Vancouver
3 min

Wank away. It’s all good

It's important to keep the plumbing unclogged

 Dear Dr Ren,

 
We’re a couple that truly enjoys sex. 
 
Since we started our relationship three years ago, it has been a non-stop ride of happiness. We have sex practically every day, sometimes twice. Even before I met my boyfriend, I masturbated frequently.
 
Is it bad to ejaculate every day? I did some quick research and have found nothing saying frequent sex is harmful. However, I also read that semen is full of nutrients.
 
I’m concerned the nutrients I’m getting from the few vegetables I eat are all going towards the composition of my semen! Is there any chance our body prioritizes the production of semen over brain nurturing, for example?
 
For instance, I don’t have a good memory, and I understand this worsens with age. I just don’t want to forfeit brain function by having too much sex!
 
 Thank you very much for your help, not only with this question, but with what you do for our community. I enjoy both your column and your show on OutTV very much.
 
Satisfied but Potentially Sapped

***
 
Dear Satisfied (we can leave it at that),
 
First, thank you for your kind words of appreciation. Serving this community is my sincere pleasure. 
 
Second, congratulations on finding a relationship that suits you so well. Do everything you can to protect and enhance it.
 
Finally, regarding your letter, I have nothing but good news — and some great stories — for you. Boff on. Wank away. It’s all good. In fact we know now that your prostate health depends upon frequent and regular emptying of stored sperm. That’s why, when you go for long periods of time without ejaculating, you have a nocturnal emission or wet dream. It is your body’s way of correcting the unhealthy situation of holding too much unspent semen.
 
Men who infrequently ejaculate have higher rates of prostate cancer at earlier ages. It doesn’t matter the method by which the sperm is released, whether through solo or partnered sex, just that it is. It is important to keep the plumbing unclogged.
 
That’s the good news. Now to the stories I promised.
 
Through the ages, masturbation has been blamed for causing a host of ills, including tuberculosis, insanity, loss of sight and hearing, hair overgrowth and baldness, lesions of the heart, depression, hysteria and even death. The Victorians devoted whole catalogues to devices designed to prevent or interrupt the practice, some of them downright horrifying. Prevention of masturbation got more attention than masturbation itself would have if left alone, I suspect.
 
On top of the biblical taboo against wasting any potential baby-producing material (onanism), the Victorians layered the belief that the body had a limited amount of the precious and powerful stuff. They proclaimed masturbation a foolhardy method of spending semen that resulted in weakness and eventual impotence. 
 
The kernel of truth in this theory is that if you come many times in close succession, each ejaculation will have less volume, until finally you’ll produce no more than a whimper. But that does not mean your brain has turned to mush. If you want to produce a big load of jism, leave yourself alone for 72 hours or so and your tank will be full again. You’ll find you can think as well as ever throughout that whole period of time.
 
It is the volume of ejaculate that is affected with frequency, not the composition. It is indeed high in proteins and complex carbohydrates. Its structure varies with what you eat, which affects its viscosity, smell and taste. 
 
Some common-sense guidelines apply here. If you drink pineapple juice and eat a leafy green salad, your body fluids, including your semen, will taste and smell sweet. If you drink bourbon and beer, eat garlic fries and asparagus, you’ll get funky. Keep this in mind when planning romantic evenings.
 
But back to the Victorians. So convinced were they of the harm caused by “self abuse” that two American anti-masturbation and pro-hygiene super-capitalists, Sylvester Graham, designer of the graham cracker, and John Kellogg, creator of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, made foods specifically to suppress the sex drive. Kellogg called masturbation “the vilest, the basest and the most degrading act that a human being can commit.” Clearly, he didn’t get out much.
 
Modern-day medicos now confirm the benefits of masturbation. It enables the playing out of the sexual fantasies so helpful in learning our sexual preferences. It helps us become comfortable with our own sexuality and is fun to share with our partners. It has even been shown to help curb impulses about inappropriate sexual behaviour.
 
In terms of physical health, masturbation helps maintain good pelvic-floor blood flow and strong PC (pubococcygeal) muscle strength. It is the quintessential safe sex practice. It relieves stress and helps us relax to sleep. It helps to relieve menstrual cramps in women. Many find it relieves headache pain as well.
 
The truth is that people can and do masturbate throughout their lives without any negative effects. There are many, many anti-wanking superstitions that have proliferated through history, and each has been disproven. 
 
Masturbation is a healthy, safe, enjoyable sexual activity. Wank on!