The biblical story of Onan led to a belief among Christians that masturbation was a [[sin]]ful thing. (Although the story most likely talks of coitus interruptus and not of masturbation.) Masturbation was also called '''onanism''' in reference to that story.
In 1758, the Swiss doctor [[Samuel Auguste Tissot]] claimed that masturbation was "more dreadful than smallpox" because it depleted the body of sperm "which provided vital energies". In the following decades, more and more physicians and scholars joined the view that masturbation was a highly dangerous practice, leading to all kinds of illnesses and possibly death or a permanent place in a lunatic asylum.
This led to a society that called masturbation "'''self- abuse'''" and tried to prevent their [[child]] ren from masturbating by all means. This included, naturally, strict instruction to never touch themselves in the "unmentionable" places and [[ punishment]] if they were caught doing so (often including nocturnal emissions (wet dreams) that were thought of belonging the same category, although they happen involuntarily and in the ''absence'' of regular ejaculation).
There was also the thought that prevention was better than punishment. For this purpose, various anti-masturbation devices were invented that either involved the cause of [[pain]] in case of a penis erection (spiked rings etc.), or were similar in design to [[chastity belt]]s, preventing the touching of the genitals.