‘Don’t knock masturbation. Its sex with someone I love’ – Woody Allen
Condoms, the pill, implants: contraception is awesome. Here at MTV Staying Alive we are all about safe sex. But, remember, if you have a hard time trusting any form of contraception you can always take your safety in to your own hands…that’s right people, we’re talking masturbation.
The practice of masturbation is presumably as old as time. The act is not exclusive to Human beings either; our primate cousins and a whole load of other mammals like to indulge too. The earliest records of masturbation in Human history date back to the ancient Sumerians (4000 BC). Apparently, they used it to enhance potency. The Egyptians saw masturbation as a means of creation when performed by a god.
Masturbation encountered its first wide-scale objections in the western world in the 18th century. Both moral and medical insight was offered to the w**king public. Philosophers Kant and Rousseau were strongly opposed to the act, with Rousseau likening it to ‘mental rape’. The Victorians didn’t do a lot for our favourite pastime either. Masturbation was linked to (I kid you not) cancer, all nervous disorders, and even domestic violence. Many medical professionals got in on the act, even John Harvey Kellogg (a medical doctor and inventor of corn flakes). Don’t let this put you off, but, corn flakes were originally intended to reduce libido and, therefore, the chances of self-loving. Looks like Tony is less ‘tiger’ than we thought.
On the other hand some doctors in the 19th century believed masturbation to be a cure for ‘hysteria’, a term which at the time grouped together a great deal of medical disorders. The practise of these doctors actually led to the invention of the first vibrator so I suppose we should praise their ignorance.
Today, most medical professionals will tell you that masturbation is completely natural and perfectly healthy. In fact, studies show the possibility that regular masturbation amongst men may reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer and, among women, the risk of cervical infections may be decreased. 95% of men admit to having performed the act, compared with 89% of women (see this infographic). Even 70% of married people have admitted to it. The question is, will you?