Scientific studies show that pain and pleasure are processed in the same area of the brain. The ventral tegmental area becomes electrified when we feel pleasure from instant gratification or long-term personal development — think orgasms (instant) or learning a new language (long-term). When this area lights up, dopamine is released throughout the body.
Studies have shown that testosterone is associated with new sexual behaviors, changes in sexual attraction, and increased frequency of sexual activity among trans men2. Translation: while on testosterone, sex changes radically and sex drive is through the roof.
It’s no question that the pandemic has upended our lives in every way imaginable, but what impact did it have on our sex and masturbation habits?
While a number of stories in the media may lead you to believe that everyone is buying more sex toys and having more sex, we have evidence that those bedrooms are not actually that buzzy. Sure, many of us are spending more time at home. But we think there are some very real implications from living through these unprecedented times.
The takeaway? COVID sex and its alleged sex toy boom is an ambiguous conclusion at best. Using Lioness Vibrator product usage as our guide, we’ve observed far more convincing evidence of a significant drop-off in masturbation frequency as the year wore on relative to 2019 for the same users.
We looked at anonymous aggregate usage statistics from 1879 Lioness users who were active in 2019 and 2020 and nearly 40,000 sessions recorded from January 1, 2019 through December 12, 2020. There were 19,578 total sessions in 2019 and 19,481 total sessions in 2020*. We supplemented this data with a user survey to better understand what’s going on from a qualitative perspective.
This report is not only the world’s largest physiological data set on sexual behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s also the world’s biggest study done on real world, in-the-bedroom-where-sex-happens sex (rather than in the confines of a research laboratory) in general!
When experimenting with Lioness, I’ve sometimes given the suggestion of trying different sensations with different external stimulators, using the Lioness more a measurement tool by keeping the vibration off using the customizable vibration settings. This is an example of what I mean — here, I’ll use the Vesper while using the Lioness’s biofeedback technology to show arousal and orgasm. This is my second in a series, the first being the Zumio.
An avid reader, I prefer the way that the stories are told from a first-person perspective (the literary equivalent of POV porn). I love being able to read about how all the narrator’s senses are being engaged.
As someone who was assigned female at birth andused to identify as a woman, I found it really refreshing to study pleasure from the point of view of a female narrator(more on womxn-centric porn later).
To this day, I still love reading erotic stories. Being a part of someone’s fantasy in that way is so much more erotic than watching a bunch of body parts smush together on screen.
At last, I received my longed-after Lioness Vibrator in the mail and she’s been joining me on all kinds of research adventures since. I’ve always been an avid investigator by nature, but my new friend has certainly taken things up a notch—or five!
I set out to see what we could come up with solo—just the Lioness and me—as well as how she and my partner would get along, and in which different ways we could all play together.
The first rule of Masturbation Club is how you masturbate is up to you. Your body, your choice.
And it’s true that masturbation looks very different for all of us; some of us may be pillow-humpers, some of us may enjoy penetrative sex toys, and some of us may just enjoy some spit and our own hands.
The second rule, though, is masturbation can be fun when it’s mutual!
Before you ask, yes, mutual masturbation is different than having sex with a partner—even though it is just as fun!