In the 17th century, in England, there was a religious movement, whose supporters have sought to clear the Anglican Church from all sorts of accretions. These were the Puritans, who initiated the sexual culture, called the Puritan and having a broad sphere of influence. The victory under the leadership of Cromwell’s Puritans quickly increased their influence. They have opposed all pleasures, including sexual intercourse. The Puritans were reluctant to entertain themselves, as it distracted them from work, which became for them a cult. During holidays and Sundays were meant to attend the service. A desire to impose by force on society a rigorist legislation of morality led to the political demise of the Puritans. During the reign of Charles II, the Puritan traditions were criticized, and were only partially preserved in the guidance on labor.
Such an attitude to the Puritan morality continued until the end of the 18th century, when it gradually came to its original forms in the so-called Victorianism, which was a response to the easing of moral norms. In the Victorian period, a special role of the family, marriage was emphasized. The woman was considered as a housekeeper, an angel-like, asexual entity.
Gradually the Puritan culture of acquired traits of hypocrisy. The state censors castrated the classical works, banned medical journals and books containing anything that could hurt an imaginary moral sense. Masturbation was interpreted as a sin, harmful to health, allegedly leading to some mental disabilities, sexual impotence, and blindness. It was severely persecuted, doctors even recommended to castrate children having interest in sexual activity.
The puritan society tried to put a barrier around the body, dressing it in various bands and belts. A Tissot published work devoted to masturbation, in which he described in the most morbid tones the effects it produced, believing that the outpouring of semen is dangerous to health. His views have dominated for long settings regarding masturbation. Sexual relations were treated with fear; frequent intercourses were believed dangerous, leading to exhaustion, insanity. Severity in raising and moral restrictions gradually intensified, particularly for women.
The Victorian influence in the 19th century very quickly spread from England to Europe. It has covered broad social circles, mainly bourgeois. In addition to the economic, political and moral factors contributing to the spread of the puritan culture, it was supported and strengthened by doctors. Medicine has had a negative impact on the attitude to sexuality.
In addition to the above-mentioned Tissot, another doctor Benjamin Rush cautioned about the negative consequences of sexual relationship, evoking examples of deaths occurring during sexual arousal. French surgeon Claude-Francois Lalman wrote that ejaculation and nocturnal emissions often lead to mental illness. English physician James Scott has extended the concept of masturbation to interruptible, oral, and other forms of intercourse and sodomy.
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