Effect on the Character of Boys. After the Effects upon the Moral Nature, Those of the Nervous System Appear. The Spasm of the Nerves. The Mind Next to Suffer. The Visible Effects upon the Mind. Physical Effects Follow. Character of These Effects Stated.
After great changes have been effected in the boy's character, and the bright, frank, happy, and obedient boy has become the fretful, irritable, stolid, and reticent boy, and when he can no longer look people squarely and frankly in the face, but seeks to avoid meeting people, pulls his cap down so as to hide his eyes, and goes about with a shy and guilty bearing, then changes which are mental and physical may be confidently expected.
After the moral nature, the nervous system is the next to suffer. In no other portion of the human body are so large a number of nerves brought so closely together as in the reproductive system. In the act of masturbation, these nerves are wrought upon in such a manner as to produce most serious results. The pleasurable emotion with which the beginning is attended culminates in a spasm of the nerves, terminating for the time all pleasure, and leaving the nerves as wasted and depleted as the body of a person whose entire physical system has been brought under the influence of a spasm, or fit as it is called. You will easily understand how such violent shocks to these special nerves are communicated to the nerves throughout the entire body, and if such shocks are repeated, or long continued, the entire nervous system will eventually become shattered and ruined beyond all hope of complete recovery.
While the nerves are thus being ruined, the mind is also suffering. The bright boy that stood at the head of the class is gradually losing his power to comprehend and retain his lessons. His memory fails him. His mind begins to lack grasp and grip. He cannot, as formerly, take hold and hold fast. Gradually he loses his place and drops back toward the foot of his class. He slowly but surely ceases to be positive and self-reliant. he no longer has his accustomed pleasure in the vigorous romp, the hearty laugh, and good fellowship which characterize a boy with a vigorous mind and a strong body.
While these moral and mental changes are taking place, the physical effects do not stop with the nerves. The health gradually declines. The eyes lose their luster. The skin becomes sallow. The muscles become flabby. There is an unnatural languor. Every little effort is followed by weariness. Work becomes distasteful and irksome. He complains of pain in the back; of headache and dizziness. The hands becomes cold and clammy. The digestion becomes poor, the appetite fitful. The heart palpitates. He sits in a stooping position, becomes hollow-chested, and the entire body, instead of enlarging into a strong, manly frame, becomes wasted, and many signs give promise of early decline and death.