Becklard’s Physiology, or the Quaint Backwardness of 1850s Medicine – Part Eight

Chapter 9. Once again, masturbation is bad. It will make you sick and insane. Help the children by talking to them about it, and giving them this book. Indulge in a little blood-letting and cold baths. Avoid down beds, hot clothing, and exciting fiction. We’ll revisit this again later, I’m sure.

Chapter 10. Women differ from men, not just in the sexual organs, but in everything. According to “science,” women do not possess as much intellect, but understand things more quickly than men. They also have more sensibility, but do not “receive such lasting impressions.” Which means, what, exactly? Memory?

Much assistance is generally not necessary during delivery, but if matters become complicated, one should not trust to the midwife, as she has not studied anatomy, and this could be fatal. Better to enlist an experienced accoucher instead, one perhaps from a poor district, as he will have plenty of experience in deliveries. Because poor people breed like rabbits, you understand.

At this time period, doctors and science still differed on whether the female contributed anything during reproduction. Becklard believed that both men and women contributed on equal portion, and that the child resulting from this union would most resemble the parent who was more “vigorous” at the time of conception.

The belief was that the semen entered the uterus through suction, which makes me think of a vaginal straw, or something. He repeats his assertion, once again (this makes three) about women being unable to conceive from a rape.

Twins were only possible in women less intellectual, with strong erotic drive. I suppose that’s the only way double suction could occur! Some medical men were positing that there must be more than one ovum to account for twins, but Becklard finds this to be untrue.

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1 Comment

Filed under medical books

One response to “Becklard’s Physiology, or the Quaint Backwardness of 1850s Medicine – Part Eight

  1. symptomrecital

    The “vaginal straw” comment put some freakish imagery in my head. I love your bloggy ways, dear.

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