Image of two men kissingHomosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook compiled by Rictor Norton

Sodomites and Venereal Disease, 1774

[Venereal disease] is the consequence of wenching, and the abuse of the gifts of nature; but there are other causes of infection, namely, from debaucheries, of the most heinous, unnatural, and diabolical nature. Sum up all the vices which human ideas can possibly conceive of Satan, and they are all comprised in that unnatural monster, and scandal to human nature, a Sodomite. What a deplorable wretch! However, I have an effectual remedy in reserve, for this poor devil, before I close the book; we will therefore proceed to the chain of our subject.

The sodomites have at times made it their plea, that they were not subject to the venereal disease; but they have been grievously mistaken; for of all infections, theirs is the most shocking, and the most obstinate kind of any; and as to the catamites, they have at times exhibited most horrible spectacles. I am ashamed to [p.94] describe the ideas, I have of such an unnatural and horrid act; nor can I conceive, what can induce these monsters to a passion, for such a filthy pleasure. Be this as it may; the intestinum rectum abounds with mucous glands, particularly about the anus; and these glands are frequiently somewhat disordered, according as the excrements are loaded with acrimonious humours; but in particular the haemorrhoids, whether the fluentes, or coecae, are ailments, whose humours have a peculiar acrimony, and likewise more or less infectious; so that in this part, besides the natural infirmities, that it is subject to, if we add the violent friction in this diabolical act, we need not wonder, that the most pernicious virus may become generated. Nay, if we should even object to the production of a venereal virus from excess of venery the natural way, from this now mentioned, it cannot be objected to; and that the first infection has been owing to this crime, and that of copulation with brutes, many judicious authors have (and with much propriety) advanced.

How far however I have reasoned, and how justly, I leave to the judgment of the experienced read; who, I apprehend, (if prejudice is laid aside) will coincide with my opinion. There are various other causes, by which a venereal virus may be generated; which will, however, appear gradually in the series of our examination. I shall therefore, now proceed to an inquiry into the nature of this subtile and pernicious poison. . . . [p.95]

SOURCE: N. D. Falck, MD, A Treatise on the Venereal Disease, Second Edition, London, 1774.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Sodomites and Venereal Disease, 1784", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 14 May 2010 <>.

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