The time has come when the rising generation must be thoroughly instructed in this matter. That quack specific “ignorance” has been experimented with quite too long already. The true method of insuring all persons, young or old, against the abuses of any part, organ, function, or faculty of the wondrous machinery of life, is to teach them its use. “Train a child in the way it should go” or be sure it will, amid the ten thousand surrounding temptations, find out a way in which it should not go. Keeping a child in ignorant innocence is, I aver, no part of the “training” which has been taught by a wiser than Solomon. Boys and girls do know, will know, and must know, that between them are important anatomical differences and interesting physiological relations. Teach them, I repeat, their use, or expect their abuse. Hardly a young person in the world would ever become addicted to self-pollution if he or she understood clearly the consequences; if he or she knew at the outset that the practice was directly destroying the bodily stamina, vitiating the moral tone, and enfeebling the intellect. No one would pursue the disgusting habit if he or she was fully aware that it was blasting all prospects of health and happiness in the approaching period of manhood and womanhood.
The effects of either self-pollution or excessive sexual indulgence, appear in many forms. It would seem as if God had written an instinctive law of remonstrance, in the innate moral sense, against this filthy vice.
All who give themselves up to the excesses of this debasing indulgence, carry about with them, continually, a consciousness of their defilement, and cherish a secret suspicion that others look upon them as debased beings. They feel none of that manly confidence and gallant spirit, and chaste delight in the presence of virtuous females, which stimulate young men to pursue the course of ennobling refinement, and mature them for the social relations and enjoyments of life.
This shamefacedness, or unhappy quailing of the countenance, on meeting the look of others, often follows them through life, in some instances even after they have entirely abandoned the habit, and became married men and respectable members of society.
In some cases, the only complaint the patient will make on consulting you, is that he is suffering under a kind of continued fever. He will probably present a hot, dry skin, with something of a hectic appearance. Though all the ordinary means of arresting such symptoms have been tried, he is none the better.