The Disease Of Masturbation Essay Research Paper

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The Disease Of Masturbation Essay, Research Paper The Disease of Masturbation: Values and the concept of Disease by Engelhardt Englhardt s article The Disease Of Masturbation is an example of the ways in which values impact society s definition of disease. I agree that it is possible that science is being, or has been, limited by the values within society. For science to conclude that masturbation causes such aliments as blindness and epilepsy it appears evident that science is being misguided by values of the time. I believe that science also realizes that values play a part in research conducted, otherwise there would be no need for blind and double blind studies. Blind studies are used to help eliminate bias brought on by the experimenter or the test subject. In the

eighteenth and nineteenth century masturbation was thought to produce the signs and symptoms of a dangerous disease: Disease is neither an objective entity nor a concept of a single definition, there is not, nor need be, one concept of disease (UWO, p.241). The problem with Englehardt s article is our health system is that of the biomedical model. The biomedical model does not recognize masturbation as a disease. It states that disease is a biological deviation from the norm that can be explained scientifically (Charland). Masturbation has not been proven to fit into either category. Masturbation may have been a deviation from the norm at one point in time, but I do not believe that it can be explained scientifically. Englehardt s article says that masturbation was the cause of

such illnesses as blindness and vertigo. But how were these conclusions drawn? Were these conclusions scientific in nature or gathered according to the views and values of the times? Masturbation was turned into a disease, not with just somatic, but psychological dimensions. Tissot states that masturbating is even more debilitating than sex because of a loss of seminal fluid (1oz equals 40oz of blood). When seminal loss takes place in a position other than the recumbent position the effects are multiplied. Tissot successfully establishes that masturbation is associated with physical and mental maladies. Englehardt should stipulate how Tissot reaches this conclusion. There are also disagreements as to whether frequent sex is any different than masturbation. It is argued that the

difference between masturbation and sex is the expenditure of nerve force that is compensated by the magnetism of the partner. Masturbation is worse because it is unnatural and therefore less satisfying. I think masturbation is natural, and has very likely been around as long as sex maybe longer. At first masturbating was thought to cause dyspepsia, constriction of the urethra, epilepsy, blindness, vertigo, loss of hearing, headaches, impantency, and loss of memory. As well as, irregular action of the heart, general loss of health and strength, rickets, leucorrhea in women, chronic catarrhal conjunctivis, nymphomania (more common in blondes and brunettes), and changes in external genitalia. Enlargement of superficial veins of hands and feet, moist clammy hands, stooped shoulders,

pale sallow face with dark circles around eyes, draggy gait and acne, insanity, progressive loss of vigour, and causes heredity of insanity are also included on the list of health problems caused by masturbation. How a causal relationship was found between these illnesses and masturbation is unclear in Englehardt s paper. Englehardt suggests that masturbation should be considered a syndrome rather than a disease, because syndromes have the running together of signs and symptoms into a recognizable pattern. Since masturbation is associated with disease it should also be associated with deaths (which have happened). Since people have also died from having sex, should sex be banned because of these dangers? Between the sexually transmitted diseases and the rare cases of people