In the late 19th century, strange adverts started appearing in Perth newspapers. ‘Electro-galvanic suspensory belts’ were on sale, guaranteed to cure all ‘nervous weaknesses’.
To understand this oddity in the history of quack medicine, it is first necessary to know what causes nervous weaknesses in men. And by nervous weaknesses is meant a whole range of symptoms, but especially impotence.
The cause, you may be surprised to hear, was spermatorrhea, an excessive discharge of semen. Usually brought about through too much playing with yourself when a teenager.
In the 1800s, this imaginary disease caused such a panic that there were reported cases of suicide among men who suffered from it. Spermatorrhea could also damage your internal organs in a variety of horrible ways.
Fortunately, the solution was to wear a patented electric belt. This went round the patient’s waist, and a series of metal pieces would miraculously provide a continuous current of electricity, infusing ‘manly vigour’ into the generative organs.
Seriously. People bought shed loads of these things. And if the belt wasn’t for you, there were plenty of other products advertised to restore the vital forces of manhood.
Naturally, some doctors sneered at the sheer quackery of it all, but men were convinced that applying electricity to their manhood was the only possible solution to their problems.
Now, where can the Dodgy Perth team get one of these wonders?