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In the 1830s, a Medical Book illustrated the Horrors of Masturbation with a Story of a Young Boy

Scientists and physicians once believed masturbation was a “heinous sin” of “self-pollution” that caused madness, disease, and early death. In 1745, Doctor Robert James, a noted and respectable physician, claimed in a medicinal dictionary that masturbation was responsible for “the most deplorable and generally incurable disorders.” A prominent and respected physician claimed in A Medicinal Dictionary that onanism was to blame for “the most deplorable and generally incurable disorders.”

A medical book published in 1830, titled ‘Le livre sans titer’, detailed in gory color illustrations the horrors were awaiting the self-polluter. He was a young boy (his mother’s pride and joy, no less.) who fell victim to self-abuse and died at seventeen.

#1 He was a young and handsome boy…his Mother’s pride and joy.

He was a young and handsome boy…his Mother’s pride and joy.

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#2 But he soon he became corrupted and his crime made him old before his time. His back is hunched, his posture aged.

But he soon he became corrupted and his crime made him old before his time. His back is hunched, his posture aged.

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#3 A devouring fire burns through his entrails; he suffers from agonising stomach pains.

A devouring fire burns through his entrails; he suffers from agonising stomach pains.

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#4 Look at his eyes once so pure, so clear and brilliant: their gleam has sadly gone! A red band of fire surrounds them.

Look at his eyes once so pure, so clear and brilliant: their gleam has sadly gone! A red band of fire surrounds them.

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#5 He can no longer walk; his legs are weakened and give way.

He can no longer walk; his legs are weakened and give way.

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#6 Dreadful dreams disturb his sleep; he can no longer rest!

Dreadful dreams disturb his sleep; he can no longer rest!

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#7 If this was not enough, his teeth became rotten and started to fall out.

If this was not enough, his teeth became rotten and started to fall out.

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#8 Then his chest became afire and he coughed-up blood…

Then his chest became afire and he coughed-up blood…

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#9 His locks once long and lustrous are falling out, he’s balding like a frail old man.

His locks once long and lustrous are falling out, he’s balding like a frail old man.

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#10 He is hungry and wants to eat; but no food will stay in his stomach.

He is hungry and wants to eat; but no food will stay in his stomach.

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#11 He is wracked with pain, his chest buckles and heaves, he vomits blood.

He is wracked with pain, his chest buckles and heaves, he vomits blood.

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#12 His body once young and lithe is now covered with suppurating sores that burst and leak! He is a horrible sight!

His body once young and lithe is now covered with suppurating sores that burst and leak! He is a horrible sight!

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#13 He languishes as a fever slowly consumes him–he feels his body pained by fire.

He languishes as a fever slowly consumes him–he feels his body pained by fire.

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#14 The Death rattle is upon him, as his body becomes rigid and his senses leave him.

The Death rattle is upon him, as his body becomes rigid and his senses leave him.

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#15 He raves, he curses; nothing can save him now!

He raves, he curses; nothing can save him now!

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#16 He expired in horrible torment–Dead at seventeen!

He expired in horrible torment–Dead at seventeen!

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Written by Jacob Aberto

Sincere, friendly, curious, ambitious, enthusiast. I'm a content crafter and social media expert. I love Classic Movies because their dialogue, scenery and stories are awesome.

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13 Comments

      • I know right? Unless people took this stuff seriously, or at least seemed to, I find it difficult to believe people would have believed this. I suppose people back then suffered from something else, maybe bad nutrition or something, and thought there was a connection between those things. Is this only an issue for boys? Since mothers wouldn’t know how it affects (or doesn’t affect) males, they would probably believe those spreading the myth. The mothers would then pass this myth on to their sons, indoctrinating them from an early age.

  1. When you consider that he kept getting worse because he refused to stop, it makes it even funnier. Coughing up blood? Can’t walk? Teeth falling out? When night falls, all that suddenly becomes less important when he remembers that someone flashed him an ankle earlier that day…