Mary Roach
Author, "Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War"
01:58

Mary Roach Talks Masturbation

To embed this video, copy this code:

The author says there is an idea of “use it or lose it” that is very relevant.

Mary Roach

Mary Roach grew up in a small house in Etna, New Hampshire. She graduated from Wesleyan in 1981, and then moved out to San Francisco. She spent a few years working as a freelance copy editor before landing a half-time PR job at the SF Zoo. During that time she wrote freelance articles for the local newspaper's Sunday magazine.

Though she mostly focuses on writing books, she writes the occasional magazine piece. These have run in Outside, National Geographic, New Scientist, Wired, and The New York Times Magazine, as well as many others. A 1995 article of herse called "How to Win at Germ Warfare" was a National Magazine Award Finalist, and in 1996, her article on earthquake-proof bamboo houses took the Engineering Journalism Award in the general interest magazine category. Mary Roach also reviews books for The New York Times.

Her first book, Stiff, was an offshoot of a column she wrote for Salon.com. Her other books include Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, and Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War.

 

Transcript

Question: Can masturbation keep you sexually healthy?

Mary Roach: People have, actually, looked at... The whole issue of "use it or lose it" in the way... meaning that if you don't have a partner and you're not having sex, there's research to suggest that you... that it becomes harder and harder... This is in women, I don't know about... I don't know if it's ever hard for men to have an orgasm.

But for women, there's some data to suggest that the more frequently you have arousal and orgasm, the easier it is to achieve.  And if you don't for years and years... First of all, you get some atrophy going on, particularly in your later years.

Masturbation is actually a... It's kind of a... I don't know the word I want for it. But anyway, masturbation is a useful strategy for somebody who seems to be having trouble getting aroused and having orgasm. So, you know... Yeah. You know, who's going to get... who's going to fund that study, you know? I ask somebody because I ask... There's these people who were... There's a product called the EROS Clitoral Therapy Device. And it's essentially a suction vibrator that cost 400 dollars. And I said, well, why don't we just use your finger? I mean, why? I mean, if the idea is to bring more blood to the genitals, why do you need this 400 dollar device, what masturbation will bring blood to the genitals. That's what happens when you're aroused. And I said, well, you know, has anybody ever done a study? Like, looking at the... how beneficial it is for women with sexual arousal disorder to regularly masturbate.

And this woman said, "are you nuts? Look what happen to Joycelyn Elders. We can't...We couldn't possibly try to get funded." She had this great line, she said, "masturbation is a very touchy subject."

Recorded on: April 6, 2009

 

Articles

×