First, let’s get one thing straight: There is literally zero scientific evidence to support the theory that masturbating too much could lead to blindness. Multiple researchers have reported on people who masturbated four times a day or so for years and suffered no physical consequences. So where did this treasonous rumor originate? In the depths of Hell? Inside a Mormon compound in Utah? A whisper from God? Not exactly. The myth’s origins go back at least as far as Ancient Greece, with Aristotle himself remarking on how the region around the eyes was the region of the head “most fruitful of semen.
These beliefs were supported, in part, by “generally recognized effects upon the eyes of sexual indulgence and to practices which imply that seed comes from a liquid in the region of the eyes.
But while Aristotle may have been the first to hint at a connection between poor vision and shaking hands with the one-eyed milkman, he wasn’t the foremost purveyor of the wank-yourself-blind myth. In 1712, Dutch theologian Balthasar Bekker published a monograph with the succinct and catchy title, “Onania, or the Heinous Sin of Self-Pollution, And All Its Frightful Consequences, In Both Sexes, Considered, with Spiritual and Physical Advice To Those Who Have Already Injured Themselves By This Abominable Practice.
In it, he claimed that masturbation leads to “disturbances of the stomach and digestion, loss of appetite or ravenous hunger, vomiting, nausea, weakening of the organs of breathing, coughing, hoarseness, paralysis, weakening of the organ of generation to the point of impotence, lack of libido, back pain, disorders of the eye and ear, total diminution of bodily powers, paleness, thinness, pimples on the face, decline of intellectual powers, loss of memory, attacks of rage, madness, idiocy, epilepsy, fever and finally suicide.