Surprise! Forcing God to kill kittens is good for you. And, if scientists say true, it’s also good for evolution–a concept in which certain devout teabags don’t believe, even as the evidence just keeps piling up that it is real…
So what’s so evolutionarily adaptive–i.e., good–about playing with oneself? Admittedly, the scientists only looked at males from various species (hey, what are we females–chopped liver? Ugh, don’t answer that.) But their theories are as follows:
The science is straightforward. Whenever a behavior is common in the animal kingdom, biologists suspect it has an adaptive function. That is, the behavior enabled individual animals to survive better and leave more offspring than animals that did not engage in the behavior. As a result, genes for the behavior spread throughout that population until it became essentially ubiquitous. And so it is with autoeroticism, which is common–really common. As the Science in Seconds blog noted this week, what with “spanking the monkey,” “charming the snake,” and “freeing willy,” a remarkable number of the slang terms for pleasuring oneself refer to animals. That reflects reality: the practice has been documented in Japanese macaques, gibbons, baboons, chimps, elephants, dogs, cats, horses, lions, donkeys, “and walruses that manage to flog the bishop with their fins.”
- Masturbation increases the healthy-sperm count by clearing old, broken wigglers from the male reproductive tract and stimulating the production of fresh young ones;
- Masturbation might be a form of advertising (“Hey, ladies, my equipment works!”);
- Masturbation might be a form of victory lap (“Woohoo, I just got lucky! Hey, who wants to be next?”);
- Masturbation can serve a hygienic function (“I was cleaning my gun when it went off”).