I think I may have stumbled on the origin of the "catching VD from a toilet" myth!

Or, if not the origin, at least a volumey text where it’s reported to laypeople as medical fact.

I’m having a blast reading a dusty old copy of The Hygiene of Marriage, written by one Mr. Millard S. Everett, Ph.D. in 1932. There’s some wonderful sections in support of eugenics, as well as a whopper of a chapter on homosexually as arrested sexual development, and conditioning techniques to get yourself over your fondness for the same sex.

Anyhow, I just found this part, on a section discussing “venereal disease”, specifically, gonorrhea:

So it seems that our parents and grandparents weren’t smoking too much dope - they really *were *told by trained professionals that they might have gotten crotch rot from a dirty toilet seat!

Stay tuned for further installments, including two chapters’ worth of material on the topic of contraception without a single bit of information on the methods of the day, effectiveness or side effects - because federal law prohibited publishing information about birth control that could be sold across state lines.

That was definitely propogated both then and earlier.

1910 http://books.google.com/books?id=B70TAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA283&dq=Gonorrhea+"toilet+seat"+date:1885-1933&lr=&num=30&as_brr=0

Wow. I love this stuff.

By the time I got to sex ed (late 80’s) it was so thoroughly debunked that it was simply scoffed at - never an indication that it was, at one time, actual medical theory. Makes me wonder what obviously true and sensible bits about our current medical knowledge will seem as silly and wrongheaded in 60 years.

BTW, do you know when “testosterone”,“estrogen” and “progesterone” were identified and named? He talks about “internal secretions” of both genders, but no mention of hormones by name. There was apparently some early HRT going on though, with “extracts of glands” given to women after a “pan-hysterectomy”. I can find oodles of information on the hormones as biological entities, but not on the history of their discovery or naming. You’re so good at the history of words!

Yeah, I’m good at the history, not so good at the spelling-- “propogated” as opposed to “propagated.” :slight_smile:

My dad always told me that the only people who catch VD from toilet seats are preachers.


I think you’ll get a better picture of these words and their early uses by using Wikipedia. While I can perhaps antedate the word by a year or two, their summaries are great.

Or deeply closeted homophobic Senators? :smiley:

WhyNot, you might be interested in this book:


Sexing the Body by Anne Fausto-Sterling. It was the main book for my intro to feminist theory class in college, so it does have an editorial bent, though. It does have some interesting information on when testosterone and estrogen were discovered, and how they were politicized.

Ah, but they left out with whom they were on that toilet!

So does the book recommend douching with Lysol?