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It has long been claimed that flowers have a therapeutic effect on those who surround themselves with them, but science had yet to truly back it up.

Research conducted by the American Society For Horticulture Science has recently revealed that fresh flowers can have the ability to ease feelings of anxiety, and even physical pain. 

The study evaluated whether or not plants have an influence on surgical patients, and we're pretty surprised by these results. 90 participants were split into rooms with plants or without, and those with foliage feelings have different outcomes.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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According to the research, those who were exposed to flowers had lower heart rates and blood pressure, decreased ratings of fatigue, anxiety and pain, and harboured more positive feelings and higher satisfaction about their rooms.

It's now suggested that flowers should be 'complementary medicine' for recovering patients. It's time to click your fingers and insist that a crowd of men throw a bouquet at you every few minutes…for health reasons.

Flowers are often the go-to gift for celebrating milestones, or for offering messages of hope or condolences. Good old science has just given us the opportunity to buy our own blooms, for self-care.

According to a study published in Complementary Therapies In Medicine, bouquets of flowers can reduce our stress levels.

The researchers gave college-age women a fresh vase of roses for their accommodation, and the subjects felt more relaxed than they did before. Whether it's psycho-somatic, or true therapy, it seems to work.

It seems like an easy breezy way to experience multiple health benefits while keeping your home aesthetically lush. Apparently, indoor plants and gardening come with health advantages similar to gym workouts.

We like this, we like this A LOT.

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There are countless reasons out there for break-ups; infidelity, long distances, baby plans versus no baby plans etc. To each their own.

However, the latest research on break-ups among the age group of 23-year-olds to 30-year-olds has taken us majorly by surprise, but then again we've had a fair few arguments in the car.

According to recent data published by Ford, 20 percent of millennials admit to breaking up with their significant other because they were a backseat driver. 

Many splits are a result of borderline ridiculous reasons, such as strange habits or annoying idiosyncrasies. We've dumped ex's for chewing loudly, for example, and regret nothing. 

Driving with a passenger who holds the seat dramatically whenever you move the car, who gasps at every turn and who disagrees with the route you've chosen to take can be incredibly frustrating.

Do they suck in their breath whenever you press the accelerator? Do they offer incessant criticism? Do they make you feel like an incompetent driver who should have to hand in your licence?

Yep, we know the type. They basically make you want to kick them out of the car while it's still moving.

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Apparently other people disagree, and even use backseat driving as an excuse to dump their boyfriend or girlfriend.

"While backseat driving can be a very unattractive behaviour, it's most likely that backseat driving was really just an example that in the relationship, this person may be aggressive, obtrusive, disrespectful, or selfish," Jess Carbino, PhD, Bumble's relationship expert sociologist, tells Cosmopolitan.

Does this mean that our passenger behaviour and our driving attitude reflects our personalities? We drive like a demented soccer mum, so this isn't good news for us.

Tone is a major aspect of the bickering and nagging of a backseat driver argument. Try not to throw shade at anyone's driving skills unless your life is actually endangered, or if somebody else's vehicle is about to get damaged. 

Assigning blame is never a good idea in scenarios like this, use neutral comments to keep the situation, and the driver, calm. Whether you have L plates, N plates or no plates at all, we can be sensitive about our driving abilities.

Have a post-car ride deep meaningful conversation so you can break down what went wrong instead of becoming silently sullen and passive-aggressive. We've all been guilty of it since ditching the L plates.

will smith shut up GIF

Make sure to explain that you are frustrated with their comments, or unhelpful directions. Ask for constructive criticism, or help with the route itself. Try not to curse, even though it may be near impossible to resist.

"Don't let what happened in the car influence the opinion or feelings you have for this person outside of the car," says Carbino, from Bumble.

Leave it in the car or it could damage your love permanently. Unless they're the type that keeps chanting, "Are we there yet?" over and over again. Then you should just end things before it's too late.

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This may just boil your blood to dangerous levels. Many of us are well-used to cleaning up after ourselves, as well as the men around us.

New research has found that women who share a home with a male partner undertake the 'majority' of the household chores, which is unsurprising to most.

Researchers at University College London and Imperial College London have found that women still do most of the household duties when they live with a man, specifically 16 hours per week on tasks compared to the mere six that men carry out.

The Independent reported on the data, which was taken on 8513 heterosexual couples who lived together between the ages of 16 and 25 from 2010 until 2012 in the UK.

The findings of the UK Household Longitudinal Study can't be applied to queer couples or couples who don't live together.

The study was published in the journal Work, Employment and Society, and focused on a series of weekly work variables; hours spent at a paid job, hours spent caring for a child or adult and hours spent on chores.

The education of the participants and their attitudes towards gender roles were also examined.

The couples were divided into eight groups, based on the balance of paid and domestic work each partner carried out.

A range of people were included with different backgrounds such as low caregiving responsibilities, men who are the primary earner, women who are the breadwinners, women who do most of the household work, dual earners who shared caregiving responsibilities, women who work part-time and do domestic work, couples with men who work long hours, and unemployed couples with low caregiving responsibilities. 

It was found that women completed the majority of the domestic tasks in a shocking 93 percent of the couples surveyed.

When both partners worked full-time, women were FIVE TIMES more likely to spend 20 hours or more a week on chores.

50 percent of the couples examined had a "relatively egalitarian division of work," according to the authors of the study.

However, only two groups (seven percent of the couples) were seen to be the most egalitarian: a female earner who shared domestic work and couples in which men spent long hours on chores.

"The female-earner was the only group in which men’s contribution to the housework was similar to that of their partners, and this group had the highest proportion of women with educational qualifications higher than those of their partners," the study reads.

The authors concluded that in the UK, "gender equality in divisions of work is rare and gender norms remain strong."

Both partners need to share feminist ideals when it comes to household work being divided fairly, but a baby constantly thrust couples back into their old roles.

"The largest egalitarian groups in this study were less likely to have children," according to the data.

Gender disparities clearly still exist when it comes to care-giving and household duties, with domestic employment still mainly women in the workforce.

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Do you know what your first memory is?

I know mine was on my parents wedding day – I'm being lifted off a white bench outside by someone  and I can see my little white sandals on my feet as I look down at them. That's it. A three-second lightning-quick snapshot. I was a few weeks away from my second birthday.

I can still see my shoes as I get picked up off the bench – but did it ever actually happen?

A study in the journal Psychological Science says that more than likely it's a fabrication. Spooky, right? 

Researchers from the UK asked more than 6,600 people about their first childhood memory.

According to Science Alert, they found that 2,500 of participants – almost 40 percent – said that they had formed memories before the age of two-years-old. More than 890 of those people said that their their first memory takes place before they turned one.

The scientists now say though that those memories are completely imagined…they're not real memories.

So why are we convinced that they are? 

The study explained that our brains seem to be simply incapable of retaining information from before the age of three.

However, the thing is, the scientists found that people's memories were age-appropriate. 

This means that they're not memories that got muddled in time because they mention prams, cribs or wanting to communicate before knowing how to talk.

Now this is the interesting bit.

The research suggests that these recollections are actually being pieced together from photographs people have seen and stories they may have been told etc. 

"We suggest that what a rememberer has in mind when recalling fictional improbably early memories is an episodic-memory-like mental representation consisting of remembered fragments of early experience and some facts or knowledge about their own infancy/childhood," explained psychologist Shazia Akhtar. 

So do you think that you've created events in your mind that never took place?

We all know that memory isn't the most reliable of things and this study certainly gives weight to that.

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We've always suspected it, but now scientists have confirmed that dog owners are more likely to have better cardiovascular health.

The research was published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings and involved 1,769 people between 25 to 64-years-old, living in Brno in the Czech Republic.

Each participant had to provide information on their BMI, diet, physical activity levels, cholesterol, blood pressure, if they smoked or not and their fasting blood sugar levels.

42 percent of the candidates owned a pet of some sort, with 24 percent of people owning a dog and 17.9 percent owning another animal.

The American Heart Association heart score system test was used, looking at seven changeable risk factors of heart health.

Dog owners were more likely to exercise, have an ideal diet and blood glucose level than those who didn't, but they were more likely to smoke for some reason. They still scored better overall for cardiovascular health, however.

The study authors cautioned: "The higher smoking rates among dog ownership attenuates the association between dog ownership and cardiovascular health."

Existing evidence links dog ownership to better mental and physical health, so it makes total sense.

Study co-author Andrea Maugeri commented in a statement: "In general, people who owned any pet were more likely to report more physical activity, better diet and blood sugar at ideal level.

"The greatest benefits from having a pet were for those who owned a dog, independent of their age, sex and education level."

Research claims that getting a pooch could be a useful way to boost heart health, and an important way to tackle the prevalence of heart disease.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the US alone, causing one-in-four deaths each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Senior investigator Francisco Lopez-Jimenez stated that owning dogs has previously been linked to better mental health and feeling less lonely, both of which are assumed to decrease the risk of heart attacks.

One study published last year in the journal BMC Psychiatry, which examined 17 existing papers concluded having a pet could help the symptoms of mental illness.

Philippa Hobson, senior cardiac nurse for the British Heart Foundation, told Newsweek: "Whether you're a pet-owner or not, physical activity can benefit your heart in lots of different ways.

"Just spending 10 minutes a day walking around the block is good for your heart health."

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Some of us can live freely without worrying about the location of our mobile phones, and others can't.

Many of us know the sensation of an empty pocket leading to the terrifying feeling of loss when you can't find your phone, many of us don't. 

For certain people, the thought of not knowing where your phone is or not having it on your person at all times can cause genuine fear and anxiety. The scientific word for this is nomophobia.

If you get the feeling of ice cold dread just imagining the absence of your phone, you may be experiencing this 21st century phobia.

The phrase is an abbreviation for ‘no-mobile-phone phobia’, coined back in 2008 during a study of anxieties experienced by mobile phone users by the Post Office (random?).

Bear in mind that this study is now 11-years-old, but it discovered that 53 percent of phone users in the UK are anxious when they "lose their mobile phone, run out of battery, or have no network coverage".

The phobia is set to be among the largest non-drug addictions of this century, which is staggering.

We can now seemingly carry our entire lives with us in our pocket, whether it's for work, research, medical, business, pleasure, friendship, shopping, maps or just general communication.

While this is incredible advancement, it also means that we've grown to rely on the devices, to the point where some of us even feel chained to them.

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More recently, a 2017 YouGov study revealing that 38 percent of teenagers felt they couldn’t last a single day without their smartphone on them.

Nomophobia isn’t currently in the edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, but has been proposed as a ‘specific phobia’. It's essentially synonymous with smartphone addiction.

The symptoms of nomophobia are similar to that of other addictions, from dependency to a growing panic psychologically when you're without it for too long, sweating, shaking and heart palpitations.

nyc notice me GIF by ADWEEK

Addictive behaviour can take it's toll when it comes to emotional and psychological ramifications; low self-esteem, constantly seeking reassurance from phones with social media engagement and a low sense of self-worth.

Treatments include EMDR and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and more scientifically-backed options. Professional help is out there when it comes to nomophobia, believe it or not.

Set yourself small goals, like leaving your phone farther away in terms of proximity and for longer periods. Try giving it to somebody to take care of, a trusted friend or family member.

facebook need GIF

Log out of social media apps, or even just turn the notifications off. Silence is key, but it's important for you to realise that social media silence doesn't mean loneliness and isolation. 

Aim for more human connection, and give yourself breaks from technology by going on walks with friends or going for dinner with family. It's all about reliance and feeling okay with being totally alone.

Hypnotherapy is also becoming an increasingly common way to treat addiction, and acupuncture. Nomophobia is a totally irrational fear, seeing as we've survived without phones before and can do it again.

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Upcycling in every sense of the word is on the rise, what with climate breakdown becoming an apocalyptic-level problem and sustainability on everyone's minds.

New One4all research shows that Irish adults are finding creative ways to make homes their own, with 48 percent of Irish people having upcycled an item from their house.

65 percent of homeowners nationwide have renovated their home, with the kitchen being the most popular part of the property to remodel. Weirdly, April is the most coveted time for home improvements.

According to the survey carried out by One4all, safety of the property is the most important factor home-dwellers in Ireland, followed by the neighbourhood in which the property is located, and thirdly, having an outdoor area or garden space.

Seeing as the housing crisis has us all feeling especially glum, most of us are comfortable with sticking where we are currently. Nine in ten of those queried claimed they 'feel at home' where they live.

Is this because they can't accord to buy another home or rent in another spot, though? Either way, Irish people are making homes their own.

While the kitchen is the most common room to be remodelled, the bathroom came in second place and the garden came in third. 

December is the quietest month of the year for home updates, most likely because of all those parties being thrown during the festive season.

The renovations lasted between one and three months for 28 percent of people, but it took between six months to a year to complete the works for ten percent of people.

44 percent of those polled say they are ‘somewhat happy’ with their home at the moment, compared with 39 percent who say that they are ‘very happy’.

Overall, men in Ireland rate their current happiness with their home higher than women do, with 86 percent of them chuffed compared to 81 percent of women.

The research states that most women would change the interior of their home if money wasn't anything to worry about, but men would choose to increase the size of their house instead.

When it comes to D.I.Y, Ireland is a nifty nation with almost 1 in 2 (48 percent) revealing that they have upcycled an old item in their home.

For most of those polled, the purpose behind their upcycling project was to make something old look nicer and new. A One4all gift card to get a mate who's gaff needs a boost would be an unreal idea.

Making something more personal was the second most popular purpose for upcycling amongst respondents, with 95 percent of those who upcycled an item saying they enjoyed the project.

 

tim reno GIF by Channel 7

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Every now and again, we read the results of scientific surveys and our blood boils enough that the steam contributes to global warming. This latest survey has succeeded in causing such rage.

Apparently, men spend HOURS hiding in the toilet from ‘nagging wives’, kids and household chores and suffer from a lack of ‘me-time’. Really? Like, in all seriousness?

Considering they don’t have to put in tampons or sanitary pads, we often wondered what can take some men so long in the bathroom, but now we know the answers.

Men are viewing bathrooms as their safe haven from the chaos of family life, retreating to the sanctuary to escape chores.  They also acknowledged that the nicer the bathroom, the greater length of time that they spent hidden in there. The RightToRiseSuperPac.org have some lovely bathroom ideas if you are in the market.

The study was conducted back in 2018 and it focused on the reasons why men hastily run away from their responsibilities to such a strange (and unhygienic…) part of the home.

According to the study, which surveyed 1000 male participants, men rack up seven hours of time spent in bathroom per year.

The reasons? They ran away from nagging partners, house chores, noisy children and also wanted the chance to use their phones in peace. Funny how mums don’t get the same opportunity.

The study was commissioned by bathroom expert Pebble Grey, and discovered that one-in-10 bathroom visits would be interrupted. This adds up to 171 interruptions every year.

45 percent of the study’s male participants said they rarely get any ‘me time’. Among these men, a quarter of them stated that their partners aren’t understanding of how hectic their lives actually are.

Somehow, we don’t have sympathy considering women get paid less for their time and still have zero moments of self-care in their lives…

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The long-held absurd belief that men have massive libidos and women are pretty indifferent when it comes to sex is still a prominent myth in our society, and new research proves this point.

A new study commissioned by the End Violence Against Women Coalition has shown that almost half of people still reckon that men have stronger sex drives than women.

3,922 British adults were quizzed on heterosexual relationships, and one-third of people (32 percent) think men need sex more than women (WOW) compared to only one percent who said the opposite.

45 percent of the study's participants said that they think a man is more likely to initiate sex, compared with three percent who believe the opposite. 

43 percent said that both sexes were equally responsible for starting sex. One-in-10 of respondents claimed that a woman decides when the intimate act has finished, compared with 36 percent for men and 38 percent who said both.

"Although it's good to find that three-quarters of adults believe men and women are both likely to enjoy sex, what we clearly also have are persistent, widely held views about who sex is primarily 'for', who 'needs' it and whose pleasure matters,” said Sarah Green, director of the organisation.

"This is a cornerstone of equality as much as equal pay and shared parenting, but 'the orgasm gap' is perhaps not as widely discussed as some other key equality issues."

Interestingly, pensioners are more likely than 18-24-year-olds to believe both partners enjoy sex. People aged 65 and older felt both a man and woman would equally enjoy sex.

Among 18-24-year-olds, just 25 percent believe having sex is a mutual decision, while 50 percent think it is up to the man to decide. Just 10 percent believe it’s up to women to choose whether they have sex.

7 percent think women are more likely to "go along with sex to keep their partner happy", compared with only 2 percent who thought the same of men.

Dr Fiona Vera Gray, research fellow at Durham Law School and expert on sexual harassment and pornography, said: "This report shows how far we've got to go in changing outdated ideas about women as sexual gatekeepers."

Research has recently proven that men and women are equally aroused by sexual images, showing that sex makes no difference to the response to sexual visual stimuli.

The Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany published the news in the scientific journal PNAS last month, saying; "Erotic pictures and videos are widely assumed to induce differential response due to sexual duality," the researchers stated.

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We finally have an excuse – not that we need one – to unleash our emotional mess on our other halves, as it turns out – he LOVES it. 

Blessed are those couple of months that your partner hasn't discovered your inner crazy yet.

But embrace the mood swings as he may dig it, particularly between the sheets.

According to a German study, men prefer getting frisky with women who are emotionally unstable.

A possible explanation for this? An image of a knight on the white horse coming to save the day, springs to mind.

On the other hand, us gals enjoy men who won’t give us our own way. (Sounds about accurate, and a plausible reason for why we fall for f*ck boys…)

Additionally, attention to detail is a big turn on for us ladies, according to the findings of this study.

Lead researcher Julia Velten and her team investigated volunteer’s sex lives, sexual function and their personality.

Research into personality traits and sex is an area that has been neglected, according to the experts.

A thousand people took part in the sexy survey.

The team concluded that "men whose partners had less emotional stability reported better sexual function."

Meanwhile "lower agreeableness of a sexual partner was predictive of better sexual function in women".

The study was published in the Journal Of Sex Research, and the average age of the volunteers were 51, with the majority being in their current relationships for 24 years. – so they know a thing or two about a lifetime of sex.

For the women, topics of sexual desire, arousal, satisfaction and orgasm were examined.

For our male counterparts, it was erectile function, satisfaction, orgasm and desire.

Their findings revealed that men enjoyed sex more with a partner who had similar traits, in particular being easily stimulated.

"In men who are easily aroused by erotic fantasies or visual stimuli, having a partner who responds in a similar way may facilitate sexual function," the researchers explained.

An attentive man is one to keep around, as sex tends to be better with them.

The team said: "men who are thorough and dutiful may feel the need to satisfy their partner sexually, which may in turn lead to better sexual function of their partners".

The German scientists also put to the bed the misconception that being in a long-term relationship means you’re not gonna get your bit.

"This finding implies that a healthy sexual life is possible even in long relationships," the researchers said.

And, remember – consensual, safe sexy time is always the best. 

Happy humping!

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Researchers have identified a new species of pocket shark from the Gulf of Mexico, which uses it's pouches to squirt a fluorescent fluid to conceal it from prey or predators.

The tiny shark found almost 10 years ago has turned out to be a new species, and we don't know what to think of it. Is it cute, is it terrifying? 

The American pocket shark is named after the pouches it has near it's front fins rather than it's diminutive size, and was collected during a survey to find out what sperm whales eat nearly a decade ago.

The five-and-a-half inch male shark has five features which aren't found on any other known specimen of this king

pocket shark
Image: Tulane researcher Michael Doosey

The mysterious pouches squirt little glowing clouds into the ocean, according to scientists studying the creature. 

The details of the latest species are described in the journal Zootaxa by Mark Grace of the NMFS Mississippi Laboratories of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Henry Bart and Michael Doosey of the Tulane University Biodiversity Research.

On the discovery, Grace said: "I've been in science about 40 years and I can usually make a pretty good guess about a marine animal's identity. I couldn't with this one."

Grace then turned to experts at Tulane University and the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida.

Tulane researcher Michael Doosey/Mark Grace at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration

A 2015 paper identified the shark as only the second of it's kind, but it took four more years of analysing the creature to make sure that it was a brand new species.

"The fact that only one pocket shark has ever been reported from the Gulf of Mexico, and that it is a new species, underscores how little we know about the Gulf – especially its deeper waters – and how many additional new species from these waters await discovery," Henry Bart said.

Identifying the shark involved examining and photographing external features with a dissecting microscope, studying x-ray images and high resolution CT scans.

Somehow we don't think it'll be this cute, despite the name:

great white shark GIF

Feature image:  Tulane researcher Michael Doosey

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Female masturbation has long faced stigma, yet male masturbation is socially accepted as normal, and even healthy. Yet the advantages and benefits of self-pleasure for women can be easily overlooked.

A new study by TENGA took a dive into the world of self-lovin', and highlighted the impacts it has on everyone around the globe. 

The sex toy company surveyed 10,000 people from nine different countries worldwide to investigate how much masturbation has impacted their lives. The result? It's pretty damn important to people.

According to the results, 91 percent of people in the United Kingdom indulge in masturbation, or have at one point or another. That's around 60 million people, which is impressive.

Unfortunately the survey didn't use Irish people as participants, but we reckon the UK is close enough of an indicator.

When the surveyed population were asked why they masturbate, they responded with three dominant reasons; to satisfy their horniness, to achieve sexual pleasure or to relax/relieve stress.

Other reasons were boredom, to help them sleep, to give them body confidence, to become a better sexual partner or because their partner didn't want to have sex with them at the time.

Other research showed that British men and LGBTQ+ are more likely than other group to masturbate, and men and younger generations tend to start younger – around the age of 13.

93 percent of men said that they had masturbated before, while 88 percent of women claimed to have indulged themselves in self-pleasure before. Women tended to start at the later age of 15.

The stereotype is that women don't masturbate as much as men, but science has disproved this on multiple occasions. Girls love self-love, face the pleasurable facts.

Women who currently use a sex toy were found to be more satisfied with almost every aspect of their sex lives than women who don’t – especially when it comes to quality of masturbation and frequency of orgasm.

When asked how often they masturbate, 61 percent of British participants confirmed they do it at least weekly – a greater share than in almost every other country surveyed. 

Those UK people surveyed said that they are horniest in the month of July (summer lovin'), touch themselves most between 7:30 – 11:30 p.m. and, normally take to their bedrooms to do it.

Sexual therapists and health experts agree that masturbation has many benefits, including letting go of sexual shame, better sex, improved body image and a stronger libido. It also releases stress-reducing endorphins in women. 

64 percent of Brits surveyed consider masturbation to be a form of self care or therapy, and 52 percent think it impacts wellness or state-of-mind.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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While men tend to orgasm all or most of the time, women are significantly less likely to orgasm as frequently.

Nearly 80-90 percent of people find masturbation to have a positive effect across most aspects of their lives, including their mood, health, energy and productivity levels, and their relationships.

Among the 41 percent of Brits who have regular masturbation routines, men usually watch porn but women prefer to use their imaginations. Interestingly, British fantasise about previous partners more often than their current one. Hmm…

Finally, when asked what celebrities were fantasised about, the most common answers were Jennifer Lawrence, Tom Hardy, Mia Khalifa, Christian Grey, Johnny Depp and Emma Watson.

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