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and who asserted that the constant irritation which he suffered in the
end of the penis was only relieved by friction. This might readily be
the cause of masturbation, though in this case the vice had been
acquired many years before, and was still continued in spite of all
efforts to reform.
Lying upon the back or upon the abdomen frequently leads to self-abuse
by provoking sexual excitement. Certain kinds of exercises, as climbing,
in particular, have been attended by the same results. It is said that
children sometimes experience genital excitement amounting to pleasure
as the result of whipping.
Influence of Stimulants.--The use of stimulants of any kind is a
fruitful cause of the vice. Tea and coffee have led thousands to
perdition in this way. The influence of tobacco is so strongly shown
in this direction that it is doubtful if there can be found a boy who
has attained the age of puberty and has acquired the habit of using
tobacco, who is not also addicted to this vile practice. Candies, spices,
cinnamon, cloves, peppermint, and all strong essences, powerfully
excite the genital organs and lead to the same result.
It should be further added that there is evidence that a powerful
predisposition to this vice is transmitted to the children of those
who have themselves been guilty of it.
Signs of Self-Abuse.--The net which this vice weaves around its victims
is so strong, and its meshes are so elaborately interwoven with all
his thoughts, his habits, and his very being, when it has been long
indulged, that it is important to be able to detect it when first
acquired, as it may then be much more easily overcome than at any
subsequent period. It is often no easy matter to do this, as the victim
will resort to all manner of cunning devices to hide his vice, and will
not scruple to falsify concerning it, when questioned. To be able to
accomplish this successfully, requires a careful study, first, of the
signs by which those who indulge in the practice may be known, and,
secondly, of the habits of the individuals.
In considering the subject it will be found that there are two classes
of signs, as follows:--
1. Those which may arouse suspicion, but any one of which, taken singly,
would not be an evidence of the practice.
2. Those which may be regarded as positive. Several suspicious signs
together may constitute a positive sign. Under these two heads, we will
consider the signs of this vile habit.
It is well to bear in mind the fact that one or two suspicious signs
are not evidence of the disease. It is likewise well to remember that
the habit may be found where least looked for, and where one would have
a right to expect perfect purity. Prejudice must be allowed no voice
upon either side. A writer has said that every young person under
puberty ought to be suspected of the disease. We can hardly indorse
this remark, in full, but it would be at least wise for every guardian
of children to criticize most carefully their habits and to quickly
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