Starting in the 17th century, doctors began to believe that masturbation caused insanity, disease, dysfunction and poor character. Basically, it was the root cause of everything that could go wrong with the body.
The link between masturbation and sin was originally made a con-man author in 1712, when he published a sensational book linking masturbation to a story in the bible where a man failed to impregnate his brother’s widow. The book tapped into popular concern about individual’s increasingly uncensored private lives, stoked by fear that the newly invented printing press was threatening to upend the social order. It was therefore in the public’s interest to clamp down on individuals’ autonomy. Masturbation became the symbol for uncontrolled, uncensored private lives.
Control over orgasms was given to doctors, who diagnosed sexually frustrated women as ill, then masturbated them to release the “hysteria”. Talk about an early monopoly…
Devices were designed to prevent the wearer from touching or stimulating him or herself. They were often used in mental institutions and sometimes in the home. The 19th century papers carried advertisements for the devices, some of which are included below.
…Funny how Victorian era anti-masturbation devices strongly resemble today’s fetish gear. One era’s sin is another era’s kink?