[COLUMN] On masturbation

IN this era of informational technology facilitated by search engines, like Google, and websites, like YouTube, to name a couple, access to massive scientific data enables people to instantly educate themselves on proactive and preemptive strategies in disease prevention and in adopting a healthier lifestyle. It also erases the stigma on a scientific discussion of delicate and sensitive personal topic like masturbation, which, contrary to past beliefs, is actually a healthy normal part of people’s lives.

Wikipedia defines masturbation as “a form of autoeroticism in which a person sexually stimulates their own genitals for sexual arousal or other sexual pleasure, usually to the point of orgasm.”

Statistics

According to published statistics from a 2022 study, more men (73.8 percent) than women (48.1 percent) masturbate. The percentage for women might not be totally accurate because women, in general, are more private in their sentiments. In an earlier report (2009), the data showed 95 percent of men and 89 percent of women masturbated at one time or another. Both surveys clearly confirm that this practice of self-arousal is normal among the majority of people around the world.

As to the frequency, 57 percent of men between the ages of 18 and 24 masturbate once a week, compared to 48 percent of women in the same age group. More than 40 percent of males and 22 percent of females masturbate daily. About 55 percent of men and 40 percent of women prefer masturbation over sex with a partner, and 53 percent of women and 17 percent of men use vibrators to arouse themselves.  The study involved “more than 13,000 subjects and were weighted to be globally representative.”

At this very moment you are reading my column, about 797,151 men and women in the United States are actually masturbating, extrapolated a study. That is more than the total (2024 census) population of Wyoming (600,000), Vermont (647,818), North and Alaska (733,536), and North Dakota (788,940).

Mythical dangers

Misinformed or disinformed naysayers for centuries and social media abusers today have been circulating this long list of falsehood, myths about the side-effects of masturbation: blindness, insanity, hairy palms, hand tremors, shrinking penises, decrease in sperm count, erectile dysfunction, etc. These are all false. Masturbation does not have any serious side-effects.

If done violently, the excessive force might cause penile skin chaffing, soreness and swelling of the penis, and possible (rare) bleeding under the skin of the penis if someone is taking blood thinner or aspirin.

If one’s mental health is not stable, masturbation could become a compulsive behavior. But this is a mental problem, not a side-effect of masturbation. With this obsessive “hypersexuality” behavior, which fortunately is rare, professional help is needed.

Benefits of masturbation

Some of the benefits of masturbation include the release of endorphins, hormones like dopamine, the feel-good hormone secreted by our glands whenever we are happy, like after eating chocolates, sweets, during sex, etc.), and oxytocin, the love hormone that blocks pain and make us feel well.

These hormones increase positive emotions such as happiness, joy, and inner peace. They also counteract adrenalin, Cortisol, the stress hormone to reduce anxiety. Masturbation is beneficial for long term health for those who enjoy it. It also reduces risk for prostatic cancer, since ejaculation prevents build-up of cancer-causing agents, like old semen, in the prostate gland.

In women, masturbation makes a woman more likely to have orgasm during sexual relationships. During pregnancy, masturbation releases sexual tension and helps ease some pregnancy symptoms including lower back pains. It also lowers the rate of cervical infection.

Orgasm (in actual sex or masturbation) also reduces stress, improves sleep, eases pain, boosts our mood, increases focus, and it also prevents anxiety and depression. Those who are deprived of regular sexual pleasure for any reason have the opposite (negative) effects on those health effects listed above.

Masturbation reduces vaginal dryness, relieves menstrual cramps, increases libido, induces greater satisfaction with sex and provides a higher self-esteem. All of these make life more enjoyable and marriage more stable and lasting.

COVID-flu vax combo

More than a year ago, in this column, we were saying hopefully, a triple combo vaccine would be developed for COVID-19, the flu, and the RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) infections. The 3-in-1 vaccine would certainly catapult vaccination compliance, with one shot instead of 3, less needle stick, less clinic visit, more convenience for the public.

On October 4, 2023, Moderna announced successful trials with mRNA 1083 vaccine combo to be more effective against COVID-19 viruses and all four A and B strains of the Flu, and superior to the previous 2 individual shots.

Anyway, while waiting for the trio, we look forward to this duo (mRNA 1083) tandem vaccine with great eagerness.

New Alzheimer’s drug

Eli Lily’s new drug for Alzheimer’s, Donanemab, announced 6 hours ago while I was writing this column, is the second drug approved by the United States FDA to slow down the progress of Alzheimer’s. The first one was Lecanemab (Lequembi, by Eisai, Inc.), also an amyloid-fighting drug, was granted full approval by the FDA in July 2023. Tacrine, (Cognex) approved in 1993 as the “very first” against Alzheimer’s, has been shown to improve some psychometrics but did not affect the progress of this scary dementia.

Worldwide, there are about 55 million people with Alzheimer’s, with nearly 10 million new cases each year, and predicted to double every 20 years. In the U.S., there are over 6 million cases of Alzheimer’s, mostly those aged 65 and older, which includes 200,000 cases under 65, according to the National Institute of Aging.

For love of family, many would prefer to have cancer than to develop Alzheimer’s to spare their loved ones from the daily struggle, pain, and tremendous hardships of taking care of them.

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The main objective of this column is to educate and inspire people live a healthier lifestyle to prevent illnesses and disabilities and achieve a happier and more productive life. Any diagnosis, recommendation or treatment in our article are general medical information and not intended to be applicable or appropriate for anyone. This column is not a substitute for your physician, who knows your condition well and who is your best ally when it comes to your health.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, a Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus based in Northwest Indiana and Las Vegas, Nevada, is an international medical lecturer/author, Health Advocate, newspaper columnist, and chairman of the Filipino United Network-USA, a 501(c)3 humanitarian foundation in the United States. He was a recipient of the Indiana Sagamore of the Wabash Award in 1995, presented by then Indiana Governor, U.S. senator, and later a presidential candidate, Evan Bayh. Other Sagamore past awardees include President Harry Truman, President George HW Bush, Muhammad Ali, and Astronaut Gus Grissom (Wikipedia). Websites: FUN8888.com, Today.SPSAtoday.com, and philipSchua.com; Email: [email protected].

 

Dr. Philip S. Chua

Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus in Northwest Indiana and chairman of cardiac surgery from 1997 to 2010 at Cebu Doctors University Hospital, where he holds the title of Physician Emeritus in Surgery, is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the Philippine College of Surgeons, and the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society. He is the chairman of the Filipino United Network – USA, a 501(c)(3) humanitarian foundation in the United States.

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