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Hon. Visiting Physician, Jaslok Hospital and Bombay Hospital, Mumbai, Ex. Hon. Prof. of Medicine, Grant Medical College and JJ Hospital, Mumbai 400 008.

In USA, on the World AIDS day, when the Surgeon General of America suggested that 1995 should be announced as a year of promoting masturbation, she was dismissed by President Clinton the very next morning. The Editor of Lancet criticized this decision of the American President as a political stunt. And why not?

Isn't it a fact that everybody, especially in underdeveloped countries, has masturbated some time or the other in life, specially in a non-permissive society?

However, the time has now come that even in a permissive society, masturbation should be encouraged in boys, girls, men and women. It is a. well known fact that a number of men and women do not use a condom while having invasive sex inspite of the knowledge that they could acquire AIDS. The reason is that the moment whole act of pleasure and the orgasm is over, both the parties quieten down completely and might repent later. Masturbation very often can give the same orgasm as invasive sex. For gaining more pleasure, the help of a female partner could be taken (vice-versa help of a male in the case of a woman).

Since centuries, the Indian male has been told that the loss of semen is bad for health. Medically, this is not correct. Whenever a Pathan experiences an episode of nocturnal emission he would be so upset that he goes to a doctor with a complaint that he was visited by a "Shaittan" (Devil) at night!!

Similarly in a number of European -societies, e.g. Jews, masturbation is considered worse than rape!

It is high time that we medical people should wake up and educate the Indian public.

When our young boys and girls are watching the sexiest of the movies, TV programmes and video which can sexually arouse even the Sadhus in meditation, why not suggest to them, that at the end of the show, they can visit a bathroom and release themselves by masturbating instead of "dating" a woman that evening!

Similarly, boys and girls should be educated to involve only in non-invasive sex. In addition to hugging, mutual masturbation may also be encouraged.

Often the patients ask me whether masturbating and losing the semen more often will lead to sexual or body weakness.. If it does, it is only due to guilt feelings. No patient has asked me whether he can sleep with his wife daily or not. Since loss of semen in such people who visit their wives daily does not produce any weakness, why should frequent masturbation or nocturnal emission produce weakness?

In fact harmless effects of masturbation should be made "compulsory teaching" in schools, colleges, newspapers and TV programmes.

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