Sexual Vigor and the Rise of Technology

I found interesting the correspondence between technology and Victorian Era cultural norms. The Christian notion associating masturbation with sin and marring the soul changed into a scientific notion associating masturbation with loss of life force in men. This resulted during the time between the 19th and 20th century, where technological discoveries had been increasing at an exponential rate. Interestingly, psychology served as the connection between technology and sex. Men were said to suffer from “psychic impotence” (de la Pena, 238). In essence, the changing world of the bedroom, a world where women came to demand mutual satisfaction, brought about nervous disorders in men, preventing them from copulating successfully. While today we might see the electric belt as ineffective and silly, the basic premise is mirrored in today’s Viagra and Enzyte for men. These two products serve to “enhance” men’s vigor in the bedroom. In essence, men still must remain dominant and exceptional, as America is envisioned culturally and politically. Electricity of the past and chemicals of today both serve to give men an edge in the changing world of the bedroom.


One thought on “Sexual Vigor and the Rise of Technology

  1. It’s funny how you stated this. The sales part is what stuck out to me. Maybe in the past illnesses were made up to sell these “quick cures, namely electric belts,” just as today, the pharmaceutical companies sell drugs to people of all ages. There is not a wonder why almost everyone in the US now has some sort of physical or mental illness. I read this article
    and I am not sure whether there is more autism today for some reason or it really just is the fact that we are more aware of it. The sexual desires back then were a very prominent sin in culture, just as autism is a very prominent illness in our culture. I feel that drugs, cures, and the rise of illnesses is due to culture shift, not that there is more or it is necessarily bad. What stands out in culture is what big companies are focused on at a given time.


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