Masturbation is a term applied to a bad habit which consists in handling and rubbing the genitals. It is a bad habit because it is apt to injure the health and future development of the girl. The more frequently it is practiced, the more injurious it is. It is more injurious than when practiced by boys, because the effects are usually more permanent. Girls who indulge in the habit of masturbation to excess not only weaken themselves, become anemic and get a dingy, pimply complexion, but they lose their desire for normal sexual relationships when they grow up, and are unable to derive any pleasure from the sexual act when they get married. Many girls who masturbated excessively get a strong aversion to the normal sexual act, and their married life is an unhappy one.
The habit is much less widespread among girls than it is among boys. The girl who value her health, her beauty and proper growth and mental development, should not indulge in it.
The behavior of parents – The behavior of some parents when they discover that their child is fondling its genitals or indulging in masturbation, they feel as if a great calamity had befallen them. Imbued with the medieval idea of the sinfulness of the habit, as well as its unfairness, they begin to scold the child, to frighten it, to make it believe that it is doing something terrible, that it has disgraced them and itself, and they try to persuade it that, without it stops immediately, the most dire consequences are awaiting for her. The result of this mode of procedure is disastrous, much more so than is the masturbation itself.
The parents and doctors should learn that the unfairness of the habit has been greatly and grossly exaggerated. It is time that they know that the vast majority of boys and girls get over the habit without being much or any, the worse for it. If the matter is look at in a sensible and common sense way, to tell the child caught in the practice that it has done something disgracefully false and criminal, but speak to the child and tell him what he or she is doing may secure serious injury, that it may interfere with his or her future mental and physical health and development, then they will have far greater success in their endeavors to break the boy or girl of the habit.
Denouncing even the most moderate indulgence in masturbation as a vice has an unlawful effect upon the person who so indulge and makes it harder for her to break off the habit. The victims of the habit consider themselves degraded, irretrievably lost. They lose their self-respect, and on the account of that, makes it harder for them to break themselves from the habit.
The prevention of the habit – One of the major ways of preventing the habits is to carefully watch the child from its earliest infancy. Although, oftentimes, the vicious or stupid nursemaids, governesses, ignorantly or maybe delicately, induce the habit in children under their charge and this of course must be prevented. The children from the age of nine, ten and eleven years old should not always be left alone, but always being under supervision. And also too close friendship between boys and girls, especially of different ages, should be looked upon with suspicion.
The sleeping together of two in the same bed, whether it be two children or a older person and a child, should not be permitted under any circumstances. The child, either boy or girl should sleep alone, on a rather hard mattress, and the covering should be light. A decorative bedspread may put over the feet. The child should always sleep with the arms out upon the cover and never under. If this practice is started in a child from childhood, it will be very easy to get used to the way of sleeping, and many case of masturbation will be rid-off.
If any attempt is made to watch the child, he should be so carefully surrounded by vigilance that he can not possibly transgress without detection. If he is only partially watched, he will soon learns to elude observation, and then the effect is only to make him cunning in his vice.
Hot baths are also very injurious for young children in their influence in the case of masturbation. Even on adults, a hot bath has a stimulating effect upon their sexual desire. Every factor which is liable to give rise to the habit of masturbation should be removed. Some people will abstain from handling themselves with their hands, but will practice what is known as mental masturbation. Which is, they will concentrate their minds on the opposite sex, and will picture them themselves in various lascivious scenes, until they feel satisfied. This method is extremely injurious and exhausting and is very likely to lead to neurasthenia and a nervous breakdown. This habit is even more injurious than the regular habit.
In adults or youths, a different plan must be pursued. Moral considerations, and the inevitable consequences to health of body and mind, are the chief influences by which a reform is to be effected. The considerations may be urged with all possible eloquence and earnestness, but should not be exaggerated. If there are any special effects which may be brought to bear upon a particular individual, these should be promptly employed and applied in such a manner as to secure for them their full bearing. But despite, the most to be done, must be by the individual himself. All that others can do for him is to surround him with favorable circumstances and arouse him to a proper sense of his real condition and danger. If this can be thoroughly accomplished, there is much reason to hope, but if the individual has become so lost to all sense of purity, all aspirations towards good and noble objects, that he can not be made to feel the need of reflection, then his case has become hopeless.
Work is also an excellent remedy, work that will really make the victim very tired, so that when he goes to bed he will have no disposition to defile himself.
How a person can help himself.
I. Begin the work of reform by purging the mind. If a lewd thought enters the mind, dispel it at once. Cultivate a loathing for concupiscence. Never harbor such ideas for an instant, for they will certainly lead to overact. If peradventure, the physical sin should not be committed, the thought itself is sin, and it leaves a physical as well as a moral scar almost as deep and hideous as that infected by the grosser crime.
II. Avoid solitude, for then is when temptation comes, and you are most likely to fail. Avoid equally all other causes which may lead to the act.
III. As a help to purity of mind, whenever impure thoughts enter, immediately direct the mind upon the purest object with which you are acquainted. Flee from the special exciting cause, if there is one, and engage in some active labor or other exercise that will divert the mind into another channel.
IV. Strictly compl with all the rules laid down for the cultivation of chastity and the maintenance of continuity.
V. And above all, seek for grace and help from the source of all spiritual strength in every time of temptation, relying upon the promise, "seek, and ye shall find."