IF YOU ASK any open-minded, educated person about masturbation, they will most likely smile and say it’s wonderful, healthy, and normal. However, if you told them that masturbation was your favorite sexual outlet or even your only sexual outlet, that smiling face might turn into one of concern or confusion. Surely masturbation can’t be a valid and purposely chosen substitute for sex, right?
At this point, masturbation can elicit anxiety, as it has done for centuries. In the early 18th century, in London, a physician of dubious repute wrote a tract for the Grub Street press that identified a rarely discussed social problem, masturbation, that needed to be addressed as never before, and with haste. This doctor felt a moral imperative to shed light on this “self abuse” before it led people to physiological and/or psychological harm (epilepsy! insanity! death!). Less than fifty years later, this newly discovered disorder and its attendant ills were being included in the top encyclopedia of the day.
Jason Armstrong’s second book,Getting Off: The Unlikely Chronicles of a Solosexual on PrEP, was published last August.