Masturbation: Myth and Facts

By Shebnem Sadigova

So many people have been misinformed for centuries due to the superstitions about masturbation. Some think it makes you go blind; others are sure it causes epilepsy. There are people who believe in that masturbation causes infertility, tuberculosis and even some say it lowers sperm count. We can add hindering physical development, making mentally ill, causing forgetfulness, crippling and so on to this list.

There are no serious researches confirming physical harm as a result of masturbation. However, there are enough scientific researches and writings about what it is and its benefits (will share some sources at the end of this article).

At the late 19th and early 20th century, these types of misconceptions about masturbating were partially eliminated. In 1880, many illnesses were found to be caused by germs, not by masturbation. In the 1900s, it became apparent that tuberculosis, which was also a disease believed to be caused by masturbation, is caused by bacteria. These two large-scale events helped to put the end of rumors about masturbation, and false verdicts it has been facing for centuries. People’s misconceptions and fears about masturbating began to decline. But still… Nowadays the subject is still a taboo.

Kinsey’s researches show that 92% of men (1948) and 62% of women (1953) are masturbating. In comparison to men, women start to masturbate at a later age. During a marriage, the frequency increases.

Addiction to masturbation may affect the quality of pleasure men get from sexual intercourses. This is somehow depending on whether a person’s first sexual contact experience was satisfactory. Women also should be careful not to harm their genital areas with erotic tools they use for masturbation.

Masturbation does not harm sexuality or sexual health. On the contrary, it is the easiest and accessible way to learn a person’s sexual needs and provide them when needed.

It also helps people to realize their sexual fantasies and to learn what they want or not. People who have never masturbated or did it rear have difficulties experiencing sexual pleasure when they marry (or have any kind of sexual contact). They strongly believe that low-level sexual stimulation is the orgasm itself. Reduced frequency of masturbation may be observed in people with normal sex life.

Masturbation does not reduce sexual power, on the contrary, masturbating helps keep the genitals physiologically healthy when an individual has no sex life. One of the other misconceptions about masturbation is that when one of the married couples sees the other while masturbating, they perceive it as infidelity. Masturbation of a married person does not mean there is no love between spouses or they desire someone else.

For years, masturbation proved to be helpful in the treatment of sexual dysfunctions. In 1970s Masters and Johnson treated sexual dysfunctions without any help of medications or surgery, using only psychotherapy and published a number of researches and books. Therapies were started to be done with couples rather than individuals, and have helped them to discuss and solve sexual problems. At that time, if the success of this method was 80%, today it has risen to 100%.

You will see what sources these are based on, in the list of the articles below. It is not enough to just say: be away or do it, it is harmful or beneficial. You need to be well informed and well-founded. Especially because, all these prohibitions, taboos and conditions of your upbringing may result in strong feelings of guilt after masturbation. By claiming that being busy on masturbation at least 2 times a day is harmful, you actually chronicle the sense of guilt in yourself. The way to get rid of it goes through educative sources.

Research sources:

  • “Sexual Behavior in Human Male,” 1948 Kinsey
  • “Sexual Behavior in the Human Female” 1953 Kinsey
  • “Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation” by Thomas W. Laqueur
  • “Sex and Human Loving,” 1988 Masters and Johnson
  • Kinsey Reports on Human Sexuality. The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Family Studies. Speice, T. D. 2016.

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