Benefits of Masturbation

“In the United States, the last recorded clitoridectomy for curing masturbation was performed in 1948–on a five year old girl.”
– Eve Ensler, The Vagina Monologues

It used to be thought that masturbation had negative medical consequences; it was also considered to be ethically deplorable for various curious reasons. Fortunately, these superstitious days are over, and empirical sciences have taken over from ill-informed prudery. Indeed, quite the reverse, many benefits of masturbation have since been discovered:

In 2003, an Australian research team of The Cancer Council Australia found that males masturbating frequently had a lower probability to develop prostate cancer. Men who averaged five or more ejaculations weekly in their 20s had significantly lower risk. However they could not show a direct causation. The study also indicated that increased ejaculation through masturbation rather than intercourse would be more helpful as intercourse is associated with diseases (STDs) that may increase the risk of cancer instead. However, this benefit may be age related.

  • Giles, G.G.; G. Severi, D.R. English, M.R.E. McCredie, R. Borland, P. Boyle and J.L. Hopper (2003). Sexual factors and prostate cancer. BJU International.

A study published in 1997 found an inverse association between death from coronary heart disease and frequency of orgasm even given the risk that myocardial ischaemia and myocardial infarction can be triggered by sexual activity.

That is, a difference in mortality appeared between any two subjects when one subject ejaculated at around two times per week more than the other. Mortality risk was 50% lower in the group with high orgasmic frequency than in the group with low orgasmic frequency, with evidence of a dose-response relation across the groups. It was therefore concluded that sexual activity seems to have a protective effect on men’s health.

  • Smith, George Davey; F; Y (December 20, 1997). Sex and death: are they related? Findings from the Caerphilly cohort study. BMJ 315 (7123): 1641.

A 2008 study at Tabriz Medical University found ejaculation reduces swollen nasal blood vessels, freeing the airway for normal breathing. The mechanism is through stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system and is long lasting. The study author suggests “It can be done [from] time-to-time to alleviate the congestion and the patient can adjust the number of intercourses or masturbations depending on the severity of the symptoms.”

  • “Masturbation could bring hay fever relief for men”. (April 2008)

Some professionals consider masturbation to function as a cardiovascular workout. Though research is still as yet scant, those suffering from cardiovascular disorders (particularly those recovering from myocardial infarction, or heart attacks) should resume physical activity (including sexual intercourse and masturbation) gradually and with the frequency and rigour which their physical status will allow. This limitation can serve as encouragement to follow through with physical therapy sessions to help improve endurance.

  • Graber, Benjamin; Benjamin Graber, Scott Balogh, Denis Fitzpatrick and Shelton Hendricks (June 1991). Cardiovascular changes associated with sexual arousal and orgasm in men. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment (Springer Netherlands) 4 (2): 151–165.

“We have reason to believe that man first walked upright to free his hands for masturbation.” – Lily Tomlin

3 thoughts on “Benefits of Masturbation

  1. Kuba, I seriously believe you’re mistaken when you speak of Twain’s “ill-informed prudery.” I have devoured everything Twain ever wrote (except I somehow seem to have missed, “On Masturbation“) , and thus I believe I know the man well enough to say that that paragraph was used to poke irony at those prudes who were condemning the practice, rather than to agree with them – as evidenced by his list of things that most well-adjusted men of his time, would normally do for recreation.

    Since you drew my attention to it, and unwilling to admit as I was, that I had not read this gem by Twain, but even more reluctant to allow that situation to continue a moment longer, I did a quick bit of research, and discovered the source:

    It originated in a brief address Twain gave one evening in Paris in 1879, at The Stomach Club, where a society of American writers and artists had gathered to drink well, to eat a good dinner and hear Twain’s remarks. To follow, is a brief excerpt from that speech, which should leave no doubt that it was delivered with tongue planted firmly in cheek:

    “Homer, in the second book of the Iliad says with fine enthusiasm, ‘Give me masturbation or give me death.’ Caesar, in his Commentaries, says, ‘To the lonely it is company; to the forsaken it is a friend; to the aged and to the impotent it is a
    benefactor. They that are penniless are yet rich, in that they still have this majestic diversion.’ In another place this experienced observer has said, ‘There are times when I prefer it to sodomy.’

    “Robinson Crusoe says, ‘I cannot describe what I owe to this gentle art.” Queen Elizabeth said, ‘It is the bulwark of virginity.’ Cetewayo, the Zulu hero, remarked, ‘A jerk in the hand is worth two in the bush.’ The immortal Franklin has said, ‘Masturbation is the best policy.'”

    And so, my hero is vindicated – I have never known Twain to be more than semi-serious about anything.

    Sadly, and more to your point, clitoridectomy is still widely practised in some third-world countries today, along with female circumcision..

  2. Dear archaeopteryx, I have deleted the Twain citation from the post (see the excerpt below) and made the necessary adjustments. May I just say that I welcome your comments very much and that I find it enormously invigorating to talk to someone who knows what they’re talking about.
    One thing though, could you post the link again to the brief address you cite? – The hyperlink does not seem to function.

    “The signs of excessive indulgence in this destructive pastime are easily detectable. They are these: A disposition to eat, to drink, to smoke, to meet together convivially, to laugh, to joke, and tell indelicate stories— and mainly, a yearning to paint pictures.”
    – Mark Twain, On Masturbation

  3. This was the link on which I found the quotation:
    I got it simply by Googling, “Mark Twain/On Masturbation,” and got an entire page of resources:

    As for knowing what I’m talking about, there’s a veritable bevy of others who would disagree with that assessment, but thank you, you’re most gracious.

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