‘It is more than blackguardly, it is deadly’ Masturbation in the male

Diane Mason

in The Secret Vice

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780719077142
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701089 | DOI:
‘It is more than blackguardly, it is deadly’ Masturbation in the male

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This chapter considers the discourse on masturbation as it pertains to men. Utilising Lesley Hall's model of the ‘normal male’, the first section examines the way that popular medical writing on masturbation preyed on the sexual anxieties of heterosexual men who aspired to marry and have children. According to much of this literature, the ability to father children and the capacity to exercise sexual and personal self-control were promoted as the most essential qualities of true manhood. Giving in to masturbation was thought to damage the former and preclude the latter. The second section analyses the content of the Headmaster's sermon in Dean Frederick W. Farrar's influential Eric, or Little by Little (1858), a cautionary and instructive tale for boys about the potential perils of boarding-school life.

Keywords: male masturbation; medical writing; heterosexual men; Lesley Hall; boarding-school life

Chapter.  7134 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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