Masturbation was 'an avoided but important subject' when the Reverend J. Berry decided to publish his private lecture on the subject in 1888. The lecture was delivered to over 1,000 teenagers and young men at the Wesley Church in Wellington. Masturbation was seen as even more sinful than 'carnal contact with a fallen woman', and much more devastating in its effects. According to Berry, it was the source of sleepless nights, 'filthy dreams and uncontrollable emissions' as well as memory loss, possible insanity, self-disgust and shame. Berry asserted that men who masturbated were 'fallen men' who made themselves unfit for marriage, but, like fallen women, they could repent and be saved.
Te whakamahi i tēnei tūemi
Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: Joseph Berry, Private lecture to young men upon an avoided but important subject. Wellington: Edwards & Co, 1888 (B-K 936)
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