“Le Livre Sans Titre”, the Book from 1830 that Warns You of the “Fatal Consequences” of Masturbation and Certain Death at 17

Back in the medieval days, when science and superstition were not entirely distinguishable from each other among the masses, conversations about sexuality or any related topic were met with disapproval and criticism. Many even went as far as to invent devices such as chastity belts that could control and discourage someone from indulging in acts of self pleasure, or rather self-abuse or onanism, while others warned of medical or religious repercussions. One such warning comes from an 1830 book that gives detailed descriptions accompanied by colored hand-drawn illustrations of the progressive physical, as well as moral, deterioration.

Named Le Livre Sans Titre or The Book without a Title, the book illustrates the steady decline of the youth in question which, after much “suffering and pain”, results in death at the young age of 17. 

Cover Pages of Le Vivre Sans Titre
Image Source: dittrick

People, including the medical and scientific professionals, of the middle ages held many strange beliefs regarding human sexuality. Le Livre Sans Titre isn’t the first book to address people’s “concerns” masturbation. For example, an anonymously written book known as Onania first distributed in London in 1716 calls it “heinous crime” of “self-pollution” and warns of consequences including impotence, gonorrhea, epilepsy and wasting of faculties. Another medical book published in 1760 called L’Onanisme by Samuel-Auguste Tissot claimed that semen is an essential body oil and that wasting it through masturbation would result in “reduction of strength, memory and even reason, blurred vision, all nervous disorders, all types of gout and rheumatism”, etc., and the list goes on.

Here are the translations for the Le Livre Sans Titre’s text describing the young man’s progressive decline.

He was young and handsome… His mother’s fond hope. He became corrupted! Soon his crime makes him old before his time. His back becomes hunched.

Handsome Youth Starts to Hunch His Back
Image Source: dittrick

A devouring fire burns up his entrails; he suffers from horrible stomach pains. See his eyes once so pure, so brilliant: their gleam is gone! A band of fire surrounds them.

Stomach Pains and Fiery Bands Around Eyes
Image Source: dittrick

He can no longer walk; his legs give way. Dreadful dreams disturb his rest; he cannot sleep.

Weak Legs and Lack of Sleep
Image Source: dittrick

His teeth become rotten and fall out. His chest is burning up. He coughs up blood…

Rotten Teeth and Bloody Cough
Image Source: dittrick

His hair once so beautiful is falling out like an old man’s; early in life he is becoming bald. He is hungry and wants to eat; no food will stay in his stomach.

Balding and Loss of Appetite
Image Source: dittrick

His chest is buckling. He vomits blood. His entire body is covered with pustules, he is a horrible sight!

Blood Vomit and Pustles
Image Source: dittrick

A slow fever consumes him. He languishes; his entire body is burning up. His body is becoming completely stiff! His limbs stop moving.

Fever and Stiff Limbs
Image Source: dittrick

He raves; he stiffens in anticipation of coming death. At the age of 17, he expires in horrible torments.

Physical Decline and Death of the Youth
Image Source: dittrick
[sources: wikipedia, dittrick.blogspot.in]
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