results that in general, outside of the US, Spain and Germany tend to be the most positive countries in regards to masturbation and sex toys, with the UK following close behind. France, while seeming to trail behind the other countries, at least show a similar upward trend in positive opinions. While smaller than the others, this shows a good change in people's perspectives that will hopefully continue.

Despite the terrible effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on a lot of people globally this year, it’s great to see people continuing to prioritize their self-care and wellness. Hopefully, an increase in openness to sexual wellness and masturbation will only help people in the future.

Featured Contents