Why was masturbation such a medical concern in the 19th century? 

Before the 1700s, masturbation had been condemned on specifically religious grounds. It was considered sinful because it ‘denied the “natural” function of sexuality’, i.e. procreation. As A. N. Gilbert writes, ‘[a]s a sexual act, it meshed easily with the traditional Christian distrust of sensuality and bodily pleasure.’ But by the nineteenth century onwards, doctors had […]