Venereal Disease in Catamites

. . . whatever has been said of Contagion arising from the natural use of the Woman, may be applied to the vile exercise of unnatural lust, in which case both the agent and patient, as either of 'em shall be infected with the Disease, may with the like celerity communicate it to the other as in the natural way, or indeed in a much worse manner, as we shall shew hereafter. [p.142] . . .

I never observed myself, or did I ever meet with one that ever observed Buboes upon catamites which could certainly be determined to arise from the infection just contracted by the unnatural use of venery. For I do not imagine, that there are any catamites who are so fond of playing the pathic, that they never attempt to play the agent; but it is enough to have once played the virile part to make it matter of doubt whence the Bubo arises, if it shall follow this action.

. . . I scarcely believe, that the Buboes which are formed in catamites, if such do ever proceed from unnatural venery, fall upon the inguinal glands to which parts the limph is never carried, or at least in exceeding small quantities, from the extremity of the rectum and the neighbouring parts of the anus but they will rather arise in those limphatic glands which are situated in the cavity of the abdomen, near the division of the descending aorta, to which glands the limph of these parts is carried, and this perhaps is the occasion that Buboes of this kind are never or very rarely produced, because as these glands are situated in the cavity of the abdomen, the heat of the neighbouring parts resists the inspissation of the limph, as was just now observed. But let not these wretches congratulate themselves upon this account, since besides many very grievous disorders that are peculiar to their filthy vice, of which see below Chap. X. they are intitled to Buboes of as bad, if not of a worse kind that inguinal Buboes, for it frequently happens in them, that the limph that returns from the extremity of the rectum, and the parts near the anus, being inspissated by the poisonous particles exhaling from the virulent semen, enlarges, distends, and swells the limphatic glands, which are very small, but situated in great numbers in the fat about the podex; whence arises a kind of an annuilar Bubo, with which the podex is encircled, attended with heat, redness, hardness, and excessive pain . . . [p.378]

Experience teaches us, that the phimosis, paraphimosis, and are most apt to happen mentulatis, and expecially if they have engaged with an infected Woman, who was young or very tight: but most frequently of all to those who practice unnatural venery. And truly the greater force the prepuce and glans suffer by friction, the more will they be subject to virulent inflammation, and yield so much the easier to the transuding limph. [p.425] . . .

But Women who are unmarried, and who are therefore ashamed to own their crime, are very rarely ingenuous enough to confess that they are infected with the Venereal poison; nay they are rather audacious enough to endeavour to impose upon us this morbid tightness of the vagina, contracted by impure venery, as a mark of their virginity and pure chastity. But it is an easy matter to detect such impudence, especially in those who have sacrificed frequently to Venus, in whom the labia vulvae, and nymphae, are flabby, soft, and pendulous; the smooth, and polish'd; lastly, the internal part of the vagina, beyond the first entrance, which is straitened by the disease, is open, wide, smooth, when on the contrary, in those who have never known man, its capacity is narrow and full of wrinkles.

In the same manner also catamites frequently pretend that the praeternatural straitness of the podex, which [p.443] they owe to unnatural Venery, is occasioned by the piles. But the falshood is plain from hence, because a straitness of this kind can scarcely ever be brought on by the piles; but chiefly, because this straitness in pathics, who are poxed, is constantly attended with fici, mariscae, cristae, and other excrescences of the anus, which sufficiently denote the true cause of the disorder.

Callous, phymata, and of the pudenda are esteemed to be of very small moment, as long as they are small, moveable, and but few in number; but on the contrary, if they are inconvenient from their number, size, or hardness, they straiten the prepuce or entrance to the vagina, and obstruct the use of venery.

It is bad, if the phymata or chords begin secretly to degenerate into a cancerous nature; but worst of all, if they are actually become cancerous, since a confirmed cancer can only be restrained with the knife or actual cautery.

As long as the cancerous phymata remain moveable, and can be taken out by the roots with the knife, there remain hopes of safety, more or less certain, in proportion to the degree and manner of the operation that is necessary for their extirpation; but if their situation or adhesion to the neighbouring parts is such, that they cannot admit of extirpation, then the Patient must by degrees suffer a miserable and inevitable death.

In Women and Catamites cancerous phymata are not so common as in Men, as we have seen above, but they are attended with greater danger in them, because lying deeper, the operation is rendered more difficult; nor are they so easy to be come at by medicines. [p.444] . . .

. . . it appears that legitimate cristae generally but not always argue the person to be poxed, or to have been guilty of unnatural venery.

Round the anus there appear several vesicles, or if you had rather call them so, lacunae, which are appointed by nature to secrete a fatty, viscid, sebaceous humour, to lubricate the podex. From the enlargement or tumour of these vesicles there sometimes arise in that part of the skin, where they are situated, various globular granulated excrescences which grow to the anus; small, and like friga or mora, if the vesicles are few qand not much enlarged; but larger, and resembling fici or mariscae, if the vessels are many, and tumour large.

But these vessels are hence swelled and enlarged, because the humour which they contain, is so inspissated by the mixture of the Venereal infection, that it is forced to stagnate in its receptacles, by degrees to dilate them, and to retard and obstruct the return of the circumfluent limph; whence the tumour and accretion of the vesicles, till they rise above the level of the skin.

But this humour may be infected by the Venereal poison, either by the blood itself when that is fist infected, whose disorders the sebaceous humour, which is secreted from it, partakes of; or from the virulent semen, which dripped from the anus, frequently bedaubes the neighbouring parts of the podex in those, who give themselves up to unnatural lust.

Hence it appears that mora, fraga, fici, mariscae always argue the Pox, but not always unnatural venery.

Rhagades happen either from too great straining, when they are torn, or from erosion, when the interstices of the rugae ani are ulcerated: by straining, either from the violent excretion of hard faeces, or from the unnatural patience of catamites; but fromm erosion, either by the virulent seminal fluid that distils from the anus in pathics, or from the acrimony of the juices, which are discharged from flowing, or suppurated piles, or from the cavity of the intestines in a dysentery, diarrhoea, [p.472] or hypercatharsis, &c. and which stick between the folds of the anus. Hence therefore it apepars, that rhagades ani sometimes arise from the Pox, or unnatural venery, but most frequently from neither cause, but from a slighter disorder.

It is very irksome, so frequently to repeat such horrid nastiness, but the end for which this work was wrote, would by no means suffer me to stifle a cause, which to the great scandal of mankind, experience teaches us to be the too true, and too frequent cause of Veneral disease. Nay honesty itself seemed to require that I should frequently inculcate this cause, that those, whose liver is fired with so mad a lust, being admonished, may at last grow wise; and if they are neither to be recalled by a sense of what is natural, nor to be terrified by the judgments of God, at least being made certain of the evils that arise from this filthy vice, they may at length turn from it. [p.473]

SOURCE: A Treatise of the Venereal Disease, Written originally in Latin by John Astruc, And now translated into English by William Barrowby, London, 1737 (2 vols).

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Venereal Disease in Catamites," Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook. 8 October 2008 <>.

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