Groups have existed throughout the ages condemning sex. Considered sex a vice. However in the 18th and 19th centuries, sex took a second seat to masturbation.
Masturbation as practiced by both men and women.
Religion was the motivator in decrying masturbation. From time immemorial, the Judaeo-Christian tradition has had a negative attitude about people touching themselves. Then came the Victorian Era and the Great Awakening. The extreme prudishness of these eras created the perfect storm for people to become obsessed with masturbation. Masturbation also known as onanism.
Soon masturbation was considered not merely a moral failing. It was also a physical and mental ailment requiring medical assistance, treatment and cures.
John Harvey Kellogg was a physician. In the late 1800s, he was Superintendent of the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan.
He was popular and respected. He was considered America’s newest and most prominent health guru.
His upbringing was as a Seventh Day Adventist. The group anti-passion.
Dr. Kellogg believed sex was bad for the physical and mental well-being of his patients. Of people in general. The sanitarium served a strict vegetarian diet. No alcohol, tobacco or caffeine. The Doctor believed that spicy and sweet foods increased the passions.
The intestines and bowels were also important in caring for Sanitarium patients and guests.
Dr. Kellogg described masturbation as a solitary vice and self pollution. Fitting words.
To understand Dr. Kellogg’s mental perspective, one has to recognize how the man lived. Though married, he was a celibate. His marriage never consummated. He and his wife had separate bedrooms. Their children were adopted.
Dr. Kellogg had an enema administered every morning of his adult life. He lived into his 90s.
He wrote several successful books on the dilatory effects of masturbation. Two interesting quotes from his novels follow.
“If illicit commerce of the sexes is a heinous sin, self pollution is a crime doubly abominable.”
“Neither plague, nor war, nor small pox have produced results so disastrous to humanity as the pernicious habit of onanism. Such a victim dies by his own hand.”
An observation…..”Such a victim dies by his own hand.” What a way to go!
Dr. Kellogg, as well as much of the medical profession at the time, believed masturbation caused the following: leprosy, tuberculosis, heart disease, epilepsy, dimness of vision, insanity, idiocy, death, cancer of the womb, urinary diseases, nocturnal emissions, impotence, defective development, fickleness, bashfulness, bad posture, acne, and palpitations.
Dr. Kellogg saw the need for a healthy ready to eat anti-masturbatory morning meal. He accidentally invented corn flakes in 1894. A patent was obtained in 1896. A company was started to mail order corn flakes to customers.
With the advent of corn flakes, Dr. Kellogg was feeding it to patients and guests. In addition to another procedure he developed to insure their clean intestines. An enema that ran water through the bowel followed by a pint of yogurt. Half the yogurt delivered through the mouth, the other half through the anus.
From the early 1900s through the 1920s, many famous people attended Dr. Kellogg’s Sanitarium for treatments. Some I cannot understand. The Sanitarium was anti-sex, anti-masturbation, and for clean intestines and bowels.
An attendee was President Warren G. Harding. I find his participation amusing. Historians are clear regarding the President’s sex escapades with his lady friend Nan Britton. They frequented a White House closet to do the dirty deed.
Other frequent guests at the Sanitarium included movie star Johnny Weissmuller (one of the first Tarzans). Henry Ford, and Amelia Earhart.
Recognize that Dr. Kellogg was the man, the authority as regards masturbation cures. His methods extreme in many cases.
As well as adults, boys and girls participated in masturbation. To control what he described as “nasty habits,” the Doctor advocated and employed the following procedures.
For boys, threading a silver wire through the foreskin to prevent erections and cause irritation.
For girls, an application of carbolic acid to the clitoris to burn it. Thereby discouraging touching.
Dr. Kellogg had a brother, W.K. Kellogg. Popularly known as Willy. The Doctor and Willy were in business together in the running of the Sanitarium and the discovery of corn flakes.
Willy was the business man. His interest was making money. Not the per se health of the patients and guests.
The relationship between the two thinned. They were on separate roads. Willy for example wanted to add sugar to the corn flakes to make them more tasty and hopefully more saleable. His brother said absolutely not.
The two eventually split. Willy started Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Company. Dr. Kellogg sued. The litigation went on for years. Eventually Willy became the sole proprietor of the company.
Corn flakes never achieved its intended effect. People continued to masturbate. Today, Kellogg’s sells corn flakes and other breakfast products world wide. No one ingesting the corn flakes for any other reason than they taste good.
I think Dr. Kellogg was a nut. Simply stated. Not because of his discovery of corn flakes. For his anti-sexism and anti-masturbation. He took his treatments a step too far.
On the other hand, perhaps I am wrong. Many in his day believed based on religious fervor that sex and masturbation were wrong. The Doctor gave them what they wanted and I am sure what he thought correct at the time.
Right and wrong change with time. Medical treatments change with time.