The lost War: how humanity has struggled with masturbation in different erasBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/the-lost-war-how-humanity-has-struggled-with-masturbation-in-different-eras
It just so happened that the act of the biblical Onan, who did not want to have children from the wife of a dead brother imposed on him, made masturbation a reprehensible act for centuries. For centuries, the church and the state have been rooting out self-satisfaction with an energy worthy of better use, but they have lost this battle. Why was masturbation declared evil and how was it fought in different eras? (Careful! Adult content)
Scientists believe that Onan's violation of the rules of levirate marriage is not the main reason for hatred of masturbation. Even before the biblical texts appeared, there were humoral theories according to which all human biological fluids, or as they used to say — "juices", should be in balance, since human energy was in them.
Both an overabundance and a wasteful attitude to these liquids, among which the seed occupied the second place in importance after blood, led a person to physical and mental ailments. In Europe, this was believed before the Renaissance, and China still believes it.
Hence the demonization of Onan, who was brought to The Pentateuchs as a scoundrel and even killed. Although in fact, the crime of this character was not at all in manual labor, but in violation of the law, according to which the widow of the older brother passes to the younger one, in order to conceive a child and continue the family. But who is interested in this now?
It was believed that a special succubus demon incites people to onanism
In the Middle Ages, scientists claimed that the waste of male and female fluids leads to a decline in strength, dementia, epilepsy, blindness and even smallpox. At the same time, the sin of masturbation, even in the midst of the Inquisition's struggle with heretics and apostates, was viewed as a sin, although serious, but not too dangerous.
Onanism was treated not only with bandages, rods and prayers, but also with potions. A rare doctor or even a barber in medieval Europe did not offer to buy "reliable" remedies that rid teenagers and adults of a secret vice. But this struggle did not look serious until the 18th century, when the era of the "masturbation inquisition" began, less cruel than the real inquisition, but just as irreconcilable.
It all started with the fact that in 1760, the authoritative Swiss doctor Samuel-Andre Tissot published an impressive treatise "Masturbation", describing the nightmares that will fall on the head of someone who dares to satisfy himself. Among the misfortunes listed by the doctor, impotence, uterine prolapse, convulsions and heart and brain diseases. The book "expert" was in demand for almost two centuries and has survived more than 60 reprints.
The cover of the "Untitled Book"
Then scientific works, essays and even illustrated stories about the dangers of masturbation began to be published by the hundreds. One of the most interesting publications is the "Book without a Name", which went on sale in Paris in 1830. It was very popular, with color illustrations, told the story of a 17-year-old young man who died a painful death from masturbation.
Why "A book without a title"? It's simple — at the beginning of the 19th century, masturbation was considered such a vile vice that even this word was indecent to put on the cover. The hero of the book, or rather the brochure, was young, full of energy and loved by his parents. But having become addicted to needlework, the young man begins to fade rapidly.
His inner fire devours him, his appetite disappears, pains begin in his stomach, and the once clear look fades and becomes detached and joyless. At night, the guy is tormented by nightmares, and he can only walk on crutches. It all ends with the fact that the poor guy is bedridden, where his last days are full of excruciating pain and belated remorse.
The young man's body is covered with ulcers, and then blood begins to flow from his mouth. The fever does not leave him for a moment and the patient is constantly delirious. As a result, he leaves this world, exhausted and unhappy, accepting death with joy, as a deliverance from terrible suffering.
Isn't that an impressive story? People willingly believed in it and the circulation after circulation of this book simply flew to the homes of caring parents trying to reason or warn their children. In addition to theory, more applied methods were also used. Caring mothers sewed trousers of a special cut for their sons so that they could not reach the source of troubles through their pockets, and girls were forbidden to ride a bicycle, which, according to doctors, causes unnecessary excitement.
Cunning devices were put on sale that allowed to fix the child at night, and the most radical fighters against manual labor even offered to treat inveterate onanists with castration, of course, for their own good. Boys and girls who were caught in criminal activity were declared mentally ill and were subjected to harassment that left a mark on their soul for the rest of their lives.
Onanism was even treated with bloodletting
The attitude to masturbation began to change only at the beginning of the 20th century. Then several scientists immediately debunked Tissot's work and called his theory stupid and harmful. It has become popular in society that masturbation does not lead to illness and death, but is dangerous only in cases when they are too fond of it or in cases when the genitals are injured in the process.
A special suit for onanists. The beginning of the 19th century
And how did events develop in Russia? We have an attitude to masturbation, which according to the Byzantine fashion in The Middle Ages were called in Greek — "Malakia", it was also extremely negative. While in Europe they were petrified with horror when reading Tissot's treatise, we believed that the penis of an onanist could turn into a snake. Not only masturbation was considered sinful, but also involuntary nocturnal emissions.
Those caught for manual labor were punished, but since this crime was not dangerous for society and was in the plane of the relationship between man and God, the perpetrators were punished quite easily. The onanist was assigned 40 or 60 days of strict fasting and a certain number of prostrations.
A device for combating masturbation of the late 19th century
Despite all the efforts of the secular authorities and churchmen, masturbation, rare among the God-fearing peasantry, flourished in the 19th and early 20th centuries in the urban educated society, especially in schools and cadet corps. The young men showed enviable ingenuity — in one of the books of that time, a method of male self-satisfaction is described with the help of a well-oiled wheel nut from a tarantass.
Surprisingly, at the beginning of the 20th century, there were such "doctors" as the St. Petersburg doctor Alexander Varenius, who not only firmly believed in the works of Tissot, which had long been sent to the dump of medical history, but also actively invented the terrible consequences of masturbation. The doctor wrote that masturbation causes an increase in the penis, which is irreversible. The onanist has a big and fat one, and a decent person has a small and neat one. I wonder what the society would say about this today?
Children's and adolescent masturbation was looked at condescendingly, but the adult was recognized as a pathology. Nothing much has changed since the advent of Soviet power. The only thing that simply stopped talking about masturbation is popular, leaving this topic for discussion in scientific, pedagogical and medical circles.
The scientists who were part of this "sector" were seriously developing methods of treating masturbation. Occupational therapy, active sports and... sexual abstinence up to 30 years were considered the most effective. In the pioneer camps, especially vigilant counselors forced children to sleep with their hands on top of a blanket, as Tissot taught in the middle of the 18th century. Nothing changed until Perestroika itself, when a much belated sexual revolution swept the country and swept away all sexual prohibitions and superstitions.