They say that four out of five men admit to masturbating. And the fifth is a liar.
Actually, that old joke is not far from the truth. Research has found that among U.S. adolescents aged 14–17, around 74% of males and 48% of females masturbate.
Among older adults, roughly 63% of men and 32% of women between 57 and 64 years of age masturbate.
Masturbation, as you no doubt know, is when an individual stimulates his or her genitals for sexual pleasure, which may or may not lead to orgasm. It’s a normal and healthy sexual activity with no adverse side effects.
Back in Victorian times, masturbation was called “onanism, named for the biblical character Onan. God, so the Bible says, took the life of Onan when he “wasted his seed on the ground” in order not to give offspring to his brother. Apparently that really pissed God off, and he smote the filthy seed-waster. Hey, even for God, imposing the death penalty for masturbation seems a bit harsh, don’t you think?
Masturbation was also referred to back then as “self-pollution” and it was thought to drain your energy and make you sick. There were even some really bizarre anti-masturbatory devices for both men and women.
Many religions frown on masturbation. In fact, until the 19th century, the Catholic Church believed that sperm were “little homunculi, miniature people,” and for that reason, male masturbation was sometimes called homicide. I swear I am not making that up.
We’ve come a long way since the 19th century, right?
Well, maybe not. And that’s why I chose to write about masturbation for today’s A to Z Challenge.
A proposed bill in Texas that would impose a fine for male masturbation is making its way through the state’s legislature.
Texas House Bill 4260, called the “Man’s Right to Know Act,” would punish male masturbation with a $100 fine, and require men who want Viagra to be subject to a rectal exam.
The bill calls “masturbatory emissions” an “act against an unborn child, and failing to preserve the sanctity of life.”
Filed earlier this year by Texas Democratic legislator Jessica Farrar, the bill was referred to the House State Affairs Committee last week.
By focusing on male masturbation, the proposed legislation is an obvious attempt to satirize and to draw attention to the unreasonable and dangerous policy proposals concerning women’s reproductive freedom coming from the Republican Party.
Farrar, a vocal abortion rights activist with a long record of opposing legislation in Texas hostile to women’s reproductive freedom, said, “A lot of people find the bill funny. What’s not funny are the obstacles that Texas women face every day that were placed there by male legislators, making it very difficult for women to access healthcare.”
I am fairly confident that those male legislators in the Texas State House are less inclined to pass such a bill than they have been to pass bills that restrict women’s sexual freedoms. But in today’s Trump America, you never can be certain.
And with that, I’m going to end this post with one piece of advice: go ahead and give yourself a hand.