Mary Roach Talks Masturbation

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

 

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

‘Designer baby’ book trilogy explores the moral dilemmas humans may soon create

How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.

Surprising Science
  • A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
  • It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
  • While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
Keep reading Show less

These are the world’s greatest threats in 2021

We look back at a year ravaged by a global pandemic, economic downturn, political turmoil and the ever-worsening climate crisis.

Luis Ascui/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs

Billions are at risk of missing out on the digital leap forward, as growing disparities challenge the social fabric.

Keep reading Show less

Columbia study finds new way to extract energy from black holes

A new study explains how a chaotic region just outside a black hole's event horizon might provide a virtually endless supply of energy.

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Surprising Science
  • In 1969, the physicist Roger Penrose first proposed a way in which it might be possible to extract energy from a black hole.
  • A new study builds upon similar ideas to describe how chaotic magnetic activity in the ergosphere of a black hole may produce vast amounts of energy, which could potentially be harvested.
  • The findings suggest that, in the very distant future, it may be possible for a civilization to survive by harnessing the energy of a black hole rather than a star.
Keep reading Show less

Archaeologists identify contents of ancient Mayan drug containers

Scientists use new methods to discover what's inside drug containers used by ancient Mayan people.

Credit: WSU
Surprising Science
  • Archaeologists used new methods to identify contents of Mayan drug containers.
  • They were able to discover a non-tobacco plant that was mixed in by the smoking Mayans.
  • The approach promises to open up new frontiers in the knowledge of substances ancient people consumed.
Keep reading Show less

A psychiatric diagnosis can be more than an unkind ‘label’

A popular and longstanding wave of thought in psychology and psychotherapy is that diagnosis is not relevant for practitioners in those fields.

Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images for Sotheby's
Mind & Brain
When I was training as a clinical psychologist, I had a rotation in a low-cost psychotherapy clinic.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast