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NEW YORK — Is the best sex partner of your life staring at you in the mirror? Three in five Americans say they’ve never experienced an orgasm with a partner and have only reached bliss through masturbation. In fact, 44 percent even credit masturbation for a life epiphany or “aha moment” akin to an amazing shower thought.

The new study finds two in three Americans also think they’re mind-blowing in bed and say they’ve had their best orgasms solo. The poll of 2,000 sexually active Americans revealed the vital role masturbation plays in respondents’ relationships with their bodies and their romantic encounters with others.

Six in ten claim they would rather masturbate than have sex with a partner.

The research — conducted by OnePoll on behalf of LELO — finds that, of respondents currently in a relationship, seven in ten are “helping themselves” climax after sex with their partner due to lackluster experiences.

While masturbation clearly plays a key role for respondents as adults, it turns out most start “practicing” much earlier. The average American first begins experimenting with masturbation at 15 years-old. Researchers find that time spent exploring their own bodies has benefited some respondents in their relationships today.

Seventy-one percent credit masturbation for helping them communicate with partners about their preferences in the bedroom. Three in four now think masturbation is healthy, but there are still lingering misconceptions. Sixty-three percent said there are still negative connotations associated with female masturbation and pleasure.

“It is alarming that, at a time when disrupting the status quo is becoming the status quo, 63 percent of participants still feel that there is stigma around female masturbation and pleasure,” says Sara Kranjčec Jukić, Global Brand Manager at LELO, in a statement.

Greatest Orgasm

Most don’t talk about their sex toys

Nearly half the poll (46%) have purchased a sex toy as part of their self-exploration. However, a third of those respondents prefer to keep their toy use to themselves. Of respondents who don’t use toys with partners, three in five (61%) said their partner wouldn’t approve of toy use.

Nearly six in 10 say they use toys by themselves because they prefer it that way, while 57 percent confessed they don’t even want their partner to know they have a toy.

“Sex positivity really comes down to believing that sexuality is a normal and healthy part of the human experience,” Kranjčec Jukić adds. “While the data shows a trend toward more tolerant attitudes toward sex and masturbation, we still have a long way to go before these attitudes extend equally to all sexual identities and gender expressions.”

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