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The Secret ViceMasturbation in Victorian Fiction and Medical Culture$
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Diane Mason

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780719077142

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719077142.001.0001

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‘It is more than blackguardly, it is deadly’ Masturbation in the male

‘It is more than blackguardly, it is deadly’ Masturbation in the male

(p.12) 1 ‘It is more than blackguardly, it is deadly’ Masturbation in the male
The Secret Vice

Diane Mason

Manchester University Press

This chapter considers the discourse on masturbation as it pertains to men. Utilising Lesley Hall's model of the ‘normal male’, the first section examines the way that popular medical writing on masturbation preyed on the sexual anxieties of heterosexual men who aspired to marry and have children. According to much of this literature, the ability to father children and the capacity to exercise sexual and personal self-control were promoted as the most essential qualities of true manhood. Giving in to masturbation was thought to damage the former and preclude the latter. The second section analyses the content of the Headmaster's sermon in Dean Frederick W. Farrar's influential Eric, or Little by Little (1858), a cautionary and instructive tale for boys about the potential perils of boarding-school life.

Keywords:   male masturbation, medical writing, heterosexual men, Lesley Hall, boarding-school life

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