In Egypt, the taboo list is quite long. Terribly long actually. It’s too much to the point of us not knowing what is and what isn’t a taboo anymore. The bright side is, we could now discuss taboos more openly and have public opinions about them. All except for one – masturbation. Ironically, it’s probably the most practiced taboo among both genders.

While this article will mostly focus on the Egyptian perception of masturbation, being an unhealthy practice, worldwide masturbation also has a certain stigma surrounding it. The Western nations are becoming more open about it, but that’s only very recently. Back in the 90’s, the hit show Seinfeld featured an episode about masturbation called “the competition”; it caused worldwide controversy since it was practically the very first time the topic was openly discussed on TV, or any public media for that matter.

Let’s get real though. Many of us either practice it regularly, or have at least tried it once. A US study proved that 95% of males and 89% of females admitted to masturbating. Some might argue that it’s because they’re a non-Muslim nation, but if you do the math, this number most definitely includes Muslims as well.

Even though we have no official statistics about masturbation in Egypt, the numbers still wouldn’t be as reliable if someone attempted to collect information. Almost no one would admit or even agree to participate in a survey about practicing masturbation. Logically, it’s safe to say that the numbers would be quite similar. It’s not “shocking,” because it’s a normal process many human beings go through starting as kids.

In Egypt, and most Muslim countries, a large number of professional doctors claim that masturbation is an abnormal act that’s harmful for one’s body. Masturbation is also considered a sin in Islam, even though this matter by itself is debatable. Of course, religion must be taken into consideration when one does anything, but when it’s used to debate scientific and medical issues, we need to take a step back and look at the subject from afar.

A report from the University of Michigan’s Development and Behavior Resources program states that kids start discovering their genitals and self-pleasure at a very young age, on the average of 6 years young. By average it means they could be younger. Kids at that age don’t even realize it’s a bad thing, yet their bodies tell them to do so. This very reason proves that it’s not an abnormal act, as long as it’s practiced privately or doesn’t turned into an addiction.

While it might not have the full benefits of sex, masturbation could be useful both mentally and psychologically, as claimed by specialists. Many sexologist argue that sex can’t be as pleasurable without both partners discovering their bodies through masturbation first. Masturbation also has many other health benefits, particularly for men, including more durability during sex and ejaculation control.

Its negative effects, however, on the general health of a human being, male or female, are extremely minimal. No reported major health issue has been claimed to be caused by masturbation. The only common down sides known are minimal skin irritation, and the bending of the penis for men, if done forcefully. The only major issue it could cause is addiction, and that’s when the genitals as well as the person’s psychological health really suffer. That being said, anything if turned into an addiction is problematic; even as simple as eating. Food addiction is very common, yet no one argues that eating is unhealthy.

With the facts stated, we’re surely not promoting anything, nor are we shaming another. Masturbation is a normal animalistic habit, not just for humans, and it’s about time we accept it as a matter of fact. Religion should definitely be a decisive factor in such highly controversial matters, agreed, but it mustn’t interfere with proven scientific theories.