Episode 274: The Wacky History of Masturbation

March 12, 2024 by Justin Lehmiller

Sex and Psychology Podcast
Sex and Psychology Podcast
Episode 274: The Wacky History of Masturbation

Human beings have a long and complicated history with masturbation. Although it was originally pursued without care or consequence, self-pleasure eventually came to be seen as a pathway to disease and one of the gravest sins you could commit. In today’s show, we’re going to explore the wacky history of masturbation, which is a timely topic because we’re currently in the midst of a social media fueled war on self-pleasure.

I am joined by Dr. Eric Sprankle, an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology and the co-director of the Sexuality Studies program at Minnesota State University, Mankato. He’s also a licensed clinical psychologist and AASECT-certified sex therapist affiliated with the Minnesota Sexual Health Institute. His latest book is titled, DIY: The Wonderfully Weird History and Science of Masturbation.

Some of the topics we explore in this episode include:

  • Where did the idea of masturbation as a sinful activity originate?
  • What are some of the ways religious leaders have tried to discourage self-pleasure over the years?
  • When did masturbation start to become a public health concern, and why?
  • Why does self-pleasure continue to be a controversial topic to this day?
  • How has the rise of social media coincided with a rise in negative views on masturbation?

Make sure to check out Eric’s website to learn more and follow him on the socials @drsprankle.

Got a sex question? Send me a podcast voicemail to have it answered on a future episode at speakpipe.com/sexandpsychology.


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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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