When you were a kid, did you ever have an adult tell you that masturbation could make you go blind? When you grew up, did you ever wonder where bullshit like that got started?
History is full of sex experts who, as it turns out, were just making crap up as they went along.
Samuel Auguste Tissot (1728 - 1797)
Totally full of shit yet curiously influential, Samuel Auguste Tissot was a physician and neurologist who advised the Vatican. In the 18th century he wrote on many subjects having nothing to do with sex, and perhaps he was able to speak on some of those without talking out of his ass.
So what's the problem?
This man is the source of nearly every untrue, hyper-conservative and ignorant rumor about masturbation you and everyone else has heard since the 1700s. Tissot wrote a book that detailed--based on his own observations--the horrors of what whacking off could do. He wrote of witnessing compulsive masturbators who had wasted away like heroin addicts, drooling on beds of straw, covered in their own feces, their brains so fucked from all the masturbation, they had no memory and could no longer speak.
Tissot linked a whole host of diseases and disorders to masturbating, including blurred vision, memory loss, gout and rheumatism. Notably absent: chafed willy. Why he had such a hate-on for jerking off is anyone's guess, but his influence stuck around for a couple hundred years. That's incredible considering every single male who had his advice passed on to them knew, from personal experience, that it was total bullshit.
The ghost of Tissot is watching you masturbate
Dr. Sylvester Graham (1794 - 1851)
Back in the 1800s, Graham was what we'd today call "a whack job," but what was back then known as a fan of temperance. He was big on natural foods that were free of additives (he is the father of Graham crackers, as we have pointed out previously). Surely the mind that created the Graham cracker couldn't have also spouted a bunch of crazy bullshit!
So what's the problem?
Graham believed that semen was an important part of living well, but unfortunately believed this meant you had to keep it to yourself. Because of this he believed a man shouldn't have sex more than 12 times a year.
Obviously that didn't make him much more of a fan of yanking it than ol' Tissot was before him. Graham however took it a step further and tied the whole thing to diet, believing any spicy or rich foods were apt to cause you to go into a mad stroking fit at any moment.
Meat was worst of all in Graham's eyes (if you've ever been to a company barbecue, you know how quickly they devolve into orgies with the cleaning ladies after the ribs are served). It was at this point that Graham did the only sane thing he could do and invented the Graham cracker, to save us from all that spicy, rich, lusty meat.
And you have to admit, you don't see Hooters waitresses delivering plates of Graham crackers.