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Americans Are Masturbating On the Clock More. A Neuroscientist Thinks That’s a Good Thing

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More Americans than ever are doing their jobs remotely, and it’s safe to say that working from home differs from a typical day at the office in more ways than one. (Pajamas as work attire, kids infiltrating Zoom calls, piles of laundry in the background—let’s just say that mastering your computer’s mute and video off button is a required skill.) But one of the perks of a WFH setup is the flexibility it provides, and some folks are taking advantage of said flexibility in some pretty, um, exciting ways.

According to a recent study conducted by the sexual wellness brand, Lovehoney, Americans are making more time for self-pleasure since the rise of remote work—and they’re not doing it after hours. The 2,008 person survey found that a whopping 49 percent of Americans are masturbating on the clock, with 40 percent of respondents admitting to masturbating more frequently since they started working from home and 20 percent of respondents confessing to masturbating whilst simultaneously performing a work task. (Impressive!)

In other words, there’s a good chance your coworkers are getting off between Zoom calls and it’s anyone’s guess whether Brittany actually had a doctor’s appointment or just made a date with her vibrator. But does this revelation warrant finger wagging, or is it actually a positive development? We spoke to neuroscientist and sexual researcher Nicole Prause to get her take on the scandalous stats, and it turns out that a little on the clock self-pleasure might be good for morale, and work performance too.

News to no one: Masturbation has several health benefits, regardless of what time of day you get the job done. For starters, the expert tells us that “sexual arousal is associated with opioid release, which may reduce pain experience.” The aforementioned opioid release is also known to stimulate dopamine production, a feel good hormone that reduces anxiety and boosts mood. Masturbating can also help strengthen your pelvic floor and improve immune function. Prause does caution, however, that pleasuring oneself to the point of sexual climax is associated with vasopressin, a hormone related to sleep, “so it’s best to be avoided when you’re already sleepy.” (Because sleeping through your 2 p.m. meeting with your boss is not a good look.)

So yes, masturbation is both pleasurable and relaxing, but what about the potential benefits of doing it on the clock? Per the survey data, 74 percent of men and 61 percent of women who masturbate during the workday do so for the most obvious reason of all—they’re horny. And here’s where it gets interesting: Because getting riled up on the job can negatively affect a person’s ability to focus, finding a healthy release for all that sexual energy could actually boost productivity. Prause confirms: “Sexual arousal uses memory resources. If you are distracted by sexual thoughts that are taking attention away from your work, masturbation may reduce later sexual thoughts and allow you to focus on your intended work.”

In fact, in related lab studies, the expert found that genital stimulation by a partner resulted in an improved ability to perform challenging math and boring, repetitive tasks alike. It’s not yet known whether the same is true of self-stimulation, she says, but it’s unlikely that masturbation would impede your ability to crunch numbers or maintain productivity despite the monotony of your work. If anything, it might even make you better at these types of tasks.

Of course, not all jobs fit the above description—if you’re in charge of the nuclear codes, please keep your hands out of your pants until your shift is over—and self-pleasure habits vary from person to person, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of whether or not masturbating during work hours is appropriate behavior. Pleasuring yourself in the office, for example, is not advised. Likewise, employees who are trying to avoid work with prolonged period of masturbation are unlikely to see a promotion in their future. But for those workers who could use a little stress relief or struggle with sexual distractions during the day, a brief masturbation session could indeed result in increased productivity. (Just be sure to enjoy in the privacy of your own home and on your lunch break, OK?)

Bottom line: More of us are masturbating during work hours and that’s good news for our mood…and potentially our careers, too.