Is masturbation a physical need or something else?

Hrmmm… how should I phrase this,
We are all aware that as humans we have clear physical needs such as food, water, and shelter. Lately, with increasing frequency, I hear masturbation being lumped together with these needs. By this I suppose sex in general, but that masturbation will satisfy this need in a physical sense. I’m really not sure what “they” mean when they say this, but the bottom line is that masturbation is being labelled as a physical need.

Now, the ramifications of this are myriad for some, and I guess meaningless for others. I might as well spill the beans. I am loathe to bring up religion; I’ve been lurking for six years now and it’s quite clear how the majority of religion-related threads end up. My religious affiliation is Irish Catholic, and while I often masturbate and enjoy doing so, there is always a grain of discomfort in the back of my mind. I am a firm believer in Pope JPII’s Theology of the Body and resulting stances on homosexuality, pre-marital sex, masturbation, and w/e else. But I digress.

Masturbation though, has always seemed somehow different. If I dont jerk off, I get upset. The chickens become restless. I become noticeably pent-up and frustrated. I am 22 and this has been going on since puberty. This tends to support the “bodily need” argument, yet I have gone months at a time without masturbation with no ill effects after an initial period of discomfort.

I hope that was enough to set up my premise. As for me personally, I lean towards bodily need, but I really have not studied or lived long enough to have a legit opinion.

With that said, I ceed the floor.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3072021.stm

Who was it that said something like “sex is too important to share it with somebody else?” :slight_smile:

I think if you’re getting laid often enough and in the way you like, then you don’t need to get yourself off. Sometimes it’s probably just easier, though. Or so I hear…

BTW, it might help if you cited some of these people who are saying that masturbation is a physical need. I’ve never heard it.

In order for humans to survive, they must have food, water, shelter, and sleep. In order for the species to survive, humans require all of the rest plus to have sex (reproduce). The baby factories keep functioning and every now and then need to expel the excess product. It’s a biological imperative that’s expressed in men - literally - by nocturnal ejaculation. So why not facilitate the process :smiley:

I’m sorry. I know I’ve heard if often but I honestly can’t remember from who or when. I’m a complete newby at debating at a pro level like this :frowning:

Dr. Drew Pinsky said something about ejaculation as a necessary form of excretion. This was in a MAXIM interview and I don’t know if it was archived online anywhere.

Masturbation is seldom anybody’s first choice for achieving ejaculation, but aside from giddy newlyweds and compulsive pickup artists, few men don’t resort to it as needed.

If you are, as you say, a “a firm believer in Pope JPII’s Theology of the Body,” it would seem you consign yourself either to a life of pent-up frustration or to one of marital sex, where you will presumably conceive as many (potentially also Catholic) offspring as biology sees fit. (Or of shame over your ongoing violation of the church’s prohibitions, which seems to be what you’re now dealing with.)

Attempts to equate the requirement for masturbation with that for air, water, food, and excretion is a stretch. Try going without any of the latter for months on end and observe the unpleasant result.

I’m guessing that homosexuals probably get cranky at the prospect of an orgasm-free life also—but I rather doubt that the Church will feel obliged to create an ethical loophole for them either, biological imperative or no.

If this were true, ejaculation would be more involuntary, like defecation and urination. Any form of sexual stimulation is entirely voluntary from a physical point of view, though the brain craves the endorphins that are released by orgasm. Sexual gratification is more of an addiction than an involuntary bodily function.

Ah, but what of those who find themselves involuntarily having orgasms in their sleep? Not that I think it is on par with the need for food, water, and air, but there are times when the body has one without your active help.

True, but I don’t think it can be shown that nocturnal emission occurs because of excretory pressure, as much as it does from auto-erotic stimulation from dreams. They don’t call 'em “wet dreams” for nothing.

We have many needs that are part of a healty, well balanced life – physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual, occuaptional needs, etc.

If a religion refuses to recognize various needs, or tries to impinge satisfaction of those needs for no good reason, then toss that religion.

There’s an unfortunate dearth of sources on the topic of wet dreams on the Internet unless you’re interested in erotica or a particular album. The Wikipedia article on nocturnal emission cites Kinsey’s work and seems to reflect what other sources have to say. It all boils down to the fact that those who masturbate more often have fewer wet dreams and, often, the dreams aren’t even described as being particularly erotic. Once frequent masturbation or sexual contact begins, the wet dreams become less common.

There’s no clear cause and effect relationship here, as it could have more to do with cycles of hormones, the sex drives of the individuals involved, and age, but it is an interesting thing to consider. I sincerely doubt that there’s any sort of “built up sexual pressure” thing going on like the Victorians thought. More likely, the “need” for orgasm is more along the lines with the “need” for social contact. We can survive without it, physically, but psychologically some will become dissatisfied and seek outlets for themselves, be this through conscious actions or through imagined scenarios during dreaming.

The male body doesn’t stop manufacturing seminal fluids just because you haven’t ejaculated recently. Sooner or later, that fluid has to be excreted or it backs up in the prostate. If you don’t take matters into your own hand, it will happen in your sleep.

It’s healthy to maintain clean pipes, it doesn’t hurt anybody, lots of animals do it and it’s a very strong primal drive. Is it a “need?” Well, it’s a need to the extent that males need to excrete excess seminal fluid.

I’m going to have to politely disagree with you. I am a 37 year old female, and if for some reason, I don’t have sex for 3-4 days, I’ll have a wet dream. If I don’t have sex for a very long while (this happened more than 17 years ago,) eventually the dreams will start to taper off, I presume because my body is adjusting to the fact of no sex. If I were to masturbate in that situation, I probably wouldn’t have wet dreams, or at least not as often.

Diogenes, obviously it’s more than just excess seminal fluid. Perhaps because it’s more obvious in men, or because men have a tendency for higher sex drives than women, it’s more common, but it’s not exclusively a male phenomena.

CaerieD has it, although not everyone is effected by it. Some people will have wet dreams if they don’t orgasm with frequency. Some people rarely orgasm and never have wet dreams.

Sorry for the triple post. I believe it is hormonally driven. The few times when my libido has been out of whack had to do with pregnancies. When I’m pregnant, I am completely insatiable, and after the 2-3 times a day for 9 months straight, my husband tries to avoid me.

Once after a birth, I didn’t want sex at all, for quite a while. There were no dreams, no pent up frustration, I figured it had to do with hormones from either the birth, or nursing.

During my fertile times of the month I am more demanding as well.

I know it’s more than that. I’m just saying that at a minimum, men will have to offload excess jizz, even setting aside all the other variables.

By the way, I think there’s a difference between nocturnal emissions (spontaneous ejaculations in men) and erotic dreams. Nocturnal emissions can often be completely non-erotic and not necessarily related to anything the subject is dreaming about.

I’m sure I’m not the first person to wonder how this plays out in social/political context of it. Repress the natural male need for sex and what do you get? Add social/religious factors and you’ve got an explosive situation.

Make love to yourself, not war.