Does Masturbation Make You Smarter?

There's an old joke about a man carrying an armload of bulky packages out of a department store. Obviously burdened, he nevertheless courteously holds the door for a wise guy entering the store. The wise guy takes his time and then pauses on the threshold. He turns to the man straining with his armload of packages, slowly pulls out a cigarette and asks, "Hey, buddy, got a match?"

"Yeah," says the man with the packages. "Your face and my ass."

In Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious, Freud observed that all humor is at bottom a revelation, and this joke—with its play on the word "match"—reveals something Chinese doctors have known for 4,000 years: the ass does indeed match the face, or pretty nearly matches it, anyhow, and the similarity between top and bottom can answer once and for all this question: Does masturbation make you smarter? That is the subject of much college debate, and if you have missed the debate, it is perhaps because you don't masturbate enough.

To answer the question, we have to go back four millennia to the Chinese, who discovered fractals—not those wonderfully bizarre, yet somehow familiar, computer-generated shapes that look the same at both 1,000X and 0.001X magnifications. The Chinese saw instead that the human body is a collection of systems that endlessly repeat themselves in ever-shrinking (or ever-expanding) replications within the body.

How is this relevant to the connection between masturbation and intelligence? Simply: the Chinese observed that the ass (or, more generally, the crotch) is a reflection, or fractal, of the face.

To understand how, remove the limbs and imagine dividing the body into three parts: the head (containing the brain and major sense organs, also known as the thinking pole); the chest (containing the heart and lungs, also known as the rhythmic/circulatory/ feeling pole); and the abdomen (containing the digestive and filtering organs, also known as the nutritive/ digestive/willing pole).Now go to the head. There we have the three poles repeated—as fractals—on the face itself: the eyes represent the head (they are connected directly to the brain); the nose represents the chest (it is connected directly to the heart and lungs); and the mouth is the opening to the abdominal organs.

Where else in the body do we see this fractal repeated? Oddly enough, in an area completely removed from the first and often overlooked: the crotch or, as it is anatomically known, the pelvic floor.

There, between the legs, is an exact duplicate of the tripolar relationship as it is mapped out on the face. It is more perfectly duplicated in the female than in the male, for the woman has all three poles reflected in her pelvic organs: her clitoris corresponds to the head, the anus corresponds to the abdominal organs, and the vagina corresponds to the chest.

The clitoris's connection to the thinking pole is obvious, both experientially and anatomically. In no other part of the body save the brain are so many nerve endings packed into a space so small. Not even the penis comes close.

The anus's connection to the digestive pole is equally obvious, and its proper role (despite what conservative Christians think of sodomy) as an ancillary sexual organ is anatomically evident: it shares its innervation via the third sacral nerve root with the clitoris and vagina in the woman and the penis in the man.

Less obvious is the relationship between the pelvic organs—the vagina, uterus and ovaries—and the chest. The two systems, however, mirror each other not only in structure (what is the whole uterine complex but an inverted image of the heart and lung system?) but also in function.4 Indeed, much can be understood about the roles women have played (and have had imposed on them within patriarchies) if we see the womb as the "second heart." From the sacred prostitutes of ancient Greece and Rome, through the cult of Courtly Love in the early Middle Ages, up to the modern image of the woman as "protector of the hearth and moral compass of the family," women have been seen as the gateway to enlightenment, providing the spiritual dimension to an earthly life. It is not a role they have always cherished.5

But this is changing. We are seeing the life of women evolve and in ways that are reflected sexually—from the feeling pole to the thinking pole: as women attain prominence in the business and academic worlds equal to that of men, the rhythmic/ circulatory/heart pole is fading in influence, drowned out by increasing reliance upon intellectual labor.

This evolution is suggested by the gradual transition at the turn of the last century from vaginal/uterine sexual expression to that of clitoral expression. Ancient civilizations provide countless pieces of evidence that female pleasure focused on the vagina; dildos are common enough in museums of ancient civilizations, but ancient literature and paintings are without references to clitoral stimulation.6 Indeed, the first scientific documentation of clitoral masturbation didn't come until the early 20th century. In the 1970s, Shere Hite, in her exhaustive The Hite Report, did not even document the existence of the vaginal/uterine orgasm. Indeed, the 20th century may more reasonably be called the "Clitoral" than the "American" Century.

Next Page »