by Jay Kaplon
Samuel-Autuste Tissot was a Swiss physician of the 18th century. He is perhaps the first to use “science” as a method of speaking out against masturbation and sexual desire, but surely the most influential for later generations. Today he’s more known for his works on migraines, but was also a prolific doctor who wrote on different diseases between the poor and rich, and also the “effects” of sex.
His main work against sexual desires is L’Onanisme. In it, he claims to have proven masturbation as a cause of both temporary and permanent effects including blurred vision and eventual blindness, gout, headaches, perception and memory loss and eventual madness or dementia, even muscle and nerve damage. His works against sex were so influential it would shape movements and views even to this day.
Sylvester Graham is best known today to the public by Graham Crackers. To this day vegans, organic dietitians, and other all-natural supporters praise him by name for his views on keeping food natural and also for his anti-meat views. Few though will praise his other views or his reasonings. Graham was an avid member in the America’s anti-sex movement.
He believed that animal products like meat and milk were the cause of lustful feelings. He believed that impure thoughts were stirred through them, and any animal product would have to be had in moderation. Even spices were evil to him. He was a firm believer that masturbation was the cause of several health problems including blindness and epilepsy.
According to him, all “impure” thoughts, desires and actions were caused almost entirely by diet. His publishing was so influential that Oberlin College enforced the diet on the campus for a brief period. He would also come to work with another figure in sexual repression: John Harvey Kellogg.
John Harvey Kellogg is perhaps the most extreme in the West’s anti-sex mindset. While Tissot and Graham were more influential and publishing, Kellogg was one to enforce action on both girls and boys; some even today are living with the effects. Most know Kellogg by Kellogg’s Cereal brands. This cereal was inspired by the Graham diet, which Kellogg heavily praised and encouraged, saying that cold and grainy cereal would help to curb impure desires and thoughts such as masturbation which to him was more dangerous than incest.
His writings stated that sexual acts and masturbation were causes of some cancers, incontinence, impotence, epilepsy, dementia, and even insanity. The horror of mutilation of children can be found in his works Plain Facts for Old and Young, and Ladies’ Guide in Health and Disease.
When referring to masturbation, his “treatment” for girls and boys included tying their hands with rubber straps, chastity belts, cages over the genitals, even sewing genitals closed. Mutilation to both boys and girls was also recommended in the form of circumcision. He recommended that the operations be both painful and memorable in order to associate pain or even punishment with the idea of sex. He encouraged the doctors to traumatize the children. He recommended complete clitoral removal by means of cutting, or even by burning and dissolving with carbolic acid.
The works of Kellogg affect the West to this day. The practice of FGM can be found encouraged in medical texts as late as the 1970s as a method of curbing impure thoughts, though it mostly fell out of practice by the 1950s. Male circumcision has almost entirely fallen out of Europe and Australia, though the United States continues the practice of male cutting today.
There are still many mutilated victims of the anti-sex movement to this day, both men and women. One American victim of FGM who speaks out today: Patricia Robinett. Patricia Robinett is the author of The Rape of Innocence: Female Genital Mutilation and Circumcision in the USA. There are many women like her alive and well to this day, each with a story to tell. It is a dark reality check and a reminder that even in a “civilized” and “advanced” society, there are still horrifying and barbaric practices to be found.
She can be found in the FGM awareness groups on Facebook and also her blog. Articles, books, and websites for further reading:
Samuel-Autuste Tissot: L’Onanisme
John Harvey Kellogg: Plain Facts for Old and Young
John Harvey Kellogg: Ladies’ Guide in Health and Disease
Patricia Robinett: The Rape of Innocence: Female Genital Mutilation and Circumcision in the USA
Patricia has now made a website for information about simple yet very effective methods of releasing fear and trauma, as well as a community forum designed for peer support and coaching from professional helpers. So if you were cut or know anyone else who has been, or know a vet or someone with depression — please tell everyone. You can find it all at AuntiePatricia.com.