100 years ago: Neurasthenia and fear of impotence. Practitioner April 2021;265(1847):30

100 years ago: Neurasthenia and fear of impotence

22 Apr 2021Registered users

It is not rare to see a confirmed belief, or a vague dread of impotence develop in men who are about to marry. It may occur in those who have masturbated in early life, or who have been subject to frequent seminal emissions, or any form of previous venereal disease may give rise to it. The fear or idea at first worries, then depresses, and thus alone or combined, as it frequently is, with an undue exaggeration of the responsibilities of the step to be taken, may produce a definite neurasthenic state. In others, the dread of impotence leads to delusions of non-existent disease, and thus produces a state of hypochondria, from which a neurasthenia may develop later. It is these hypochondriacal cases – but the same may occur in neurasthenia that develops along the same lines – that become so depressed and feel so incapable of the duties they are about to undertake, that either commit suicide or abscond on the eve of marriage.

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