CAKE Byte – Playing Solitaire

cardsHave you ever wondered why the simple art of pleasuring oneself, aka masturbation, is still taboo? The idea that masturbation stems from willful self-abuse goes back to the Genesis story of Onan, who spilled his seed upon the ground rather than into the wife of his dead brother and was struck down. Onanism is born. This new sin has the same terrible consequences as the one in the Old testament – death.

In 1712, an anonymously published pamphlet, Onania; or, The Heinous Sin of Self-Pollution, and all its Frightful Consequences in Both Sexes, Considered appeared in print to caution the unwary against the dangers of “self-pollution.” Onanism forever conjured up the “sin” of masturbation – the act of “wasting” one’s reproductive potential over feeling really good for pleasure’s sake.

As Thomas Laqueur puts it in his new book “Solitary Sex,” masturbation as a sin is a creature of the Enlightenment – as it reflected ideals contrary to the individual productively participating the larger social good. It was considered down right dangerous to the social order of things and as an indication of the collapse of culture and a return to the most primitive level of desire and gratification. Of course the demonizing and pathologizing of masturbation came hand and hand with new be all end all “cures” for the sickly syndrome – namely “strengthening tincture” and “prolific powder” which promised the sinner relief from such atrocious deeds. Continue reading CAKE Byte – Playing Solitaire