This section is from the book "Aphrodisiacs And Anti-Aphrodisiacs", by John Davenport. Also available from Amazon: Love Stimulants, Aphrodisiacs and Anti-aphrodisiacs.
Flagellation was recommended by several of the ancient physicians as an effectual remedy in many disorders, and this upon the physiological axiom of Hippocrates - ubi stimulus, ibi affluxus. Seneca considers it as able to remove the quartan ague. Jerome Mercurialis speaks of it as employed by many-physicians in order to impart embonpoint to thin, meagre persons; and Galen informs us that slave merchants used it as a means of clearing the complexion of their slaves and plumping them up. Alaedeus, of Padua, recommends flagellation with green nettles, that is, urtication, to be performed on the limbs of young children for the purpose of hastening the eruption of the small pox. Thomas Campanella * attributes to flagellation the virtue of curing intestinal obstructions, and adduces in proof to his assertion, the case of the Prince of Venosa, one of the best musicians of his time, who could not go to stool, without being previously flogged by a valet kept expressly for that purpose.
*See Millengen's "Curiosities of Medical Experience," art. Flagellation Vol. II., p. 47 et seq.
Even at a later period the same opinion obtained as to the efficacy of flagellation, it being supposed by many physcians to reanimate the torpid circulation of the capillary and cutaneous vessels, to increase muscular energy, to promote absorption, and to favour the necessary secretions of our nature. † As an erotic stimulant, more particularly it may be observed that, considering the many intimate and sympathetic relations existing between the nervous branches of the extremity of the spinal marrow, it is impossible to doubt that flagellation exercised upon the buttocks and the adjacent parts, has a powerful effect upon the organs of generation.
Meibomius, ‡ the great advocate for the use of this remedy, "Qui novit ex stimulantium fonte, cardiaca, aphrodisiaca, diaphoretica, diuretica aliaque non infimi ordinis medicamenta peti, perspicit plenius quam larga verberibus bene merenidi sit, uti praesertim in torpore nervorum, paralysi, impotentia ad Venerem et natura-lium excretionum eluxit.
*Medic, Lib. III., art 12.
† See Richter, Opuscula medica Col. I., p. 273.
‡ Author of the work entitled, "De flagrorum usu in re venerea" Lug. Bat.. 16 3, with the motto:
"Delicias pariunt Veneri crudelia flagra, Dum nocet, ilia Juvat, dum juvat, ecce nocet. "Lo! cruel stripes the sweets of love ensure, and painful pleasures pleasing pains procure." Q remarks, that stripes inflicted upon the back and loins are of great utility in exciting the venereal appetite, because they create warmth in those parts whose office it is to elaborate the semen and to convey it to the generative organs. He, therefore, considered it by no means wonderful that the miserable victims of debauchery and lasciviousness, as well as those whose powers have been exhausted by age or excess, should have recourse to flagellation as a remedy. He observes that its effect is very likely to be that of renewing warmth in the now frigid parts, and of furnishing heat to the semen, an effect in producing which the pain itself materially contributes by the blood and heat which is thereby drawn down to the part until they are communicated to the reproductive organs, the erotic passion being thus raised, even in spite of nature herself, beyond her powers. A similar view is taken by a modem writer, whose opinion is "that the effect of flagellation may be easily referred to the powerful sympathy which exists between the nerves of the lower part of the spinal marrow and other organs.
Artificial excitement appears in some degree natural; it is observed in several animals, especially in the feline race. Even snails plunge into each other a bony, prickly spur, that arises from their throats, and which, like the sting of the wasp, frequently breaks off, and is left in the wound".
After the appearance of the Abbe Boileau's Histoire de la Flagellation, the Jesuits condemned several propositions found either in that work or in others approved by him. The following is one:
"Necesse est cum musculi lumbares virgis aut flagellis diver-berantur, spiritus vitales revelli, adeoque salaces motus ob vicinam partium genitalium et testium excitari, qui venereis ac illecebris cerebrum mentemque fascinant ac virtutem castitatis ad extremas augustias redigunt".
* Millingen, "Curiosities of Medical Experience." Vol. II., p. 52.
From out of almost innumerable instances of the efficacy of flagellation as an aphrodisiac, the following are selected.
Cornelius Gallvs, the friend of Virgil, Horace, Tibullus, and Catullus, and who, according to Pliny, died the most delightful of deaths by expiring in the embraces of the fondest object of his affections, * was solely indebted for the delicious transports he enjoyed with her to the scourge with which her severe father chastised her for the faults that originated in too warm a temperament, a punishment which, instead of counteracting, furthered the wishes of the voluptuous Roman.
Jean Pic de Mirandole relates † the case of a person known to him who, being a great libertine, could not consummate the act of love without being flagellated until the blood came, and that, therefore, providing himself for the occasion with a whip steeped in vinegar, he presented it to his inamorata, begging her not to spare him, for"plus on le fouettait, plus il y trouvait des delices, la douleur et la volupte marchant, dans cet homme, d'un pas egal".
* To this personage may justly be applied the French epitaph upon one who died under similar circumstances: