Καί τινι φίλῳ προελομένῳ παρὰ τὸ πρόσθεν ἔθος ἀποσχέσθαι τελέως ἀφροδισίων εἰς ὄγκον ἐπεδίδω τὸ αἰδοῖον ἐμφυσώμενον, ὡς ἀναγκασθῆναι ἀνακοινώσασθαί μοι περὶ τοῦ συμπτώματος. ἔφη γὰρ θαυμάζειν, ὅπως τῶδε μὲν τῷ ἀθλητῇ ῥυσσὸν καὶ προσεσταλμένον ἐστὶ τὸ αἰδοῖον ἐκ τῆς εὐταξίας, ἑαυτῷ δ’ ἀφ’ οὗ τοῦτ’ ἐνεστήσατο, τοὐναντίον συμβαίνει. τότε μὲν οὖν αὐτῷ συνεβούλευσα τὸ ἠθροισμένον ἐκκρῖναι σπέρμα, τοῦ λοιποῦ δὲ καὶ θεαμάτων καὶ διηγήσεως καὶ μνήμης ἐπεγείρειν δυναμένης εἰς ἀφροδίσια παντάπασιν εἴργειν ἑαυτόν. ὅσοι δ’ εὐθὺς ἐξ ἀρχῆς ἢ ἀθλοῦντες ἢ φωνασκοῦντες ἄπειροι τῶν ἀφροδισίων διετέλεσαν, εἴρξαντες παντάπασιν ἑαυτοὺς ἁπάσης ἐννοίας τε καὶ φαντασίας τοιαύτης, ἰσχνὰ καὶ ῥυσσὰ τοῖς τῶν γερόντων ὁμοίως αὐτοῖς γίνεται τὰ αἰδοῖα. πρὸς γὰρ τοῖς ἄλλοις κᾀκεῖνο συμβαίνει τοῖς ἐν νέοτητι κατὰ τὸν πρῶτον χρόνον ἀφροδισίοις πολλοῖς χρησαμένοις, εὐρυνομένων τῶν ἐν τούτοις τοῖς τόποις ἀγγείων, εὔρουν τε γίγνεσθαι πρὸς αὐτὸ τὸ αἷμα καὶ τὴν ὀρεκτικὴν δύναμιν τῶν ἀφροδισίων αὐξάνεσθαι, κατὰ τὸν κοινὸν λόγον ἁπασῶν τῶν δυνάμεων, ὃν καὶ Πλάτων ἔγραψε, τὴν μὲν ἡσυχίαν ἐκλύειν λέγων, τὴν δ’ ἐν τοῖς οἰκείοις ἔργοις διατριβὴν αὐξάνειν τὴν ῥώμην. οὕτως μὲν οὖν καὶ οἱ τιτθοὶ ταῖς μὲν μηδέποτε κυησάσαις προσεσταλμένοι διαμένουσι, ταῖς δὲ μετὰ τὸ κυῆσαι θηλαζούσαις παιδία μέγιστοι γίγνονται, καὶ διαμένουσί γε γάλα παρέχοντες, ἄχρις ἂν θηλάζωσιν, παυομέναις δὲ τοῦ θηλάζειν τὰ παιδία καὶ ἡ τοῦ γάλακτος ἐν τοῖς τιτθοῖς γένεσις οὐ μετὰ πολὺ παύεται.
(Galenus, De Locis Affectis 8.450-452K)

A friend of mine who decided, contrary to his previous habit, to abstain completely from sex, saw his penis grow and swell to such an extent that he was forced to consult me on the matter. He said he was surprised that athletes had a shriveled, contracted member because of their temperance, whereas he, since he had adopted this regime, experienced the opposite. So I advised him to ejaculate the accumulated sperm, and from then on to avoid any spectacles, stories or memories whatsoever that might cause his arousal. With those who have been strangers to sexual pleasure from the start, be they athletes or singers, and who steer clear of all thoughts and phantasies of that kind, the penis grows thin and shriveled, similar to the genitals of old men; because, apart from other consequences, what happens to those who from the earliest days of their youth have had lots of sex, is that the blood vessels in those regions are extended, the blood flows more easily to the penis, and the desire for intercourse accumulates in force. The same thing happens to all faculties, as Plato too proclaimed when he wrote that rest weakens the body’s strength, while the exercise of its proper functions increases it. That’s why the chest of women who have never given birth remains flat and flaccid, whereas women who, having delivered, suckle their children, develop very large breasts which continue to provide milk for as long as they breastfeed, and stop producing it very soon after this period is concluded. (tr. David Bauwens)

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