Some anti-masturbation devices from the Victorian era could've been marketed as at-home torture devices. Here's why. If you were a man living in the Victorian-era and you happened to be experiencing anxiety, irritability or a loss of confidence, a visit to the doctor might lead to a series of embarrassing questions about your love life. This confession would undoubtedly unleash a diagnosis of "spermatorrhoea" — a so-called "illness" that sparked an influx of anti-masturbation devices that looked exactly like penis torture chambers. Next, your doctor might insist you purchase an anti-masturbation device such as "jugum penis", which was a jagged metal ring that attached to the base of the penis with a screw. Its sole purpose was to stop an unwanted erection because it inflicted so much pain on the poor man that self-love was out of the question.
Masturbation Among Victorian Youth in Boarding Schools
The metamorphosis of masturbation | Wellcome Collection
During the Victorian era, masturbation—also known as self-pollution, self-abuse, or onanism—was believed to be both a moral and a physical evil. By the 19th century, concerns about the evil effects of masturbation had risen to epic proportions. The solitary vice was being discussed in medical texts and religious treatises. And the Victorians—who ascribed moral value to self-discipline and restraint—were driven to devise various means of discouraging and controlling it. This was often easier said than done, especially for those patients who reported engaging in the solitary vice multiple times each day.
The metamorphosis of masturbation
The term masturbation was first introduced in the 18th century. At the time, however, the terms onanism or self-pollution were more frequently used to describe masturbation, terms that Victorians also used. Additionally, in the 19th century, masturbation was more politely referred to as self-abuse or sometimes manualization, as it was done by hand. Moreover, the effects of it could supposedly result in the following:. When carried to excess it produces idiotism in the most deplorable and disgusting form, accompanied by impaired vision and hearing, paralysis, and other distressing infirmities, and terminates in death.
The history of masturbation describes broad changes in society concerning the ethics, social attitudes, scientific study, and artistic depiction of masturbation over the history of sexuality. The sexual stimulation of one's own genitals has been interpreted variously by different religions , and has been the subject of legislation, social controversy, activism, as well as intellectual study in sexology. Social views regarding masturbation taboo have varied greatly in different cultures, and over history. There are depictions of male and female masturbation in prehistoric rock paintings around the world. Most early people seem to have connected human sexuality with abundance in nature.