Health experts see masturbation as an important way for people to enjoy sexual pleasure without getting pregnant or catching sexually transmitted diseases. After all, even if you masturbate with a partner, you're less likely to exchange bodily fluids.
'An orgasm a day keeps the doctor away,' is how the UK’s National Health Service has previously put it. The service hopes that by promoting self-pleasure, teenagers will feel encouraged to enjoy their sexuality without having to lose their virginity. And if young people do choose to have sex, they’ll be more certain that sex will be enjoyable.
So why aren’t more countries following in the UK’s footsteps? Social taboos mean people don't get to hear about masturbation’s life-saving qualities, according to James Shelton, the author of Masturbation: Breaking the Silence.
Take Uganda, for example. The government censors any mention of masturbation on the radio or in print. Yet masturbation – solo or with a partner – may be the vital missing link to help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Already 1.2 million people are infected with the disease in Uganda. And every year an additional 100,000 people are newly infected.
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Pleasure and intimacy
The government’s current campaigns to prevent HIV infection promote abstinence and using condoms. But married couples and people in other long-term relationships don't see doing without sex or even using condoms as an option. And this is the group with the most new HIV infections.
Mutual masturbation could be the answer - it offers a great way for couples to share pleasure and intimacy without getting a deadly disease.
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