Newsweek Whacks O'Donnell: 'Why Masturbation Helps Procreation'

Liberal media people have been amusing themselves endlessly with clips of Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell's video clip from 1996 saying the Bible says masturbation is wrong. Newsweek's Sharon Begley is taking this to a whole new realm with a silly article with a link titled "Why Masturbation Helps Procreation." This is the same "scientific" writer who diagnosed from afar that George W. Bush had a dangerous alcoholic's "pathological certainty" in sticking to the war in Iraq; and the same writer who saw psychological problems in ObamaCare opponents. Begley began by responding to fellow liberals who might insist you can't hold this poor woman to an intellectual standard:

Since Christine “I’m Not a Witch” O’Donnell is campaigning for the U.S. Senate and not the directorship of the Kinsey Institute, maybe we should give her a pass when it comes to her views on sex and, specifically, masturbation. But that would be a mistake: the stakes are simply too high, going all the way up the very survival of our species....

Evidence from elephants to rodents to humans shows that masturbating is—counterintuitively—an excellent way to make healthy babies, and lots of them. No one who believes in the “family” part of family values can let her claims stand.

Newsweek's list of arguments against O'Donnell is simply too bizarre to believe:

1. Masturbation might remove old, worn-out, broken sperm from the reproductive tract. That would increase the fraction of healthy, speedy sperm, improving a male’s chance of becoming a father. “In humans, masturbation increases sperm quality (by promoting younger sperm) without affecting sperm numbers in the female reproductive tract,” notes biologist Jane Waterman of the University of Central Florida...

2. Masturbation might be a form of advertising. According to this idea, males that engage in autoeroticism signal to possible mates as well as competitors how much they have to offer...

3. Masturbation might be a sort of victory lap. Some animals masturbate after they mate. Since other members of a group know this, then masturbation signifies that the male engaging in this behavior was the chosen partner of other females. Females who are still shopping for a mate might be inspired by that information to copy their choice, as in, “if he was good enough for her ...” Result: more mating, more babies.

4. Masturbation can serve a hygiene function. According to this idea, males engage in autoeroticism because it cleans the reproductive tract and reduces the chance of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease from a female that he mated with and who had other recent partners. Result: a lower incidence of STDs, better sexual hygiene, more mating, more babies.

Begley concluded with tongue in cheek: "All in all, and across species great and small, autoeroticism (at least among males) is a cornerstone of procreation and thus the formation of families. Were O’Donnell’s unscientific views of the practice to spread, it would be a worrisome threat to family values."

This entire bash-O'Donnell exercise is talking beyond the reality that the young activist on MTV wasn't making a scientific argument (or an argument for more procreation). She was making a religious argument about staying pure and avoiding sin and selfishness. But Begley has made it a habit to employ "science" like a negative political ad maker.

Many humans believe the human race should be more deliberate in its sexual behavior than bonobo monkeys or the "Cape ground squirrels of Namibia," to use Newsweek's examples. "Family values" of the human kind are not the laws of the jungle, and it would be entertaining to see Begley go on MTV to explain to young people how "Masturbation is a form of advertising" or "a victory lap."

[Hat tip on image: The Other McCain blog]

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis