There is a large volume of recent research on the benefits of sex for the human body. Most of this work is based on health and behavioral records, but some research is starting to explain the mechanics of how sex and orgasms affect the body.
There were reports in the media over the last three years that breast manipulation or massage might reduce the risk of breast cancer. Maybe, maybe not. The reports suggest this might be true but there is no conclusive evidence.
Masturbation may also be good for older males (age 50+) by removing toxins from the prostate gland. This may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Masturbation among older men is also associated with reduced risk of cystitis and diabetes.
There is a key difference between the findings regarding breast and prostate cancer. We have a logical hypothesis about how an orgasm might reduce the risk of prostate cancer, but we don’t know how breast massage might affect the growth of breast cancer. It is reasonable to think that frequent massage will increase the chance of detecting cancer at an early stage, when it is most easily treatable, but that’s not the same thing as prevention.
For medical research findings to be taken seriously, there are two requirements: (1) a statistical finding that a relationship exists between a personal characteristic or behavior and a disease; AND (2) a logical theory about how the behavior or characteristic could impact the disease. Having one part without the other is useless.
The new finding is that orgasms reduce stress, and stress is related to cancer risk as well as to vulnerability to a host of other physical problems. What’s important in this new research is the identification of how this can work — a process known as brainwave or neural “entrainment.”
Entrainment is the process of bringing neurons into coordination or alignment. This allows the mind to focus on a single idea or sensation. There’s no reason for orgasm to be the only path to alignment. In theory one could get to entrainment via music, meditation or massage as well. Many people probably already do.
Maybe someday we’ll have home devices that will help us monitor and achieve entrainment. Biofeedback is being used for this purpose today.
The ease of achieving entrainment may also explain why some people have an easier time achieving orgasm than others. If that’s true, it might suggest meditation and/or biofeedback as paths to facilitate sexual bliss. Can we train the brain to be more orgasmic by making entrainment easier to achieve? Does entrainment explain how background music can be conducive to sex?
There are Canadian clinics using entrainment in treatment of concussion/brain injuries (e.g., Canada Concussion Clinic in London, Ontario). Here, again, the mechanics of how entrainment might affect concussion aren’t obvious.
It’s funny how folk wisdom can speak to scientific concepts. Phrase one hears among older Americans include “calming the mind” and “peace of mind.” Both may just be lay references to entrainment, which benefits both mind and body.
- “Beast Massages May Prevent Cancer, Study Says,” Huffington Post, 7 June 2013. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/07/breast-massage-cancer-prevention_n_3404250.html
- Borreli, Lizette, “Why Sex Feels Good: Neuroscientist Finds Orgasms Enhance Brain Activity, Leading To Altered State Of Consciousness,” Medical Daily, 3 Nov. 2016. http://www.medicaldaily.com/why-sex-feels-good-neuroscientist-finds-orgasms-enhance-brain-activity-leading-403322
- “Masturbation Prevents Cystitis, Diabetes and Prostate Cancer, Study,” University Herald, 6 Dec. 2013. http://www.universityherald.com/articles/6033/20131206/masturbation-prevents-cystitis-diabetes-prostate-cancer-study.htm
- “Squeezing breasts could stop growth of cancer cells,” The Daily Mail, 18 December 2012. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/07/breast-massage-cancer-prevention_n_3404250.html
- Transparent Corporation, “Biofeedback and Brainwave Entrainment”. https://www.transparentcorp.com/special/biofeedback.php