Masturbation continues to be one of the most overlooked personal morality issues of contemporary society. Most find it too embarrassing to talk about, while others can only broach the subject in humorous ways. This has not always been the case. In years past, many spoke out against this habit and explored the larger ethical implications of persistent self-gratification. Such repeated physical indulgence can be foully unhygienic. When taken to extremes, it can pose grave health risks. In an age when teen pregnancy is on the rise and STDs are nearly epidemic, this type of sexuality has a negative effect on the population at large. Spiritually, such abuse of the body pushes one into depths of indulgence and apathy, even promiscuity and nihilism.
It’s high time parents and educators once again took hold of this significant problem. Self-gratification needs to be discussed openly in the family. A strategic approach to stopping its spread must be devised in our schools and churches. When children learn from their peers to touch themselves, they degrade us all. They are creating a world where pleasure is paramount and pornography is only a few princely keystrokes away. They are using their bodies as toys for momentary thrills, gripping and probing in the most disgusting of ways. It is a shameful act, one that the Bible speaks against forcefully. How can we, as parents and adults, shut off our lights at night with the knowledge that next door our young people are engaging in frenzied fantasies of their own fluids? Even our college students and young adults have given themselves over to this addiction. And why not? Without a proper foundation of decency in their formative years, locked dorm rooms and city apartments seem like engraved invitations to inventive ejaculations.
Maybe history has the answer we seek. Below are 14 different ways the masturbation crisis has been addressed in the past. Some of these were successful, some not, but taken altogether they reveal diverse societies dedicated to finding a powerful and lasting solution. With each of these benevolent and ingenuous concepts, it’s clear that parental vigilance is the key. Perhaps that is the most important lesson we can take away from our forebearer’s righteous crusades to clamp down on the “evil vice.”
1. The Chastity Belt: The chastity belt was invented in medieval times to keep women chaste while their men were off fighting wars. With a simple but effective design, they were also used to discourage feminine masturbation for centuries. The wonderfully spiky teeth of the examples above prevented both vaginal and anal manipulation, although they were not very sanitary when worn for long periods. It was a foolish person, indeed, who attempted to invade such a fearsome fortress!
2. Parental Warning Systems: Crafted with the caring parent in mind, these home alarm systems for the penis were cutting edge pieces of technology in their day. A boy’s member was simply attached to a monitor that rung a bell in mother’s room should any unexpected erections occur during the night. At top is a French model, circa 1915, that shows a small band (bottom right of image) that was carefully snapped onto the organ at bedtime. Also included were generous amounts of white wire so loved ones could always stay informed, even if they were at the other end of the house. The lower drawing shows a work by Joseph Lees of Pennsylvania, patented in 1898. The elaborate jock covering on the right included padding to, “prevent the bedclothes unduly heating the genital organs.” It had an alarm loud enough, “to awaken even a heavy sleeper.”
3. The Stephenson Spermatic Truss: The drawing on the right shows one of the truly masterful creations of early America. The Spermatic Truss (named after a skilled inventor and not the author of this article) required that the penis be placed in a leather pouch and stretched downward, restricting blood flow. It was then tied to one’s inner thigh, making rude risings all but impossible.
4. Kellogg’s Corn Flakes: Dr. John Harvey Kellogg spent his life fighting against indulgences of the flesh. His dedication was so great that he even refused to have sex with his wife, finding the act unnecessary and unhealthy. At Kellogg’s famous Battle Creek sanitarium he researched numerous methods for battling the scourge of masturbation, including tying a child’s hands to his bedposts, circumcision without anesthesia and his now famous breakfast cereal. The corn flakes he created were meant to be part of a larger diet that would turn people away from the “solitary vice.” He also envisioned that the flakes could be used as a mild irritant douche for females, dissuading them from seeking private pleasure in their precious areas.
5. The Penis Fan: This ingenious surgical appliance was patented by Frank Orth of Oregon in 1893. Its purpose was to reduce heat on the genitals, “prior to said organ reaching the dangerous period.” This was done through a series of tubes and a small battery-operated fan (top left) kept close to the penis. When such a “dangerous period” arose, the fan would whiz into action, cooling one’s regions “until all danger has passed.” A water-based version was also planned.
6. Anti-Tampering Codpieces: These beautiful antiques certainly saved many a young man from moral corruption in their day! Perforated for urination and air circulation, they were sturdy protectors for members large and small!
7. Sexual Armor/Preventative Aprons: This “whole body” approach was created specifically for asylums but could be adapted for domestic use. They were much like straight jackets, but the focus here was on the genitalia. No sneak attacks by curious hands when one was protected by the locking zippers of these outfits! On the left, a male version from Ellen E. Perkins of Minnesota, 1908. Allan P. Risley of Minnesota devised the garment on the right for women in 1930.
8. Cold showers: As useful today as ever!
9. Graham Crackers: Health pioneer Reverend Sylvester Graham believed that rich, high-seasoned foods “increase the concupiscent excitability and sensibility of the genital organs.“ To provide an alternative, he created Dr. Graham’s Honey Biskets. These bland, mealy crackers were meant to suppress the carnal urges and facilitate bowel movements. With what we now know about high fructose diets playing a central role in hyperactivity and attention deficiency, maybe Dr. Graham was on to something!
10. Locking Penis Sheath: The previous devices shown here were great for bedtime use, but what about the man on the go? Raphael. A. Sonn of Georgia had the answer with his locking penis sheath. Patented in 1906, it clamped the penis into submission 24 hours a day and came with specially-designed “gripping elements” to prevent removal by the wearer. Note the small key at top left!
11. The Pear of Anguish: Versatile for both sodomites and wanton women, this special creation was inserted into the vagina (or the buttocks of a man) in the closed position as shown at left. Once the pear-shaped part was completely inside, the ornate handle was spun to expand the three sides outward. It caused such pain that the sinner was hopefully too traumatized to try masturbation or sodomy ever again. It also served as a popular interrogation and confession device!
12. The Testicle Taser: Albert V. Todd of Colorado engineered this delightful appliance to stop, “masturbation practiced frequently by weak minded boys or young men.” Just slide your penis into the first half of the tube as shown at top. If you get aroused and your organ extends beyond the acceptable limit, a trigger is pushed that sends “a mild current of electricity” to the testicles. Since this battery-powered invention was meant to be worn at all times, Todd wrote in 1903, you would need to immerse the belt regularly in, “an acid solution” to recharge it. He further added, “if necessary, it may be covered with a chamois-skin to keep the belt from burning the flesh.”
13. Penis Cages: Like their feminine counterpart the chastity belt, these handsome garments were usually secured to a young person by a trusty adult. They were surely affordable and attractive ways for families to lock up their erectile issues!
14. “The Timely Warning”: Not length but girth was the novel approach here. If your minor member grew unexpectedly engorged in the middle of the night, a ring of sharp teeth would bite you awake!
To see how the other side has tried to legitimate and promote self-gratification in recent years, check out Christwire’s list of, “The 10 Worst Masturbation Propaganda Films on the Internet.”