Forum vs Forearm: Is masturbating the secret to good revision?

Editor MATT MCDONALD on what’s become a very sticky situation.

exeter university masturbation Sex sexual health

“I wish revision invoked more ‘pen to paper’ than ‘cock to tissue’,” remarked an unnamed Engineering student over lunch the other day.

A throwaway and banal comment, you may think – one that in no way is definitive of a seasonal shift in sexual attitudes that takes place at this time of year. I for one disagree.

It may be that the boy opposite you in the library is drumming his fingers on the desk at an alarmingly unusual rate – or that your housemate seems increasingly dedicated to study in solitude at regular intervals.

Whatever it is, there’s something in the air at Exeter. It smells a little bit like raw squid, and I’m prepared to dive into the mountain of Kleenex to discover what’s causing it.

Whilst it’s all very well us mentioning in passing how onanism constitutes a revision technique, I scoured the Internet to see if there was any scientific basis at all.

As esteemed scholars of a Russell Group university, we’re all aware of Nietzsche’s assertion that the reabsorption of semen into the blood “perhaps prompts the stimulus of power, the unrest of all forces towards the overcoming of resistances” – in other words, keep your hands to yourself (away from yourself?) and your frustration will cause you to ejaculate pure genius.

Modern scientific consensus however, as demonstrated thirteen minutes into this wonderfully awkward Channel 4 PSHE programme, suggests that masturbation can act as a short-term relief of stress; supported further here by the assertions of Jennifer Scott of San Diego State University (what an absolute diamond).

I sensed that such an assertion might seem contentious if unsubstantiated by the voices of the Exeter student body. So I took to Twitter, and discovered that the Exeter student body can’t keep its grubby hands of itself.

I feared that so intimate a theory might fall short due to us being middle-class, timid royalists (after this week); that perhaps the exuberant facilities of the Forum were now the sole motivation for success at Exeter.

Thankfully you were very “forthcumming” (sorry), from freshers declaring that their “flatmates don’t bother me as they assume I’m revising, which leads to a vicious wanking circle” to one Economics and Finance finalist stating: “if it wasn’t for the chaffing that creeps in after a week or so, I’d be hitting double digits most days. The price of a circumcised soldier.”

I wondered whether the responses (whose authors shall forever remain anonymous) would differ according to subject; other Economics students talked of how “having a quick bash is the best way to work out those frustrations. Afterwards, my focus is back to where it was earlier in the day and I’m more relaxed.”

They described a daily routine of “procrastibation: get up, wank, breakfast, revision, wank, lunch, wank, gym, wank, revision, wank, dinner, double wank, revision, sleep wank. Treat yourself!”.

Alternatively, two Geographers spoke of “breaking records with ejaculation distance” and asserted that “a good Internet connection is all you need to refocus the mind.”

Politics students unsurprisingly raised the bar with their rhetoric, claiming variously that “’in normal term time, I usually wash my screen and keyboard once or twice a week. As lonely revision hours increase it becomes as ritualistic and regular as Muslim prayer” and “’I challenged myself last year to have one on the hour every hour for my revising day. Tricky. But I managed.”

The responses, I hasten to add, were not all from male students. A female linguist revealed how “during exam period, I take ‘bullet time’ to a whole new level. The stress, boredom and more importantly, lack of sharking that revision entails means I’m always buzzing for it. It’s healthy!”

A more restrained final year English student said she found herself eating “more chocolate when I’m stressed because it releases the same chemicals/endorphins as having an orgasm. I tend to get fat because I don’t have time to have sex or go to the gym. Nightmare.”

If there’s one piece of exam advice the Drop can impart therefore, it’s to retire to a discrete location (NOT the Library, the Norton Anthologies in there are well-thumbed enough…) and take a bit of ‘me-time’ to get that brain firing on all cylinders. In the words of one of our Languages students, “it’s a known fact that exam stress will cause your balls to explode unless you allow them sweet, sweet (and very regular) release.”

In short: ignore Nietzsche and let the self-love flow.