The Management Of Sexuality As A Problem Postmasturbation Disease

The drastic cures and genital alterations that were developed for the first time in the 19th century emerged as a response to the masturbation scare. However, this development cannot be understood fully without understanding how sex became an object of political intervention (22). Historians of the 19th century have pointed out that the health of the nation-state depended on a micro-regulation of individual bodies as well as the management of populations (23-27). As evidenced by the medical journal The Lancet in 1819, doctors thought of themselves as being "... responsible for the employment of (their) peculiar authority in promoting the purification and well being of human society" (28).

This political regulation of sexuality as a paradigmatic instance of health management emerged at the confluence of five distinct (yet related) forces:

1. Changes in medical authority

2. Changes in body perception

3. The invention of childhood sexuality

4. The new demands of the industrialized economy

5. A renewal of religious fervor and Victorian cultural ideals

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