National Graham Cracker Day has a Sexual History

Today celebrates the flour-filled cracker and the interesting flavor and texture it brings to pies, cakes and a number of other dishes. Many, however, are unaware of the origins of this unassuming snack.


Believe it or not, graham crackers were invented to stop people from masturbating in the 1800s. A man named Sylvester Graham believed that human lust caused a wide number of diseases such as epilepsy and cholera and thus made it his mission to help others suppress sexual desire

Graham, a Presbyterian minister, claimed that masturbation "inflame[s] the brain more than natural arousal" and could result in insanity. According to him, the more immoral the sexual act, the more harm inflicted on the body and that the only way for people to dampen their sexual urges is to follow a strict diet completely free of meat, spices, condiments and fat.

He also promoted having a regular exercise regimen, taking cold baths, sleeping on hard mattresses with the windows open and avoiding alcohol and tobacco as some of the ways to get rid of carnal urges.

Reverend Sylvester Grahams diet was vegetarian and also required abstaining from alcohol, tobacco, and refined white flour. His graham crackers were made with graham flour, a coarsely ground and unsifted whole-wheat flour. The flour is brown and slightly nutty and sweet, and Graham used it to make graham bread and graham crackers. The crackers were biscuit-like and somewhat bland, as they didn't include any spices or sugar.