A well known piece of advice from urologists for men with recurring or chronic prostatitis and/or who might be at increased risk of developing prostate cancer is to have more ejaculations by masturbating.
From the New Scientist Print Edition (16 July 03):
“It will make you go blind. It will make your palms grow hairy. Such myths about masturbation are largely a thing of the past. But the latest research has even better news for young men: frequent self-pleasuring could protect against the most common kind of cancer.
A team in Australia led by Graham Giles of The Cancer Council Victoria in Melbourne asked 1079 men with prostate cancer to fill in a questionnaire detailing their sexual habits, and compared their responses with those of 1259 healthy men of the same age. The team concludes that the more men ejaculate between the ages of 20 and 50, the less likely they are to develop prostate cancer….”
Masturbation is perhaps the singular sexual activity in which almost all of us participate and about which almost none of us speak. It wears a shroud of shame and silence. Many believe it is an infantile activity, to be replaced with the more ‘mature’ intercourse as soon as adulthood is reached. Masturbation guru Dr Betty Dodson has this to say about masturbation:
“Sex will change throughout your life. After hot, romantic sex, there will be the sweetness of early married sex, the mystical quality of procreative sex, and the comfort—or boredom—of long-term monogamous sex. Most of you will get divorced and have another phase of hot romantic sex, and run the cycle again. Those of you who are lesbian or gay will follow a similar pattern. A few of you might go on to explore sex in depth, getting beyond conventional sex roles and labels, and experiencing bisexual threesomes and group sex. But take note! The most consistent sex will be your love affair with yourself. Masturbation will get you through childhood, puberty, romance, marriage, and divorce, and it will see you through old age.”
How fortuitous that the Giles study now reinforces the value of masturbation. Regardless of our societal attitudes, we must now admit that regular self-pleasuring ensures good prostate health. We’ve known since the 1940s, when Dr. Alfred Kegel developed pubococcygeal (PC) muscle exercises to counteract incontinence in middle-aged women, that PC muscle strength also enhances women’s orgasmic response. In other words, masturbation is good for all humans, at all stages of life. Research now confirms that our genitor-urinary health depends upon it.
Perhaps we shrink from embracing masturbation because we believe we are not entitled to sexual pleasure unless someone else gives it to us, thus relieving us of personal responsibility. This excuse explains not using safer sex techniques, poor judgment in our sexual behaviour, and a host of interpersonal miscommunications. Many unnecessarily forego the gratification of vibrators and other sex toys to protect their partners’ egos. Such unnecessary inhibitions!
Masturbation is natural, normal, and (now we know) healthy. Almost all of us do it. We need, as responsible sexually-aware people, to stifle our shyness and talk with our partners about this most basic and universal of sexual behaviours. Urinary continence, prostate health, and lifelong pleasure…it really should be an easy sell, don’t you think?