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Are you a better lover if you abstain from masturbation?

Date
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A friend of mine is a radio-show host. He recently passed on a link to a clip from another station. “Possible column topic for you,” read the subject line. Within the email body, underneath the audio link, the topic: “Are you a better lover if you abstain from masturbation?”

Good question, I thought, as I listened to a man – who may now present a major metro commercial-radio breakfast show – respond to questions from his co-host about his alleged refusal to succumb to Harvey Danger’s Flagpole Sitta suggestions for fear his shagging would suffer. And it remains a good question, left largely unanswered by the wireless star concerned as he basically bluffed through the surprise on-air interrogation. Poor chap.

Poor chap – or inspired lover? Perhaps he’s really on to something. Perhaps he should be crowing, not blowing off the advances of the why-curious. Perhaps there’s merit to this seemingly mad idea that your bedroom performance may be significantly improved were you to avoid any self-inflicted pleasure-making.

“Ridiculous!” Broaching the subject over dinner with friends yields an unequivocally critical response. “I don’t think I’d manage proper bonking if I did away with my own personal ‘special time’ sessions. I think that enhances my own self-awareness, and drives me to seeksucceed similar satisfaction with my partner.”

One of my girlfriends, not one to mince words, goes on to explain how masturbation opened up a whole new world of sensual possibility. Before she started wanking, she says, she wasn’t aware just how deeply wonderful sex – self-sex or otherwise – could be. She gave herself her first orgasm, and says that if she hadn’t she mightn’t be so hell–bent on achieving one when time came for plus-one love-making.

“I’d probably just be bored of sex,” she says. “If I didn’t masturbate, and never discovered my potential, I’d probably just come to a point when sex – even with someone I might love dearly – just became another semi-tedious activity done to keep the peace. It’s because I masturbated that I enjoy sex and want to keep on enjoying sex as much as possible.”

Fair point, I thought. But masturbating for the sake of sexual self-discovery might be a different sort of stroke to the one our radio bloke was talking about. Maybe he was thinking more along the lines of the boxer who, before the big fight, bans carnal relations with his woman for the sake of storing vital energy. He might have been motivated more by tantric teetotalling, less by absolute avoidance.

“Well, I reckon there’s some logic there.” Another friend – male – pipes up. “I know that if it’s been a while between bingos, I’m more eager to play. I’m also more likely to deliver a show-stopping result when that crucial ball is drawn.”

I can relate. Blue-balling might be a male affliction, but I’m sure I’m not the only female who’s come to the end of that unavoidable monthly malady and faced a panting sense of urgency for action. Sometimes saying no, even involuntarily, is as powerful as saying yes. But would I pass up personal time and the guaranteed happiness it brings on the off-chance it might make me better in bed? Just how would it make me better, I wonder?

“More attentive maybe,” my male mate’s girlfriend pipes up. “Maybe because you’re keener to ensure an orgasm than you’d otherwise be, and you realised that the best way to do that is by making your partner happy? You’re a more considerate lover than you’d otherwise be? And maybe you’d last longer as well?”

In a bid to endavoid the awkward lull her comments may have led to, we changed the subject. Though I still wonder, does she have a point? Is that what the radio host meant when he said putting a hold on deposits at the wank bank corresponded with greater returns? Indeed, I may be overcomplicating the issue. Perhaps his religion prohibits personal satisfaction. Could it be he meant "better" to mean "in the eyes of God"?

The science on the subject is not clear, nor is it definitive. There is evidence to suggest that saying a deliberate "no" to masturbation might make you a better lover in the same way that knowing how to control the heat levels on a cooktop might make you a better cook. Being in command of your body, and your sexuality, can be a good thing. But, of course, that command doesn’t necessarily come about through abstinence, and command doesn’t necessarily mean saying "no" instead of "yes".

So, over to you. What do you think? Have you tried abstinence for the sake of better sex? Did that abstinence extend to masturbation? Did it work? Why, why not, or why would you not give the "no" a go?

Katherine Feeney is a journalist with the Nine Network Australia.

@katherinefeeney

katherinefeeney@gmail.com

79 comments

  • Doesn't work in practice imo. Speaking from a male pov abstain a few days and nature takes care of that problem (think nocturnal and involuntary). Leaves you not in the mood and tired the next day and Murphy's Law dictates that is when the real deal is available. Better off just to take care of business when in the mood and your partner is not around/available and hope you then both align.

    Commenter
    Dale
    Date and time
    June 12, 2014, 5:40PM
    • If you have involuntary nocturnal emissions beyond age 15 you're doing it wrong.

      Commenter
      beria
      Date and time
      June 13, 2014, 10:19AM
    • If the AFL don't rub Essendon out of the competition now, I suspect that they never will. Hird should resign and McLaughlin should show some balls and kick Essendon out and have them replaced with a team from Tasmania

      Cheats never prosper

      Commenter
      Gaz
      Location
      Yarrawonga
      Date and time
      June 13, 2014, 1:09PM
    • "If you have involuntary nocturnal emissions beyond age 15 you're doing it wrong."

      Not true, the male "wet dream" is a natural biological response designed to clear old and expired sperm (actually technically its the congealing proteins that sustain the sperm as sperm its self is recycled if unused.) as a part of maintaining health and reproductivity.

      It occurs at all ages but is rarely a part of adult males' lives as it should only kick in if a man has been without release for three months or more. (the lifespan of protein in the male reproductive system) If the OP is experiencing wet dreams more commonly than that its probaly just his system being intolerant of pressure build up. Nothing unnatural about that, but due to under-reporting its hard to estimate how common it is.

      Commenter
      Alastair
      Date and time
      June 14, 2014, 6:17AM
    • Gaz
      Maybe so but you have to allow natural justice to prevail.
      Let them have their day in court.

      Commenter
      Not the only ones
      Location
      AFL NRL
      Date and time
      June 14, 2014, 8:33AM
    • ...um Gaz. You're either posting in the wrong article or you are using "rub one out" as a euphamism.

      Commenter
      Tim
      Location
      Formerly of Footscray
      Date and time
      June 15, 2014, 4:46PM
  • Olympic athletes don't just turn up on the day and perform well- they put in hours of track work. Enough said.

    Commenter
    Roberto
    Date and time
    June 12, 2014, 6:33PM
    • Yeah, but the unceasing, boorish naval gazing of this blog can't help anyone either. The level of undercooked style overthinking that goes into these pieces is truly startling. Mention sex and the equation says people will look..that's all this is really.
      Rather than mass debates on masturbation, Brazilian waxes, penis length/girth, lamented labia or whatever , try living life and just bloody do it...with people you know, like and want to share stuff with. Yeah, even the sticky, messy fun stuff.

      Commenter
      Warwick
      Date and time
      June 13, 2014, 2:15PM
  • The women that I have known that masturbated regularly in my opinion were fantastic free spirits, conversely the others who didnt, werent!
    Nothing scientific about it just my opinion.

    Commenter
    BS
    Date and time
    June 12, 2014, 6:43PM
    • That has also been, and continues to be, my experience.

      Commenter
      Frank McFarlane
      Location
      Daylesford
      Date and time
      June 13, 2014, 5:09PM

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