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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Masturbation, paying for sex, and other sexual activities: the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships

Juliet Richters A I , Richard O. de Visser B , Paul B. Badcock C D , Anthony M. A. Smith C H , Chris Rissel E , Judy M. Simpson F and Andrew E. Grulich G
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

B School of Psychology, Pevensey 1, University of Sussex, Falmer BN1 9QH, UK.

C Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, 215 Franklin Street, Melbourne, Vic. 3000, Australia.

D Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, 35 Poplar Road, Parkville, Vic. 3052, Australia.

E Sydney School of Public Health, Charles Perkins Centre (D17), University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.

F Sydney School of Public Health, Edward Ford Building (A27), University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.

G The Kirby Institute, Wallace Wurth Building, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

H Deceased.

I Corresponding author. Email: j.richters@unsw.edu.au

Sexual Health 11(5) 461-471 https://doi.org/10.1071/SH14116
Submitted: 18 June 2014  Accepted: 23 August 2014   Published: 7 November 2014

Abstract

Background: This study describes the prevalence of (solo) masturbation, paying for sex and a range of other sexual practices among Australians. Methods: A representative sample of 20 094 men and women aged 16–69 years (participation rate among eligible people, 66.2%) were recruited by landline and mobile phone random-digit dialling and computer-assisted telephone interviews in 2012–13. Results: Many respondents (men, 72%; women, 42%) had masturbated in the past year. Half (51%) of the men and 24% of women had masturbated in the past 4 weeks. In the past year, more than two-fifths of respondents (men, 63%; women, 20%) had looked at pornography in any medium. Approximately 15% of men and 21% of women had used a sex toy. Digital-anal stimulation with a partner was practised by 19% of men and 15% of women, and oral-anal stimulation by 7% of men and 4% of women. Sexual role playing or dressing up were engaged in by 7–8%. Online sex, swinging, group sex, BDSM (bondage and discipline, ‘sadomasochism’ or dominance and submission) and fisting (rectal or vaginal) were each engaged in by less than 3% of the sample. Seventeen per cent of men said they had ever paid for sex; 2% had done so in the past year. Conclusion: Most of the solo practices studied were engaged in by more men than women, but women were more likely to have used a sex toy. Autoerotic activities are both substitutes for partnered sex and additional sources of pleasure for people with sexual partners.

Additional keywords: anilingus, brachioproctic eroticism, dildo, erotica, fetishism (psychiatric), Internet, rimming, sexual behaviour, vibrator.


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