Please excuse this unsolicited note, but among the two hundred scholars
whose intellectual products I have studied, I believe that you alone
might give my next statement any serious attention (as it is based upon
your own field of expertise), becuase it appears to violate the taboo
against mixing Religion with Science and might imply belief in the
tenets of "Orgone Theory".
 
Ethnically speaking, masturbation is a true physical and moral disease,
which tends to leave a mark of abjectness and decadence with a people or
with a race.  It debases the man in what should be his poetic and his
ardent years, by substituting for the gloriously violent combats of love
the easy and secret pleasures of the hand or of an implement yet more
vile; as the result of this comes vileness, hypocrisy, brutalisation,
and the prostitution of character.  A hundred, a thousand times better
is the lust which lies in a love that is at least shared, which, even in
its extremes, encounters a certain restraint in the complete
satisfaction of a natural need shared between two beings.
 
The sexual embrace very rarely slays with its excesses; whereas
masturbation is often suicide, and when the organism does not die, the
character and dignity do, the light of amorous idealism is extinguished,
and every fibre of manly resolution is obliterated.  If an inhabitant
from another planet were to come down from above, and if he could
contemplate with eagle's eye, upon the psychologic chart of our planet,
the varying characteristics of the human race, he would certainly jot
down in his notebook, among the moral characteristics of Europeans and
their overseas colonists, this stigma:  *race*of*masturbators*.  And it
may be, that winged contemplator would become aware of an odor of moral
decay, of a moldy, sexual smell on all side, with thousands of young men
and girls spilling in the sheets or in dark passage-ways mankind's
sovereign life-giving fluid.  Until such time as this convulsed and
scrofulous civilization of ours shall learn to give to every man born of
woman a loaf of bread and a woman, the nauseous stench of solitary vice
will continue to contaminate every vein of our body social, transforming
love's joyous grape-cluster into a handful of musty corn, devoured by
cryptogamia.
 
Solitary lust tends to approach the embrace, when it seeks a lustful
ally.  Man may masturbate man, and woman may do the same to woman.  In
the former instance, there is merely an exchange of manual labor; but in
the latter, the situation is more complicated and there is room for
refinements to enter; owing to the special structure of the female
genitals and the wayward character of the feminine imagination, lust is
readily turned into a proteiform and special vice.  Thus, woman may
simply reciprocate, by giving to her companion the pleasure which she
herself has received; but more often, she employs her tongue, and then
we have *cunnilingus* and *Lesbian* love, so named from the Isle of
Lesbos, to which historic tradition assigns the origin of a perversion
which, in all truth, must have been born along with womankind.  Another
form of reciprocal masturbation in women occurs when a woman possessing
an exceptionally long clitoris is thereby enabled to simulate the sexual
embrace with another woman.  It is this form of vice which may more
accurately be termed *Tribadism*, the practitioners of which were known
to the Latins as *frictrices* or *subigatrices*.  Today, however,
tribadism is synonymous with physical love between two women, whether
such love finds satisfaction in one or another mode.
 
Even among our won women folk, this vice is by no means rare.  I have
known a number, married and with children, who seek pleasure only of a
woman friend or a female lover, whom they passionately adore, and of
whom they are very, very jealous.  More often than once, Lesbianism
brings with it domestic unhappiness; and it behooves the married man to
keep a sharp eye out for those strange and hidden manifestations of
lasciviousness, which, taken in the beginning, may be dominated and
overcome by physiologic love.  Where the vice is of long standing, a
cure is all but impossible; for the reason that the clitoris, with
prolonged exercise of its nerves, becomes unduly sensitive and
over-developed, and all normal pleasure is thereafter a pale and
colorless thing, compared to the Lesbian's convulsive spasms.  The
husband then may find himself in a cruel dilemma, having to choose
between loathing and contemning the companion of his loves, or himself
acquiring a vice, which alone can satisfy and make her happy.  A
wholesome, honest upbringing may, however, almost always forestall such
an aberration, the fruit of that unhealthy hypocrisy with which we are
used to surrounding the mysteries of love.
 
    Sincerely,
    Paolo Mantegazza

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Pete Bevin, pete@petebevin.com