More masturbation correlates with greater unhappiness.
More happiness in a relationship correlates with less masturbation.
And big surprise, LOL (irony here), if people have a lot of partner sex, they tend to masturbate very little.
Although the NFSS does not track respondents over time, and did not ask the key question in quite the same manner as the 1992 NHSLS or the 2010 Indiana University sex study, there is nevertheless reason to believe that the frequency of masturbation among young adults is increasing.
Here’s why: the NHSLS data noted that 29 percent of men aged 18-24 reported masturbating at least once a week.
The NFSS, meanwhile, finds that 35 percent of 18-24-year old men report having masturbated in the past day—either today or yesterday. When expanded to encompass the past six days, that figure rises to 68 percent.
Although the measures are not directly comparable—and social desirability concerns may have diminished some over the past 20 years—it nevertheless suggests not a mere uptick in masturbation but rather a possible surge in the practice among men.
Something similar has likely occurred among women as well.
Whereas nine percent of 18-24-year-old women reported masturbating an average of once a week in the 1992 NHSLS, past-week masturbation was reported by 36 percent of same-age women in the NFSS. To be sure, some portion of this may be due to increasing comfort in admitting masturbation, but to suggest that a 300-percent-increase is due solely to ease of admission seems unlikely, especially given the tight association of now-ubiquitous pornography use noted in the regression tables. In 1992, there simply was no online pornography. While bona fide demand for masturbation could have increased in 20 years, the technological stimulation and social encouragement of demand certainly has increased.