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“Squirrels masturbate to avoid sexually transmitted infections” — Discover Magazine

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Ed Young’s recent article for Discover Magazine is likely the dirtiest thing you will ever read about squirrels. If it’s not, I think it’s fair to say that you, dear reader, consume far too much squirrel porn.

Blockquote!

What does squirrel masturbation look like? Apparently, it’s rather acrobatic. I’ll let Waterman describe it herself:

“An oral masturbation was recorded when a male sat with head lowered and an erect penis in his mouth, being stimulated with both mouth (fellatio) and forepaws (masturbation), while the lower torso moved forward and backwards in thrusting motions, finally culminating in an apparent ejaculation, after which the male appeared to consume the ejaculate.”

Alright, I included that blockquote just to scar you for life. Here’s the real money quote:

The final explanation is that masturbation is actually a form of self-medication. By cleaning their genitals, males reduce their odds of contracting a sexually transmitted infection. It’s a new hypothesis that Waterman herself put forward, but it’s the only one that actually fits with all of her data. If it’s true, you’d expect males to masturbate more frequently after sex than before it, which they do. You’d expect them to masturbate more frequently during the time of month when females are ready to mate, which they do. And finally, you’d expect their tendency to masturbate to increase as they get more sex, which it does.

Apparently it’s the “flushing out” of the genital tract that helps prevent infection. Just keep this in mind the next time you see a squirrel masturbating and start to judge.

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