History Of Sexuality

As you may well know and as I have recently discovered, there are endless
publications concerning themselves with sex. However, finding sources that deal
with the subject of masturbation are few and far in between. I first began by
gaining access to the Internet to begin my research under the notion that I
couldn’t go wrong using a tool containing such a wealth of information. After
having initiated a search of the word "masturbation" and finding that
nearly all of the results directed me to sites dedicated to pornography, it
became obvious that I was heading in the wrong direction. I then decided to take
the more traditional route by utilizing the San Francisco State University

Library and Bookstore, where after much mental strain, I was able to
successfully conduct a thorough research of the topic. However, much of the text

I was able to find, seem to quote each other, all stemming from the works of
just a few scholars from centuries past. Very little "new" ground
seems to be covered, and it is almost impossible to find anything that didn’t
either make me yawn, or that offered me a fresh or interesting perspective. As a
result, I have taken what I feel to be the most beneficial and engaging segments
from the sources that I have gathered and pieced them together to create this
report: The Criminal History of Masturbation. Hopefully, what little information

I was able to find will be of interest to those of you who already consider
yourselves experts on the subject. Thesis Statement Masturbation, as you might
suspect, is a purely solitary form of sexual behavior, and as such can tend to
be regarded as even more personal and intimate than sex itself. As such, it
gains a status as a taboo subject, even among people like myself who consider
themselves among the sexually liberated. But, these attitudes concerning
masturbation are quite recent, shifting considerably in the last 50 years or so.

Historically, masturbation was not a subject that you would so kindly label as
"taboo" but, for example, as "a self-polluting sin against nature
that threatens all that is Godly....remedied only by condemning such sodomites
to their deserved fate of eternal damnation." Even to the most
closed-minded and modern traditionalists, those who endeavor to protect their
own believed concepts of decency and decorum, this may seem to be a bit harsh.

My goal in this report is to explore the subject matter of masturbation and the
attitudes surrounding it throughout our history. I hope to divulge to the reader
an overview of these negative connotations, hopefully forming an understanding
of how nonsensical and absurd they may seem, especially to individuals like
myself who endorse the "normality" of autoerotic pleasure. As an
artist, I have decided to include some examples of medieval art, which portray
negative connotations of masturbation. I will then form a conclusion to my
report that will include a summary of my findings and an explanation of my
reaction to a subject that has historically been considered as criminal. The

Criminalization of Masturbation There are no clear answers as to the origin of
the word "masturbation", but an educated guess and a little help from

Paula Bennett M.D., author of Solitary Pleasures, gives its entomology to the

Latin language, manus (hand) – stupro (to defile). However many scholars
believe it to have a Greek beginning, mezea (genitals), with the original
meaning, "to arouse the genitals". The lack of certainty as to the
origin of the word stems from the fact that both the Romans and the Greeks
mentioned the subject of masturbation very rarely. However, Hippocrates noted
that he believed excessive loss of semen caused spinal consumption. And even
though several Christian and Judaic followers consider the act of masturbation
sinful, the Bible has no clear-cut stance on the subject. (The story of Onan
[Genesis 38:9-11], is often sighted as proof of the Bible\'s stance. God
condemned Onan to hell for having spilt his seed on the ground rather than
conceiving a child, which the law demanded. However, it seems biblical scholars
believe that it is instead, a reference to coitus interuptus [the act of pulling
out the penis from the vagina before ejaculation]). As a result, masturbation
was more commonly known as "onanism" well into this century. The
negative connotation associated with masturbation can be traced back to a Swiss
physician, S. Tissot (1729-1797). Tissot believed that all sexual activity was
dangerous because it forced blood to rush to the head, leaving the rest of the
body dangerously low. As a result the nervous system degenerated, causing
insanity.