When you’re younger, you might think you’re the only person who has figured out how to make yourself feel good this way; and once you realize you’re not alone, you might think that literally everybody is doing it.
The truth is that masturbation is very common, but not universal. One survey found that 94% of men and 85% of women have ever done it; another found the numbers to be 91% and 78%. (These studies only reported results under these two genders.)
But when you’re looking at any given age group (or if you ask whether somebody has masturbated in the past week, or the past month), the numbers are a lot smaller. Teenagers who reported masturbating in the past month ranged from 43% to 61%, depending on age group, for the guys; for girls, the numbers were 24% to 26%. The youngest age group in the survey, 14 to 15 years old, had the lowest numbers.
We can’t be sure how much the numbers represent how many people are actually getting off by themselves, and how much they reflect people’s willingness to admit it. But it’s pretty clear that masturbation is very common, and also that if you’re not doing it on the regular, you’re still in good company.