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1. For a long time, a lot of cultures believed that women could be cursed with fanged vaginas.

Various versions of the myth of the “vagina dentata” have appeared everywhere from Chile to South Africa to Japan and Greece. Some cultures blamed curses, others blamed a variety of divine causes.

2. Scientists once believed that there was a very tiny little man inside of each sperm cell.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, scientists believed in the popular theory of preformationism, which posited the idea that each sperm contained a miniature individual inside of it.

3. People also used to believe that masturbation was the cause of most unexplained illnesses…

In the 18th century, many so-called doctors believed that masturbation was to blame for a number of illnesses like blindness, epilepsy, fainting, memory loss and even sudden growth spurts in children.

4. As well as underdeveloped breasts!

In1875, Dr. John Cowan wrote in The Science of New Life that women who masturbated regularly probably had glandular developmental problems, and one of the side effects of this condition was poor breast development.

5. Breakfast cereal was invented, amongst many reasons, to help people control the urge to masturbate.

John Harvey Kellogg (yes, THAT Kellogg) was a fervent anti-masturbation activist, and anti-sex in general. He even wrote a book listing 39 collateral effects caused by masturbation.

To him, certain types of food, like meat, induced the increase in sexual desire, while other foods, like cereals, served to reduce this compulsion. That’s how he came to the conclusion that the secret to a healthier life would be to focus on diet, and throughout his life, he developed a whole array of different breakfast cereals.

6. “Hysteria,” which was considered to be a mental disturbance exclusive to women up until the 1950s’, was supposedly caused by the uterus trying to move around the body.

Per recommendations from Hippocrates in 460 B. C., the condition could be taken care of by snorting on a little bottle filled with aromatic salts. The pungent odor of the salts would be able to make the uterus return to its rightful place.

7. Hysteria continued to be considered a legitimate condition for many years, and one of its many treatments included “physician-assisted” masturbation…which led to the invention of the vibrator.

Doctors in the 19th century found that massaging the genitals of sexually frustrated women was effective — but their hands ended up cramping up! Enter: Mechanical substitutes and eventually, the first electric vibrator.

8. It was also once believed that women shouldn’t work in the food industry or be around certain kinds of products while menstruating, because their blood was supposedly toxic.

In 1919, Dr. Bela Schick presented Austria with the concept of the menotoxin, a toxic substance found in menstrual blood. For this reason, the doctor believed, women who are menstruating shouldn’t work with bread dough, beer, wine or even deal with flowers, since the toxin would completely ruin these products.

9. People also used to believe that a woman could only get pregnant if the sex was consensual.

This myth can be found in legal texts from the 16th century. But even in the 19th century, Dr. Samuel Farr’s book on medical jurisprudence touched on these very ideas: “Without lustful excitement or the experiencing of pleasure during the carnal act, pregnancy of any sort cannot result. So, if a rape has indeed taken place, the woman cannot get pregnant.”

10. Stress caused by studying could also harm the uterus, supposedly.

In the 19th century, a member of the Harvard University of Medicine, Henry H. Clark, wrote that women couldn’t deal with the same knowledge as men, and that if they attempted to educate themselves, they could stress their brains out and “disable their uteri.”

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11. And, to round out this list of totally wild myths, here’s one last one: scientists once believed that menopause happens because men didn’t find older women attractive.

In 2013, the biologist Rama Singh, together with Richard Morton and Jonathan Stone of McMaster University in Canada became famous for all the wrong reasons when they published a study that posited that older women became infertile at menopause because men no longer found them attractive.

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