This section is from the book "The Transmission Of Life. Counsels On The Nature And Hygiene Of The Masculine Function", by George H. Napheys. Also available from Amazon: The Transmission of Life.
Apart from those disorders, such as acute inflammations, cancer, and sloughing ulcers, which actually destroy the organs, there are a number which excite a morbid activity, prompting to excess or repeated nocturnal flows, resulting in premature decadence. In general terras any disease which unnaturally stimulates the carnal desires has this effect. Some of them we shall mention.
One of the most frequent is piles. These often produce a burning and itching in the vicinity, the blood accumulates in the veins of that region of the body, and acts as a mechanical irritant. For the same reason, any skin disease in that locality leads to friction and heat, which are very apt to evoke lustful thoughts and acts. So familiar even to the more ignorant classes is this, that Goethe makes use of it in the first part of Faust in a conversation between two apprentices : One says:-
"Nuch Burgdorf kommt herauf. Gewiss dort findet ihr Die scbonsten Madchen und das beste Bier."
To which his friend replies: -
"Du uberlustiger Gesell, Jackt dich zum dritten Mal das Fell ?"
Undoubtedly one reason of the proverbial sensuality of the lower classes in warm climates is their want of cleanliness, which leads to various cutaneous diseases, and also to the presence of vermin.
Acidity of the urine, causing a burning sensation as it passes, gravel or stone in the bladder, and organic changes in structure are all likewise liable to impel to dangerous excess.
Diseases of portions of the system quite remote may have similar effects. Several instances are on record where vio-lent debauches ending in debility and death have been dis-red to have been prompted by a change in the structure of the brain. Physiologists are well acquainted with the curious fact that if the posterior portion of the brain be in.
jured or diseased, a distressing excitement of the venereal passions is sometimes brought about, entirely beyond the control of the patient, and leading him to acts quite contrary to the habits and the principles of his previous life. This strange sympathy should lead us to be cautious in pro-nouncing judgment on those who after a long course of virtue suddenly give way to temptation. For the secret of their action may be, and undoubtedly often is, some unrecognized affection of the brain. Occasionally our daily papers seize upon some scandalous story in which a minister of the gospel is represented to have forfeited a character maintained in parity for many years. Uncharitable comments, not unfre-quently aimed at Christianity itself, are often appended to the narrative. Yet who can tell in how many instances such falls are owing to an overworked brain finally giving way, and leading to actions for which the man cannot be held responsible ? Physicians to the insane well know that pre cisely those who in their sane moments are most pure in life and thought, are, in accesses of frenzy, liable to break out in obscene language. Thus Shakspeare, that great master of the human heart, whose portraitures of insanity are marvellously correct, makes the chaste Ophelia, when her reason is dethroned, sing libidinous songs, and repeat indecent allusions.
Consumption in its first stage when it is hardly suspected, and leprosy, as well as scrofulous affections of several kinds, and disease of the spinal cord, we have already mentioned as provoking an unnatural, and, under the circumstances, peculiarly injurious inclination to indulgence.
In all instances of this nature, the patient - for such he really should consider himself - should have no hesitation in making his case known to an intelligent medical friend He may perhaps, by a few simple and timely remedies, relieve himself of inopportune emotions, and insure for himself years of strength, where a contrary course will hasten him to his grave.