Is South Africa the Masturbation Nation?

When it comes to sex toys, South Africans are practically vibrating with the need to get their hands on, well, vibrators.

According to a survey conducted by Statistic Brain last year, South Africa has the third highest number of Google searches for sex toys, cumming in (get it?) just after the United States and United Kingdom.

While that statistic in of itself is interesting, the follow-up survey conducted by South Africa’s unofficial sexpert exposed all of our dirty little secrets in the largest study on sex toys to grace the nation. Désir, an online pleasure store that I can personally vouch for, delved in to how we indulge our sexual fantasies by surveying 700 South Africans about what they do behind closed doors.


Statistic Brain discovered that vibrators and dildos were the most sought after global sex toys, and Désir confirmed that when it comes to adult toys, South Africans are no different to the rest of the world. We want vibrators, and we want them with as many settings as possible. In fact, demand for these ‘special friends; is so high that Désir has now has 138 different brands of vibrators catered specifically for womxn.

That information alone makes me all tingly inside, because it means that womxn are exploring their sexuality. Just the fact that sex toys made for people with vaginas are the most sought after pleasure products on the market proves that womxn are beginning to not only embrace and accept themselves as sexual beings, but to also seek out their own pleasure. Nothing excites me more than womxn taking control of their bodies and going out of their way to stimulate themselves, be it with a partner or alone in bed listening to the Queen B sing about loving yourself.

Unfortunately, the orgasm gap, like the wage gap, emphasises yet another disparity between the sexes, only this time it is has less to do with treasure and more to do with pleasure. I’m going to mention another study here because a) I like studies, and b) providing people with factual evidence not only legitimises my argument, but also proves my point in an objective manner. So, another study found that womxn orgasm less than man, regardless of sexual orientation or preference. Statistically speaking, men enjoy sex more than womxn, and if one considers how society views female pleasure that makes quite a lot of sense.

Female masturbation and even female pleasure are often viewed as sinful or taboo.

Too often female sexuality is seen as a taboo subject. In most modern societies a person’s worth is directly related to the number of sexual partners she or he has had, however, while men are praised for their sexual prowess, womxn are vilified. Our bodies are hyper sexualised and constantly used to sell the most banal products, yet we are not allowed to enjoy them. For some reason it is perfectly acceptable for men to talk about jerking off, but women masturbating is either deemed an unacceptable topic of conversation or it is fetishised to the point where it seems dirty and wrong.

Ladies, it is impossible to live up to society’s expectations of being a womxn. We cannot be both the Madonna and the whore, no matter how many magazines claim to know the secret to being a sexy virgin. So let’s forget what the hegemonic powers-that-be expect us to be, and instead be what we want to be. Personally, one of my favourite ways of saying fuck you to the patriarchy is by loving myself, and what better way to love yourself than to make love to yourself?


Here’s a summary of the survey conducted by Désir. Regardless of your gender expression, sexual orientation or relationship status, I highly recommend heading on over to their online store and purchasing a cheeky toy (or two).


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