Home » Health » New research discovers a strange thing about M@sturbati0n 

New research discovers a strange thing about M@sturbati0n 

by NaijNaira
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New research discovers a strange thing about M@sturbati0n 

As well as feeling darn good, m@sturbati0n may also help protect against s3xually transmitted infections by flushing out the genital tract, at least in male primates, new research suggests.

“We find that m@sturbati0n is an ancient trait within the primate order,” University College London anthropologist Matilda Brindle and colleagues explain in their study, in which they amassed the largest ever database of masturbatory instance records across 105 primate species.

It’s already known that m@sturbati0n is widespread across mammals and other animals like birds. While some primates are notorious for self-touching habits – bonobos use mutual m@sturbati0n as part of their social repertoire, and macaques have been caught red-handed with s3x toys – other species appear less inclined.

Since examples of m@sturbati0n can be found across the primate evolutionary tree, stroking one’s own erogenous zones is likely an ancient pastime that was passed on to all primate groups by an early common ancestor.

But once the tennis ball-sized tarsiers took a different evolutionary road from apes and monkeys, m@sturbati0n became more common in some species than others, Brindle and team explain.

That the researchers found a pattern, rather than it being random, supports the idea that m@sturbati0n is more than just a fun, accidental side effect of s3x. Pleasure clearly has its perks: it provides individuals with a compelling reason to mate and continue the species.

But that m@sturbati0n persists in so many species suggests pleasuring oneself may also have a specific purpose in and of itself.

The scientists analyzed records of observations in scientific publications and responses from primatologists and zoo-keepers, involving both male and female animals and wild and captive primates. They revealed m@sturbati0n is more common in males within species whose females mate with multiple beaus.

“M@sturbati0n was also lost frequently in single-male mating systems, but almost never in multi-male mating systems,” the researchers explain.

This suggests m@sturbati0n may somehow be increasing chances of fertilization in competitive s3xual scenarios. While how is still not clear, one theory propounds it may improve ejaculate quality by expelling ‘stale’ sperm first.

But the team also found “strong evidence for coevolution between m@sturbati0n and pathogen occurrence in males”, pointing to a secondary theory for why m@sturbati0n is common – to flush microorganisms that cause disease out of the genital tract. M@sturbati0n is also more common in males of larger primate species that can’t reach down to orally groom their genitals.

“M@sturbati0n was lost at a very high rate when pathogens were absent but almost never when they were present,” Brindle and colleagues note in their paper.

They propose that examining the timing of m@sturbati0n could reveal which of these trends are driving the selection of m@sturbati0n within each species.

If m@sturbati0n most often occurs before s3x it would suggest it is improving male fertility, whereas after s3x may indicate it’s a s3xually transmitted infection (STI) preventative. A 2010 study conducted on African ground squirrels engaging in post-s3xual m@sturbati0n came to a similar conclusion.

Neither of these trends, however, were observed in the female primate m@sturbati0n data. But that does not necessarily mean m@sturbati0n doesn’t also serve some sort of fitness purpose for them too.

“It is important to note that there are far fewer reports for m@sturbati0n in female primates in our dataset,” Brindle and team point out. “This is in part because female arousal and m@sturbati0n can be less conspicuous than that of males, but also reflects a broader paucity of information of female s3xual behavior and morphology in the biological sciences.”

Even if there ends up being no such advantage for those of us without penises, participating in a ménage à moi has plenty of studied health benefits in humans. Solo fun times can help with sleep, pain relief, self esteem, and provide other health benefits.

So regardless of your s3x, science supports you doing you.

This research was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

This article was updated 3 months ago


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