|Originally posted by blueviolet
I guess I don't understand why it's on the list anyway. Why is frequency of masturbation a good/bad thing?
A little bit of history about circumcision . . . . During the Victorian Era there was a certain prudishness and hyper-religious atmosphere. Anything sexual was strongly frowned on and masturbation was considered an awful sin. (from the Bible "spilling your seed") Back then a child's natural act of masturbation was something that had to be strongly addressed and in this environment a child was taken to Dr. A.J. Sayre to address this problem. Dr. Sayre was most certainly intact and most certainly had engaged in masturbation at some point in his life. He was well aware of the pleasures a foreskin can provide. As an intact man, he knew how intact men masturbate using the foreskin for the pleasure. Some intact men can't imagine how a circumcised man can masturbate and I'm guessing this was true for Dr. Sayre. Dr. Sayre knew that circumcising the penis would de-sensitize it and guessed that removing the foreskin would take away the mechanical aspect of masturbation making it difficult or impossible. Of course, he was very wrong as boys are very inventive.
By the turn of the 20th century, it was fairly well known that circumcision did not prevent masturbation but by then it was found to be a very profitable procedue and the medical business went on a quest to find something it would cure and some of their findings were bizzarre. The 1920 study was one of these but it did find that circumcised boys masturbated 40% more than intact boys.
Up until the 1950's there was almost no knowlede about either male or female sexuality. Masters and Johnson and Alfred Kinsey were the first sexual researchers and even at that time, they were quite controversial. They were starting from ground zero and a lot of their research is now known to be badly flawed. There still hasn't been a lot of research into human sexuality and the medical and psychological professions are really just in the beginning stages of this research.
Dr. Laumann is working to increase the base of knowledge in this area and one of the ways you do research is to look at past research to see if it can be included in your research. Dr. Laumann needed to confirm and validate the research that showed a 40% increase. He included this and other things that were related into his research and found that the 1920 research was indeed correct along with other things such as circumcised men also participate in "non-traditional" sexual practices at significantly higher rates than intact men. Non-traditional practices include such things as oral and anal sex. This same research also found that circumcised men become impotent years earlier than intact men.
The vastly different rates of masturbation is of interest to researchers because it tells them there is something significantly different about circumcised and intact men. Eventually, someone will take Laumann's research another step and try to learn exactly why circumcised men participate in non-traditional sexual practices more and why circumcised men become impotent earlier. They will try to determine whether it is physical or psychological in order to increase the base of knowledge in human sexuality.
Masturbation is neither a good thing or bad thing. It's just a natural thing. However, the vastly different rates of masturbation is a signal that there is a significant difference in circumcised and intact men and this is something that has previously been denied. Future researchers will use Laumann's work to quantify the difference and explain why there is a difference. This is just one part of the whole that I believe will eventually end the practice of circumcision.