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True or false? Eating cornflakes will stop you masturbating

Many people have negative ideas about male masturbation, since they were pounded into us, sometimes literally, as children and adults.

Do you feel guilty about doing something which you have been told is sinful? Do you feel a vague discomfort about doing something that "nice people" don't do?

One of the most pernicious opinions that still persists is that men only masturbate when they can't find a sexual partner. Don't believe it for a moment.

Not only is masturbation good for you, it's enormously pleasurable. It is also an exceptionally effective way to learn about what is likely to arouse and stimulate you when you are having sex with another person.

Masturbation is a health promoting activity

None of the misinformation you have been given about the effects of masturbation is accurate. In fact, recent scientific evidence contradicts the opinions and advice of people who claim that masturbation is bad for you.

Recent evidence shows that regular masturbation is healthy and can reduce cancer, increase fertility and relieve depression.

A potted history of attitudes to masturbation

The outdated opinions have largely been based on two sources, neither of which has any scientific evidence or validity.

Many influential people (usually men) throughout history have weighed in with their own mistaken theories and beliefs about the dangers of masturbation.

In most instances, they have been more focussed on social control of an individual's behaviour than in accurate and honest information. They have towed the line: there have been vested interests.

Masturbation is also called Onanism

The Christian Bible suggests that Onan may or may not have allowed his sperm to fall to the ground, thereby offending the omniscient deity. (As with many stories from this ancient text, no one knows for sure whether it was this sin or that of marrying his brother's widow that had such a dire result.)

The sin of self-pollution, which is generally considered to be that of Onan, is one of the most destructive evils ever practiced by fallen man. In many respects it is several degrees worse than common whoredom, and has in its train more awful consequences, though practised by numbers who would shudder at the thought of criminal connection with a prostitute. Dr. Adam Clarke

Tissot throws his end in

A well-meaning but wildly ignorant man called Tissot wrote a book called "A Treatise on the Diseases produced by Onanism" in the 18th century. It was widely published and formed the basis of medical opinions about the dangers of masturbation for almost 200 years.

He claimed to have "medical evidence" to support his theory that masturbation caused all manner of dreadful consequences.

This evidence was largely based on the misleading opinions of ancient Greek and Roman philosophers and the "observations and opinions" of contemporary thinkers. Evidence-based, medical science, as we understand it today, did not exist.

Among other fancies, he believed that semen was secreted from a man's head and travelled to his testicles via veins and nerves.

And he felt it was his duty to warn young men of "the horrors of that abyss of misery into which they voluntarily plunge themselves."

The signs of the sin of masturbation

At the time, and for many hundreds of years, no one questioned the validity of these opinions. They were widely promoted and accepted. And caused unnecessary anguish for many people of both sexes.

Here are the signs to watch out for in habitual masturbators:

A man called J.H. Kellogg wrote a book entitled "Plain Facts for Old and Young" that included this list of effects and many more besides.

Apparently, you can avoid all these dreadful effects - as well as the nasty masturbatory habit itself - by eating Kellogs cornflakes. Who would have guessed?

Enjoying the solitary vice

Occasionally, a lone voice has tried to show how misleading such attitudes are. Like the sexologist, Alfred Kinsey, who noted:

Patients in mental institutions were observed to engage in frequent masturbation, and this seemed significant proof that the insanity was a product of the sexual behaviour. Since the lives of university scholars were not so easily observed, it was not so generally known that masturbation occurred quite as frequently among them.

Clearly, the despicable, abominable, perverted act of masturbatory self pleasuring has continued unabated throughout human history in asylums as much as in universities and private homes.

Probably because it feels so good.

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