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.
Havelock Ellis (1859 - 1939)
Ellis was a British sexologist who gets credit for being one of the first to write about homosexuality without talking like it was a disease or a criminal act (in fact, he wrote the very first medical text on the subject). This was way back in 1897, putting him so far ahead of his time that most of the world still hasn't caught up. Seems OK so far ...
So what's the problem?
He never had sex. Or at least, not while he was writing on the subject. He was a virgin until age 32, when he got married. To a lesbian.
After the honeymoon, he returned to his bachelor pad and she stayed at her place, presumably busying herself with the whole being gay thing, while he practiced tirelessly at remaining a virgin. One of the things that might have made him so good at his craft: he was well known to be impotent.
So he lived his adult life as a sex-free sexologist and it was only in his '60s that he discovered the magical cure for his impotence: piss. The details aren't entirely clear, but at some point around 1919, he happened to watch a woman going to the bathroom which caused sleepy little Havelock to finally wake up, giving him his first erection at an age when most men are experiencing their last.
"I'm sorry, I didn't realize this was the ladies' room. Please, just continue what you were doing. Please."
We guess you could make the case that his sexless life allowed him to remain objective on the topic, so that he could, for instance, write a detailed description of the male erection without the usual interjection of "HAVING A BONER ROCKS!!!" that plagues the works of other males in th field. Still, it's hard to take cooking advice from a man who has never eaten.
Ironically, he was also a supporter of eugenics. So basically he believed that most of the world's problems could be solved through selective breeding and golden showers.