One might argue that given the context of Sweden’s high degree of gender equality, an open and positive approach to sex education, and sexually liberal attitudes, that anything Swedish adolescents might say about sexual issues will not be applicable to US adolescents.
Any differences between Swedish and American youth might be the result of reporting styles—perhaps just as many American youth masturbate and begin doing so at about the same age but they are less likely than Swedish youth to report it given the more conservative sexual attitudes and values of American culture.
On the other hand, those same attitudes/values might inhibit not only reporting masturbatory activities but also might actually prevent some adolescents from engaging in masturbation, experiencing orgasms, or having positive feelings about their orgasms (such as guilt as an impediment to masturbating). Whether these findings hold for US adolescents regardless of their ethnicity, social class, sexuality, and subculture is also unknown from Swedish findings.
Over 3,000 seniors (mean age 18.3 years) from public and private schools completed an anonymous questionnaire regarding various aspects of sexual attitudes and behaviors. Nearly all boys (98.9%) and most girls (85.5%) reported that they had masturbated, usually beginning during early adolescence. Most youth had positive attitudes about masturbation and enjoyed the experience. There were several differences between boys and girls.
1. Began masturbating a year earlier than girls—12.5 versus 13.7 years of age
2. Were more likely to have fantasies during masturbation
3. Were more likely to orgasm during masturbation
1. Were more likely to experience their most pleasant orgasms during masturbation
2. Were more likely to use objects such as sex toys and vibrators during masturbation