In the 18th and 19th century, masturbation was a severe sin for Judeo-Christian religion. However, due to the Great Awakening and religious revivals, it seemed to be counteracting the sin. John Harvey Kellogg was a man who was extremely uncomfortable with any form of sexual content. So much so, that he abstained from ever sleeping with his wife by sleeping in separate rooms and adopting all of their children. The physician thought such acts would be detrimental to physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. According to him, sex was bad, but touching yourself was even worse.

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He wrote about the harmful symptoms that can be caused by such actions which included, lack of development, bashfulness, boldness, acne, bad posture, and even fondness for spicy food. Oh, the horror! To prevent such harmful acts he recommended boys have wires threaded into the foreskin to prevent erection. Girls would receive an application of carbolic acid on the clitoris to burn when touched. Kellogg’s solution to sexual desires was a healthy diet. He believed that meat and other well-seasoned food increased the sexual desire amongst people. He believed plain foods like cereal and nuts (unsalted of course) could curb the craving for intimacy.

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After creating dietary innovations such as granola cereal and a yogurt enema machine (the latter of which never really catch on), he developed corn flakes. This grain breakfast cereal was intended to be used as a healthy, ready to eat, anti-masturbatory morning meal. Kellogg partnered with his brother, Will, to help sell the product. This turned out to be a bad idea, since his brother wanted to add sugar to make the meal more palatable. John would not accept this so they split and Will created Kellogg Company with sugar-induced corn flakes. The rest is history.