clearing the clergymen

there are hazards to working at the gimcrack such as getting punched or scratched by an irate patient or putting your back out disposing of a very heavy continence pad. we try to adhere to oh&s standards as much as possible and this cuts down on work related injuries but some of our ancestors weren’t so lucky.

housemaid’s knee, miner’s nystagmus, weaver’s bottom, brickmaker’s anaemia, potter’s asthma, ironworker’s cataract, hatter’s disease, brassfounder’s ague, painter’s colic, grocer’s itch, galvanizer’s eczema, chimneysweep’s cancer and soldier’s heart were all common occupational hazards before the Workmen’s Compensation Act of 1906 was introduced.

and of course there was Clergyman’s Throat. “This was a slowly developing condition which, due to constant use of the voice, caused inflammation of the throat and impairment of speech. It was a condition shared with schoolteachers and street hawkers.”

but not everyone believed its cause was so benign. here is an extract from the writings of William Acton (1832)

abuse of the sexual organs has a perceptible effect in some cases upon the timbre of the voice. That sexual intercourse has the singular effect of producing dryness of the throat has long been known. Masturbation often repeated, or profuse nocturnal emissions, have the same effect ; and by excess this symptom, which at first is only temporary, may become permanent.

“When I began the practice of masturbation, at the age of 16, I was in the habit of exercising my voice regularly. After the act, the voice wanted tone, and there was a disagreeable feeling about the throat which made speaking a source of no pleasure to me. By and by, it became painful to speak after the act. This arose from a feeling as if a morbid matter was being secreted in the throat.

 A boy, fifteen years of age, was sent to me for an opinion as to his general state of health. He was small in stature, pale in face, with large ears, and prominent, thick lips. He spoke thickly, and was very dull of comprehension. His health, I was told, had been failing for some time. The throat was painful, the tonsils swollen, the articulation thick, and the words uttered with evident difficulty. His features irresistibly suggested vice and early sensuality. 

In reply to some searching questions, I learnt that the boy had masturbated himself at school three or four times a week for a long time; that the affection of the throat then became a prominent symptom, which I had no difficulty in referring at once to the excesses of which he had been guilty. I may add that, under proper treatment, this unpromising case recovered, and the youth is now able to pursue his studies with advantage, and in the holidays rides well across country.

Published in: on August 14, 2008 at 8:44 am  Comments (23)  

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23 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. And there I was, thinking my sore throat was due to an infection – maybe I should go and see the local nurse for assistance – – –

  2. Oh, so that’s why people used to keep on telling me to speak up and stop muttering.

  3. Aaaah. The back of throat bruising doesn’t help either.

  4. *sigh* I always liked the feeling of that bruise…

  5. [special hugs to nurse m]

  6. I am always struck in these things at the frequency with which young men and boys are supposed to indulge in this terrible vice. Three or four times a week at 15??? Surely they mean a day?

  7. Yip I always knew that Daddy bear was a bit of a wanker, “Who’s been eating my porridge” the pervert.

  8. [cough, cough….] So… [hrummmmmph, hoark…] Does this apply to the ladies as well? [hack, hack…]

  9. daisyfae, that reminds me… did you ever see that Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where Larry had a pubic hair caught in his throat?

  10. Nurse I can bruise…

    *swoon*

  11. Three or four times a week? Is that all!? What an amateur. No wonder his studies progressed.

  12. “When I began the practice of masturbation, at the age of 16…”

    Late bloomer! *snort*

    Honestly, there’s his problem. He practiced. And practiced. And practiced.

    I don’t practice masturbation. I perfected it decades ago. Now I just perform. LOL

  13. Ha! The “Sylvia Plath.”

  14. Here’s one you left off the diagram…
    http://tinyurl.com/6xkcd3
    kind of sad though. So glad I’m not a paramedic.

    ha! thanks idlelayabout – that’s a great link

  15. Until Freud, they blamed everything on self-abuse. After Freud, they blamed it on lack of sex. Neither was correct.

  16. How many women a year cripple themselves from injuries sustained from trying to perform the Mary Lou Retton in the shower? How many more women in wheelchairs must there be until that tiny American gymnast is brought to justice?

  17. @renal failure – ah, but those of us with rudimentary plumbing skills long ago installed the “hand held”. agree that many injuries could be prevented this way… perhaps a federal grant?

  18. renalfailure: is that the story behind “Crimson Paraplegic”?

    daisyfae: can I have a copy of your grant submission for our federal government too?

  19. I have to confess … I’ve only masturbated 3 times in my life. Once, more than forty years ago. Then twice yesterday. Damn you Corset Fridays!

  20. The graphic novel “Black Hole” features a young man who has a second mouth on his lower neck. Perhaps the author knew of your researched material.

  21. the image with the second mouth comes from an ad campaign. it’s for throat lozenges I think.

  22. Your blog has pretty much the most sustained level of weird ambiguity of any I have ever seen. Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t figure it out! Keep it up.

    Thanks for visiting mine and for your comments!

  23. you’re welcome 🙂


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