Victorian era folks tended to believe that masturbation and nocturnal emissions could have devastating effects on the body, including blindness and retardation.
Now, I understand that such old wives tales have a way of surviving, even among educated people. But what I don't understand is why they didn't demand more proof of the "masturbation will destroy you" thing before putting strapping anti-boner spikes to their dongs.
That's right, to combat the growing problem of unnecessary erections many inventors worked feverishly to devise contraptions that could effectively neutralize wang swelling. The Spermatorrhea Ring was comprised of a flexible metal band that comfortably accommodates an average sized penis.
So when, say, a particularly foxy lady strolled past and the male mind rejoiced at the prospect of a chance sexual encounter, his penis would swell and draw ever closer to the spikes along the border of the ring. So it gave you enough time to run your hand through a meat grinder, or perhaps saw off a foot in an attempt to distract your brain with something -- anything -- that will make your boner just go away before it was impaled by spikes.