Skip To Content
  • Viral badge
  • WTF badge
  • lol badge

I Just Found Out Why Graham Crackers And Corn Flakes Were Invented And My Sex Life Will Never Be The Same


What comes to mind when you think of graham crackers?

Paramount Pictures

S'mores, perhaps?

What about corn flakes? What do you picture?


Eating breakfast before school?

Gaumont / Via

Or, maybe...MASTURBATION???

Whether you answered yes (???) or no to that last question, prepare to never look at a graham cracker or corn flake the same way again.


Flash black to the 1800s, when sex was basically viewed as the root of all evil. Back then, giving in to your sexual desires — especially masturbation — was believed to cause everything from headaches to epilepsy to actual insanity.

Paramount Pictures

In Searchlights on Health: Light on Dark Corners, a Victorian guide to purity, there are suggestions for "home treatment of the secret habit" (secret habit = masturbation = lol), such as keeping "the patient" engaged with interesting topics of the day, outdoor exercise, and a diet of brown bread, oatmeal, boiled wheat, and other plain foods.

Who helped propel this belief to widespread acceptance? None other than Reverend Sylvester Graham of Connecticut, who invented the graham cracker 🚨 as a way to prevent sexual urges 🚨.

Library of Congress / Via

Graham proclaimed that a person could become physically ill from sex, materialism, gluttony, and, most of all, masturbation, which, he stated during his many popular speeches, "inflames the brain more than natural arousal." To Graham, sex was the true destroyer of society.

Beginning in the 1830s, Graham launched a seemingly unstoppable movement against masturbation, preaching that a bland diet could curb sexual appetite (you know, like Atkins, but anti-wanking), which is why he made a snack as boring as never jerking off.

TV Land

And I really mean boring: Graham crackers weren't originally sweetened with honey or cinnamon, nor were they enjoyed with chocolate and marshmallow around a roaring campfire. They were stale pieces of cardboard made from unbleached wheat flour, wheat bran, and ground germ.

The graham cracker was the reverend's alternative to the "miserable trash" that was mass-produced bread, a food he believed should not only be baked at home by your mother (not at a filthy-ass bakery!!) but that was also ruining diets and, therefore, inciting inappropriate sexual urges.

He may sound like the actual worst (he was!), but he still gained thousands of devoted followers, who called themselves "Grahamites" and even wrote to Graham about how his diet had cured them of physical and mental illnesses.

But! Graham was actually mobbed in 1834 for attempting to lecture women on chastity, and later by angry bakers and butchers who felt he was hurting their businesses.


His popularity decreased by the late 1830s because — surprise — people realized how extreme his views were. He died in 1851, but not without inspiring a certain cereal-maker first.

Graham's anti-masturbation protégé? Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, y'all — the inventor of corn flakes.

Library of Congress / Via

A Michigan native, Kellogg was anti-sex, to say the least — he and his wife slept in separate bedrooms, never consummated their marriage, and subsequently adopted all of their children. He had even harder opinions on masturbation, if you can believe it.

In his seminal book Plain Facts for Old and Young: Embracing the Natural History and Hygiene of Organic Life, Kellogg recorded 39 symptoms a masturbator may experience, including defective development, bashfulness, stiff joints, fondness for spicy foods, acne, palpitations, and epilepsy.

Comedy Central


In the late 1800s, Kellogg also argued that a bland diet could prevent the abominable urge to "self-abuse," suggesting that one primarily eat grains, nuts, and cereal, including his very own concoction: corn flakes.

The WB

I know I said "anti-masturbation" before, but that was NOT a strong enough term for Kellogg. Need more proof?

Kellogg recommended in Plain Facts for Old and Young that, in addition to eating corn flakes, boys thread a silver wire through their foreskin to prevent erections and cause irritation, and that girls apply carbolic acid to the clitoris to burn it and discourage touching.


Kellogg's popularity waned over the years (though his cereal's certainly didn't), and despite his wacko opinions on sex and food, he actually lived to be 91 years old. He didn't die of anything scandalous, though. (You were hoping for chlamydia, weren't you?)

Moral of the story: The next time you make s'mores or pour yourself a wholesome bowl of corn flakes (if you can even do that after reading this), take a hot sec to appreciate how far we've actually come.

The CW

Like, really far.

Now, go indulge in your ~secret habit~ as a big "fuck you" to Graham and Kellogg.

DreamWorks Pictures

Just try to block out the images of breakfast cereal and campfire treats. 😬