What The Fuck Is This? is a new column examining terrifying medical instruments throughout history.

Back in Victoria-Era Britain, all the men were terrified of catching a made-up disease called spermatorrhoea. The disease—defined as “the excessive discharge of sperm caused by illicit or excessive sexual activity, especially masturbation,” by the Journal of the History of Sexuality—basically made you a nervous wreck, with symptoms including anxiety and lethargy and also death!

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The disease was reportedly “discovered” by Swiss doctor Samuel Auguste Tissot in 1758. He claimed that since semen were such an important energy carrier, masturbation and nocturnal emissions were fates even worse than smallpox.

And so little blooming Victorian boys and men had to stress out about a disease that they surely all had (today that disease is called being a person) because Victorian authorities loved to pathologize sex. Anyway, this disease was especially scary not because it would kill you (it wouldn’t), but because of its treatment: sleepovers with a jugum penis strapped to one’s jugum penis.

The tiny iron maiden is actually fairly simple: just a little steel clip with metal teeth designed to poke any erection until it de-erects.

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I don’t have a penis so I don’t know how that would feel. Would that be comfy? Like a little metal hug? Is anyone willing to try one out? Does this guy use one? I will take metallurgy! I will make you a jugum penis!


Contact the author at joanna@jezebel.com.

Image via YouTube.