It's US Patent 745,264. The patent, filed May 29, 1903, by one Albert V. Todd, is for a device designed to prevent masturbation and nocturnal emissions. But before we explain any further, let's pause for a moment to give our more squeamish male readers the opportunity to run screaming from the room.
Are they gone? Okay then. This device works by punishing the erect penis (and by default, the owner of said errant penis). It features "a lockable belt with a tube for inserting the penis." If a penis were to be so uppity as to try to rise while its pious owner was innocently sleeping, the device would employ spikes, an alarm bell, and an electric shock to get things back under control. (What made Albert V. Todd think he needed all three of these? Wouldn't one have sufficed? And an electric shock? What the hell?!) If boner control was his goal--in which case, I do have to wonder about the happiness of Mrs. Albert V. Todd--I suspect the job could have been done far more gently. Perhaps someone like that "The number you have reached is no longer in service" telephone lady could have recorded a quiet reminder like, "Attention. Your sinful penis is rising. Please make a note of it."
It wasn't always considered such a bad thing to enjoy one's own company, so to speak. Throughout
much of history, masturbation had a pretty decent rep. The ancient Greeks approved of stoking one's own fire, considering it a healthy outlet for both men and women. In Egypt, the god Atum was thought to have brought forth the universe by ejaculating during what must have been quite an interesting session of beating off. ("Atum! You're still in the bathroom? What are you doing in there, young man?")
In 1700s American, self-love fell into disfavor when an influential pamphlet made the rounds of the medical community with the message that semen held the life force and, as such, should not be squandered in the handkerchiefs of the day. Later, the prevailing wisdom was that masturbation caused a host of other ills as well. In Daniel Hack Turke's 1892 A Dictionary of Psychological Medicine, he described a habitual masturbator thusly:
The face becomes pale and pasty, and the eye lusterless. The man loses all spontaneity and cheerfulness, all manliness and self-reliance. He cannot look you in the face because he is haunted by the consciousness of a dirty secret which he must always conceal and always dreads that you may discover. He shuns society, and has no intimate friends, does not dare to marry, and becomes a timid, hypersensitive, self-centered, hypochondriac."Young masturbators needed to be saved lest they too become pale and pasty in the face. According to Mary Roach in Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex (see also: In Bed With Married Women's Smutty Little Book Club), "Little hands were tied to headboards, and trousers fashioned without pockets. Hobbyhorses were taken away, and climbing ropes removed from school gymnasiums." In his 1914 book, Scouting for Boys: A Handbook for Instruction in Good Citizenship, scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell urges boys stricken with the forbidden urge to literally run away from temptation until presumably the boy would be so physically exhausted he would no longer be able to lift a (mischievous) finger.
Masturbation still has its enemies. This article, Freedom From Masturbation, offers guilty onanists (those who jack-off) a religious approach to stopping, including specific anti-monkey-spanking prayers to recite and the advice to "pray intermittently in tongues as the Lord leads you."
I will leave you with this link I found today for a web site called World Wide Wank. (Meanwhile, the search history on my computer grows more embarrassing by the day...) I bring it to your attention for its Random Masturbation Synonym Generation which contains over 150,000 masturbation euphemisms. I pressed it twice and got "wrestling the corn" and "punching Stonehenge." For me, thinking about it as "wresting the corn" is an effective enough anti-masturbation technique, but if it doesn't work, perhaps a long long run will be in order.