Flicking the bean, playing the one-string guitar, kit-kat shuffle – whatever the name, they all mean the same thing: masturbation. Until now you were told that if it didn’t lead you to the deepest pit of hell, then it would certainly make you bald and blind. The latest scientific research, however, proves the contrary. Masturbation can save your life.
A group of Australian scientists have found that men between 20 and 50, who regularly masturbate, are less prone to cancer than those who stay ascetic. A survey, conducted among 1,000 men with prostate cancer and 1,250 with no registered illnesses, showed that the majority of the latter group masturbated at least five times a week. It is a revolutionary discovery since the previous studies suggested that an overactive sexual life might increase the danger of developing prostate cancer, among other diseases.
Such a discrepancy between the two researches, however, is easy to explain. Earlier studies drew a parallel between a sexual intercourse and masturbation, jumping to general conclusions. But the Australians proved that while sex in large quantities could indeed lead to prostate cancer, masturbation is free of this negative effect. “Had we been able to remove ejaculations associated with sexual intercourse, there should have been an even stronger protective effect of ejaculations,” professor Graham Giles of Cancer Council Victoria in Melbourne, Australia told the BBC which first broke the story.
What is then the secret of masturbation? According to the Australian scientists, it removes a fluid produced by prostrate which militates sperm against sticking together. Although the fluid is indispensable for securing sperm proper quality, it also contains substances such as potassium and citric acid that, in high quantities, create a cancerous environment. Masturbation, which climaxes with ejaculation, helps to get rid of the carcinogens better than real intercourse. “The more you flush the ducts out, the less there is to hang around and damage the cells that line them,” admitted Giles.
But not everyone accepts the rosy picture painted by professor Giles and his colleagues. For many religious groups of all denominations, masturbation remains a taboo that one should not speak about, let alone do. The Roman Catholic Church Catechism defines masturbation as “an intrinsically and gravely disordered action.” Apart from moral issues, the clergy also underline the results of previous research that seem to confirm traditional suspicions about negative aspects of masturbation such as addiction and a preference for it over a real intercourse with a partner.
The Australian scientists leave moral objections to theologians and philosophers. The research was conducted in the scientific way, they remind, and its results are “plausible.” Professor Giles compares the advantages of male masturbation to those of breastfeeding – both activities clean the body of dangerous substances that may cause cancer in the future. “If these findings hold up, then it’s perfectly reasonable that men should be encouraged to masturbate,” another scientist, Anthony Smith of La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, told the BBC World Service.
The Australians are now waiting for their colleagues from other universities to either confirm their theses or refute them. But they doubt whether any research could change people’s attitude towards masturbation. Those who say it relieves stress and gives them pleasure, will keep doing it, whether it protects them from cancer or not. Those who perceive masturbation as a grave sin or abnormality will continue in their beliefs. Probably the best advice is given by a BBC-run sexual education website: “You can do [or do not] what you like, as long as it doesn’t hurt you.”
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