If James hadn't linked to it in his blog I wouldn't have stumbled upon it. And I wouldn't be regretting my own inability to un-read texts. So, James, this is all YOUR fault!:
It is a fact that the large majority of boys acquire the habit of self-abuse at some time ...(From part two of "The Eugenic Marriage".)
Most boys acquire this habit from other boys, but as we have intimated it is possible to acquire it in what are termed innocent ways. Sometimes the sensation which leads to it is discovered by sliding down banisters; or it may be that climbing trees or poles first awakens the feeling. Very young children are sometimes taught the vice by depraved nurses. Local irritation, as has been stated, may necessitate itching and handling the parts and in this way the vice is begun. The results are the same ...
If the habit is persisted in, the muscular system suffers, — the muscles become weak and flabby; the patient develops weariness and languor and loses his mental and physical vigor. He is no longer forceful or energetic, his efficiency is impaired and as a consequence his nervous system begins to show signs of depleted strength. He cannot concentrate his thoughts, he falls behind in his studies, his mental effort is sluggish, he becomes diffident and shy, shuns society, loses confidence in himself, is morbid and emotional and may even think of suicide.
... He becomes shifty and suspicious and will not look you squarely in the face. A boy cannot become a slave to this habit without it affecting his mind. He invites debasing thoughts,—the old pure and clean method of thought and living no longer satisfy. His imagination even becomes corrupt and his moral nature and moral sense is perverted until he no longer seems to be able to tell the difference between right and wrong. ... In the end his will power is lost— even the effort to save himself is too feeble to succeed — he is a slave to the habit, his health and strength ruined.
I am posting this here because I feel the need to share the pain or point and mock or something. (Maybe it's time to re-read "Portnoy's Complaint"?)
Afterthought: clearly the author of this text believes that GURLS!!!1!! are immune to this practice. Except, one supposes, for the DEPRAVED NURSES.
Another afterthought: the language here reminds me of some of the more frenzied rhetoric around drug use in subsequent decades.
What current cultural ... practices ... are going to look this bizarre and/or quaint in a century's time? Leaving aside obvious political candidates (the war on drugs, the conservative obsession with tax cuts, American exceptionalism, etc), I hasten to add.