Pierre Humbert, Jérôme Palazzolo

A Short History of Masturbation Publication date : April 17, 2009

Pierre Humbert is a general practitioner.
Jérôme Palazzolo is a psychiatrist and the author of numerous works for the general reader on psychology, including Coachez votre vie (2007).

A physician and a psychiatrist trace the medical and psychological history of masturbation, and examine the following questions: What do we know about social mores and practices through the ages? Why did masturbation, formerly accepted, benignly or mockingly, come to be regarded in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as a mental and physical health hazard? What were the repercussions of this alarmist attitude? What is the place of masturbation in sexuality today? What is the practice of masturbation in foetuses, children, adolescents and adults?
The subject of masturbation is not as frivolous as it appears, since certain arguments have the power of influencing our most private beliefs and behaviours. But in the twenty-first century as taboos are shed, it seems we can finally talk freely about masturbation, unhindered by the shackles of morality or social inhibitions.
Have repressive attitudes really disappeared? The question remains, since received ideas have a tendency to persist.

This historical approach to a private, personal issue contributes to the evolution and the liberation of sexual and social mores.