Masturbation has been a part of human sexuality since the dawn of time, but since medieval times when Western views on sexual practices, beliefs and social attitudes were largely conceived and formulated by the all powerful Church, the act of masturbation has received a bad press. Sometimes it’s had a very bad press.
To be caught masturbating in medieval times risked punishment lasting several years, or in repeat offences, the removal of the genitals – needless to say without any anaesthetic. In Victorian times, and right up until the 1950’s, it was strongly believed to lead to lunacy, paralysis, even consumption, and several cruel and unusual contraptions were widely endorsed to prevent boys from indulging.
It is hardly surprising therefore, that over the centuries many bizarre and ill educated myths and scaremongering tales have grown up around the act. Masturbation has the strange distinction of being the most reviled and yet most commonly practiced of all human sexual behaviour. Even in these so called ‘enlightened times’ many are still raised believing certain myths about masturbation. In this series of articles, we explore some of the myths and debunk some of the nonsense:
Masturbation Is Only for Adolescents
Wrong. Masturbation is a life-long activity, enjoyed well into old age by both men and women. Surveys regularly show that anywhere from 70 to 95% of all adult men and women enjoy an opportunity to jerk off. Of course the rate at which we masturbate inevitably slows down as we age, but it is still common. One survey of 800 adults over 60 found that that 46% of them masturbated, another found that 20% of seniors masturbated once a week or more. Masturbation remains enjoyable throughout life.
Masturbation Isn’t “Real Sex”
Masturbation of course is real sex, albeit with oneself. The pleasure, sensations, and the resulting climax are as intimate and enjoyable a sexual experience as any you is likely to have with a partner. Research clearly shows that people in relationships continue to masturbate, which contradicts the myth that masturbation is purely for loners.
Masturbation Is Not Good For You
Masturbation is a harmless sex act which, if anything is beneficial die to the pleasure and relief from tension that it brings however, the myth that is bad for health originated in 1712 as a way to sell a bogus “tonic” that was supposed to stop the disease of “self-pollution”. There is a catalogue of claims about the ills of masturbation including the most popular ones such as claims it will make you go blind, it will give you acne, and it will grow hair on your palms. Most physicians and doctors today agree that there is no health risk with masturbation.