For the Victorians, it was known as self-abuse, and was deemed the cause of most physical and psychological ills. At the height of a moral and medical panic, one nineteenth century expert declared: ‘That insanity arises from masturbation is beyond a doubt’. Both scientific knowledge and cultural attitudes towards masturbation have both thankfully changed dramatically in the intervening two hundred years since then. In the present day, 38 per cent of women and 61 per cent of men masturbate, according to research.
To celebrate masturbation and in a bid to lessen continuing taboo and shame which pervades the topic, International Masturbation Month is being celebrated throughout May around the world. To mark the occasion and how far society has come since our Victorian forefathers, here are some of the reported health benefits of masturbation:
1. It can prevent depression
Research suggests orgasms increase endorphins, which in turn stave off depression.
2. It can reduce risk of cervical cancer
Research has suggested female masturbation can protect against cervical infections as orgasms regularly flex the cervix.
Sweden has invented a new word for female masturbation
3. It’s good for your self-esteem
Experts say people who are comfortable about masturbating are more comfortable with their bodies and sexuality.
4. It helps you sleep
Orgasms lower blood pressure and relax endorphins, letting you drift into a peaceful sleep afterwards.
Love and sex news: in pictures
18 show all
5. It eases menstrual cramps
Many women report period pain being lessened or stopped by masturbation.
6. It reduces risk of prostate cancer
Research presented at the most recent American Urological Annual Meeting suggested men who ejaculate at least monthly may be less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer later in life.
7. It’s STD free
Nearly half a million people in the UK are diagnosed with an STD every year ranging from HIV to syphilis. For obvious reasons, masturbation does not carry the same risks, unless you’ve recently come into contact with someone who has a condiiton which can be transfered by intimate contact.
8. Ditto unwanted pregnancies
For similarly obvious reasons.