We live in a golden age of sex toys. They’re so mainstream that you can hear ads for Adam and Eve on every podcast. You can probably give a dildo as a gift to your minister and nobody would bat an eye. (Do not do this.)
But there used to be a time when a the exact opposite kind of device was popular: the anti-masturbation device.
An anti-masturbation device is exactly what it sounds like: a contraption that a child is made to wear to discourage self-love. There were several varieties of anti-masturbation devices. This one is basically a jock strap combined with a tea kettle that hates your happiness.
The device was worn with a leather strap, which has since perished. Ones like this were used from 1871 to 1930. Hopefully not this exact one, like as a hand me down across multiple generations. Worst heirloom ever.
To understand why these devices were used, you have to start with how people thought about masturbation itself. It’s only recently that we’ve begun to accept it as a healthy and normal activity. For most of history, many different societies have viewed it as either a shameful vice, or an actual disease, or some combination of both.
In 1716, a Dutch theologian named Balthazar Bekker published the 18th century equivalent of What Is Happening To My Body? with a pamphlet titled “Onania, or the Heinous Sin of self-Pollution, And All Its Frightful Consequences, In Both Sexes, Considered: With Spiritual and Physical Advice To Those Who Have Already Injured Themselves By This Abominable Practice.”
That title is both a) catchy and b) pretty indicative of where mainstream society stood on the issue. Over the next century and beyond, more doctors and theologians warned about the “dangers” that masturbation causes.
In 1870, James Springer White, founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, edited a book called A Solemn Appeal Relative to Solitary Vice, and the Abuses and Excesses of the Marriage Relation. (This was also around the time that slightly shorter book titles were discovered.)
In the book, a passage warns that a youth spent jacking off would result in an adulthood full of health problems.
“If the practice [of self-indulgence] is continued from the age of fifteen and upward, nature will protest against the abuse he has suffered, and continues to suffer, and will make them pay the penalty for the transgression of his laws, especially from the ages of thirty to forty-five, by numerous pains in the system, and various diseases, such as affection of the liver and lungs, neuralgia, rheumatism, affection of the spine, diseased kidneys, and cancerous humors. Some of nature’s fine machinery gives way, leaving a heavier task for the remaining to perform, which disorders nature’s fine arrangement, and there is often a sudden breaking down of the constitution; and death is the result.”
In their defense, not masturbating must leave you with a whole lot of leftover energy. James Springer White was able to channel his energy into founding a whole new religion!
Yeah, no. Never mind.
All of this should debunk the idea that the past was so much better than the present. You don’t see too many people who reminisce about “the good ol’ days” mention the part about wearable penis torture devices.
So any time you get aggravated about the state of the world in 2018, whatever your persuasion, just look at a picture of these anti-masturbation devices and you’ll immediately feel better.Which would also be the first time this device ever made someone feel good! See? Everyone wins.
h/t: Vintage Everyday