This section is from the book "Aphrodisiacs And Anti-Aphrodisiacs", by John Davenport. Also available from Amazon: Love Stimulants, Aphrodisiacs and Anti-aphrodisiacs.
If the woman be organized for receiving, the man is formed for imparting; now, in the majority, of cases, his impotency is such that, although he seems to be provided with abundant stores he is precluded from offering them.
....... "Si Coneris, jacet exiguus cum ramice nervus Et quamvis tota palpetur nocte, jacebit."* Such, in fact, is the great difficulty of those individuals who have abused their organs and destroyed their sensibility. The erectile tissue whose turgescence is indispensable, no longer admits into its vascular plexus or network, a quantity of fluid sufficient to give the organ the power of penetrating - jacet exiguus - and, although it may be supposed that the seminal glands perform their functions perfectly well, and secrete abundantly the fluid peculiar to them, the copulative organ remains paralyzed. This is the impotence which is brought on by old age, and which Ariosto has so forcibly described in the following lines, wherein he relates the futile attempts made upon Angelica by the hermit:
Egli l'abbraccia, ed a piacer la tocca: Ed ella dorme, e non piu fare ischermo: Or le baccia il bel petto, ora la bocca,
None, ch'l veggia, in quel loco aspro ed ermo. Ma nel incontro, il suo destrier trabocca Che al desio non risponde, il corpo infermo:
* Juvenal Sat. I., vv. 204, 105.
Tutte le vie, tutti i modi tenta,
Ma quel pigre rozzo non pero salta,
Indarno el fren gli scoute e li tormenta,
E non puo far che tenga la testa alta.* At other times the impotency of the man is independent of the secretion of the fecundating fluid and even of the erection, both of which are regular. In such case it is caused either by the gland not being properly perforated, or by a contraction of the urethral canal, which contraction arrests the seminal fluid at the moment of expulsion, causing it to flow back towards the bladder, or else intercepting the continuous stream and allowing it to run by dribblets only. The former of these imperfections technically called Hypospsdiaeos is a vice of conformation in which the penis, instead of being perforated at the summit of the gland, presents its opening at a greater or less distance from the gland, at the lower part of the urethra or at the perinaeum.
As might be expected, impotency when precocious, influences, in no small degree, the moral character. Cabanis knew three men who, in the vigour of age, had suddenly become impotent, although in other respects they were in good health, much engaged in business, and had but little reason to be affected by the loss of pleasures in which they indulged but very rarely and with great moderation, yet their character became gloomy and irascible, and their mental powers appeared to diminish daily.† The celebrated Ribeiro Sanchez, a pupil of Boerhaave, observes in his "Traite des maladies Veneriennes chroniques" that these diseases particularly dispose those subject to them to superstitious terrors.
* Orlando Furioso, Can. 1, stanz. 49,60. †Rapport, Tom. I., p. 335.
Impotency may, however, equally proceed from moral as from physical causes. In this case it consists in the total privation of the sensibility peculiar to the reproductive organs. This insensibility is by no means infrequent in persons whose mental powers are continually in action, as the following case will shew: -
A celebrated mathematician of a very robust constitution, having married a young and pretty woman, lived several years with her, but had not the happiness of becoming a father. Far from being insensible to the charms of his fair wife, he, on the contrary, felt frequently impelled to gratifying his passion, but the conjugal act, complete in every other respect, was never crowned by the emission of the seminal fluid. The interval of time which occurred between the commencement of his labour of love and the end was always sufficiently long to allow his mind, which had been for a moment abstracted by his pleasure, to be brought back to the constant objects of his meditation - that is, to geometrical problems or algebraical formula. At the very moment even of the orgasm, the intellectual powers resumed their empire and all genital sensation vanished. Peirible, his medical adviser, recommended Madame.....never to suffer the attentions of her husband until he was half-seas-over, this appearing to him the only practicable means of withdrawing her learned spouse from influence of the divine Urania and subjecting him more immediately to that of the seductive goddess of Paphos. The advice proved judicious.
Monsieur.....became the father of several fine and healthy boys and girls, thus furnishing another proof of the truth of the maxim, "Sine Cerere et Baccho friget Venus,"
But the impotency arising from the predominance of the intellect is the least formidable of all. The one most to be dreaded is that which results from the excessive and premature exercise of the reproductive functions, for, as has been well observed,"the too frequent indulgence of a natural propensity at first increases the concomitant desire and makes its gratification a part of the periodical circle of action; but by degrees the over excitement of the organs, abating their tone and vitality, unfits them for the discharge of their office, the accompanying pleasures are blunted, and give place to satiety and disgust."*
Such unfortunate persons as are the victims of this kind of anaphrodisia become old long before their natural time, and have all their generative apparatus blasted with impotency. Their testicles withered and dried up secrete nothing but a serous fluid void of all virtue; the erectile tissue no longer admits into its plexus the quantum of blood necessary for turgescence, the principal organ of the reproductive act remains in a state of flaccidity, insensible to the reiterated and most stimulating solicitations; the muscles destined to favour erection are stricken with paralysis, and the violence of their desires, joined to the want of power to gratify them, drives the unhappy victim to acts of the most revolting lubricity and thence to despair.
An instance of this kind occurred in the case of a young man, the son of an opulent family. He had arrived at puberty, but from the early age of ten had been accustomed to indulge in indecent familiarities with young girls, who had gratified him by lascivious manipulations; the consequence was an entire loss of the erectile power. Travelling being recommended, he proceeded to France, where he consulted,but without avail, several celebrated physicians. He then went to the waters of Spa, and there his case was attentively and anxiously considered by Van-Hers.
* Sir Charles Morgan, Philos. of Morals, p. 25.
The sensibility and weakness of the genital member were so great that on the slightest touch, and without any sensation or desire to sexual intercourse the young man emitted a fluid similar to whey. This secretion continued night and day, every time that he made water, or upon the slightest friction of his linen. After various remedies being proposed, without any beneficial results, Van-Hers considered the disease as incurable; but, as the patient would not coincide in his opinion and was very rich, he continued his travels in Italy, France, and Germany, in the hope of recovering his powers of virility. He failed not, as usual, to meet with physicians who, from mercenary motives, held out to him the most illusory prospects of a perfect cure. At length, after six years passed in travelling and in vain attempts to regain the generative faculty, he returned to the candid and able physician from whom he had the truth, and whose opinion he was now convinced was but too well founded. As may be supposed, Van-Hers perceived no new circumstance to justify an alteration in his view of the case, and the unfortunate young man returned home, deeply deploring the advantages of a fortune which had made him the victim of the precocious abuse of pleasures to which he must now bid adieu for ever.* Too great warmth of passion may not only defeat its own object, but also produce a temporary impotency.
A lover, after having, with all the ardour of affections, longed for the enjoyment of his mistress, finds himself at the moment of fruition incapable af consummating his happiness. The only remedy for this misfortune is to allay the over-excitement and to restrain the exuberance of the imagination. It would be madness to persist in endeavouring to obtain a victory which must be certain, as soon as the heat of the animal spirits being abated, a portion of them proceeds to animate the agents of voluptuous passion. The following are cases of this description.
* Nosographie philosophique.