Let’s Talk about Sex: Victorian Anti-Masturbation Devices | The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice

Snap, Crackle Pop! Great article.

The Victorians were obsessed with preventing acts of self-love.

Take the example to the left. This terrifying contraption is called a ‘jugum penis.’ It was designed to prevent both masturbation and ‘nocturnal incontinence.’  Should a man become aroused in the middle of the night, this contraption would clamp down, extinguishing both his desire as well as his erection in a very sudden and painful way!

But you may be surprised to discover that this idea began to take root nearly a hundred years earlier. In 1758, the Swiss doctor, Samuel Auguste Tissot, claimed that masturbation was more dreadful than smallpox because it depleted the body of sperm, which provided vital energies. Those who regularly masturbated could expect to form ‘suppurating pustules on the face, the nose, the chest, the thighs,’ amongst other things! [1]

Back in America, Dr John Harvey Kellogg, suggested smalls boys be circumcised ‘without administering an anaesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind.’ [2] For young girls, he ‘found the application of pure carbolic acid to the clitoris an excellent means of allaying the abnormal excitement.’ [3]

Kellogg believed that the masturbator ‘literally dies by his own hand,’ and was hellbent on preventing this from happening. One method that he was particularly fond of involved inserting silver sutures into the penis to prevent an erection:

Kellogg also believed that a diet rich in fibre and poor in taste was essential to dampening those lusty urges. While working as the director of Michigan’s Battle Creek Sanitarium in the latter half of the 19th century, the good doctor created oatmeal and cornmeal biscuits to feed to patients. Later, he and his brother developed the perfect anti-masturbatory breakfast which could be consumed by the public at large: Kellogg’s Cornflakes.

Dr Kellogg wasn’t the only person to believe in the numbing effects of a proper diet. Earlier in the century, Presbyterian minister, Sylvester Graham created an unsweetened cracker. Reverend Graham, who often railed against the evils of ‘self-abuse’ from his pulpit each Sunday, thought that the blandness of what eventually became known as the Graham Cracker would curb one’s sexual appetite.

via Let’s Talk about Sex: Victorian Anti-Masturbation Devices | The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice.

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