This section is from the book "Handbook Of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science", by Henry S. Munro. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science.
The world's strongest, greatest, most useful men and women are those who are born with strong natural desires, but they are not libertines. As a rule, they are virtuous, because they have learned how to direct their energies into wholesome, useful lines of thought and action, such as would ennoble both their psychic and physical constitutions, contributing to the development of mind and body, bringing about a harmonious co-operation of all the natural forces and functions, promoting the highest development of the individual and the most helpful influence to the human race. On the other hand, many ascetics or puritans deserve no credit for being virtuous, for they really are not, as they are from birth born weak, devoid of the normal bodily appetites, and consequently they have never had a single sexual desire to resist.
Many women are made cold and unresponsive by the inhibitory influence of false ideas concerning sexual desire, and their personalities have become dwarfed, and the homes of such women, when married, are in consequence gloomy sepulchers, where the lives of their husbands are spent in melancholy and despondency.
By the dissemination of false ideas concerning the sexual instinct many young boys and girls are allowed to become masturbators, with the grave consequence that impotency in man frequently results, and in woman the most incorrigible psychoneurotic manifestations accompany them through life. With female masturbators the result is that the desire for the embrace, the fondling, petting, caressing - all of the strongest expressions of love - are absent, and she is incapacitated to respond to the normal psychic and physiological reactions which should attend the sexual relation. They are thus incapacitated to excite the normal desire in man, and in her presence he becomes impotent.
Thus Schrenk-Notzing says: "The self-satisfaction places the habitual masturbator in a strange - so to say, unphysiological - position to the opposite sex. In making the sexual intercourse unnecessary, it weakens the sexual desire and undermines the strongest of our natural emotions - the longing for love, which is the sexual foundation, the impulse of high, ideal actions - and adulterates the fire of the sexual senses, which is the stimulus of development of strength in the individual and of social life in the world of the beautiful and the moral. The act of onanism is more injurious to the central nervous system than the normal intercourse, because phantasy must fill the place of reality, and thus a great amount of nerve substance, possessing a higher functional value, must be consumed."
The effect of temporary masturbation must not be confounded with the results attending habitual masturbation. Much harm is done by advertising medical quacks, who speak of masturbation without making this discrimination, and many a poor victim is unnecessarily frightened and much irreparable harm is done to such overanxious individuals who read the books of these grafters, which are intended more to frighten them into submission to treatment than to truthfully set forth facts. Practically all unin-structed boys who have passed beyond the teens have at some period of their lives been temporary masturbators. The effect upon the individual case depends entirely upon the stability of his nervous system, and the time, frequency, and extent over which the habit was practiced. One can never, however, truthfully say that onanism can be practiced without more or less injurious results, and in the greater proportion of such cases with the cessation of the habit the physical effects soon pass away. The psychic effects often last much longer, the treatment of which requires the most intelligent and judicious employment of psychotherapeutic measures.
As a rule, they respond to treatment very readily, with highly satisfactory results to the victims.
The entire list of examples cited, and those described as well, depending upon no organic disease as the result of venereal infection, or other physical abnormality, are cases where psychotherapy finds a most important field of application. No work undertaken by the physician requires more time, patience, tact, experience. skill, and perseverance than the effort to guide many of the examples cited back to a normal, wholesome, natural, sexual life; but, where no unmanageable domestic situation or incorrigible temperament is presented as a part of the complication to be handled, one can in due course of time restore such patients to their normal mental and physical condition, and with results that enable them to readapt themselves to their environment - to live useful, wholesome, happy lives.
To treat such cases, one must be well grounded in the psychology of the sexual instinct - he must treat the psychology of the individual patient. Such knowledge involves the consideration of the physical, emotional, intellectual, ethical, esthetic, and moral qualities of human beings as we find them in the broad, every-day world. It is related to every phase of life - educational, religious, social, and moral - and plays an all-important part in the production of health and happiness. The highest function of the physician is to be prepared to give sane, wholesome, sensible advice where needed in such cases, and to save such as are seeking help from the vampires who live and thrive upon the distorted imaginations, credulity, and suggestibility of those who are honestly and earnestly seeking relief.
In no class of conditions can the old adage, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," be so aptly applied as to illustrate the importance of efforts sanely and intelligently directed in the guidance of the sexual instinct as a means of preventing untold mental and physical suffering and in promoting the welfare, health, and happiness of the human race. What is needed by children, boys and girls, young men and young women, and many who have reached the age of fifty as well, is education, knowledge, and guidance in order that the best interest of the human race may be secured and maintained.