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.
" Plighted troth" is a poetical and romantic subject, but there is such a thing as carrying a prolonged fidelity under the terms of an " engagement" to a dangerous excess. We do not now refer to the moral perils, the increased temptations which arise from the more intimate familiarity and over-confidence of lovers - though these are real and objectionable - but to the direct injury they bring on a young man. It is impossible for him to indulge in these caresses and fondlings without violently exciting his passions, and they in turn react on the secretory functions. The consequence is that not unfrequently repeated nocturnal emissions, spermatorrhoea, and loss or impairment of power result. At the very moment when he should be in full possession of his strength, he finds that hope too long deferred, balks itself. This caution is especially needed by those who at an earlier period of their life have injured themselves by solitary vice or sexual excess.
There are strong physical as well as moral reasons why we would urge the lover, however, unwelcome such advice, and however certain to be disregarded, to hold his loved one at arm's length, and to deny himself those little fondlings and toyings which he can secure. Innocent though they are, and pure as the affection is, they still cheat nature with unfulfilled promises, and bring with them retribution. The advice of that distinguished surgeon, Mr. William Acton, on this point, is forcible. He says: "All medical experience proves that for any one, especially a young man, to enter into a long engagement without any immediate hope of fulfilling it, is physically, an almost unmitigated evil. I have reason to know that this condition of constant excitement has often caused not only dangerously frequent and long-continued nocturnal emissions, but most painful affections of the testes. These results sometimes follow the progress of an ordinary two or three months' courtship to an alarming extent. The danger and distress may be much more serious when the marriage is postponed for years." Instances of the same kind have come under our own experience, and convince us that even such strong language as that we have just quoted, does not state the possible injury too decidedly.