Abandon the Habit

“Voice to Young Men,” Radical Spiritualist (Hopedale, Mass.), May 1858: 2.

The habit of Masturbation, of all others, exerts a most deplorable and destructive influence, both upon the physical and nervous systems. To warn you, in a friendly way, of this, and induce those of you who already practice this habit to abandon it at once, and to confirm those who have thus far escaped its blighting power in the wisdom of entire abstinence, is the object of this brief address.

Physicians, in successful practice, are almost the last persons to assist you in your distress, since they are prone to perpetuate your ignorance of the true and ONLY cause of your ailings. Do not rely upon them, nor solely on any one else who presumes to doctor you for the Liver complaint, Lung difficulty, Spinal affection, or any other popular ailing, so long as you practice this habit. For either they do not know the real cause of your sickness, or knowing it, lack the courage or honesty to avow it. Therefore, the voice of Wisdom to you, in so vital a matter, is this: Take your deliverance from this vicious practice, with all its consequences, into your own charge, and conquer! None can do it for you. There is no vicarious atonement for Nature’s violated law. It is YOUR work to rescue yourself from the grave, which is waiting to devour your body, and from the alluring maelstrom which is bearing away your manhood. The effort to overcome is the first requisite; it will increase your self-reliance, which your mal-practice is perpetually undermining. If you are prepared to make such an effort, listen to the necessary conditions:

1. You must at once ABANDON THE HABIT. No real hope can be had of health, either of body or mind, till THIS is done.

2. Study the laws of your being, read works bearing on this general subject, without using the specious remedies which many of them advertise.

3. Feel yourself SUPERIOR to so degrading a vice—rise in the nobility of your nature, realize your soul-affinity with the great and worthy names of history, who have put every evil beneath their feet! Pray to them, and to the great Father of Life and Light, for their healing power to save, and cease not till the way opens, and you hear the voice of infinite and undying Love, saying, Come up hither, my brother, my son, and we will bless you.

4. Be temperate in all things. You cannot entirely overcome one vice while indulging another. If you gorge your stomach with excessive stimulants, how can you control your passions? Be assured that if you cannot refrain from an extra cup of tea or coffee, or an extra piece of steak, it will be morally impossible, when these have exerted their legitimate influence on your animal organism, for you to be chaste!

5. Be always employed. Seek to interest your intellectual and moral powers in noble objects. It will attract the blood from the base to the upper brain, and restore harmony to the mind. Harmony is health, and health is virtue; i.e. real, permanent health. When at leisure, seek society, especially that of chaste and generous women.

6. Rise early in the morning; and never fail, if you are able, to be out. Take the open air; if it be possible, exercise in it regularly, and even powerfully, so as to throw the blood to the extremities of the system. This will relieve you of cold feet, which your habit almost invariably induces, because of its excessive drainage of the vital fluids. But your exercise should be in the open air. Dancing, in heated rooms, is generally worse than useless.

7. Use water in bathing the entire form—particularly the region of the kidneys. Also bathe the back brain thoroughly, in case there is much heat or inflammation in the lobe of Amativeness, and keep the hair thinned.

There are other conditions appropriate to different cases, the necessity of which you may be safely left to discover, if you observe the FIRST. If you are in earnest, and have a deep sense of the blighting effects of this unmanly practice, tending as it does to destroy all bodily and mental efficiency—ending in death, or in complete idiocy or insanity, not to speak of the great WRONG and INJUSTICE you do to yourself and your race—you will rise in the strength of your native manhood, and shake off so degrading a habit—bidding it depart forever!

Do not expect, after years perhaps, of sexual abuse, to overcome without effort. Victory or death! should be your spirit; for such it will be; either you must go down the opening whirlpool, or else command every power to the rescue! If you cannot deliver yourself now, how can you do so when the current has greatly increased? If you have so long perverted your amative instinct that you cannot prevent involuntary seminal discharges, your case is indeed a sad one. But do not despair. You can at least WILL to abstain totally from this practice, and thus robe your SOUL in purity until you finally conquer. But you must, by all means, avoid late suppers, and the whole catalogue of excitants.


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