Culture-Bound Syndromes: Dhat

Dhat syndrome, a term first introduced by N. Wig in 1960, is a culture-bound syndrome of India and its surrounding areas in which men believe they are physically or mentally ill because of the excessive loss of semen. This syndrome is most common among young men and is attributed to excessive masturbation, nocturnal emissions, or premarital or extramarital sexual activity.

The belief that semen is vital to both physical and spiritual health stems from the Hindu religion. Hindus believe that 40 meals create one drop of blood, 40 drops of blood create one drop of marrow, and 40 drops of marrow create one drop of semen. The implication of this process is that the loss of semen is detrimental to one's health. Although the idea that ...

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