Liam Farrell - Try turning masturbation into a mass debate

Joe was oily with self-satisfaction, and an oily Joe is a dangerous Joe; it's like when Frankenstein was happy, playing with the little girl, not the time to go near him with a torch.

'That advice you gave me last month,' he purred. 'It was great stuff altogether.'

'And what advice was this?' I asked.

'Don't you remember,' he said. 'You encouraged me to start masturbating.'

'I don't recall being quite so directive,' I said. 'I merely referred to a report from the British Journal of Urology (2003: 92; 211), which suggested that men who ejaculated more than five times each week in their 20s, 30s and 40s reduced their risk of developing prostate cancer by a third. I didn't recommend you start making like the Duracell Bunny.'

'Amounts to the same thing,' he said. 'Anyway, I've been talking about it with my mates and they've all started it too.'

He has actually admitted masturbation to his mates, I thought, I must be getting old, things sure have changed on Walton's mountain; some relationships are a bit too close for comfort.

'And then we thought, hey, we shouldn't be selfish and keep this important breakthrough to ourselves, this concerns everyone, it's a public health issue; all that advertising about prostate cancer awareness, yet the positive health benefits of masturbation are never emphasised.'

'Health promotion does, by tradition, have a rather puritanical outlook,' I admitted.

'This is our chance to change attitudes,' he said passionately. 'To drag masturbation out of the closet. We're not gonna be ashamed anymore, so we're starting a Facebook page and a Twitter campaign and we're going worldwide, with flag days, celebrity endorsements, sponsored walks to Machu Picchu, the whole hog.'

'And you'll have a willing audience,' I said, by now fascinated at where this was going. 'To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, 98 per cent of men are practising prostatic cancer prevention and the other 2 per cent are liars.'

'That's the spirit,' he said. 'I really feel I can make a difference, I'm energised, I'm ... '

'All pumped up?' I suggested.

'Exactly,' he said. 'There was something missing in my life, but now I have a goal, I have something worth fighting for.'

'You're a man with emissions,' I said.

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