Masturbation involves the self-stimulation of the sexual organs with the aim of achieving arousal and satisfaction, usually to the point of orgasm. This is usually done by massaging and stroking the penis for men and clitoris for women. Women also use sex toys such as vibrators to stimulate themselves and masturbate. Masturbation is done by both males and females usually from early teenage and in some cases to late adulthood. Most studies show that about 95% of males and 89% of females have masturbated. Masturbation is therefore the first sexual experience of many people and is regarded as a normal process of a growing child’s discovery of his or her body.
The origins masturbation is not well documented in the form of prehistoric artifacts and cave paintings. However, the fact that Bonobo chimpanzees also masturbate, and whose DNA is 98% similar to that of human beings, is an indication that masturbation has been practiced since the early days of human existence. The practices of some societies in the ancient times affirm this. For instance, the Egyptians attributed creation to masturbation. According to them, Atum, the sun god, created Shu and Tefnut, the equivalent of Adam and Eve by masturbating using the hand of their god (Greydanus, 1980). In addition, the Sumerians believed that the river Tigris came into existence after one of their gods, Enki, masturbated and his ejaculation filled the river with flowing water.
In regard to the Christian faith, masturbation is said to have been mentioned in Genesis chapter 38. In this portion of scripture, Onan who was supposed to bear children with his brother’s widow but refused to do so and instead spilled his seed on the ground. God was angered by this and punished him through death. This explains the origin of the term Onanism which is used to refer to masturbation (Thomas, 2004). However the interpretation of this scripture is subject to debate. Most modern day Christian groupings associate Onan’s action with premature withdrawal also referred to as coitus interruptus which is a common method of birth control.
In the early times masturbation was completely forbidden and considered a taboo. Any sexual activity that did not involve procreation such as masturbation and homosexuality was totally unacceptable. This is because most communities focused on increasing their population as this is where their strength lay. This would enable them conquer territories and expand their kingdoms rapidly. In later years, during the 18th and the 19th centuries, masturbation was associated with physical and mental deficiencies. It was believed that illnesses such as insanity, mental retardation, epilepsy problems with eyesight and hearing were caused by masturbation. This led to a great fear of masturbation and as a result various methods of restraining people from masturbating were developed including genital surgery, mechanical restraints and physical discipline (Greydanus, 1980). Nowadays masturbation is more widely accepted especially in western societies where is has been said to be even healthy. However not all people are comfortable with the practice and regard it as an abomination.
It is possible to get addicted to masturbation just like it is possible to get hooked to drugs and alcohol. Due to the pleasure and relieve derived from masturbation many people end up doing it very frequently such that it becomes a part of their lives. Health professionals have also termed masturbation as a normal and healthy practice as long as it not overdone. However, it is a well known fact that once you begin the habit it is neither easy to stop nor control it. Most people masturbating as a way of relieving stress and tension brought about by the day to day hustles of life. Life has its ups and downs and even masturbating does not do away with this fact. Therefore doing it because of stress only provides a short-term solution to a terminal issue. This is the same reason people use drugs and alcohol but their problems do not fade away. Instead they end up getting into more problems which make their lives even more complicated. One should learn to handle the bull by the horns instead of using escapist means to solve their problems.
As opposed to what is advanced by some health professionals, masturbation is not a natural act and the body was not made for masturbation. The body reactions that come about as a result of masturbation are very different from those that result from sexual intercourse. The pituary gland is usually the one that is responsible for the human beings’ sexual activity through the reaction of the dopamine and prolactin hormones. Dopamine makes one feel aroused and excited during intercourse while prolactin produces a relaxing effect on the body. Therefore after climaxing, prolactin is released so as to suppress dopamine thus making one feel relaxed and satisfied (David, 2005). In the case of a sexual intercourse where the emotions of love and care are involved the feeling is accelerated and a physical and emotional bond is created in the process.
However this is not the case during masturbation where one solely gets involved in the sexual act. This involves a lot of imagination and fantasy in order to get stimulated or aroused and this may involve the use of pornography to achieve this. People who masturbate frequently are unable to have a fulfilling relationship once they get married as they are not able to get achieve this fantasies with their partners thus making them disillusioned and frustrated. Furthermore, over 400% more prolactin is released during climax when one engages in sex with a loved one as compared to masturbation (David, 2005). This means that a person who masturbates is not fully satisfied and lacks the special bond one experiences in a normal healthy sexual relationship. When one engages in masturbation, in order to achieve an equal excitement, they have to create more fantasies and do it more frequently. This leads to unregulated levels of dopamine that may make one feel temporarily relaxed. This causes one to be quickly aroused leading to more masturbation in order to feel relaxed again. This short period relaxation compels one to masturbate more frequently in order to reach the level of satisfaction derived in a normal healthy relationship.
Masturbation has also been known to cause premature ejaculation during sexual intercourse. People who masturbate frequently in the case of men are not able to hold themselves for long during sexual intercourse and in extreme cases the ejaculate prematurely. This is even made worse by the fact that thinking about a girl causes the penis to leak due to excessive masturbation. This has negative effects on one’s relationships with the opposite sex as one is not able to satisfy their partners. In the case of marriage, this may lead to divorce as one’s spouse may attribute this weakness to extramarital affairs. In addition, excessive masturbations causes the penis to become weak such that one’s erection is not stiff enough during intercourse. This makes sex less pleasurable and satisfying. The habit also leads to a reduction in the size of the penis and causes it to become narrow at the base. This also has an effect on the erection of the penis (Schaumburg, 1997). Furthermore, the body becomes weak making one unable to stand for a long time, experience pain in the legs when one stands or plays for a long time. This has the effect of decreasing one’s stamina during sex and may limit one’s maneuverability during sex.
To cap it all, real life experiences of people who have engaged in excessive masturbation only serve to discourage the habit. Most people due to ignorance masturbate regularly thinking that they are fulfilling their sexual desires while in actual sense they are harming their own lives. These individuals have problems with their sex lives and are known to be antisocial. They spend their lives in seclusions and are unable to overcome the fear of the opposite sex. God created human beings as social beings and therefore any activity or behavior which may hamper this goes against the will of God and the advancement of the human race.
The most prominent of these cases is a thirty five year old individual seeking for help as his indulgence in compulsive masturbation has affected his life adversely. His coworkers know him as an isolated individual who does not mingle with his fellow workmates. He does not have any real friends and his relations with immediate family members as well as other relatives are not cordial. Immediately after work, he heads home straight and puts on his computer where he visits pornographic sites and engages in cyber sex. The end result of this is excessive masturbation and self isolation. This has made him a social deviant rendering him unable to relate with other people (David, 2005).
This is just one case among many others where frequent masturbation has taken toll on the life of individuals who once led a normal life. These individuals fear members of the opposite sex and see themselves as not being attractive enough to them. They also see themselves as unable to get married due to the fact that they cannot picture themselves in any meaningful relationship. As much as masturbation is taken as a natural and harmless activity in modern society, the long term effects are severe and people are therefore encouraged to abstain from the habit as once you start, it is difficult to control oneself.