Mary Roach Talks Masturbation

Science Journalist and Author
The author says there is an idea of “use it or lose it” that is very relevant.
  • Transcript

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

 


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