Episode 96: The Wonderfully Weird History and Science of Masturbation

May 27, 2022 by Justin Lehmiller

Sex and Psychology Podcast
Sex and Psychology Podcast
Episode 96: The Wonderfully Weird History and Science of Masturbation

Masturbation is something that most people do, but many of us have a complicated relationship with it. For example, some people are under the impression that masturbation is an unhealthy or even “addictive” activity. Given that we’re in the midst of Masturbation Month, now seems like the perfect time to set the record straight on solo sex and tell you what you really need to know about it.

My guest today is Dr. Eric Sprankle, an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology and the co-director of the Sexuality Studies program at Minnesota State University, Mankato. He is also a licensed clinical psychologist and AASECT-certified sex therapist, and author of the forthcoming book, DIY: The Wonderfully Weird History and Science of Masturbation.

Some of the topics we explore in this episode include:

  • How long have human beings been masturbating?
  • What makes masturbation in humans unique compared to other species that do it?
  • Where did this idea that masturbation is unhealthy come from?
  • What kinds of masturbation “cures” were used in the past to discourage this behavior? (This is some weird and wacky stuff!)
  • Is there any truth to the idea that masturbatory abstinence can improve your health or boost testosterone?
  • Is masturbation really an “addictive” behavior?
  • Can women really become “addicted” to their vibrators?
  • How can we develop a healthier relationship with solo sex?

Check it out! To learn more about Eric, visit his website at drsprankle.com and follow him on Twitter or Instagram @DrSprankle

Thanks to Promescent (promescent.com) and the Modern Sex Therapy Institutes (modernsextherapyinstitutes.com) for being sponsors of this episode!

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Credits: Jonathan Raz (Podcast editing) and Shutterstock/Florian (Music). Image created with Canva; photos used with permission of guest.


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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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