Masturbation or what was termed the “solitary vice” or “onanism” emerged as a veritable epidemic, especially amongst children. This forms the core around which the modern child becomes engulfed in what might termed the sexualisation of modern society. A medical and moral campaign was waged around the sexuality of children. Parents, educators, doctors were all alerted to hunt out any traces of child sexuality through a myriad of surveillance techniques and upon discovery subject to a seemingly inexhaustible array of corrective measures. One nineteenth century doctor invented a device which administered electric shocks to a sleeping boy’s penis upon erection
THE PEOPLE’S COMMON SENSE MEDICAL ADVISER (1895) is one of the interesting historical works on the dangers of masturbation. I recommend it to students of society’s views on the subject. This extract is from the Project Gutenberg library. You can get a good flavor for its perspective from this quote:
Untold miseries arise from the pollution of the body. Self-pollution, or onanism, is one of the most prolific sources of evil, since it leads both to the degradation of body and mind. It is practiced more or less by members of both sexes, and the habit once established, is overcome with the greatest difficulty. It is the source of numerous diseases which derange the functional activity of the organs involved, and eventually impair the constitution. This vicious habit is often practiced by those who are ignorant of its dangerous results. Statistics show that insanity is frequently caused by masturbation.
Fig. 2. A Testicle wasted by Masturbation. Masturbation not only occasions loss of semen, but frequently the testicles and other generative organs waste and become reduced in size as a result of the abuse. …Fig. 2 represents one much reduced, as a result of self-abuse. [pg 773]
Note: before proceeding, please be sure you have read the Warning for Satire-Impaired