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A university has been criticised by a Tory MP for offering a PhD "about masturbation".

The University of Manchester has come under fire after student Karl Andersson researched the “shota” genre of Japanese comic books which centre around prepubescent or pubescent male characters depicted in a “suggestive or erotic” manner, and investigated "how [individuals] experience sexual pleasure when reading shota” by masturbating to the comic books for three-months and making notes on each session.

In his paper, which has been published in the Journal of Qualitative Research, and is titled "I am not alone – we are all alone: Using masturbation as an ethnographic method in research on shota subculture in Japan"., he wrote: “It was necessary to be diligent enough to abstain from the ‘milk and muesli’ of porn during this experiment, in order to see what happened to my body on a long diet of ‘fish and miso soup’.

"I happened to live alone during this experiment, and I had newly become single after a long relationship - these factors probably contributed to my willingness and eagerness to explore this method.”

“After each masturbation session I would write down my thoughts and feelings - a kind of critical self-reflection - in a notebook, as well as details about which material I had used, where I had done it, at what time, and for how long," he also wrote.

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But Tory MP Neil O'Brien wasn't happy. He said:

“Why should hard-working taxpayers in my constituency have to pay for an academic to write about his experiences masturbating to Japanese porn?

“The non-STEM side of higher education is just much too big, producing too much that is not socially useful.”

A University of Manchester spokesperson told The Telegraph: “The recent publication in Qualitative Research of the work of a student, now registered for a PhD, has raised significant concerns and complaints which we are taking very seriously.

“We are currently undertaking a detailed investigation into all aspects of their work, the processes around it and other questions raised. It is very important that we look at the issues in-depth.”

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