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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Fall 2021

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Mosher, M.J. (Anthropologist)

Second Advisor

Monson, Tesla A.

Third Advisor

Koetje, Todd A.


The COVID-19 Pandemic, officially declared on March 11, 2020, has shifted the world in a myriad of ways. Global citizens are now facing an increase in stress, anxiety, depression, and grief as the SARS-CoV-2 virus claimed thousands of lives as well as changed daily life. With every aspect of life different, I set out to understand how the negative emotions caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic influenced the sexual thought and behavior of American individuals, using masturbation as a focus. An online survey was employed using different Likert scale questions and a few qualitative questions, in order to gain opinions about masturbation, masturbatory behavior before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic, quarantine habits, and few qualitative questions. With 118 participants, forty-one males and seventy-seven females, results indicated a significant increase in consideration of and actual engagement with masturbation during the pandemic as compared to before. However, no other significant changes were found. Males were also found to have negative emotions increase their likelihood of masturbation in comparison to females. Both sexes reported having new motivations for engaging in masturbation, including boredom, anxiety, and depression, rather than sexual desire and arousal.




Masturbation, Stress, COVID-19, Desire, Arousal, Anxiety, Depression, Sexual Activity


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020- --Law and legislation--United States; Sexual behavior surveys--United States; Depression, Mental--United States; Masturbation--Social aspects--United States

Geographic Coverage

United States




masters theses




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Anthropology Commons