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Use it or lose it: Taiwanese study finds 84% of married people masturbate

Doctors say moderate 'firing of the pistol' is actually good for the male reproductive system

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Results of study on masturbation behavior patterns in Taiwan.

Results of study on masturbation behavior patterns in Taiwan. (CNA photo)

A study on masturbation behavior, the first of its kind in Taiwan, revealed that despite common local myths about the ill effects of the behavior, 96 percent of men and 65 percent of women reported that they have masturbated. The good news is that moderate masturbation can not only improve sperm quality, but also reduce the risk of prostate stones and prostate enlargement, according to a doctor who announced the results of the study.

Chen Yu (陳煜), director of the Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital's Division of Andrology and Female Urology, announced on Tuesday that the survey revealed that the percentage of married persons who regularly masturbated was 84%, even higher than the 76% rate among singles. The study found that the longer respondents had been associated with a single sexual partner or the longer the marriage, the higher the percentage of those reporting regular self-stimulation.

There are myths in Taiwan that male masturbation, sometimes euphemistically referred to by Taiwanese as "firing the pistol" (打手槍), can lead to conditions such as, premature ejaculation, infertility, and an enlarged prostate. Chen said masturbation physiologically is like having sex, it is just another way meet the one's natural sexual needs, but patients often have erroneous myths about masturbation, and parents will even seek medical treatment to try to correct their child's desire to masturbate.

Use it or lose it: Taiwanese study finds 84% of married people masturbate

Male masturbation myths busted:

Regarding the myth that frequent masturbation may lead to excessive and premature ejaculation, Chen Yu said premature ejaculation is effected by serotonin levels, stress, and emotional factors, as well as aging and chronic disease caused by vascular health problems.

As for the common myth that masturbation causes infertility, he pointed out that it will not lead to infertility, but actually can improve sperm motility and quality, and help improve the chances of conceiving.

A lot of people also mistakenly believe that masturbation can lead to testicular cancer, prostate hypertrophy (enlargement), and even kidney deficiency, hair loss and other issues, but Chen said it it actually helps eliminate bacteria from the body, reduce hypertrophy and lessen the odds of needing a prostatectomy later in life. He added that baldness and masturbation have no causal relationship, but rather it is the male hormone testosterone that has been shown to have an effect on male-pattern balding.

According to Yang Tsung-tsair (楊聰財), a clinical psychiatrist and chairman of Taiwan Association for Sexuality Education:

"Safe, healthy masturbation can increase libido, stimulate the body's production of dopamine and other neurochemicals that reduce tension and anxiety and oxytocin which can improve sleep quality; but because of society's conservative attitude toward the practice, a segment of the public represses their needs for fear of a negative psychological impact."

Chen said that the over indulgence of ejaculating will result in a "dry ejaculation" situation, therefore it is generally advisable not to masturbate more than twice a day to maintain sufficient seminal fluid.