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...
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