Lee Alexander Stone, "What About the Evils of Masturbation," Clinical Medicine and Surgery (November 1927).

Lester W. Dearborn, "The Problem of Masturbation," Marriage and Family Living, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Feb. 1952).
(Two authors whom this article states were very influential in the early 1900s, Sylvanus Stall and Winfield Hall, claimed masturbation was sinful as well as a cause of physical or mental disease. See sections XVII and XIX below.) 

Robert H. MacDonald, "The Frightful Consequences of Onanism: Notes on the History of a Delusion", Journal of the History of Ideas, Volume 28, Issue 3, (1967).

James Donat, "The Rev. John Wesley's Extractions From Dr. Tissot: A Methodist Imprimatur," History of Science Vol. 39, No. 125 (September 2001), p. 285-290.

Mchael Stolberg, "The Crime of Onan and the Laws of Nature. Religious and Medical Discourses on Masturbation in the Late Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries," Paedagogica Historica Vol. 39, No. 6 (December 2003).

Michael Stolberg, "Self-pollution, Moral Reform, and the Venereal Trade: Notes on the Sources and Historical Context of Onania," Journal of the History of Sexuality, Vol. 9, No. 1-2, (January/April 2000).

James Whorton, "The Solitary Vice. The Superstition That Masturbation Could Cause Mental Illness," The Western Journal of Medicine (July 2001).

E.H. Hare, "Masturbatory Insanity: The History of An Idea", The Journal of Mental Science Vol. 108, No. 452, (January 1962), p. 1-3, 15-16, 18.

James Whorton, "Christian Physiology: William Alcott's Prescription for the Millenium," Bulletin of the History of Medicine (1975). (For more on William Alcott, see section VIII below.)

Robert Darby, "Review Essay: A Post Modernist Theory of Wanking", Journal of Social History (Fall 2004).

Bruce Daniels, Puritans at Play (1995), St. Martin's Griffin, p. 31, 129-130.

Vern & Bonnie Bullough, Sin, Sickness, and Sanity: A History of Sexual Attitudes (1977), Meridian Books, Chapter 5, p. 56-60.

Donald Capps, "From Masturbation to Homosexuality: A Case of Displaced Moral Disapproval," Pastoral Psychology Vol. 51, No. 4, (March 2003), p. 260-265, 269.


List of antiquated materials written by religious authors which helped spread myths that masturbation could cause severe physical or mental illnesses. (Terms for masturbation used in these antiquated texts include: self-abuse, solitary vice, secret vice, self pollution, onanism):


Richard Capel, Tentations: Their Nature, Danger, Cure, 2nd Edition (London, 1635).

Cited  in Stolberg (2000), p. 44-45, 49. See also p. 46.


Letters of Advice from Two Reverend Divines to a Young Gentlemen, About a Weighty Case of Conscience (London, 1676).

Cited in Stolberg (2000), p. 44-45, 49. See also p. 46. 


Johannes Brandius, “Querela super peccato ononitico enormissimo,” in Hadriian Beverland's, De fornicatione cavenda admonitio, sive adhortatio ad pudicitiam et castitatem. (1698 Edition, London).

Cited in Stolberg (2000), p. 44-45, 49. See also p. 46.


Onania: Or the Heinous Sin of Self Pollution, and All Its Frightful Consequences, in Both Sexes Considered (circa 1716, London), Anonymous author.

(Although it should be noted that historians are not sure if the motive of this anonymous author was promoting religious morality or quack medicines (or both), or whether or not the anonymous author/editor was even the same person throughout all of the numerous editions. See Stolberg (2000), Stolberg (2003), MacDonald (1967), and Hare (1962) for a discussion.)


Cotton Mather, The Pure Nazarite. Advice to a Young Man, Concerning an Impiety and Impurity Not Easily to be Spoken of (Boston, 1723).

Cited in  Daniels (1995),  p. 31, 129-130.


Rev. John Wesley, Thoughts On the Sin of Onan: Chiefly extracted from a late writer (1767).

Cited in Donat (2001), p. 285-290.


Sylvester Graham, A Lecture to Young Men (1834), Weeden and Cory, p. 28-32, 39-65.

Replica made by Arno Press (1974), Sex Marriage, and Society Series, Charles Rosenberg and Carroll Smith-Rosenberg (Advisory Editors).

See also Whorton (2001). For more info on Graham's influence, see Jayme Sokolow, Eros and Modernization (1983), Associated University Presses, p. 13-14, 58, 78-79, 144.


William A. Alcott, The Young Man's Guide Tenth Edition (1836), Perkins & Marvin, Chapter VII, Sections II and III.

2nd Edition (1834) available free at books.google.com (full text). See pages 292-316.  For more info on Alcott, see Whorton (1975).


A Hitchcock M.D., "Insanity and Death From Masturbation," Boston Medical and Surgical Journal (1842), Vol. 26, p. 283-286.


Ellen White, An Appeal to Mothers: The Great Cause of the Physical, Mental, and Moral Ruin of Many of the Children of Our Time (1864).

Reprinted and compiled in: Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce (1989), Ellen G. White Estate / Pacific Press Publishing Association, Section VI - "Other Sexual Evils", part 17.

For more on Ellen White, see the article "Is the end near? A Look at Seventh-day Adventists," US Catholic Vol. 59, Issue 4 (April 1994).


John Cowan, M.D., The Science of a New Life (1874), Cowan and Company Publishers, Chapter XXV and p. 112-113, 116-121, 400-402. (See also Chapters X and XI).

Replica made by Source Book Press, a Division of Collectors Editions Ltd., 1970


[Nicholas Francis Cooke, attributed], Satan In Society (1876), C.F. Vent, Chapters III and IV and pages 17-19, 51-53, 150-156, see also Chap. VII.

Replica made by Arno Press (1974), Sex Marriage, and Society Series, Charles Rosenberg and Carroll Smith-Rosenberg (Advisory Editors).


The Pulpit Commentary 9th Edition (1887), Edited by Spence and Excell (London)

Quoted in MacDonald (1967), p. 429.


Lyman Sperry, Confidential Talks With Young Men (1892), Fleming H. Revell Company, Chapter VIII. See also p. 9-18, 103, 96-102, 115-116, 177-179.


John Harvey Kellogg, M.D., Plain Facts For Both Sexes (AKA Plain Facts for Old and Young) (1910) [previously published in 1888, 1890, 1894, 1901, 1903], I.F. Segner & Co./ Good Health Publishing Company. See "A Chapter for Boys." 

Replica of 1888 edition made by Arno Press (1974), Sex Marriage, and Society Series, Charles Rosenberg and Carroll Smith-Rosenberg (Advisory Editors). Full text of 1890 edition available for free at

This is the same Kellogg who invented Kellogg's Corn Flakes. For more on Kellogg, see  John Harvey Kellogg Biography from American Reformers (1985) retrieved from H.W. Wilson Company/Wilson Web Biographies; Ron Hotchkiss, "Kelloggs of Battle Creek," American History (Feb./March 1995); Garth Stoltz, "A Taste of Cereal," Adventist Heritage (Fall 1992), "Is the end near? A Look at Seventh-day Adventists," US Catholic Vol. 59, Issue 4 (April 1994).


Elizabeth Blackwell, M.D., "The Human Element In Sex," in Elizabeth Blackwell, Essays In Medical Sociology Volume 1 (1902) E. Bell, Essay 1, pages 1-9, 34-44.

Replica made by Arno Press (1972), Medicine and Society In America series.

For more info on Blackwell, see James C. Whorton, Crusaders for Fitness (1982), Princeton University Press, p. 108-109.


Sylvanus Stall, What A Young Boy Ought To Know (1905) [also published in 1897, 1909, 1926, 1928, 1936], The VIR Publishing Company /  The John C. Winston Co, parts II and III.

Full text (1897) available free at  books.google.com (see pgs. 75-115). For a discussion of Stall, see Dearborn (1952), p. 49-50.

Stall also discusses masturbation in What a Young Man Ought to Know (1936) [previously published in 1897, 1904, 1928], The VIR Publishing Company /  The John C. Winston Co, p. 105-112. See also pages 60, 70-71, 75-84, 151-159.


Mary Wood-Allen, M.D., What a Young Girl Ought to Know (1905) [also published in 1897, 1928], The VIR Publishing Company / Sylvanus Stall, Chapter IX.


Winfield Hall, From Youth Into Manhood (1909, 1918), Association Press / The International Committee of Young Men's Christian Associations (YMCA), Chapter IV and pages 29-30, 104-105. 

For a discussion of Hall, see Dearborn (1952), p. 49-50.


Sir Robert Baden-Powell, Rovering To Success 4th Impression (circa 1922), Herbert Jenkins Limited, p. 103-106, 121. See also Chapter V.

Baden-Powell was the founder of the Boy Scouts. Early editions of Rovering to Success stated that masturbation is harmful, while the later editions did not. See MacDonald (1967), p. 430-431 including footnotes 30 & 35 for a discussion.


Leslie Weatherhead, The Mastery of Sex Through Psychology and Religion (1932, 1947), The Macmillan Company.

cited in Capps (2003) p. 263-265.