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Related: sexual fantasies - lust - pornography - a stroke book - orgasm - sex

In mainstream film: The Silence (1963) - Ingmar Bergman

Masturbation (1913) Gustav Klimt

"Shame rose from his smitten heart and flooded his whole being. The image of Emma appeared before him, and under her eyes the flood of shame rushed forth anew from his heart. If she knew to what his mind had subjected her or how his brute-like lust had torn and trampled upon her innocence! Was that boyish love? Was that chivalry? Was that poetry? The sordid details of his orgies stank under his very nostrils." --A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man


Masturbation is the manual excitation of the sexual organs, most often to the point of orgasm. It can refer to excitation either by oneself or by another (see mutual masturbation), but most commonly it is restricted to refer only to such activities performed alone. It is part of a larger set of activities known as autoeroticism, which also includes the use of sex toys and non-genital stimulation. Masturbation and sexual intercourse are the two most common sexual practices. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masturbation [Aug 2004]

1710: Masturbation Condemned in Onania

Onania, an anti-masturbation tract, was published in London by a man who claimed to be a Doctor, and reprints quickly spread its message to the American Colonies. The anonymous author warned that onanism, as masturbation was then called, threatened men's moral and physical health. Ostensibly intended to prevent the imagined ills resulting from "self-pollution," the booklet also served to advertise quack medicines its author endorsed.

Citing Biblical injunctions against sexual sin, Onania is written in a high moral tone and even equates masturbation with sodomy, the most heinous sexual sin its author could imagine. Later medical writers like Tissot in France and Acton in England would forego Onania's religious tone, but repeated its hysterical warnings that masturbation can have deadly consequences. --(c) 1998, Andrew Wikholm http://www.gayhistory.com/rev2/factfiles/ff1710.htm [Sept 2004]

Medical attitudes towards masturbation

The first use of "onanism" to consistently and specifically refer to masturbation appears to be Onania, an anonymous pamphlet first distributed in London in 1716. In it was a bombastic but novel tirade, drawing on familiar themes of sin and vice, this time in particular against the "heinous sin" of "self-pollution". After dire warnings that those who so indulged would suffer impotence, gonorrhea, epilepsy and a wasting of the faculties (included were letters and testimonials supposedly from young men ill and dying from the effects of compulsive masturbation) the pamphlet then goes on to recommend as an effective remedy a "Strengthning Tincture" at 10 shillings a bottle and a "Prolific Powder" at 12 shillings a bag, available from a certain shop in London.

One of the many horrified by the descriptions of malady in Onania was the notable Swiss physician Samuel-August Tissot. In 1760, he published L'Onanisme, his own comprehensive medical treatise on the purported ill-effects of masturbation. Citing case studies of young male masturbators amongst his patients in Lausanne, Switzerland as basis for his reasoning, Tissot argued that semen was an "essential oil" and "stimulus" that, when lost from the body in great amounts, would cause "a perceptible reduction of strength, of memory and even of reason; blurred vision, all the nervous disorders, all types of gout and rheumatism, weakening of the organs of generation, blood in the urine, disturbance of the appetite, headaches and a great number of other disorders." --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masturbation#Medical_attitudes [Jul 2005]

Switzerland, 1760
The Swiss physician, Simon-Auguste-Andre-David Tissot (1728-1787), published his influential treatise Onanism:   Or a Treatise Upon the Disorders produced by Masturbation:  Or, the Dangerous Effects of Secret and Excessive Venery  in 1760. He warned of the danger of sex, especially the dangers of sex undertaken for the purpose of pleasure rather than reproduction, as a cause of debility and even death. -- via http://www.gayhistory.com/rev2/events/1760.htm [Jul 2005]

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