If Dennis Rodman survived breaking his penis 3 times, your man shouldn't stress over some self-love.
There are two tried and true ways to make men pause and listen. Threaten them with injury to their genitals, or tell them that their penis might simply stop working.
The modern anti-masturbation movement, which teaches that masturbation is not only morally wrong, but physically dangerous, does both.
People invested in this movement oppose masturbation on the grounds that masturbating to pornography diminishes their "manhood" and impairs both their social lives and general success. Many of them report that frequent, daily masturbation to porn has caused them to have a host of problems, ranging from erectile dysfunction to even “scabs” or sores on their penis.
Recent articles about this dangers include personal stories of frequent masturbation resulting in such physical trauma as a way to scaring men into cooperating with their morality and religion-based mission — sexual activity only between heterosexual and monogamous married couples.
Nicole Prause, PhD, is a sexual scientist, who gained significant attention in recent years for testing many of the unscientific claims promoted by the sex addiction and anti-pornography camps.
Her research has demonstrated, among other findings contrary to such claims, that people who watch higher levels of porn actually begin to experience an increase in their desire for sex with their partner.
When she became aware of the new tactic of using masturbation-related injury stories to scare men out of self-love, Prause collected new data to test whether or not such stories truly represent a phenomenon specific to porn-fueled masturbation practices.
Prause asked 500 men and women to answer questions about sex injuries. She asked respondents to identify the following:
- Their gender.
- Whether they'd had penetrative sex in the last year.
- Whether they'd masturbated to orgasm in the last year.
- How many minutes of porn they view in an average week.
- Whether they personally feel they've ever had an “addiction” to porn.
- Whether they'd personally, or a person they'd had sex with, experienced each of a series of possible sex-related injuries.
As a result, she came to the following 4 conclusions about the safety of partnered sex vs. masturbation:
1. The most common sex-related injuries happen during partnered sex, not masturbation.
The three most common sex injuries reported in this sample were (in order): hitting your head on an object during sex, rug burn from the motion of sex, scabs on the penis from masturbation.
2. Injuries could be a result of one partner not feeling empowered to speak up about discomfort, OR they could simply suggest pleasurable immersion in sexual activity.
Prause is currently working on a new study of very high sexual arousal states to understand how some of this apparent inattention to one’s environment may look in the brain.
3. Sex injuries may seem like big news only because researchers aren't used to hearing about them.
Sex injuries are more commonly discussed amongst friends than they are assessed by scientists. For example, a scab on the penis due to high frequency masturbation could increase some risks of infection, but, in the grand scheme of cancer, child hunger, and other health concerns, most scientists are not especially interested in studying something with such a low impact on public health.
4. Masturbation itself appears about as safe as sexual gratification comes.
Masturbation is overwhelmingly associated with health benefits. These data leave the impression that sex injuries may just be a common part of learning about healthy sexual expression.
Sores or abrasions on penises or vaginas from masturbation are not evidence of addiction, loss of sexual control, or that one is sexually unhealthy. Instead, these injuries appear to be the result of engaging in a physical activity, which carries the risk of occasional injury to one’s body, whether it comes from sex, hiking, or walking up a set of stairs. Sex is a healthy, positive activity for most.
Prause checked to be sure there was no association between any injury during sex in someone's lifetime, including scabs on the penis from high frequency masturbation, and a feeling that one has had a problem of addiction to sex films.
It turned out that the reported association appears to be manufactured by anecdotal reports, which is why anecdotal reports are not considered acceptable measures of scientific data.
So there you have it. In contrast to hyperbolic stories, sex-related injuries are actually quite common.
In fact, take a look at what Dennis Rodman has to share about his own sex injuries.
As with any study, there are limitations to the data collected here. That said, given that the sample was large and this pattern of trying to create a false health panic related to porn is so common, Prause believes her findings would still hold true in additional studies of the topic.
I will note that sores on one's genitals might be the result of masturbation, dry skin, infection, or from one's sexual techniques. Blaming such sores on too much masturbation might lead a person to not seek medical treatment, when they should.
Don't assume these abrasions are innocuous if they last, recur, or appear out of proportion to your sexual behaviors.
Louise Lush is an Australian feminist pornographer, activist and writer who noticed scary stories were beginning to circulate about teenaged girls developing anal tearing from having sex with teenaged boys who’d been watching porn. Louise dug into this story and found there was NO evidence such injures were occurring. They were simply exaggerations of urban myths, meant to scare and manipulate morality. In her conclusions, she coined the term “panicdotal evidence” to describe such stories.
Panicdotal stories about sexual injuries do only one thing: create shame and fear — they don’t reduce the chances of anyone having sex.
They only reduce the chances that people will discuss their sexual injuries, for fear of being shamed, and judged unhealthy or addicted.
Hopefully, now that there is data to demonstrate how common such injuries are, in normal, healthy peoples’ sex lives, we can reduce the fear and stigma associated with these experiences.
Oh, and regardless of whether you engage in partnered sex or frequent masturbation, you might want to consider using lube ...
This article was originally published at Psychology Today. Reprinted with permission from the author.