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Title: Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 6 - Sex in Relation to Society
Author: Ellis, Havelock, 1859-1939
Language: English
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VOLUME 6 (OF 6)***


   Sex in Relation to Society





In the previous five volumes of these _Studies_, I have dealt mainly with
the sexual impulse in relation to its object, leaving out of account the
external persons and the environmental influences which yet may powerfully
affect that impulse and its gratification. We cannot afford, however, to
pass unnoticed this relationship of the sexual impulse to third persons
and to the community at large with all its anciently established
traditions. We have to consider sex in relation to society.

In so doing, it will be possible to discuss more summarily than in
preceding volumes the manifold and important problems that are presented
to us. In considering the more special questions of sexual psychology we
entered a neglected field and it was necessary to expend an analytic care
and precision which at many points had never been expended before on these
questions. But when we reach the relationships of sex to society we have
for the most part no such neglect to encounter. The subject of every
chapter in the present volume could easily form, and often has formed, the
topic of a volume, and the literature of many of these subjects is already
extremely voluminous. It must therefore be our main object here not to
accumulate details but to place each subject by turn, as clearly and
succinctly as may be, in relation to those fundamental principles of
sexual psychology which--so far as the data at present admit--have been
set forth in the preceding volumes.

It may seem to some, indeed, that in this exposition I should have
confined myself to the present, and not included so wide a sweep of the
course of human history and the traditions of the race. It may especially
seem that I have laid too great a stress on the influence of Christianity
in moulding sexual ideals and establishing sexual institutions. That, I am
convinced, is an error. It is because it is so frequently made that the
movements of progress among us--movements that can never at any period of
social history cease--are by many so seriously misunderstood. We cannot
escape from our traditions. There never has been, and never can be, any
"age of reason." The most ardent co-called "free-thinker," who casts aside
as he imagines the authority of the Christian past, is still held by that
past. If its traditions are not absolutely in his blood, they are
ingrained in the texture of all the social institutions into which he was
born and they affect even his modes of thinking. The latest modifications
of our institutions are inevitably influenced by the past form of those
institutions. We cannot realize where we are, nor whither we are moving,
unless we know whence we came. We cannot understand the significance of
the changes around us, nor face them with cheerful confidence, unless we
are acquainted with the drift of the great movements that stir all
civilization in never-ending cycles.

In discussing sexual questions which are very largely matters of social
hygiene we shall thus still be preserving the psychological point of view.
Such a point of view in relation to these matters is not only legitimate
but necessary. Discussions of social hygiene that are purely medical or
purely juridical or purely moral or purely theological not only lead to
conclusions that are often entirely opposed to each other but they
obviously fail to possess complete applicability to the complex human
personality. The main task before us must be to ascertain what best
expresses, and what best satisfies, the totality of the impulses and ideas
of civilized men and women. So that while we must constantly bear in mind
medical, legal, and moral demands--which all correspond in some respects
to some individual or social need--the main thing is to satisfy the
demands of the whole human person.

It is necessary to emphasize this point of view because it would seem
that no error is more common among writers on the hygienic and moral
problems of sex than the neglect of the psychological standpoint. They may
take, for instance, the side of sexual restraint, or the side of sexual
unrestraint, but they fail to realize that so narrow a basis is inadequate
for the needs of complex human beings. From the wider psychological
standpoint we recognize that we have to conciliate opposing impulses that
are both alike founded on the human psychic organism.

In the preceding volumes of these _Studies_ I have sought to refrain from
the expression of any personal opinion and to maintain, so far as
possible, a strictly objective attitude. In this endeavor, I trust, I have
been successful if I may judge from the fact that I have received the
sympathy and approval of all kinds of people, not less of the
rationalistic free-thinker than of the orthodox believer, of those who
accept, as well as of those who reject, our most current standards of
morality. This is as it should be, for whatever our criteria of the worth
of feelings and of conduct, it must always be of use to us to know what
exactly are the feelings of people and how those feelings tend to affect
their conduct. In the present volume, however, where social traditions
necessarily come in for consideration and where we have to discuss the
growth of those traditions in the past and their probable evolution in the
future, I am not sanguine that the objectivity of my attitude will be
equally clear to the reader. I have here to set down not only what people
actually feel and do but what I think they are tending to feel and do.
That is a matter of estimation only, however widely and however cautiously
it is approached; it cannot be a matter of absolute demonstration. I trust
that those who have followed me in the past will bear with me still, even
if it is impossible for them always to accept the conclusions I have
myself reached.


Carbis Bay, Cornwall, England.




The Child's Right to Choose Its Ancestry--How This is Effected--The Mother
the Child's Supreme Parent--Motherhood and the Woman Movement--The Immense
Importance of Motherhood--Infant Mortality and Its Causes--The Chief Cause
in the Mother--The Need of Rest During Pregnancy--Frequency of Premature
Birth--The Function of the State--Recent Advance in Puericulture--The
Question of Coitus During Pregnancy--The Need of Rest During
Lactation--The Mother's Duty to Suckle Her Child--The Economic
Question--The Duty of the State--Recent Progress in the Protection of the
Mother--The Fallacy of State Nurseries.



Nurture Necessary as Well as Breed--Precocious Manifestations of the
Sexual Impulse--Are they to be Regarded as Normal?--The Sexual Play of
Children--The Emotion of Love in Childhood--Are Town Children More
Precocious Sexually Than Country Children?--Children's Ideas Concerning
the Origin of Babies--Need for Beginning the Sexual Education of Children
in Early Years--The Importance of Early Training in Responsibility--Evil
of the Old Doctrine of Silence in Matters of Sex--The Evil Magnified When
Applied to Girls--The Mother the Natural and Best Teacher--The Morbid
Influence of Artificial Mystery in Sex Matters--Books on Sexual
Enlightenment of the Young--Nature of the Mother's Task--Sexual Education
in the School--The Value of Botany--Zoölogy--Sexual Education After
Puberty--The Necessity of Counteracting Quack Literature--Danger of
Neglecting to Prepare for the First Onset of Menstruation--The Right
Attitude Towards Woman's Sexual Life--The Vital Necessity of the Hygiene
of Menstruation During Adolescence--Such Hygiene Compatible with the
Educational and Social Equality of the Sexes--The Invalidism of Women
Mainly Due to Hygienic Neglect--Good Influence of Physical Training on
Women and Bad Influence of Athletics--The Evils of Emotional
Suppression--Need of Teaching the Dignity of Sex--Influence of These
Factors on a Woman's Fate in Marriage--Lectures and Addresses on Sexual
Hygiene--The Doctor's Part in Sexual Education--Pubertal Initiation Into
the Ideal World--The Place of the Religious and Ethical Teacher--The
Initiation Rites of Savages Into Manhood and Womanhood--The Sexual
Influence of Literature--The Sexual Influence of Art.



The Greek Attitude Towards Nakedness--How the Romans Modified That
Attitude--The Influence of Christianity--Nakedness in Mediæval
Times--Evolution of the Horror of Nakedness--Concomitant Change in the
Conception of Nakedness--Prudery--The Romantic Movement--Rise of a New
Feeling in Regard to Nakedness--The Hygienic Aspect of Nakedness--How
Children May Be Accustomed to Nakedness--Nakedness Not Inimical to
Modesty--The Instinct of Physical Pride--The Value of Nakedness in
Education--The Æsthetic Value of Nakedness--The Human Body as One of the
Prime Tonics of Life--How Nakedness May Be Cultivated--The Moral Value of



The Conception of Sexual Love--The Attitude of Mediæval Asceticism--St.
Bernard and St. Odo of Cluny--The Ascetic Insistence on the Proximity of
the Sexual and Excretory Centres--Love as a Sacrament of Nature--The Idea
of the Impurity of Sex in Primitive Religions Generally--Theories of the
Origin of This Idea--The Anti-Ascetic Element in the Bible and Early
Christianity--Clement of Alexandria--St. Augustine's Attitude--The
Recognition of the Sacredness of the Body by Tertullian, Rufinus and
Athanasius--The Reformation--The Sexual Instinct Regarded as Beastly--The
Human Sexual Instinct Not Animal-like--Lust and Love--The Definition of
Love--Love and Names for Love Unknown in Some Parts of the World--Romantic
Love of Late Development in the White Race--The Mystery of Sexual
Desire--Whether Love is a Delusion--The Spiritual as Well as the Physical
Structure of the World in Part Built up on Sexual Love The Testimony of
Men of Intellect to the Supremacy of Love.



Chastity Essential to the Dignity of Love--The Eighteenth Century Revolt
Against the Ideal of Chastity--Unnatural Forms of Chastity--The
Psychological Basis of Asceticism--Asceticism and Chastity as Savage
Virtues--The Significance of Tahiti--Chastity Among Barbarous
Peoples--Chastity Among the Early Christians--Struggles of the Saints with
the Flesh--The Romance of Christian Chastity--Its Decay in Mediæval
Times--_Aucassin et Nicolette_ and the New Romance of Chaste Love--The
Unchastity of the Northern Barbarians--The Penitentials--Influence of the
Renaissance and the Reformation--The Revolt Against Virginity as a
Virtue--The Modern Conception of Chastity as a Virtue--The Influences That
Favor the Virtue of Chastity--Chastity as a Discipline--The Value of
Chastity for the Artist--Potency and Impotence in Popular Estimation--The
Correct Definitions of Asceticism and Chastity.



The Influence of Tradition--The Theological Conception of Lust--Tendency
of These Influences to Degrade Sexual Morality--Their Result in Creating
the Problem of Sexual Abstinence--The Protests Against Sexual
Abstinence--Sexual Abstinence and Genius--Sexual Abstinence in Women--The
Advocates of Sexual Abstinence--Intermediate Attitude--Unsatisfactory
Nature of the Whole Discussion--Criticism of the Conception of Sexual
Abstinence--Sexual Abstinence as Compared to Abstinence from Food--No
Complete Analogy--The Morality of Sexual Abstinence Entirely Negative--Is
It the Physician's Duty to Advise Extra-Conjugal Sexual
Intercourse?--Opinions of Those Who Affirm or Deny This Duty--The
Conclusion Against Such Advice--The Physician Bound by the Social and
Moral Ideas of His Age--The Physician as Reformer--Sexual Abstinence and
Sexual Hygiene--Alcohol--The Influence of Physical and Mental
Exercise--The Inadequacy of Sexual Hygiene in This Field--The Unreal
Nature of the Conception of Sexual Abstinence--The Necessity of Replacing
It by a More Positive Ideal.



I. _The Orgy:_--The Religious Origin of the Orgy--The Feast of
Fools--Recognition of the Orgy by the Greeks and Romans--The Orgy Among
Savages--The Drama--The Object Subserved by the Orgy.

II. _The Origin and Development of Prostitution:_--The Definition of
Prostitution--Prostitution Among Savages--The Conditions Under Which
Professional Prostitution Arises--Sacred Prostitution--The Rite of
Mylitta--The Practice of Prostitution to Obtain a Marriage Portion--The
Rise of Secular Prostitution in Greece--Prostitution in the East--India,
China, Japan, etc.--Prostitution in Rome--The Influence of Christianity on
Prostitution--The Effort to Combat Prostitution--The Mediæval Brothel--The
Appearance of the Courtesan--Tullia D'Aragona--Veronica Franco--Ninon de
Lenclos--Later Attempts to Eradicate Prostitution--The Regulation of
Prostitution--Its Futility Becoming Recognized.

III. _The Causes of Prostitution:_--Prostitution as a Part of the Marriage
System--The Complex Causation of Prostitution--The Motives Assigned by
Prostitutes--(1) Economic Factor of Prostitution--Poverty Seldom the Chief
Motive for Prostitution--But Economic Pressure Exerts a Real
Influence--The Large Proportion of Prostitutes Recruited from Domestic
Service--Significance of This Fact--(2) The Biological Factor of
Prostitution--The So-called Born-Prostitute--Alleged Identity with the
Born-Criminal--The Sexual Instinct in Prostitutes--The Physical and
Psychic Characters of Prostitutes--(3) Moral Necessity as a Factor in the
Existence of Prostitution--The Moral Advocates of Prostitution--The Moral
Attitude of Christianity Towards Prostitution--The Attitude of
Protestantism--Recent Advocates of the Moral Necessity of
Prostitution--(4) Civilizational Value as a Factor of Prostitution--The
Influence of Urban Life--The Craving for Excitement--Why Servant-girls so
Often Turn to Prostitution--The Small Part Played by Seduction--Prostitutes
Come Largely from the Country--The Appeal of Civilization Attracts Women
to Prostitution--The Corresponding Attraction Felt by Men--The Prostitute
as Artist and Leader of Fashion--The Charm of Vulgarity.

IV. _The Present Social Attitude Towards Prostitution:_--The Decay of the
Brothel--The Tendency to the Humanization of Prostitution--The Monetary
Aspects of Prostitution--The Geisha--The Hetaira--The Moral Revolt Against
Prostitution--Squalid Vice Based on Luxurious Virtue--The Ordinary
Attitude Towards Prostitutes--Its Cruelty Absurd--The Need of Reforming
Prostitution--The Need of Reforming Marriage--These Two Needs Closely
Correlated--The Dynamic Relationships Involved.



The Significance of the Venereal Diseases--The History of Syphilis--The
Problem of Its Origin--The Social Gravity of Syphilis--The Social Dangers
of Gonorrhoea--The Modern Change in the Methods of Combating Venereal
Diseases--Causes of the Decay of the System of Police Regulation--Necessity
of Facing the Facts--The Innocent Victims of Venereal Diseases--Diseases
Not Crimes--The Principle of Notification--The Scandinavian
System--Gratuitous Treatment--Punishment For Transmitting
Venereal Diseases--Sexual Education in Relation to Venereal
Diseases--Lectures, Etc.--Discussion in Novels and on the Stage--The
"Disgusting" Not the "Immoral".



Prostitution in Relation to Our Marriage System--Marriage and
Morality--The Definition of the Term "Morality"--Theoretical Morality--Its
Division Into Traditional Morality and Ideal Morality--Practical
Morality--Practical Morality Based on Custom--The Only Subject of
Scientific Ethics--The Reaction Between Theoretical and Practical
Morality--Sexual Morality in the Past an Application of Economic
Morality--The Combined Rigidity and Laxity of This Morality--The
Growth of a Specific Sexual Morality and the Evolution of Moral
Ideals--Manifestations of Sexual Morality--Disregard of the Forms of
Marriage--Trial Marriage--Marriage After Conception of Child--Phenomena in
Germany, Anglo-Saxon Countries, Russia, etc.--The Status of Woman--The
Historical Tendency Favoring Moral Equality of Women with Men--The Theory
of the Matriarchate--Mother-Descent--Women in Babylonia--Egypt--Rome--The
Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries--The Historical Tendency
Favoring Moral Inequality of Woman--The Ambiguous Influence of
Christianity--Influence of Teutonic Custom and Feudalism--Chivalry--Woman
in England--The Sale of Wives--The Vanishing Subjection of
Woman--Inaptitude of the Modern Man to Domineer--The Growth of Moral
Responsibility in Women--The Concomitant Development of Economic
Independence--The Increase of Women Who Work--Invasion of the Modern
Industrial Field by Women--In How Far This Is Socially Justifiable--The
Sexual Responsibility of Women and Its Consequences--The Alleged Moral
Inferiority of Women--The "Self-Sacrifice" of Women--Society Not
Concerned with Sexual Relationships--Procreation the Sole Sexual Concern
of the State--The Supreme Importance of Maternity.



The Definition of Marriage--Marriage Among Animals--The Predominance of
Monogamy--The Question of Group Marriage--Monogamy a Natural Fact, Not
Based on Human Law--The Tendency to Place the Form of Marriage Above the
Fact of Marriage--The History of Marriage--Marriage in Ancient
Rome--Germanic Influence on Marriage--Bride-Sale--The Ring--The Influence
of Christianity on Marriage--The Great Extent of this Influence--The
Sacrament of Matrimony--Origin and Growth of the Sacramental
Conception--The Church Made Marriage a Public Act--Canon Law--Its Sound
Core--Its Development--Its Confusions and Absurdities--Peculiarities of
English Marriage Law--Influence of the Reformation on Marriage--The
Protestant Conception of Marriage as a Secular Contract--The Puritan
Reform of Marriage--Milton as the Pioneer of Marriage Reform--His Views on
Divorce--The Backward Position of England in Marriage Reform--Criticism of
the English Divorce Law--Traditions of the Canon Law Still Persistent--The
Question of Damages for Adultery--Collusion as a Bar to
Divorce--Divorce in France, Germany, Austria, Russia, etc.--The United
States--Impossibility of Deciding by Statute the Causes for
Divorce--Divorce by Mutual Consent--Its Origin and Development--Impeded by
the Traditions of Canon Law--Wilhelm von Humboldt--Modern Pioneer
Advocates of Divorce by Mutual Consent--The Arguments Against Facility of
Divorce--The Interests of the Children--The Protection of Women--The
Present Tendency of the Divorce Movement--Marriage Not a Contract--The
Proposal of Marriage for a Term of Years--Legal Disabilities and
Disadvantages in the Position of the Husband and the Wife--Marriage Not a
Contract But a Fact--Only the Non-Essentials of Marriage, Not the
Essentials, a Proper Matter for Contract--The Legal Recognition of
Marriage as a Fact Without Any Ceremony--Contracts of the Person Opposed
to Modern Tendencies--The Factor of Moral Responsibility--Marriage as an
Ethical Sacrament--Personal Responsibility Involves Freedom--Freedom the
Best Guarantee of Stability--False Ideas of Individualism--Modern Tendency
of Marriage--With the Birth of a Child Marriage Ceases to be a Private
Concern--Every Child Must Have a Legal Father and Mother--How This Can be
Effected--The Firm Basis of Monogamy--The Question of Marriage
Variations--Such Variations Not Inimical to Monogamy--The Most Common
Variations--The Flexibility of Marriage Holds Variations in
Check--Marriage Variations _versus_ Prostitution--Marriage on a Reasonable
and Humane Basis--Summary and Conclusion.



Marriage Not Only for Procreation--Theologians on the _Sacramentum
Solationis_--Importance of the _Art of Love_--The Basis of Stability in
Marriage and the Condition for Right Procreation--The Art of Love the
Bulwark Against Divorce--The Unity of Love and Marriage a Principle of
Modern Morality--Christianity and the Art of Love--Ovid--The Art of Love
Among Primitive Peoples--Sexual Initiation in Africa and Elsewhere--The
Tendency to Spontaneous Development of the Art of Love in Early
Life--Flirtation--Sexual Ignorance in Women--The Husband's Place in Sexual
Initiation--Sexual Ignorance in Men--The Husband's Education for
Marriage--The Injury Done by the Ignorance of Husbands--The Physical and
Mental Results of Unskilful Coitus--Women Understand the Art of Love
Better Than Men--Ancient and Modern Opinions Concerning Frequency of
Coitus--Variation in Sexual Capacity--The Sexual Appetite--The Art of Love
Based on the Biological Facts of Courtship--The Art of Pleasing Women--The
Lover Compared to the Musician--The Proposal as a Part of
Courtship--Divination in the Art of Love--The Importance of the
Preliminaries in Courtship--The Unskilful Husband Frequently the Cause of
the Frigid Wife--The Difficulty of Courtship--Simultaneous Orgasm--The
Evils of Incomplete Gratification in Women--Coitus Interruptus--Coitus
Reservatus--The Human Method of Coitus--Variations in Coitus--Posture in
Coitus--The Best Time for Coitus--The Influence of Coitus in Marriage--The
Advantages of Absence in Marriage--The Risks of Absence--Jealousy--The
Primitive Function of Jealousy--Its Predominance Among Animals, Savages,
etc, and in Pathological States--An Anti-Social Emotion--Jealousy
Incompatible With the Progress of Civilization--The Possibility of Loving
More Than One Person at a Time--Platonic Friendship--The Conditions Which
Make It Possible--The Maternal Element in Woman's Love--The Final
Development of Conjugal Love--The Problem of Love One of the Greatest Of
Social Questions.



The Relationship of the Science of Procreation to the Art of Love--Sexual
Desire and Sexual Pleasure as the Conditions of Conception--Reproduction
Formerly Left to Caprice and Lust--The Question of Procreation as a
Religious Question--The Creed of Eugenics--Ellen Key and Sir Francis
Galton--Our Debt to Posterity--The Problem of Replacing Natural
Selection--The Origin and Development of Eugenics--The General Acceptance
of Eugenical Principles To-day--The Two Channels by Which Eugenical
Principles are Becoming Embodied in Practice--The Sense of Sexual
Responsibility in Women--The Rejection of Compulsory Motherhood--The
Privilege of Voluntary Motherhood--Causes of the Degradation of
Motherhood--The Control of Conception--Now Practiced by the Majority of
the Population in Civilized Countries--The Fallacy of "Racial
Suicide"--Are Large Families a Stigma of Degeneration?--Procreative
Control the Outcome of Natural and Civilized Progress--The Growth of
Neo-Malthusian Beliefs and Practices--Facultative Sterility as Distinct
from Neo-Malthusianism--The Medical and Hygienic Necessity of Control of
Conception--Preventive Methods--Abortion--The New Doctrine of the Duty to
Practice Abortion--How Far is this Justifiable?--Castration as a Method of
Controlling Procreation--Negative Eugenics and Positive Eugenics--The
Question of Certificates for Marriage--The Inadequacy of Eugenics by Act
of Parliament--The Quickening of the Social Conscience in Regard to
Heredity--Limitations to the Endowment of Motherhood--The Conditions
Favorable to Procreation--Sterility--The Question of Artificial
Fecundation--The Best Age of Procreation--The Question of Early
Motherhood--The Best Time for Procreation--The Completion of the Divine
Cycle of Life.



The Child's Right to Choose Its Ancestry--How This is Effected--The Mother
the Child's Supreme Parent--Motherhood and the Woman Movement--The Immense
Importance of Motherhood--Infant Mortality and Its Causes--The Chief Cause
in the Mother--The Need of Rest During Pregnancy--Frequency of Premature
Birth--The Function of the State--Recent Advance in Puericulture--The
Question of Coitus During Pregnancy--The Need of Rest During
Lactation--The Mother's Duty to Suckle Her Child--The Economic
Question--The Duty of the State--Recent Progress in the Protection of the
Mother--The Fallacy of State Nurseries.

A man's sexual nature, like all else that is most essential in him, is
rooted in a soil that was formed very long before his birth. In this, as
in every other respect, he draws the elements of his life from his
ancestors, however new the recombination may be and however greatly it may
be modified by subsequent conditions. A man's destiny stands not in the
future but in the past. That, rightly considered, is the most vital of all
vital facts. Every child thus has a right to choose his own ancestors.
Naturally he can only do this vicariously, through his parents. It is the
most serious and sacred duty of the future father to choose one half of
the ancestral and hereditary character of his future child; it is the most
serious and sacred duty of the future mother to make a similar choice.[1]
In choosing each other they have between them chosen the whole ancestry of
their child. They have determined the stars that will rule his fate.

In the past that fateful determination has usually been made helplessly,
ignorantly, almost unconsciously. It has either been guided by an
instinct which, on the whole, has worked out fairly well, or controlled by
economic interests of the results of which so much cannot be said, or left
to the risks of lower than bestial chances which can produce nothing but
evil. In the future we cannot but have faith--for all the hope of humanity
must rest on that faith--that a new guiding impulse, reinforcing natural
instinct and becoming in time an inseparable accompaniment of it, will
lead civilized man on his racial course. Just as in the past the race has,
on the whole, been moulded by a natural, and in part sexual, selection,
that was unconscious of itself and ignorant of the ends it made towards,
so in the future the race will be moulded by deliberate selection, the
creative energy of Nature becoming self-conscious in the civilized brain
of man. This is not a faith which has its source in a vague hope. The
problems of the individual life are linked on to the fate of the racial
life, and again and again we shall find as we ponder the individual
questions we are here concerned with, that at all points they ultimately
converge towards this same racial end.

Since we have here, therefore, to follow out the sexual relationships of
the individual as they bear on society, it will be convenient at this
point to put aside the questions of ancestry and to accept the individual
as, with hereditary constitution already determined, he lies in his
mother's womb.

It is the mother who is the child's supreme parent. At various points in
zoölogical evolution it has seemed possible that the functions that we now
know as those of maternity would be largely and even equally shared by the
male parent. Nature has tried various experiments in this direction, among
the fishes, for instance, and even among birds. But reasonable and
excellent as these experiments were, and though they were sufficiently
sound to secure their perpetuation unto this day, it remains true that it
was not along these lines that Man was destined to emerge. Among all the
mammal predecessors of Man, the male is an imposing and important figure
in the early days of courtship, but after conception has once been secured
the mother plays the chief part in the racial life. The male must be
content to forage abroad and stand on guard when at home in the
ante-chamber of the family. When she has once been impregnated the female
animal angrily rejects the caresses she had welcomed so coquettishly
before, and even in Man the place of the father at the birth of his child
is not a notably dignified or comfortable one. Nature accords the male but
a secondary and comparatively humble place in the home, the breeding-place
of the race; he may compensate himself if he will, by seeking adventure
and renown in the world outside. The mother is the child's supreme parent,
and during the period from conception to birth the hygiene of the future
man can only be affected by influences which work through her.

Fundamental and elementary as is the fact of the predominant position of
the mother in relation to the life of the race, incontestable as it must
seem to all those who have traversed the volumes of these _Studies_ up to
the present point, it must be admitted that it has sometimes been
forgotten or ignored. In the great ages of humanity it has indeed been
accepted as a central and sacred fact. In classic Rome at one period the
house of the pregnant woman was adorned with garlands, and in Athens it
was an inviolable sanctuary where even the criminal might find shelter.
Even amid the mixed influences of the exuberantly vital times which
preceded the outburst of the Renaissance, the ideally beautiful woman, as
pictures still show, was the pregnant woman. But it has not always been
so. At the present time, for instance, there can be no doubt that we are
but beginning to emerge from a period during which this fact was often
disputed and denied, both in theory and in practice, even by women
themselves. This was notably the case both in England and America, and it
is probably owing in large part to the unfortunate infatuation which led
women in these lands to follow after masculine ideals that at the present
moment the inspirations of progress in women's movements come mainly
to-day from the women of other lands. Motherhood and the future of the
race were systematically belittled. Paternity is but a mere incident, it
was argued, in man's life: why should maternity be more than a mere
incident in woman's life? In England, by a curiously perverted form of
sexual attraction, women were so fascinated by the glamour that surrounded
men that they desired to suppress or forget all the facts of organic
constitution which made them unlike men, counting their glory as their
shame, and sought the same education as men, the same occupations as men,
even the same sports. As we know, there was at the origin an element of
rightness in this impulse.[2] It was absolutely right in so far as it was
a claim for freedom from artificial restriction, and a demand for economic
independence. But it became mischievous and absurd when it developed into
a passion for doing, in all respects, the same things as men do; how
mischievous and how absurd we may realize if we imagine men developing a
passion to imitate the ways and avocations of women. Freedom is only good
when it is a freedom to follow the laws of one's own nature; it ceases to
be freedom when it becomes a slavish attempt to imitate others, and would
be disastrous if it could be successful.[3]

At the present day this movement on the theoretical side has ceased to
possess any representatives who exert serious influence. Yet its practical
results are still prominently exhibited in England and the other countries
in which it has been felt. Infantile mortality is enormous, and in England
at all events is only beginning to show a tendency to diminish; motherhood
is without dignity, and the vitality of mothers is speedily crushed, so
that often they cannot so much as suckle their infants; ignorant
girl-mothers give their infants potatoes and gin; on every hand we are
told of the evidence of degeneracy in the race, or if not in the race, at
all events, in the young individuals of to-day.

    It would be out of place, and would lead us too far, to discuss
    here these various practical outcomes of the foolish attempt to
    belittle the immense racial importance of motherhood. It is
    enough here to touch on the one point of the excess of infantile

    In England--which is not from the social point of view in a very
    much worse condition than most countries, for in Austria and
    Russia the infant mortality is higher still, though in Australia
    and New Zealand much lower, but still excessive--more than
    one-fourth of the total number of deaths every year is of infants
    under one year of age. In the opinion of medical officers of
    health who are in the best position to form an opinion, about
    one-half of this mortality, roughly speaking, is absolutely
    preventable. Moreover, it is doubtful whether there is any real
    movement of decrease in this mortality; during the past half
    century it has sometimes slightly risen and sometimes slightly
    fallen, and though during the past few years the general movement
    of mortality for children under five in England and Wales has
    shown a tendency to decrease, in London (according to J.F.J.
    Sykes, although Sir Shirley Murphy has attempted to minimize the
    significance of these figures) the infantile mortality rate for
    the first three months of life actually rose from 69 per 1,000 in
    the period 1888-1892 to 75 per 1,000 in the period 1898-1901.
    (This refers, it must be remembered, to the period before the
    introduction of the Notification of Births Act.) In any case,
    although the general mortality shows a marked tendency to
    improvement there is certainly no adequately corresponding
    improvement in the infantile mortality. This is scarcely
    surprising, when we realize that there has been no change for the
    better, but rather for the worse, in the conditions under which
    our infants are born and reared. Thus William Hall, who has had
    an intimate knowledge extending over fifty-six years of the slums
    of Leeds, and has weighed and measured many thousands of slum
    children, besides examining over 120,000 boys and girls as to
    their fitness for factory labor, states (_British Medical
    Journal_, October 14, 1905) that "fifty years ago the slum mother
    was much more sober, cleanly, domestic, and motherly than she is
    to-day; she was herself better nourished and she almost always
    suckled her children, and after weaning they received more
    nutritious bone-making food, and she was able to prepare more
    wholesome food at home." The system of compulsory education has
    had an unfortunate influence in exerting a strain on the parents
    and worsening the conditions of the home. For, excellent as
    education is in itself, it is not the primary need of life, and
    has been made compulsory before the more essential things of life
    have been made equally compulsory. How absolutely unnecessary
    this great mortality is may be shown, without evoking the good
    example of Australia and New Zealand, by merely comparing small
    English towns; thus while in Guildford the infantile death rate
    is 65 per thousand, in Burslem it is 205 per thousand.

    It is sometimes said that infantile mortality is an economic
    question, and that with improvement in wages it would cease. This
    is only true to a limited extent and under certain conditions. In
    Australia there is no grinding poverty, but the deaths of infants
    under one year of age are still between 80 and 90 per thousand,
    and one-third of this mortality, according to Hooper (_British
    Medical Journal_, 1908, vol. ii, p. 289), being due to the
    ignorance of mothers and the dislike to suckling, is easily
    preventable. The employment of married women greatly diminishes
    the poverty of a family, but nothing can be worse for the welfare
    of the woman as mother, or for the welfare of her child. Reid,
    the medical officer of health for Staffordshire, where there are
    two large centres of artisan population with identical health
    conditions, has shown that in the northern centre, where a very
    large number of women are engaged in factories, still-births are
    three times as frequent as in the southern centre, where there
    are practically no trade employments for women; the frequency of
    abnormalities is also in the same ratio. The superiority of
    Jewish over Christian children, again, and their lower infantile
    mortality, seem to be entirely due to the fact that Jewesses are
    better mothers. "The Jewish children in the slums," says William
    Hall (_British Medical Journal_, October 14, 1905), speaking from
    wide and accurate knowledge, "were superior in weight, in teeth,
    and in general bodily development, and they seemed less
    susceptible to infectious disease. Yet these Jews were
    overcrowded, they took little exercise, and their unsanitary
    environment was obvious. The fact was, their children were much
    better nourished. The pregnant Jewess was more cared for, and no
    doubt supplied better nutriment to the foetus. After the children
    were born 90 per cent. received breast-milk, and during later
    childhood they were abundantly fed on bone-making material; eggs
    and oil, fish, fresh vegetables, and fruit entered largely into
    their diet." G. Newman, in his important and comprehensive book
    on _Infant Mortality_, emphasizes the conclusion that "first of
    all we need a higher standard of physical motherhood." The
    problem of infantile mortality, he declares (page 259), is not
    one of sanitation alone, or housing, or indeed of poverty as
    such, "_but is mainly a question of motherhood_."

The fundamental need of the pregnant woman is _rest_. Without a large
degree of maternal rest there can be no puericulture.[4] The task of
creating a man needs the whole of a woman's best energies, more especially
during the three months before birth. It cannot be subordinated to the tax
on strength involved by manual or mental labor, or even strenuous social
duties and amusements. The numerous experiments and observations which
have been made during recent years in Maternity Hospitals, more especially
in France, have shown conclusively that not only the present and future
well-being of the mother and the ease of her confinement, but the fate of
the child, are immensely influenced by rest during the last month of
pregnancy. "Every working woman is entitled to rest during the last three
months of her pregnancy." This formula was adopted by the International
Congress of Hygiene in 1900, but it cannot be practically carried out
except by the coöperation of the whole community. For it is not enough to
say that a woman ought to rest during pregnancy; it is the business of the
community to ensure that that rest is duly secured. The woman herself, and
her employer, we may be certain, will do their best to cheat the
community, but it is the community which suffers, both economically and
morally, when a woman casts her inferior children into the world, and in
its own interests the community is forced to control both employer and
employed. We can no longer allow it to be said, in Bouchacourt's words,
that "to-day the dregs of the human species--the blind, the deaf-mute, the
degenerate, the nervous, the vicious, the idiotic, the imbecile, the
cretins and epileptics--are better protected than pregnant women."[5]

    Pinard, who must always be honored as one of the founders of
    eugenics, has, together with his pupils, done much to prepare the
    way for the acceptance of this simple but important principle by
    making clear the grounds on which it is based. From prolonged
    observations on the pregnant women of all classes Pinard has
    shown conclusively that women who rest during pregnancy have
    finer children than women who do not rest. Apart from the more
    general evils of work during pregnancy, Pinard found that during
    the later months it had a tendency to press the uterus down into
    the pelvis, and so cause the premature birth of undeveloped
    children, while labor was rendered more difficult and dangerous
    (see, e.g., Pinard, _Gazette des Hôpitaux_, Nov. 28, 1895, Id.,
    _Annales de Gynécologie_, Aug., 1898).

    Letourneux has studied the question whether repose during
    pregnancy is necessary for women whose professional work is only
    slightly fatiguing. He investigated 732 successive confinements
    at the Clinique Baudelocque in Paris. He found that 137 women
    engaged in fatiguing occupations (servants, cooks, etc.) and not
    resting during pregnancy, produced children with an average
    weight of 3,081 grammes; 115 women engaged in only slightly
    fatiguing occupations (dressmakers, milliners, etc.) and also not
    resting during pregnancy, had children with an average weight of
    3,130 grammes, a slight but significant difference, in view of
    the fact that the women of the first group were large and robust,
    while those of the second group were of slight and elegant build.
    Again, comparing groups of women who rested during pregnancy, it
    was found that the women accustomed to fatiguing work had
    children with an average weight of 3,319 grammes, while those
    accustomed to less fatiguing work had children with an average
    weight of 3,318 grammes. The difference between repose and
    non-repose is thus considerable, while it also enables robust
    women exercising a fatiguing occupation to catch up, though not
    to surpass, the frailer women exercising a less fatiguing
    occupation. We see, too, that even in the comparatively
    unfatiguing occupations of milliners, etc., rest during pregnancy
    still remains important, and cannot safely be dispensed with.
    "Society," Letourneux concludes, "must guarantee rest to women
    not well off during a part of pregnancy. It will be repaid the
    cost of doing so by the increased vigor of the children thus
    produced" (Letourneux, _De l'Influence de la Profession de la
    Mère sur le Poids de l'Enfant_, Thèse de Paris, 1897).

    Dr. Dweira-Bernson (_Revue Pratique d'Obstétrique et de
    Pédiatrie_, 1903, p. 370), compared four groups of pregnant women
    (servants with light work, servants with heavy work, farm girls,
    dressmakers) who rested for three months before confinement with
    four groups similarly composed who took no rest before
    confinement. In every group he found that the difference in the
    average weight of the child was markedly in favor of the women
    who rested, and it was notable that the greatest difference was
    found in the case of the farm girls who were probably the most
    robust and also the hardest worked.

    The usual time of gestation ranges between 274 and 280 days (or
    280 to 290 days from the last menstrual period), and occasionally
    a few days longer, though there is dispute as to the length of
    the extreme limit, which some authorities would extend to 300
    days, or even to 320 days (Pinard, in Richet's _Dictionnaire de
    Physiologie_, vol. vii, pp. 150-162; Taylor, _Medical
    Jurisprudence_, fifth edition, pp. 44, 98 et seq.; L.M. Allen,
    "Prolonged Gestation," _American Journal Obstetrics_, April,
    1907). It is possible, as Müller suggested in 1898 in a Thèse de
    Nancy, that civilization tends to shorten the period of
    gestation, and that in earlier ages it was longer than it is now.
    Such a tendency to premature birth under the exciting nervous
    influences of civilization would thus correspond, as Bouchacourt
    has pointed out (_La Grossesse_, p. 113), to the similar effect
    of domestication in animals. The robust countrywoman becomes
    transformed into the more graceful, but also more fragile, town
    woman who needs a degree of care and hygiene which the
    countrywoman with her more resistant nervous system can to some
    extent dispense with, although even she, as we see, suffers in
    the person of her child, and probably in her own person, from the
    effects of work during pregnancy. The serious nature of this
    civilized tendency to premature birth--of which lack of rest in
    pregnancy is, however, only one of several important causes--is
    shown by the fact that Séropian (_Fréquence Comparée des Causes
    de l'Accouchement Prémature_, Thèse de Paris, 1907) found that
    about one-third of French births (32.28 per cent.) are to a
    greater or less extent premature. Pregnancy is not a morbid
    condition; on the contrary, a pregnant woman is at the climax of
    her most normal physiological life, but owing to the tension thus
    involved she is specially liable to suffer from any slight shock
    or strain.

    It must be remarked that the increased tendency to premature
    birth, while in part it may be due to general tendencies of
    civilization, is also in part due to very definite and
    preventable causes. Syphilis, alcoholism, and attempts to produce
    abortion are among the not uncommon causes of premature birth
    (see, e.g., G.F. McCleary, "The Influence of Antenatal Conditions
    on Infantile Mortality," _British Medical Journal_, Aug. 13,

    Premature birth ought to be avoided, because the child born too
    early is insufficiently equipped for the task before him.
    Astengo, dealing with nearly 19,000 cases at the Lariboisière
    Hospital in Paris and the Maternité, found, that reckoning from
    the date of the last menstruation, there is a direct relation
    between the weight of the infant at birth and the length of the
    pregnancy. The longer the pregnancy, the finer the child
    (Astengo, _Rapport du Poids des Enfants à la Durée de la
    Grossesse_, Thèse de Paris, 1905).

    The frequency of premature birth is probably as great in England
    as in France. Ballantyne states (_Manual of Antenatal Pathology;
    The Foetus_, p. 456) that for practical purposes the frequency
    of premature labors in maternity hospitals may be put at 20 per
    cent., but that if all infants weighing less than 3,000 grammes
    are to be regarded as premature, it rises to 41.5 per cent. That
    premature birth is increasing in England seems to be indicated by
    the fact that during the past twenty-five years there has been a
    steady rise in the mortality rate from premature birth. McCleary,
    who discusses this point and considers the increase real,
    concludes that "it would appear that there has been a diminution
    in the quality as well as in the quantity of our output of
    babies" (see also a discussion, introduced by Dawson Williams, on
    "Physical Deterioration," _British Medical Journal_, Oct. 14,

    It need scarcely be pointed out that not only is immaturity a
    cause of deterioration in the infants that survive, but that it
    alone serves enormously to decrease the number of infants that
    are able to survive. Thus G. Newman states (loc. cit.) that in
    most large English urban districts immaturity is the chief cause
    of infant mortality, furnishing about 30 per cent. of the infant
    deaths; even in London (Islington) Alfred Harris (_British
    Medical Journal_, Dec. 14, 1907) finds that it is responsible for
    nearly 17 per cent. of the infantile deaths. It is estimated by
    Newman that about half of the mothers of infants dying of
    immaturity suffer from marked ill-health and poor physique; they
    are not, therefore, fitted to be mothers.

    Rest during pregnancy is a very powerful agent in preventing
    premature birth. Thus Dr. Sarraute-Lourié has compared 1,550
    pregnant women at the Asile Michelet who rested before
    confinement with 1,550 women confined at the Hôpital Lariboisière
    who had enjoyed no such period of rest. She found that the
    average duration of pregnancy was at least twenty days shorter in
    the latter group (Mme. Sarraute-Lourié, _De l'Influence du Repos
    sur la Durée de la Gestation_, Thèse de Paris, 1899).

    Leyboff has insisted on the absolute necessity of rest during
    pregnancy, as well for the sake of the woman herself as the
    burden she carries, and shows the evil results which follow when
    rest is neglected. Railway traveling, horse-riding, bicycling,
    and sea-voyages are also, Leyboff believes, liable to be
    injurious to the course of pregnancy. Leyboff recognizes the
    difficulties which procreating women are placed under by present
    industrial conditions, and concludes that "it is urgently
    necessary to prevent women, by law, from working during the last
    three months of pregnancy; that in every district there should be
    a maternity fund; that during this enforced rest a woman should
    receive the same salary as during work." He adds that the
    children of unmarried mothers should be cared for by the State,
    that there should be an eight-hours' day for all workers, and
    that no children under sixteen should be allowed to work (E.
    Leyboff, _L'Hygiène de la Grossesse_, Thèse de Paris, 1905).

    Perruc states that at least two months' rest before confinement
    should be made compulsory, and that during this period the woman
    should receive an indemnity regulated by the State. He is of
    opinion that it should take the form of compulsory assurance, to
    which the worker, the employer, and the State alike contributed
    (Perruc, _Assistance aux Femmes Enceintes_, Thèse de Paris,

    It is probable that during the earlier months of pregnancy, work,
    if not excessively heavy and exhausting, has little or no bad
    effect; thus Bacchimont (_Documents pour servir a l'Histoire de
    la Puériculture Intra-utérine_, Thèse de Paris, 1898) found that,
    while there was a great gain in the weight of children of mothers
    who had rested for three months, there was no corresponding gain
    in the children of those mothers who had rested for longer
    periods. It is during the last three months that freedom, repose,
    the cessation of the obligatory routine of employment become
    necessary. This is the opinion of Pinard, the chief authority on
    this matter. Many, however, fearing that economic and industrial
    conditions render so long a period of rest too difficult of
    practical attainment, are, with Clappier and G. Newman, content
    to demand two months as a minimum; Salvat only asks for one
    month's rest before confinement, the woman, whether married or
    not, receiving a pecuniary indemnity during this period, with
    medical care and drugs free. Ballantyne (_Manual of Antenatal
    Pathology: The Foetus_, p. 475), as well as Niven, also asks only
    for one month's compulsory rest during pregnancy, with indemnity.
    Arthur Helme, however, taking a more comprehensive view of all
    the factors involved, concludes in a valuable paper on "The
    Unborn Child: Its Care and Its Rights" (_British Medical
    Journal_, Aug. 24, 1907), "The important thing would be to
    prohibit pregnant women from going to work at all, and it is as
    important from the standpoint of the child that this prohibition
    should include the early as the late months of pregnancy."

    In England little progress has yet been made as regards this
    question of rest during pregnancy, even as regards the education
    of public opinion. Sir William Sinclair, Professor of Obstetrics
    at the Victoria University of Manchester, has published (1907) _A
    Plea for Establishing Municipal Maternity Homes_. Ballantyne, a
    great British authority on the embryology of the child, has
    published a "Plea for a Pre-Maternity Hospital" (_British Medical
    Journal_, April 6, 1901), has since given an important lecture on
    the subject (_British Medical Journal_, Jan. 11, 1908), and has
    further discussed the matter in his _Manual of Ante-Natal
    Pathology: The Foetus_ (Ch. XXVII); he is, however, more
    interested in the establishment of hospitals for the diseases of
    pregnancy than in the wider and more fundamental question of rest
    for all pregnant women. In England there are, indeed, a few
    institutions which receive unmarried women, with a record of good
    conduct, who are pregnant for the first time, for, as
    Bouchacourt remarks, ancient British prejudices are opposed to
    any mercy being shown to women who are recidivists in committing
    the crime of conception.

    At present, indeed, it is only in France that the urgent need of
    rest during the latter months of pregnancy has been clearly
    realized, and any serious and official attempts made to provide
    for it. In an interesting Paris thesis (_De la Puériculture avant
    le Naissance_, 1907) Clappier has brought together much
    information bearing on the efforts now being made to deal
    practically with this question. There are many _Asiles_ in Paris
    for pregnant women. One of the best is the Asile Michelet,
    founded in 1893 by the Assistance Publique de Paris. This is a
    sanatorium for pregnant women who have reached a period of seven
    and a half months. It is nominally restricted to the admission of
    French women who have been domiciled for a year in Paris, but, in
    practice, it appears that women from all parts of France are
    received. They are employed in light and occasional work for the
    institution, being paid for this work, and are also occupied in
    making clothes for the expected baby. Married and unmarried women
    are admitted alike, all women being equal from the point of view
    of motherhood, and indeed the majority of the women who come to
    the Asile Michelet are unmarried, some being girls who have even
    trudged on foot from Brittany and other remote parts of France,
    to seek concealment from their friends in the hospitable
    seclusion of these refuges in the great city. It is not the least
    advantage of these institutions that they shield unmarried
    mothers and their offspring from the manifold evils to which they
    are exposed, and thus tend to decrease crime and suffering. In
    addition to the maternity refuges, there are institutions in
    France for assisting with help and advice those pregnant women
    who prefer to remain at home, but are thus enabled to avoid the
    necessity for undue domestic labor.

    There ought to be no manner of doubt that when, as is the case
    to-day in our own and some other supposedly civilized countries,
    motherhood outside marriage is accounted as almost a crime, there
    is the very greatest need for adequate provision for unmarried
    women who are about to become mothers, enabling them to receive
    shelter and care in secrecy, and to preserve their self-respect
    and social position. This is necessary not only in the interests
    of humanity and public economy, but also, as is too often
    forgotten, in the interests of morality, for it is certain that
    by the neglect to furnish adequate provision of this nature women
    are driven to infanticide and prostitution. In earlier, more
    humane days, the general provision for the secret reception and
    care of illegitimate infants was undoubtedly most beneficial. The
    suppression of the mediæval method, which in France took place
    gradually between 1833 and 1862, led to a great increase in
    infanticide and abortion, and was a direct encouragement to crime
    and immorality. In 1887 the Conseil Général of the Seine sought
    to replace the prevailing neglect of this matter by the adoption
    of more enlightened ideas and founded a _bureau secret
    d'admission_ for pregnant women. Since then both the abandonment
    of infants and infanticide have greatly diminished, though they
    are increasing in those parts of France which possess no
    facilities of this kind. It is widely held that the State should
    unify the arrangements for assuring secret maternity, and should,
    in its own interests, undertake the expense. In 1904 French law
    ensured the protection of unmarried mothers by guaranteeing their
    secret, but it failed to organize the general establishment of
    secret maternities, and has left to doctors the pioneering part
    in this great and humane public work (A. Maillard-Brune,
    _Refuges, Maternités, Bureaux d'Admission Secrets, comme Moyens
    Préservatives des Infanticide_, Thèse de Paris, 1908). It is not
    among the least benefits of the falling birth rate that it has
    helped to stimulate this beneficent movement.

The development of an industrial system which subordinates the human body
and the human soul to the thirst for gold, has, for a time, dismissed from
social consideration the interests of the race and even of the individual,
but it must be remembered that this has not been always and everywhere so.
Although in some parts of the world the women of savage peoples work up to
the time of confinement, it must be remarked that the conditions of work
in savage life do not resemble the strenuous and continuous labor of
modern factories. In many parts of the world, however, women are not
allowed to work hard during pregnancy and every consideration is shown to
them. This is so, for instance, among the Pueblo Indians, and among the
Indians of Mexico. Similar care is taken in the Carolines and the Gilbert
Islands and in many other regions all over the world. In some places,
women are secluded during pregnancy, and in others are compelled to
observe many more or less excellent rules. It is true that the assigned
cause for these rules is frequently the fear of evil spirits, but they
nevertheless often preserve a hygienic value. In many parts of the world
the discovery of pregnancy is the sign for a festival of more or less
ritual character, and much good advice is given to the expectant mother.
The modern Musselmans are careful to guard the health of their women when
pregnant, and so are the Chinese.[6] Even in Europe, in the thirteenth
century, as Clappier notes, industrial corporations sometimes had regard
to this matter, and would not allow women to work during pregnancy. In
Iceland, where much of the primitive life of Scandinavian Europe is still
preserved, great precautions are taken with pregnant women. They must lead
a quiet life, avoid tight garments, be moderate in eating and drinking,
take no alcohol, be safeguarded from all shocks, while their husbands and
all others who surround them must treat them with consideration, save them
from worry and always bear with them patiently.[7]

It is necessary to emphasize this point because we have to realize that
the modern movement for surrounding the pregnant woman with tenderness and
care, so far from being the mere outcome of civilized softness and
degeneracy, is, in all probability, the return on a higher plane to the
sane practice of those races which laid the foundations of human

While rest is the cardinal virtue imposed on a woman during the later
months of pregnancy, there are other points in her regimen that are far
from unimportant in their bearing on the fate of the child. One of these
is the question of the mother's use of alcohol. Undoubtedly alcohol has
been a cause of much fanaticism. But the declamatory extravagance of
anti-alcoholists must not blind us to the fact that the evils of alcohol
are real. On the reproductive process especially, on the mammary glands,
and on the child, alcohol has an arresting and degenerative influence
without any compensatory advantages. It has been proved by experiments on
animals and observations on the human subject that alcohol taken by the
pregnant woman passes freely from the maternal circulation to the foetal
circulation. Féré has further shown that, by injecting alcohol and
aldehydes into hen's eggs during incubation, it is possible to cause
arrest of development and malformation in the chick.[8] The woman who is
bearing her child in her womb or suckling it at her breast would do well
to remember that the alcohol which may be harmless to herself is little
better than poison to the immature being who derives nourishment from her
blood. She should confine herself to the very lightest of alcoholic
beverages in very moderate amounts and would do better still to abandon
these entirely and drink milk instead. She is now the sole source of the
child's life and she cannot be too scrupulous in creating around it an
atmosphere of purity and health. No after-influence can ever compensate
for mistakes made at this time.[9]

What is true of alcohol is equally true of other potent drugs and poisons,
which should all be avoided so far as possible during pregnancy because of
the harmful influence they may directly exert on the embryo. Hygiene is
better than drugs, and care should be exercised in diet, which should by
no means be excessive. It is a mistake to suppose that the pregnant woman
needs considerably more food than usual, and there is much reason to
believe not only that a rich meat diet tends to cause sterility but that
it is also unfavorable to the development of the child in the womb.[10]

How far, if at all, it is often asked, should sexual intercourse be
continued after fecundation has been clearly ascertained? This has not
always been found an easy question to answer, for in the human couple many
considerations combine to complicate the answer. Even the Catholic
theologians have not been entirely in agreement on this point. Clement of
Alexandria said that when the seed had been sown the field must be left
till harvest. But it may be concluded that, as a rule, the Church was
inclined to regard intercourse during pregnancy as at most a venial sin,
provided there was no danger of abortion. Augustine, Gregory the Great,
Aquinas, Dens, for instance, seem to be of this mind; for a few, indeed,
it is no sin at all.[11] Among animals the rule is simple and uniform; as
soon as the female is impregnated at the period of oestrus she absolutely
rejects all advance of the male until, after birth and lactation are over,
another period of oestrus occurs. Among savages the tendency is less
uniform, and sexual abstinence, when it occurs during pregnancy, tends to
become less a natural instinct than a ritual observance, or a custom now
chiefly supported by superstitions. Among many primitive peoples
abstinence during the whole of pregnancy is enjoined because it is
believed that the semen would kill the foetus.[12]

    The Talmud is unfavorable to coitus during pregnancy, and the
    Koran prohibits it during the whole of the period, as well as
    during suckling. Among the Hindus, on the other hand, intercourse
    is continued up to the last fortnight of pregnancy, and it is
    even believed that the injected semen helps to nourish the embryo
    (W.D. Sutherland, "Ueber das Alltagsleben und die Volksmedizin
    unter den Bauern Britischostindiens," _Münchener Medizinische
    Wochenschrift_, Nos. 12 and 13, 1906). The great Indian physician
    Susruta, however, was opposed to coitus during pregnancy, and the
    Chinese are emphatically on the same side.

As men have emerged from barbarism in the direction of civilization, the
animal instinct of refusal after impregnation has been completely lost in
women, while at the same time both sexes tend to become indifferent to
those ritual restraints which at an earlier period were almost as binding
as instinct. Sexual intercourse thus came to be practiced after
impregnation, much the same as before, as part of ordinary "marital
rights," though sometimes there has remained a faint suspicion, reflected
in the hesitating attitude of the Catholic Church already alluded to, that
such intercourse may be a sinful indulgence. Morality is, however, called
in to fortify this indulgence. If the husband is shut out from marital
intercourse at this time, it is argued, he will seek extra-marital
intercourse, as indeed in some parts of the world it is recognized that he
legitimately may; therefore the interests of the wife, anxious to retain
her husband's fidelity, and the interests of Christian morality, anxious
to uphold the institution of monogamy, combine to permit the continuation
of coitus during pregnancy. The custom has been furthered by the fact
that, in civilized women at all events, coitus during pregnancy is usually
not less agreeable than at other times and by some women is felt indeed to
be even more agreeable.[13] There is also the further consideration, for
those couples who have sought to prevent conception, that now intercourse
may be enjoyed with impunity. From a higher point of view such intercourse
may also be justified, for if, as all the finer moralists of the sexual
impulse now believe, love has its value not only in so far as it induces
procreation but also in so far as it aids individual development and the
mutual good and harmony of the united couple, it becomes morally right
during pregnancy.

From an early period, however, great authorities have declared themselves
in opposition to the custom of practicing coitus during pregnancy. At the
end of the first century, Soranus, the first of great gynæcologists,
stated, in his treatise on the diseases of women, that sexual intercourse
is injurious throughout pregnancy, because of the movement imparted to the
uterus, and especially injurious during the latter months. For more than
sixteen hundred years the question, having fallen into the hands of the
theologians, seems to have been neglected on the medical side until in
1721 a distinguished French obstetrician, Mauriceau, stated that no
pregnant woman should have intercourse during the last two months and that
no woman subject to miscarriage should have intercourse at all during
pregnancy. For more than a century, however, Mauriceau remained a pioneer
with few or no followers. It would be inconvenient, the opinion went, even
if it were necessary, to forbid intercourse during pregnancy.[14]

During recent years, nevertheless, there has been an increasingly strong
tendency among obstetricians to speak decisively concerning intercourse
during pregnancy, either by condemning it altogether or by enjoining great
prudence. It is highly probable that, in accordance with the classical
experiments of Dareste on chicken embryos, shocks and disturbances to the
human embryo may also produce injurious effects on growth. The disturbance
due to coitus in the early stages of pregnancy may thus tend to produce
malformation. When such conditions are found in the children of perfectly
healthy, vigorous, and generally temperate parents who have indulged
recklessly in coitus during the early stages of pregnancy it is possible
that such coitus has acted on the embryo in the same way as shocks and
intoxications are known to act on the embryo of lower organisms. However
this may be, it is quite certain that in predisposed women, coitus during
pregnancy causes premature birth; it sometimes happens that labor pains
begin a few minutes after the act.[15] The natural instinct of animals
refuses to allow intercourse during pregnancy; the ritual observance of
primitive peoples very frequently points in the same direction; the voice
of medical science, so far as it speaks at all, is beginning to utter the
same warning, and before long will probably be in a position to do so on
the basis of more solid and coherent evidence.

    Pinard, the greatest of authorities on puericulture, asserts that
    there must be complete cessation of sexual intercourse during the
    whole of pregnancy, and in his consulting room at the Clinique
    Baudelocque he has placed a large placard with an "Important
    Notice" to this effect. Féré was strongly of opinion that sexual
    relations during pregnancy, especially when recklessly carried
    out, play an important part in the causation of nervous troubles
    in children who are of sound heredity and otherwise free from all
    morbid infection during gestation and development; he recorded in
    detail a case which he considered conclusive ("L'Influence de
    l'Incontinence Sexuelle pendant la Gestation sur la Descendance,"
    _Archives de Neurologie_, April, 1905). Bouchacourt discusses the
    subject fully (_La Grossesse_, pp. 177-214), and thinks that
    sexual intercourse during pregnancy should be avoided as much as
    possible. Fürbringer (Senator and Kaminer, _Health and Disease in
    Relation to Marriage_, vol. i, p. 226) recommends abstinence from
    the sixth or seventh month, and throughout the whole of pregnancy
    where there is any tendency to miscarriage, while in all cases
    much care and gentleness should be exercised.

    The whole subject has been investigated in a Paris Thesis by H.
    Brénot (_De L'Influence de la Copulation pendant la Grossesse_,
    1903); he concludes that sexual relations are dangerous
    throughout pregnancy, frequently provoking premature confinement
    or abortion, and that they are more dangerous in primiparæ than
    in multiparæ.

Nearly everything that has been said of the hygiene of pregnancy, and the
need for rest, applies also to the period immediately following the birth
of the child. Rest and hygiene on the mother's part continue to be
necessary alike in her own interests and in the child's. This need has
indeed been more generally and more practically recognized than the need
for rest during pregnancy. The laws of several countries make compulsory a
period of rest from employment after confinement, and in some countries
they seek to provide for the remuneration of the mother during this
enforced rest. In no country, indeed, is the principle carried out so
thoroughly and for so long a period as is desirable. But it is the right
principle, and embodies the germ which, in the future, will be developed.
There can be little doubt that whatever are the matters, and they are
certainly many, which may be safely left to the discretion of the
individual, the care of the mother and her child is not among them. That
is a matter which, more than any other, concerns the community as a whole,
and the community cannot afford to be slack in asserting its authority
over it. The State needs healthy men and women, and by any negligence in
attending to this need it inflicts serious charges of all sorts upon
itself, and at the same time dangerously impairs its efficiency in the
world. Nations have begun to recognize the desirability of education, but
they have scarcely yet begun to realize that the nationalization of health
is even more important than the nationalization of education. If it were
necessary to choose between the task of getting children educated and the
task of getting them well-born and healthy it would be better to abandon
education. There have been many great peoples who never dreamed of
national systems of education; there has been no great people without the
art of producing healthy and vigorous children.

This matter becomes of peculiar importance in great industrial states like
England, the United States, and Germany, because in such states a tacit
conspiracy tends to grow up to subordinate national ends to individual
ends, and practically to work for the deterioration of the race. In
England, for instance, this tendency has become peculiarly well marked
with disastrous results. The interest of the employed woman tends to
become one with that of her employer; between them they combine to crush
the interests of the child who represents the race, and to defeat the laws
made in the interests of the race which are those of the community as a
whole. The employed woman wishes to earn as much wages as she can and with
as little interruption as she can; in gratifying that wish she is, at the
same time, acting in the interests of the employer, who carefully avoids
thwarting her.

This impulse on the employed woman's part is by no means always and
entirely the result of poverty, and would not, therefore, be removed by
raising her wages. Long before marriage, when little more than a child,
she has usually gone out to work, and work has become a second nature. She
has mastered her work, she enjoys a certain position and what to her are
high wages; she is among her friends and companions; the noise and bustle
and excitement of the work-room or the factory have become an agreeable
stimulant which she can no longer do without. On the other hand, her home
means nothing to her; she only returns there to sleep, leaving it next
morning at day-break or earlier; she is ignorant even of the simplest
domestic arts; she moves about in her own home like a strange and awkward
child. The mere act of marriage cannot change this state of things;
however willing she may be at marriage to become a domesticated wife, she
is destitute alike of the inclination or the skill for domesticity. Even
in spite of herself she is driven back to the work-shop, to the one place
where she feels really at home.

    In Germany women are not allowed to work for four weeks after
    confinement, nor during the following two weeks except by medical
    certificate. The obligatory insurance against disease which
    covers women at confinement assures them an indemnity at this
    time equivalent to a large part of their wages. Married and
    unmarried mothers benefit alike. The Austrian law is founded on
    the same model. This measure has led to a very great decrease in
    infantile mortality, and, therefore, a great increase in health
    among those who survive. It is, however, regarded as very
    inadequate, and there is a movement in Germany for extending the
    time, for applying the system to a larger number of women, and
    for making it still more definitely compulsory.

    In Switzerland it has been illegal since 1877 for any woman to be
    received into a factory after confinement, unless she has rested
    in all for eight weeks, six weeks at least of this period being
    after confinement. Since 1898 Swiss working women have been
    protected by law from exercising hard work during pregnancy, and
    from various other influences likely to be injurious. But this
    law is evaded in practice, because it provides no compensatory
    indemnity for the woman. An attempt, in 1899, to amend the law by
    providing for such indemnity was rejected by the people.

    In Belgium and Holland there are laws against women working
    immediately after confinement, but no indemnity is provided, so
    that employers and employed combine to evade the law. In France
    there is no such law, although its necessity has often been
    emphatically asserted (see, e.g., Salvat, _La Dépopulation de la
    France_, Thèse de Lyon, 1903).

    In England it is illegal to employ a woman "knowingly" in a
    work-shop within four weeks of the birth of her child, but no
    provision is made by the law for the compensation of the woman
    who is thus required to sacrifice herself to the interests of the
    State. The woman evades the law in tacit collusion with her
    employers, who can always avoid "knowing" that a birth has taken
    place, and so escape all responsibility for the mother's
    employment. Thus the factory inspectors are unable to take
    action, and the law becomes a dead letter; in 1906 only one
    prosecution for this offense could be brought into court. By the
    insertion of this "knowingly" a premium is placed on ignorance.
    The unwisdom of thus beforehand placing a premium on ignorance
    has always been more or less clearly recognized by the framers of
    legal codes even as far back as the days of the Ten Commandments
    and the laws of Hamurabi. It is the business of the Court, of
    those who administer the law, to make allowance for ignorance
    where such allowance is fairly called for; it is not for the
    law-maker to make smooth the path of the law-breaker. There are
    evidently law-makers nowadays so scrupulous, or so simple-minded,
    that they would be prepared to exact that no pickpocket should be
    prosecuted if he was able to declare on oath that he had no
    "knowledge" that the purse he had taken belonged to the person he
    extracted it from.

    The annual reports of the English factory inspectors serve to
    bring ridicule on this law, which looks so wisely humane and yet
    means nothing, but have so far been powerless to effect any
    change. These reports show, moreover, that the difficulty is
    increasing in magnitude. Thus Miss Martindale, a factory
    inspector, states that in all the towns she visits, from a quiet
    cathedral city to a large manufacturing town, the employment of
    married women is rapidly increasing; they have worked in mills or
    factories all their lives and are quite unaccustomed to cooking,
    housework and the rearing of children, so that after marriage,
    even when not compelled by poverty, they prefer to go on working
    as before. Miss Vines, another factory inspector, repeats the
    remark of a woman worker in a factory. "I do not need to work,
    but I do not like staying at home," while another woman said, "I
    would rather be at work a hundred times than at home. I get lost
    at home" (_Annual Report Chief Inspector of Factories and
    Workshops for 1906_, pp. 325, etc.).

    It may be added that not only is the English law enjoining four
    weeks' rest on the mother after childbirth practically
    inoperative, but the period itself is absurdly inadequate. As a
    rest for the mother it is indeed sufficient, but the State is
    still more interested in the child than in its mother, and the
    child needs the mother's chief care for a much longer period than
    four weeks. Helme advocates the State prohibition of women's work
    for at least six months after confinement. Where nurseries are
    attached to factories, enabling the mother to suckle her infant
    in intervals of work, the period may doubtless be shortened.

    It is important to remember that it is by no means only the women
    in factories who are induced to work as usual during the whole
    period of pregnancy, and to return to work immediately after the
    brief rest of confinement. The Research Committee of the
    Christian Social Union (London Branch) undertook, in 1905, an
    inquiry into the employment of women after childbirth. Women in
    factories and workshops were excluded from the inquiry which only
    had reference to women engaged in household duties, in home
    industries, and in casual work. It was found that the majority
    carry on their employment right up to the time of confinement and
    resume it from ten to fourteen days later. The infantile death
    rate for the children of women engaged only in household duties
    was greatly lower than that for the children of the other women,
    while, as ever, the hand-fed infants had a vastly higher death
    rate than the breast-fed infants (_British Medical Journal_, Oct.
    24, 1908, p. 1297).

    In the great French gun and armour-plate works at Creuzot (Saône
    et Loire) the salaries of expectant mothers among the employees
    are raised; arrangements are made for giving them proper advice
    and medical attendance; they are not allowed to work after the
    middle of pregnancy or to return to work after confinement
    without a medical certificate of fitness. The results are said to
    be excellent, not only on the health of the mothers, but in the
    diminution of premature births, the decrease of infantile deaths,
    and the general prevalence of breast-feeding. It would probably
    be hopeless to expect many employers in Anglo-Saxon lands to
    adopt this policy. They are too "practical," they know how small
    is the money-value of human lives. With us it is necessary for
    the State to intervene.

    There can be no doubt that, on the whole, modern civilized
    communities are beginning to realize that under the social and
    economic conditions now tending more and more to prevail, they
    must in their own interests insure that the mother's best energy
    and vitality are devoted to the child, both before and after its
    birth. They are also realizing that they cannot carry out their
    duty in this respect unless they make adequate provision for the
    mothers who are thus compelled to renounce their employment in
    order to devote themselves to their children. We here reach a
    point at which Individualism is at one with Socialism. The
    individualist cannot fail to see that it is at all cost necessary
    to remove social conditions which crush out all individuality;
    the Socialist cannot fail to see that a society which neglects to
    introduce order at this central and vital point, the production
    of the individual, must speedily perish.

It is involved in the proper fulfilment of a mother's relationship to her
infant child that, provided she is healthy, she should suckle it. Of
recent years this question has become a matter of serious gravity. In the
middle of the eighteenth century, when the upper-class women of France had
grown disinclined to suckle their own children, Rousseau raised so loud
and eloquent a protest that it became once more the fashion for a woman to
fulfil her natural duties. At the present time, when the same evil is
found once more, and in a far more serious form, for now it is not the
small upper-class but the great lower-class that is concerned, the
eloquence of a Rousseau would be powerless, for it is not fashion so much
as convenience, and especially an intractable economic factor, that is
chiefly concerned. Not the least urgent reason for putting women, and
especially mothers, upon a sounder economic basis, is the necessity of
enabling them to suckle their children.

    No woman is sound, healthy, and complete unless she possesses
    breasts that are beautiful enough to hold the promise of being
    functional when the time for their exercise arrives, and nipples
    that can give suck. The gravity of this question to-day is shown
    by the frequency with which women are lacking in this essential
    element of womanhood, and the young man of to-day, it has been
    said, often in taking a wife, "actually marries but part of a
    woman, the other part being exhibited in the chemist's shop
    window, in the shape of a glass feeding-bottle." Blacker found
    among a thousand patients from the maternity department of
    University College Hospital that thirty-nine had never suckled at
    all, seven hundred and forty-seven had suckled all their
    children, and two hundred and fourteen had suckled only some.
    The chief reason given for not suckling was absence or
    insufficiency of milk; other reasons being inability or
    disinclination to suckle, and refusal of the child to take the
    breast (Blacker, _Medical Chronicle_, Feb., 1900). These results
    among the London poor are certainly very much better than could
    be found in many manufacturing towns where women work after
    marriage. In the other large countries of Europe equally
    unsatisfactory results are found. In Paris Madame Dluska has
    shown that of 209 women who came for their confinement to the
    Clinique Baudelocque, only 74 suckled their children; of the 135
    who did not suckle, 35 were prevented by pathological causes or
    absence of milk, 100 by the necessities of their work. Even those
    who suckled could seldom continue more than seven months on
    account of the physiological strain of work (Dluska,
    _Contribution à l'Etude de l'Allaitement Maternel_, Thèse de
    Paris, 1894). Many statistics have been gathered in the German
    countries. Thus Wiedow (_Centralblatt für Gynäkologie_, No. 29,
    1895) found that of 525 women at the Freiburg Maternity only half
    could suckle thoroughly during the first two weeks; imperfect
    nipples were noted in 49 cases, and it was found that the
    development of the nipple bore a direct relation to the value of
    the breast as a secretory organ. At Munich Escherich and Büller
    found that nearly 60 per cent. of women of the lower class were
    unable to suckle their children, and at Stuttgart three-quarters
    of the child-bearing women were in this condition.

The reasons why children should be suckled at their mothers' breasts are
larger than some may be inclined to believe. In the first place the
psychological reason is one of no mean importance. The breast with its
exquisitely sensitive nipple, vibrating in harmony with the sexual organs,
furnishes the normal mechanism by which maternal love is developed. No
doubt the woman who never suckles her child may love it, but such love is
liable to remain defective on the fundamental and instinctive side. In
some women, indeed, whom we may hesitate to call abnormal, maternal love
fails to awaken at all until brought into action through this mechanism by
the act of suckling.

A more generally recognized and certainly fundamental reason for suckling
the child is that the milk of the mother, provided she is reasonably
healthy, is the infant's only ideally fit food. There are some people
whose confidence in science leads them to believe that it is possible to
manufacture foods that are as good or better than mother's milk; they
fancy that the milk which is best for the calf is equally best for so
different an animal as the baby. These are delusions. The infant's best
food is that elaborated in his own mother's body. All other foods are more
or less possible substitutes, which require trouble to prepare properly
and are, moreover, exposed to various risks from which the mother's milk
is free.

A further reason, especially among the poor, against the use of any
artificial foods is that it accustoms those around the child to try
experiments with its feeding and to fancy that any kind of food they eat
themselves may be good for the infant. It thus happens that bread and
potatoes, brandy and gin, are thrust into infants' mouths. With the infant
that is given the breast it is easier to make plain that, except by the
doctor's orders, nothing else must be given.

An additional reason why the mother should suckle her child is the close
and frequent association with the child thus involved. Not only is the
child better cared for in all respects, but the mother is not deprived of
the discipline of such care, and is also enabled from the outset to learn
and to understand the child's nature.

    The inability to suckle acquires great significance if we realize
    that it is associated, probably in a large measure as a direct
    cause, with infantile mortality. The mortality of
    artificially-fed infants during the first year of life is seldom
    less than double that of the breast-fed, sometimes it is as much
    as three times that of the breast-fed, or even more; thus at
    Derby 51.7 per cent. of hand-fed infants die under the age of
    twelve months, but only 8.6 per cent. of breast-fed infants.
    Those who survive are by no means free from suffering. At the end
    of the first year they are found to weigh about 25 per cent. less
    than the breast-fed, and to be much shorter; they are more liable
    to tuberculosis and rickets, with all the evil results that flow
    from these diseases; and there is some reason to believe that the
    development of their teeth is injuriously affected. The
    degenerate character of the artificially-fed is well indicated by
    the fact that of 40,000 children who were brought for treatment
    to the Children's Hospital in Munich, 86 per cent. had been
    brought up by hand, and the few who had been suckled had usually
    only had the breast for a short time. The evil influence persists
    even up to adult life. In some parts of France where the
    wet-nurse industry flourishes so greatly that nearly all the
    children are brought up by hand, it has been found that the
    percentage of rejected conscripts is nearly double that for
    France generally. Corresponding results have been found by
    Friedjung in a large German athletic association. Among 155
    members, 65 per cent. were found on inquiry to have been
    breast-fed as infants (for an average of six months); but among
    the best athletes the percentage of breast-fed rose to 72 per
    cent. (for an average period of nine or ten months), while for
    the group of 56 who stood lowest in athletic power the percentage
    of breast-fed fell to 57 (for an average of only three months).

    The advantages for an infant of being suckled by its mother are
    greater than can be accounted for by the mere fact of being
    suckled rather than hand-fed. This has been shown by Vitrey (_De
    la Mortalité Infantile_, Thèse de Lyon, 1907), who found from the
    statistics of the Hôtel-Dieu at Lyons, that infants suckled by
    their mothers have a mortality of only 12 per cent., but if
    suckled by strangers, the mortality rises to 33 per cent. It may
    be added that, while suckling is essential to the complete
    well-being of the child, it is highly desirable for the sake of
    the mother's health also. (Some important statistics are
    summarized in a paper on "Infantile Mortality" in _British
    Medical Journal_, Nov. 2, 1907), while the various aspects of
    suckling have been thoroughly discussed by Bollinger, "Ueber
    Säuglings-Sterblichkeit und die Erbliche functionelle Atrophie
    der menschlichen Milchdrüse" (_Correspondenzblatt Deutschen
    Gesellschaft Anthropologie_, Oct., 1899).

    It appears that in Sweden, in the middle of the eighteenth
    century, it was a punishable offense for a woman to give her baby
    the bottle when she was able to suckle it. In recent years Prof.
    Anton von Menger, of Vienna, has argued (in his _Burgerliche
    Recht und die Besitzlosen Klassen_) that the future generation
    has the right to make this claim, and he proposes that every
    mother shall be legally bound to suckle her child unless her
    inability to do so has been certified by a physician. E.A.
    Schroeder (_Das Recht in der Geschlechtlichen Ordnung_, 1893, p.
    346) also argued that a mother should be legally bound to suckle
    her infant for at least nine months, unless solid grounds could
    be shown to the contrary, and this demand, which seems reasonable
    and natural, since it is a mother's privilege as well as her duty
    to suckle her infant when able to do so, has been insistently
    made by others also. It has been supported from the legal side by
    Weinberg (_Mutterschutz_, Sept., 1907). In France the Loi Roussel
    forbids a woman to act as a wet-nurse until her child is seven
    months old, and this has had an excellent effect in lowering
    infantile mortality (A. Allée, _Puériculture et la Loi Roussel_,
    Thèse de Paris, 1908). In some parts of Germany manufacturers are
    compelled to set up a suckling-room in the factory, where mothers
    can give the breast to the child in the intervals of work. The
    control and upkeep of these rooms, with provision of doctors and
    nurses, is undertaken by the municipality (_Sexual-Probleme_,
    Sept., 1908, p. 573).

As things are to-day in modern industrial countries the righting of these
wrongs cannot be left to Nature, that is, to the ignorant and untrained
impulses of persons who live in a whirl of artificial life where the voice
of instinct is drowned. The mother, we are accustomed to think, may be
trusted to see to the welfare of her child, and it is unnecessary, or even
"immoral," to come to her assistance. Yet there are few things, I think,
more pathetic than the sight of a young Lancashire mother who works in the
mills, when she has to stay at home to nurse her sick child. She is used
to rise before day-break to go to the mill; she has scarcely seen her
child by the light of the sun, she knows nothing of its necessities, the
hands that are so skilful to catch the loom cannot soothe the child. The
mother gazes down at it in vague, awkward, speechless misery. It is not a
sight one can ever forget.

It is France that is taking the lead in the initiation of the scientific
and practical movements for the care of the young child before and after
birth, and it is in France that we may find the germs of nearly all the
methods now becoming adopted for arresting infantile mortality. The
village system of Villiers-le-Duc, near Dijon in the Côte d'Or, has proved
a germ of this fruitful kind. Here every pregnant woman not able to secure
the right conditions for her own life and that of the child she is
bearing, is able to claim the assistance of the village authorities; she
is entitled, without payment, to the attendance of a doctor and midwife
and to one franc a day during her confinement. The measures adopted in
this village have practically abolished both maternal and infantile
mortality. A few years ago Dr. Samson Moore, the medical officer of health
for Huddersfield, heard of this village, and Mr. Benjamin Broadbent, the
Mayor of Huddersfield, visited Villiers-le-Duc. It was resolved to
initiate in Huddersfield a movement for combating infant mortality.
Henceforth arose what is known as the Huddersfield scheme, a scheme which
has been fruitful in splendid results. The points of the Huddersfield
scheme are: (1) compulsory notification of births within forty-eight
hours; (2) the appointment of lady assistant medical officers of help to
visit the home, inquire, advise, and assist; (3) the organized aid of
voluntary lady workers in subordination to the municipal part of the
scheme; (4) appeal to the medical officer of help when the baby, not being
under medical care, fails to thrive. The infantile mortality of
Huddersfield has been very greatly reduced by this scheme.[16]

    The Huddersfield scheme may be said to be the origin of the
    English Notification of Births Act, which came into operation in
    1908. This Act represents, in England, the national inauguration
    of a scheme for the betterment of the race, the ultimate results
    of which it is impossible to foresee. When this Act comes into
    universal action every baby of the land will be entitled--legally
    and not by individual caprice or philanthropic condescension--to
    medical attention from the day of birth, and every mother will
    have at hand the counsel of an educated woman in touch with the
    municipal authorities. There could be no greater triumph for
    medical science, for national efficiency, and the cause of
    humanity generally. Even on the lower financial plane, it is easy
    to see that an enormous saving of public and private money will
    thus be effected. The Act is adoptive, and not compulsory. This
    was a wise precaution, for an Act of this kind cannot be
    effectual unless it is carried out thoroughly by the community
    adopting it, and it will not be adopted until a community has
    clearly realized its advantages and the methods of attaining

    An important adjunct of this organization is the School for
    Mothers. Such schools, which are now beginning to spring up
    everywhere, may be said to have their origins in the
    _Consultations de Nourrissons_ (with their offshoot the _Goutte
    de Lait_), established by Professor Budin in 1892, which have
    spread all over France and been widely influential for good. At
    the _Consultations_ infants are examined and weighed weekly, and
    the mothers advised and encouraged to suckle their children. The
    _Gouttes_ are practically milk dispensaries where infants for
    whom breast-feeding is impossible are fed with milk under medical
    supervision. Schools for Mothers represent an enlargement of the
    same scheme, covering a variety of subjects which it is necessary
    for a mother to know. Some of the first of these schools were
    established at Bonn, at the Bavarian town of Weissenberg, and in
    Ghent. At some of the Schools for Mothers, and notably at Ghent
    (described by Mrs. Bertrand Russell in the _Nineteenth Century_,
    1906), the important step has been taken of giving training to
    young girls from fourteen to eighteen; they receive instruction
    in infant anatomy and physiology, in the preparation of
    sterilized milk, in weighing children, in taking temperatures and
    making charts, in managing crêches, and after two years are able
    to earn a salary. In various parts of England, schools for young
    mothers and girls on these lines are now being established, first
    in London, under the auspices of Dr. F.J. Sykes, Medical Officer
    of Health for St. Pancreas (see, e.g., _A School For Mothers_,
    1908, describing an establishment of this kind at Somers Town,
    with a preface by Sir Thomas Barlow; an account of recent
    attempts to improve the care of infants in London will also be
    found in the _Lancet_, Sept. 26, 1908). It may be added that some
    English municipalities have established depôts for supplying
    mothers cheaply with good milk. Such depôts are, however, likely
    to be more mischievous than beneficial if they promote the
    substitution of hand-feeding for suckling. They should never be
    established except in connection with Schools for Mothers, where
    an educational influence may be exerted, and no mother should be
    supplied with milk unless she presents a medical certificate
    showing that she is unable to nourish her child (Byers, "Medical
    Women and Public Health Questions," _British Medical Journal_,
    Oct. 6, 1906). It is noteworthy that in England the local
    authorities will shortly be empowered by law to establish Schools
    for Mothers.

    The great benefits produced by these institutions in France, both
    in diminishing the infant mortality and in promoting the
    education of mothers and their pride and interest in their
    children, have been set forth in two Paris theses by G. Chaignon
    (_Organisation des Consultations de Nourrissons à la Campagne_,
    1908), and Alcide Alexandre (_Consultation de Nourrissons et
    Goutte de Lait d'Arques_, 1908).

    The movement is now spreading throughout Europe, and an
    International Union has been formed, including all the
    institutions specially founded for the protection of child life
    and the promotion of puericulture. The permanent committee is in
    Brussels, and a Congress of Infant Protection (_Goutte de Lait_)
    is held every two years.

It will be seen that all the movements now being set in action for the
improvement of the race through the child and the child's mother,
recognize the intimacy of the relation between the mother and her child
and are designed to aid her, even if necessary by the exercise of some
pressure, in performing her natural functions in relation to her child. To
the theoretical philanthropist, eager to reform the world on paper,
nothing seems simpler than to cure the present evils of child-rearing by
setting up State nurseries which are at once to relieve mothers of
everything connected with the production of the men of the future beyond
the pleasure--if such it happens to be--of conceiving them and the trouble
of bearing them, and at the same time to rear them up independently of the
home, in a wholesome, economical, and scientific manner.[17] Nothing seems
simpler, but from the fundamental psychological standpoint nothing is
falser. The idea of a State which is outside the community is but a
survival in another form of that antiquated notion which compelled Louis
XIV to declare "L'Etat c'est moi!" A State which admits that the
individuals composing it are incompetent to perform their own most sacred
and intimate functions, and takes upon itself to perform them instead,
attempts a task which would be undesirable, even if it were possible of
achievement. It must always be remembered that a State which proposes to
relieve its constituent members of their natural functions and
responsibilities attempts something quite different from the State which
seeks to aid its members to fulfil their own biological and social
functions more adequately. A State which enables its mothers to rest when
they are child-bearing is engaged in a reasonable task; a State which
takes over its mothers' children is reducing philanthropy to absurdity. It
is easy to realize this if we consider the inevitable course of
circumstances under a system of "State-nurseries." The child would be
removed from its natural mother at the earliest age, but some one has to
perform the mother's duties; the substitute must therefore be properly
trained for such duties; and in exercising them under favorable
circumstances a maternal relationship is developed between the child and
the "mother," who doubtless possesses natural maternal instincts but has
no natural maternal bond to the child she is mothering. Such a
relationship tends to become on both sides practically and emotionally the
real relationship. We very often have opportunity of seeing how
unsatisfactory such a relationship becomes. The artificial mother is
deprived of a child she had begun to feel her own; the child's emotional
relationships are upset, split and distorted; the real mother has the
bitterness of feeling that for her child she is not the real mother. Would
it not have been much better for all if the State had encouraged the vast
army of women it had trained for the position of mothering other women's
children, to have, instead, children of their own? The women who are
incapable of mothering their own children could then be trained to refrain
from bearing them.

    Ellen Key (in her _Century of the Child_, and elsewhere) has
    advocated for all young women a year of compulsory "service,"
    analogous to the compulsory military service imposed in most
    countries on young men. During this period the girl would be
    trained in rational housekeeping, in the principles of hygiene,
    in the care of the sick, and especially in the care of infants
    and all that concerns the physical and psychic development of
    children. The principle of this proposal has since been widely
    accepted. Marie von Schmid (in her _Mutterdienst_, 1907) goes so
    far as to advocate a general training of young women in such
    duties, carried on in a kind of enlarged and improved midwifery
    school. The service would last a year, and the young woman would
    then be for three years in the reserves, and liable to be called
    up for duty. There is certainly much to be said for such a
    proposal, considerably more than is to be said for compulsory
    military service. For while it is very doubtful whether a man
    will ever be called on to fight, most women are liable to be
    called on to exercise household duties or to look after children,
    whether for themselves or for other people.


[1] It is not, of course, always literally true that each parent supplies
exactly half the heredity, for, as we see among animals generally, the
offspring may sometimes approach more nearly to one parent, sometimes to
the other, while among plants, as De Vries and others have shown, the
heredity may be still more unequally divided.

[2] It should scarcely be necessary to say that to assert that motherhood
is a woman's supreme function is by no means to assert that her activities
should be confined to the home. That is an opinion which may now be
regarded as almost extinct even among those who most glorify the function
of woman as mother. As Friedrich Naumann and others have very truly
pointed out, a woman is not adequately equipped to fulfil her functions as
mother and trainer of children unless she has lived in the world and
exercised a vocation.

[3] "Were the capacities of the brain and the heart equal in the sexes,"
Lily Braun (_Die Frauenfrage_, page 207) well says, "the entry of women
into public life would be of no value to humanity, and would even lead to
a still wilder competition. Only the recognition that the entire nature of
woman is different from that of man, that it signifies a new vivifying
principle in human life, makes the women's movement, in spite of the
misconception of its enemies and its friends, a social revolution" (see
also Havelock Ellis, _Man and Woman_, fourth edition, 1904, especially Ch.

[4] The word "puericulture" was invented by Dr. Caron in 1866 to signify
the culture of children after birth. It was Pinard, the distinguished
French obstetrician, who, in 1895, gave it a larger and truer significance
by applying it to include the culture of children before birth. It is now
defined as "the science which has for its end the search for the knowledge
relative to the reproduction, the preservation, and the amelioration of
the human race" (Péchin, _La Puériculture avant la Naissance_, Thèse de
Paris, 1908).

[5] In _La Grossesse_ (pp. 450 et seq.) Bouchacourt has discussed the
problems of puericulture at some length.

[6] The importance of antenatal puericulture was fully recognized in China
a thousand years ago. Thus Madame Cheng wrote at that time concerning the
education of the child: "Even before birth his education may begin; and,
therefore, the prospective mother of old, when lying down, lay straight;
when sitting down, sat upright; and when standing, stood erect. She would
not taste strange flavors, nor have anything to do with spiritualism; if
her food were not cut straight she would not eat it, and if her mat were
not set straight, she would not sit upon it. She would not look at any
objectionable sight, nor listen to any objectionable sound, nor utter any
rude word, nor handle any impure thing. At night she studied some
canonical work, by day she occupied herself with ceremonies and music.
Therefore, her sons were upright and eminent for their talents and
virtues; such was the result of antenatal training" (H.A. Giles, "Woman in
Chinese Literature," _Nineteenth Century_, Nov., 1904).

[7] Max Bartels, "Isländischer Brauch," etc., _Zeitschrift für
Ethnologie_, 1900, p. 65. A summary of the customs of various peoples in
regard to pregnancy is given by Ploss and Bartels, _Das Weib_, Sect. XXIX.

[8] On the influence of alcohol during pregnancy on the embryo, see, e.g.,
G. Newman, _Infant Mortality_, pp. 72-77. W.C. Sullivan (_Alcoholism_,
1906, Ch. XI), summarizes the evidence showing that alcohol is a factor in
human degeneration.

[9] There is even reason to believe that the alcoholism of the mother's
father may impair her ability as a mother. Bunge (_Die Zunehmende
Unfähigkeit der Frauen ihre Kinder zu Stillen_, fifth edition, 1907), from
an investigation extending over 2,000 families, finds that chronic
alcoholic poisoning in the father is the chief cause of the daughter's
inability to suckle, this inability not usually being recovered in
subsequent generations. Bunge has, however, been opposed by Dr. Agnes
Bluhm, "Die Stillungsnot," _Zeitschrift für Soziale Medizin_, 1908 (fully
summarized by herself in _Sexual-Probleme_, Jan., 1909).

[10] See, e.g., T. Arthur Helme, "The Unborn Child," _British Medical
Journal_, Aug. 24, 1907. Nutrition should, of course, be adequate. Noel
Paton has shown (_Lancet_, July 4, 1903) that defective nutrition of the
pregnant woman diminishes the weight of the offspring.

[11] Debreyne, _Moechialogie_, p. 277. And from the Protestant side see
Northcote (_Christianity and Sex Problems_, Ch. IX), who permits sexual
intercourse during pregnancy.

[12] See Appendix A to the third volume of these _Studies_; also Ploss and
Bartels, loc. cit.

[13] Thus one lady writes: "I have only had one child, but I may say that
during pregnancy the desire for union was much stronger, for the whole
time, than at any other period." Bouchacourt (_La Grossesse_, pp. 180-183)
states that, as a rule, sexual desire is not diminished by pregnancy, and
is occasionally increased.

[14] This "inconvenience" remains to-day a stumbling-block with many
excellent authorities. "Except when there is a tendency to miscarriage,"
says Kossmann (Senator and Kaminer, _Health and Disease in Relation to
Marriage_, vol. i, p. 257), "we must be very guarded in ordering
abstinence from intercourse during pregnancy," and Ballantyne (_The
Foetus_, p. 475) cautiously remarks that the question is difficult to
decide. Forel also (_Die Sexuelle Frage_, fourth edition, p. 81), who is
not prepared to advocate complete sexual abstinence during a normal
pregnancy, admits that it is a rather difficult question.

[15] This point is discussed, for instance, by Séropian in a Paris Thesis
(_Fréquence comparée des Causes de l'Accouchement Prémature_, 1907); he
concludes that coitus during pregnancy is a more frequent cause of
premature confinement than is commonly supposed, especially in primiparæ,
and markedly so by the ninth month.

[16] "Infantile Mortality: The Huddersfield Scheme," _British Medical
Journal_, Dec., 1907; Samson Moore, "Infant Mortality," ib., August 29,

[17] Ellen Key has admirably dealt with proposals of this kind (as put
forth by C.P. Stetson) in her Essays "On Love and Marriage." In opposition
to such proposals Ellen Key suggests that such women as have been properly
trained for maternal duties and are unable entirely to support themselves
while exercising them should be subsidized by the State during the child's
first three years of life. It may be added that in Leipzig the plan of
subsidizing mothers who (under proper medical and other supervision)
suckle their infants has already been introduced.



Nurture Necessary as Well as Breed--Precocious Manifestations of the
Sexual Impulse--Are They to be Regarded as Normal?--The Sexual Play of
Children--The Emotion of Love in Childhood--Are Town Children More
Precocious Sexually Than Country Children?--Children's Ideas Concerning
the Origin of Babies--Need for Beginning the Sexual Education of Children
in Early Years--The Importance of Early Training in Responsibility--Evil
of the Old Doctrine of Silence in Matters of Sex--The Evil Magnified When
Applied to Girls--The Mother the Natural and Best Teacher--The Morbid
Influence of Artificial Mystery in Sex Matters--Books on Sexual
Enlightenment of the Young--Nature of the Mother's Task--Sexual Education
in the School--The Value of Botany--Zoölogy--Sexual Education After
Puberty--The Necessity of Counteracting Quack Literature--Danger of
Neglecting to Prepare for the First Onset of Menstruation--The Right
Attitude Towards Woman's Sexual Life--The Vital Necessity of the Hygiene
of Menstruation During Adolescence--Such Hygiene Compatible with the
Educational and Social Equality of the Sexes--The Invalidism of Women
Mainly Due to Hygienic Neglect--Good Influence of Physical Training on
Women and Bad Influence of Athletics--The Evils of Emotional
Suppression--Need of Teaching the Dignity of Sex--Influence of These
Factors on a Woman's Fate in Marriage--Lectures and Addresses on Sexual
Hygiene--The Doctor's Part in Sexual Education--Pubertal Initiation Into
the Ideal World--The Place of the Religious and Ethical Teacher--The
Initiation Rites of Savages Into Manhood and Womanhood--The Sexual
Influence of Literature--The Sexual Influence of Art.

It may seem to some that in attaching weight to the ancestry, the
parentage, the conception, the gestation, even the first infancy, of the
child we are wandering away from the sphere of the psychology of sex. That
is far from being the case. We are, on the contrary, going to the root of
sex. All our growing knowledge tends to show that, equally with his
physical nature, the child's psychic nature is based on breed and nurture,
on the quality of the stocks he belongs to, and on the care taken at the
early moments when care counts for most, to preserve the fine quality of
those stocks.

    It must, of course, be remembered that the influences of both
    breed and nurture are alike influential on the fate of the
    individual. The influence of nurture is so obvious that few are
    likely to under-rate it. The influence of breed, however, is less
    obvious, and we may still meet with persons so ill informed, and
    perhaps so prejudiced, as to deny it altogether. The growth of
    our knowledge in this matter, by showing how subtle and
    penetrative is the influence of heredity, cannot fail to dispel
    this mischievous notion. No sound civilization is possible except
    in a community which in the mass is not only well-nurtured but
    well-bred. And in no part of life so much as in the sexual
    relationships is the influence of good breeding more decisive. An
    instructive illustration may be gleaned from the minute and
    precise history of his early life furnished to me by a highly
    cultured Russian gentleman. He was brought up in childhood with
    his own brothers and sisters and a little girl of the same age
    who had been adopted from infancy, the child of a prostitute who
    had died soon after the infant's birth. The adopted child was
    treated as one of the family, and all the children supposed that
    she was a real sister. Yet from early years she developed
    instincts unlike those of the children with whom she was
    nurtured; she lied, she was cruel, she loved to make mischief,
    and she developed precociously vicious sexual impulses; though
    carefully educated, she adopted the occupation of her mother, and
    at the age of twenty-two was exiled to Siberia for robbery and
    attempt to murder. The child of a chance father and a prostitute
    mother is not fatally devoted to ruin; but such a child is
    ill-bred, and that fact, in some cases, may neutralize all the
    influences of good nurture.

When we reach the period of infancy we have already passed beyond the
foundations and potentialities of the sexual life; we are in some cases
witnessing its actual beginnings. It is a well-established fact that
auto-erotic manifestations may sometimes be observed even in infants of
less than twelve months. We are not now called upon to discuss the
disputable point as to how far such manifestations at this age can be
called normal.[18] A slight degree of menstrual and mammary activity
sometimes occurs at birth.[19] It seems clear that nervous and psychic
sexual activity has its first springs at this early period, and as the
years go by an increasing number of individuals join the stream until at
puberty practically all are carried along in the great current.

While, therefore, it is possibly, even probably, true that the soundest
and healthiest individuals show no definite signs of nervous and psychic
sexuality in childhood, such manifestations are still sufficiently
frequent to make it impossible to say that sexual hygiene may be
completely ignored until puberty is approaching.

    Precocious physical development occurs as a somewhat rare
    variation. W. Roger Williams ("Precocious Sexual Development with
    Abstracts of over One Hundred Cases," _British Gynæcological
    Journal_, May, 1902) has furnished an important contribution to
    the knowledge of this anomaly which is much commoner in girls
    than in boys. Roger Williams's cases include only twenty boys to
    eighty girls, and precocity is not only more frequent but more
    pronounced in girls, who have been known to conceive at eight,
    while thirteen is stated to be the earliest age at which boys
    have proved able to beget children. This, it may be remarked, is
    also the earliest age at which spermatozoa are found in the
    seminal fluid of boys; before that age the ejaculations contain
    no spermatozoa, and, as Fürbringer and Moll have found, they may
    even be absent at sixteen, or later. In female children
    precocious sexual development is less commonly associated with
    general increase of bodily development than in boys. (An
    individual case of early sexual development in a girl of five has
    been completely described and figured in the _Zeitschrift für
    Ethnologie_, 1896, Heft 4, p. 262.)

    Precocious sexual impulses are generally vague, occasional, and
    more or less innocent. A case of rare and pronounced character,
    in which a child, a boy, from the age of two had been sexually
    attracted to girls and women, and directed all his thoughts and
    actions to sexual attempts on them, has been described by Herbert
    Rich, of Detroit (_Alienist and Neurologist_, Nov., 1905).
    General evidence from the literature of the subject as to sexual
    precocity, its frequency and significance, has been brought
    together by L.M. Terman ("A Study in Precocity," _American
    Journal Psychology_, April, 1905).

    The erections that are liable to occur in male infants have
    usually no sexual significance, though, as Moll remarks, they may
    acquire it by attracting the child's attention; they are merely
    reflex. It is believed by some, however, and notably by Freud,
    that certain manifestations of infant activity, especially
    thumb-sucking, are of sexual causation, and that the sexual
    impulse constantly manifests itself at a very early age. The
    belief that the sexual instinct is absent in childhood, Freud
    regards as a serious error, so easy to correct by observation
    that he wonders how it can have arisen. "In reality," he remarks,
    "the new-born infant brings sexuality with it into the world,
    sexual sensations accompany it through the days of lactation and
    childhood, and very few children can fail to experience sexual
    activities and feelings before the period of puberty" (Freud,
    "Zur Sexuellen Aufklärung der Kinder," _Soziale Medizin und
    Hygiene_, Bd. ii, 1907; cf., for details, the same author's _Drei
    Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie_, 1905). Moll, on the other hand,
    considers that Freud's views on sexuality in infancy are
    exaggerations which must be decisively rejected, though he admits
    that it is difficult, if not impossible, to differentiate the
    feelings in childhood (Moll, _Das Sexualleben des Kindes_, p.
    154). Moll believes also that psycho-sexual manifestations
    appearing after the age of eight are not pathological; children
    who are weakly or of bad heredity are not seldom sexually
    precocious, but, on the other hand, Moll has known children of
    eight or nine with strongly developed sexual impulses, who yet
    become finely developed men.

    Rudimentary sexual activities in childhood, accompanied by sexual
    feelings, must indeed--when they are not too pronounced or too
    premature--be regarded as coming within the normal sphere, though
    when they occur in children of bad heredity they are not without
    serious risks. But in healthy children, after the age of seven or
    eight, they tend to produce no evil results, and are strictly of
    the nature of play. Play, both in animals and men, as Groos has
    shown with marvelous wealth of illustration, is a beneficent
    process of education; the young creature is thereby preparing
    itself for the exercise of those functions which in later life it
    must carry out more completely and more seriously. In his _Spiele
    der Menschen_, Groos applies this idea to the sexual play of
    children, and brings forward quotations from literature in
    evidence. Keller, in his "Romeo und Juliet auf dem Dorfe," has
    given an admirably truthful picture of these childish
    love-relationships. Emil Schultze-Malkowsky (_Geschlecht und
    Gesellschaft_, Bd. ii, p. 370) reproduces some scenes from the
    life of a little girl of seven clearly illustrating the exact
    nature of the sexual manifestation at this age.

    A kind of rudimentary sexual intercourse between children, as
    Bloch has remarked (_Beiträge_, etc., Bd. ii, p. 254), occurs in
    many parts of the world, and is recognized by their elders as
    play. This is, for instance, the case among the Bawenda of the
    Transvaal (_Zeitschrift für Ethnologie_, 1896, Heft 4, p. 364),
    and among the Papuans of Kaiser-Wilhelms-Land, with the approval
    of the parents, although much reticence is observed (id., 1889,
    Heft 1, p. 16). Godard (_Egypte et Palestine_, 1867, p. 105)
    noted the sexual play of the boys and girls in Cairo. In New
    Mexico W.A. Hammond (_Sexual Impotence_, p. 107) has seen boys
    and girls attempting a playful sexual conjunction with the
    encouragement of men and women, and in New York he has seen boys
    and girls of three and four doing the same in the presence of
    their parents, with only a laughing rebuke. "Playing at pa and
    ma" is indeed extremely common among children in genuine
    innocence, and with a complete absence of viciousness; and is by
    no means confined to children of low social class. Moll remarks
    on its frequency (_Libido Sexualis_, Bd. i, p. 277), and the
    committee of evangelical pastors, in their investigation of
    German rural morality (_Die Geschlechtliche-sittliche
    Verhältnisse_, Bd. i, p. 102) found that children who are not yet
    of school age make attempts at coitus. The sexual play of
    children is by no means confined to father and mother games;
    frequently there are games of school with the climax in exposure
    and smackings, and occasionally there are games of being doctors
    and making examinations. Thus a young English woman says: "Of
    course, when we were at school [at the age of twelve and earlier]
    we used to play with one another, several of us girls; we used to
    go into a field and pretend we were doctors and had to examine
    one another, and then we used to pull up one another's clothes
    and feel each other."

    These games do not necessarily involve the coöperation of the
    sexual impulse, and still less have they any element of love. But
    emotions of love, scarcely if at all distinguishable from adult
    sexual love, frequently appear at equally early ages. They are of
    the nature of play, in so far as play is a preparation for the
    activities of later life, though, unlike the games, they are not
    felt as play. Ramdohr, more than a century ago (_Venus Urania_,
    1798), referred to the frequent love of little boys for women.
    More usually the love is felt towards individuals of the opposite
    or the same sex who are not widely different in age, though
    usually older. The most comprehensive study of the matter has
    been made by Sanford Bell in America on a basis of as many as
    2,300 cases (S. Bell, "A Preliminary Study of the Emotion of Love
    Between the Sexes," _American Journal Psychology_, July, 1902).
    Bell finds that the presence of the emotion between three and
    eight years of age is shown by such actions as hugging, kissing,
    lifting each other, scuffling, sitting close to each other,
    confessions to each other and to others, talking about each other
    when apart, seeking each other and excluding the rest, grief at
    separation, giving gifts, showing special courtesies to each
    other, making sacrifices for each other, exhibiting jealousy. The
    girls are, on the whole, more aggressive than the boys, and less
    anxious to keep the matter secret. After the age of eight, the
    girls increase in modesty and the boys become still more
    secretive. The physical sensations are not usually located in the
    sexual organs; erection of the penis and hyperæmia of the female
    sexual parts Bell regards as marking undue precocity. But there
    is diffused vascular and nervous tumescence and a state of
    exaltation comparable, though not equal, to that experienced in
    adolescent and adult age. On the whole, as Bell soundly
    concludes, "love between children of opposite sex bears much the
    same relation to that between adults as the flower does to the
    fruit, and has about as little of physical sexuality in it as an
    apple-blossom has of the apple that develops from it." Moll also
    (op. cit. p. 76) considers that kissing and other similar
    superficial contacts, which he denominates the phenomena of
    contrectation, constitute most frequently the first and sole
    manifestation of the sexual impulse in childhood.

    It is often stated that it is easier for children to preserve
    their sexual innocence in the country than in the town, and that
    only in cities is sexuality rampant and conspicuous. This is by
    no means true, and in some respects it is the reverse of the
    truth. Certainly, hard work, a natural and simple life, and a
    lack of alert intelligence often combine to keep the rural lad
    chaste in thought and act until the period of adolescence is
    completed. Ammon, for instance, states, though without giving
    definite evidence, that this is common among the Baden
    conscripts. Certainly, also, all the multiple sensory excitements
    of urban life tend to arouse the nervous and cerebral
    excitability of the young at a comparatively early age in the
    sexual as in other fields, and promote premature desires and
    curiosities. But, on the other hand, urban life offers the young
    no gratification for their desires and curiosities. The publicity
    of a city, the universal surveillance, the studied decorum of a
    population conscious that it is continually exposed to the gaze
    of strangers, combine to spread a veil over the esoteric side of
    life, which, even when at last it fails to conceal from the young
    the urban stimuli of that life, effectually conceals, for the
    most part, the gratifications of those stimuli. In the country,
    however, these restraints do not exist in any corresponding
    degree; animals render the elemental facts of sexual life clear
    to all; there is less need or regard for decorum; speech is
    plainer; supervision is impossible, and the amplest opportunities
    for sexual intimacy are at hand. If the city may perhaps be said
    to favor unchastity of thought in the young, the country may
    certainly be said to favor unchastity of act.

    The elaborate investigations of the Committee of Lutheran pastors
    into sexual morality (_Die Geschlechtich-sittliche Verhältnisse
    im Deutschen Reiche_), published a few years ago, demonstrate
    amply the sexual freedom in rural Germany, and Moll, who is
    decidedly of opinion that the country enjoys no relative freedom
    from sexuality, states (op. cit., pp. 137-139, 239) that even the
    circulation of obscene books and pictures among school-children
    seems to be more frequent in small towns and the country than in
    large cities. In Russia, where it might be thought that urban and
    rural conditions offered less contrast than in many countries,
    the same difference has been observed. "I do not know," a Russian
    correspondent writes, "whether Zola in _La Terre_ correctly
    describes the life of French villages. But the ways of a Russian
    village, where I passed part of my childhood, fairly resemble
    those described by Zola. In the life of the rural population into
    which I was plunged everything was impregnated with erotism. One
    was surrounded by animal lubricity in all its immodesty. Contrary
    to the generally received opinion, I believe that a child may
    preserve his sexual innocence more easily in a town than in the
    country. There are, no doubt, many exceptions to this rule. But
    the functions of the sexual life are generally more concealed in
    the towns than in the fields. Modesty (whether or not of the
    merely superficial and exterior kind) is more developed among
    urban populations. In speaking of sexual things in the towns
    people veil their thought more; even the lower class in towns
    employ more restraint, more euphemisms, than peasants. Thus in
    the towns a child may easily fail to comprehend when risky
    subjects are talked of in his presence. It may be said that the
    corruption of towns, though more concealed, is all the deeper.
    Maybe, but that concealment preserves children from it. The town
    child sees prostitutes in the street every day without
    distinguishing them from other people. In the country he would
    every day hear it stated in the crudest terms that such and such
    a girl has been found at night in a barn or a ditch making love
    with such and such a youth, or that the servant girl slips every
    night into the coachman's bed, the facts of sexual intercourse,
    pregnancy, and childbirth being spoken of in the plainest terms.
    In towns the child's attention is solicited by a thousand
    different objects; in the country, except fieldwork, which fails
    to interest him, he hears only of the reproduction of animals and
    the erotic exploits of girls and youths. When we say that the
    urban environment is more exciting we are thinking of adults, but
    the things which excite the adult have usually no erotic effect
    on the child, who cannot, however, long remain asexual when he
    sees the great peasant girls, as ardent as mares in heat,
    abandoning themselves to the arms of robust youths. He cannot
    fail to remark these frank manifestations of sexuality, though
    the subtle and perverse refinements of the town would escape his
    notice. I know that in the countries of exaggerated prudery there
    is much hidden corruption, more, one is sometimes inclined to
    think, than in less hypocritical countries. But I believe that
    that is a false impression, and am persuaded that precisely
    because of all these little concealments which excite the
    malicious amusement of foreigners, there are really many more
    young people in England who remain chaste than in the countries
    which treat sexual relations more frankly. At all events, if I
    have known Englishmen who were very debauched and very refined in
    vice, I have also known young men of the same nation, over
    twenty, who were as innocent as children, but never a young
    Frenchman, Italian, or Spaniard of whom this could be said."
    There is undoubtedly truth in this statement, though it must be
    remembered that, excellent as chastity is, if it is based on mere
    ignorance, its possessor is exposed to terrible dangers.

The question of sexual hygiene, more especially in its special aspect of
sexual enlightenment, is not, however, dependent on the fact that in some
children the psychic and nervous manifestation of sex appears at an
earlier age than in others. It rests upon the larger general fact that in
all children the activity of intelligence begins to work at a very early
age, and that this activity tends to manifest itself in an inquisitive
desire to know many elementary facts of life which are really dependent on
sex. The primary and most universal of these desires is the desire to know
where children come from. No question could be more natural; the question
of origins is necessarily a fundamental one in childish philosophies as,
in more ultimate shapes, it is in adult philosophies. Most children,
either guided by the statements, usually the misstatements, of their
elders, or by their own intelligence working amid such indications as are
open to them, are in possession of a theory of the origin of babies.

    Stanley Hall ("Contents of Children's Minds on Entering School,"
    _Pedagogical Seminary_, June, 1891) has collected some of the
    beliefs of young children as to the origin of babies. "God makes
    babies in heaven, though the Holy Mother and even Santa Claus
    make some. He lets them down and drops them, and the women or
    doctors catch them, or He leaves them on the sidewalk, or brings
    them down a wooden ladder backwards and pulls it up again, or
    mamma or the doctor or the nurse go up and fetch them, sometimes
    in a balloon, or they fly down and lose off their wings in some
    place or other and forget it, and jump down to Jesus, who gives
    them around. They were also often said to be found in
    flour-barrels, and the flour sticks ever so long, you know, or
    they grew in cabbages, or God puts them in water, perhaps in the
    sewer, and the doctor gets them out and takes them to sick folks
    that want them, or the milkman brings them early in the morning;
    they are dug out of the ground, or bought at the baby store."

    In England and America the inquisitive child is often told that
    the baby was found in the garden, under a gooseberry bush or
    elsewhere; or more commonly it is said, with what is doubtless
    felt to be a nearer approach to the truth, that the doctor
    brought it. In Germany the common story told to children is that
    the stork brings the baby. Various theories, mostly based on
    folk-lore, have been put forward to explain this story, but none
    of them seem quite convincing (see, e.g., G. Herman,
    "Sexual-Mythen," _Geschlecht und Gesellschaft_, vol. i, Heft 5,
    1906, p. 176, and P. Näcke, _Neurologische Centralblatt_, No. 17,
    1907). Näcke thinks there is some plausibility in Professor
    Petermann's suggestion that a frog writhing in a stork's bill
    resembles a tiny human creature.

    In Iceland, according to Max Bartels ("Isländischer Brauch und
    Volksglaube," etc., _Zeitschrift für Ethnologie_, 1900, Heft 2
    and 3) we find a transition between the natural and the fanciful
    in the stories told to children of the origin of babies (the
    stork is here precluded, for it only extends to the southern
    border of Scandinavian lands). In North Iceland it is said that
    God made the baby and the mother bore it, and on that account is
    now ill. In the northwest it is said that God made the baby and
    gave it to the mother. Elsewhere it is said that God sent the
    baby and the midwife brought it, the mother only being in bed to
    be near the baby (which is seldom placed in a cradle). It is also
    sometimes said that a lamb or a bird brought the baby. Again it
    is said to have entered during the night through the window.
    Sometimes, however, the child is told that the baby came out of
    the mother's breasts, or from below her breasts, and that is why
    she is not well.

    Even when children learn that babies come out of the mother's
    body this knowledge often remains very vague and inaccurate. It
    very commonly happens, for instance, in all civilized countries
    that the navel is regarded as the baby's point of exit from the
    body. This is a natural conclusion, since the navel is seemingly
    a channel into the body, and a channel for which there is no
    obvious use, while the pudendal cleft would not suggest itself to
    girls (and still less to boys) as the gate of birth, since it
    already appears to be monopolized by the urinary excretion. This
    belief concerning the navel is sometimes preserved through the
    whole period of adolescence, especially in girls of the so-called
    educated class, who are too well-bred to discuss the matter with
    their married friends, and believe indeed that they are already
    sufficiently well informed. At this age the belief may not be
    altogether harmless, in so far as it leads to the real gate of
    sex being left unguarded. In Elsass where girls commonly believe,
    and are taught, that babies come through the navel, popular
    folk-tales are current (_Anthropophyteia_, vol. iii, p. 89)
    which represent the mistakes resulting from this belief as
    leading to the loss of virginity.

    Freud, who believes that children give little credit to the stork
    fable and similar stories invented for their mystification, has
    made an interesting psychological investigation into the real
    theories which children themselves, as the result of observation
    and thought, reach concerning the sexual facts of life (S. Freud,
    "Ueber Infantile Sexualtheorien," _Sexual-Probleme_, Dec., 1908).
    Such theories, he remarks, correspond to the brilliant, but
    defective hypotheses which primitive peoples arrive at concerning
    the nature and origin of the world. There are three theories,
    which, as Freud quite truly concludes, are very commonly formed
    by children. The first, and the most widely disseminated, is that
    there is no real anatomical difference between boys and girls; if
    the boy notices that his little sister has no obvious penis he
    even concludes that it is because she is too young, and the
    little girl herself takes the same view. The fact that in early
    life the clitoris is relatively larger and more penis-like helps
    to confirm this view which Freud connects with the tendency in
    later life to erotic dream of women furnished with a penis. This
    theory, as Freud also remarks, favors the growth of homosexuality
    when its germs are present. The second theory is the fæcal theory
    of the origin of babies. The child, who perhaps thinks his mother
    has a penis, and is in any case ignorant of the vagina, concludes
    that the baby is brought into the world by an action analogous to
    the action of the bowels. The third theory, which is perhaps less
    prevalent than the others, Freud terms the sadistic theory of
    coitus. The child realizes that his father must have taken some
    sort of part in his production. The theory that sexual
    intercourse consists in violence has in it a trace of truth, but
    seems to be arrived at rather obscurely. The child's own sexual
    feelings are often aroused for the first time when wrestling or
    struggling with a companion; he may see his mother, also,
    resisting more or less playfully a sudden caress from his father,
    and if a real quarrel takes place, the impression may be
    fortified. As to what the state of marriage consists in, Freud
    finds that it is usually regarded as a state which abolishes
    modesty; the most prevalent theory being that marriage means that
    people can make water before each other, while another common
    childish theory is that marriage is when people can show each
    other their private parts.

Thus it is that at a very early stage of the child's life we are brought
face to face with the question how we may most wisely begin his initiation
into the knowledge of the great central facts of sex. It is perhaps a
little late in the day to regard it as a question, but so it is among us,
although three thousand five hundred years ago, the Egyptian father spoke
to his child: "I have given you a mother who has carried you within her, a
heavy burden, for your sake, and without resting on me. When at last you
were born, she indeed submitted herself to the yoke, for during three
years were her nipples in your mouth. Your excrements never turned her
stomach, nor made her say, 'What am I doing?' When you were sent to school
she went regularly every day to carry the household bread and beer to your
master. When in your turn you marry and have a child, bring up your child
as your mother brought you up."[20]

I take it for granted, however, that--whatever doubt there may be as to
the how or the when--no doubt is any longer possible as to the absolute
necessity of taking deliberate and active part in this sexual initiation,
instead of leaving it to the chance revelation of ignorant and perhaps
vicious companions or servants. It is becoming more and more widely felt
that the risks of ignorant innocence are too great.

    "All the love and solicitude parental yearning can bestow,"
    writes Dr. G.F. Butler, of Chicago (_Love and its Affinities_,
    1899, p. 83), "all that the most refined religious influence can
    offer, all that the most cultivated associations can accomplish,
    in one fatal moment may be obliterated. There is no room for
    ethical reasoning, indeed oftentimes no consciousness of wrong,
    but only Margaret's 'Es war so süss'." The same writer adds (as
    had been previously remarked by Mrs. Craik and others) that among
    church members it is the finer and more sensitive organizations
    that are the most susceptible to sexual emotions. So far as boys
    are concerned, we leave instruction in matters of sex, the most
    sacred and central fact in the world, as Canon Lyttelton remarks,
    to "dirty-minded school-boys, grooms, garden-boys, anyone, in
    short, who at an early age may be sufficiently defiled and
    sufficiently reckless to talk of them." And, so far as girls are
    concerned, as Balzac long ago remarked, "a mother may bring up
    her daughter severely, and cover her beneath her wings for
    seventeen years; but a servant-girl can destroy that long work by
    a word, even by a gesture."

    The great part played by servant-girls of the lower class in the
    sexual initiation of the children of the middle class has been
    illustrated in dealing with "The Sexual Impulse in Women" in vol.
    iii, of these _Studies_, and need not now be further discussed.
    I would only here say a word, in passing, on the other side.
    Often as servant-girls take this part, we must not go so far as
    to say that it is the case with the majority. As regards Germany,
    Dr. Alfred Kind has lately put on record his experience: "I have
    _never_, in youth, heard a bad or improper word on
    sex-relationships from a servant-girl, although servant-girls
    followed one another in our house like sunshine and showers in
    April, and there was always a relation of comradeship between us
    children and the servants." As regards England, I can add that my
    own youthful experiences correspond to Dr. Kind's. This is not
    surprising, for one may say that in the ordinary well-conditioned
    girl, though her virtue may not be developed to heroic
    proportions, there is yet usually a natural respect for the
    innocence of children, a natural sexual indifference to them, and
    a natural expectation that the male should take the active part
    when a sexual situation arises.

It is also beginning to be felt that, especially as regards women,
ignorant innocence is not merely too fragile a possession to be worth
preservation, but that it is positively mischievous, since it involves the
lack of necessary knowledge. "It is little short of criminal," writes Dr.
F.M. Goodchild,[21] "to send our young people into the midst of the
excitements and temptations of a great city with no more preparation than
if they were going to live in Paradise." In the case of women, ignorance
has the further disadvantage that it deprives them of the knowledge
necessary for intelligent sympathy with other women. The unsympathetic
attitude of women towards women is often largely due to sheer ignorance of
the facts of life. "Why," writes in a private letter a married lady who
keenly realizes this, "are women brought up with such a profound ignorance
of their own and especially other women's natures? They do not know half
as much about other women as a man of the most average capacity learns in
his day's march." We try to make up for our failure to educate women in
the essential matters of sex by imposing upon the police and other
guardians of public order the duty of protecting women and morals. But, as
Moll insists, the real problem of chastity lies, not in the multiplication
of laws and policemen, but largely in women's knowledge of the dangers of
sex and in the cultivation of their sense of responsibility.[22] We are
always making laws for the protection of children and setting the police
on guard. But laws and the police, whether their activities are good or
bad, are in either case alike ineffectual. They can for the most part only
be invoked when the damage is already done. We have to learn to go to the
root of the matter. We have to teach children to be a law to themselves.
We have to give them that knowledge which will enable them to guard their
own personalities.[23] There is an authentic story of a lady who had
learned to swim, much to the horror of her clergyman, who thought that
swimming was unfeminine. "But," she said, "suppose I was drowning." "In
that case," he replied, "you ought to wait until a man comes along and
saves you." There we have the two methods of salvation which have been
preached to women, the old method and the new. In no sea have women been
more often in danger of drowning than that of sex. There ought to be no
question as to which is the better method of salvation.

    It is difficult nowadays to find any serious arguments against
    the desirability of early sexual enlightenment, and it is almost
    with amusement that we read how the novelist Alphonse Daudet,
    when asked his opinion of such enlightenment, protested--in a
    spirit certainly common among the men of his time--that it was
    unnecessary, because boys could learn everything from the streets
    and the newspapers, while "as to young girls--no! I would teach
    them none of the truths of physiology. I can only see
    disadvantages in such a proceeding. These truths are ugly,
    disillusioning, sure to shock, to frighten, to disgust the mind,
    the nature, of a girl." It is as much as to say that there is no
    need to supply sources of pure water when there are puddles in
    the street that anyone can drink of. A contemporary of Daudet's,
    who possessed a far finer spiritual insight, Coventry Patmore,
    the poet, in the essay on "Ancient and Modern Ideas of Purity" in
    his beautiful book, _Religio Poetæ_, had already finely protested
    against that "disease of impurity" which comes of "our modern
    undivine silences" for which Daudet pleaded. And Metchnikoff,
    more recently, from the scientific side, speaking especially as
    regards women, declares that knowledge is so indispensable for
    moral conduct that "ignorance must be counted the most immoral of
    acts" (_Essais Optimistes_, p. 420).

    The distinguished Belgian novelist, Camille Lemonnier, in his
    _L'Homme en Amour_, deals with the question of the sexual
    education of the young by presenting the history of a young man,
    brought up under the influence of the conventional and
    hypocritical views which teach that nudity and sex are shameful
    and disgusting things. In this way he passes by the opportunities
    of innocent and natural love, to become hopelessly enslaved at
    last to a sensual woman who treats him merely as the instrument
    of her pleasure, the last of a long succession of lovers. The
    book is a powerful plea for a sane, wholesome, and natural
    education in matters of sex. It was, however, prosecuted at
    Bruges, in 1901, though the trial finally ended in acquittal.
    Such a verdict is in harmony with the general tendency of feeling
    at the present time.

    The old ideas, expressed by Daudet, that the facts of sex are
    ugly and disillusioning, and that they shock the mind of the
    young, are both alike entirely false. As Canon Lyttelton remarks,
    in urging that the laws of the transmission of life should be
    taught to children by the mother: "The way they receive it with
    native reverence, truthfulness of understanding and guileless
    delicacy, is nothing short of a revelation of the never-ceasing
    beauty of nature. People sometimes speak of the indescribable
    beauty of children's innocence. But I venture to say that no one
    quite knows what it is who has foregone the privilege of being
    the first to set before them the true meaning of life and birth
    and the mystery of their own being. Not only do we fail to build
    up sound knowledge in them, but we put away from ourselves the
    chance of learning something that must be divine." In the same
    way, Edward Carpenter, stating that it is easy and natural for
    the child to learn from the first its physical relation to its
    mother, remarks (_Love's Coming of Age_, p. 9): "A child at the
    age of puberty, with the unfolding of its far-down emotional and
    sexual nature, is eminently capable of the most sensitive,
    affectional and serene appreciation of what _sex_ means
    (generally more so as things are to-day, than its worldling
    parent or guardian); and can absorb the teaching, if
    sympathetically given, without any shock or disturbance to its
    sense of shame--that sense which is so natural and valuable a
    safeguard of early youth."

    How widespread, even some years ago, had become the conviction
    that the sexual facts of life should be taught to girls as well
    as boys, was shown when the opinions of a very miscellaneous
    assortment of more or less prominent persons were sought on the
    question ("The Tree of Knowledge," _New Review_, June, 1894). A
    small minority of two only (Rabbi Adler and Mrs. Lynn Lynton)
    were against such knowledge, while among the majority in favor of
    it were Mme. Adam, Thomas Hardy, Sir Walter Besant, Björnson,
    Hall Caine, Sarah Grand, Nordau, Lady Henry Somerset, Baroness
    von Suttner, and Miss Willard. The leaders of the woman's
    movement are, of course, in favor of such knowledge. Thus a
    meeting of the Bund für Mutterschutz at Berlin, in 1905, almost
    unanimously passed a resolution declaring that the early sexual
    enlightenment of children in the facts of the sexual life is
    urgently necessary (_Mutterschutz_, 1905, Heft 2, p. 91). It may
    be added that medical opinion has long approved of this
    enlightenment. Thus in England it was editorially stated in the
    _British Medical Journal_ some years ago (June 9, 1894): "Most
    medical men of an age to beget confidence in such affairs will be
    able to recall instances in which an ignorance, which would have
    been ludicrous if it had not been so sad, has been displayed on
    matters regarding which every woman entering on married life
    ought to have been accurately informed. There can, we think, be
    little doubt that much unhappiness and a great deal of illness
    would be prevented if young people of both sexes possessed a
    little accurate knowledge regarding the sexual relations, and
    were well impressed with the profound importance of selecting
    healthy mates. Knowledge need not necessarily be nasty, but even
    if it were, it certainly is not comparable in that respect with
    the imaginings of ignorance." In America, also, where at an
    annual meeting of the American Medical Association, Dr. Denslow
    Lewis, of Chicago, eloquently urged the need of teaching sexual
    hygiene to youths and girls, all the subsequent nine speakers,
    some of them physicians of worldwide fame, expressed their
    essential agreement (_Medico-Legal Journal_, June-Sept., 1903).
    Howard, again, at the end of his elaborate _History of
    Matrimonial Institutions_ (vol. iii, p. 257) asserts the
    necessity for education in matters of sex, as going to the root
    of the marriage problem. "In the future educational programme,"
    he remarks, "sex questions must hold an honorable place."

While, however, it is now widely recognized that children are entitled to
sexual enlightenment, it cannot be said that this belief is widely put
into practice. Many persons, who are fully persuaded that children should
sooner or later be enlightened concerning the sexual sources of life, are
somewhat nervously anxious as to the precise age at which this
enlightenment should begin. Their latent feeling seems to be that sex is
an evil, and enlightenment concerning sex also an evil, however necessary,
and that the chief point is to ascertain the latest moment to which we can
safely postpone this necessary evil. Such an attitude is, however,
altogether wrong-headed. The child's desire for knowledge concerning the
origin of himself is a perfectly natural, honest, and harmless desire, so
long as it is not perverted by being thwarted. A child of four may ask
questions on this matter, simply and spontaneously. As soon as the
questions are put, certainly as soon as they become at all insistent, they
should be answered, in the same simple and spontaneous spirit, truthfully,
though according to the measure of the child's intelligence and his
capacity and desire for knowledge. This period should not, and, if these
indications are followed, naturally would not, in any case, be delayed
beyond the sixth year. After that age even the most carefully guarded
child is liable to contaminating communications from outside. Moll points
out that the sexual enlightenment of girls in its various stages ought to
be always a little ahead of that of boys, and as the development of girls
up to the pubertal age is more precocious than that of boys, this demand
is reasonable.

If the elements of sexual education are to be imparted in early childhood,
it is quite clear who ought to be the teacher. There should be no question
that this privilege belongs by every right to the mother. Except where a
child is artificially separated from his chief parent it is indeed only
the mother who has any natural opportunity of receiving and responding to
these questions. It is unnecessary for her to take any initiative in the
matter. The inevitable awakening of the child's intelligence and the
evolution of his boundless curiosity furnish her love and skill with all
opportunities for guiding her child's thoughts and knowledge. Nor is it
necessary for her to possess the slightest technical information at this
stage. It is only essential that she should have the most absolute faith
in the purity and dignity of her physical relationship to her child, and
be able to speak of it with frankness and tenderness. When that essential
condition is fulfilled every mother has all the knowledge that her young
child needs.

    Among the best authorities, both men and women, in all the
    countries where this matter is attracting attention, there seems
    now to be unanimity of opinion in favor of the elementary facts
    of the baby's relationship to its mother being explained to the
    child by the mother as soon as the child begins to ask questions.
    Thus in Germany Moll has repeatedly argued in this sense; he
    insists that sexual enlightenment should be mainly a private and
    individual matter; that in schools there should be no general and
    personal warnings about masturbation, etc. (though at a later age
    he approves of instruction in regard to venereal diseases), but
    that the mother is the proper person to impart intimate knowledge
    to the child, and that any age is suitable for the commencement
    of such enlightenment, provided it is put into a form fitted for
    the age (Moll, op. cit., p. 264).

    At the Mannheim meeting of the Congress of the German Society for
    Combating Venereal Disease, when the question of sexual
    enlightenment formed the sole subject of discussion, the opinion
    in favor of early teaching by the mother prevailed. "It is the
    mother who must, in the first place, be made responsible for the
    child's clear understanding of sexual things, so often lacking,"
    said Frau Krukenberg ("Die Aufgabe der Mutter,"
    _Sexualpädagogik_, p. 13), while Max Enderlin, a teacher, said on
    the same occasion ("Die Sexuelle Frage in die Volksschule," id.,
    p. 35): "It is the mother who has to give the child his first
    explanations, for it is to his mother that he first naturally
    comes with his questions." In England, Canon Lyttelton, who is
    distinguished among the heads of public schools not least by his
    clear and admirable statements on these questions, states
    (_Mothers and Sons_, p. 99) that the mother's part in the sexual
    enlightenment and sexual guardianship of her son is of paramount
    importance, and should begin at the earliest years. J.H. Badley,
    another schoolmaster ("The Sex Difficulty," _Broad Views_, June,
    1904), also states that the mother's part comes first. Northcote
    (_Christianity and Sex Problems_, p. 25) believes that the duty
    of the parents is primary in this matter, the family doctor and
    the schoolmaster coming in at a later stage. In America, Dr. Mary
    Wood Allen, who occupies a prominent and influential position in
    women's social movements, urges (in _Child-Confidence Rewarded_,
    and other pamphlets) that a mother should begin to tell her child
    these things as soon as he begins to ask questions, the age of
    four not being too young, and explains how this may be done,
    giving examples of its happy results in promoting a sweet
    confidence between the child and his mother.

If, as a few believe should be the case, the first initiation is delayed
to the tenth year or even later, there is the difficulty that it is no
longer so easy to talk simply and naturally about such things; the mother
is beginning to feel too shy to speak for the first time about these
difficult subjects to a son or a daughter who is nearly as big as herself.
She feels that she can only do it awkwardly and ineffectively, and she
probably decides not to do it at all. Thus an atmosphere of mystery is
created with all the embarrassing and perverting influences which mystery

    There can be no doubt that, more especially in highly intelligent
    children with vague and unspecialized yet insistent sexual
    impulses, the artificial mystery with which sex is too often
    clothed not only accentuates the natural curiosity but also tends
    to favor the morbid intensity and even prurience of the sexual
    impulse. This has long been recognized. Dr. Beddoes wrote at the
    beginning of the nineteenth century: "It is in vain that we
    dissemble to ourselves the eagerness with which children of
    either sex seek to satisfy themselves concerning the conformation
    of the other. No degree of reserve in the heads of families, no
    contrivances, no care to put books of one description out of
    sight and to garble others, has perhaps, with any one set of
    children, succeeded in preventing or stifling this kind of
    curiosity. No part of the history of human thought would perhaps
    be more singular than the stratagems devised by young people in
    different situations to make themselves masters or witnesses of
    the secret. And every discovery, due to their own inquiries, can
    but be so much oil poured upon an imagination in flames" (T.
    Beddoes, _Hygeia_, 1802, vol. iii, p. 59). Kaan, again, in one of
    the earliest books on morbid sexuality, sets down mystery as one
    of the causes of _psychopathia sexualis_. Marro (_La Pubertà_, p.
    299) points out how the veil of mystery thrown over sexual
    matters merely serves to concentrate attention on them. The
    distinguished Dutch writer Multatuli, in one of his letters
    (quoted with approval by Freud), remarks on the dangers of hiding
    things from boys and girls in a veil of mystery, pointing out
    that this must only heighten the curiosity of children, and so
    far from keeping them pure, which mere ignorance can never do,
    heats and perverts their imaginations. Mrs. Mary Wood Allen,
    also, warns the mother (op. cit., p. 5) against the danger of
    allowing any air of embarrassing mystery to creep over these
    things. "If the instructor feels any embarrassment in answering
    the queries of the child, he is not fitted to be the teacher, for
    the feeling of embarrassment will, in some subtle way,
    communicate itself to the child, and he will experience an
    indefinable sense of offended delicacy which is both unnecessary
    and undesirable. Purification of one's own thought is, then, the
    first step towards teaching the truth purely. Why," she adds, "is
    death, the gateway out of life, any more dignified or pathetic
    than birth, the gateway into life? Or why is the taking of
    earthly life a more awful fact than the giving of life?" Mrs.
    Ennis Richmond, in a book of advice to mothers which contains
    many wise and true things, says: "I want to insist, more strongly
    than upon anything else, that it is the _secrecy_ that surrounds
    certain parts of the body and their functions that gives them
    their danger in the child's thought. Little children, from
    earliest years, are taught to think of these parts of their body
    as mysterious, and not only so, but that they are mysterious
    because they are unclean. Children have not even a name for them.
    If you have to speak to your child, you allude to them
    mysteriously and in a half-whisper as 'that little part of you
    that you don't speak of,' or words to that effect. Before
    everything it is important that your child should have a good
    working name for these parts of his body, and for their
    functions, and that he should be taught to use and to hear the
    names, and that as naturally and openly as though he or you were
    speaking of his head or his foot. Convention has, for various
    reasons, made it impossible to speak in this way in public. But
    you can, at any rate, break through this in the nursery. There
    this rule of convention has no advantage, and many a serious
    disadvantage. It is easy to say to a child, the first time he
    makes an 'awkward' remark in public: 'Look here, laddie, you may
    say what you like to me or to daddy, but, for some reason or
    other, one does not talk about these' (only say _what_ things)
    'in public.' Only let your child make the remark in public
    _before_ you speak (never mind the shock to your caller's
    feelings), don't warn him against doing so" (Ennis Richmond,
    _Boyhood_, p. 60). Sex must always be a mystery, but, as Mrs.
    Richmond rightly says, "the real and true mysteries of generation
    and birth are very different from the vulgar secretiveness with
    which custom surrounds them."

    The question as to the precise names to be given to the more
    private bodily parts and functions is sometimes a little
    difficult to solve. Every mother will naturally follow her own
    instincts, and probably her own traditions, in this matter. I
    have elsewhere pointed out (in the study of "The Evolution of
    Modesty") how widespread and instinctive is the tendency to adopt
    constantly new euphemisms in this field. The ancient and simple
    words, which in England a great poet like Chaucer could still use
    rightly and naturally, are so often dropped in the mud by the
    vulgar that there is an instinctive hesitation nowadays in
    applying them to beautiful uses. They are, however,
    unquestionably the best, and, in their origin, the most dignified
    and expressive words. Many persons are of opinion that on this
    account they should be rescued from the mud, and their sacredness
    taught to children. A medical friend writes that he always taught
    his son that the vulgar sex names are really beautiful words of
    ancient origin, and that when we understand them aright we cannot
    possibly see in them any motive for low jesting. They are simple,
    serious and solemn words, connoting the most central facts of
    life, and only to ignorant and plebeian vulgarity can they cause
    obscene mirth. An American man of science, who has privately and
    anonymously printed some pamphlets on sex questions, also takes
    this view, and consistently and methodically uses the ancient
    and simple words. I am of opinion that this is the ideal to be
    sought, but that there are obvious difficulties at present in the
    way of attaining it. In any case, however, the mother should be
    in possession of a very precise vocabulary for all the bodily
    parts and acts which it concerns her children to know.

It is sometimes said that at this early age children should not be told,
even in a simple and elementary form, the real facts of their origin but
should, instead, hear a fairy-tale having in it perhaps some kind of
symbolic truth. This contention may be absolutely rejected, without
thereby, in any degree, denying the important place which fairy-tales hold
in the imagination of young children. Fairy-tales have a real value to the
child; they are a mental food he needs, if he is not to be spiritually
starved; to deprive him of fairy-tales at this age is to do him a wrong
which can never be made up at any subsequent age. But not only are sex
matters too vital even in childhood to be safely made matter for a
fairy-tale, but the real facts are themselves as wonderful as any
fairy-tale, and appeal to the child's imagination with as much force as a

Even, however, if there were no other reasons against telling children
fairy-tales of sex instead of the real facts, there is one reason which
ought to be decisive with every mother who values her influence over her
child. He will very quickly discover, either by information from others or
by his own natural intelligence, that the fairy-tale, that was told him in
reply to a question about a simple matter of fact, was a lie. With that
discovery his mother's influence over him in all such matters vanishes for
ever, for not only has a child a horror of being duped, but he is
extremely sensitive about any rebuff of this kind, and never repeats what
he has been made to feel was a mistake to be ashamed of. He will not
trouble his mother with any more questions on this matter; he will not
confide in her; he will himself learn the art of telling "fairy-tales"
about sex matters. He had turned to his mother in trust; she had not
responded with equal trust, and she must suffer the punishment, as
Henriette Fürth puts it, of seeing "the love and trust of her son stolen
from her by the first boy he makes friends with in the street." When, as
sometimes happens (Moll mentions a case), a mother goes on repeating these
silly stories to a girl or boy of seven who is secretly well-informed, she
only degrades herself in her child's eyes. It is this fatal mistake, so
often made by mothers, which at first leads them to imagine that their
children are so innocent, and in later years causes them many hours of
bitterness because they realize they do not possess their children's
trust. In the matter of trust it is for the mother to take the first step;
the children who do not trust their mothers are, for the most part, merely
remembering the lesson they learned at their mother's knee.

    The number of little books and pamphlets dealing with the
    question of the sexual enlightenment of the young--whether
    intended to be read by the young or offering guidance to mothers
    and teachers in the task of imparting knowledge--has become very
    large indeed during recent years in America, England, and
    especially Germany, where there has been of late an enormous
    production of such literature. The late Ben Elmy, writing under
    the pseudonym of "Ellis Ethelmer," published two booklets, _Baby
    Buds_, and _The Human Flower_ (issued by Mrs. Wolstenholme Elmy,
    Buxton House, Congleton), which state the facts in a simple and
    delicate manner, though the author was not a notably reliable
    guide on the scientific aspects of these questions. A charming
    conversation between a mother and child, from a French source, is
    reprinted by Edward Carpenter at the end of his _Love's Coming of
    Age. How We Are Born_, by Mrs. N.J. (apparently a Russian lady
    writing in English), prefaced by J.H. Badley, is satisfactory.
    Mention may also be made of _The Wonder of Life_, by Mary Tudor
    Pole. Margaret Morley's _Song of Life_, an American book, which I
    have not seen, has been highly praised. Most of these books are
    intended for quite young children, and while they explain more or
    less clearly the origin of babies, nearly always starting with
    the facts of plant life, they touch very slightly, if at all, on
    the relations of the sexes.

    Mrs. Ennis Richmond's books, largely addressed to mothers, deal
    with these questions in a very sane, direct, and admirable
    manner, and Canon Lyttelton's books, discussing such questions
    generally, are also excellent. Most of the books now to be
    mentioned are intended to be read by boys and girls who have
    reached the age of puberty. They refer more or less precisely to
    sexual relationships, and they usually touch on masturbation.
    _The Story of Life_, written by a very accomplished woman, the
    late Ellice Hopkins, is somewhat vague, and introduces too many
    exalted religious ideas. Arthur Trewby's _Healthy Boyhood_ is a
    little book of wholesome tendency; it deals specially with
    masturbation. _A Talk with Boys About Themselves_ and _A Talk
    with Girls About Themselves_, both by Edward Bruce Kirk (the
    latter book written in conjunction with a lady) deal with general
    as well as sexual hygiene. There could be no better book to put
    into the hands of a boy or girl at puberty than M.A. Warren's
    _Almost Fourteen_, written by an American school teacher in 1892.
    It was a most charming and delicately written book, which could
    not have offended the innocence of the most sensitive maiden.
    Nothing, however, is sacred to prurience, and it was easy for the
    prurient to capture the law and obtain (in 1897) legal
    condemnation of this book as "obscene." Anything which sexually
    excites a prurient mind is, it is true, "obscene" for that mind,
    for, as Mr. Theodore Schroeder remarks, obscenity is "the
    contribution of the reading mind," but we need such books as this
    in order to diminish the number of prurient minds, and the
    condemnation of so entirely admirable a book makes, not for
    morality, but for immorality. I am told that the book was
    subsequently issued anew with most of its best portions omitted,
    and it is stated by Schroeder (_Liberty of Speech and Press
    Essential to Purity Propaganda_, p. 34) that the author was
    compelled to resign his position as a public school principal.
    Maria Lischnewska's _Geschlechtliche Belehrung der Kinder_
    (reprinted from _Mutterschutz_, 1905, Heft 4 and 5) is a most
    admirable and thorough discussion of the whole question of sexual
    education, though the writer is more interested in the teacher's
    share in this question than in the mother's. Suggestions to
    mothers are contained in Hugo Salus, _Wo kommen die Kinder her?_,
    E. Stiehl, _Eine Mutterpflicht_, and many other books. Dr. Alfred
    Kind strongly recommends Ludwig Gurlitt's _Der Verkehr mit meinem
    Kindern_, more especially in its combination of sexual education
    with artistic education. Many similar books are referred to by
    Bloch, in his _Sexual Life of Our Time_, Ch. xxvi.

    I have enumerated the names of these little books because they
    are frequently issued in a semi-private manner, and are seldom
    easy to procure or to hear of. The propagation of such books
    seems to be felt to be almost a disgraceful action, only to be
    performed by stealth. And such a feeling seems not unnatural when
    we see, as in the case of the author of _Almost Fourteen_, that a
    nominally civilized country, instead of loading with honors a man
    who has worked for its moral and physical welfare, seeks so far
    as it can to ruin him.

    I may add that while it would usually be very helpful to a mother
    to be acquainted with a few of the booklets I have named, she
    would do well, in actually talking to her children, to rely
    mainly on her own knowledge and inspiration.

The sexual education which it is the mother's duty and privilege to
initiate during her child's early years cannot and ought not to be
technical. It is not of the nature of formal instruction but is a private
and intimate initiation. No doubt the mother must herself be taught.[24]
But the education she needs is mainly an education in love and insight.
The actual facts which she requires to use at this early stage are very
simple. Her main task is to make clear the child's own intimate relations
to herself and to show that all young things have a similar intimate
relation to their mothers; in generalizing on this point the egg is the
simplest and most fundamental type to explain the origin of the individual
life, for the idea of the egg--in its widest sense as the seed--not only
has its truth for the human creature but may be applied throughout the
animal and vegetable world. In this explanation the child's physical
relationship to his father is not necessarily at first involved; it may be
left to a further stage or until the child's questions lead up to it.

Apart from his interest in his origin, the child is also interested in his
sexual, or as they seem to him exclusively, his excretory organs, and in
those of other people, his sisters and parents. On these points, at this
age, his mother may simply and naturally satisfy his simple and natural
curiosity, calling things by precise names, whether the names used are
common or uncommon being a matter in regard to which she may exercise her
judgment and taste. In this manner the mother will, indirectly, be able to
safeguard her child at the outset against the prudish and prurient notions
alike which he will encounter later. She will also without unnatural
stress be able to lead the child into a reverential attitude towards his
own organs and so exert an influence against any undesirable tampering
with them. In talking with him about the origin of life and about his own
body and functions, in however elementary a fashion, she will have
initiated him both in sexual knowledge and in sexual hygiene.

The mother who establishes a relationship of confidence with her child
during these first years will probably, if she possesses any measure of
wisdom and tact, be able to preserve it even after the epoch of puberty
into the difficult years of adolescence. But as an educator in the
narrower sense her functions will, in most cases, end at or before
puberty. A somewhat more technical and completely impersonal acquaintance
with the essential facts of sex then becomes desirable, and this would
usually be supplied by the school.

    The great though capricious educator, Basedow, to some extent a
    pupil of Rousseau, was an early pioneer in both the theory and
    the practice of giving school children instruction in the facts
    of the sexual life, from the age of ten onwards. He insists much
    on this subject in his great treatise, the _Elementarwerk_
    (1770-1774). The questions of children are to be answered
    truthfully, he states, and they must be taught never to jest at
    anything so sacred and serious as the sexual relations. They are
    to be shown pictures of childbirth, and the dangers of sexual
    irregularities are to be clearly expounded to them at the outset.
    Boys are to be taken to hospitals to see the results of venereal
    disease. Basedow is aware that many parents and teachers will be
    shocked at his insistence on these things in his books and in his
    practical pedagogic work, but such people, he declares, ought to
    be shocked at the Bible (see, e.g., Pinloche, _La Rèforme de
    l'Education en Allemagne au dixhuitième siècle: Basedow et le
    Philanthropinisme_, pp. 125, 256, 260, 272). Basedow was too far
    ahead of his own time, and even of ours, to exert much influence
    in this matter, and he had few immediate imitators.

    Somewhat later than Basedow, a distinguished English physician,
    Thomas Beddoes, worked on somewhat the same lines, seeking to
    promote sexual knowledge by lectures and demonstrations. In his
    remarkable book, _Hygeia_, published in 1802 (vol. i, Essay IV)
    he sets forth the absurdity of the conventional requirement that
    "discretion and ignorance should lodge in the same bosom," and
    deals at length with the question of masturbation and the need of
    sexual education. He insists on the great importance of lectures
    on natural history which, he had found, could be given with
    perfect propriety to a mixed audience. His experiences had shown
    that botany, the amphibia, the hen and her eggs, human anatomy,
    even disease and sometimes the sight of it, are salutary from
    this point of view. He thinks it is a happy thing for a child to
    gain his first knowledge of sexual difference from anatomical
    subjects, the dignity of death being a noble prelude to the
    knowledge of sex and depriving it forever of morbid prurience.
    It is scarcely necessary to remark that this method of teaching
    children the elements of sexual anatomy in the _post-mortem_ room
    has not found many advocates or followers; it is undesirable, for
    it fails to take into account the sensitiveness of children to
    such impressions, and it is unnecessary, for it is just as easy
    to teach the dignity of life as the dignity of death.

    The duty of the school to impart education in matters of sex to
    children has in recent years been vigorously and ably advocated
    by Maria Lischnewska (op. cit.), who speaks with thirty years'
    experience as a teacher and an intimate acquaintance with
    children and their home life. She argues that among the mass of
    the population to-day, while in the home-life there is every
    opportunity for coarse familiarity with sexual matters, there is
    no opportunity for a pure and enlightened introduction to them,
    parents being for the most part both morally and intellectually
    incapable of aiding their children here. That the school should
    assume the leading part in this task is, she believes, in
    accordance with the whole tendency of modern civilized life. She
    would have the instruction graduated in such a manner that during
    the fifth or sixth year of school life the pupil would receive
    instruction, with the aid of diagrams, concerning the sexual
    organs and functions of the higher mammals, the bull and cow
    being selected by preference. The facts of gestation would of
    course be included. When this stage was reached it would be easy
    to pass on to the human species with the statement: "Just in the
    same way as the calf develops in the cow so the child develops in
    the mother's body."

    It is difficult not to recognize the force of Maria Lischnewska's
    argument, and it seems highly probable that, as she asserts, the
    instruction proposed lies in the course of our present path of
    progress. Such instruction would be formal, unemotional, and
    impersonal; it would be given not as specific instruction in
    matters of sex, but simply as a part of natural history. It would
    supplement, so far as mere knowledge is concerned, the
    information the child had already received from its mother. But
    it would by no means supplant or replace the personal and
    intimate relationship of confidence between mother and child.
    That is always to be aimed at, and though it may not be possible
    among the ill-educated masses of to-day, nothing else will
    adequately take its place.

There can be no doubt, however, that while in the future the school will
most probably be regarded as the proper place in which to teach the
elements of physiology--and not as at present a merely emasculated and
effeminated physiology--the introduction of such reformed teaching is as
yet impracticable in many communities. A coarse and ill-bred community
moves in a vicious circle. Its members are brought up to believe that sex
matters are filthy, and when they become adults they protest violently
against their children being taught this filthy knowledge. The teacher's
task is thus rendered at the best difficult, and under democratic
conditions impossible. We cannot, therefore, hope for any immediate
introduction of sexual physiology into schools, even in the unobtrusive
form in which alone it could properly be introduced, that is to say as a
natural and inevitable part of general physiology.

This objection to animal physiology by no means applies, however, to
botany. There can be little doubt that botany is of all the natural
sciences that which best admits of this incidental instruction in the
fundamental facts of sex, when we are concerned with children below the
age of puberty. There are at least two reasons why this should be so. In
the first place botany really presents the beginnings of sex, in their
most naked and essential forms; it makes clear the nature, origin, and
significance of sex. In the second place, in dealing with plants the facts
of sex can be stated to children of either sex or any age quite plainly
and nakedly without any reserve, for no one nowadays regards the botanical
facts of sex as in any way offensive. The expounder of sex in plants also
has on his side the advantage of being able to assert, without question,
the entire beauty of the sexual process. He is not confronted by the
ignorance, bad education, and false associations which have made it so
difficult either to see or to show the beauty of sex in animals. From the
sex-life of plants to the sex-life of the lower animals there is, however,
but a step which the teacher, according to his discretion, may take.

    An early educational authority, Salzmann, in 1785 advocated the
    sexual enlightenment of children by first teaching them botany,
    to be followed by zoölogy. In modern times the method of
    imparting sex knowledge to children by means, in the first place,
    of botany, has been generally advocated, and from the most
    various quarters. Thus Marro (_La Pubertà_, p. 300) recommends
    this plan. J. Hudrey-Menos ("La Question du Sexe dans
    l'Education," _Revue Socialiste_, June, 1895), gives the same
    advice. Rudolf Sommer, in a paper entitled "Mädchenerziehung oder
    Menschenbildung?" (_Geschlecht und Gesellschaft_, Jahrgang I,
    Heft 3) recommends that the first introduction of sex knowledge
    to children should be made by talking to them on simple natural
    history subjects; "there are endless opportunities," he remarks,
    "over a fairy-tale, or a walk, or a fruit, or an egg, the sowing
    of seed or the nest-building of birds." Canon Lyttelton
    (_Training of the Young in Laws of Sex_, pp. 74 et seq.) advises
    a somewhat similar method, though laying chief stress on personal
    confidence between the child and his mother; "reference is made
    to the animal world just so far as the child's knowledge extends,
    so as to prevent the new facts from being viewed in isolation,
    but the main emphasis is laid on his feeling for his mother and
    the instinct which exists in nearly all children of reverence due
    to the maternal relation;" he adds that, however difficult the
    subject may seem, the essential facts of paternity must also be
    explained to boys and girls alike. Keyes, again (_New York
    Medical Journal_, Feb. 10, 1906), advocates teaching children
    from an early age the sexual facts of plant life and also
    concerning insects and other lower animals, and so gradually
    leading up to human beings, the matter being thus robbed of its
    unwholesome mystery. Mrs. Ennis Richmond (_Boyhood_, p. 62)
    recommends that children should be sent to spend some of their
    time upon a farm, so that they may not only become acquainted
    with the general facts of the natural world, but also with the
    sexual lives of animals, learning things which it is difficult to
    teach verbally. Karina Karin ("Wie erzieht man ein Kind zür
    wissenden Keuschheit?" _Geschlecht und Gesellschaft_, Jahrgang I,
    Heft 4), reproducing some of her talks with her nine-year old
    son, from the time that he first asked her where children came
    from, shows how she began with telling him about flowers, to pass
    on to fish and birds, and finally to the facts of human
    pregnancy, showing him pictures from an obstetrical manual of the
    child in its mother's body. It may be added that the advisability
    of beginning the sex teaching of children with the facts of
    botany was repeatedly emphasized by various speakers at the
    special meeting of the German Congress for Combating Venereal
    Disease devoted to the subject of sexual instruction
    (_Sexualpädagogik_, especially pp. 36, 47, 76).

The transition from botany to the elementary zoölogy of the lower animals,
to human anatomy and physiology, and to the science of anthropology based
on these, is simple and natural. It is not likely to be taken in detail
until the age of puberty. Sex enters into all these subjects and should
not be artificially excluded from them in the education of either boys or
girls. The text-books from which the sexual system is entirely omitted
ought no longer to be tolerated. The nature and secretion of the
testicles, the meaning of the ovaries and of menstruation, as well as the
significance of metabolism and the urinary excretion, should be clear in
their main lines to all boys and girls who have reached the age of

At puberty there arises a new and powerful reason why boys and girls
should receive definite instruction in matters of sex. Before that age it
is possible for the foolish parent to imagine that a child may be
preserved in ignorant innocence.[25] At puberty that belief is obviously
no longer possible. The efflorescence of puberty with the development of
the sexual organs, the appearance of hair in unfamiliar places, the
general related organic changes, the spontaneous and perhaps alarming
occurrence in boys of seminal emissions, and in girls of menstruation, the
unaccustomed and sometimes acute recognition of sexual desire accompanied
by new sensations in the sexual organs and leading perhaps to
masturbation; all these arouse, as we cannot fail to realize, a new
anxiety in the boy's or girl's mind, and a new curiosity, all the more
acute in many cases because it is carefully concealed as too private, and
even too shameful, to speak of to anyone. In boys, especially if of
sensitive temperament, the suffering thus caused may be keen and

    A doctor of philosophy, prominent in his profession, wrote to
    Stanley Hall (_Adolescence_, vol. i, p. 452): "My entire youth,
    from six to eighteen, was made miserable from lack of knowledge
    that any one who knew anything of the nature of puberty might
    have given; this long sense of defect, dread of operation, shame
    and worry, has left an indelible mark." There are certainly many
    men who could say the same. Lancaster ("Psychology and Pedagogy
    of Adolescence," _Pedagogical Seminary_, July, 1897, pp. 123-5)
    speaks strongly regarding the evils of ignorance of sexual
    hygiene, and the terrible fact that millions of youths are always
    in the hands of quacks who dupe them into the belief that they
    are on the road to an awful destiny merely because they have
    occasional emissions during sleep. "This is not a light matter,"
    Lancaster declares. "It strikes at the very foundation of our
    inmost life. It deals with the reproductory part of our natures,
    and must have a deep hereditary influence. It is a natural result
    of the foolish false modesty shown regarding all sex instruction.
    Every boy should be taught the simple physiological facts before
    his life is forever blighted by this cause." Lancaster has had in
    his hands one thousand letters, mostly written by young people,
    who were usually normal, and addressed to quacks who were duping
    them. From time to time the suicides of youths from this cause
    are reported, and in many mysterious suicides this has
    undoubtedly been the real cause. "Week after week," writes the
    _British Medical Journal_ in an editorial ("Dangerous Quack
    Literature: The Moral of a Recent Suicide," Oct. 1, 1892), "we
    receive despairing letters from those victims of foul birds of
    prey who have obtained their first hold on those they rob,
    torture and often ruin, by advertisements inserted by newspapers
    of a respectable, nay, even of a valuable and respected,
    character." It is added that the wealthy proprietors of such
    newspapers, often enjoying a reputation for benevolence, even
    when the matter is brought before them, refuse to interfere as
    they would thereby lose a source of income, and a censorship of
    advertisements is proposed. This, however, is difficult, and
    would be quite unnecessary if youths received proper
    enlightenment from their natural guardians.

    Masturbation, and the fear that by an occasional and perhaps
    outgrown practice of masturbation they have sometimes done
    themselves irreparable injury, is a common source of anxiety to
    boys. It has long been a question whether a boy should be warned
    against masturbation. At a meeting of the Section of Psychology
    of the British Medical Association some years ago, four speakers,
    including the President (Dr. Blandford), were decidedly in favor
    of parents warning their children against masturbation, while
    three speakers were decidedly against that course, mainly on the
    ground that it was possible to pass through even a public school
    life without hearing of masturbation, and also that the warning
    against masturbation might encourage the practice. It is,
    however, becoming more and more clearly realized that ignorance,
    even if it can be maintained, is a perilous possession, while the
    teaching that consists, as it should, in a loving mother's
    counsel to the child from his earliest years to treat his sexual
    parts with care and respect, can only lead to masturbation in the
    child who is already irresistibly impelled to it. Most of the sex
    manuals for boys touch on masturbation, sometimes exaggerating
    its dangers; such exaggeration should be avoided, for it leads to
    far worse evils than those it attempts to prevent. It seems
    undesirable that any warnings about masturbation should form part
    of school instruction, unless under very special circumstances.
    The sexual instruction imparted in the school on sexual as on
    other subjects should be absolutely impersonal and objective.

    At this point we approach one of the difficulties in the way of
    sexual enlightenment: the ignorance or unwisdom of the would-be
    teachers. This difficulty at present exists both in the home and
    the school, while it destroys the value of many manuals written
    for the sexual instruction of the young. The mother, who ought to
    be the child's confidant and guide in matters of sexual
    education, and could naturally be so if left to her own healthy
    instincts, has usually been brought up in false traditions which
    it requires a high degree of intelligence and character to escape
    from; the school-teacher, even if only called upon to give
    instruction in natural history, is oppressed by the same
    traditions, and by false shame concerning the whole subject of
    sex; the writer of manuals on sex has often only freed himself
    from these bonds in order to advocate dogmatic, unscientific, and
    sometimes mischievous opinions which have been evolved in entire
    ignorance of the real facts. As Moll says (Das _Sexualleben des
    Kindes_, p. 276), necessary as sexual enlightenment is, we cannot
    help feeling a little skeptical as to its results so long as
    those who ought to enlighten are themselves often in need of
    enlightenment. He refers also to the fact that even among
    competent authorities there is difference of opinion concerning
    important matters, as, for instance, whether masturbation is
    physiological at the first development of the sexual impulse and
    how far sexual abstinence is beneficial. But it is evident that
    the difficulties due to false tradition and ignorance will
    diminish as sound traditions and better knowledge become more
    widely diffused.

The girl at puberty is usually less keenly and definitely conscious of her
sexual nature than the boy. But the risks she runs from sexual ignorance,
though for the most part different, are more subtle and less easy to
repair. She is often extremely inquisitive concerning these matters; the
thoughts of adolescent girls, and often their conversation among
themselves, revolve much around sexual and allied mysteries. Even in the
matter of conscious sexual impulse the girl is often not so widely
different from her brother, nor so much less likely to escape the
contamination of evil communications, so that the scruples of foolish and
ignorant persons who dread to "sully her purity" by proper instruction are
exceedingly misplaced.

    Conversations dealing with the important mysteries of human
    nature, Obici and Marchesini were told by ladies who had formerly
    been pupils in Italian Normal Schools, are the order of the day
    in schools and colleges, and specially circle around procreation,
    the most difficult mystery of all. In England, even in the best
    and most modern colleges, in which games and physical exercise
    are much cultivated, I am told that "the majority of the girls
    are entirely ignorant of all sexual matters, and understand
    nothing whatever about them. But they do wonder about them, and
    talk about them constantly" (see Appendix D, "The School
    Friendships of Girls," in the second volume of these _Studies_).
    "The restricted life and fettered mind of girls," wrote a
    well-known physician some years ago (J. Milner Fothergill,
    _Adolescence_, 1880, pp. 20, 22) "leave them with less to
    actively occupy their thoughts than is the case with boys. They
    are studiously taught concealment, and a girl may be a perfect
    model of outward decorum and yet have a very filthy mind. The
    prudishness with which she is brought up leaves her no
    alternative but to view her passions from the nasty side of human
    nature. All healthy thought on the subject is vigorously
    repressed. Everything is done to darken her mind and foul her
    imagination by throwing her back on her own thoughts and a
    literature with which she is ashamed to own acquaintance. It is
    opposed to a girl's best interests to prevent her from having
    fair and just conceptions about herself and her nature. Many a
    fair young girl is irredeemably ruined on the very threshold of
    life, herself and her family disgraced, from ignorance as much as
    from vice. When the moment of temptation comes she falls without
    any palpable resistance; she has no trained educated power of
    resistance within herself; her whole future hangs, not upon
    herself, but upon the perfection of the social safeguards by
    which she is hedged and surrounded." Under the free social order
    of America to-day much the same results are found. In an
    instructive article ("Why Girls Go Wrong," _Ladies' Home
    Journal_, Jan., 1907) B.B. Lindsey, who, as Judge of the Juvenile
    Court of Denver, is able to speak with authority, brings forward
    ample evidence on this head. Both girls and boys, he has found,
    sometimes possess manuscript books in which they had written down
    the crudest sexual things. These children were often sweet-faced,
    pleasant, refined and intelligent, and they had respectable
    parents; but no one had ever spoken to them of sex matters,
    except the worst of their school-fellows or some coarse-minded
    and reckless adult. By careful inquiry Lindsey found that only in
    one in twenty cases had the parents ever spoken to the children
    of sexual subjects. In nearly every case the children
    acknowledged that it was not from their parents, but in the
    street or from older companions, that they learnt the facts of
    sex. The parents usually imagined that their children were
    absolutely ignorant of these matters, and were astonished to
    realize their mistake; "parents do not know their children, nor
    have they the least idea of what their children know, or what
    their children talk about and do when away from them." The
    parents guilty of this neglect to instruct their children, are,
    Lindsey declares, traitors to their children. From his own
    experience he judges that nine-tenths of the girls who "go
    wrong," whether or not they sink in the world, do so owing to the
    inattention of their parents, and that in the case of most
    prostitutes the mischief is really done before the age of twelve;
    "every wayward girl I have talked to has assured me of this
    truth." He considers that nine-tenths of school-boys and
    school-girls, in town or country, are very inquisitive regarding
    matters of sex, and, to his own amazement, he has found that in
    the girls this is as marked as in the boys.

It is the business of the girl's mother, at least as much as of the boy's,
to watch over her child from the earliest years and to win her confidence
in all the intimate and personal matters of sex. With these aspects the
school cannot properly meddle. But in matters of physical sexual hygiene,
notably menstruation, in regard to which all girls stand on the same
level, it is certainly the duty of the teacher to take an actively
watchful part, and, moreover, to direct the general work of education
accordingly, and to ensure that the pupil shall rest whenever that may
seem to be desirable. This is part of the very elements of the education
of girls. To disregard it should disqualify a teacher from taking further
share in educational work. Yet it is constantly and persistently
neglected. A large number of girls have not even been prepared by their
mothers or teachers for the first onset of the menstrual flow, sometimes
with disastrous results both to their bodily and mental health.[26]

    "I know of no large girl's school," wrote a distinguished
    gynæcologist, Sir W.S. Playfair ("Education and Training of Girls
    at Puberty," _British Medical Journal_, Dec. 7, 1895), "in which
    the absolute distinction which exists between boys and girls as
    regards the dominant menstrual function is systematically cared
    for and attended to. Indeed, the feeling of all schoolmistresses
    is distinctly antagonistic to such an admission. The contention
    is that there is no real difference between an adolescent male
    and female, that what is good for one is good for the other, and
    that such as there is is due to the evil customs of the past
    which have denied to women the ambitions and advantages open to
    men, and that this will disappear when a happier era is
    inaugurated. If this be so, how comes it that while every
    practical physician of experience has seen many cases of anæmia
    and chlorosis in girls, accompanied by amenorrhæa or menorrhagia,
    headaches, palpitations, emaciation, and all the familiar
    accompaniments of breakdown, an analogous condition in a
    school-boy is so rare that it may well be doubted if it is ever
    seen at all?"

    It is, however, only the excuses for this almost criminal
    negligence, as it ought to be considered, which are new; the
    negligence itself is ancient. Half a century earlier, before the
    new era of feminine education, another distinguished
    gynæcologist, Tilt (_Elements of Health and Principles of Female
    Hygiene_, 1852, p. 18) stated that from a statistical inquiry
    regarding the onset of menstruation in nearly one thousand women
    he found that "25 per cent. were totally unprepared for its
    appearance; that thirteen out of the twenty-five were much
    frightened, screamed, or went into hysterical fits; and that six
    out of the thirteen thought themselves wounded and washed with
    cold water. Of those frightened ... the general health was
    seriously impaired."

    Engelmann, after stating that his experience in America was
    similar to Tilt's in England, continues ("The Health of the
    American Girl," _Transactions of the Southern Surgical and
    Gynæcological Society_, 1890): "To innumerable women has fright,
    nervous and emotional excitement, exposure to cold, brought
    injury at puberty. What more natural than that the anxious girl,
    surprised by the sudden and unexpected loss of the precious
    life-fluid, should seek to check the bleeding wound--as she
    supposes? For this purpose the use of cold washes and
    applications is common, some even seek to stop the flow by a cold
    bath, as was done by a now careful mother, who long lay at the
    point of death from the result of such indiscretion, and but
    slowly, by years of care, regained her health. The terrible
    warning has not been lost, and mindful of her own experience she
    has taught her children a lesson which but few are fortunate
    enough to learn--the individual care during periods of functional
    activity which is needful for the preservation of woman's

    In a study of one hundred and twenty-five American high school
    girls Dr. Helen Kennedy refers to the "modesty" which makes it
    impossible even for mothers and daughters to speak to each other
    concerning the menstrual functions. "Thirty-six girls in this
    high school passed into womanhood with no knowledge whatever,
    from a proper source, of all that makes them women. Thirty-nine
    were probably not much wiser, for they stated that they had
    received some instruction, but had not talked freely on the
    matter. From the fact that the curious girl did not talk freely
    on what naturally interested her, it is possible she was put off
    with a few words as to personal care, and a reprimand for her
    curiosity. Less than half of the girls felt free to talk with
    their mothers of this most important matter!" (Helen Kennedy,
    "Effects of High School Work upon Girls During Adolescence,"
    _Pedagogical Seminary_, June, 1896.)

    The same state of things probably also prevails in other
    countries. Thus, as regards France, Edmond de Goncourt in
    _Chérie_ (pp. 137-139) described the terror of his young heroine
    at the appearance of the first menstrual period for which she
    had never been prepared. He adds: "It is very seldom, indeed,
    that women speak of this eventuality. Mothers fear to warn their
    daughters, elder sisters dislike confidences with their younger
    sisters, governesses are generally mute with girls who have no
    mothers or sisters."

    Sometimes this leads to suicide or to attempts at suicide. Thus a
    few years ago the case was reported in the French newspapers of a
    young girl of fifteen, who threw herself into the Seine at
    Saint-Ouen. She was rescued, and on being brought before the
    police commissioner said that she had been attacked by an
    "unknown disease" which had driven her to despair. Discreet
    inquiry revealed that the mysterious malady was one common to all
    women, and the girl was restored to her insufficiently punished

Half a century ago the sexual life of girls was ignored by their parents
and teachers from reasons of prudishness; at the present time, when quite
different ideas prevail regarding feminine education, it is ignored on the
ground that girls should be as independent of their physiological sexual
life as boys are. The fact that this mischievous neglect has prevailed
equally under such different conditions indicates clearly that the varying
reasons assigned for it are merely the cloaks of ignorance. With the
growth of knowledge we may reasonably hope that one of the chief evils
which at present undermine in early life not only healthy motherhood but
healthy womanhood generally, may be gradually eliminated. The data now
being accumulated show not only the extreme prevalence of painful,
disordered, and absent menstruation in adolescent girls and young women,
but also the great and sometimes permanent evils inflicted upon even
healthy girls when at the beginning of sexual life they are subjected to
severe strain of any kind. Medical authorities, whichever sex they belong
to, may now be said to be almost or quite unanimous on this point. Some
years ago, indeed, Dr. Mary Putnam Jacobi, in a very able book, _The
Question of Rest for Women_, concluded that "ordinarily healthy" women may
disregard the menstrual period, but she admitted that forty-six per cent,
of women are not "ordinarily healthy," and a minority which comes so near
to being a majority can by no means be dismissed as a negligible quantity.
Girls themselves, indeed, carried away by the ardor of their pursuit of
work or amusement, are usually recklessly and ignorantly indifferent to
the serious risks they run. But the opinions of teachers are now tending
to agree with medical opinion in recognizing the importance of care and
rest during the years of adolescence, and teachers are even prepared to
admit that a year's rest from hard work during the period that a girl's
sexual life is becoming established, while it may ensure her health and
vigor, is not even a disadvantage from the educational point of view. With
the growth of knowledge and the decay of ancient prejudices, we may
reasonably hope that women will be emancipated from the traditions of a
false civilization, which have forced her to regard her glory as her
shame,--though it has never been so among robust primitive peoples,--and
it is encouraging to find that so distinguished an educator as Principal
Stanley Hall looks forward with confidence to such a time. In his
exhaustive work on _Adolescence_ he writes: "Instead of shame of this
function girls should be taught the greatest reverence for it, and should
help it to normality by regularly stepping aside at stated times for a few
years till it is well established and normal. To higher beings that looked
down upon human life as we do upon flowers, these would be the most
interesting and beautiful hours of blossoming. With more self-knowledge
women will have more self-respect at this time. Savagery reveres this
state and it gives to women a mystic awe. The time may come when we must
even change the divisions of the year for women, leaving to man his week
and giving to her the same number of Sabbaths per year, but in groups of
four successive days per month. When woman asserts her true physiological
rights she will begin here, and will glory in what, in an age of
ignorance, man made her think to be her shame. The pathos about the
leaders of woman's so-called emancipation, is that they, even more than
those they would persuade, accept man's estimate of this state."[27]

These wise words cannot be too deeply pondered. The pathos of the
situation has indeed been--at all events in the past for to-day a more
enlightened generation is growing up--that the very leaders of the woman's
movement have often betrayed the cause of women. They have adopted the
ideals of men, they have urged women to become second-rate men, they have
declared that the healthy natural woman disregards the presence of her
menstrual functions. This is the very reverse of the truth. "They claim,"
remarks Engelmann, "that woman in her natural state is the physical equal
of man, and constantly point to the primitive woman, the female of savage
peoples, as an example of this supposed axiom. Do they know how well this
same savage is aware of the weakness of woman and her susceptibility at
certain periods of her life? And with what care he protects her from harm
at these periods? I believe not. The importance of surrounding women with
certain precautions during the height of these great functional waves of
her existence was appreciated by all peoples living in an approximately
natural state, by all races at all times; and among their comparatively
few religious customs this one, affording rest to women, was most
persistently adhered to." It is among the white races alone that the
sexual invalidism of women prevails, and it is the white races alone,
which, outgrowing the religious ideas with which the menstrual seclusion
of women was associated, have flung away that beneficent seclusion itself,
throwing away the baby with the bath in an almost literal sense.[28]

    In Germany Tobler has investigated the menstrual histories of
    over one thousand women (_Monatsschrift für Geburtshülfe und
    Gynäkologie_, July, 1905). He finds that in the great majority of
    women at the present day menstruation is associated with
    distinct deterioration of the general health, and diminution of
    functional energy. In 26 per cent. local pain, general malaise,
    and mental and nervous anomalies coexisted; in larger proportion
    come the cases in which local pain, general weak health or
    psychic abnormality was experienced alone at this period. In 16
    per cent. only none of these symptoms were experienced. In a very
    small separate group the physical and mental functions were
    stronger during this period, but in half of these cases there was
    distinct disturbance during the intermenstrual period. Tobler
    concludes that, while menstruation itself is physiological, all
    these disturbances are pathological.

    As far as England is concerned, at a discussion of normal and
    painful menstruation at a meeting of the British Association of
    Registered Medical Women on the 7th of July, 1908, it was stated
    by Miss Bentham that 50 per cent. of girls in good position
    suffered from painful menstruation. Mrs. Dunnett said it usually
    occurred between the ages of twenty-four and thirty, being
    frequently due to neglect to rest during menstruation in the
    earlier years, and Mrs. Grainger Evans had found that this
    condition was very common among elementary school teachers who
    had worked hard for examinations during early girlhood.

    In America various investigations have been carried out, showing
    the prevalence of disturbance in the sexual health of school
    girls and young women. Thus Dr. Helen P. Kennedy obtained
    elaborate data concerning the menstrual life of one hundred and
    twenty-five high school girls of the average age of eighteen
    ("Effect of High School Work upon Girls During Adolescence,"
    _Pedagogical Seminary_, June, 1896). Only twenty-eight felt no
    pain during the period; half the total number experienced
    disagreeable symptoms before the period (such as headache,
    malaise, irritability of temper), while forty-four complained of
    other symptoms besides pain during the period (especially
    headache and great weakness). Jane Kelley Sabine (quoted in
    _Boston Medical and Surgical Journal_, Sept. 15, 1904) found in
    New England schools among two thousand girls that 75 per cent.
    had menstrual troubles, 90 per cent. had leucorrhoea and ovarian
    neuralgia, and 60 per cent. had to give up work for two days
    during each month. These results seem more than usually
    unfavorable, but are significant, as they cover a large number of
    cases. The conditions in the Pacific States are not much better.
    Dr. Mary Ritter (in a paper read before the California State
    Medical Society in 1903) stated that of 660 Freshmen girls at the
    University of California, 67 per cent. were subject to menstrual
    disorders, 27 per cent. to headaches, 30 per cent. to backaches,
    29 per cent. were habitually constipated, 16 per cent. had
    abnormal heart sounds; only 23 per cent. were free from
    functional disturbances. Dr. Helen MacMurchey, in an interesting
    paper on "Physiological Phenomena Preceding or Accompanying
    Menstruation" (_Lancet_, Oct. 5, 1901), by inquiries among one
    hundred medical women, nurses, and women teachers in Toronto
    concerning the presence or absence of twenty-one different
    abnormal menstrual phenomena, found that between 50 and 60 per
    cent. admitted that they were liable at this time to disturbed
    sleep, to headache, to mental depression, to digestive
    disturbance, or to disturbance of the special senses, while about
    25 to 50 per cent. were liable to neuralgia, to vertigo, to
    excessive nervous energy, to defective nervous and muscular
    power, to cutaneous hyperæsthesia, to vasomotor disturbances, to
    constipation, to diarrhoea, to increased urination, to cutaneous
    eruption, to increased liability to take cold, or to irritating
    watery discharges before or after the menstrual discharge. This
    inquiry is of much interest, because it clearly brings out the
    marked prevalence at menstruation of conditions which, though not
    necessarily of any gravity, yet definitely indicate decreased
    power of resistance to morbid influences and diminished
    efficiency for work.

    How serious an impediment menstrual troubles are to a woman is
    indicated by the fact that the women who achieve success and fame
    seem seldom to be greatly affected by them. To that we may, in
    part, attribute the frequency with which leaders of the women's
    movement have treated menstruation as a thing of no importance in
    a woman's life. Adele Gerhard, and Helene Simon, also, in their
    valuable and impartial work, _Mutterschaft und Geistige Arbeit_
    (p. 312), failed to find, in their inquiries among women of
    distinguished ability, that menstruation was regarded as
    seriously disturbing to work.

    Of late the suggestion that adolescent girls shall not only rest
    from work during two days of the menstrual period, but have an
    entire holiday from school during the first year of sexual life,
    has frequently been put forward, both from the medical and the
    educational side. At the meeting of the Association of Registered
    Medical Women, already referred to, Miss Sturge spoke of the good
    results obtained in a school where, during the first two years
    after puberty, the girls were kept in bed for the first two days
    of each menstrual period. Some years ago Dr. G.W. Cook ("Some
    Disorders of Menstruation," _American Journal of Obstetrics_,
    April, 1896), after giving cases in point, wrote: "It is my
    deliberate conviction that no girl should be confined at study
    during the year of her puberty, but she should live an outdoor
    life." In an article on "Alumna's Children," by "An Alumna"
    (_Popular Science Monthly_, May, 1904), dealing with the sexual
    invalidism of American women and the severe strain of motherhood
    upon them, the author, though she is by no means hostile to
    education, which is not, she declares, at fault, pleads for rest
    for the pubertal girl. "If the brain claims her whole vitality,
    how can there be any proper development? Just as very young
    children should give all their strength for some years solely to
    physical growth before the brain is allowed to make any
    considerable demands, so at this critical period in the life of
    the woman nothing should obstruct the right of way of this
    important system. A year at the least should be made especially
    easy for her, with neither mental nor nervous strain; and
    throughout the rest of her school days she should have her
    periodical day of rest, free from any study or overexertion." In
    another article on the same subject in the same journal ("The
    Health of American Girls," Sept., 1907), Nellie Comins Whitaker
    advocates a similar course. "I am coming to be convinced,
    somewhat against my wish, that there are many cases when the girl
    ought to be taken out of school entirely for some months or for a
    year _at the period of puberty_." She adds that the chief
    obstacle in the way is the girl's own likes and dislikes, and the
    ignorance of her mother who has been accustomed to think that
    pain is a woman's natural lot.

    Such a period of rest from mental strain, while it would fortify
    the organism in its resistance to any reasonable strain later,
    need by no means be lost for education in the wider sense of the
    word, for the education required in classrooms is but a small
    part of the education required for life. Nor should it by any
    means be reserved merely for the sickly and delicate girl. The
    tragic part of the present neglect to give girls a really sound
    and fitting education is that the best and finest girls are
    thereby so often ruined. Even the English policeman, who
    admittedly belongs in physical vigor and nervous balance to the
    flower of the population, is unable to bear the strain of his
    life, and is said to be worn out in twenty-five years. It is
    equally foolish to submit the finest flowers of girlhood to a
    strain which is admittedly too severe.

It seems to be clear that the main factor in the common sexual and general
invalidism of girls and young women is bad hygiene, in the first place
consisting in neglect of the menstrual functions and in the second place
in faulty habits generally. In all the more essential matters that concern
the hygiene of the body the traditions of girls--and this seems to be more
especially the case in the Anglo-Saxon countries--are inferior to those of
youths. Women are much more inclined than men to subordinate these things
to what seems to them some more urgent interest or fancy of the moment;
they are trained to wear awkward and constricting garments, they are
indifferent to regular and substantial meals, preferring innutritious and
indigestible foods and drinks; they are apt to disregard the demands of
the bowels and the bladder out of laziness or modesty; they are even
indifferent to physical cleanliness.[29] In a great number of minor ways,
which separately may seem to be of little importance, they play into the
hands of an environment which, not always having been adequately adjusted
to their special needs, would exert a considerable stress and strain even
if they carefully sought to guard themselves against it. It has been found
in an American Women's College in which about half the scholars wore
corsets and half not, that nearly all the honors and prizes went to the
non-corset-wearers. McBride, in bringing forward this fact, pertinently
remarks, "If the wearing of a single style of dress will make this
difference in the lives of young women, and that, too, in their most
vigorous and resistive period, how much difference will a score of
unhealthy habits make, if persisted in for a life-time?"[30]

    "It seems evident," A.E. Giles concludes ("Some Points of
    Preventive Treatment in the Diseases of Women," _The Hospital_,
    April 10, 1897) "that dysmenorrhoea might be to a large extent
    prevented by attention to general health and education. Short
    hours of work, especially of standing; plenty of outdoor
    exercise--tennis, boating, cycling, gymnastics, and walking for
    those who cannot afford these; regularity of meals and food of
    the proper quality--not the incessant tea and bread and butter
    with variation of pastry; the avoidance of overexertion and
    prolonged fatigue; these are some of the principal things which
    require attention. Let girls pursue their study, but more
    leisurely; they will arrive at the same goal, but a little
    later." The benefit of allowing free movement and exercise to the
    whole body is undoubtedly very great, both as regards the sexual
    and general physical health and the mental balance; in order to
    insure this it is necessary to avoid heavy and constricting
    garments, more especially around the chest, for it is in
    respiratory power and chest expansion more than in any other
    respect that girls fall behind boys (see, e.g., Havelock Ellis,
    _Man and Woman_, Ch. IX). In old days the great obstacle to the
    free exercise of girls lay in an ideal of feminine behavior which
    involved a prim restraint on every natural movement of the body.
    At the present day that ideal is not so fervently preached as of
    old, but its traditional influence still to some extent persists,
    while there is the further difficulty that adequate time and
    opportunity and encouragement are by no means generally afforded
    to girls for the cultivation and training of the romping
    instincts which are really a serious part of education, for it is
    by such free exercise of the whole body that the neuro-muscular
    system, the basis of all vital activity, is built up. The neglect
    of such education is to-day clearly visible in the structure of
    our women. Dr. F. May Dickinson Berry, Medical Examiner to the
    Technical Education Board of the London County Council, found
    (_British Medical Journal_, May 28, 1904) among over 1,500 girls,
    who represent the flower of the schools, since they had obtained
    scholarships enabling them to proceed to higher grade schools,
    that 22 per cent, presented some degree, not always pronounced,
    of lateral curvature of the spine, though such cases were very
    rare among the boys. In the same way among a very similar class
    of select girls at the Chicago Normal School, Miss Lura Sanborn
    (_Doctors' Magazine_, Dec., 1900) found 17 per cent, with spinal
    curvature, in some cases of a very pronounced degree. There is no
    reason why a girl should not have as straight a back as a boy,
    and the cause can only lie in the defective muscular development
    which was found in most of the cases, sometimes accompanied by
    anæmia. Here and there nowadays, among the better social classes,
    there is ample provision for the development of muscular power in
    girls, but in any generalized way there is no adequate
    opportunity for such exercise, and among the working class, above
    all, in the section of it which touches the lower middle class,
    although their lives are destined to be filled with a constant
    strain on the neuro-muscular system from work at home or in
    shops, etc., there is usually a minimum of healthy exercise and
    physical development. Dr. W.A.B. Sellman, of Baltimore ("Causes
    of Painful Menstruation in Unmarried Women," _American Journal
    Obstetrics_, Nov., 1907), emphasizes the admirable results
    obtained by moderate physical exercise for young women, and in
    training them to care for their bodies and to rest their nervous
    systems, while Dr. Charlotte Brown, of San Francisco, rightly
    insists on the establishment in all towns and villages alike of
    outdoor gymnastic fields for women and girls, and of a building,
    in connection with every large school, for training in physical,
    manual, and domestic science. The provision of special
    playgrounds is necessary where the exercising of girls is so
    unfamiliar as to cause an embarrassing amount of attention from
    the opposite sex, though when it is an immemorial custom it can
    be carried out on the village green without attracting the
    slightest attention, as I have seen in Spain, where one cannot
    fail to connect it with the physical vigor of the women. In boys'
    schools games are not only encouraged, but made compulsory; but
    this is by no means a universal rule in girls' schools. It is not
    necessary, and is indeed highly undesirable, that the games
    adopted should be those of boys. In England especially, where the
    movements of women are so often marked by awkwardness, angularity
    and lack of grace, it is essential that nothing should be done to
    emphasize these characteristics, for where vigor involves
    violence we are in the presence of a lack of due neuro-muscular
    coördination. Swimming, when possible, and especially some forms
    of dancing, are admirably adapted to develop the bodily movements
    of women both vigorously and harmoniously (see, e.g., Havelock
    Ellis, _Man and Woman_, Ch. VII). At the International Congress
    of School Hygiene in 1907 (see, e.g., _British Medical Journal_,
    Aug. 24, 1907) Dr. L.H. Gulick, formerly Director of Physical
    Training in the Public Schools of New York City, stated that
    after many experiments it had been found in the New York
    elementary and high schools that folk-dancing constituted the
    very best exercise for girls. "The dances selected involved many
    contractions of the large muscular masses of the body and had
    therefore a great effect on respiration, circulation and
    nutrition. Such movements, moreover, when done as dances, could
    be carried on three or four times as long without producing
    fatigue as formal gymnastics. Many folk-dances were imitative,
    sowing and reaping dance, dances expressing trade movements (the
    shoemaker's dance), others illustrating attack and defense, or
    the pursuit of game. Such neuro-muscular movements were racially
    old and fitted in with man's expressive life, and if it were
    accepted that the folk-dances really expressed an epitome of
    man's neuro-muscular history, as distinguished from mere
    permutation of movements, the folk-dance combinations should be
    preferred on these biological grounds to the unselected, or even
    the physiologically selected. From the æsthetic point of view the
    sense of beauty as shown in dancing was far commoner than the
    power to sing, paint or model."

It must always be remembered that in realizing the especial demands of
woman's nature, we do not commit ourselves to the belief that higher
education is unfitted for a woman. That question may now be regarded as
settled. There is therefore no longer any need for the feverish anxiety of
the early leaders of feminine education to prove that girls can be
educated exactly as if they were boys, and yield at least as good
educational results. At the present time, indeed, that anxiety is not only
unnecessary but mischievous. It is now more necessary to show that women
have special needs just as men have special needs, and that it is as bad
for women, and therefore, for the world, to force them to accept the
special laws and limitations of men as it would be bad for men, and
therefore, for the world, to force men to accept the special laws and
limitations of women. Each sex must seek to reach the goal by following
the laws of its own nature, even although it remains desirable that, both
in the school and in the world, they should work so far as possible side
by side. The great fact to be remembered always is that, not only are
women, in physical size and physical texture, slighter and finer than men,
but that to an extent altogether unknown among men, their centre of
gravity is apt to be deflected by the series of rhythmic sexual curves on
which they are always living. They are thus more delicately poised and any
kind of stress or strain--cerebral, nervous, or muscular--is more likely
to produce serious disturbance and requires an accurate adjustment to
their special needs.

    The fact that it is stress and strain in general, and not
    necessarily educational studies, that are injurious to adolescent
    women, is sufficiently proved, if proof is necessary, by the fact
    that sexual arrest, and physical or nervous breakdown, occur with
    extreme frequency in girls who work in shops or mills, even in
    girls who have never been to school at all. Even excesses in
    athletics--which now not infrequently occur as a reaction against
    woman's indifference to physical exercise--are bad. Cycling is
    beneficial for women who can ride without pain or discomfort,
    and, according to Watkins, it is even beneficial in many diseased
    and disordered pelvic conditions, but excessive cycling is evil
    in its results on women, more especially by inducing rigidity of
    the perineum to an extent which may even prevent childbirth and
    necessitate operation. I may add that the same objection applies
    to much horse-riding. In the same way everything which causes
    shocks to the body is apt to be dangerous to women, since in the
    womb they possess a delicately poised organ which varies in
    weight at different times, and it would, for instance, be
    impossible to commend football as a game for girls. "I do not
    believe," wrote Miss H. Ballantine, Director of Vassar College
    Gymnasium, to Prof. W. Thomas (_Sex and Society_, p. 22) "women
    can ever, no matter what the training, approach men in their
    physical achievements; and," she wisely adds, "I see no reason
    why they should." There seem, indeed, as has already been
    indicated, to be reasons why they should not, especially if they
    look forward to becoming mothers. I have noticed that women who
    have lived a very robust and athletic outdoor life, so far from
    always having the easy confinements which we might anticipate,
    sometimes have very seriously difficult times, imperilling the
    life of the child. On making this observation to a distinguished
    obstetrician, the late Dr. Engelmann, who was an ardent advocate
    of physical exercise for women (in e.g. his presidential address,
    "The Health of the American Girl," _Transactions Southern
    Surgical and Gynæcological Association_, 1890), he replied that
    he had himself made the same observation, and that instructors in
    physical training, both in America and England, had also told him
    of such cases among their pupils. "I hold," he wrote, "precisely
    the opinion you express [as to the unfavorable influence of
    muscular development in women]. _Athletics_, i.e., overdone
    physical training, causes the girl's system to approximate to the
    masculine; this is so whether due to sport or necessity. The
    woman who indulges in it approximates to the male in her
    attributes; this is marked in diminished sexual intensity, and in
    increased difficulty of childbirth, with, in time, lessened
    fecundity. Healthy habits improve, but masculine muscular
    development diminishes, womanly qualities, although it is true
    that the peasant and the laboring woman have easy labor. I have
    never advocated muscular development for girls, only physical
    training, but have perhaps said too much for it and praised it
    too unguardedly. In schools and colleges, so far, however, it is
    insufficient rather than too much; only the wealthy have too much
    golf and athletic sports. I am collecting new material, but from
    what I already have seen I am impressed with the truth of what
    you say. I am studying the point, and shall elaborate the
    explanation." Any publication on this subject was, however,
    prevented by Engelmann's death a few years later.

A proper recognition of the special nature of woman, of her peculiar needs
and her dignity, has a significance beyond its importance in education and
hygiene. The traditions and training to which she is subjected in this
matter have a subtle and far-reaching significance, according as they are
good or evil. If she is taught, implicitly or explicitly, contempt for the
characteristics of her own sex, she naturally develops masculine ideals
which may permanently discolor her vision of life and distort her
practical activities; it has been found that as many as fifty per cent. of
American school girls have masculine ideals, while fifteen per cent.
American and no fewer than thirty-four per cent. English school girls
wished to be men, though scarcely any boys wished to be women.[31] With
the same tendency may be connected that neglect to cultivate the emotions,
which, by a mischievously extravagant but inevitable reaction from the
opposite extreme, has sometimes marked the modern training of women. In
the finely developed woman, intelligence is interpenetrated with emotion.
If there is an exaggerated and isolated culture of intelligence a tendency
shows itself to disharmony which breaks up the character or impairs its
completeness. In this connection Reibmayr has remarked that the American
woman may serve as a warning.[32] Within the emotional sphere itself, it
may be added, there is a tendency to disharmony in women owing to the
contradictory nature of the feelings which are traditionally impressed
upon her, a contradiction which dates back indeed to the identification of
sacredness and impurity at the dawn of civilization. "Every girl and
woman," wrote Hellmann, in a pioneering book which pushed a sound
principle to eccentric extremes, "is taught to regard her sexual parts as
a precious and sacred spot, only to be approached by a husband or in
special circumstances a doctor. She is, at the same time, taught to regard
this spot as a kind of water-closet which she ought to be extremely
ashamed to possess, and the mere mention of which should cause a painful
blush."[33] The average unthinking woman accepts the incongruity of this
opposition without question, and grows accustomed to adapt herself to each
of the incompatibles according to circumstances. The more thoughtful woman
works out a private theory of her own. But in very many cases this
mischievous opposition exerts a subtly perverting influence on the whole
outlook towards Nature and life. In a few cases, also, in women of
sensitive temperament, it even undermines and ruins the psychic

    Thus Boris Sidis has recorded a case illustrating the disastrous
    results of inculcating on a morbidly sensitive girl the doctrine
    of the impurity of women. She was educated in a convent. "While
    there she was impressed with the belief that woman is a vessel of
    vice and impurity. This seemed to have been imbued in her by one
    of the nuns who was very holy and practiced self-mortification.
    With the onset of her periods, and with the observation of the
    same in the other girls, this doctrine of female impurity was all
    the stronger impressed on her sensitive mind." It lapsed,
    however, from conscious memory and only came to the foreground in
    subsequent years with the exhaustion and fatigue of prolonged
    office work. Then she married. Now "she has an extreme abhorrence
    of women. Woman, to the patient, is impurity, filth, the very
    incarnation of degradation and vice. The house wash must not be
    given to a laundry where women work. Nothing must be picked up in
    the street, not even the most valuable object, perchance it might
    have been dropped by a woman" (Boris Sidis, "Studies in
    Psychopathology," _Boston Medical and Surgical Journal_, April 4,
    1907). That is the logical outcome of much of the traditional
    teaching which is given to girls. Fortunately, the healthy mind
    offers a natural resistance to its complete acceptation, yet it
    usually, in some degree, persists and exerts a mischievous

It is, however, not only in her relations to herself and to her sex that a
girl's thoughts and feelings tend to be distorted by the ignorance or the
false traditions by which she is so often carefully surrounded. Her
happiness in marriage, her whole future career, is put in peril. The
innocent young woman must always risk much in entering the door of
indissoluble marriage; she knows nothing truly of her husband, she knows
nothing of the great laws of love, she knows nothing of her own
possibilities, and, worse still, she is even ignorant of her ignorance.
She runs the risk of losing the game while she is still only beginning to
learn it. To some extent that is quite inevitable if we are to insist
that a woman should bind herself to marry a man before she has experienced
the nature of the forces that marriage may unloose in her. A young girl
believes she possesses a certain character; she arranges her future in
accordance with that character; she marries. Then, in a considerable
proportion of cases (five out of six, according to the novelist Bourget),
within a year or even a week, she finds she was completely mistaken in
herself and in the man she has married; she discovers within her another
self, and that self detests the man to whom she is bound. That is a
possible fate against which only the woman who has already been aroused to
love is entitled to regard herself as fairly protected.

There is, however, a certain kind of protection which it is possible to
afford the bride, even without departing from our most conventional
conceptions of marriage. We can at least insist that she shall be
accurately informed as to the exact nature of her physical relations to
her future husband and be safeguarded from the shocks or the disillusions
which marriage might otherwise bring. Notwithstanding the decay of
prejudices, it is probable that even to-day the majority of women of the
so-called educated class marry with only the vaguest and most inaccurate
notions, picked up more or less clandestinely, concerning the nature of
the sexual relationships. So highly intelligent a woman as Madame Adam has
stated that she believed herself bound to marry a man who had kissed her
on the mouth, imagining that to be the supreme act of sexual union,[34]
and it has frequently happened that women have married sexually inverted
persons of their own sex, not always knowingly, but believing them to be
men, and never discovering their mistake; it is not long indeed since in
America three women were thus successively married to the same woman, none
of them apparently ever finding out the real sex of the "husband." "The
civilized girl," as Edward Carpenter remarks, "is led to the 'altar'
often in uttermost ignorance and misunderstanding of the sacrificial rites
about to be consummated." Certainly more rapes have been effected in
marriage than outside it.[35] The girl is full of vague and romantic faith
in the promises of love, often heightened by the ecstasies depicted in
sentimental novels from which every touch of wholesome reality has been
carefully omitted. "All the candor of faith is there," as Sénancour puts
it in his book _De l'Amour_, "the desires of inexperience, the needs of a
new life, the hopes of an upright heart. She has all the faculties of
love, she must love; she has all the means of pleasure, she must be loved.
Everything expresses love and demands love: this hand formed for sweet
caresses, an eye whose resources are unknown if it must not say that it
consents to be loved, a bosom which is motionless and useless without
love, and will fade without having been worshipped; these feelings that
are so vast, so tender, so voluptuous, the ambition of the heart, the
heroism of passion! She needs must follow the delicious rule which the law
of the world has dictated. That intoxicating part, which she knows so
well, which everything recalls, which the day inspires and the night
commands, what young, sensitive, loving woman can imagine that she shall
not play it?" But when the actual drama of love begins to unroll before
her, and she realizes the true nature of the "intoxicating part" she has
to play, then, it has often happened, the case is altered; she finds
herself altogether unprepared, and is overcome with terror and alarm. All
the felicity of her married life may then hang on a few chances, her
husband's skill and consideration, her own presence of mind. Hirschfeld
records the case of an innocent young girl of seventeen--in this case, it
eventually proved, an invert--who was persuaded to marry but on
discovering what marriage meant energetically resisted her husband's
sexual approaches. He appealed to her mother to explain to her daughter
the nature of "wifely duties." But the young wife replied to her mother's
expostulations, "If that is my wifely duty then it was your parental duty
to have told me beforehand, for, if I had known, I should never have
married." The husband in this case, much in love with his wife, sought for
eight years to over-persuade her, but in vain, and a separation finally
took place.[36] That, no doubt, is an extreme case, but how many innocent
young inverted girls never realize their true nature until after marriage,
and how many perfectly normal girls are so shocked by the too sudden
initiation of marriage that their beautiful early dreams of love never
develop slowly and wholesomely into the acceptance of its still more
beautiful realities?

Before the age of puberty it would seem that the sexual initiation of the
child--apart from such scientific information as would form part of school
courses in botany and zoölogy--should be the exclusive privilege of the
mother, or whomever it may be to whom the mother's duties are delegated.
At puberty more authoritative and precise advice is desirable than the
mother may be able or willing to give. It is at this age that she should
put into her son's or daughter's hands some one or other of the very
numerous manuals to which reference has already been made (page 53),
expounding the physical and moral aspects of the sexual life and the
principles of sexual hygiene. The boy or girl is already, we may take it,
acquainted with the facts of motherhood, and the origin of babies, as well
as, more or less precisely, with the father's part in their procreation.
Whatever manual is now placed in his or her hands should at least deal
summarily, but definitely, with the sexual relationship, and should also
comment, warningly but in no alarmist spirit, with the chief auto-erotic
phenomena, and by no means exclusively with masturbation. Nothing but good
can come of the use of such a manual, if it has been wisely selected; it
will supplant what the mother has already done, what the teacher may still
be doing, and what later may be done by private interview with a doctor.
It has indeed been argued that the boy or girl to whom such literature is
presented will merely make it an opportunity for morbid revelry and
sensual enjoyment. It can well be believed that this may sometimes happen
with boys or girls from whom all sexual facts have always been
mysteriously veiled, and that when at last they find the opportunity of
gratifying their long-repressed and perfectly natural curiosity they are
overcome by the excitement of the event. It could not happen to children
who have been naturally and wholesomely brought up. At a later age, during
adolescence, there is doubtless great advantage in the plan, now
frequently adopted, especially in Germany, of giving lectures, addresses,
or quiet talks to young people of each sex separately. The speaker is
usually a specially selected teacher, a doctor or other qualified person
who may be brought in for this special purpose.

    Stanley Hall, after remarking that sexual education should be
    chiefly from fathers to sons and from mothers to daughters, adds:
    "It may be that in the future this kind of initiation will again
    become an art, and experts will tell us with more confidence how
    to do our duty to the manifold exigencies, types and stages of
    youth, and instead of feeling baffled and defeated, we shall see
    that this age and theme is the supreme opening for the highest
    pedagogy to do its best and most transforming work, as well as
    being the greatest of all opportunities for the teacher of
    religion" (Stanley Hall, _Adolescence_, vol. i, p. 469). "At
    Williams College, Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Clark," the same
    distinguished teacher observes (ib., p. 465), "I have made it a
    duty in my departmental teaching to speak very briefly, but
    plainly to young men under my instruction, personally if I deemed
    it wise, and often, though here only in general terms, before
    student bodies, and I believe I have nowhere done more good, but
    it is a painful duty. It requires tact and some degree of hard
    and strenuous common sense rather than technical knowledge."

    It is scarcely necessary to say that the ordinary teacher of
    either sex is quite incompetent to speak of sexual hygiene. It is
    a task to which all, or some, teachers must be trained. A
    beginning in this direction has been made in Germany by the
    delivery to teachers of courses of lectures on sexual hygiene in
    education. In Prussia the first attempt was made in Breslau when
    the central school authorities requested Dr. Martin Chotzen to
    deliver such a course to one hundred and fifty teachers who took
    the greatest interest in the lectures, which covered the anatomy
    of the sexual organs, the development of the sexual instinct, its
    chief perversions, venereal diseases, and the importance of the
    cultivation of self-control. In _Geschlecht und Gesellschaft_
    (Bd. i, Heft 7) Dr. Fritz Reuther gives the substance of lectures
    which he has delivered to a class of young teachers; they cover
    much the same ground as Chotzen's.

    There is no evidence that in England the Minister of Education
    has yet taken any steps to insure the delivery of lectures on
    sexual hygiene to the pupils who are about to leave school. In
    Prussia, however, the Ministry of Education has taken an active
    interest in this matter, and such lectures are beginning to be
    commonly delivered, though attendance at them is not usually
    obligatory. Some years ago (in 1900), when it was proposed to
    deliver a series of lectures on sexual hygiene to the advanced
    pupils in Berlin schools, under the auspices of a society for the
    improvement of morals, the municipal authorities withdrew their
    permission to use the classrooms, on the ground that "such
    lectures would be extremely dangerous to the moral sense of an
    audience of the young." The same objection has been made by
    municipal officials in France. In Germany, at all events,
    however, opinion is rapidly growing more enlightened. In England
    little or no progress has yet been made, but in America steps are
    being taken in this direction, as by the Chicago Society for
    Social Hygiene. It must, indeed, be said that those who oppose
    the sexual enlightenment of youth in large cities are directly
    allying themselves, whether or not they know it, with the
    influences that make for vice and immorality.

    Such lectures are also given to girls on leaving school, not only
    girls of the well-to-do, but also those of the poor class, who
    need them fully as much, and in some respects more. Thus Dr. A.
    Heidenhain has published a lecture (_Sexuelle Belehrung der aus
    den Volksschule entlassenen Mädchen_, 1907), accompanied by
    anatomical tables, which he has delivered to girls about to leave
    school, and which is intended to be put into their hands at this
    time. Salvat, in a Lyons thesis (_La Dépopulation de la France_,
    1903), insists that the hygiene of pregnancy and the care of
    infants should form part of the subject of such lectures. These
    subjects might well be left, however, to a somewhat later period.

Something is clearly needed beyond lectures on these matters. It should be
the business of the parents or other guardians of every adolescent youth
and girl to arrange that, once at least at this period of life, there
should be a private, personal interview with a medical man to afford an
opportunity for a friendly and confidential talk concerning the main
points of sexual hygiene. The family doctor would be the best for this
duty because he would be familiar with the personal temperament of the
youth and the family tendencies.[37] In the case of girls a woman doctor
would often be preferred. Sex is properly a mystery; and to the unspoilt
youth, it is instinctively so; except in an abstract and technical form it
cannot properly form the subject of lectures. In a private and
individualized conversation between the novice in life and the expert, it
is possible to say many necessary things that could not be said in public,
and it is possible, moreover, for the youth to ask questions which shyness
and reserve make it impossible to put to parents, while the convenient
opportunity of putting them naturally to the expert otherwise seldom or
never occurs. Most youths have their own special ignorances, their own
special difficulties, difficulties and ignorances that could sometimes be
resolved by a word. Yet it by no means infrequently happens that they
carry them far on into adult life because they have lacked the
opportunity, or the skill and assurance to create the opportunity, of
obtaining enlightenment.

It must be clearly understood that these talks are of medical, hygienic,
and physiological character; they are not to be used for retailing moral
platitudes. To make them that would be a fatal mistake. The young are
often very hostile to merely conventional moral maxims, and suspect their
hollowness, not always without reason. The end to be aimed at here is
enlightenment. Certainly knowledge can never be immoral, but nothing is
gained by jumbling up knowledge and morality together.

In emphasizing the nature of the physician's task in this matter as purely
and simply that of wise practical enlightenment, nothing is implied
against the advantages, and indeed the immense value in sexual hygiene, of
the moral, religious, ideal elements of life. It is not the primary
business of the physician to inspire these, but they have a very intimate
relation with the sexual life, and every boy and girl at puberty, and
never before puberty, should be granted the privilege--and not the duty or
the task--of initiation into those elements of the world's life which are,
at the same time, natural functions of the adolescent soul. Here, however,
is the sphere of the religious or ethical teacher. At puberty he has his
great opportunity, the greatest he can ever obtain. The flower of sex that
blossoms in the body at puberty has its spiritual counterpart which at the
same moment blossoms in the soul. The churches from of old have recognized
the religious significance of this moment, for it is this period of life
that they have appointed as the time of confirmation and similar rites.
With the progress of the ages, it is true, such rites become merely formal
and apparently meaningless fossils. But they have a meaning nevertheless,
and are capable of being again vitalized. Nor in their spirit and essence
should they be confined to those who accept supernaturally revealed
religion. They concern all ethical teachers, who must realize that it is
at puberty that they are called upon to inspire or to fortify the great
ideal aspirations which at this period tend spontaneously to arise in the
youth's or maiden's soul.[38]

The age of puberty, I have said, marks the period at which this new kind
of sexual initiation is called for. Before puberty, although the psychic
emotion of love frequently develops, as well as sometimes physical sexual
emotions that are mostly vague and diffused, definite and localized sexual
sensations are rare. For the normal boy or girl love is usually an
unspecialized emotion; it is in Guyau's words "a state in which the body
has but the smallest place." At the first rising of the sun of sex the
boy or girl sees, as Blake said he saw at sunrise, not a round yellow body
emerging above the horizon, or any other physical manifestation, but a
great company of singing angels. With the definite eruption of physical
sexual manifestation and desire, whether at puberty or later in
adolescence, a new turbulent disturbing influence appears. Against the
force of this influence, mere intellectual enlightenment, or even loving
maternal counsel--the agencies we have so far been concerned with--may be
powerless. In gaining control of it we must find our auxiliary in the fact
that puberty is the efflorescence not only of a new physical but a new
psychic force. The ideal world naturally unfolds itself to the boy or girl
at puberty. The magic of beauty, the instinct of modesty, the naturalness
of self-restraint, the idea of unselfish love, the meaning of duty, the
feeling for art and poetry, the craving for religious conceptions and
emotions--all these things awake spontaneously in the unspoiled boy or
girl at puberty. I say "unspoiled," for if these things have been thrust
on the child before puberty when they have yet no meaning for him--as is
unfortunately far too often done, more especially as regards religious
notions--then it is but too likely that he will fail to react properly at
that moment of his development when he would otherwise naturally respond
to them. Under natural conditions this is the period for spiritual
initiation. Now, and not before, is the time for the religious or ethical
teacher as the case may be--for all religions and ethical systems may
equally adapt themselves to this task--to take the boy or girl in hand,
not with any special and obtrusive reference to the sexual impulses but
for the purpose of assisting the development and manifestation of this
psychic puberty, of indirectly aiding the young soul to escape from sexual
dangers by harnessing his chariot to a star that may help to save it from
sticking fast in any miry ruts of the flesh.

Such an initiation, it is important to remark, is more than an
introduction to the sphere of religious sentiment. It is an initiation
into manhood, it must involve a recognition of the masculine even more
than of the feminine virtues. This has been well understood by the finest
primitive races. They constantly give their boys and girls an initiation
at puberty; it is an initiation that involves not merely education in the
ordinary sense, but a stern discipline of the character, feats of
endurance, the trial of character, the testing of the muscles of the soul
as much as of the body.

    Ceremonies of initiation into manhood at puberty--involving
    physical and mental discipline, as well as instruction, lasting
    for weeks or months, and never identical for both sexes--are
    common among savages in all parts of the world. They nearly
    always involve the endurance of a certain amount of pain and
    hardship, a wise measure of training which the softness of
    civilization has too foolishly allowed to drop, for the ability
    to endure hardness is an essential condition of all real manhood.
    It is as a corrective to this tendency to flabbiness in modern
    education that the teaching of Nietzsche is so invaluable.

    The initiation of boys among the natives of Torres Straits has
    been elaborately described by A.C. Haddon (_Reports
    Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits_, vol. v, Chs. VII
    and XII). It lasts a month, involves much severe training and
    power of endurance, and includes admirable moral instruction.
    Haddon remarks that it formed "a very good discipline," and adds,
    "it is not easy to conceive of a more effectual means for a rapid

    Among the aborigines of Victoria, Australia, the initiatory
    ceremonies, as described by R.H. Mathews ("Some Initiation
    Ceremonies," _Zeitschrift für Ethnologie_, 1905, Heft 6), last
    for seven months, and constitute an admirable discipline. The
    boys are taken away by the elders of the tribe, subjected to many
    trials of patience and endurance of pain and discomfort,
    sometimes involving even the swallowing of urine and excrement,
    brought into contact with strange tribes, taught the laws and
    folk-lore, and at the end meetings are held at which betrothals
    are arranged.

    Among the northern tribes of Central Australia the initiation
    ceremonies involve circumcision and urethral subincision, as well
    as hard manual labor and hardships. The initiation of girls into
    womanhood is accompanied by cutting open of the vagina. These
    ceremonies have been described by Spencer and Gillen (_Northern
    Tribes of Central Australia_, Ch. XI). Among various peoples in
    British East Africa (including the Masai) pubertal initiation is
    a great ceremonial event extending over a period of many months,
    and it includes circumcision in boys, and in girls
    clitoridectomy, as well as, among some tribes, removal of the
    nymphæ. A girl who winces or cries out during the operation is
    disgraced among the women and expelled from the settlement. When
    the ceremony has been satisfactorily completed the boy or girl is
    marriageable (C. Marsh Beadnell, "Circumcision and Clitoridectomy
    as Practiced by the Natives of British East Africa," _British
    Medical Journal_, April 29, 1905).

    Initiation among the African Bawenda, as described by a
    missionary, is in three stages: (1) A stage of instruction and
    discipline during which the traditions and sacred things of the
    tribe are revealed, the art of warfare taught, self-restraint and
    endurance borne; then the youths are counted as full-grown. (2)
    In the next stage the art of dancing is practiced, by each sex
    separately, during the day. (3) In the final stage, which is that
    of complete sexual initiation, the two sexes dance together by
    night; the scene, in the opinion of the good missionary, "does
    not bear description;" the initiated are now complete adults,
    with all the privileges and responsibilities of adults (Rev. E.
    Gottschling, "The Bawenda," _Journal Anthropological
    Institution_, July to Dec., 1905, p. 372. Cf., an interesting
    account of the Bawenda Tondo schools by another missionary,
    Wessmann, _The Bawenda_, pp. 60 et seq.).

    The initiation of girls in Azimba Land, Central Africa, has been
    fully and interestingly described by H. Crawford Angus ("The
    Chensamwali' or Initiation Ceremony of Girls," _Zeitschrift für
    Ethnologie_, 1898, Heft 6). At the first sign of menstruation the
    girl is taken by her mother out of the village to a grass hut
    prepared for her where only the women are allowed to visit her.
    At the end of menstruation she is taken to a secluded spot and
    the women dance round her, no men being present. It was only with
    much difficulty that Angus was enabled to witness the ceremony.
    The girl is then informed in regard to the hygiene of
    menstruation. "Many songs about the relations between men and
    women are sung, and the girl is instructed as to all her duties
    when she becomes a wife.... The girl is taught to be faithful to
    her husband, and to try and bear children. The whole matter is
    looked upon as a matter of course, and not as a thing to be
    ashamed of or to hide, and being thus openly treated of and no
    secrecy made about it, you find in this tribe that the women are
    very virtuous, because the subject of married life has no glamour
    for them. When a woman is pregnant she is again danced; this time
    all the dancers are naked, and she is taught how to behave and
    what to do when the time of her delivery arrives."

    Among the Yuman Indians of California, as described by Horatio
    Rust ("A Puberty Ceremony of the Mission Indians," _American
    Anthropologist_, Jan. to March, 1906, p. 28) the girls are at
    puberty prepared for marriage by a ceremony. They are wrapped in
    blankets and placed in a warm pit, where they lie looking very
    happy as they peer out through their covers. For four days and
    nights they lie here (occasionally going away for food), while
    the old women of the tribe dance and sing round the pit
    constantly. At times the old women throw silver coins among the
    crowd to teach the girls to be generous. They also give away
    cloth and wheat, to teach them to be kind to the old and needy;
    and they sow wild seeds broadcast over the girls to cause them to
    be prolific. Finally, all strangers are ordered away, garlands
    are placed on the girls' heads, and they are led to a hillside
    and shown the large and sacred stone, symbolical of the female
    organs of generation and resembling them, which is said to
    protect women. Then grain is thrown over all present, and the
    ceremony is over.

    The Thlinkeet Eskimo women were long noted for their fine
    qualities. At puberty they were secluded, sometimes for a whole
    year, being kept in darkness, suffering, and filth. Yet defective
    and unsatisfactory as this initiation was, "Langsdorf suggests,"
    says Bancroft (_Native Races of Pacific_, vol. i, p. 110),
    referring to the virtues of the Thlinkeet woman, "that it may be
    during this period of confinement that the foundation of her
    influence is laid; that in modest reserve and meditation her
    character is strengthened, and she comes forth cleansed in mind
    as well as body."

We have lost these ancient and invaluable rites of initiation into manhood
and womanhood, with their inestimable moral benefits; at the most we have
merely preserved the shells of initiation in which the core has decayed.
In time, we cannot doubt, they will be revived in modern forms. At present
the spiritual initiation of youths and maidens is left to the chances of
some happy accident, and usually it is of a purely cerebral character
which cannot be perfectly wholesome, and is at the best absurdly

This cerebral initiation commonly occurs to the youth through the medium
of literature. The influence of literature in sexual education thus
extends, in an incalculable degree, beyond the narrow sphere of manuals on
sexual hygiene, however admirable and desirable these may be. The greater
part of literature is more or less distinctly penetrated by erotic and
auto-erotic conceptions and impulses; nearly all imaginative literature
proceeds from the root of sex to flower in visions of beauty and ecstasy.
The Divine Comedy of Dante is herein the immortal type of the poet's
evolution. The youth becomes acquainted with the imaginative
representations of love before he becomes acquainted with the reality of
love, so that, as Leo Berg puts it, "the way to love among civilized
peoples passes through imagination." All literature is thus, to the
adolescent soul, a part of sexual education.[39] It depends, to some
extent, though fortunately not entirely, on the judgment of those in
authority over the young soul whether the literature to which the youth or
girl is admitted is or is not of the large and humanizing order.

    All great literature touches nakedly and sanely on the central
    facts of sex. It is always consoling to remember this in an age
    of petty pruderies. And it is a satisfaction to know that it
    would not be possible to emasculate the literature of the great
    ages, however desirable it might seem to the men of more
    degenerate ages, or to close the avenues to that literature
    against the young. All our religious and literary traditions
    serve to fortify the position of the Bible and of Shakespeare.
    "So many men and women," writes a correspondent, a literary man,
    "gain sexual ideas in childhood from reading the Old Testament,
    that the Bible may be called an erotic text-book. Most persons of
    either sex with whom I have conversed on the subject, say that
    the Books of Moses, and the stories of Amnon and Tamar, Lot and
    his daughters, Potiphar's wife and Joseph, etc., caused
    speculation and curiosity, and gave them information of the
    sexual relationship. A boy and girl of fifteen, both friends of
    the writer, and now over thirty years of age, used to find out
    erotic passages in the Bible on Sunday mornings, while in a
    Dissenting chapel, and pass their Bibles to one another, with
    their fingers on the portions that interested them." In the same
    way many a young woman has borrowed Shakespeare in order to read
    the glowing erotic poetry of _Venus and Adonis_, which her
    friends have told her about.

    The Bible, it may be remarked, is not in every respect, a model
    introduction for the young mind to the questions of sex. But even
    its frank acceptance, as of divine origin, of sexual rules so
    unlike those that are nominally our own, such as polygamy and
    concubinage, helps to enlarge the vision of the youthful mind by
    showing that the rules surrounding the child are not those
    everywhere and always valid, while the nakedness and realism of
    the Bible cannot but be a wholesome and tonic corrective to
    conventional pruderies.

    We must, indeed, always protest against the absurd confusion
    whereby nakedness of speech is regarded as equivalent to
    immorality, and not the less because it is often adopted even in
    what are regarded as intellectual quarters. When in the House of
    Lords, in the last century, the question of the exclusion of
    Byron's statue from Westminster Abbey was under discussion, Lord
    Brougham "denied that Shakespeare was more moral than Byron. He
    could, on the contrary, point out in a single page of Shakespeare
    more grossness than was to be found in all Lord Byron's works."
    The conclusion Brougham thus reached, that Byron is an
    incomparably more moral writer than Shakespeare, ought to have
    been a sufficient _reductio ad absurdum_ of his argument, but it
    does not appear that anyone pointed out the vulgar confusion into
    which he had fallen.

    It may be said that the special attractiveness which the
    nakedness of great literature sometimes possesses for young minds
    is unwholesome. But it must be remembered that the peculiar
    interest of this element is merely due to the fact that elsewhere
    there is an inveterate and abnormal concealment. It must also be
    said that the statements of the great writers about natural
    things are never degrading, nor even erotically exciting to the
    young, and what Emilia Pardo Bazan tells of herself and her
    delight when a child in the historical books of the Old
    Testament, that the crude passages in them failed to send the
    faintest cloud of trouble across her young imagination, is
    equally true of most children. It is necessary, indeed, that
    these naked and serious things should be left standing, even if
    only to counterbalance the lewdly comic efforts to besmirch love
    and sex, which are visible to all in every low-class bookseller's
    shop window.

    This point of view was vigorously championed by the speakers on
    sexual education at the Third Congress of the German Gesellschaft
    zur Bekämpfung der Geschlechtskrankheiten in 1907. Thus Enderlin,
    speaking as a headmaster, protested against the custom of
    bowdlerizing poems and folk-songs for the use of children, and
    thus robbing them of the finest introduction to purified sexual
    impulses and the highest sphere of emotion, while at the same
    time they are recklessly exposed to the "psychic infection" of
    the vulgar comic papers everywhere exposed for sale. "So long as
    children are too young to respond to erotic poetry it cannot hurt
    them; when they are old enough to respond it can only benefit
    them by opening to them the highest and purest channels of human
    emotion" (_Sexualpädagogik_, p. 60). Professor Schäfenacker (id.,
    p. 98) expresses himself in the same sense, and remarks that "the
    method of removing from school-books all those passages which, in
    the opinion of short-sighted and narrow-hearted schoolmasters,
    are unsuited for youth, must be decisively condemned." Every
    healthy boy and girl who has reached the age of puberty may be
    safely allowed to ramble in any good library, however varied its
    contents. So far from needing guidance they will usually show a
    much more refined taste than their elders. At this age, when the
    emotions are still virginal and sensitive, the things that are
    realistic, ugly, or morbid, jar on the young spirit and are cast
    aside, though in adult life, with the coarsening of mental
    texture which comes of years and experience, this repugnance,
    doubtless by an equally sound and natural instinct, may become
    much less acute.

    Ellen Key in Ch. VI of her _Century of the Child_ well summarizes
    the reasons against the practice of selecting for children books
    that are "suitable" for them, a practice which she considers one
    of the follies of modern education. The child should be free to
    read all great literature, and will himself instinctively put
    aside the things he is not yet ripe for. His cooler senses are
    undisturbed by scenes that his elders find too exciting, while
    even at a later stage it is not the nakedness of great
    literature, but much more the method of the modern novel, which
    is likely to stain the imagination, falsify reality and injure
    taste. It is concealment which misleads and coarsens, producing a
    state of mind in which even the Bible becomes a stimulus to the
    senses. The writings of the great masters yield the imaginative
    food which the child craves, and the erotic moment in them is too
    brief to be overheating. It is the more necessary, Ellen Key
    remarks, for children to be introduced to great literature, since
    they often have little opportunity to occupy themselves with it
    in later life. Many years earlier Ruskin, in _Sesame and Lilies_,
    had eloquently urged that even young girls should be allowed to
    range freely in libraries.

What has been said about literature applies equally to art. Art, as well
as literature, and in the same indirect way, can be made a valuable aid in
the task of sexual enlightenment and sexual hygiene. Modern art may,
indeed, for the most part, be ignored from this point of view, but
children cannot be too early familiarized with the representations of the
nude in ancient sculpture and in the paintings of the old masters of the
Italian school. In this way they may be immunized, as Enderlin expresses
it, against those representations of the nude which make an appeal to the
baser instincts. Early familiarity with nudity in art is at the same time
an aid to the attainment of a proper attitude towards purity in nature.
"He who has once learnt," as Höller remarks, "to enjoy peacefully
nakedness in art, will be able to look on nakedness in nature as on a work
of art."

    Casts of classic nude statues and reproductions of the pictures
    of the old Venetian and other Italian masters may fittingly be
    used to adorn schoolrooms, not so much as objects of instruction
    as things of beauty with which the child cannot too early become
    familiarized. In Italy it is said to be usual for school classes
    to be taken by their teachers to the art museums with good
    results; such visits form part of the official scheme of

    There can be no doubt that such early familiarity with the beauty
    of nudity in classic art is widely needed among all social
    classes and in many countries. It is to this defect of our
    education that we must attribute the occasional, and indeed in
    America and England frequent, occurrence of such incidents as
    petitions and protests against the exhibition of nude statuary in
    art museums, the display of pictures so inoffensive as Leighton's
    "Bath of Psyche" in shop windows, and the demand for the draping
    of the naked personifications of abstract virtues in
    architectural street decoration. So imperfect is still the
    education of the multitude that in these matters the ill-bred
    fanatic of pruriency usually gains his will. Such a state of
    things cannot but have an unwholesome reaction on the moral
    atmosphere of the community in which it is possible. Even from
    the religious point of view, prurient prudery is not justifiable.
    Northcote has very temperately and sensibly discussed the
    question of the nude in art from the standpoint of Christian
    morality. He points out that not only is the nude in art not to
    be condemned without qualification, and that the nude is by no
    means necessarily the erotic, but he also adds that even erotic
    art, in its best and purest manifestations, only arouses emotions
    that are the legitimate object of man's aspirations. It would be
    impossible even to represent Biblical stories adequately on
    canvas or in marble if erotic art were to be tabooed (Rev. H.
    Northcote, _Christianity and Sex Problems_, Ch. XIV).

    Early familiarity with the nude in classic and early Italian art
    should be combined at puberty with an equal familiarity with
    photographs of beautiful and naturally developed nude models. In
    former years books containing such pictures in a suitable and
    attractive manner to place before the young were difficult to
    procure. Now this difficulty no longer exists. Dr. C.H. Stratz,
    of The Hague, has been the pioneer in this matter, and in a
    series of beautiful books (notably in _Der Körper des Kindes, Die
    Schönheit des Weiblichen Körpers_ and _Die Rassenschönheit des
    Weibes_, all published by Enke in Stuttgart), he has brought
    together a large number of admirably selected photographs of nude
    but entirely chaste figures. More recently Dr. Shufeldt, of
    Washington (who dedicates his work to Stratz), has published his
    _Studies of the Human Form_ in which, in the same spirit, he has
    brought together the results of his own studies of the naked
    human form during many years. It is necessary to correct the
    impressions received from classic sources by good photographic
    illustrations on account of the false conventions prevailing in
    classic works, though those conventions were not necessarily
    false for the artists who originated them. The omission of the
    pudendal hair, in representations of the nude was, for instance,
    quite natural for the people of countries still under Oriental
    influence are accustomed to remove the hair from the body. If,
    however, under quite different conditions, we perpetuate that
    artistic convention to-day, we put ourselves into a perverse
    relation to nature. There is ample evidence of this. "There is
    one convention so ancient, so necessary, so universal," writes
    Mr. Frederic Harrison (_Nineteenth Century and After_, Aug.,
    1907), "that its deliberate defiance to-day may arouse the bile
    of the least squeamish of men and should make women withdraw at
    once." If boys and girls were brought up at their mother's knees
    in familiarity with pictures of beautiful and natural nakedness,
    it would be impossible for anyone to write such silly and
    shameful words as these.

    There can be no doubt that among ourselves the simple and direct
    attitude of the child towards nakedness is so early crushed out
    of him that intelligent education is necessary in order that he
    may be enabled to discern what is and what is not obscene. To the
    plough-boy and the country servant-girl all nakedness, including
    that of Greek statuary, is alike shameful or lustful. "I have a
    picture of women like that," said a countryman with a grin, as he
    pointed to a photograph of one of Tintoret's most beautiful
    groups, "smoking cigarettes." And the mass of people in most
    northern countries have still passed little beyond this stage of
    discernment; in ability to distinguish between the beautiful and
    the obscene they are still on the level of the plough-boy and the


[18] These manifestations have been dealt with in the study of Autoerotism
in vol. i of the present _Studies_. It may be added that the sexual life
of the child has been exhaustively investigated by Moll, _Das Sexualleben
des Kindes_, 1909.

[19] This genital efflorescence in the sexual glands and breasts at birth
or in early infancy has been discussed in a Paris thesis, by Camille
Renouf (_La Crise Génital et les Manifestations Connexes chez le Foetus et
le Nouveau-né_, 1905); he is unable to offer a satisfactory explanation of
these phenomena.

[20] Amélineau, _La Morale des Egyptiens_, p. 64.

[21] "The Social Evil in Philadelphia," _Arena_, March, 1896.

[22] Moll, _Konträre Sexualempfindung_, third edition, p. 592.

[23] This powerlessness of the law and the police is well recognized by
lawyers familiar with the matter. Thus F. Werthauer (_Sittlichkeitsdelikte
der Grosstadt_, 1907) insists throughout on the importance of parents and
teachers imparting to children from their early years a progressively
increasing knowledge of sexual matters.

[24] "Parents must be taught how to impart information," remarks E.L.
Keyes ("Education upon Sexual Matters," _New York Medical Journal_, Feb.
10, 1906), "and this teaching of the parent should begin when he is
himself a child."

[25] Moll (op. cit., p. 224) argues well how impossible it is to preserve
children from sights and influence connected with the sexual life.

[26] Girls are not even prepared, in many cases, for the appearance of the
pubic hair. This unexpected growth of hair frequently causes young girls
much secret worry, and often they carefully cut it off.

[27] G.S. Hall, _Adolescence_, vol. i, p. 511. Many years ago, in 1875,
the late Dr. Clarke, in his _Sex in Education_, advised menstrual rest for
girls, and thereby aroused a violent opposition which would certainly not
be found nowadays, when the special risks of womanhood are becoming more
clearly understood.

[28] For a summary of the physical and mental phenomena of the menstrual
period, see Havelock Ellis: _Man and Woman_, Ch. XI. The primitive
conception of menstruation is briefly discussed in Appendix A to the first
volume of these _Studies_, and more elaborately by J.G. Frazer in _The
Golden Bough_. A large collection of facts with regard to the menstrual
seclusion of women throughout the world will be found in Ploss and
Bartels, _Das Weib_. The pubertal seclusion of girls at Torres Straits has
been especially studied by Seligmann, _Reports Anthropological Expedition
to Torres Straits_, vol. v, Ch. VI.

[29] Thus Miss Lura Sanborn, Director of Physical Training at the Chicago
Normal School, found that a bath once a fortnight was not unusual. At the
menstrual period especially there is still a superstitious dread of water.
Girls should always be taught that at this period, above all, cleanliness
is imperatively necessary. There should be a tepid hip bath night and
morning, and a vaginal douche (which should never be cold) is always
advantageous, both for comfort as well as cleanliness. There is not the
slightest reason to dread water during menstruation. This point was
discussed a few years ago in the _British Medical Journal_ with complete
unanimity of opinion. A distinguished American obstetrician, also, Dr. J.
Clifton Edgar, after a careful study of opinion and practice in this
matter ("Bathing During the Menstrual Period," _American Journal
Obstetrics_, Sept., 1900), concludes that it is possible and beneficial to
take cold baths (though not sea-baths) during the period, provided due
precautions are observed, and that there are no sudden changes of habits.
Such a course should not be indiscriminately adopted, but there can be no
doubt that in sturdy peasant women who are inured to it early in life even
prolonged immersion in the sea in fishing has no evil results, and is even
beneficial. Houzel (_Annales de Gynécologie_, Dec., 1894) has published
statistics of the menstrual life of 123 fisherwomen on the French coast.
They were accustomed to shrimp for hours at a time in the sea, often to
above the waist, and then walk about in their wet clothes selling the
shrimps. They all insisted that their menstruation was easier when they
were actively at work. Their periods are notably regular, and their
fertility is high.

[30] J.H. McBride, "The Life and Health of Our Girls in Relation to Their
Future," _Alienist and Neurologist_, Feb., 1904.

[31] W.G. Chambers, "The Evolution of Ideals," _Pedagogical Seminary_,
March, 1903; Catherine Dodd, "School Children's Ideals," _National
Review_, Feb. and Dec., 1900, and June, 1901. No German girls acknowledged
a wish to be men; they said it would be wicked. Among Flemish girls,
however, Varendonck found at Ghent (_Archives de Psychologie_, July, 1908)
that 26 per cent. had men as their ideals.

[32] A. Reibmayr, _Die Entwicklungsgeschichte des Talentes und Genies_,
1908, Bd. i, p. 70.

[33] R. Hellmann, _Ueber Geschlechtsfreiheit_, p. 14.

[34] This belief seems frequent among young girls in Continental Europe.
It forms the subject of one of Marcel Prevost's _Lettres de Femmes_. In
Austria, according to Freud, it is not uncommon, exclusively among girls.

[35] Yet, according to English law, rape is a crime which it is impossible
for a husband to commit on his wife (see, e.g., Nevill Geary, _The Law of
Marriage_, Ch. XV, Sect. V). The performance of the marriage ceremony,
however, even if it necessarily involved a clear explanation of marital
privileges, cannot be regarded as adequate justification for an act of
sexual intercourse performed with violence or without the wife's consent.

[36] Hirschfeld, _Jahrbuch für Sexuelle Zwischenstufen_, 1903, p. 88. It
may be added that a horror of coitus is not necessarily due to bad
education, and may also occur in hereditarily degenerate women, whose
ancestors have shown similar or allied mental peculiarities. A case of
such "functional impotence" has been reported in a young Italian wife of
twenty-one, who was otherwise healthy, and strongly attached to her
husband. The marriage was annulled on the ground that "rudimentary sexual
or emotional paranoia, which renders a wife invincibly refractory to
sexual union, notwithstanding the integrity of the sexual organs,
constitutes psychic functional impotence" (_Archivio di Psichiatria_,
1906, fasc. vi, p. 806).

[37] The reasonableness of this step is so obvious that it should scarcely
need insistence. "The instruction of school-boys and school-girls is most
adequately effected by an elderly doctor," Näcke remarks, "sometimes
perhaps the school-doctor." "I strongly advocate," says Clouston (_The
Hygiene of Mind_, p. 249), "that the family doctor, guided by the parent
and the teacher, is by far the best instructor and monitor." Moll is of
the same opinion.

[38] I have further developed this argument in "Religion and the Child,"
_Nineteenth Century and After_, 1907.

[39] The intimate relation of art and poetry to the sexual impulse has
been realized in a fragmentary way by many who have not attained to any
wide vision of auto-erotic activity in life. "Poetry is necessarily
related to the sexual function," says Metchnikoff (_Essais Optimistes_, p.
352), who also quotes with approval the statement of Möbius (previously
made by Ferrero and many others) that "artistic aptitudes must probably be
considered as secondary sexual characters."



The Greek Attitude Towards Nakedness--How the Romans Modified That
Attitude--The Influence of Christianity--Nakedness in Mediæval
Times--Evolution of the Horror of Nakedness--Concomitant Change in the
Conception of Nakedness--Prudery--The Romantic Movement--Rise of a New
Feeling in Regard to Nakedness--The Hygienic Aspect of Nakedness--How
Children May Be Accustomed to Nakedness--Nakedness Not Inimical to
Modesty--The Instinct of Physical Pride--The Value of Nakedness in
Education--The Æsthetic Value of Nakedness--The Human Body as One of the
Prime Tonics of Life--How Nakedness May Be Cultivated--The Moral Value of

The discussion of the value of nakedness in art leads us on to the allied
question of nakedness in nature. What is the psychological influence of
familiarity with nakedness? How far should children be made familiar with
the naked body? This is a question in regard to which different opinions
have been held in different ages, and during recent years a remarkable
change has begun to come over the minds of practical educationalists in
regard to it.

In Sparta, in Chios, and elsewhere in Greece, women at one time practiced
gymnastic feats and dances in nakedness, together with the men, or in
their presence.[40] Plato in his _Republic_ approved of such customs and
said that the ridicule of those who laughed at them was but "unripe fruit
plucked from the tree of knowledge." On many questions Plato's opinions
changed, but not on this. In the _Laws_, which are the last outcome of his
philosophic reflection in old age, he still advocates (Bk. viii) a similar
co-education of the sexes and their coöperation in all the works of life,
in part with a view to blunt the over-keen edge of sexual appetite; with
the same object he advocated the association together of youths and girls
without constraint in costumes which offered no concealment to the form.

It is noteworthy that the Romans, a coarser-grained people than the Greeks
and in our narrow modern sense more "moral," showed no perception of the
moralizing and refining influence of nakedness. Nudity to them was merely
a licentious indulgence, to be treated with contempt even when it was
enjoyed. It was confined to the stage, and clamored for by the populace.
In the Floralia, especially, the crowd seem to have claimed it as their
right that the actors should play naked, probably, it has been thought, as
a survival of a folk-ritual. But the Romans, though they were eager to run
to the theatre, felt nothing but disdain for the performers. "Flagitii
principium est, nudare inter cives corpora." So thought old Ennius, as
reported by Cicero, and that remained the genuine Roman feeling to the
last. "Quanta perversitas!" as Tertullian exclaimed. "Artem magnificant,
artificem notant."[41] In this matter the Romans, although they aroused
the horror of the Christians, were yet in reality laying the foundation of
Christian morality.

Christianity, which found so many of Plato's opinions congenial, would
have nothing to do with his view of nakedness and failed to recognize its
psychological correctness. The reason was simple, and indeed
simple-minded. The Church was passionately eager to fight against what it
called "the flesh," and thus fell into the error of confusing the
subjective question of sexual desire with the objective spectacle of the
naked form. "The flesh" is evil; therefore, "the flesh" must be hidden.
And they hid it, without understanding that in so doing they had not
suppressed the craving for the human form, but, on the contrary, had
heightened it by imparting to it the additional fascination of a forbidden

    Burton, in his _Anatomy of Melancholy_ (Part III, Sect II, Mem.
    II, Subs. IV), referring to the recommendations of Plato, adds:
    "But _Eusebius_ and _Theodoret_ worthily lash him for it; and
    well they might: for as one saith, the very sight of naked
    parts, _causeth enormous, exceeding concupiscences, and stirs up
    both men and women to burning lust_." Yet, as Burton himself adds
    further on in the same section of his work (Mem. V, Subs. III),
    without protest, "some are of opinion, that to see a woman naked,
    is able of itself to alter his affection; and it is worthy of
    consideration, saith _Montaigne_, the Frenchman, in his Essays,
    that the skilfullest masters of amorous dalliance appoint for a
    remedy of venereous passions, a full survey of the body."

    There ought to be no question regarding the fact that it is the
    adorned, the partially concealed body, and not the absolutely
    naked body, which acts as a sexual excitant. I have brought
    together some evidence on this point in the study of "The
    Evolution of Modesty." "In Madagascar, West Africa, and the
    Cape," says G.F. Scott Elliot (_A Naturalist in Mid-Africa_, p.
    36), "I have always found the same rule. Chastity varies
    inversely as the amount of clothing." It is now indeed generally
    held that one of the chief primary objects of ornament and
    clothing was the stimulation of sexual desire, and artists'
    models are well aware that when they are completely unclothed,
    they are most safe from undesired masculine advances. "A favorite
    model of mine told me," remarks Dr. Shufeldt (_Medical Brief_,
    Oct., 1904), the distinguished author of _Studies of the Human
    Form_, "that it was her practice to disrobe as soon after
    entering the artist's studio as possible, for, as men are not
    always responsible for their emotions, she felt that she was far
    less likely to arouse or excite them when entirely nude than when
    only semi-draped." This fact is, indeed, quite familiar to
    artists' models. If the conquest of sexual desire were the first
    and last consideration of life it would be more reasonable to
    prohibit clothing than to prohibit nakedness.

When Christianity absorbed the whole of the European world this strict
avoidance of even the sight of "the flesh," although nominally accepted by
all as the desirable ideal, could only be carried out, thoroughly and
completely, in the cloister. In the practice of the world outside,
although the original Christian ideals remained influential, various pagan
and primitive traditions in favor of nakedness still persisted, and were,
to some extent, allowed to manifest themselves, alike in ordinary custom
and on special occasions.

    How widespread is the occasional or habitual practice of
    nakedness in the world generally, and how entirely concordant it
    is with even a most sensitive modesty, has been set forth in "The
    Evolution of Modesty," in vol. i of these _Studies_.

    Even during the Christian era the impulse to adopt nudity, often
    with the feeling that it was an especially sacred practice, has
    persisted. The Adamites of the second century, who read and
    prayed naked, and celebrated the sacrament naked, according to
    the statement quoted by St. Augustine, seem to have caused little
    scandal so long as they only practiced nudity in their sacred
    ceremonies. The German Brethren of the Free Spirit, in the
    thirteenth century, combined so much chastity with promiscuous
    nakedness that orthodox Catholics believed they were assisted by
    the Devil. The French Picards, at a much later date, insisted on
    public nakedness, believing that God had sent their leader into
    the world as a new Adam to reestablish the law of Nature; they
    were persecuted and were finally exterminated by the Hussites.

    In daily life, however, a considerable degree of nakedness was
    tolerated during mediæval times. This was notably so in the
    public baths, frequented by men and women together. Thus Alwin
    Schultz remarks (in his _Höfische Leben zur Zeit der
    Minnesänger_), that the women of the aristocratic classes, though
    not the men, were often naked in these baths except for a hat and
    a necklace.

    It is sometimes stated that in the mediæval religious plays Adam
    and Eve were absolutely naked. Chambers doubts this, and thinks
    they wore flesh-colored tights, or were, as in a later play of
    this kind, "apparelled in white leather" (E.K. Chambers, _The
    Mediæval Stage_, vol. i, p. 5). It may be so, but the public
    exposure even of the sexual organs was permitted, and that in
    aristocratic houses, for John of Salisbury (in a passage quoted
    by Buckle, _Commonplace Book_, 541) protests against this custom.

    The women of the feminist sixteenth century in France, as R. de
    Maulde la Clavière remarks (_Revue de l'Art_, Jan., 1898), had no
    scruple in recompensing their adorers by admitting them to their
    toilette, or even their bath. Late in the century they became
    still less prudish, and many well-known ladies allowed themselves
    to be painted naked down to the waist, as we see in the portrait
    of "Gabrielle d'Estrées au Bain" at Chantilly. Many of these
    pictures, however, are certainly not real portraits.

    Even in the middle of the seventeenth century in England
    nakedness was not prohibited in public, for Pepys tells us that
    on July 29, 1667, a Quaker came into Westminster Hall, crying,
    "Repent! Repent!" being in a state of nakedness, except that he
    was "very civilly tied about the privities to avoid scandal."
    (This was doubtless Solomon Eccles, who was accustomed to go
    about in this costume, both before and after the Restoration. He
    had been a distinguished musician, and, though eccentric, was
    apparently not insane.)

    In a chapter, "De la Nudité," and in the appendices of his book,
    _De l'Amour_ (vol. i, p. 221), Sénancour gives instances of the
    occasional practice of nudity in Europe, and adds some
    interesting remarks of his own; so, also, Dulaure (_Des Divinités
    Génératrices_, Ch. XV). It would appear, as a rule, that though
    complete nudity was allowed in other respects, it was usual to
    cover the sexual parts.

The movement of revolt against nakedness never became completely
victorious until the nineteenth century. That century represented the
triumph of all the forces that banned public nakedness everywhere and
altogether. If, as Pudor insists, nakedness is aristocratic and the
slavery of clothes a plebeian characteristic imposed on the lower classes
by an upper class who reserved to themselves the privilege of physical
culture, we may perhaps connect this with the outburst of democratic
plebeianism which, as Nietzsche pointed out, reached its climax in the
nineteenth century. It is in any case certainly interesting to observe
that by this time the movement had entirely changed its character. It had
become general, but at the same time its foundation had been undermined.
It had largely lost its religious and moral character, and instead was
regarded as a matter of convention. The nineteenth century man who
encountered the spectacle of white limbs flashing in the sunlight no
longer felt like the mediæval ascetic that he was risking the salvation of
his immortal soul or even courting the depravation of his morals; he
merely felt that it was "indecent" or, in extreme cases, "disgusting."
That is to say he regarded the matter as simply a question of conventional
etiquette, at the worst, of taste, of æsthetics. In thus bringing down his
repugnance to nakedness to so low a plane he had indeed rendered it
generally acceptable, but at the same time he had deprived it of high
sanction. His profound horror of nakedness was out of relation to the
frivolous grounds on which he based it.

    We must not, however, under-rate the tenacity with which this
    horror of nakedness was held. Nothing illustrates more vividly
    the deeply ingrained hatred which the nineteenth century felt of
    nakedness than the ferocity--there is no other word for it--with
    which Christian missionaries to savages all over the world, even
    in the tropics, insisted on their converts adopting the
    conventional clothing of Northern Europe. Travellers' narratives
    abound in references to the emphasis placed by missionaries on
    this change of custom, which was both injurious to the health of
    the people and degrading to their dignity. It is sufficient to
    quote one authoritative witness, Lord Stanmore, formerly Governor
    of Fiji, who read a long paper to the Anglican Missionary
    Conference in 1894 on the subject of "Undue Introduction of
    Western Ways." "In the centre of the village," he remarked in
    quoting a typical case (and referring not to Fiji but to Tonga),
    "is the church, a wooden barn-like building. If the day be
    Sunday, we shall find the native minister arrayed in a
    greenish-black swallow-tail coat, a neckcloth, once white, and a
    pair of spectacles, which he probably does not need, preaching to
    a congregation, the male portion of which is dressed in much the
    same manner as himself, while the women are dizened out in old
    battered hats or bonnets, and shapeless gowns like bathing
    dresses, or it may be in crinolines of an early type. Chiefs of
    influence and women of high birth, who in their native dress
    would look, and do look, the ladies and gentlemen they are, are,
    by their Sunday finery, given the appearance of attendants upon
    Jack-in-the-Green. If a visit be paid to the houses of the town,
    after the morning's work of the people is over, the family will
    be found sitting on chairs, listless and uncomfortable, in a room
    full of litter. In the houses of the superior native clergy there
    will be a yet greater aping of the manners of the West. There
    will be chairs covered with hideous antimacassars, tasteless
    round worsted-work mats for absent flower jars, and a lot of ugly
    cheap and vulgar china chimney ornaments, which, there being no
    fireplace, and consequently no chimney-piece, are set out in
    order on a rickety deal table. The whole life of these village
    folk is one piece of unreal acting. They are continually asking
    themselves whether they are incurring any of the penalties
    entailed by infraction of the long table of prohibitions, and
    whether they are living up to the foreign garments they wear.
    Their faces have, for the most part, an expression of sullen
    discontent, they move about silently and joylessly, rebels in
    heart to the restrictive code on them, but which they fear to
    cast off, partly from a vague apprehension of possible secular
    results, and partly because they suppose they will cease to be
    good Christians if they do so. They have good ground for their
    dissatisfaction. At the time when I visited the villages I have
    specially in my eye, it was punishable by fine and imprisonment
    to wear native clothing, punishable by fine and imprisonment to
    wear long hair or a garland of flowers; punishable by fine or
    imprisonment to wrestle or to play at ball; punishable by fine
    and imprisonment to build a native-fashioned house; punishable
    not to wear shirt and trousers, and in certain localities coat
    and shoes also; and, in addition to laws enforcing a strictly
    puritanical observation of the Sabbath, it was punishable by fine
    and imprisonment to bathe on Sundays. In some other places
    bathing on Sunday was punishable by flogging; and to my
    knowledge women have been flogged for no other offense. Men in
    such circumstances are ripe for revolt, and sometimes the revolt

    An obvious result of reducing the feeling about nakedness to an
    unreasoning but imperative convention is the tendency to
    prudishness. This, as we know, is a form of pseudo-modesty which,
    being a convention, and not a natural feeling, is capable of
    unlimited extension. It is by no means confined to modern times
    or to Christian Europe. The ancient Hebrews were not entirely
    free from prudishness, and we find in the Old Testament that by a
    curious euphemism the sexual organs are sometimes referred to as
    "the feet." The Turks are capable of prudishness. So, indeed,
    were even the ancient Greeks. "Dion the philosopher tells us,"
    remarks Clement of Alexandria (_Stromates_, Bk. IV, Ch. XIX)
    "that a certain woman, Lysidica, through excess of modesty,
    bathed in her clothes, and that Philotera, when she was to enter
    the bath, gradually drew back her tunic as the water covered her
    naked parts; and then rising by degrees, put it on." Mincing
    prudes were found among the early Christians, and their ways are
    graphically described by St. Jerome in one of his letters to
    Eustochium: "These women," he says, "speak between their teeth or
    with the edge of the lips, and with a lisping tongue, only half
    pronouncing their words, because they regard as gross whatever is
    natural. Such as these," declares Jerome, the scholar in him
    overcoming the ascetic, "corrupt even language." Whenever a new
    and artificial "modesty" is imposed upon savages prudery tends to
    arise. Haddon describes this among the natives of Torres Straits,
    where even the children now suffer from exaggerated prudishness,
    though formerly absolutely naked and unashamed (_Cambridge
    Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits_, vol. v, p. 271).

The nineteenth century, which witnessed the triumph of timidity and
prudery in this matter, also produced the first fruitful germ of new
conceptions of nakedness. To some extent these were embodied in the great
Romantic movement. Rousseau, indeed, had placed no special insistence on
nakedness as an element of the return to Nature which he preached so
influentially. A new feeling in this matter emerged, however, with
characteristic extravagance, in some of the episodes of the Revolution,
while in Germany in the pioneering _Lucinde_ of Friedrich Schlegel, a
characteristic figure in the Romantic movement, a still unfamiliar
conception of the body was set forth in a serious and earnest spirit.

In England, Blake with his strange and flaming genius, proclaimed a
mystical gospel which involved the spiritual glorification of the body and
contempt for the civilized worship of clothes ("As to a modern man," he
wrote, "stripped from his load of clothing he is like a dead corpse");
while, later, in America, Thoreau and Whitman and Burroughs asserted,
still more definitely, a not dissimilar message concerning the need of
returning to Nature.

    We find the importance of the sight of the body--though very
    narrowly, for the avoidance of fraud in the preliminaries of
    marriage--set forth as early as the sixteenth century by Sir
    Thomas More in his _Utopia_, which is so rich in new and fruitful
    ideas. In Utopia, according to Sir Thomas More, before marriage,
    a staid and honest matron "showeth the woman, be she maid or
    widow, naked to the wooer. And likewise a sage and discreet man
    exhibiteth the wooer naked to the woman. At this custom we
    laughed and disallowed it as foolish. But they, on their part, do
    greatly wonder at the folly of all other nations which, in buying
    a colt where a little money is in hazard, be so chary and
    circumspect that though he be almost all bare, yet they will not
    buy him unless the saddle and all the harness be taken off, lest
    under these coverings be hid some gall or sore. And yet, in
    choosing a wife, which shall be either pleasure or displeasure to
    them all their life after, they be so reckless that all the
    residue of the woman's body being covered with clothes, they
    estimate her scarcely by one handsbreadth (for they can see no
    more but her face) and so join her to them, not without great
    jeopardy of evil agreeing together, if anything in her body
    afterward should chance to offend or mislike them. Verily, so
    foul deformity may be hid under these coverings that it may quite
    alienate and take away the man's mind from his wife, when it
    shall not be lawful for their bodies to be separate again. If
    such deformity happen by any chance after the marriage is
    consummate and finished, well, there is no remedy but patience.
    But it were well done that a law were made whereby all such
    deceits were eschewed and avoided beforehand."

    The clear conception of what may be called the spiritual value of
    nakedness--by no means from More's point of view, but as a part
    of natural hygiene in the widest sense, and as a high and special
    aspect of the purifying and ennobling function of beauty--is of
    much later date. It is not clearly expressed until the time of
    the Romantic movement at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
    We have it admirably set forth in Sénancour's _De l'Amour_ (first
    edition, 1806; fourth and enlarged edition, 1834), which still
    remains one of the best books on the morality of love. After
    remarking that nakedness by no means abolishes modesty, he
    proceeds to advocate occasional partial or complete nudity. "Let
    us suppose," he remarks, somewhat in the spirit of Plato, "a
    country in which at certain general festivals the women should be
    absolutely free to be nearly or even quite naked. Swimming,
    waltzing, walking, those who thought good to do so might remain
    unclothed in the presence of men. No doubt the illusions of love
    would be little known, and passion would see a diminution of its
    transports. But is it passion that in general ennobles human
    affairs? We need honest attachments and delicate delights, and
    all these we may obtain while still preserving our
    common-sense.... Such nakedness would demand corresponding
    institutions, strong and simple, and a great respect for those
    conventions which belong to all times" (Sénancour, _De l'Amour_,
    vol. i, p. 314).

    From that time onwards references to the value and desirability
    of nakedness become more and more frequent in all civilized
    countries, sometimes mingled with sarcastic allusions to the
    false conventions we have inherited in this matter. Thus Thoreau
    writes in his journal on June 12, 1852, as he looks at boys
    bathing in the river: "The color of their bodies in the sun at a
    distance is pleasing. I hear the sound of their sport borne over
    the water. As yet we have not man in Nature. What a singular fact
    for an angel visitant to this earth to carry back in his
    note-book, that men were forbidden to expose their bodies under
    the severest penalties."

    Iwan Bloch, in Chapter VII of his _Sexual Life of Our Time_,
    discusses this question of nakedness from the modern point of
    view, and concludes: "A natural conception of nakedness: that is
    the watchword of the future. All the hygienic, æsthetic, and
    moral efforts of our time are pointing in that direction."

    Stratz, as befits one who has worked so strenuously in the cause
    of human health and beauty, admirably sets forth the stage which
    we have now attained in this matter. After pointing out (_Die
    Frauenkleidung_, third edition, 1904, p. 30) that, in opposition
    to the pagan world which worshipped naked gods, Christianity
    developed the idea that nakedness was merely sexual, and
    therefore immoral, he proceeds: "But over all glimmered on the
    heavenly heights of the Cross, the naked body of the Saviour.
    Under that protection there has gradually disengaged itself from
    the confusion of ideas a new transfigured form of nakedness made
    free after long struggle. I would call this _artistic nakedness_,
    for as it was immortalized by the old Greeks through art, so also
    among us it has been awakened to new life by art. Artistic
    nakedness is, in its nature, much higher than either the natural
    or the sensual conception of nakedness. The simple child of
    Nature sees in nakedness nothing at all; the clothed man sees in
    the uncovered body only a sensual irritation. But at the highest
    standpoint man consciously returns to Nature, and recognizes that
    under the manifold coverings of human fabrication there is
    hidden the most splendid creature that God has created. One may
    stand in silent, worshipping wonder before the sight; another may
    be impelled to imitate and show to his fellow-man what in that
    holy moment he has seen. But both enjoy the spectacle of human
    beauty with full consciousness and enlightened purity of

It was not, however, so much on these more spiritual sides, but on the
side of hygiene, that the nineteenth century furnished its chief practical
contribution to the new attitude towards nakedness.

    Lord Monboddo, the Scotch judge, who was a pioneer in regard to
    many modern ideas, had already in the eighteenth century realized
    the hygienic value of "air-baths," and he invented that now
    familiar name. "Lord Monboddo," says Boswell, in 1777 (_Life of
    Johnson_, edited by Hill, vol. iii, p. 168) "told me that he
    awaked every morning at four, and then for his health got up and
    walked in his room naked, with the window open, which he called
    taking _an air-bath_." It is said also, I know not on what
    authority, that he made his beautiful daughters take an air-bath
    naked on the terrace every morning. Another distinguished man of
    the same century, Benjamin Franklin, used sometimes to work naked
    in his study on hygienic grounds, and, it is recorded, once
    affrighted a servant-girl by opening the door in an absent-minded
    moment, thus unattired.

    Rikli seems to have been the apostle of air-baths and sun-baths
    regarded as a systematic method. He established light-and
    air-baths over half a century ago at Trieste and elsewhere in
    Austria. His motto was: "Light, Truth, and Freedom are the motive
    forces towards the highest development of physical and moral
    health." Man is not a fish, he declared; light and air are the
    first conditions of a highly organized life. Solaria for the
    treatment of a number of different disordered conditions are now
    commonly established, and most systems of natural therapeutics
    attach prime importance to light and air, while in medicine
    generally it is beginning to be recognized that such influences
    can by no means be neglected. Dr. Fernand Sandoz, in his
    _Introduction à la Thérapeutique Naturiste par les agents
    Physiques et Dietétiques_ (1907) sets forth such methods
    comprehensively. In Germany sun-baths have become widely common;
    thus Lenkei (in a paper summarized in _British Medical Journal_,
    Oct. 31, 1908) prescribes them with much benefit in tuberculosis,
    rheumatic conditions, obesity, anæmia, neurasthenia, etc. He
    considers that their peculiar value lies in the action of light.
    Professor J.N. Hyde, of Chicago, even believes ("Light-Hunger in
    the Production of Psoriasis," _British Medical Journal_, Oct. 6,
    1906), that psoriasis is caused by deficiency of sunlight, and
    is best cured by the application of light. This belief, which has
    not, however, been generally accepted in its unqualified form, he
    ingeniously supports by the fact that psoriasis tends to appear
    on the most exposed parts of the body, which may be held to
    naturally receive and require the maximum of light, and by the
    absence of the disease in hot countries and among negroes.

    The hygienic value of nakedness is indicated by the robust health
    of the savages throughout the world who go naked. The vigor of
    the Irish, also, has been connected with the fact that (as Fynes
    Moryson's _Itinerary_ shows) both sexes, even among persons of
    high social class, were accustomed to go naked except for a
    mantle, especially in more remote parts of the country, as late
    as the seventeenth century. Where-ever primitive races abandon
    nakedness for clothing, at once the tendency to disease,
    mortality, and degeneracy notably increases, though it must be
    remembered that the use of clothing is commonly accompanied by
    the introduction of other bad habits. "Nakedness is the only
    condition universal among vigorous and healthy savages; at every
    other point perhaps they differ," remarks Frederick Boyle in a
    paper ("Savages and Clothes," _Monthly Review_, Sept., 1905) in
    which he brings together much evidence concerning the hygienic
    advantages of the natural human state in which man is "all face."

    It is in Germany that a return towards nakedness has been most
    ably and thoroughly advocated, notably by Dr. H. Pudor in his
    _Nackt-Cultur_, and by R. Ungewitter in _Die Nacktheit_ (first
    published in 1905), a book which has had a very large circulation
    in many editions. These writers enthusiastically advocate
    nakedness, not only on hygienic, but on moral and artistic
    grounds. Pudor insists more especially that "nakedness, both in
    gymnastics and in sport, is a method of cure and a method of
    regeneration;" he advocates co-education in this culture of
    nakedness. Although he makes large claims for
    nakedness--believing that all the nations which have disregarded
    these claims have rapidly become decadent--Pudor is less hopeful
    than Ungewitter of any speedy victory over the prejudices opposed
    to the culture of nakedness. He considers that the immediate task
    is education, and that a practical commencement may best be made
    with the foot which is specially in need of hygiene and exercise;
    a large part of the first volume of his book is devoted to the

As the matter is to-day viewed by those educationalists who are equally
alive to sanitary and sexual considerations, the claims of nakedness, so
far as concerns the young, are regarded as part alike of physical and
moral hygiene. The free contact of the naked body with air and water and
light makes for the health of the body; familiarity with the sight of the
body abolishes petty pruriencies, trains the sense of beauty, and makes
for the health of the soul. This double aspect of the matter has
undoubtedly weighed greatly with those teachers who now approve of customs
which, a few years ago, would have been hastily dismissed as "indecent."
There is still a wide difference of opinion as to the limits to which the
practice of nakedness may be carried, and also as to the age when it
should begin to be restricted. The fact that the adult generation of
to-day grew up under the influence of the old horror of nakedness is an
inevitable check on any revolutionary changes in these matters.

    Maria Lischnewska, one of the ablest advocates of the methodical
    enlightenment of children in matters of sex (op. cit.), clearly
    realizes that a sane attitude towards the body lies at the root
    of a sound education for life. She finds that the chief objection
    encountered in such education, as applied in the higher classes
    of schools, is "the horror of the civilized man at his own body."
    She shows that there can be no doubt that those who are engaged
    in the difficult task of working towards the abolition of that
    superstitious horror have taken up a moral task of the first

    Walter Gerhard, in a thoughtful and sensible paper on the
    educational question ("Ein Kapitel zur Erziehungsfrage,"
    _Geschlecht und Gesellschaft_, vol. i, Heft 2), points out that
    it is the adult who needs education in this matter--as in so many
    other matters of sexual enlightenment--considerably more than the
    child. Parents educate their children from the earliest years in
    prudery, and vainly flatter themselves that they have thereby
    promoted their modesty and morality. He records his own early
    life in a tropical land and accustomed to nakedness from the
    first. "It was not till I came to Germany when nearly twenty that
    I learnt that the human body is indecent, and that it must not be
    shown because that 'would arouse bad impulses.' It was not till
    the human body was entirely withdrawn from my sight and after I
    was constantly told that there was something improper behind
    clothes, that I was able to understand this.... Until then I had
    not known that a naked body, by the mere fact of being naked,
    could arouse erotic feelings. I had known erotic feelings, but
    they had not arisen from the sight of the naked body, but
    gradually blossomed from the union of our souls." And he draws
    the final moral that, if only for the sake of our children, we
    must learn to educate ourselves.

    Forel (_Die Sexuelle Frage_, p. 140), speaking in entirely the
    same sense as Gerhard, remarks that prudery may be either caused
    or cured in children. It may be caused by undue anxiety in
    covering their bodies and hiding from them the bodies of others.
    It may be cured by making them realize that there is nothing in
    the body that is unnatural and that we need be ashamed of, and by
    encouraging bathing of the sexes in common. He points out (p.
    512) the advantages of allowing children to be acquainted with
    the adult forms which they will themselves some day assume, and
    condemns the conduct of those foolish persons who assume that
    children already possess the adult's erotic feelings about the
    body. That is so far from being the case that children are
    frequently unable to distinguish the sex of other children apart
    from their clothes.

    At the Mannheim Congress of the German Society for Combating
    Venereal Diseases, specially devoted to sexual hygiene, the
    speakers constantly referred to the necessity of promoting
    familiarity with the naked body. Thus Eulenburg and Julian
    Marcuse (_Sexualpädagogik_, p. 264) emphasize the importance of
    air-baths, not only for the sake of the physical health of the
    young, but in the interests of rational sexual training. Höller,
    a teacher, speaking at the same congress (op. cit., p. 85), after
    insisting on familiarity with the nude in art and literature, and
    protesting against the bowdlerising of poems for the young,
    continues: "By bathing-drawers ordinances no soul was ever yet
    saved from moral ruin. One who has learnt to enjoy peacefully the
    naked in art is only stirred by the naked in nature as by a work
    of art." Enderlin, another teacher, speaking in the same sense
    (p. 58), points out that nakedness cannot act sexually or
    immorally on the child, since the sexual impulse has not yet
    become pronounced, and the earlier he is introduced to the naked
    in nature and in art, as a matter of course, the less likely are
    the sexual feelings to be developed precociously. The child thus,
    indeed, becomes immune to impure influences, so that later, when
    representations of the nude are brought before him for the object
    of provoking his wantonness, they are powerless to injure him. It
    is important, Enderlin adds, for familiarity with the nude in art
    to be learnt at school, for most of us, as Siebert remarks, have
    to learn purity through art.

    Nakedness in bathing, remarks Bölsche in his _Liebesleben in der
    Natur_ (vol. iii, pp. 139 et seq.), we already in some measure
    possess; we need it in physical exercises, at first for the sexes
    separately; then, when we have grown accustomed to the idea,
    occasionally for both sexes together. We need to acquire the
    capacity to see the bodies of individuals of the other sex with
    such self-control and such natural instinct that they become
    non-erotic to us and can be gazed at without erotic feeling. Art,
    he says, shows that this is possible in civilization. Science, he
    adds, comes to the aid of the same view.

    Ungewitter (_Die Nacktheit_, p. 57) also advocates boys and girls
    engaging in play and gymnastics together, entirely naked in
    air-baths. "In this way," he believes, "the gymnasium would
    become a school of morality, in which young growing things would
    be able to retain their purity as long as possible through
    becoming naturally accustomed to each other. At the same time
    their bodies would be hardened and developed, and the perception
    of beautiful and natural forms awakened." To those who have any
    "moral" doubts on the matter, he mentions the custom in remote
    country districts of boys and girls bathing together quite naked
    and without any sexual consciousness. Rudolf Sommer, similarly,
    in an excellent article entitled "Mädchenerziehung oder
    Menschenbildung?" (_Geschlecht und Gesellschaft_, Bd. i, Heft 3)
    advises that children should be made accustomed to each other's
    nakedness from an early age in the family life of the house or
    the garden, in games, and especially in bathing; he remarks that
    parents having children of only one sex should cultivate for
    their children's sake intimate relations with a family having
    children of like age of the opposite sex, so that they may grow
    up together.

It is scarcely necessary to add that the cultivation of nakedness must
always be conciliated with respect for the natural instincts of modesty.
If the practice of nakedness led the young to experience a diminished
reverence for their own or others' personalities the advantages of it
would be too dearly bought. This is, in part, a matter of wholesome
instinct, in part of wise training. We now know that the absence of
clothes has little relation with the absence of modesty, such relation as
there is being of the inverse order, for the savage races which go naked
are usually more modest than those which wear clothes. The saying quoted
by Herodotus in the early Greek world that "A woman takes off her modesty
with her shift" was a favorite text of the Christian Fathers. But
Plutarch, who was also a moralist, had already protested against it at the
close of the Greek world: "By no means," he declared, "she who is modest
clothes herself with modesty when she lays aside her tunic." "A woman may
be naked," as Mrs. Bishop, the traveller, remarked to Dr. Baelz, in Japan,
"and yet behave like a lady."[42]

The question is complicated among ourselves because established
traditions of rigid concealment have fostered a pruriency which is an
offensive insult to naked modesty. In many lands the women who are
accustomed to be almost or quite naked in the presence of their own people
cover themselves as soon as they become conscious of the lustful
inquisitive eyes of Europeans. Stratz refers to the prevalence of this
impulse of offended modesty in Japan, and mentions that he himself failed
to arouse it simply because he was a physician, and, moreover, had long
lived in another land (Java) where also the custom of nakedness
prevails.[43] So long as this unnatural prurience exists a free
unqualified nakedness is rendered difficult.

Modesty is not, however, the only natural impulse which has to be
considered in relation to the custom of nakedness. It seems probable that
in cultivating the practice of nakedness we are not merely carrying out a
moral and hygienic prescription but allowing legitimate scope to an
instinct which at some periods of life, especially in adolescence, is
spontaneous and natural, even, it may be, wholesomely based in the
traditions of the race in sexual selection. Our rigid conventions make it
impossible for us to discover the laws of nature in this matter by
stifling them at the outset. It may well be that there is a rhythmic
harmony and concordance between impulses of modesty and impulses of
ostentation, though we have done our best to disguise the natural law by
our stupid and perverse by-laws.

    Stanley Hall, who emphasizes the importance of nakedness, remarks
    that at puberty we have much reason to assume that in a state of
    nature there is a certain instinctive pride and ostentation that
    accompanies the new local development, and quotes the observation
    of Dr. Seerley that the impulse to conceal the sexual organs is
    especially marked in young men who are underdeveloped, but not
    evident in those who are developed beyond the average. Stanley
    Hall (_Adolescence_, vol. ii, p. 97), also refers to the
    frequency with which not only "virtuous young men, but even
    women, rather glory in occasions when they can display the beauty
    of their forms without reserve, not only to themselves and to
    loved ones, but even to others with proper pretexts."

    Many have doubtless noted this tendency, especially in women, and
    chiefly in those who are conscious of beautiful physical
    development. Madame Céline Renooz believes that the tendency
    corresponds to a really deep-rooted instinct in women, little or
    not at all manifested in men who have consequently sought to
    impose artificially on women their own masculine conceptions of
    modesty. "In the actual life of the young girl to-day there is a
    moment when, by a secret atavism, she feels the pride of her sex,
    the intuition of her moral superiority and cannot understand why
    she must hide its cause. At this moment, wavering between the
    laws of Nature and social conventions, she scarcely knows if
    nakedness should, or should not, affright her. A sort of confused
    atavistic memory recalls to her a period before clothing was
    known, and reveals to her as a paradisaical ideal the customs of
    that human epoch" (Céline Renooz, _Psychologie Comparée de
    l'Homme et de la Femme_, pp. 85-87). Perhaps this was obscurely
    felt by the German girl (mentioned in Kalbeck's _Life of
    Brahms_), who said: "One enjoys music twice as much

From the point of view with which we are here essentially concerned there
are three ways in which the cultivation of nakedness--so far as it is
permitted by the slow education of public opinion--tends to exert an
influence: (1) It is an important element in the sexual hygiene of the
young, introducing a wholesome knowledge and incuriosity into a sphere
once given up to prudery and pruriency. (2) The effect of nakedness is
beneficial on those of more mature age, also, in so far as it tends to
cultivate the sense of beauty and to furnish the tonic and consoling
influences of natural vigor and grace. (3) The custom of nakedness, in its
inception at all events, has a dynamic psychological influence also on
morals, an influence exerted in the substitution of a strenuous and
positive morality for the merely negative and timid morality which has
ruled in this sphere.

Perhaps there are not many adults who realize the intense and secret
absorption of thought in the minds of many boys and some girls concerning
the problem of the physical conformation of the other sex, and the time,
patience, and intellectual energy which they are willing to expend on the
solution of this problem. This is mostly effected in secret, but not
seldom the secret impulse manifests itself with a sudden violence which in
the blind eyes of the law is reckoned as crime. A German lawyer, Dr.
Werthauer, has lately stated that if there were a due degree of
familiarity with the natural organs and functions of the opposite sex
ninety per cent. of the indecent acts of youths with girl children would
disappear, for in most cases these are not assaults but merely the
innocent, though uncontrollable, outcome of a repressed natural curiosity.
It is quite true that not a few children boldly enlist each others'
coöperation in the settlement of the question and resolve it to their
mutual satisfaction. But even this is not altogether satisfactory, for the
end is not attained openly and wholesomely, with a due subordination of
the specifically sexual, but with a consciousness of wrong-doing and an
exclusive attentiveness to the merely physical fact which tend directly to
develop sexual excitement. When familiarity with the naked body of the
other sex is gained openly and with no consciousness of indecorum, in the
course of work and of play, in exercise or gymnastics, in running or in
bathing, from a child's earliest years, no unwholesome results accompany
the knowledge of the essential facts of physical conformation thus
naturally acquired. The prurience and prudery which have poisoned sexual
life in the past are alike rendered impossible.

Nakedness has, however, a hygienic value, as well as a spiritual
significance, far beyond its influences in allaying the natural
inquisitiveness of the young or acting as a preventative of morbid
emotion. It is an inspiration to adults who have long outgrown any
youthful curiosities. The vision of the essential and eternal human form,
the nearest thing to us in all the world, with its vigor and its beauty
and its grace, is one of the prime tonics of life. "The power of a woman's
body," said James Hinton, "is no more bodily than the power of music is a
power of atmospheric vibrations." It is more than all the beautiful and
stimulating things of the world, than flowers or stars or the sea. History
and legend and myth reveal to us the sacred and awful influence of
nakedness, for, as Stanley Hall says, nakedness has always been "a
talisman of wondrous power with gods and men." How sorely men crave for
the spectacle of the human body--even to-day after generations have
inculcated the notion that it is an indecorous and even disgusting
spectacle--is witnessed by the eagerness with which they seek after the
spectacle of even its imperfect and meretricious forms, although these
certainly possess a heady and stimulating quality which can never be found
in the pathetic simplicity of naked beauty. It was another spectacle when
the queens of ancient Madagascar at the annual Fandroon, or feast of the
bath, laid aside their royal robes and while their subjects crowded the
palace courtyard, descended the marble steps to the bath in complete
nakedness. When we make our conventions of clothing rigid we at once
spread a feast for lust and deny ourselves one of the prime tonics of

    "I was feeling in despair and walking despondently along a
    Melbourne street," writes the Australian author of a yet
    unpublished autobiography, "when three children came running out
    of a lane and crossed the road in full daylight. The beauty and
    texture of their legs in the open air filled me with joy, so that
    I forgot all my troubles whilst looking at them. It was a bright
    revelation, an unexpected glimpse of Paradise, and I have never
    ceased to thank the happy combination of shape, pure blood, and
    fine skin of these poverty-stricken children, for the wind seemed
    to quicken their golden beauty, and I retained the rosy vision of
    their natural young limbs, so much more divine than those always
    under cover. Another occasion when naked young limbs made me
    forget all my gloom and despondency was on my first visit to
    Adelaide. I came on a naked boy leaning on the railing near the
    Baths, and the beauty of his face, torso, fair young limbs and
    exquisite feet filled me with joy and renewed hope. The tears
    came to my eyes, and I said to myself, 'While there is beauty in
    the world I will continue to struggle,'"

    We must, as Bölsche declares (loc. cit.), accustom ourselves to
    gaze on the naked human body exactly as we gaze at a beautiful
    flower, not merely with the pity with which the doctor looks at
    the body, but with joy in its strength and health and beauty. For
    a flower, as Bölsche truly adds, is not merely "naked body," it
    is the most sacred region of the body, the sexual organs of the

    "For girls to dance naked," said Hinton, "is the only truly pure
    form of dancing, and in due time it must therefore come about.
    This is certain: girls will dance naked and men will be pure
    enough to gaze on them." It has already been so in Greece, he
    elsewhere remarks, as it is to-day in Japan (as more recently
    described by Stratz). It is nearly forty years since these
    prophetic words were written, but Hinton himself would probably
    have been surprised at the progress which has already been made
    slowly (for all true progress must be slow) towards this goal.
    Even on the stage new and more natural traditions are beginning
    to prevail in Europe. It is not many years since an English
    actress regarded as a calumny the statement that she appeared on
    the stage bare-foot, and brought an action for libel, winning
    substantial damages. Such a result would scarcely be possible
    to-day. The movement in which Isadora Duncan was a pioneer has
    led to a partial disuse among dancers of the offensive device of
    tights, and it is no longer considered indecorous to show many
    parts of the body which it was formerly usual to cover.

    It should, however, be added at the same time that, while
    dancers, in so far as they are genuine artists, are entitled to
    determine the conditions most favorable to their art, nothing
    whatever is gained for the cause of a wholesome culture of
    nakedness by the "living statues" and "living pictures" which
    have obtained an international vogue during recent years. These
    may be legitimate as variety performances, but they have nothing
    whatever to do with either Nature or art. Dr. Pudor, writing as
    one of the earliest apostles of the culture of nakedness, has
    energetically protested against these performances
    (_Sexual-Probleme_, Dec., 1908, p. 828). He rightly points out
    that nakedness, to be wholesome, requires the open air, the
    meadows, the sunlight, and that nakedness at night, in a music
    hall, by artificial light, in the presence of spectators who are
    themselves clothed, has no element of morality about it. Attempts
    have here and there been quietly made to cultivate a certain
    amount of mutual nakedness as between the sexes on remote country
    excursions. It is significant to find a record of such an
    experiment in Ungewitter's _Die Nacktheit_. In this case a party
    of people, men and women, would regularly every Sunday seek
    remote spots in woods or meadows where they would settle down,
    picnic, and enjoy games. "They made themselves as comfortable as
    possible, the men laying aside their coats, waistcoats, boots and
    socks; the women their blouses, skirts, shoes and stockings.
    Gradually, as the moral conception of nakedness developed in
    their minds, more and more clothing fell away, until the men wore
    nothing but bathing-drawers and the women only their chemises. In
    this 'costume' games were carried out in common, and a regular
    camp-life led. The ladies (some of whom were unmarried) would
    then lie in hammocks and we men on the grass, and the intercourse
    was delightful. We felt as members of one family, and behaved
    accordingly. In an entirely natural and unembarrassed way we gave
    ourselves up entirely to the liberating feelings aroused by this
    light- and air-bath, and passed these splendid hours in joyous
    singing and dancing, in wantonly childish fashion, freed from the
    burden of a false civilization. It was, of course, necessary to
    seek spots as remote as possible from high-roads, for fear of
    being disturbed. At the same time we by no means failed in
    natural modesty and consideration towards one another. Children,
    who can be entirely naked, may be allowed to take part in such
    meetings of adults, and will thus be brought up free from morbid
    prudery" (R. Ungewitter, _Die Nacktheit_, p. 58).

    No doubt it may be said that the ideal in this matter is the
    possibility of permitting complete nakedness. This may be
    admitted, and it is undoubtedly true that our rigid police
    regulations do much to artificially foster a concealment in this
    matter which is not based on any natural instinct. Dr. Shufeldt
    narrates in his _Studies of the Human Form_ that once in the
    course of a photographic expedition in the woods he came upon two
    boys, naked except for bathing-drawers, engaged in getting water
    lilies from a pond. He found them a good subject for his camera,
    but they could not be induced to remove their drawers, by no
    means out of either modesty or mock-modesty, but simply because
    they feared they might possibly be caught and arrested. We have
    to recognize that at the present day the general popular
    sentiment is not yet sufficiently educated to allow of public
    disregard for the convention of covering the sexual centres, and
    all attempts to extend the bounds of nakedness must show a due
    regard for this requirement. As concerns women, Valentin Lehr, of
    Freiburg, in Breisgau, has invented a costume (figured in
    Ungewitter's _Die Nacktheit_) which is suitable for either public
    water-baths or air-baths, because it meets the demand of those
    whose minimum requirement is that the chief sexual centres of the
    body should be covered in public, while it is otherwise fairly
    unobjectionable. It consists of two pieces, made of porous
    material, one covering the breasts with a band over the
    shoulders, and the other covering the abdomen below the navel and
    drawn between the legs. This minimal costume, while neither ideal
    nor æsthetic, adequately covers the sexual regions of the body,
    while leaving the arms, waist, hips, and legs entirely free.

There finally remains the moral aspect of nakedness. Although this has
been emphasized by many during the past half century it is still
unfamiliar to the majority. The human body can never be a little thing.
The wise educator may see to it that boys and girls are brought up in a
natural and wholesome familiarity with each other, but a certain terror
and beauty must always attach to the spectacle of the body, a mixed
attraction and repulsion. Because it has this force it naturally calls out
the virtue of those who take part in the spectacle, and makes impossible
any soft compliance to emotion. Even if we admit that the spectacle of
nakedness is a challenge to passion it is still a challenge that calls
out the ennobling qualities of self-control. It is but a poor sort of
virtue that lies in fleeing into the desert from things that we fear may
have in them a temptation. We have to learn that it is even worse to
attempt to create a desert around us in the midst of civilization. We
cannot dispense with passions if we would; reason, as Holbach said, is the
art of choosing the right passions, and education the art of sowing and
cultivating them in human hearts. The spectacle of nakedness has its moral
value in teaching us to learn to enjoy what we do not possess, a lesson
which is an essential part of the training for any kind of fine social
life. The child has to learn to look at flowers and not pluck them; the
man has to learn to look at a woman's beauty and not desire to possess it.
The joyous conquest over that "erotic kleptomania," as Ellen Key has well
said, reveals the blossoming of a fine civilization. We fancy the conquest
is difficult, even impossibly difficult. But it is not so. This impulse,
like other human impulses, tends under natural conditions to develop
temperately and wholesomely. We artificially press a stupid and brutal
hand on it, and it is driven into the two unnatural extremes of repression
and license, one extreme as foul as the other.

To those who have been bred under bad conditions, it may indeed seem
hopeless to attempt to rise to the level of the Greeks and the other finer
tempered peoples of antiquity in realizing the moral, as well as the
pedagogic, hygienic, and æsthetic advantages[44] of admitting into life
the spectacle of the naked human body. But unless we do we hopelessly
fetter ourselves in our march along the road of civilization, we deprive
ourselves at once of a source of moral strength and of joyous inspiration.
Just as Wesley once asked why the devil should have all the best tunes, so
to-day men are beginning to ask why the human body, the most divine melody
at its finest moments that creation has yielded, should be allowed to
become the perquisite of those who lust for the obscene. And some are,
further, convinced that by enlisting it on the side of purity and strength
they are raising the most powerful of all bulwarks against the invasion of
a vicious conception of life and the consequent degradation of sex. These
are considerations which we cannot longer afford to neglect, however great
the opposition they arouse among the unthinking.

    "Folk are afraid of such things rousing the passions," Edward
    Carpenter remarks. "No doubt the things may act that way. But
    why, we may ask, should people be afraid of rousing passions
    which, after all, are the great driving forces of human life?" It
    is true, the same writer continues, our conventional moral
    formulæ are no longer strong enough to control passion
    adequately, and that we are generating steam in a boiler that is
    cankered with rust. "The cure is not to cut off the passions, or
    to be weakly afraid of them, but to find a new, sound, healthy
    engine of general morality and common sense within which they
    will work" (Edward Carpenter, _Albany Review_, Sept., 1907).

    So far as I am aware, however, it was James Hinton who chiefly
    sought to make clear the possibility of a positive morality on
    the basis of nakedness, beauty, and sexual influence, regarded as
    dynamic forces which, when suppressed, make for corruption and
    when wisely used serve to inspire and ennoble life. He worked out
    his thoughts on this matter in MSS., written from about 1870 to
    his death two years later, which, never having been prepared for
    publication, remain in a fragmentary state and have not been
    published. I quote a few brief characteristic passages: "Is not,"
    he wrote, "the Hindu refusal to see a woman eating strangely like
    ours to see one naked? The real sensuality of the thought is
    visibly identical.... Suppose, because they are delicious to eat,
    pineapples were forbidden to be seen, except in pictures, and
    about that there was something dubious. Suppose no one might have
    sight of a pineapple unless he were rich enough to purchase one
    for his particular eating, the sight and the eating being so
    indissolubly joined. What lustfulness would surround them, what
    constant pruriency, what stealing!... Miss ---- told us of her
    Syrian adventures, and how she went into a wood-carver's shop and
    he would not look at her; and how she took up a tool and worked,
    till at last he looked, and they both burst out laughing. Will it
    not be even so with our looking at women altogether? There will
    come a _work_--and at last we shall look up and both burst out
    laughing.... When men see truly what is amiss, and act with
    reason and forethought in respect to the sexual relations, will
    they not insist on the enjoyment of women's beauty by youths, and
    from the earliest age, that the first feeling may be of beauty?
    Will they not say, 'We must not allow the false purity, we must
    have the true.' The false has been tried, and it is not good
    enough; the power purely to enjoy beauty must be gained;
    attempting to do with less is fatal. Every instructor of youth
    shall say: 'This beauty of woman, God's chief work of beauty, it
    is good you see it; it is a pleasure that serves good; all beauty
    serves it, and above all this, for its office is to make you
    pure. Come to it as you come to daily bread, or pure air, or the
    cleansing bath: this is pure to you if you be pure, it will aid
    you in your effort to be so. But if any of you are impure, and
    make of it the feeder of impurity, then you should be ashamed and
    pray; it is not for you our life can be ordered; it is for men
    and not for beasts.' This must come when men open their eyes, and
    act coolly and with reason and forethought, and not in mere panic
    in respect to the sexual passion in its moral relations."


[40] Thus Athenæus (Bk. xiii, Ch. XX) says: "In the Island of Chios it is
a beautiful sight to go to the gymnasia and the race-courses, and to see
the young men wrestling naked with the maidens who are also naked."

[41] Augustine (_De civitate Dei_, lib. ii, cap. XIII) refers to the same
point, contrasting the Romans with the Greeks who honored their actors.

[42] See "The Evolution of Modesty" in the first volume of these
_Studies_, where this question of the relationship of nakedness to modesty
is fully discussed.

[43] C.H. Stratz, _Die Körperformen in Kunst und Leben der Japaner_,
Second edition, Ch. III; id., _Frauenkleidung_, Third edition, pp. 22, 30.

[44] I have not considered it in place here to emphasize the æsthetic
influence of familiarity with nakedness. The most æsthetic nations
(notably the Greeks and the Japanese) have been those that preserved a
certain degree of familiarity with the naked body. "In all arts,"
Maeterlinck remarks, "civilized peoples have approached or departed from
pure beauty according as they approached or departed from the habit of
nakedness." Ungewitter insists on the advantage to the artist of being
able to study the naked body in movement, and it may be worth mentioning
that Fidus (Hugo Höppener), the German artist of to-day who has exerted
great influence by his fresh, powerful and yet reverent delineation of the
naked human form in all its varying aspects, attributes his inspiration
and vision to the fact that, as a pupil of Diefenbach, he was accustomed
with his companions to work naked in the solitudes outside Munich which
they frequented (F. Enzensberger, "Fidus," _Deutsche Kultur_, Aug., 1906).



The Conception of Sexual Love--The Attitude of Mediæval Asceticism--St.
Bernard and St. Odo of Cluny--The Ascetic Insistence on the Proximity of
the Sexual and Excretory Centres--Love as a Sacrament of Nature--The Idea
of the Impurity of Sex in Primitive Religions Generally--Theories of the
Origin of This Idea--The Anti-Ascetic Element in the Bible and Early
Christianity--Clement of Alexandria--St. Augustine's Attitude--The
Recognition of the Sacredness of the Body by Tertullian, Rufinus and
Athanasius--The Reformation--The Sexual Instinct regarded as Beastly--The
Human Sexual Instinct Not Animal-like--Lust and Love--The Definition of
Love--Love and Names for Love Unknown in Some Parts of the World--Romantic
Love of Late Development in the White Race--The Mystery of Sexual
Desire--Whether Love is a Delusion--The Spiritual as Well as the Physical
Structure of the World in Part Built up on Sexual Love--The Testimony of
Men of Intellect to the Supremacy of Love.

It will be seen that the preceding discussion of nakedness has a
significance beyond what it appeared to possess at the outset. The
hygienic value, physically and mentally, of familiarity with nakedness
during the early years of life, however considerable it may be, is not the
only value which such familiarity possesses. Beyond its æsthetic value,
also, there lies in it a moral value, a source of dynamic energy. And now,
taking a still further step, we may say that it has a spiritual value in
relation to our whole conception of the sexual impulse. Our attitude
towards the naked human body is the test of our attitude towards the
instinct of sex. If our own and our fellows' bodies seem to us
intrinsically shameful or disgusting, nothing will ever really ennoble or
purify our conceptions of sexual love. Love craves the flesh, and if the
flesh is shameful the lover must be shameful. "Se la cosa amata è vile,"
as Leonardo da Vinci profoundly said, "l'amante se fa vile." However
illogical it may have been, there really was a justification for the old
Christian identification of the flesh with the sexual instinct. They stand
or fall together; we cannot degrade the one and exalt the other. As our
feelings towards nakedness are, so will be our feelings towards love.

"Man is nothing else than fetid sperm, a sack of dung, the food of
worms.... You have never seen a viler dung-hill." Such was the outcome of
St. Bernard's cloistered _Meditationes Piissimæ_.[45] Sometimes, indeed,
these mediæval monks would admit that the skin possessed a certain
superficial beauty, but they only made that admission in order to
emphasize the hideousness of the body when deprived of this film of
loveliness, and strained all their perverse intellectual acumen, and their
ferocious irony, as they eagerly pointed the finger of mockery at every
detail of what seemed to them the pitiful figure of man. St. Odo of
Cluny--charming saint as he was and a pioneer in his appreciation of the
wild beauty of the Alps he had often traversed--was yet an adept in this
art of reviling the beauty of the human body. That beauty only lies in the
skin, he insists; if we could see beneath the skin women would arouse
nothing but nausea. Their adornments are but blood and mucus and bile. If
we refuse to touch dung and phlegm even with a fingertip, how can we
desire to embrace a sack of dung?[46] The mediæval monks of the more
contemplative order, indeed, often found here a delectable field of
meditation, and the Christian world generally was content to accept their
opinions in more or less diluted versions, or at all events never made any
definite protest against them.

Even men of science accepted these conceptions and are, indeed, only now
beginning to emancipate themselves from such ancient superstitions. R. de
Graef in the Preface to his famous treatise on the generative organs of
women, _De Mulierum Organis Generatione Inservientibus_, dedicated to
Cosmo III de Medici in 1672, considered it necessary to apologize for the
subject of his work. Even a century later, Linnæus in his great work, _The
System of Nature_, dismissed as "abominable" the exact study of the female
genitals, although he admitted the scientific interest of such
investigations. And if men of science have found it difficult to attain an
objective vision of women we cannot be surprised that medieval and still
more ancient conceptions have often been subtly mingled with the views of
philosophical and semi-philosophical writers.[47]

We may regard as a special variety of the ascetic view of sex,--for the
ascetics, as we see, freely but not quite legitimately, based their
asceticism largely on æsthetic considerations,--that insistence on the
proximity of the sexual to the excretory centres which found expression in
the early Church in Augustine's depreciatory assertion: "Inter fæces et
urinam nascimur," and still persists among many who by no means always
associate it with religious asceticism.[48] "As a result of what
ridiculous economy, and of what Mephistophilian irony," asks Tarde,[49]
"has Nature imagined that a function so lofty, so worthy of the poetic and
philosophical hymns which have celebrated it, only deserved to have its
exclusive organ shared with that of the vilest corporal functions?"

It may, however, be pointed out that this view of the matter, however
unconsciously, is itself the outcome of the ascetic depreciation of the
body. From a scientific point of view, the metabolic processes of the
body from one end to the other, whether regarded chemically or
psychologically, are all interwoven and all of equal dignity. We cannot
separate out any particular chemical or biological process and declare:
This is vile. Even what we call excrement still stores up the stuff of our
lives. Eating has to some persons seemed a disgusting process. But yet it
has been possible to say, with Thoreau, that "the gods have really
intended that men should feed divinely, as themselves, on their own nectar
and ambrosia.... I have felt that eating became a sacrament, a method of
communion, an ecstatic exercise, and a sitting at the communion table of
the world."

The sacraments of Nature are in this way everywhere woven into the texture
of men's and women's bodies. Lips good to kiss with are indeed first of
all chiefly good to eat and drink with. So accumulated and overlapped have
the centres of force become in the long course of development, that the
mucous membranes of the natural orifices, through the sensitiveness gained
in their own offices, all become agents to thrill the soul in the contact
of love; it is idle to discriminate high or low, pure or impure; all alike
are sanctified already by the extreme unction of Nature. The nose receives
the breath of life; the vagina receives the water of life. Ultimately the
worth and loveliness of life must be measured by the worth and loveliness
for us of the instruments of life. The swelling breasts are such divinely
gracious insignia of womanhood because of the potential child that hangs
at them and sucks; the large curves of the hips are so voluptuous because
of the potential child they clasp within them; there can be no division
here, we cannot cut the roots from the tree. The supreme function of
manhood--the handing on of the lamp of life to future races--is carried
on, it is true, by the same instrument that is the daily conduit of the
bladder. It has been said in scorn that we are born between urine and
excrement; it may be said, in reverence, that the passage through this
channel of birth is a sacrament of Nature's more sacred and significant
than men could ever invent.

These relationships have been sometimes perceived and their meaning
realized by a sort of mystical intuition. We catch glimpses of such an
insight now and again, first among the poets and later among the
physicians of the Renaissance. In 1664 Rolfincius, in his _Ordo et Methods
Generationi Partium etc._, at the outset of the second Part devoted to the
sexual organs of women, sets forth what ancient writers have said of the
Eleusinian and other mysteries and the devotion and purity demanded of
those who approached these sacred rites. It is so also with us, he
continues, in the rites of scientific investigation. "We also operate with
sacred things. The organs of sex are to be held among sacred things. They
who approach these altars must come with devout minds. Let the profane
stand without, and the doors be closed." In those days, even for science,
faith and intuition were alone possible. It is only of recent years that
the histologist's microscope and the physiological chemist's test-tube
have furnished them with a rational basis. It is no longer possible to cut
Nature in two and assert that here she is pure and there impure.[50]

    There thus appears to be no adequate ground for agreeing with
    those who consider that the proximity of the generative and
    excretory centres is "a stupid bungle of Nature's." An
    association which is so ancient and primitive in Nature can only
    seem repulsive to those whose feelings have become morbidly
    unnatural. It may further be remarked that the anus, which is the
    more æsthetically unattractive of the excretory centres, is
    comparatively remote from the sexual centre, and that, as R.
    Hellmann remarked many years ago in discussing this question
    (_Ueber Geschlechtsfreiheit_, p. 82): "In the first place,
    freshly voided urine has nothing specially unpleasant about it,
    and in the second place, even if it had, we might reflect that a
    rosy mouth by no means loses its charm merely because it fails to
    invite a kiss at the moment when its possessor is vomiting."

    A clergyman writes suggesting that we may go further and find a
    positive advantage in this proximity: "I am glad that you do not
    agree with the man who considered that Nature had bungled by
    using the genitals for urinary purposes; apart from teleological
    or theological grounds I could not follow that line of reasoning.
    I think there is no need for disgust concerning the urinary
    organs, though I feel that the anus can never be attractive to
    the normal mind; but the anus is quite separate from the
    genitals. I would suggest that the proximity serves a good end in
    making the organs more or less secret except at times of sexual
    emotion or to those in love. The result is some degree of
    repulsion at ordinary times and a strong attraction at times of
    sexual activity. Hence, the ordinary guarding of the parts, from
    fear of creating disgust, greatly increases their attractiveness
    at other times when sexual emotion is paramount. Further, the
    feeling of disgust itself is merely the result of habit and
    sentiment, however useful it may be, and according to Scripture
    everything is clean and good. The ascetic feeling of repulsion,
    if we go back to origin, is due to other than Christian
    influence. Christianity came out of Judaism which had no sense of
    the impurity of marriage, for 'unclean' in the Old Testament
    simply means 'sacred.' The ascetic side of the religion of
    Christianity is no part of the religion of Christ as it came from
    the hands of its Founder, and the modern feeling on this matter
    is a lingering remnant of the heresy of the Manichæans." I may
    add, however, that, as Northcote points out (_Christianity and
    Sex Problems_, p. 14), side by side in the Old Testament with the
    frank recognition of sexuality, there is a circle of ideas
    revealing the feeling of impurity in sex and of shame in
    connection with it. Christianity inherited this mixed feeling. It
    has really been a widespread and almost universal feeling among
    the ancient and primitive peoples that there is something impure
    and sinful in the things of sex, so that those who would lead a
    religious life must avoid sexual relationships; even in India
    celibacy has commanded respect (see, e.g., Westermarck,
    _Marriage_, pp. 150 et seq.). As to the original foundation of
    this notion--which it is unnecessary to discuss more fully
    here--many theories have been put forward; St. Augustine, in his
    _De Civitate Dei_, sets forth the ingenious idea that the penis,
    being liable to spontaneous movements and erections that are not
    under the control of the will, is a shameful organ and involves
    the whole sphere of sex in its shame. Westermarck argues that
    among nearly all peoples there is a feeling against sexual
    relationship with members of the same family or household, and as
    sex was thus banished from the sphere of domestic life a notion
    of its general impurity arose; Northcote points out that from the
    first it has been necessary to seek concealment for sexual
    intercourse, because at that moment the couple would be a prey to
    hostile attacks, and that it was by an easy transition that sex
    came to be regarded as a thing that ought to be concealed, and,
    therefore, a sinful thing. (Diderot, in his _Supplément au Voyage
    de Bougainville_, had already referred to this motive for
    seclusion as "the only natural element in modesty.") Crawley has
    devoted a large part of his suggestive work, _The Mystic Rose_,
    to showing that, to savage man, sex is a perilous, dangerous, and
    enfeebling element in life, and, therefore, sinful.

It would, however, be a mistake to think that such men as St. Bernard and
St. Odo of Cluny, admirably as they represented the ascetic and even the
general Christian views of their own time, are to be regarded as
altogether typical exponents of the genuine and primitive Christian view.
So far as I have been able to discover, during the first thousand years of
Christianity we do not find this concentrated intellectual and emotional
ferocity of attack on the body; it only developed at the moment when, with
Pope Gregory VII, mediæval Christianity reached the climax of its conquest
over the souls of European men, in the establishment of the celibacy of
the secular clergy, and the growth of the great cloistered communities of
monks in severely regulated and secluded orders.[51] Before that the
teachers of asceticism were more concerned to exhort to chastity and
modesty than to direct a deliberate and systematic attack on the whole
body; they concentrated their attention rather on spiritual virtues than
on physical imperfections. And if we go back to the Gospels we find little
of the mediæval ascetic spirit in the reported sayings and doings of
Jesus, which may rather indeed be said to reveal, on the whole,
notwithstanding their underlying asceticism, a certain tenderness and
indulgence to the body, while even Paul, though not tender towards the
body, exhorts to reverence towards it as a temple of the Holy Spirit.

We cannot expect to find the Fathers of the Church sympathetic towards the
spectacle of the naked human body, for their position was based on a
revolt against paganism, and paganism had cultivated the body. Nakedness
had been more especially associated with the public bath, the gymnasium,
and the theatre; in profoundly disapproving of these pagan institutions
Christianity discouraged nakedness. The fact that familiarity with
nakedness was favorable, rather than opposed, to the chastity to which it
attached so much importance, the Church--though indeed at one moment it
accepted nakedness in the rite of baptism--was for the most part unable to
see if it was indeed a fact which the special conditions of decadent
classic life had tended to disguise. But in their decided preference for
the dressed over the naked human body the early Christians frequently
hesitated to take the further step of asserting that the body is a focus
of impurity and that the physical organs of sex are a device of the devil.
On the contrary, indeed, some of the most distinguished of the Fathers,
especially those of the Eastern Church who had felt the vivifying breath
of Greek thought, occasionally expressed themselves on the subject of
Nature, sex, and the body in a spirit which would have won the approval of
Goethe or Whitman.

Clement of Alexandria, with all the eccentricities of his over-subtle
intellect, was yet the most genuinely Greek of all the Fathers, and it is
not surprising that the dying ray of classic light reflected from his mind
shed some illumination over this question of sex. He protested, for
instance, against that prudery which, as the sun of the classic world set,
had begun to overshadow life. "We should not be ashamed to name," he
declared, "what God has not been ashamed to create."[52] It was a
memorable declaration because, while it accepted the old classic feeling
of no shame in the presence of nature, it put that feeling on a new and
religious basis harmonious to Christianity. Throughout, though not always
quite consistently, Clement defends the body and the functions of sex
against those who treated them with contempt. And as the cause of sex is
the cause of women he always strongly asserts the dignity of women, and
also proclaims the holiness of marriage, a state which he sometimes places
above that of virginity.[53]

Unfortunately, it must be said, St. Augustine--another North African, but
of Roman Carthage and not of Greek Alexandria--thought that he had a
convincing answer to the kind of argument which Clement presented, and so
great was the force of his passionate and potent genius that he was able
in the end to make his answer prevail. For Augustine sin was hereditary,
and sin had its special seat and symbol in the sexual organs; the fact of
sin has modified the original divine act of creation, and we cannot treat
sex and its organs as though there had been no inherited sin. Our sexual
organs, he declares, have become shameful because, through sin, they are
now moved by lust. At the same time Augustine by no means takes up the
mediæval ascetic position of contemptuous hatred towards the body. Nothing
can be further from Odo of Cluny than Augustine's enthusiasm about the
body, even about the exquisite harmony of the parts beneath the skin. "I
believe it may be concluded," he even says, "that in the creation of the
human body beauty was more regarded than necessity. In truth, necessity is
a transitory thing, and the time is coming when we shall be able to enjoy
one another's beauty without any lust."[54] Even in the sphere of sex he
would be willing to admit purity and beauty, apart from the inherited
influence of Adam's sin. In Paradise, he says, had Paradise continued, the
act of generation would have been as simple and free from shame as the act
of the hand in scattering seed on to the earth. "Sexual conjugation would
have been under the control of the will without any sexual desire. The
semen would be injected into the vagina in as simple a manner as the
menstrual fluid is now ejected. There would not have been any words which
could be called obscene, but all that might be said of these members would
have been as pure as what is said of the other parts of the body."[55]
That, however, for Augustine, is what might have been in Paradise where,
as he believed, sexual desire had no existence. As things are, he held, we
are right to be ashamed, we do well to blush. And it was natural that, as
Clement of Alexandria mentions, many heretics should have gone further on
this road and believed that while God made man down to the navel, the rest
was made by another power; such heretics have their descendants among us
even to-day.

Alike in the Eastern and Western Churches, however, both before and after
Augustine, though not so often after, great Fathers and teachers have
uttered opinions which recall those of Clement rather than of Augustine.
We cannot lay very much weight on the utterance of the extravagant and
often contradictory Tertullian, but it is worth noting that, while he
declared that woman is the gate of hell, he also said that we must
approach Nature with reverence and not with blushes. "Natura veneranda
est, non erubescenda." "No Christian author," it has indeed been said,
"has so energetically spoken against the heretical contempt of the body as
Tertullian. Soul and body, according to Tertullian, are in the closest
association. The soul is the life-principle of the body, but there is no
activity of the soul which is not manifested and conditioned by the
flesh."[56] More weight attaches to Rufinus Tyrannius, the friend and
fellow-student of St. Jerome, in the fourth century, who wrote a
commentary on the Apostles' Creed, which was greatly esteemed by the early
and mediæval Church, and is indeed still valued even to-day. Here, in
answer to those who declared that there was obscenity in the fact of
Christ's birth through the sexual organs of a woman, Rufinus replies that
God created the sexual organs, and that "it is not Nature but merely human
opinion which teaches that these parts are obscene. For the rest, all the
parts of the body are made from the same clay, whatever differences there
may be in their uses and functions."[57] He looks at the matter, we see,
piously indeed, but naturally and simply, like Clement, and not, like
Augustine, through the distorting medium of a theological system.
Athanasius, in the Eastern Church, spoke in the same sense as Rufinus in
the Western Church. A certain monk named Amun had been much grieved by the
occurrence of seminal emissions during sleep, and he wrote to Athanasius
to inquire if such emissions are a sin. In the letter he wrote in reply,
Athanasius seeks to reassure Amun. "All things," he tells him, "are pure
to the pure. For what, I ask, dear and pious friend, can there be sinful
or naturally impure in excrement? Man is the handwork of God. There is
certainly nothing in us that is impure."[58] We feel as we read these
utterances that the seeds of prudery and pruriency are already alive in
the popular mind, but yet we see also that some of the most distinguished
thinkers of the early Christian Church, in striking contrast to the more
morbid and narrow-minded mediæval ascetics, clearly stood aside from the
popular movement. On the whole, they were submerged because Christianity,
like Buddhism, had in it from the first a germ that lent itself to ascetic
renunciation, and the sexual life is always the first impulse to be
sacrificed to the passion for renunciation. But there were other germs
also in Christianity, and Luther, who in his own plebeian way asserted the
rights of the body, although he broke with mediæval asceticism, by no
means thereby cast himself off from the traditions of the early Christian

I have thought it worth while to bring forward this evidence, although I
am perfectly well aware that the facts of Nature gain no additional
support from the authority of the Fathers or even of the Bible. Nature and
humanity existed before the Bible and would continue to exist although the
Bible should be forgotten. But the attitude of Christianity on this point
has so often been unreservedly condemned that it seems as well to point
out that at its finest moments, when it was a young and growing power in
the world, the utterances of Christianity were often at one with those of
Nature and reason. There are many, it may be added, who find it a matter
of consolation that in following the natural and rational path in this
matter they are not thereby altogether breaking with the religious
traditions of their race.

    It is scarcely necessary to remark that when we turn from
    Christianity to the other great world-religions, we do not
    usually meet with so ambiguous an attitude towards sex. The
    Mahommedans were as emphatic in asserting the sanctity of sex as
    they were in asserting physical cleanliness; they were prepared
    to carry the functions of sex into the future life, and were
    never worried, as Luther and so many other Christians have been,
    concerning the lack of occupation in Heaven. In India, although
    India is the home of the most extreme forms of religious
    asceticism, sexual love has been sanctified and divinized to a
    greater extent than in any other part of the world. "It seems
    never to have entered into the heads of the Hindu legislators,"
    said Sir William Jones long since (_Works_, vol. ii, p. 311),
    "that anything natural could be offensively obscene, a
    singularity which pervades all their writings, but is no proof of
    the depravity of their morals." The sexual act has often had a
    religious significance in India, and the minutest details of the
    sexual life and its variations are discussed in Indian erotic
    treatises in a spirit of gravity, while nowhere else have the
    anatomical and physiological sexual characters of women been
    studied with such minute and adoring reverence. "Love in India,
    both as regards theory and practice," remarks Richard Schmidt
    (_Beiträge zur Indischen Erotik_, p. 2) "possesses an importance
    which it is impossible for us even to conceive."

In Protestant countries the influence of the Reformation, by
rehabilitating sex as natural, indirectly tended to substitute in popular
feeling towards sex the opprobrium of sinfulness by the opprobrium of
animality. Henceforth the sexual impulse must be disguised or adorned to
become respectably human. This may be illustrated by a passage in Pepys's
_Diary_ in the seventeenth century. On the morning after the wedding day
it was customary to call up new married couples by music; the absence of
this music on one occasion (in 1667) seemed to Pepys "as if they had
married like dog and bitch." We no longer insist on the music, but the
same feeling still exists in the craving for other disguises and
adornments for the sexual impulse. We do not always realize that love
brings its own sanctity with it.

Nowadays indeed, whenever the repugnance to the sexual side of life
manifests itself, the assertion nearly always made is not so much that it
is "sinful" as that it is "beastly." It is regarded as that part of man
which most closely allies him to the lower animals. It should scarcely be
necessary to point out that this is a mistake. On whichever side, indeed,
we approach it, the implication that sex in man and animals is identical
cannot be borne out. From the point of view of those who accept this
identity it would be much more correct to say that men are inferior,
rather than on a level with animals, for in animals under natural
conditions the sexual instinct is strictly subordinated to reproduction
and very little susceptible to deviation, so that from the standpoint of
those who wish to minimize sex, animals are nearer to the ideal, and such
persons must say with Woods Hutchinson: "Take it altogether, our animal
ancestors have quite as good reason to be ashamed of us as we of them."
But if we look at the matter from a wider biological standpoint of
development, our conclusion must be very different.

So far from being animal-like, the human impulses of sex are among the
least animal-like acquisitions of man. The human sphere of sex differs
from the animal sphere of sex to a singularly great extent.[59] Breathing
is an animal function and here we cannot compete with birds; locomotion is
an animal function and here we cannot equal quadrupeds; we have made no
notable advance in our circulatory, digestive, renal, or hepatic
functions. Even as regards vision and hearing, there are many animals that
are more keen-sighted than man, and many that are capable of hearing
sounds that to him are inaudible. But there are no animals in whom the
sexual instinct is so sensitive, so highly developed, so varied in its
manifestations, so constantly alert, so capable of irradiating the highest
and remotest parts of the organism. The sexual activities of man and woman
belong not to that lower part of our nature which degrades us to the level
of the "brute," but to the higher part which raises us towards all the
finest activities and ideals we are capable of. It is true that it is
chiefly in the mouths of a few ignorant and ill-bred women that we find
sex referred to as "bestial" or "the animal part of our nature."[60] But
since women are the mothers and teachers of the human race this is a piece
of ignorance and ill-breeding which cannot be too swiftly eradicated.

There are some who seem to think that they have held the balance evenly,
and finally stated the matter, if they admit that sexual love may be
either beautiful or disgusting, and that either view is equally normal and
legitimate. "Listen in turn," Tarde remarks, "to two men who, one cold,
the other ardent, one chaste, the other in love, both equally educated and
large-minded, are estimating the same thing: one judges as disgusting,
odious, revolting, and bestial what the other judges to be delicious,
exquisite, ineffable, divine. What, for one, is in Christian phraseology,
an unforgivable sin, is, for the other, the state of true grace. Acts that
for one seem a sad and occasional necessity, stains that must be carefully
effaced by long intervals of continence, are for the other the golden
nails from which all the rest of conduct and existence is suspended, the
things that alone give human life its value."[61] Yet we may well doubt
whether both these persons are "equally well-educated and broad-minded."
The savage feels that sex is perilous, and he is right. But the person who
feels that the sexual impulse is bad, or even low and vulgar, is an
absurdity in the universe, an anomaly. He is like those persons in our
insane asylums, who feel that the instinct of nutrition is evil and so
proceed to starve themselves. They are alike spiritual outcasts in the
universe whose children they are. It is another matter when a man declares
that, personally, in his own case, he cherishes an ascetic ideal which
leads him to restrain, so far as possible, either or both impulses. The
man, who is sanely ascetic seeks a discipline which aids the ideal he has
personally set before himself. He may still remain theoretically in
harmony with the universe to which he belongs. But to pour contempt on
the sexual life, to throw the veil of "impurity" over it, is, as Nietzsche
declared, the unpardonable sin against the Holy Ghost of Life.

There are many who seek to conciliate prejudice and reason in their
valuation of sex by drawing a sharp distinction between "lust" and "love,"
rejecting the one and accepting the other. It is quite proper to make such
a distinction, but the manner in which it is made will by no means usually
bear examination. We have to define what we mean by "lust" and what we
mean by "love," and this is not easy if they are regarded as mutually
exclusive. It is sometimes said that "lust" must be understood as meaning
a reckless indulgence of the sexual impulse without regard to other
considerations. So understood, we are quite safe in rejecting it. But that
is an entirely arbitrary definition of the word. "Lust" is really a very
ambiguous term; it is a good word that has changed its moral values, and
therefore we need to define it very carefully before we venture to use it.
Properly speaking, "lust" is an entirely colorless word[62] and merely
means desire in general and sexual desire in particular; it corresponds to
"hunger" or "thirst"; to use it in an offensive sense is much the same as
though we should always assume that the word "hungry" had the offensive
meaning of "greedy." The result has been that sensitive minds indignantly
reject the term "lust" in connection with love.[63] In the early use of
our language, "lust," "lusty," and "lustful" conveyed the sense of
wholesome and normal sexual vigor; now, with the partial exception of
"lusty," they have been so completely degraded to a lower sense that
although it would be very convenient to restore them to their original
and proper place, which still remains vacant, the attempt at such a
restoration scarcely seems a hopeful task. We have so deeply poisoned the
springs of feeling in these matters with mediæval ascetic crudities that
all our words of sex tend soon to become bespattered with filth; we may
pick them up from the mud into which they have fallen and seek to purify
them, but to many eyes they will still seem dirty. One result of this
tendency is that we have no simple, precise, natural word for the love of
the sexes, and are compelled to fall back on the general term, which is so
extensive in its range that in English and French and most of the other
leading languages of Europe, it is equally correct to "love" God or to
"love" eating.

Love, in the sexual sense, is, summarily considered, a synthesis of lust
(in the primitive and uncolored sense of sexual emotion) and friendship.
It is incorrect to apply the term "love" in the sexual sense to elementary
and uncomplicated sexual desire; it is equally incorrect to apply it to
any variety or combination of varieties of friendship. There can be no
sexual love without lust; but, on the other hand, until the currents of
lust in the organism have been so irradiated as to affect other parts of
the psychic organism--at the least the affections and the social
feelings--it is not yet sexual love. Lust, the specific sexual impulse, is
indeed the primary and essential element in this synthesis, for it alone
is adequate to the end of reproduction, not only in animals but in men.
But it is not until lust is expanded and irradiated that it develops into
the exquisite and enthralling flower of love. We may call to mind what
happens among plants: on the one hand we have the lower organisms in which
sex is carried on summarily and cryptogamically, never shedding any shower
of gorgeous blossoms on the world, and on the other hand the higher plants
among whom sex has become phanersgamous and expanded enormously into form
and color and fragrance.

    While "lust" is, of course, known all over the world, and there
    are everywhere words to designate it, "love" is not universally
    known, and in many languages there are no words for "love." The
    failures to find love are often remarkable and unexpected. We may
    find it where we least expect it. Sexual desire became idealized
    (as Sergi has pointed out) even by some animals, especially
    birds, for when a bird pines to death for the loss of its mate
    this cannot be due to the uncomplicated instinct of sex, but must
    involve the interweaving of that instinct with the other elements
    of life to a degree which is rare even among the most civilized
    men. Some savage races seem to have no fundamental notion of
    love, and (like the American Nahuas) no primary word for it,
    while, on the other hand, in Quichua, the language of the ancient
    Peruvians, there are nearly six hundred combinations of the verb
    _munay_, to love. Among some peoples love seems to be confined to
    the women. Letourneau (_L'Evolution Littéraire_, p. 529) points
    out that in various parts of the world women have taken a leading
    part in creating erotic poetry. It may be mentioned in this
    connection that suicide from erotic motives among primitive
    peoples occurs chiefly among women (_Zeitschrift für
    Sozialwissenschaft_, 1899, p. 578). Not a few savages possess
    love-poems, as, for instance, the Suahali (Velten, in his _Prosa
    und Poesie der Suahali_, devotes a section to love-poems
    reproduced in the Suahali language). D.G. Brinton, in an
    interesting paper on "The Conception of Love in Some American
    Languages" (_Proceedings American Philosophical Society_, vol.
    xxiii, p. 546, 1886) states that the words for love in these
    languages reveal four main ways of expressing the conception: (1)
    inarticulate cries of emotion; (2) assertions of sameness or
    similarity; (3) assertions of conjunction or union; (4)
    assertions of a wish, desire, a longing. Brinton adds that "these
    same notions are those which underlie the majority of the words
    of love in the great Aryan family of languages." The remarkable
    fact emerges, however, that the peoples of Aryan tongue were slow
    in developing their conception of sexual love. Brinton remarks
    that the American Mayas must be placed above the peoples of early
    Aryan culture, in that they possessed a radical word for the joy
    of love which was in significance purely psychical, referring
    strictly to a mental state, and neither to similarity nor desire.
    Even the Greeks were late in developing any ideal of sexual love.
    This has been well brought out by E.F.M. Benecke in his
    _Antimachus of Colophon and the Position of Women in Greek
    Poetry_, a book which contains some hazardous assertions, but is
    highly instructive from the present point of view. The Greek
    lyric poets wrote practically no love poems at all to women
    before Anacreon, and his were only written in old age. True love
    for the Greeks was nearly always homosexual. The Ionian lyric
    poets of early Greece regarded woman as only an instrument of
    pleasure and the founder of the family. Theognis compares
    marriage to cattle-breeding; Alcman, when he wishes to be
    complimentary to the Spartan girls, speaks of them as his "female
    boy-friends." Æschylus makes even a father assume that his
    daughters will misbehave if left to themselves. There is no
    sexual love in Sophocles, and in Euripides it is only the women
    who fall in love. Benecke concludes (p. 67) that in Greece sexual
    love, down to a comparatively later period, was looked down on,
    and held to be unworthy of public discussion and representation.
    It was in Magna Græcia rather than in Greece itself that men took
    interest in women, and it was not until the Alexandrian period,
    and notably in Asclepiades, Benecke maintains, that the love of
    women was regarded as a matter of life and death. Thereafter the
    conception of sexual love, in its romantic aspects, appears in
    European life. With the Celtic story of Tristram, as Gaston Paris
    remarks, it finally appears in the Christian European world of
    poetry as the chief point in human life, the great motive force
    of conduct.

    Romantic love failed, however, to penetrate the masses in Europe.
    In the sixteenth century, or whenever it was that the ballad of
    "Glasgerion" was written, we see it is assumed that a churl's
    relation to his mistress is confined to the mere act of sexual
    intercourse; he fails to kiss her on arriving or departing; it is
    only the knight, the man of upper class, who would think of
    offering that tender civility. And at the present day in, for
    instance, the region between East Friesland and the Alps, Bloch
    states (_Sexualleben unserer Zeit_, p. 29), following E.H. Meyer,
    that the word "love" is unknown among the masses, and only its
    coarse counterpart recognized.

    On the other side of the world, in Japan, sexual love seems to be
    in as great disrepute as it was in ancient Greece; thus Miss
    Tsuda, a Japanese head-mistress, and herself a Christian, remarks
    (as quoted by Mrs. Eraser in _World's Work and Play_, Dec.,
    1906): "That word 'love' has been hitherto a word unknown among
    our girls, in the foreign sense. Duty, submission,
    kindness--these were the sentiments which a girl was expected to
    bring to the husband who had been chosen for her--and many happy,
    harmonious marriages were the result. Now, your dear sentimental
    foreign women say to our girls: 'It is wicked to marry without
    love; the obedience to parents in such a case is an outrage
    against nature and Christianity. If you love a man you must
    sacrifice everything to marry him.'"

    When, however, love is fully developed it becomes an enormously
    extended, highly complex emotion, and lust, even in the best
    sense of that word, becomes merely a coördinated element among
    many other elements. Herbert Spencer, in an interesting passage
    of his _Principles of Psychology_ (Part IV, Ch. VIII), has
    analyzed love into as many as nine distinct and important
    elements: (1) the physical impulse of sex; (2) the feeling for
    beauty; (3) affection; (4) admiration and respect; (5) love of
    approbation; (6) self-esteem; (7) proprietary feeling; (8)
    extended liberty of action from the absence of personal barriers;
    (9) exaltation of the sympathies. "This passion," he concludes,
    "fuses into one immense aggregate most of the elementary
    excitations of which we are capable."

It is scarcely necessary to say that to define sexual love, or even to
analyze its components, is by no means to explain its mystery. We seek to
satisfy our intelligence by means of a coherent picture of love, but the
gulf between that picture and the emotional reality must always be
incommensurable and impassable. "There is no word more often pronounced
than that of love," wrote Bonstetten many years ago, "yet there is no
subject more mysterious. Of that which touches us most nearly we know
least. We measure the march of the stars and we do not know how we love."
And however expert we have become in detecting and analyzing the causes,
the concomitants, and the results of love, we must still make the same
confession to-day. We may, as some have done, attempt to explain love as a
form of hunger and thirst, or as a force analogous to electricity, or as a
kind of magnetism, or as a variety of chemical affinity, or as a vital
tropism, but these explanations are nothing more than ways of expressing
to ourselves the magnitude of the phenomenon we are in the presence of.

What has always baffled men in the contemplation of sexual love is the
seeming inadequacy of its cause, the immense discrepancy between the
necessarily circumscribed region of mucous membrane which is the final
goal of such love and the sea of world-embracing emotions to which it
seems as the door, so that, as Remy de Gourmont has said, "the mucous
membranes, by an ineffable mystery, enclose in their obscure folds all the
riches of the infinite." It is a mystery before which the thinker and the
artist are alike overcome. Donnay, in his play _L'Escalade_, makes a cold
and stern man of science, who regards love as a mere mental disorder which
can be cured like other disorders, at last fall desperately in love
himself. He forces his way into the girl's room, by a ladder, at dead of
night, and breaks into a long and passionate speech: "Everything that
touches you becomes to me mysterious and sacred. Ah! to think that a thing
so well known as a woman's body, which sculptors have modelled, which
poets have sung of, which men of science like myself have dissected, that
such a thing should suddenly become an unknown mystery and an infinite joy
merely because it is the body of one particular woman--what insanity! And
yet that is what I feel."[64]

That love is a natural insanity, a temporary delusion which the individual
is compelled to suffer for the sake of the race, is indeed an explanation
that has suggested itself to many who have been baffled by this mystery.
That, as we know, was the explanation offered by Schopenhauer. When a
youth and a girl fall into each other's arms in the ecstacy of love they
imagine that they are seeking their own happiness. But it is not so, said
Schopenhauer; they are deluded by the genius of the race into the belief
that they are seeking a personal end in order that they may be induced to
effect a far greater impersonal end: the creation of the future race. The
intensity of their passion is not the measure of the personal happiness
they will secure but the measure of their aptitude for producing
offspring. In accepting passion and renouncing the counsels of cautious
prudence the youth and the girl are really sacrificing their chances of
selfish happiness and fulfilling the larger ends of Nature. As
Schopenhauer saw the matter, there was here no vulgar illusion. The lovers
thought that they were reaching towards a boundlessly immense personal
happiness; they were probably deceived. But they were deceived not because
the reality was less than their imagination, but because it was more;
instead of pursuing, as they thought, a merely personal end they were
carrying on the creative work of the world, a task better left undone, as
Schopenhauer viewed it, but a task whose magnitude he fully

It must be remembered that in the lower sense of deception, love may be,
and frequently is, a delusion. A man may deceive himself, or be deceived
by the object of his attraction, concerning the qualities that she
possesses or fails to possess. In first love, occurring in youth, such
deception is perhaps entirely normal, and in certain suggestible and
inflammable types of people it is peculiarly apt to occur. This kind of
deception, although far more frequent and conspicuous in matters of
love--and more serious because of the tightness of the marriage bond--is
liable to occur in any relation of life. For most people, however, and
those not the least sane or the least wise, the memory of the exaltation
of love, even when the period of that exaltation is over, still remains
as, at the least, the memory of one of the most real and essential facts
of life.[66]

    Some writers seem to confuse the liability in matters of love to
    deception or disappointment with the larger question of a
    metaphysical illusion in Schopenhauer's sense. To some extent
    this confusion perhaps exists in the discussion of love by
    Renouvier and Prat in _La Nouvelle Monadologie_ (pp. 216 _et
    seq._). In considering whether love is or is not a delusion, they
    answer that it is or is not according as we are, or are not,
    dominated by selfishness and injustice. "It was not an essential
    error which presided over the creation of the _idol_, for the
    idol is only what in all things the _ideal_ is. But to realize
    the ideal in love two persons are needed, and therein is the
    great difficulty. We are never justified," they conclude, "in
    casting contempt on our love, or even on its object, for if it is
    true that we have not gained possession of the sovereign beauty
    of the world it is equally true that we have not attained a
    degree of perfection that would have entitled us justly to claim
    so great a prize." And perhaps most of us, it may be added, must
    admit in the end, if we are honest with ourselves, that the
    prizes of love we have gained in the world, whatever their flaws,
    are far greater than we deserved.

We may well agree that in a certain sense not love alone but all the
passions and desires of men are illusions. In that sense the Gospel of
Buddha is justified, and we may recognize the inspiration of Shakespeare
(in the _Tempest_) and of Calderon (in _La Vida es Sueño_), who felt that
ultimately the whole world is an insubstantial dream. But short of that
large and ultimate vision we cannot accept illusion; we cannot admit that
love is a delusion in some special and peculiar sense that men's other
cravings and aspirations escape. On the contrary, it is the most solid of
realities. All the progressive forms of life are built up on the
attraction of sex. If we admit the action of sexual selection--as we can
scarcely fail to do if we purge it from its unessential
accretions[67]--love has moulded the precise shape and color, the
essential beauty, alike of animal and human life.

If we further reflect that, as many investigators believe, not only the
physical structure of life but also its spiritual structure--our social
feelings, our morality, our religion, our poetry and art--are, in some
degree at least, also built up on the impulse of sex, and would have been,
if not non-existent, certainly altogether different had other than sexual
methods of propagation prevailed in the world, we may easily realize that
we can only fall into confusion by dismissing love as a delusion. The
whole edifice of life topples down, for as the idealist Schiller long
since said, it is entirely built up on hunger and on love. To look upon
love as in any special sense a delusion is merely to fall into the trap of
a shallow cynicism. Love is only a delusion in so far as the whole of life
is a delusion, and if we accept the fact of life it is unphilosophical to
refuse to accept the fact of love.

    It is unnecessary here to magnify the functions of love in the
    world; it is sufficient to investigate its workings in its own
    proper sphere. It may, however, be worth while to quote a few
    expressions of thinkers, belonging to various schools, who have
    pointed out what seemed to them the far-ranging significance of
    the sexual emotions for the moral life. "The passions are the
    heavenly fire which gives life to the moral world," wrote
    Helvétius long since in _De l'Esprit_. "The activity of the mind
    depends on the activity of the passions, and it is at the period
    of the passions, from the age of twenty-five to thirty-five or
    forty that men are capable of the greatest efforts of virtue or
    of genius." "What touches sex," wrote Zola, "touches the centre
    of social life." Even our regard for the praise and blame of
    others has a sexual origin, Professor Thomas argues
    (_Psychological Review_, Jan., 1904, pp. 61-67), and it is love
    which is the source of susceptibility generally and of the
    altruistic side of life. "The appearance of sex," Professor Woods
    Hutchinson attempts to show ("Love as a Factor in Evolution,"
    _Monist_, 1898), "the development of maleness and femaleness, was
    not only the birthplace of affection, the well-spring of all
    morality, but an enormous economic advantage to the race and an
    absolute necessity of progress. In it first we find any conscious
    longing for or active impulse toward a fellow creature." "Were
    man robbed of the instinct of procreation, and of all that
    spiritually springs therefrom," exclaimed Maudsley in his
    _Physiology of Mind_, "that moment would all poetry, and perhaps
    also his whole moral sense, be obliterated from his life." "One
    seems to oneself transfigured, stronger, richer, more complete;
    one _is_ more complete," says Nietzsche (_Der Wille zur Macht_,
    p. 389), "we find here art as an organic function: we find it
    inlaid in the most angelic instinct of 'love:' we find it as the
    greatest stimulant of life.... It is not merely that it changes
    the feeling of values: the lover _is_ worth more, is stronger. In
    animals this condition produces new weapons, pigments, colors,
    and forms, above all new movements, new rhythms, a new seductive
    music. It is not otherwise in man.... Even in art the door is
    opened to him. If we subtract from lyrical work in words and
    sounds the suggestions of that intestinal fever, what is left
    over in poetry and music? _L'Art pour l'art_ perhaps, the
    quacking virtuosity of cold frogs who perish in their marsh. All
    the rest is created by love."

    It would be easy to multiply citations tending to show how many
    diverse thinkers have come to the conclusion that sexual love
    (including therewith parental and especially maternal love) is
    the source of the chief manifestations of life. How far they are
    justified in that conclusion, it is not our business now to

It is undoubtedly true that, as we have seen when discussing the erratic
and imperfect distribution of the conception of love, and even of words
for love, over the world, by no means all people are equally apt for
experiencing, even at any time in their lives, the emotions of sexual
exaltation. The difference between the knight and the churl still
subsists, and both may sometimes be found in all social strata. Even the
refinements of sexual enjoyment, it is unnecessary to insist, quite
commonly remain on a merely physical basis, and have little effect on the
intellectual and emotional nature.[68] But this is not the case with the
people who have most powerfully influenced the course of the world's
thought and feeling. The personal reality of love, its importance for the
individual life, are facts that have been testified to by some of the
greatest thinkers, after lives devoted to the attainment of intellectual
labor. The experience of Renan, who toward the end of his life set down in
his remarkable drama _L'Abbesse de Jouarre_, his conviction that, even
from the point of view of chastity, love is, after all, the supreme thing
in the world, is far from standing alone. "Love has always appeared as an
inferior mode of human music, ambition as the superior mode," wrote Tarde,
the distinguished sociologist, at the end of his life. "But will it always
be thus? Are there not reasons for thinking that the future perhaps
reserves for us the ineffable surprise of an inversion of that secular
order?" Laplace, half an hour before his death, took up a volume of his
own _Mécanique Celeste_, and said: "All that is only trifles, there is
nothing true but love." Comte, who had spent his life in building up a
Positive Philosophy which should be absolutely real, found (as indeed it
may be said the great English Positivist Mill also found) the culmination
of all his ideals in a woman, who was, he said, Egeria and Beatrice and
Laura in one, and he wrote: "There is nothing real in the world but love.
One grows tired of thinking, and even of acting; one never grows tired of
loving, nor of saying so. In the worst tortures of affection I have never
ceased to feel that the essential of happiness is that the heart should be
worthily filled--even with pain, yes, even with pain, the bitterest pain."
And Sophie Kowalewsky, after intellectual achievements which have placed
her among the most distinguished of her sex, pathetically wrote: "Why can
no one love me? I could give more than most women, and yet the most
insignificant women are loved and I am not." Love, they all seem to say,
is the one thing that is supremely worth while. The greatest and most
brilliant of the world's intellectual giants, in their moments of final
insight, thus reach the habitual level of the humble and almost anonymous
persons, cloistered from the world, who wrote _The Imitation of Christ_ or
_The Letters of a Portuguese Nun_. And how many others!


[45] _Meditationes Piissimæ de Cognitione Humanæ Conditionis_, Migne's
_Patrologia_, vol. clxxiv, p. 489, cap. III, "De Dignitate Animæ et
Vilitate Corporis." It may be worth while to quote more at length the
vigorous language of the original. "Si diligenter consideres quid per os
et nares cæterosque corporis meatus egrediatur, vilius sterquilinum
numquam vidisti.... Attende, homo, quid fuisti ante ortum, et quid es ab
ortu usque ad occasum, atque quid eris post hanc vitam. Profecto fuit
quand non eras: postea de vili materia factus, et vilissimo panno
involutus, menstruali sanguine in utero materno fuisti nutritus, et tunica
tua fuit pellis secundina. Nihil aliud est homo quam sperma fetidum,
saccus stercorum, cibus vermium.... Quid superbis, pulvis et cinis, cujus
conceptus cula, nasci miseria, vivere poena, mori angustia?"

[46] See (in Mignes' edition) _S. Odonis abbatis Cluniacensis
Collationes_, lib. ii, cap. IX.

[47] Dühren (_Neue Forshungen über die Marquis de Sade_, pp. 432 et seq.)
shows how the ascetic view of woman's body persisted, for instance, in
Schopenhauer and De Sade.

[48] In "The Evolution of Modesty," in the first volume of these
_Studies_, and again in the fifth volume in discussing urolagnia in the
study of "Erotic Symbolism," the mutual reactions of the sexual and
excretory centres were fully dealt with.

[49] "La Morale Sexuelle," _Archives d'Anthropologie Criminelle_, Jan.,

[50] The above passage, now slightly modified, originally formed an
unpublished part of an essay on Walt Whitman in _The New Spirit_, first
issued in 1889.

[51] Even in the ninth century, however, when the monastic movement was
rapidly developing, there were some who withstood the tendencies of the
new ascetics. Thus, in 850, Ratramnus, the monk of Corbie, wrote a
treatise (_Liber de eo quod Christus ex Virgine natus est_) to prove that
Mary really gave birth to Jesus through her sexual organs, and not, as
some high-strung persons were beginning to think could alone be possible,
through the more conventionally decent breasts. The sexual organs were
sanctified. "Spiritus sanctus ... et thalamum tanto dignum sponso
sanctificavit et portam" (Achery, _Spicilegium_, vol. i, p. 55).

[52] _Pædagogus_, lib. ii, cap. X. Elsewhere (id., lib. ii, Ch. VI) he
makes a more detailed statement to the same effect.

[53] See, e.g., Wilhelm Capitaine, _Die Moral des Clemens von
Alexandrien_, pp. 112 et seq.

[54] _De Civitate Dei_, lib. xxii, cap. XXIV. "There is no need," he says
again (id., lib. xiv, cap. V) "that in our sins and vices we accuse the
nature of the flesh to the injury of the Creator, for in its own kind and
degree the flesh is good."

[55] St. Augustine, _De Civitate Dei_, lib. xiv, cap. XXIII-XXVI.
Chrysostom and Gregory, of Nyssa, thought that in Paradise human beings
would have multiplied by special creation, but such is not the accepted
Catholic doctrine.

[56] W. Capitaine, _Die Moral des Clemens von Alexandrien_, pp. 112 et
seq. Without the body, Tertullian declared, there could be no virginity
and no salvation. The soul itself is corporeal. He carries, indeed, his
idea of the omnipresence of the body to the absurd.

[57] Rufinus, _Commentarius in Symbolum Apostolorum_, cap. XII.

[58] Migne, _Patrologia Græca_, vol. xxvi, pp. 1170 et seq.

[59] Even in physical conformation the human sexual organs, when compared
with those of the lower animals, show marked differences (see "The
Mechanism of Detumescence," in the fifth volume of these _Studies_).

[60] It may perhaps be as well to point out, with Forel (_Die Sexuelle
Frage_, p. 208), that the word "bestial" is generally used quite
incorrectly in this connection. Indeed, not only for the higher, but also
for the lower manifestation of the sexual impulse, it would usually be
more correct to use instead the qualification "human."

[61] _Loc. cit._, _Archives d'Anthropologie Criminelle_, Jan., 1907.

[62] It has, however, become colored and suspect from an early period in
the history of Christianity. St. Augustine (_De Civitate Dei_, lib. xiv,
cap. XV), while admitting that libido or lust is merely the generic name
for all desire, adds that, as specially applied to the sexual appetite, it
is justly and properly mixed up with ideas of shame.

[63] Hinton well illustrates this feeling. "We call by the name of lust,"
he declares in his MSS., "the most simple and natural desires. We might as
well term hunger and thirst 'lust' as so call sex-passion, when expressing
simply Nature's prompting. We miscall it 'lust,' cruelly libelling those
to whom we ascribe it, and introduce absolute disorder. For, by foolishly
confounding Nature's demands with lust, we insist upon restraint upon

[64] Several centuries earlier another French writer, the distinguished
physician, A. Laurentius (Des Laurens) in his _Historia Anatomica Humani
Corporis_ (lib. viii, Quæstio vii) had likewise puzzled over "the
incredible desire of coitus," and asked how it was that "that divine
animal, full of reason and judgment, which we call Man, should be
attracted to those obscene parts of women, soiled with filth, which are
placed, like a sewer, in the lowest part of the body." It is noteworthy
that, from the first, and equally among men of religion, men of science,
and men of letters, the mystery of this problem has peculiarly appealed to
the French mind.

[65] Schopenhauer, _Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung_, vol. ii, pp. 608
et seq.

[66] "Perhaps there is scarcely a man," wrote Malthus, a clergyman as well
as one of the profoundest thinkers of his day (_Essay on the Principle of
Population_, 1798, Ch. XI), "who has once experienced the genuine delight
of virtuous love, however great his intellectual pleasures may have been,
that does not look back to the period as the sunny spot in his whole life,
where his imagination loves to bask, which he recollects and contemplates
with the fondest regrets, and which he would most wish to live over again.
The superiority of intellectual to sexual pleasures consists rather in
their filling up more time, in their having a larger range, and in their
being less liable to satiate, than in their being more real and

[67] The whole argument of the fourth volume of these _Studies_, on
"Sexual Selection in Man," points in this direction.

[68] "Perhaps most average men," Forel remarks (_Die Sexuelle Frage_, p.
307), "are but slightly receptive to the intoxication of love; they are at
most on the level of the _gourmet_, which is by no means necessarily an
immoral plane, but is certainly not that of poetry."



Chastity Essential to the Dignity of Love--The Eighteenth Century Revolt
Against the Ideal of Chastity--Unnatural Forms of Chastity--The
Psychological Basis of Asceticism--Asceticism and Chastity as Savage
Virtues--The Significance of Tahiti--Chastity Among Barbarous
Peoples--Chastity Among the Early Christians--Struggles of the Saints with
the Flesh--The Romance of Christian Chastity--Its Decay in Mediæval
Times--_Aucassin et Nicolette_ and the new Romance of Chaste Love--The
Unchastity of the Northern Barbarians--The Penitentials--Influence of the
Renaissance and the Reformation--The Revolt Against Virginity as a
Virtue--The Modern Conception of Chastity as a Virtue--The Influences That
Favor the Virtue of Chastity--Chastity as a Discipline--The Value of
Chastity for the Artist--Potency and Impotence in Popular Estimation--The
Correct Definitions of Asceticism and Chastity.

The supreme importance of chastity, and even of asceticism, has never at
any time, or in any greatly vital human society, altogether failed of
recognition. Sometimes chastity has been exalted in human estimation,
sometimes it has been debased; it has frequently changed the nature of its
manifestations; but it has always been there. It is even a part of the
beautiful vision of all Nature. "The glory of the world is seen only by a
chaste mind," said Thoreau with his fine extravagance. "To whomsoever this
fact is not an awful but beautiful mystery there are no flowers in
Nature." Without chastity it is impossible to maintain the dignity of
sexual love. The society in which its estimation sinks to a minimum is in
the last stages of degeneration. Chastity has for sexual love an
importance which it can never lose, least of all to-day.

It is quite true that during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries many
men of high moral and intellectual distinction pronounced very decidedly
their condemnation of the ideal of chastity. The great Buffon refused to
recognize chastity as an ideal and referred scornfully to "that kind of
insanity which has turned a girl's virginity into a thing with a real
existence," while William Morris, in his downright manner, once declared
at a meeting of the Fellowship of the New Life, that asceticism is "the
most disgusting vice that afflicted human nature." Blake, though he seems
always to have been a strictly moral man in the most conventional sense,
felt nothing but contempt for chastity, and sometimes confers a kind of
religious solemnity on the idea of unchastity. Shelley, who may have been
unwise in sexual matters but can scarcely be called unchaste, also often
seems to associate religion and morality, not with chastity, but with
unchastity, and much the same may be said of James Hinton.[69]

But all these men--with other men of high character who have pronounced
similar opinions--were reacting against false, decayed, and conventional
forms of chastity. They were not rebelling against an ideal; they were
seeking to set up an ideal in a place where they realized that a
mischievous pretense was masquerading as a moral reality.

We cannot accept an ideal of chastity unless we ruthlessly cast aside all
the unnatural and empty forms of chastity. If chastity is merely a
fatiguing effort to emulate in the sexual sphere the exploits of
professional fasting men, an effort using up all the energies of the
organism and resulting in no achievement greater than the abstinence it
involves, then it is surely an unworthy ideal. If it is a feeble
submission to an external conventional law which there is no courage to
break, then it is not an ideal at all. If it is a rule of morality imposed
by one sex on the opposite sex, then it is an injustice and provocative of
revolt. If it is an abstinence from the usual forms of sexuality, replaced
by more abnormal or more secret forms, then it is simply an unreality
based on misconception. And if it is merely an external acceptance of
conventions without any further acceptance, even in act, then it is a
contemptible farce. These are the forms of chastity which during the past
two centuries many fine-souled men have vigorously rejected.

The fact that chastity, or asceticism, is a real virtue, with fine uses,
becomes evident when we realize that it has flourished at all times, in
connection with all kinds of religions and the most various moral codes.
We find it pronounced among savages, and the special virtues of
savagery--hardness, endurance, and bravery--are intimately connected with
the cultivation of chastity and asceticism.[70] It is true that savages
seldom have any ideal of chastity in the degraded modern sense, as a state
of permanent abstinence from sexual relationships having a merit of its
own apart from any use. They esteem chastity for its values, magical or
real, as a method of self-control which contributes towards the attainment
of important ends. The ability to bear pain and restraint is nearly always
a main element in the initiation of youths at puberty. The custom of
refraining from sexual intercourse before expeditions of war and hunting,
and other serious concerns involving great muscular and mental strain,
whatever the motives assigned, is a sagacious method of economizing
energy. The extremely widespread habit of avoiding intercourse during
pregnancy and suckling, again, is an admirable precaution in sexual
hygiene which it is extremely difficult to obtain the observance of in
civilization. Savages, also, are perfectly well aware how valuable sexual
continence is, in combination with fasting and solitude, to acquire the
aptitude for abnormal spiritual powers.

    Thus C. Hill Tout (_Journal Anthropological Institute_,
    Jan.-June, 1905, pp. 143-145) gives an interesting account of the
    self-discipline undergone by those among the Salish Indians of
    British Columbia, who seek to acquire shamanistic powers. The
    psychic effects of such training on these men, says Hill Tout,
    is undoubted. "It enables them to undertake and accomplish feats
    of abnormal strength, agility, and endurance; and gives them at
    times, besides a general exaltation of the senses, undoubted
    clairvoyant and other supernormal mental and bodily powers." At
    the other end of the world, as shown by the _Reports of the
    Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits_ (vol. v, p. 321),
    closely analogous methods of obtaining supernatural powers are
    also customary.

    There are fundamental psychological reasons for the wide
    prevalence of asceticism and for the remarkable manner in which
    it involves self-mortification, even acute physical suffering.
    Such pain is an actual psychic stimulant, more especially in
    slightly neurotic persons. This is well illustrated by a young
    woman, a patient of Janet's, who suffered from mental depression
    and was accustomed to find relief by slightly burning her hands
    and feet. She herself clearly understood the nature of her
    actions. "I feel," she said, "that I make an effort when I hold
    my hands on the stove, or when I pour boiling water on my feet;
    it is a violent act and it awakens me: I feel that it is really
    done by myself and not by another.... To make a mental effort by
    itself is too difficult for me; I have to supplement it by
    physical efforts. I have not succeeded in any other way; that is
    all: when I brace myself up to burn myself I make my mind freer,
    lighter and more active for several days. Why do you speak of my
    desire for mortification? My parents believe that, but it is
    absurd. It would be a mortification if it brought any suffering,
    but I enjoy this suffering, it gives me back my mind; it prevents
    my thoughts from stopping: what would one not do to attain such
    happiness?" (P. Janet, "The Pathogenesis of Some Impulsions,"
    _Journal of Abnormal Psychology_, April, 1906.) If we understand
    this psychological process we may realize how it is that even in
    the higher religions, however else they may differ, the practical
    value of asceticism and mortification as the necessary door to
    the most exalted religious state is almost universally
    recognized, and with complete cheerfulness. "Asceticism and
    ecstacy are inseparable," as Probst-Biraben remarks at the outset
    of an interesting paper on Mahommedan mysticism ("L'Extase dans
    le Mysticisme Musulman," _Revue Philosophique_, Nov., 1906).
    Asceticism is the necessary ante-chamber to spiritual perfection.

It thus happens that savage peoples largely base their often admirable
enforcement of asceticism not on the practical grounds that would justify
it, but on religious grounds that with the growth of intelligence fall
into discredit.[71] Even, however, when the scrupulous observances of
savages, whether in sexual or in non-sexual matters, are without any
obviously sound basis it cannot be said that they are entirely useless if
they tend to encourage self-control and the sense of reverence.[72] The
would-be intelligent and practical peoples who cast aside primitive
observances because they seem baseless or even ridiculous, need a still
finer practical sense and still greater intelligence in order to realize
that, though the reasons for the observances have been wrong, yet the
observances themselves may have been necessary methods of attaining
personal and social efficiency. It constantly happens in the course of
civilization that we have to revive old observances and furnish them with
new reasons.

    In considering the moral quality of chastity among savages, we
    must carefully separate that chastity which among semi-primitive
    peoples is exclusively imposed upon women. This has no moral
    quality whatever, for it is not exercised as a useful discipline,
    but merely enforced in order to heighten the economic and erotic
    value of the women. Many authorities believe that the regard for
    women as property furnishes the true reason for the widespread
    insistence on virginity in brides. Thus A.B. Ellis, speaking of
    the West Coast of Africa (_Yoruba-Speaking Peoples_, pp. 183 _et
    seq._), says that girls of good class are betrothed as mere
    children, and are carefully guarded from men, while girls of
    lower class are seldom betrothed, and may lead any life they
    choose. "In this custom of infant or child betrothals we probably
    find the key to that curious regard for ante-nuptial chastity
    found not only among the tribes of the Gold and Slave Coasts, but
    also among many other uncivilized peoples in different parts of
    the world." In a very different part of the world, in Northern
    Siberia, "the Yakuts," Sieroshevski states (_Journal
    Anthropological Institute_, Jan.-June, 1901, p. 96), "see
    nothing immoral in illicit love, providing only that nobody
    suffers material loss by it. It is true that parents will scold a
    daughter if her conduct threatens to deprive them of their gain
    from the bride-price; but if once they have lost hope of marrying
    her off, or if the bride-price has been spent, they manifest
    complete indifference to her conduct. Maidens who no longer
    expect marriage are not restrained at all, if they observe
    decorum it is only out of respect to custom." Westermarck
    (_History of Human Marriage_, pp. 123 et seq.) also shows the
    connection between the high estimates of virginity and the
    conception of woman as property, and returning to the question in
    his later work, _The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas_
    (vol. ii, Ch. XLII), after pointing out that "marriage by
    purchase has thus raised the standard of female chastity," he
    refers (p. 437) to the significant fact that the seduction of an
    unmarried girl "is chiefly, if not exclusively, regarded as an
    offense against the parents or family of the girl," and there is
    no indication that it is ever held by savages that any wrong has
    been done to the woman herself. Westermarck recognizes at the
    same time that the preference given to virgins has also a
    biological basis in the instinctive masculine feeling of jealousy
    in regard to women who have had intercourse with other men, and
    especially in the erotic charm for men of the emotional state of
    shyness which accompanies virginity. (This point has been dealt
    with in the discussion of Modesty in vol. i of these _Studies_.)

    It is scarcely necessary to add that the insistence on the
    virginity of brides is by no means confined, as A.B. Ellis seems
    to imply, to uncivilized peoples, nor is it necessary that
    wife-purchase should always accompany it. The preference still
    persists, not only by virtue of its natural biological basis, but
    as a refinement and extension of the idea of woman as property,
    among those civilized peoples who, like ourselves, inherit a form
    of marriage to some extent based on wife-purchase. Under such
    conditions a woman's chastity has an important social function to
    perform, being, as Mrs. Mona Caird has put it (_The Morality of
    Marriage_, 1897, p. 88), the watch-dog of man's property. The
    fact that no element of ideal morality enters into the question
    is shown by the usual absence of any demand for ante-nuptial
    chastity in the husband.

    It must not be supposed that when, as is most usually the case,
    there is no complete and permanent prohibition of extra-nuptial
    intercourse, mere unrestrained license prevails. That has
    probably never happened anywhere among uncontaminated savages.
    The rule probably is that, as among the tribes at Torres Straits
    (_Reports Cambridge Anthropological Expedition_, vol. v, p. 275),
    there is no complete continence before marriage, but neither is
    there any unbridled license.

    The example of Tahiti is instructive as regards the prevalence of
    chastity among peoples of what we generally consider low grades
    of civilization. Tahiti, according to all who have visited it,
    from the earliest explorers down to that distinguished American
    surgeon, the late Dr. Nicholas Senn, is an island possessing
    qualities of natural beauty and climatic excellence, which it is
    impossible to rate too highly. "I seemed to be transported into
    the garden of Eden," said Bougainville in 1768. But, mainly under
    the influence of the early English missionaries who held ideas of
    theoretical morality totally alien to those of the inhabitants of
    the islands, the Tahitians have become the stock example of a
    population given over to licentiousness and all its awful
    results. Thus, in his valuable _Polynesian Researches_ (second
    edition, 1832, vol. i, Ch. IX) William Ellis says that the
    Tahitians practiced "the worst pollutions of which it was
    possible for man to be guilty," though not specifying them. When,
    however, we carefully examine the narratives of the early
    visitors to Tahiti, before the population became contaminated by
    contact with Europeans, it becomes clear that this view needs
    serious modification. "The great plenty of good and nourishing
    food," wrote an early explorer, J.R. Forster (_Observations Made
    on a Voyage Round the World_, 1778, pp. 231, 409, 422), "together
    with the fine climate, the beauty and unreserved behavior of
    their females, invite them powerfully to the enjoyments and
    pleasures of love. They begin very early to abandon themselves to
    the most libidinous scenes. Their songs, their dances, and
    dramatic performances, breathe a spirit of luxury." Yet he is
    over and over again impelled to set down facts which bear
    testimony to the virtues of these people. Though rather
    effeminate in build, they are athletic, he says. Moreover, in
    their wars they fight with great bravery and valor. They are, for
    the rest, hospitable. He remarks that they treat their married
    women with great respect, and that women generally are nearly the
    equals of men, both in intelligence and in social position; he
    gives a charming description of the women. "In short, their
    character," Forster concludes, "is as amiable as that of any
    nation that ever came unimproved out of the hands of Nature," and
    he remarks that, as was felt by the South Sea peoples generally,
    "whenever we came to this happy island we could evidently
    perceive the opulence and happiness of its inhabitants." It is
    noteworthy also, that, notwithstanding the high importance which
    the Tahitians attached to the erotic side of life, they were not
    deficient in regard for chastity. When Cook, who visited Tahiti
    many times, was among "this benevolent humane" people, he noted
    their esteem for chastity, and found that not only were betrothed
    girls strictly guarded before marriage, but that men also who had
    refrained from sexual intercourse for some time before marriage
    were believed to pass at death immediately into the abode of the
    blessed. "Their behavior, on all occasions, seems to indicate a
    great openness and generosity of disposition. I never saw them,
    in any misfortune, labor under the appearance of anxiety, after
    the critical moment was past. Neither does care ever seem to
    wrinkle their brow. On the contrary, even the approach of death
    does not appear to alter their usual vivacity" (_Third Voyage of
    Discovery_, 1776-1780). Turnbull visited Tahiti at a later period
    (_A Voyage Round the World in 1800_, etc., pp. 374-5), but while
    finding all sorts of vices among them, he is yet compelled to
    admit their virtues: "Their manner of addressing strangers, from
    the king to the meanest subject, is courteous and affable in the
    extreme.... They certainly live amongst each other in more
    harmony than is usual amongst Europeans. During the whole time I
    was amongst them I never saw such a thing as a battle.... I never
    remember to have seen an Otaheitean out of temper. They jest upon
    each other with greater freedom than the Europeans, but these
    jests are never taken in ill part.... With regard to food, it is,
    I believe, an invariable law in Otaheite that whatever is
    possessed by one is common to all." Thus we see that even among a
    people who are commonly referred to as the supreme example of a
    nation given up to uncontrolled licentiousness, the claims of
    chastity were admitted, and many other virtues vigorously
    flourished. The Tahitians were brave, hospitable,
    self-controlled, courteous, considerate to the needs of others,
    chivalrous to women, even appreciative of the advantages of
    sexual restraint, to an extent which has rarely, if ever, been
    known among those Christian nations which have looked down upon
    them as abandoned to unspeakable vices.

As we turn from savages towards peoples in the barbarous and civilized
stages we find a general tendency for chastity, in so far as it is a
common possession of the common people, to be less regarded, or to be
retained only as a traditional convention no longer strictly observed. The
old grounds for chastity in primitive religions and _tabu_ have decayed
and no new grounds have been generally established. "Although the progress
of civilization," wrote Gibbon long ago, "has undoubtedly contributed to
assuage the fiercer passions of human nature, it seems to have been less
favorable to the virtue of chastity," and Westermarck concludes that
"irregular connections between the sexes have, on the whole, exhibited a
tendency to increase along with the progress of civilization."

The main difference in the social function of chastity as we pass from
savagery to higher stages of culture seems to be that it ceases to exist
as a general hygienic measure or a general ceremonial observance, and, for
the most part, becomes confined to special philosophic or religious sects
which cultivate it to an extreme degree in a more or less professional
way. This state of things is well illustrated by the Roman Empire during
the early centuries of the Christian era.[73] Christianity itself was at
first one of these sects enamored of the ideal of chastity; but by its
superior vitality it replaced all the others and finally imposed its
ideals, though by no means its primitive practices, on European society

Chastity manifested itself in primitive Christianity in two different
though not necessarily opposed ways. On the one hand it took a stern and
practical form in vigorous men and women who, after being brought up in a
society permitting a high degree of sexual indulgence, suddenly found
themselves convinced of the sin of such indulgence. The battle with the
society they had been born into, and with their own old impulses and
habits, became so severe that they often found themselves compelled to
retire from the world altogether. Thus it was that the parched solitudes
of Egypt were peopled with hermits largely occupied with the problem of
subduing their own flesh. Their pre-occupation, and indeed the
pre-occupation of much early Christian literature, with sexual matters,
may be said to be vastly greater than was the case with the pagan society
they had left. Paganism accepted sexual indulgence and was then able to
dismiss it, so that in classic literature we find very little insistence
on sexual details except in writers like Martial, Juvenal and Petronius
who introduce them mainly for satirical ends. But the Christians could not
thus escape from the obsession of sex; it was ever with them. We catch
interesting glimpses of their struggles, for the most part barren
struggles, in the Epistles of St. Jerome, who had himself been an athlete
in these ascetic contests.

    "Oh, how many times," wrote St. Jerome to Eustochium, the virgin
    to whom he addressed one of the longest and most interesting of
    his letters, "when in the desert, in that vast solitude which,
    burnt up by the heart of the sun, offers but a horrible dwelling
    to monks, I imagined myself among the delights of Rome! I was
    alone, for my soul was full of bitterness. My limbs were covered
    by a wretched sack and my skin was as black as an Ethiopian's.
    Every day I wept and groaned, and if I was unwillingly overcome
    by sleep my lean body lay on the bare earth. I say nothing of my
    food and drink, for in the desert even invalids have no drink but
    cold water, and cooked food is regarded as a luxury. Well, I,
    who, out of fear of hell, had condemned myself to this prison,
    companion of scorpions and wild beasts, often seemed in
    imagination among bands of girls. My face was pale with fasting
    and my mind within my frigid body was burning with desire; the
    fires of lust would still flare up in a body that already seemed
    to be dead. Then, deprived of all help, I threw myself at the
    feet of Jesus, washing them with my tears and drying them with my
    hair, subjugating my rebellious flesh by long fasts. I remember
    that more than once I passed the night uttering cries and
    striking my breast until God sent me peace." "Our century," wrote
    St. Chrysostom in his _Discourse to Those Who Keep Virgins in
    Their Houses_, "has seen many men who have bound their bodies
    with chains, clothed themselves in sacks, retired to the summits
    of mountains where they have lived in constant vigil and fasting,
    giving the example of the most austere discipline and forbidding
    all women to cross the thresholds of their humble dwellings; and
    yet, in spite of all the severities they have exercised on
    themselves, it was with difficulty they could repress the fury of
    their passions." Hilarion, says Jerome, saw visions of naked
    women when he lay down on his solitary couch and delicious meats
    when he sat down to his frugal table. Such experiences rendered
    the early saints very scrupulous. "They used to say," we are told
    in an interesting history of the Egyptian anchorites, Palladius's
    _Paradise of the Holy Fathers_, belonging to the fourth century
    (A.W. Budge, _The Paradise_, vol. ii, p. 129), "that Abbâ Isaac
    went out and found the footprint of a woman on the road, and he
    thought about it in his mind and destroyed it saying, 'If a
    brother seeth it he may fall.'" Similarly, according to the rules
    of St. Cæsarius of Aries for nuns, no male clothing was to be
    taken into the convent for the purpose of washing or mending.
    Even in old age, a certain anxiety about chastity still remained.
    One of the brothers, we are told in _The Paradise_ (p. 132) said
    to Abbâ Zeno, "Behold thou hast grown old, how is the matter of
    fornication?" The venerable saint replied, "It knocketh, but it
    passeth on."

    As the centuries went by the same strenuous anxiety to guard
    chastity still remained, and the old struggle constantly
    reappeared (see, e.g., Migne's _Dictionnaire d'Ascétisme_, art.
    "Démon, Tentation du"). Some saints, it is true, like Luigi di
    Gonzaga, were so angelically natured that they never felt the
    sting of sexual desire. These seem to have been the exception.
    St. Benedict and St. Francis experienced the difficulty of
    subduing the flesh. St. Magdalena de Pozzi, in order to dispel
    sexual desires, would roll on thorny bushes till the blood came.
    Some saints kept a special cask of cold water in their cells to
    stand in (Lea, _Sacerdotal Celibacy_, vol. i, p. 124). On the
    other hand, the Blessed Angela de Fulginio tells us in her
    _Visiones_ (cap. XIX) that, until forbidden by her confessor, she
    would place hot coals in her secret parts, hoping by material
    fire to extinguish the fire of concupiscence. St. Aldhelm, the
    holy Bishop of Sherborne, in the eighth century, also adopted a
    homeopathic method of treatment, though of a more literal kind,
    for William of Malmsbury states that when tempted by the flesh he
    would have women to sit and lie by him until he grew calm again;
    the method proved very successful, for the reason, it was
    thought, that the Devil felt he had been made a fool of.

    In time the Catholic practice and theory of asceticism became
    more formalized and elaborated, and its beneficial effects were
    held to extend beyond the individual himself. "Asceticism from
    the Christian point of view," writes Brénier de Montmorand in an
    interesting study ("Ascétisme et Mysticisme," _Revue
    Philosophique_, March, 1904) "is nothing else than all the
    therapeutic measures making for moral purification. The Christian
    ascetic is an athlete struggling to transform his corrupt nature
    and make a road to God through the obstacles due to his passions
    and the world. He is not working in his own interests alone,
    but--by virtue of the reversibility of merit which compensates
    that of solidarity in error--for the good and for the salvation
    of the whole of society."

This is the aspect of early Christian asceticism most often emphasized.
But there is another aspect which may be less familiar, but has been by no
means less important. Primitive Christian chastity was on one side a
strenuous discipline. On another side it was a romance, and this indeed
was its most specifically Christian side, for athletic asceticism has been
associated with the most various religious and philosophic beliefs. If,
indeed, it had not possessed the charm of a new sensation, of a delicious
freedom, of an unknown adventure, it would never have conquered the
European world. There are only a few in that world who have in them the
stuff of moral athletes; there are many who respond to the attraction of

The Christians rejected the grosser forms of sexual indulgence, but in
doing so they entered with a more delicate ardor into the more refined
forms of sexual intimacy. They cultivated a relationship of brothers and
sisters to each other, they kissed one another; at one time, in the
spiritual orgy of baptism, they were not ashamed to adopt complete

A very instructive picture of the forms which chastity assumed among the
early Christians is given us in the treatise of Chrysostom _Against Those
who Keep Virgins in their Houses_. Our fathers, Chrysostom begins, only
knew two forms of sexual intimacy, marriage and fornication. Now a third
form has appeared: men introduce young girls into their houses and keep
them there permanently, respecting their virginity. "What," Chrysostom
asks, "is the reason? It seems to me that life in common with a woman is
sweet, even outside conjugal union and fleshly commerce. That is my
feeling; and perhaps it is not my feeling alone; it may also be that of
these men. They would not hold their honor so cheap nor give rise to such
scandals if this pleasure were not violent and tyrannical.... That there
should really be a pleasure in this which produces a love more ardent than
conjugal union may surprise you at first. But when I give you the proofs
you will agree that it is so." The absence of restraint to desire in
marriage, he continues, often leads to speedy disgust, and even apart from
this, sexual intercourse, pregnancy, delivery, lactation, the bringing up
of children, and all the pains and anxieties that accompany these things
soon destroy youth and dull the point of pleasure. The virgin is free from
these burdens. She retains her vigor and youthfulness, and even at the age
of forty may rival the young nubile girl. "A double ardor thus burns in
the heart of him who lives with her, and the gratification of desire never
extinguishes the bright flame which ever continues to increase in
strength." Chrysostom describes minutely all the little cares and
attentions which the modern girls of his time required, and which these
men delighted to expend on their virginal sweethearts whether in public or
in private. He cannot help thinking, however, that the man who lavishes
kisses and caresses on a woman whose virginity he retains is putting
himself somewhat in the position of Tantalus. But this new refinement of
tender chastity, which came as a delicious discovery to the early
Christians who had resolutely thrust away the licentiousness of the pagan
world, was deeply rooted, as we discover from the frequency with which the
grave Fathers of the Church, apprehensive of scandal, felt called upon to
reprove it, though their condemnation is sometimes not without a trace of
secret sympathy.[75]

There was one form in which the new Christian chastity flourished
exuberantly and unchecked: it conquered literature. The most charming,
and, we may be sure, the most popular literature of the early Church lay
in the innumerable romances of erotic chastity--to some extent, it may
well be, founded on fact--which are embodied to-day in the _Acta
Sanctorum_. We can see in even the most simple and non-miraculous early
Christian records of the martyrdom of women that the writers were fully
aware of the delicate charm of the heroine who, like Perpetua at Carthage,
tossed by wild cattle in the arena, rises to gather her torn garment
around her and to put up her disheveled hair.[76] It was an easy step to
the stories of romantic adventure. Among these delightful stories I may
refer especially to the legend of Thekla, which has been placed,
incorrectly it may be, as early as the first century, "The Bride and
Bridegroom of India" in _Judas Thomas's Acts_, "The Virgin of Antioch" as
narrated by St. Ambrose, the history of "Achilleus and Nereus," "Mygdonia
and Karish," and "Two Lovers of Auvergne" as told by Gregory of Tours.
Early Christian literature abounds in the stories of lovers who had indeed
preserved their chastity, and had yet discovered the most exquisite
secrets of love.

    Thekla's day is the twenty-third of September. There is a very
    good Syriac version (by Lipsius and others regarded as more
    primitive than the Greek version) of the _Acts of Paul and
    Thekla_ (see, e.g., Wright's _Apocryphal Acts_). These _Acts_
    belong to the latter part of the second century. The story is
    that Thekla, refusing to yield to the passion of the high priest
    of Syria, was put, naked but for a girdle (_subligaculum_) into
    the arena on the back of a lioness, which licked her feet and
    fought for her against the other beasts, dying in her defense.
    The other beasts, however, did her no harm, and she was finally
    released. A queen loaded her with money, she modified her dress
    to look like a man, travelled to meet Paul, and lived to old age.
    Sir W.M. Ramsay has written an interesting study of these _Acts_
    (_The Church in the Roman Empire_, Ch. XVI). He is of opinion
    that the _Acts_ are based on a first century document, and is
    able to disentangle many elements of truth from the story. He
    states that it is the only evidence we possess of the ideas and
    actions of women during the first century in Asia Minor, where
    their position was so high and their influence so great. Thekla
    represents the assertion of woman's rights, and she administered
    the rite of baptism, though in the existing versions of the
    _Acts_ these features are toned down or eliminated.

    Some of the most typical of these early Christian romances are
    described as Gnostical in origin, with something of the germs of
    Manichæan dualism which were held in the rich and complex matrix
    of Gnosticism, while the spirit of these romances is also largely
    Montanist, with the combined chastity and ardor, the pronounced
    feminine tone due to its origin in Asia Minor, which marked
    Montanism. It cannot be denied, however, that they largely passed
    into the main stream of Christian tradition, and form an
    essential and important part of that tradition. (Renan, in his
    _Marc-Aurèle_, Chs. IX and XV, insists on the immense debt of
    Christianity to Gnostic and Montanist contributions). A
    characteristic example is the story of "The Betrothed of India"
    in _Judas Thomas's Acts_ (Wright's _Apocryphal Acts_). Judas
    Thomas was sold by his master Jesus to an Indian merchant who
    required a carpenter to go with him to India. On disembarking at
    the city of Sandaruk they heard the sounds of music and singing,
    and learnt that it was the wedding-feast of the King's daughter,
    which all must attend, rich and poor, slaves and freemen,
    strangers and citizens. Judas Thomas went, with his new master,
    to the banquet and reclined with a garland of myrtle placed on
    his head. When a Hebrew flute-player came and stood over him and
    played, he sang the songs of Christ, and it was seen that he was
    more beautiful than all that were there and the King sent for him
    to bless the young couple in the bridal chamber. And when all
    were gone out and the door of the bridal chamber closed, the
    bridegroom approached the bride, and saw, as it were, Judas
    Thomas still talking with her. But it was our Lord who said to
    him, "I am not Judas, but his brother." And our Lord sat down on
    the bed beside the young people and began to say to them:
    "Remember, my children, what my brother spake with you, and know
    to whom he committed you, and know that if ye preserve yourselves
    from this filthy intercourse ye become pure temples, and are
    saved from afflictions manifest and hidden, and from the heavy
    care of children, the end whereof is bitter sorrow. For their
    sakes ye will become oppressors and robbers, and ye will be
    grievously tortured for their injuries. For children are the
    cause of many pains; either the King falls upon them or a demon
    lays hold of them, or paralysis befalls them. And if they be
    healthy they come to ill, either by adultery, or theft, or
    fornication, or covetousness, or vain-glory. But if ye will be
    persuaded by me, and keep yourselves purely unto God, ye shall
    have living children to whom not one of these blemishes and hurts
    cometh nigh; and ye shall be without care and without grief and
    without sorrow, and ye shall hope for the time when ye shall see
    the true wedding-feast." The young couple were persuaded, and
    refrained from lust, and our Lord vanished. And in the morning,
    when it was dawn, the King had the table furnished early and
    brought in before the bridegroom and bride. And he found them
    sitting the one opposite the other, and the face of the bride was
    uncovered and the bridegroom was very cheerful. The mother of the
    bride saith to her: "Why art thou sitting thus, and art not
    ashamed, but art as if, lo, thou wert married a long time, and
    for many a day?" And her father, too, said; "Is it thy great love
    for thy husband that prevents thee from even veiling thyself?"
    And the bride answered and said: "Truly, my father, I am in great
    love, and am praying to my Lord that I may continue in this love
    which I have experienced this night. I am not veiled, because the
    veil of corruption is taken from me, and I am not ashamed,
    because the deed of shame has been removed far from me, and I am
    cheerful and gay, and despise this deed of corruption and the
    joys of this wedding-feast, because I am invited to the true
    wedding-feast. I have not had intercourse with a husband, the end
    whereof is bitter repentance, because I am betrothed to the true
    Husband." The bridegroom answered also in the same spirit, very
    naturally to the dismay of the King, who sent for the sorcerer
    whom he had asked to bless his unlucky daughter. But Judas Thomas
    had already left the city and at his inn the King's stewards
    found only the flute-player, sitting and weeping because he had
    not taken her with him. She was glad, however, when she heard
    what had happened, and hastened to the young couple, and lived
    with them ever afterwards. The King also was finally reconciled,
    and all ended chastely, but happily.

    In these same _Judas Thomas's Acts_, which are not later than the
    fourth century, we find (eighth act) the story of Mygdonia and
    Karish. Mygdonia, the wife of Karish, is converted by Thomas and
    flees from her husband, naked save for the curtain of the chamber
    door which she has wrapped around her, to her old nurse. With the
    nurse she goes to Thomas, who pours holy oil over her head,
    bidding the nurse to anoint her all over with it; then a cloth is
    put round her loins and he baptizes her; then she is clothed and
    he gives her the sacrament. The young rapture of chastity grows
    lyrical at times, and Judas Thomas breaks out: "Purity is the
    athlete who is not overcome. Purity is the truth that blencheth
    not. Purity is worthy before God of being to Him a familiar
    handmaiden. Purity is the messenger of concord which bringeth the
    tidings of peace."

    Another romance of chastity is furnished by the episode of
    Drusiana in _The History of the Apostles_ traditionally
    attributed to Abdias, Bishop of Babylon (Bk. v, Ch. IV, _et
    seq._). Drusiana is the wife of Andronicus, and is so pious that
    she will not have intercourse with him. The youth Callimachus
    falls madly in love with her, and his amorous attempts involve
    many exciting adventures, but the chastity of Drusiana is finally

    A characteristic example of the literature we are here concerned
    with is St. Ambrose's story of "The Virgin in the Brothel"
    (narrated in his _De Virginibus_, Migne's edition of Ambrose's
    Works, vols. iii-iv, p. 211). A certain virgin, St. Ambrose tells
    us, who lately lived at Antioch, was condemned either to
    sacrifice to the gods or to go to the brothel. She chose the
    latter alternative. But the first man who came in to her was a
    Christian soldier who called her "sister," and bade her have no
    fear. He proposed that they should exchange clothes. This was
    done and she escaped, while the soldier was led away to death. At
    the place of execution, however, she ran up and exclaimed that it
    was not death she feared but shame. He, however, maintained that
    he had been condemned to death in her place. Finally the crown of
    martyrdom for which they contended was adjudged to both.

    We constantly observe in the early documents of this romantic
    literature of chastity that chastity is insisted on by no means
    chiefly because of its rewards after death, nor even because the
    virgin who devotes herself to it secures in Christ an ever-young
    lover whose golden-haired beauty is sometimes emphasized. Its
    chief charm is represented as lying in its own joy and freedom
    and the security it involves from all the troubles,
    inconveniences and bondages of matrimony. This early Christian
    movement of romantic chastity was clearly, in large measure, a
    revolt of women against men and marriage. This is well brought
    out in the instructive story, supposed to be of third century
    origin, of the eunuchs Achilleus and Nereus, as narrated in the
    _Acta Sanctorum_, May 12th. Achilleus and Nereus were Christian
    eunuchs of the bedchamber to Domitia, a virgin of noble birth,
    related to the Emperor Domitian and betrothed to Aurelian, son
    of a Consul. One day, as their mistress was putting on her jewels
    and her purple garments embroidered with gold, they began in turn
    to talk to her about all the joys and advantages of virginity, as
    compared to marriage with a mere man. The conversation is
    developed at great length and with much eloquence. Domitia was
    finally persuaded. She suffered much from Aurelian in
    consequence, and when he obtained her banishment to an island she
    went thither with Achilleus and Nereus, who were put to death.
    Incidentally, the death of Felicula, another heroine of chastity,
    is described. When elevated on the rack because she would not
    marry, she constantly refused to deny Jesus, whom she called her
    lover. "Ego non nego amatorem meum!"

    A special department of this literature is concerned with stories
    of the conversions or the penitence of courtesans. St.
    Martinianus, for instance (Feb. 13), was tempted by the courtesan
    Zoe, but converted her. The story of St. Margaret of Cortona
    (Feb. 22), a penitent courtesan, is late, for she belongs to the
    thirteenth century. The most delightful document in this
    literature is probably the latest, the fourteenth century Italian
    devotional romance called _The Life of Saint Mary Magdalen_,
    commonly associated with the name of Frate Domenico Cavalca. (It
    has been translated into English). It is the delicately and
    deliciously told romance of the chaste and passionate love of the
    sweet sinner, Mary Magdalene, for her beloved Master.

    As time went on the insistence on the joys of chastity in this
    life became less marked, and chastity is more and more regarded
    as a state only to be fully rewarded in a future life. Even,
    however, in Gregory of Tours's charming story of "The Two Lovers
    of Auvergne," in which this attitude is clear, the pleasures of
    chaste love in this life are brought out as clearly as in any of
    the early romances (_Historia Francorum_, lib. i, cap. XLII). Two
    senators of Auvergne each had an only child, and they betrothed
    them to each other. When the wedding day came and the young
    couple were placed in bed, the bride turned to the wall and wept
    bitterly. The bridegroom implored her to tell him what was the
    matter, and, turning towards him, she said that if she were to
    weep all her days she could never wash away her grief for she had
    resolved to give her little body immaculate to Christ, untouched
    by men, and now instead of immortal roses she had only had on her
    brow faded roses, which deformed rather than adorned it, and
    instead of the dowry of Paradise which Christ had promised her
    she had become the consort of a merely mortal man. She deplored
    her sad fate at considerable length and with much gentle
    eloquence. At length the bridegroom, overcome by her sweet words,
    felt that eternal life had shone before him like a great light,
    and declared that if she wished to abstain from carnal desires he
    was of the same mind. She was grateful, and with clasped hands
    they fell asleep. For many years they thus lived together,
    chastely sharing the same bed. At length she died and was buried,
    her lover restoring her immaculate to the hands of Christ. Soon
    afterwards he died also, and was placed in a separate tomb. Then
    a miracle happened which made manifest the magnitude of this
    chaste love, for the two bodies were found mysteriously placed
    together. To this day, Gregory concludes (writing in the sixth
    century), the people of the place call them "The Two Lovers."

    Although Renan (_Marc-Aurèle_, Ch. XV) briefly called attention
    to the existence of this copious early Christian literature
    setting forth the romance of chastity, it seems as yet to have
    received little or no study. It is, however, of considerable
    importance, not merely for its own sake, but on account of its
    psychological significance in making clear the nature of the
    motive forces which made chastity easy and charming to the people
    of the early Christian world, even when it involved complete
    abstinence from sexual intercourse. The early Church
    anathematized the eroticism of the Pagan world, and exorcized it
    in the most effectual way by setting up a new and more exquisite
    eroticism of its own.

During the Middle Ages the primitive freshness of Christian chastity began
to lose its charm. No more romances of chastity were written, and in
actual life men no longer sought daring adventures in the field of
chastity. So far as the old ideals survived at all it was in the secular
field of chivalry. The last notable figure to emulate the achievements of
the early Christians was Robert of Arbrissel in Normandy.

    Robert of Arbrissel, who founded, in the eleventh century, the
    famous and distinguished Order of Fontevrault for women, was a
    Breton. This Celtic origin is doubtless significant, for it may
    explain his unfailing ardor and gaiety, and his enthusiastic
    veneration for womanhood. Even those of his friends who
    deprecated what they considered his scandalous conduct bear
    testimony to his unfailing and cheerful temperament, his
    alertness in action, his readiness for any deed of humanity, and
    his entire freedom from severity. He attracted immense crowds of
    people of all conditions, especially women, including
    prostitutes, and his influence over women was great. Once he went
    into a brothel to warm his feet, and, incidentally, converted all
    the women there. "Who are you?" asked one of them, "I have been
    here twenty-five years and nobody has ever come here to talk
    about God." Robert's relation with his nuns at Fontevrault was
    very intimate, and he would often sleep with them. This is set
    forth precisely in letters written by friends of his, bishops and
    abbots, one of whom remarks that Robert had "discovered a new
    but fruitless form of martyrdom." A royal abbess of Fontevrault
    in the seventeenth century, pretending that the venerated founder
    of the order could not possibly have been guilty of such
    scandalous conduct, and that the letters must therefore be
    spurious, had the originals destroyed, so far as possible. The
    Bollandists, in an unscholarly and incomplete account of the
    matter (_Acta Sanctorum_, Feb. 25), adopted this view. J. von
    Walter, however, in a recent and thorough study of Robert of
    Arbrissel (_Die Ersten Wanderprediger Frankreichs_, Theil I),
    shows that there is no reason whatever to doubt the authentic and
    reliable character of the impugned letters.

The early Christian legends of chastity had, however, their successors.
_Aucassin et Nicolette_, which was probably written in Northern France
towards the end of the twelfth century, is above all the descendant of the
stories in the _Acta Sanctorum_ and elsewhere. It embodied their spirit
and carried it forward, uniting their delicate feeling for chastity and
purity with the ideal of monogamic love. _Aucassin et Nicolette_ was the
death-knell of the primitive Christian romance of chastity. It was the
discovery that the chaste refinements of delicacy and devotion were
possible within the strictly normal sphere of sexual love.

There were at least two causes which tended to extinguish the primitive
Christian attraction to chastity, even apart from the influence of the
Church authorities in repressing its romantic manifestations. In the first
place, the submergence of the old pagan world, with its practice and, to
some extent, ideal of sexual indulgence, removed the foil which had given
grace and delicacy to the tender freedom of the young Christians. In the
second place, the austerities which the early Christians had gladly
practised for the sake of their soul's health, were robbed of their charm
and spontaneity by being made a formal part of codes of punishment for
sin, first in the Penitentials and afterwards at the discretion of
confessors. This, it may be added, was rendered the more necessary because
the ideal of Christian chastity was no longer largely the possession of
refined people who had been rendered immune to Pagan license by being
brought up in its midst, and even themselves steeped in it. It was clearly
from the first a serious matter for the violent North Africans to maintain
the ideal of chastity, and when Christianity spread to Northern Europe it
seemed almost a hopeless task to acclimatize its ideals among the wild
Germans. Hereafter it became necessary for celibacy to be imposed on the
regular clergy by the stern force of ecclesiastical authority, while
voluntary celibacy was only kept alive by a succession of religious
enthusiasts perpetually founding new Orders. An asceticism thus enforced
could not always be accompanied by the ardent exaltation necessary to
maintain it, and in its artificial efforts at self-preservation it
frequently fell from its insecure heights to the depths of unrestrained
license.[77] This fatality of all hazardous efforts to overpass humanity's
normal limits begun to be realized after the Middle Ages were over by
clear-sighted thinkers. "Qui veut faire l'ange," said Pascal, pungently
summing up this view of the matter, "fait la bête." That had often been
illustrated in the history of the Church.

    The Penitentials began to come into use in the seventh century,
    and became of wide prevalence and authority during the ninth and
    tenth centuries. They were bodies of law, partly spiritual and
    partly secular, and were thrown into the form of catalogues of
    offences with the exact measure of penance prescribed for each
    offence. They represented the introduction of social order among
    untamed barbarians, and were codes of criminal law much more than
    part of a system of sacramental confession and penance. In France
    and Spain, where order on a Christian basis already existed, they
    were little needed. They had their origin in Ireland and England,
    and especially flourished in Germany; Charlemagne supported them
    (see, e.g., Lea, _History of Auricular Confession_, vol. ii, p.
    96, also Ch. XVII; Hugh Williams, edition of Gildas, Part II,
    Appendix 3; the chief Penitentials are reproduced in
    Wasserschleben's _Bussordnungen_).

    In 1216 the Lateran Council, under Innocent III, made confession
    obligatory. The priestly prerogative of regulating the amount of
    penance according to circumstances, with greater flexibility than
    the rigid Penitentials admitted, was first absolutely asserted by
    Peter of Poitiers. Then Alain de Lille threw aside the
    Penitentials as obsolete, and declared that the priest himself
    must inquire into the circumstances of each sin and weigh
    precisely its guilt (Lea, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 171).

    Long before this period, however, the ideals of chastity, so far
    as they involved any considerable degree of continence, although
    they had become firmly hardened into the conventional traditions
    and ideals of the Christian Church, had ceased to have any great
    charm or force for the people living in Christendom. Among the
    Northern barbarians, with different traditions of a more vigorous
    and natural order behind them, the demands of sex were often
    frankly exhibited. The monk Ordericus Vitalis, in the eleventh
    century, notes what he calls the "lasciviousness" of the wives of
    the Norman conquerors of England who, when left alone at home,
    sent messages that if their husbands failed to return speedily
    they would take new ones. The celibacy of the clergy was only
    established with the very greatest difficulty, and when it was
    established, priests became unchaste. Archbishop Odo of Rouen, in
    the thirteenth century, recorded in the diary of his diocesan
    visitations that there was one unchaste priest in every five
    parishes, and even as regards the Italy of the same period the
    friar Salimbene in his remarkable autobiography shows how little
    chastity was regarded in the religious life. Chastity could now
    only be maintained by force, usually the moral force of
    ecclesiastical authority, which was itself undermined by
    unchastity, but sometimes even physical force. It was in the
    thirteenth century, in the opinion of some, that the girdle of
    chastity (_cingula castitatis_) first begins to appear, but the
    chief authority, Caufeynon (_La Ceinture de Chasteté_, 1904)
    believes it only dates from the Renaissance (Schultz, _Das
    Höfische Leben zur Zeit der Minnesänger_, vol. i, p. 595; Dufour,
    _Histoire de la Prostitution_, vol. v, p. 272; Krauss,
    _Anthropophyteia_, vol. iii, p. 247). In the sixteenth century
    convents were liable to become almost brothels, as we learn on
    the unimpeachable authority of Burchard, a Pope's secretary, in
    his _Diarium_, edited by Thuasne who brings together additional
    authorities for this statement in a footnote (vol. ii, p. 79);
    that they remained so in the eighteenth century we see clearly in
    the pages of Casanova's _Mémoires_, and in many other documents
    of the period.

The Renaissance and the rise of humanism undoubtedly affected the feeling
towards asceticism and chastity. On the one hand a new and ancient
sanction was found for the disregard of virtues which men began to look
upon as merely monkish, and on the other hand the finer spirits affected
by the new movement began to realize that chastity might be better
cultivated and observed by those who were free to do as they would than by
those who were under the compulsion of priestly authority. That is the
feeling that prevails in Montaigne, and that is the idea of Rabelais when
he made it the only rule of his Abbey of Thelème: "Fay ce que vouldras."

    A little later this doctrine was repeated in varying tones by
    many writers more or less tinged by the culture brought into
    fashion by the Renaissance. "As long as Danae was free," remarks
    Ferrand in his sixteenth century treatise, _De la Maladie
    d'Amour_, "she was chaste." And Sir Kenelm Digby, the latest
    representative of the Renaissance spirit, insists in his _Private
    Memoirs_ that the liberty which Lycurgus, "the wisest human
    law-maker that ever was," gave to women to communicate their
    bodies to men to whom they were drawn by noble affection, and the
    hope of generous offspring, was the true cause why "real chastity
    flourished in Sparta more than in any other part of the world."

In Protestant countries the ascetic ideal of chastity was still further
discredited by the Reformation movement which was in considerable part a
revolt against compulsory celibacy. Religion was thus no longer placed on
the side of chastity. In the eighteenth century, if not earlier, the
authority of Nature also was commonly invoked against chastity. It has
thus happened that during the past two centuries serious opinion
concerning chastity has only been partially favorable to it. It began to
be felt that an unhappy and injurious mistake had been perpetrated by
attempting to maintain a lofty ideal which encouraged hypocrisy. "The
human race would gain much," as Sénancour wrote early in the nineteenth
century in his remarkable book on love, "if virtue were made less
laborious. The merit would not be so great, but what is the use of an
elevation which can rarely be sustained?"[78]

There can be no doubt that the undue discredit into which the idea of
chastity began to fall from the eighteenth century onwards was largely
due to the existence of that merely external and conventional physical
chastity which was arbitrarily enforced so far as it could be
enforced,--and is indeed in some degree still enforced, nominally or
really,--upon all respectable women outside marriage. The conception of
the physical virtue of virginity had degraded the conception of the
spiritual virtue of chastity. A mere routine, it was felt, prescribed to a
whole sex, whether they would or not, could never possess the beauty and
charm of a virtue. At the same time it began to be realized that, as a
matter of fact, the state of compulsory virginity is not only not a state
especially favorable to the cultivation of real virtues, but that it is
bound up with qualities which are no longer regarded as of high value.[79]

    "How arbitrary, artificial, contrary to Nature, is the life now
    imposed upon women in this matter of chastity!" wrote James
    Hinton forty years ago. "Think of that line: 'A woman who
    deliberates is lost.' We _make_ danger, making all womanhood hang
    upon a point like this, and surrounding it with unnatural and
    preternatural dangers. There is a wanton unreason embodied in the
    life of woman now; the present 'virtue' is a morbid unhealthy
    plant. Nature and God never poised the life of a woman upon such
    a needle's point. The whole modern idea of chastity has in it
    sensual exaggeration, surely, in part, remaining to us from other
    times, with what was good in it in great part gone."

    "The whole grace of virginity," wrote another philosopher,
    Guyau, "is ignorance. Virginity, like certain fruits, can only
    be preserved by a process of desiccation."

    Mérimée pointed out the same desiccating influence of virginity.
    In a letter dated 1859 he wrote: "I think that nowadays people
    attach far too much importance to chastity. Not that I deny that
    chastity is a virtue, but there are degrees in virtues just as
    there are in vices. It seems to be absurd that a woman should be
    banished from society for having had a lover, while a woman who
    is miserly, double-faced and spiteful goes everywhere. The
    morality of this age is assuredly not that which is taught in the
    Gospel. In my opinion it is better to love too much than not
    enough. Nowadays dry hearts are stuck up on a pinnacle" (_Revue
    des Deux Mondes_, April, 1896).

    Dr. H. Paul has developed an allied point. She writes: "There are
    girls who, even as children, have prostituted themselves by
    masturbation and lascivious thoughts. The purity of their souls
    has long been lost and nothing remains unknown to them, but--they
    have preserved their hymens! That is for the sake of the future
    husband. Let no one dare to doubt their innocence with that
    unimpeachable evidence! And if another girl, who has passed her
    childhood in complete purity, now, with awakened senses and warm
    impetuous womanliness, gives herself to a man in love or even
    only in passion, they all stand up and scream that she is
    'dishonored!' And, not least, the prostituted girl with the
    hymen. It is she indeed who screams loudest and throws the
    biggest stones. Yet the 'dishonored' woman, who is sound and
    wholesome, need not fear to tell what she has done to the man who
    desires her in marriage, speaking as one human being to another.
    She has no need to blush, she has exercised her human rights, and
    no reasonable man will on that account esteem her the less" (Dr.
    H. Paul, "Die Ueberschätzung der Jungfernschaft," _Geschlecht und
    Gesellschaft_, Bd. ii, p. 14, 1907).

    In a similar spirit writes F. Erhard (_Geschlecht und
    Gesellschaft_, Bd. i, p. 408): "Virginity in one sense has its
    worth, but in the ordinary sense it is greatly overestimated.
    Apart from the fact that a girl who possesses it may yet be
    thoroughly perverted, this over-estimation of virginity leads to
    the girl who is without it being despised, and has further
    resulted in the development of a special industry for the
    preparation, by means of a prudishly cloistral education, of
    girls who will bring to their husbands the peculiar dainty of a
    bride who knows nothing about anything. Naturally, this can only
    be achieved at the expense of any rational education. What the
    undeveloped little goose may turn into, no man can foresee."

    Freud (_Sexual-Probleme_, March, 1908) also points out the evil
    results of the education for marriage which is given to girls on
    the basis of this ideal of virginity. "Education undertakes the
    task of repressing the girl's sensuality until the time of
    betrothal. It not only forbids sexual relations and sets a high
    premium on innocence, but it also withdraws the ripening womanly
    individuality from temptation, maintaining a state of ignorance
    concerning the practical side of the part she is intended to play
    in life, and enduring no stirring of love which cannot lead to
    marriage. The result is that when she is suddenly permitted to
    fall in love by the authority of her elders, the girl cannot
    bring her psychic disposition to bear, and goes into marriage
    uncertain of her own feelings. As a consequence of this
    artificial retardation of the function of love she brings nothing
    but deception to the husband who has set all his desires upon
    her, and manifests frigidity in her physical relations with him."

    Sénancour (_De l'Amour_, vol. i, p. 285) even believes that, when
    it is possible to leave out of consideration the question of
    offspring, not only will the law of chastity become equal for the
    two sexes, but there will be a tendency for the situation of the
    sexes to be, to some extent, changed. "Continence becomes a
    counsel rather than a precept, and it is in women that the
    voluptuous inclination will be regarded with most indulgence. Man
    is made for work; he only meets pleasure in passing; he must be
    content that women should occupy themselves with it more than he.
    It is men whom it exhausts, and men must always, in part,
    restrain their desires."

As, however, we liberate ourselves from the bondage of a compulsory
physical chastity, it becomes possible to rehabilitate chastity as a
virtue. At the present day it can no longer be said that there is on the
part of thinkers and moralists any active hostility to the idea of
chastity; there is, on the contrary, a tendency to recognize the value of
chastity. But this recognition has been accompanied by a return to the
older and sounder conception of chastity. The preservation of a rigid
sexual abstinence, an empty virginity, can only be regarded as a
pseudo-chastity. The only positive virtue which Aristotle could have
recognized in this field was a temperance involving restraint of the lower
impulses, a wise exercise and not a non-exercise.[80] The best thinkers of
the Christian Church adopted the same conception; St. Basil in his
important monastic rules laid no weight on self-discipline as an end in
itself, but regarded it as an instrument for enabling the spirit to gain
power over the flesh. St. Augustine declared that continence is only
excellent when practised in the faith of the highest good,[81] and he
regarded chastity as "an orderly movement of the soul subordinating lower
things to higher things, and specially to be manifested in conjugal
relationships"; Thomas Aquinas, defining chastity in much the same way,
defined impurity as the enjoyment of sexual pleasure not according to
right reason, whether as regards the object or the conditions.[82] But for
a time the voices of the great moralists were unheard. The virtue of
chastity was swamped in the popular Christian passion for the annihilation
of the flesh, and that view was, in the sixteenth century, finally
consecrated by the Council of Trent, which formally pronounced an anathema
upon anyone who should declare that the state of virginity and celibacy
was not better than the state of matrimony. Nowadays the pseudo-chastity
that was of value on the simple ground that any kind of continence is of
higher spiritual worth than any kind of sexual relationship belongs to the
past, except for those who adhere to ancient ascetic creeds. The mystic
value of virginity has gone; it seems only to arouse in the modern man's
mind the idea of a piquancy craved by the hardened rake;[83] it is men who
have themselves long passed the age of innocence who attach so much
importance to the innocence of their brides. The conception of life-long
continence as an ideal has also gone; at the best it is regarded as a mere
matter of personal preference. And the conventional simulation of
universal chastity, at the bidding of respectability, is coming to be
regarded as a hindrance rather than a help to the cultivation of any real

The chastity that is regarded by the moralist of to-day as a virtue has
its worth by no means in its abstinence. It is not, in St. Theresa's
words, the virtue of the tortoise which withdraws its limbs under its
carapace. It is a virtue because it is a discipline in self-control,
because it helps to fortify the character and will, and because it is
directly favorable to the cultivation of the most beautiful, exalted, and
effective sexual life. So viewed, chastity may be opposed to the demands
of debased mediæval Catholicism, but it is in harmony with the demands of
our civilized life to-day, and by no means at variance with the
requirements of Nature.

There is always an analogy between the instinct of reproduction and the
instinct of nutrition. In the matter of eating it is the influence of
science, of physiology, which has finally put aside an exaggerated
asceticism, and made eating "pure." The same process, as James Hinton well
pointed out, has been made possible in the sexual relationships; "science
has in its hands the key to purity."[85]

Many influences have, however, worked together to favor an insistence on
chastity. There has, in the first place, been an inevitable reaction
against the sexual facility which had come to be regarded as natural. Such
facility was found to have no moral value, for it tended to relaxation of
moral fibre and was unfavorable to the finest sexual satisfaction. It
could not even claim to be natural in any broad sense of the word, for, in
Nature generally, sexual gratification tends to be rare and difficult.[86]
Courtship is arduous and long, the season of love is strictly delimited,
pregnancy interrupts sexual relationships. Even among savages, so long as
they have been untainted by civilization, virility is usually maintained
by a fine asceticism; the endurance of hardship, self-control and
restraint, tempered by rare orgies, constitute a discipline which covers
the sexual as well as every other department of savage life. To preserve
the same virility in civilized life, it may well be felt, we must
deliberately cultivate a virtue which under savage conditions of life is

The influence of Nietzsche, direct and indirect, has been on the side of
the virtue of chastity in its modern sense. The command: "Be hard," as
Nietzsche used it, was not so much an injunction to an unfeeling
indifference towards others as an appeal for a more strenuous attitude
towards one's self, the cultivation of a self-control able to gather up
and hold in the forces of the soul for expenditure on deliberately
accepted ends. "A relative chastity," he wrote, "a fundamental and wise
foresight in the face of erotic things, even in thought, is part of a fine
reasonableness in life, even in richly endowed and complete natures."[88]
In this matter Nietzsche is a typical representative of the modern
movement for the restoration of chastity to its proper place as a real and
beneficial virtue, and not a mere empty convention. Such a movement could
not fail to make itself felt, for all that favors facility and luxurious
softness in sexual matters is quickly felt to degrade character as well as
to diminish the finest erotic satisfaction. For erotic satisfaction, in
its highest planes, is only possible when we have secured for the sexual
impulse a high degree of what Colin Scott calls "irradiation," that is to
say a wide diffusion through the whole of the psychic organism. And that
can only be attained by placing impediments in the way of the swift and
direct gratification of sexual desire, by compelling it to increase its
force, to take long circuits, to charge the whole organism so highly that
the final climax of gratified love is not the trivial detumescence of a
petty desire but the immense consummation of a longing in which the whole
soul as well as the whole body has its part. "Only the chaste can be
really obscene," said Huysmans. And on a higher plane, only the chaste can
really love.

    "Physical purity," remarks Hans Menjago ("Die Ueberschätzung der
    Physischen Reinheit," _Geschlecht und Gesellschaft_, vol. ii,
    Part VIII) "was originally valued as a sign of greater strength
    of will and firmness of character, and it marked a rise above
    primitive conditions. This purity was difficult to preserve in
    those unsure days; it was rare and unusual. From this rarity rose
    the superstition of supernatural power residing in the virgin.
    But this has no meaning as soon as such purity becomes general
    and a specially conspicuous degree of firmness of character is no
    longer needed to maintain it.... Physical purity can only possess
    value when it is the result of individual strength of character,
    and not when it is the result of compulsory rules of morality."

    Konrad Höller, who has given special attention to the sexual
    question in schools, remarks in relation to physical exercise:
    "The greatest advantage of physical exercises, however, is not
    the development of the active and passive strength of the body
    and its skill, but the establishment and fortification of the
    authority of the will over the body and its needs, so much given
    up to indolence. He who has learnt to endure and overcome, for
    the sake of a definite aim, hunger and thirst and fatigue, will
    be the better able to withstand sexual impulses and the
    temptation to gratify them, when better insight and æsthetic
    feeling have made clear to him, as one used to maintain authority
    over his body, that to yield would be injurious or disgraceful"
    (K. Höller, "Die Aufgabe der Volksschule," _Sexualpädagogik_, p.
    70). Professor Schäfenacker (id., p. 102), who also emphasizes
    the importance of self-control and self-restraint, thinks a youth
    must bear in mind his future mission, as citizen and father of a

    A subtle and penetrative thinker of to-day, Jules de Gaultier,
    writing on morals without reference to this specific question,
    has discussed what new internal inhibitory motives we can appeal
    to in replacing the old external inhibition of authority and
    belief which is now decayed. He answers that the state of feeling
    on which old faiths were based still persists. "May not," he
    asks, "the desire for a thing that we love and wish for
    beneficently replace the belief that a thing is by divine will,
    or in the nature of things? Will not the presence of a bridle on
    the frenzy of instinct reveal itself as a useful attitude adopted
    by instinct itself for its own conservation, as a symptom of the
    force and health of instinct? Is not empire over oneself, the
    power of regulating one's acts, a mark of superiority and a
    motive for self-esteem? Will not this joy of pride have the same
    authority in preserving the instincts as was once possessed by
    religious fear and the pretended imperatives of reason?" (Jules
    de Gaultier, _La Dépendance de la Morale et l'Indépendance des
    Moeurs_, p. 153.)

    H.G. Wells (in _A Modern Utopia_), pointing out the importance of
    chastity, though rejecting celibacy, invokes, like Jules de
    Gaultier, the motive of pride. "Civilization has developed far
    more rapidly than man has modified. Under the unnatural
    perfection of security, liberty, and abundance our civilization
    has attained, the normal untrained human being is disposed to
    excess in almost every direction; he tends to eat too much and
    too elaborately, to drink too much, to become lazy faster than
    his work can be reduced, to waste his interest upon displays, and
    to make love too much and too elaborately. He gets out of
    training, and concentrates upon egoistic or erotic broodings. Our
    founders organized motives from all sorts of sources, but I think
    the chief force to give men self-control is pride. Pride may not
    be the noblest thing in the soul, but it is the best king there,
    for all that. They looked to it to keep a man clean and sound and
    sane. In this matter, as in all matters of natural desire, they
    held no appetite must be glutted, no appetite must have
    artificial whets, and also and equally that no appetite should be
    starved. A man must come from the table satisfied, but not
    replete. And, in the matter of love, a straight and clean desire
    for a clean and straight fellow-creature was our founders' ideal.
    They enjoined marriage between equals as the duty to the race,
    and they framed directions of the precisest sort to prevent that
    uxorious inseparableness, that connubiality, that sometimes
    reduces a couple of people to something jointly less than

    With regard to chastity as an element of erotic satisfaction,
    Edward Carpenter writes (_Love's Coming of Age_, p. 11): "There
    is a kind of illusion about physical desire similar to that which
    a child suffers from when, seeing a beautiful flower, it
    instantly snatches the same, and destroys in a few moments the
    form and fragrance which attracted it. He only gets the full
    glory who holds himself back a little, and truly possesses, who
    is willing, if need be, not to possess. He is indeed a master of
    life who, accepting the grosser desires as they come to his body,
    and not refusing them, knows how to transform them at will into
    the most rare and fragrant flowers of human emotion."

Beyond its functions in building up character, in heightening and
ennobling the erotic life, and in subserving the adequate fulfilment of
family and social duties, chastity has a more special value for those who
cultivate the arts. We may not always be inclined to believe the writers
who have declared that their verse alone is wanton, but their lives
chaste. It is certainly true, however, that a relationship of this kind
tends to occur. The stuff of the sexual life, as Nietzsche says, is the
stuff of art; if it is expended in one channel it is lost for the other.
The masters of all the more intensely emotional arts have frequently
cultivated a high degree of chastity. This is notably the case as regards
music; one thinks of Mozart,[89] of Beethoven, of Schubert, and many
lesser men. In the case of poets and novelists chastity may usually seem
to be less prevalent but it is frequently well-marked, and is not seldom
disguised by the resounding reverberations which even the slightest
love-episode often exerts on the poetic organism. Goethe's life seems, at
a first glance, to be a long series of continuous love-episodes. Yet when
we remember that it was the very long life of a man whose vigor remained
until the end, that his attachments long and profoundly affected his
emotional life and his work, and that with most of the women he has
immortalized he never had actual sexual relationships at all, and when we
realize, moreover, that, throughout, he accomplished an almost
inconceivably vast amount of work, we shall probably conclude that sexual
indulgence had a very much smaller part in Goethe's life than in that of
many an average man on whom it leaves no obvious emotional or intellectual
trace whatever. Sterne, again, declared that he must always have a
Dulcinea dancing in his head, yet the amount of his intimate relations
with women appears to have been small. Balzac spent his life toiling at
his desk and carrying on during many years a love correspondence with a
woman he scarcely ever saw and at the end only spent a few months of
married life with. The like experience has befallen many artistic
creators. For, in the words of Landor, "absence is the invisible and
incorporeal mother of ideal beauty."

We do well to remember that, while the auto-erotic manifestations through
the brain are of infinite variety and importance, the brain and the
sexual organs are yet the great rivals in using up bodily energy, and that
there is an antagonism between extreme brain vigor and extreme sexual
vigor, even although they may sometimes both appear at different periods
in the same individual.[90] In this sense there is no paradox in the
saying of Ramon Correa that potency is impotence and impotence potency,
for a high degree of energy, whether in athletics or in intellect or in
sexual activity, is unfavorable to the display of energy in other
directions. Every high degree of potency has its related impotencies.

    It may be added that we may find a curiously inconsistent proof
    of the excessive importance attached to sexual function by a
    society which systematically tries to depreciate sex, in the
    disgrace which is attributed to the lack of "virile" potency.
    Although civilized life offers immense scope for the activities
    of sexually impotent persons, the impotent man is made to feel
    that, while he need not be greatly concerned if he suffers from
    nervous disturbances of digestion, if he should suffer just as
    innocently from nervous disturbances of the sexual impulse, it is
    almost a crime. A striking example of this was shown, a few years
    ago, when it was plausibly suggested that Carlyle's relations
    with his wife might best be explained by supposing that he
    suffered from some trouble of sexual potency. At once admirers
    rushed forward to "defend" Carlyle from this "disgraceful"
    charge; they were more shocked than if it had been alleged that
    he was a syphilitic. Yet impotence is, at the most, an infirmity,
    whether due to some congenital anatomical defect or to a
    disturbance of nervous balance in the delicate sexual mechanism,
    such as is apt to occur in men of abnormally sensitive
    temperament. It is no more disgraceful to suffer from it than
    from dyspepsia, with which, indeed, it may be associated. Many
    men of genius and high moral character have been sexually
    deformed. This was the case with Cowper (though this significant
    fact is suppressed by his biographers); Ruskin was divorced for a
    reason of this kind; and J.S. Mill, it is said, was sexually of
    little more than infantile development.

Up to this point I have been considering the quality of chastity and the
quality of asceticism in their most general sense and without any attempt
at precise differentiation.[91] But if we are to accept these as modern
virtues, valid to-day, it is necessary that we should be somewhat more
precise in defining them. It seems most convenient, and most strictly
accordant also with etymology, if we agree to mean by asceticism or
_ascesis_, the athlete quality of self-discipline, controlling, by no
means necessarily for indefinitely prolonged periods, the gratification of
the sexual impulse. By chastity, which is primarily the quality of purity,
and secondarily that of holiness, rather than of abstinence, we may best
understand a due proportion between erotic claims and the other claims of
life. "Chastity," as Ellen Key well says, "is harmony between body and
soul in relation to love." Thus comprehended, asceticism is the virtue of
control that leads up to erotic gratification, and chastity is the virtue
which exerts its harmonizing influence in the erotic life itself.

It will be seen that asceticism by no means necessarily involves perpetual
continence. Properly understood, asceticism is a discipline, a training,
which has reference to an end not itself. If it is compulsorily perpetual,
whether at the dictates of a religious dogma, or as a mere fetish, it is
no longer on a natural basis, and it is no longer moral, for the restraint
of a man who has spent his whole life in a prison is of no value for life.
If it is to be natural and to be moral asceticism must have an end outside
itself, it must subserve the ends of vital activity, which cannot be
subserved by a person who is engaged in a perpetual struggle with his own
natural instincts. A man may, indeed, as a matter of taste or preference,
live his whole life in sexual abstinence, freely and easily, but in that
case he is not an ascetic, and his abstinence is neither a subject for
applause nor for criticism.

In the same way chastity, far from involving sexual abstinence, only has
its value when it is brought within the erotic sphere. A purity that is
ignorance, when the age of childish innocence is once passed, is mere
stupidity; it is nearer to vice than to virtue. Nor is purity consonant
with effort and struggle; in that respect it differs from asceticism. "We
conquer the bondage of sex," Rosa Mayreder says, "by acceptance, not by
denials, and men can only do this with the help of women." The would-be
chastity of cold calculation is equally unbeautiful and unreal, and
without any sort of value. A true and worthy chastity can only be
supported by an ardent ideal, whether, as among the early Christians, this
is the erotic ideal of a new romance, or, as among ourselves, a more
humanly erotic ideal. "Only erotic idealism," says Ellen Key, "can arouse
enthusiasm for chastity." Chastity in a healthily developed person can
thus be beautifully exercised only in the actual erotic life; in part it
is the natural instinct of dignity and temperance; in part it is the art
of touching the things of sex with hands that remember their aptness for
all the fine ends of life. Upon the doorway of entrance to the inmost
sanctuary of love there is thus the same inscription as on the doorway to
the Epidaurian Sanctuary of Aesculapius: "None but the pure shall enter

    It will be seen that the definition of chastity remains somewhat
    lacking in precision. That is inevitable. We cannot grasp purity
    tightly, for, like snow, it will merely melt in our hands.
    "Purity itself forbids too minute a system of rules for the
    observance of purity," well says Sidgwick (_Methods of Ethics_,
    Bk. iii, Ch. IX). Elsewhere (op. cit., Bk. iii, Ch. XI) he
    attempts to answer the question: What sexual relations are
    essentially impure? and concludes that no answer is possible.
    "There appears to be no distinct principle, having any claim to
    self-evidence, upon which the question can be answered so as to
    command general assent." Even what is called "Free Love," he
    adds, "in so far as it is earnestly advocated as a means to a
    completer harmony of sentiment between men and women, cannot be
    condemned as impure, for it seems paradoxical to distinguish
    purity from impurity merely by less rapidity of transition."

    Moll, from the standpoint of medical psychology, reaches the same
    conclusion as Sidgwick from that of ethics. In a report on the
    "Value of Chastity for Men," published as an appendix to the
    third edition (1899) of his _Konträre Sexualempfindung_, the
    distinguished Berlin physician discusses the matter with much
    vigorous common sense, insisting that "chaste and unchaste are
    _relative ideas_." We must not, he states, as is so often done,
    identify "chaste" with "sexually abstinent." He adds that we are
    not justified in describing all extra-marital sexual intercourse
    as unchaste, for, if we do so, we shall be compelled to regard
    nearly all men, and some very estimable women, as unchaste. He
    rightly insists that in this matter we must apply the same rule
    to women as to men, and he points out that even when it involves
    what may be technically adultery sexual intercourse is not
    necessarily unchaste. He takes the case of a girl who, at
    eighteen, when still mentally immature, is married to a man with
    whom she finds it impossible to live and a separation
    consequently occurs, although a divorce may be impossible to
    obtain. If she now falls passionately in love with a man her love
    may be entirely chaste, though it involves what is technically

In thus understanding asceticism and chastity, and their beneficial
functions in life, we see that they occupy a place midway between the
artificially exaggerated position they once held and that to which they
were degraded by the inevitable reaction of total indifference or actual
hostility which followed. Asceticism and chastity are not rigid
categorical imperatives; they are useful means to desirable ends; they are
wise and beautiful arts. They demand our estimation, but not our
over-estimation. For in over-estimating them, it is too often forgotten,
we over-estimate the sexual instinct. The instinct of sex is indeed
extremely important. Yet it has not that all-embracing and supereminent
importance which some, even of those who fight against it, are accustomed
to believe. That artificially magnified conception of the sexual impulse
is fortified by the artificial emphasis placed upon asceticism. We may
learn the real place of the sexual impulse in learning how we may
reasonably and naturally view the restraints on that impulse.


[69] For Blake and for Shelley, as well as, it may be added, for Hinton,
chastity, as Todhunter remarks in his _Study of Shelley_, is "a type of
submission to the actual, a renunciation of the infinite, and is therefore
hated by them. The chaste man, i.e., the man of prudence and self-control,
is the man who has lost the nakedness of his primitive innocence."

[70] For evidence of the practices of savages in this matter, see Appendix
_A_ to the third volume of these _Studies_, "The Sexual Instinct in
Savages." Cf. also Chs. IV and VII of Westermarck's _History of Human
Marriage_, and also Chs. XXXVIII and XLI of the same author's _Origin and
Development of the Moral Ideas_, vol. ii; Frazer's _Golden Bough_ contains
much bearing on this subject, as also Crawley's _Mystic Rose_.

[71] See, e.g., Westermarck, _Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas_,
vol. ii, pp. 412 et seq.

[72] Thus an old Maori declared, a few years ago, that the decline of his
race has been entirely due to the loss of the ancient religious faith in
the _tabu_. "For," said he (I quote from an Auckland newspaper), "in the
olden-time our _tapu_ ramified the whole social system. The head, the
hair, spots where apparitions appeared, places which the _tohungas_
proclaimed as sacred, we have forgotten and disregarded. Who nowadays
thinks of the sacredness of the head? See when the kettle boils, the young
man jumps up, whips the cap off his head, and uses it for a kettle-holder.
Who nowadays but looks on with indifference when the barber of the
village, if he be near the fire, shakes the loose hair off his cloth into
it, and the joke and the laughter goes on as if no sacred operation had
just been concluded. Food is consumed on places which, in bygone days, it
dared not even be carried over."

[73] Thus, long before Christian monks arose, the ascetic life of the
cloister on very similar lines existed in Egypt in the worship of Serapis
(Dill, _Roman Society_, p. 79).

[74] At night, in the baptistry, with lamps dimly burning, the women were
stripped even of their tunics, plunged three times in the pool, then
anointed, dressed in white, and kissed.

[75] Thus Jerome, in his letter to Eustochium, refers to those couples who
"share the same room, often even the same bed, and call us suspicious if
we draw any conclusions," while Cyprian (_Epistola_, 86) is unable to
approve of those men he hears of, one a deacon, who live in familiar
intercourse with virgins, even sleeping in the same bed with them, for, he
declares, the feminine sex is weak and youth is wanton.

[76] Perpetua (_Acta Sanctorum_, March 7) is termed by Hort and Mayor
"that fairest flower in the garden of post-Apostolic Christendom." She was
not, however, a virgin, but a young mother with a baby at her breast.

[77] The strength of early Christian asceticism lay in its spontaneous and
voluntary character. When, in the ninth century, the Carlovingians
attempted to enforce monastic and clerical celibacy, the result was a
great outburst of unchastity and crime; nunneries became brothels, nuns
were frequently guilty of infanticide, monks committed unspeakable
abominations, the regular clergy formed incestuous relations with their
nearest female relatives (Lea, _History of Sacerdotal Celibacy_, vol. i,
pp, 155 et seq.).

[78] Sénancour, _De l'Amour_, vol. ii, p. 233. Islam has placed much less
stress on chastity than Christianity, but practically, it would appear,
there is often more regard for chastity under Mohammedan rule than under
Christian rule. Thus it is stated by "Viator" (_Fortnightly Review_, Dec.,
1908) that formerly, under Turkish Moslem rule, it was impossible to buy
the virtue of women in Bosnia, but that now, under the Christian rule of
Austria, it is everywhere possible to buy women near the Austrian

[79] The basis of this feeling was strengthened when it was shown by
scholars that the physical virtue of "virginity" had been masquerading
under a false name. To remain a virgin seems to have meant at the first,
among peoples of early Aryan culture, by no means to take a vow of
chastity, but to refuse to submit to the yoke of patriarchal marriage. The
women who preferred to stand outside marriage were "virgins," even though
mothers of large families, and Æschylus speaks of the Amazons as
"virgins," while in Greek the child of an unmarried girl was always "the
virgin's son." The history of Artemis, the most primitive of Greek
deities, is instructive from this point of view. She was originally only
virginal in the sense that she rejected marriage, being the goddess of a
nomadic and matriarchal hunting people who had not yet adopted marriage,
and she was the goddess of childbirth, worshipped with orgiastic dances
and phallic emblems. It was by a late transformation that Artemis became
the goddess of chastity (Farnell, _Cults of the Greek States_, vol. ii,
pp. 442 et seq.; Sir W.M. Ramsay, _Cities of Phrygia_, vol. i, p. 96; Paul
Lafargue, "Les Mythes Historiques," _Revue des Idées_, Dec., 1904).

[80] See, e.g., Nicomachean Ethics, Bk. iii, Ch. XIII.

[81] _De Civitate Dei_, lib. xv, cap. XX. A little further on (lib. xvi,
cap. XXV) he refers to Abraham as a man able to use women as a man should,
his wife temperately, his concubine compliantly, neither immoderately.

[82] _Summa_, Migne's edition, vol. iii, qu. 154, art. I.

[83] See the Study of Modesty in the first volume of these _Studies_.

[84] The majority of chaste youths, remarks an acute critic of modern life
(Hellpach, _Nervosität und Kultur_, p. 175), are merely actuated by
traditional principles, or by shyness, fear of venereal infections, lack
of self-confidence, want of money, very seldom by any consideration for a
future wife, and that indeed would be a tragi-comic error, for a woman
lays no importance on intact masculinity. Moreover, he adds, the chaste
man is unable to choose a wife wisely, and it is among teachers and
clergymen--the chastest class--that most unhappy marriages are made.
Milton had already made this fact an argument for facility of divorce.

[85] "In eating," said Hinton, "we have achieved the task of combining
pleasure with an absence of 'lust.' The problem for man and woman is so to
use and possess the sexual passion as to make it the minister to higher
things, with no restraint on it but that. It is essentially connected with
things of the spiritual order, and would naturally revolve round them. To
think of it as merely bodily is a mistake."

[86] See "Analysis of the Sexual Impulse," and Appendix, "The Sexual
Instinct in Savages," in vol. iii of these _Studies_.

[87] I have elsewhere discussed more at length the need in modern
civilized life of a natural and sincere asceticism (see _Affirmations_,
1898) "St. Francis and Others."

[88] _Der Wille zur Macht_, p. 392.

[89] At the age of twenty-five, when he had already produced much fine
work, Mozart wrote in his letters that he had never touched a woman,
though he longed for love and marriage. He could not afford to marry, he
would not seduce an innocent girl, a venial relation was repulsive to him.

[90] Reibmayr, _Die Entwicklungsgeschichte des Talentes und Genies._, Bd.
i, p. 437.

[91] We may exclude altogether, it is scarcely necessary to repeat, the
quality of virginity--that is to say, the possession of an intact
hymen--since this is a merely physical quality with no necessary ethical
relationships. The demand for virginity in women is, for the most part,
either the demand for a better marketable article, or for a more powerful
stimulant to masculine desire. Virginity involves no moral qualities in
its possessor. Chastity and asceticism, on the other hand, are meaningless
terms, except as demands made by the spirit on itself or on the body it



The Influence of Tradition--The Theological Conception of Lust--Tendency
of These Influences to Degrade Sexual Morality--Their Result in Creating
the Problem of Sexual Abstinence--The Protests Against Sexual
Abstinence--Sexual Abstinence and Genius--Sexual Abstinence in Women--The
Advocates of Sexual Abstinence--Intermediate Attitude--Unsatisfactory
Nature of the Whole Discussion--Criticism of the Conception of Sexual
Abstinence--Sexual Abstinence as Compared to Abstinence from Food--No
Complete Analogy--The Morality of Sexual Abstinence Entirely Negative--Is
It the Physician's Duty to Advise Extra-Conjugal Sexual
Intercourse?--Opinions of Those Who Affirm or Deny This Duty--The
Conclusion Against Such Advice--The Physician Bound by the Social and
Moral Ideas of His Age--The Physician as Reformer--Sexual Abstinence and
Sexual Hygiene--Alcohol--The Influence of Physical and Mental
Exercise--The Inadequacy of Sexual Hygiene in This Field--The Unreal
Nature of the Conception of Sexual Abstinence--The Necessity of Replacing
It by a More Positive Ideal.

When we look at the matter from a purely abstract or even purely
biological point of view, it might seem that in deciding that asceticism
and chastity are of high value for the personal life we have said all that
is necessary to say. That, however, is very far from being the case. We
soon realize here, as at every point in the practical application of
sexual psychology, that it is not sufficient to determine the abstractly
right course along biological lines. We have to harmonize our biological
demands with social demands. We are ruled not only by natural instincts
but by inherited traditions, that in the far past were solidly based on
intelligible grounds, and that even still, by the mere fact of their
existence, exert a force which we cannot and ought not to ignore.

In discussing the valuation of the sexual impulse we found that we had
good ground for making a very high estimate of love. In discussing
chastity and asceticism we found that they also are highly to be valued.
And we found that, so far from any contradiction being here involved,
love and chastity are intertwined in all their finest developments, and
that there is thus a perfect harmony in apparent opposition. But when we
come to consider the matter in detail, in its particular personal
applications, we find that a new factor asserts itself. We find that our
inherited social and religious traditions exert a pressure, all on one
side, which makes it impossible to place the relations of love and
chastity simply on the basis of biology and reason. We are confronted at
the outset by our traditions. On the one side these traditions have
weighted the word "lust"--considered as expressing all the manifestations
of the sexual impulse which are outside marriage or which fail to have
marriage as their direct and ostentatious end--with deprecatory and
sinister meanings. And on the other side these traditions have created the
problem of "sexual abstinence," which has nothing to do with either
asceticism or chastity as these have been defined in the previous chapter,
but merely with the purely negative pressure on the sexual impulse,
exerted, independently of the individual's wishes, by his religious and
social environment.

The theological conception of "lust," or "libido," as sin, followed
logically the early Christian conception of "the flesh," and became
inevitable as soon as that conception was firmly established. Not only,
indeed, had early Christian ideals a degrading influence on the estimation
of sexual desire _per se_, but they tended to depreciate generally the
dignity of the sexual relationship. If a man made sexual advances to a
woman outside marriage, and thus brought her within the despised circle of
"lust," he was injuring her because he was impairing her religious and
moral value.[92] The only way he could repair the damage done was by
paying her money or by entering into a forced and therefore probably
unfortunate marriage with her. That is to say that sexual relationships
were, by the ecclesiastical traditions, placed on a pecuniary basis, on
the same level as prostitution. By its well-meant intentions to support
the theological morality which had developed on an ascetic basis, the
Church was thus really undermining even that form of sexual relationship
which it sanctified.

    Gregory the Great ordered that the seducer of a virgin shall
    marry her, or, in case of refusal, be severely punished
    corporally and shut up in a monastery to perform penance.
    According to other ecclesiastical rules, the seducer of a virgin,
    though held to no responsibility by the civil forum, was required
    to marry her, or to find a husband and furnish a dowry for her.
    Such rules had their good side, and were especially equitable
    when seduction had been accomplished by deceit. But they largely
    tended in practice to subordinate all questions of sexual
    morality to a money question. The reparation to the woman, also,
    largely became necessary because the ecclesiastical conception of
    lust caused her value to be depreciated by contact with lust, and
    the reparation might be said to constitute a part of penance.
    Aquinas held that lust, in however slight a degree, is a mortal
    sin, and most of the more influential theologians took a view
    nearly or quite as rigid. Some, however, held that a certain
    degree of delectation is possible in these matters without mortal
    sin, or asserted, for instance, that to feel the touch of a soft
    and warm hand is not mortal sin so long as no sexual feeling is
    thereby aroused. Others, however, held that such distinctions are
    impossible, and that all pleasures of this kind are sinful. Tomás
    Sanchez endeavored at much length to establish rules for the
    complicated problems of delectation that thus arose, but he was
    constrained to admit that no rules are really possible, and that
    such matters must be left to the judgment of a prudent man. At
    that point casuistry dissolves and the modern point of view
    emerges (see, e.g., Lea, _History of Auricular Confession_, vol.
    ii, pp. 57, 115, 246, etc.).

Even to-day the influence of the old traditions of the Church still
unconsciously survives among us. That is inevitable as regards religious
teachers, but it is found also in men of science, even in Protestant
countries. The result is that quite contradictory dogmas are found side by
side, even in the same writer. On the one hand, the manifestations of the
sexual impulse are emphatically condemned as both unnecessary and evil; on
the other hand, marriage, which is fundamentally (whatever else it may
also be) a manifestation of the sexual impulse, receives equally emphatic
approval as the only proper and moral form of living.[93] There can be no
reasonable doubt whatever that it is to the surviving and pervading
influence of the ancient traditional theological conception of _libido_
that we must largely attribute the sharp difference of opinions among
physicians on the question of sexual abstinence and the otherwise
unnecessary acrimony with which these opinions have sometimes been stated.

On the one side, we find the emphatic statement that sexual intercourse is
necessary and that health cannot be maintained unless the sexual
activities are regularly exercised.

"All parts of the body which are developed for a definite use are kept in
health, and in the enjoyment of fair growth and of long youth, by the
fulfilment of that use, and by their appropriate exercise in the
employment to which they are accustomed." In that statement, which occurs
in the great Hippocratic treatise "On the Joints," we have the classic
expression of the doctrine which in ever varying forms has been taught by
all those who have protested against sexual abstinence. When we come down
to the sixteenth century outbreak of Protestantism we find that Luther's
revolt against Catholicism was in part a protest against the teaching of
sexual abstinence. "He to whom the gift of continence is not given," he
said in his _Table Talk_, "will not become chaste by fasting and vigils.
For my own part I was not excessively tormented [though elsewhere he
speaks of the great fires of lust by which he had been troubled], but all
the same the more I macerated myself the more I burnt." And three hundred
years later, Bebel, the would-be nineteenth century Luther of a different
Protestantism, took the same attitude towards sexual abstinence, while
Hinton the physician and philosopher, living in a land of rigid sexual
conventionalism and prudery, and moved by keen sympathy for the sufferings
he saw around him, would break into passionate sarcasm when confronted by
the doctrine of sexual abstinence. "There are innumerable ills--terrible
destructions, madness even, the ruin of lives--for which the embrace of
man and woman would be a remedy. No one thinks of questioning it.
Terrible evils and a remedy in a delight and joy! And man has chosen so to
muddle his life that he must say: 'There, that would be a remedy, but I
cannot use it. I _must be virtuous!_'"

    If we confine ourselves to modern times and to fairly precise
    medical statements, we find in Schurig's _Spermatologia_ (1720,
    pp. 274 et seq.), not only a discussion of the advantages of
    moderate sexual intercourse in a number of disorders, as
    witnessed by famous authorities, but also a list of
    results--including anorexia, insanity, impotence, epilepsy, even
    death--which were believed to have been due to sexual abstinence.
    This extreme view of the possible evils of sexual abstinence
    seems to have been part of the Renaissance traditions of medicine
    stiffened by a certain opposition between religion and science.
    It was still rigorously stated by Lallemand early in the
    nineteenth century. Subsequently, the medical statements of the
    evil results of sexual abstinence became more temperate and
    measured, though still often pronounced. Thus Gyurkovechky
    believes that these results may be as serious as those of sexual
    excess. Krafft-Ebing showed that sexual abstinence could produce
    a state of general nervous excitement (_Jahrbuch für
    Psychiatrie_, Bd. viii, Heft 1 and 2). Schrenck-Notzing regards
    sexual abstinence as a cause of extreme sexual hyperæsthesia and
    of various perversions (in a chapter on sexual abstinence in his
    _Kriminalpsychologische und Psychopathologische Studien_, 1902,
    pp. 174-178). He records in illustration the case of a man of
    thirty-six who had masturbated in moderation as a boy, but
    abandoned the practice entirely, on moral grounds, twenty years
    ago, and has never had sexual intercourse, feeling proud to enter
    marriage a chaste man, but now for years has suffered greatly
    from extreme sexual hyperæsthesia and concentration of thought on
    sexual subjects, notwithstanding a strong will and the resolve
    not to masturbate or indulge in illicit intercourse. In another
    case a vigorous and healthy man, not inverted, and with strong
    sexual desires, who remained abstinent up to marriage, suffers
    from psychic impotence, and his wife remains a virgin
    notwithstanding all her affection and caresses. Ord considered
    that sexual abstinence might produce many minor evils. "Most of
    us," he wrote (_British Medical Journal_, Aug. 2, 1884) "have, no
    doubt, been consulted by men, chaste in act, who are tormented by
    sexual excitement. They tell one stories of long-continued local
    excitement, followed by intense muscular weariness, or by severe
    aching pain in the back and legs. In some I have had complaints
    of swelling and stiffness in the legs, and of pains in the
    joints, particularly in the knees;" he gives the case of a man
    who suffered after prolonged chastity from inflammatory
    conditions of knees and was only cured by marriage. Pearce
    Gould, it may be added, finds that "excessive ungratified sexual
    desire" is one of the causes of acute orchitis. Remondino ("Some
    Observations on Continence as a Factor in Health and Disease,"
    _Pacific Medical Journal_, Jan., 1900) records the case of a
    gentleman of nearly seventy who, during the prolonged illness of
    his wife, suffered from frequent and extreme priapism, causing
    insomnia. He was very certain that his troubles were not due to
    his continence, but all treatment failed and there were no
    spontaneous emissions. At last Remondino advised him to, as he
    expresses it, "imitate Solomon." He did so, and all the symptoms
    at once disappeared. This case is of special interest, because
    the symptoms were not accompanied by any conscious sexual desire.
    It is no longer generally believed that sexual abstinence tends
    to produce insanity, and the occasional cases in which prolonged
    and intense sexual desire in young women is followed by insanity
    will usually be found to occur on a basis of hereditary
    degeneration. It is held by many authorities, however, that minor
    mental troubles, of a more or less vague character, as well as
    neurasthenia and hysteria, are by no means infrequently due to
    sexual abstinence. Thus Freud, who has carefully studied
    angstneurosis, the obsession of anxiety, finds that it is a
    result of sexual abstinence, and may indeed be considered as a
    vicarious form of such abstinence (Freud, _Sammlung Kleiner
    Schriften zur Neurosenlehre_, 1906, pp. 76 et seq.).

    The whole subject of sexual abstinence has been discussed at
    length by Nyström, of Stockholm, in _Das Geschlechtsleben und
    seine Gesetze_, Ch. III. He concludes that it is desirable that
    continence should be preserved as long as possible in order to
    strengthen the physical health and to develop the intelligence
    and character. The doctrine of permanent sexual abstinence,
    however, he regards as entirely false, except in the case of a
    small number of religious or philosophic persons. "Complete
    abstinence during a long period of years cannot be borne without
    producing serious results both on the body and the mind....
    Certainly, a young man should repress his sexual impulses as long
    as possible and avoid everything that may artificially act as a
    sexual stimulant. If, however, he has done so, and still suffers
    from unsatisfied normal sexual desires, and if he sees no
    possibility of marriage within a reasonable time, no one should
    dare to say that he is committing a sin if, with mutual
    understanding, he enters into sexual relations with a woman
    friend, or forms temporary sexual relationships, provided, that
    is, that he takes the honorable precaution of begetting no
    children, unless his partner is entirely willing to become a
    mother, and he is prepared to accept all the responsibilities of
    fatherhood." In an article of later date ("Die Einwirkung der
    Sexuellen Abstinenz auf die Gesundheit," _Sexual-Probleme_, July,
    1908) Nyström vigorously sums up his views. He includes among the
    results of sexual abstinence orchitis, frequent involuntary
    seminal emissions, impotence, neurasthenia, depression, and a
    great variety of nervous disturbances of vaguer character,
    involving diminished power of work, limited enjoyment of life,
    sleeplessness, nervousness, and pre-occupation with sexual
    desires and imaginations. More especially there is heightened
    sexual irritability with erections, or even seminal emissions on
    the slightest occasion, as on gazing at an attractive woman or in
    social intercourse with her, or in the presence of works of art
    representing naked figures. Nyström has had the opportunity of
    investigating and recording ninety cases of persons who have
    presented these and similar symptoms as the result, he believes,
    of sexual abstinence. He has published some of these cases
    (_Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft_, Oct., 1908), but it may be
    added that Rohleder ("Die Abstinentia Sexualis," ib., Nov., 1908)
    has criticized these cases, and doubts whether any of them are
    conclusive. Rohleder believes that the bad results of sexual
    abstinence are never permanent, and also that no anatomically
    pathological states (such as orchitis) can be thereby produced.
    But he considers, nevertheless, that even incomplete and
    temporary sexual abstinence may produce fairly serious results,
    and especially neurasthenic disturbances of various kinds, such
    as nervous irritability, anxiety, depression, disinclination for
    work; also diurnal emissions, premature ejaculations, and even a
    state approaching satyriasis; and in women hysteria,
    hystero-epilepsy, and nymphomaniacal manifestations; all these
    symptoms may, however, he believes, be cured when the abstinence

    Many advocates of sexual abstinence have attached importance to
    the fact that men of great genius have apparently been completely
    continent throughout life. This is certainly true (see _ante_, p.
    173). But this fact can scarcely be invoked as an argument in
    favor of the advantages of sexual abstinence among the ordinary
    population. J.F. Scott selects Jesus, Newton, Beethoven, and Kant
    as "men of vigor and mental acumen who have lived chastely as
    bachelors." It cannot, however, be said that Dr. Scott has been
    happy in the four figures whom he has been able to select from
    the whole history of human genius as examples of life-long sexual
    abstinence. We know little with absolute certainty of Jesus, and
    even if we reject the diagnosis which Professor Binet-Sanglé (in
    his _Folie de Jesus_) has built up from a minute study of the
    Gospels, there are many reasons why we should refrain from
    emphasizing the example of his sexual abstinence; Newton, apart
    from his stupendous genius in a special field, was an incomplete
    and unsatisfactory human being who ultimately reached a condition
    very like insanity; Beethoven was a thoroughly morbid and
    diseased man, who led an intensely unhappy existence; Kant, from
    first to last, was a feeble valetudinarian. It would probably be
    difficult to find a healthy normal man who would voluntarily
    accept the life led by any of these four, even as the price of
    their fame. J.A. Godfrey (_Science of Sex_, pp. 139-147)
    discusses at length the question whether sexual abstinence is
    favorable to ordinary intellectual vigor, deciding that it is
    not, and that we cannot argue from the occasional sexual
    abstinence of men of genius, who are often abnormally
    constituted, and physically below the average, to the normally
    developed man. Sexual abstinence, it may be added, is by no means
    always a favorable sign, even in men who stand intellectually
    above the average. "I have not obtained the impression," remarks
    Freud (_Sexual-Probleme_, March, 1908), "that sexual abstinence
    is helpful to energetic and independent men of action or original
    thinkers, to courageous liberators or reformers. The sexual
    conduct of a man is often symbolic of his whole method of
    reaction in the world. The man who energetically grasps the
    object of his sexual desire may be trusted to show a similarly
    relentless energy in the pursuit of other aims."

Many, though not all, who deny that prolonged sexual abstinence is
harmless, include women in this statement. There are some authorities
indeed who believe that, whether or not any conscious sexual desire is
present, sexual abstinence is less easily tolerated by women than by

    Cabanis, in his famous and pioneering work, _Rapports du Physique
    et du Moral_, said in 1802, that women not only bear sexual
    excess more easily than men, but sexual privations with more
    difficulty, and a cautious and experienced observer of to-day,
    Löwenfeld (_Sexualleben und Nervenleiden_, 1899, p. 53), while
    not considering that normal women bear sexual abstinence less
    easily than men, adds that this is not the case with women of
    neuropathic disposition, who suffer much more from this cause,
    and either masturbate when sexual intercourse is impossible or
    fall into hystero-neurasthenic states. Busch stated (_Das
    Geschlechtsleben des Weibes_, 1839, vol. i, pp. 69, 71) that not
    only is the working of the sexual functions in the organism
    stronger in women than in men, but that the bad results of sexual
    abstinence are more marked in women. Sir Benjamin Brodie said
    long ago that the evils of continence to women are perhaps
    greater than those of incontinence, and to-day Hammer (_Die
    Gesundheitlichen Gefahren der Geschlechtlichen Enthaltsamkeit_,
    1904) states that, so far as reasons of health are concerned,
    sexual abstinence is no more to be recommended to women than to
    men. Nyström is of the same opinion, though he thinks that women
    bear sexual abstinence better than men, and has discussed this
    special question at length in a section of his _Geschlechtsleben
    und seine Gesetze_. He agrees with the experienced Erb that a
    large number of completely chaste women of high character, and
    possessing distinguished qualities of mind and heart, are more or
    less disordered through their sexual abstinence; this is
    specially often the case with women married to impotent men,
    though it is frequently not until they approach the age of
    thirty, Nyström remarks, that women definitely realize their
    sexual needs.

    A great many women who are healthy, chaste, and modest, feel at
    times such powerful sexual desire that they can scarcely resist
    the temptation to go into the street and solicit the first man
    they meet. Not a few such women, often of good breeding, do
    actually offer themselves to men with whom they may have perhaps
    only the slightest acquaintance. Routh records such cases
    (_British Gynæcological Journal_, Feb., 1887), and most men have
    met with them at some time. When a woman of high moral character
    and strong passions is subjected for a very long period to the
    perpetual strain of such sexual craving, especially if combined
    with love for a definite individual, a chain of evil results,
    physical and moral, may be set up, and numerous distinguished
    physicians have recorded such cases, which terminated at once in
    complete recovery as soon as the passion was gratified. Lauvergne
    long since described a case. A fairly typical case of this kind
    was reported in detail by Brachet (_De l'Hypochondrie_, p. 69)
    and embodied by Griesinger in his classic work on "Mental
    Pathology." It concerned a healthy married lady, twenty-six years
    old, having three children. A visiting acquaintance completely
    gained her affections, but she strenuously resisted the seducing
    influence, and concealed the violent passion that he had aroused
    in her. Various serious symptoms, physical and mental, slowly
    began to appear, and she developed what seemed to be signs of
    consumption. Six months' stay in the south of France produced no
    improvement, either in the bodily or mental symptoms. On
    returning home she became still worse. Then she again met the
    object of her passion, succumbed, abandoned her husband and
    children, and fled with him. Six months later she was scarcely
    recognizable; beauty, freshness and plumpness had taken the place
    of emaciation; while the symptoms of consumption and all other
    troubles had entirely disappeared. A somewhat similar case is
    recorded by Camill Lederer, of Vienna (_Monatsschrift für
    Harnkrankheiten und Sexuelle Hygiene_, 1906, Heft 3). A widow, a
    few months after her husband's death, began to cough, with
    symptoms of bronchial catarrh, but no definite signs of lung
    disease. Treatment and change of climate proved entirely
    unavailing to effect a cure. Two years later, as no signs of
    disease had appeared in the lungs, though the symptoms continued,
    she married again. Within a very few weeks all symptoms had
    disappeared, and she was entirely fresh and well.

    Numerous distinguished gynæcologists have recorded their belief
    that sexual excitement is a remedy for various disorders of the
    sexual system in women, and that abstinence is a cause of such
    disorders. Matthews Duncan said that sexual excitement is the
    only remedy for amenorrhoea; "the only emmenagogue medicine that
    I know of," he wrote (_Medical Times_, Feb. 2, 1884), "is not to
    be found in the Pharmacopoeia: it is erotic excitement. Of the
    value of erotic excitement there is no doubt." Anstie, in his
    work on _Neuralgia_, refers to the beneficial effect of sexual
    intercourse on dysmenorrhoea, remarking that the necessity of the
    full natural exercise of the sexual function is shown by the
    great improvement in such cases after marriage, and especially
    after childbirth. (It may be remarked that not all authorities
    find dysmenorrhoea benefited by marriage, and some consider that
    the disease is often thereby aggravated; see, e.g., Wythe Cook,
    _American Journal Obstetrics_, Dec., 1893.) The distinguished
    gynæcologist, Tilt, at a somewhat earlier date (_On Uterine and
    Ovarian Inflammation_, 1862, p. 309), insisted on the evil
    results of sexual abstinence in producing ovarian irritation, and
    perhaps subacute ovaritis, remarking that this was specially
    pronounced in young widows, and in prostitutes placed in
    penitentiaries. Intense desire, he pointed out, determines
    organic movements resembling those required for the gratification
    of the desire. These burning desires, which can only be quenched
    by their legitimate satisfaction, are still further heightened by
    the erotic influence of thoughts, books, pictures, music, which
    are often even more sexually stimulating than social intercourse
    with men, but the excitement thus produced is not relieved by
    that natural collapse which should follow a state of vital
    turgescence. After referring to the biological facts which show
    the effect of psychic influences on the formative powers of the
    ovario-uterine organs in animals, Tilt continues: "I may fairly
    infer that similar incitements on the mind of females may have a
    stimulating effect on the organs of ovulation. I have frequently
    known menstruation to be irregular, profuse, or abnormal in type
    during courtship in women in whom nothing similar had previously
    occurred, and that this protracted the treatment of chronic
    ovaritis and of uterine inflammation." Bonnifield, of Cincinnati
    (_Medical Standard_, Dec., 1896), considers that unsatisfied
    sexual desire is an important cause of catarrhal endometritis. It
    is well known that uterine fibroids bear a definite relation to
    organic sexual activity, and that sexual abstinence, more
    especially the long-continued deprivation of pregnancy, is a very
    important cause of the disease. This is well shown by an analysis
    by A.E. Giles (_Lancet_, March 2, 1907) of one hundred and fifty
    cases. As many as fifty-six of these cases, more than a third,
    were unmarried women, though nearly all were over thirty years of
    age. Of the ninety-four married women, thirty-four had never been
    pregnant; of those who had been pregnant, thirty-six had not been
    so for at least ten years. Thus eighty-four per cent, had either
    not been pregnant at all, or had had no pregnancy for at least
    ten years. It is, therefore, evident that deprivation of sexual
    function, whether or not involving abstinence from sexual
    intercourse, is an important cause of uterine fibroid tumors.
    Balls-Headley, of Victoria (_Evolution of the Diseases of Women_,
    1894, and "Etiology of Diseases of Female Genital Organs,"
    Allbutt and Playfair, _System of Gynæcology_,) believes that
    unsatisfied sexual desire is a factor in very many disorders of
    the sexual organs in women. "My views," he writes in a private
    letter, "are founded on a really special gynæcological practice
    of twenty years, during which I have myself taken about seven
    thousand most careful records. The normal woman is sexually
    well-formed and her sexual feelings require satisfaction in the
    direction of the production of the next generation, but under the
    restrictive and now especially abnormal conditions of
    civilization some women undergo hereditary atrophy, and the
    uterus and sexual feelings are feeble; in others of good average
    local development the feeling is in restraint; in others the
    feelings, as well as the organs, are strong, and if normal use be
    withheld evils ensue. Bearing in mind these varieties of
    congenital development in relation to the respective condition of
    virginity, or sterile or parous married life, the mode of
    occurrence and of progress of disease grows on the physician's
    mind, and there is no more occasion for bewilderment than to the
    mathematician studying conic sections, when his knowledge has
    grown from the basis of the science. The problem is suggested:
    Has a crowd of unassociated diseases fallen as through a sieve on
    woman, or have these affections almost necessarily ensued from
    the circumstances of her unnatural environment?" It may be added
    that Kisch (_Sexual Life of Woman_), while protesting against any
    exaggerated estimate of the effects of sexual abstinence,
    considers that in women it may result, not only in numerous local
    disorders, but also in nervous disturbance, hysteria, and even
    insanity, while in neurasthenic women "regulated sexual
    intercourse has an actively beneficial effect which is often

    It is important to remark that the evil results of sexual
    abstinence in women, in the opinion of many of those who insist
    upon their importance, are by no means merely due to unsatisfied
    sexual desire. They may be pronounced even when the woman herself
    has not the slightest consciousness of sexual needs. This was
    clearly pointed out forty years ago by the sagacious Anstie (_op.
    cit._) In women, especially, he remarks, "a certain restless
    hyperactivity of mind, and perhaps of body also, seems to be the
    expression of Nature's unconscious resentment of the _neglect of
    sexual functions_." Such women, he adds, have kept themselves
    free from masturbation "at the expense of a perpetual and almost
    fierce activity of mind and muscle." Anstie had found that some
    of the worst cases of the form of nervosity and neurasthenia
    which he termed "spinal irritation," often accompanied by
    irritable stomach and anæmia, get well on marriage. "There can be
    no question," he continues, "that a very large proportion of
    these cases in single women (who form by far the greater number
    of subjects of spinal irritation) are due to this conscious or
    unconscious irritation kept up by an unsatisfied sexual want. It
    is certain that very many young persons (women more especially)
    are tormented by the irritability of the sexual organs without
    having the least consciousness of sexual desire, and present the
    sad spectacle of a _vie manquée_ without ever knowing the true
    source of the misery which incapacitates them for all the active
    duties of life. It is a singular fact that in occasional
    instances one may even see two sisters, inheriting the same kind
    of nervous organization, both tormented with the symptoms of
    spinal irritation and both probably suffering from repressed
    sexual functions, but of whom one shall be pure-minded and
    entirely unconscious of the real source of her troubles, while
    the other is a victim to conscious and fruitless sexual
    irritation." In this matter Anstie may be regarded as a
    forerunner of Freud, who has developed with great subtlety and
    analytic power the doctrine of the transformation of repressed
    sexual instinct in women into morbid forms. He considers that the
    nervosity of to-day is largely due to the injurious action on the
    sexual life of that repression of natural instincts on which our
    civilization is built up. (Perhaps the clearest brief statement
    of Freud's views on the matter is to be found in a very
    suggestive article, "Die 'Kulturelle' Sexualmoral und die Moderne
    Nervosität," in _Sexual-Probleme_, March, 1908, reprinted in the
    second series of Freud's _Sammlung Kleiner Schriften zur
    Neurosenlehre_, 1909). We possess the aptitude, he says, of
    sublimating and transforming our sexual activities into other
    activities of a psychically related character, but non-sexual.
    This process cannot, however, be carried out to an unlimited
    extent any more than can the conversion of heat into mechanical
    work in our machines. A certain amount of direct sexual
    satisfaction is for most organizations indispensable, and the
    renunciation of this individually varying amount is punished by
    manifestations which we are compelled to regard as morbid. The
    process of sublimation, under the influence of civilization,
    leads both to sexual perversions and to psycho-neuroses. These
    two conditions are closely related, as Freud views the process of
    their development; they stand to each other as positive and
    negative, sexual perversions being the positive pole and
    psycho-neuroses the negative. It often happens, he remarks, that
    a brother may be sexually perverse, while his sister, with a
    weaker sexual temperament, is a neurotic whose symptoms are a
    transformation of her brother's perversion; while in many
    families the men are immoral, the women pure and refined but
    highly nervous. In the case of women who have no defect of sexual
    impulse there is yet the same pressure of civilized morality
    pushing them into neurotic states. It is a terribly serious
    injustice, Freud remarks, that the civilized standard of sexual
    life is the same for all persons, because though some, by their
    organization, may easily accept it, for others it involves the
    most difficult psychic sacrifices. The unmarried girl, who has
    become nervously weak, cannot be advised to seek relief in
    marriage, for she must be strong in order to "bear" marriage,
    while we urge a man on no account to marry a girl who is not
    strong. The married woman who has experienced the deceptions of
    marriage has usually no way of relief left but by abandoning her
    virtue. "The more strenuously she has been educated, and the more
    completely she has been subjected to the demands of civilization,
    the more she fears this way of escape, and in the conflict
    between her desires and her sense of duty, she also seeks
    refuge--in neurosis. Nothing protects her virtue so surely as
    disease." Taking a still wider view of the influence of the
    narrow "civilized" conception of sexual morality on women, Freud
    finds that it is not limited to the production of neurotic
    conditions; it affects the whole intellectual aptitude of women.
    Their education denies them any occupation with sexual problems,
    although such problems are so full of interest to them, for it
    inculcates the ancient prejudice that any curiosity in such
    matters is unwomanly and a proof of wicked inclinations. They are
    thus terrified from thinking, and knowledge is deprived of worth.
    The prohibition to think extends, automatically and inevitably,
    far beyond the sexual sphere. "I do not believe," Freud
    concludes, "that there is any opposition between intellectual
    work and sexual activity such as was supposed by Möbius. I am of
    opinion that the unquestionable fact of the intellectual
    inferiority of so many women is due to the inhibition of thought
    imposed upon them for the purpose of sexual repression."

    It is only of recent years that this problem has been realized
    and faced, though solitary thinkers, like Hinton, have been
    keenly conscious of its existence; for "sorrowing virtue," as
    Mrs. Ella Wheeler Wilcox puts it, "is more ashamed of its woes
    than unhappy sin, because the world has tears for the latter and
    only ridicule for the former." "It is an almost cynical trait of
    our age," Hellpach wrote a few years ago, "that it is constantly
    discussing the theme of prostitution, of police control, of the
    age of consent, of the 'white slavery,' and passes over the moral
    struggle of woman's soul without an attempt to answer her burning

On the other hand we find medical writers not only asserting with much
moral fervor that sexual intercourse outside marriage is always and
altogether unnecessary, but declaring, moreover, the harmlessness or even
the advantages of sexual abstinence.

    Ribbing, the Swedish professor, in his _Hygiène Sexuelle_,
    advocates sexual abstinence outside marriage, and asserts its
    harmlessness. Gilles de la Tourette, Féré, and Augagneur in
    France agree. In Germany Fürbringer (Senator and Kaminer, _Health
    and Disease in Relation to Marriage_, vol. i, p. 228) asserts
    that continence is possible and necessary, though admitting that
    it may, however, mean serious mischief in exceptional cases.
    Eulenburg (_Sexuale Neuropathie_, p. 14) doubts whether anyone,
    who otherwise lived a reasonable life, ever became ill, or more
    precisely neurasthenic, through sexual abstinence. Hegar,
    replying to the arguments of Bebel in his well-known book on
    women, denies that sexual abstinence can ever produce satyriasis
    or nymphomania. Näcke, who has frequently discussed the problem
    of sexual abstinence (e.g., _Archiv für Kriminal-Anthropologie_,
    1903, Heft 1, and _Sexual-Probleme_, June, 1908), maintains that
    sexual abstinence can, at most, produce rare and slight
    unfavorable results, and that it is no more likely to produce
    insanity, even in predisposed individuals, than are the opposite
    extremes of sexual excess and masturbation. He adds that, so far
    as his own observations are concerned, the patients in asylums
    suffer scarcely at all from their compulsory sexual abstinence.

    It is in England, however, that the virtues of sexual abstinence
    have been most loudly and emphatically proclaimed, sometimes
    indeed with considerable lack of cautious qualification. Acton,
    in his _Reproductive Organs_, sets forth the traditional English
    view, as well as Beale in his _Morality and the Moral Question_.
    A more distinguished representative of the same view was Paget,
    who, in his lecture on "Sexual Hypochondriasis," coupled sexual
    intercourse with "theft or lying." Sir William Gowers (_Syphilis
    and the Nervous System_, 1892, p. 126) also proclaims the
    advantages of "unbroken chastity," more especially as a method of
    avoiding syphilis. He is not hopeful, however, even as regards
    his own remedy, for he adds: "We can trace small ground for hope
    that the disease will thus be materially reduced." He would
    still, however, preach chastity to the individual, and he does so
    with all the ascetic ardor of a mediæval monk. "With all the
    force that any knowledge I possess, and any authority I have, can
    give, I assert that no man ever yet was in the slightest degree
    or way the worse for continence or better for incontinence. From
    the latter all are worse morally; a clear majority are worse
    physically; and in no small number the result is, and ever will
    be, utter physical shipwreck on one of the many rocks, sharp,
    jagged-edged, which beset the way, or on one of the many beds of
    festering slime which no care can possibly avoid." In America the
    same view widely prevails, and Dr. J.F. Scott, in his
    _Sexual-Instinct_ (second edition, 1908, Ch. III), argues very
    vigorously and at great length in favor of sexual abstinence. He
    will not even admit that there are two sides to the question,
    though if that were the case, the length and the energy of his
    arguments would be unnecessary.

    Among medical authorities who have discussed the question of
    sexual abstinence at length it is not, indeed, usually possible
    to find such unqualified opinions in its favor as those I have
    quoted. There can be no doubt, however, that a large proportion
    of physicians, not excluding prominent and distinguished
    authorities, when casually confronted with the question whether
    sexual abstinence is harmless, will at once adopt the obvious
    path of least resistance and reply: Yes. In only a few cases will
    they even make any qualification of this affirmative answer. This
    tendency is very well illustrated by an inquiry made by Dr.
    Ludwig Jacobsohn, of St. Petersburgh ("Die Sexuelle
    Enthaltsamkeit im Lichte der Medizin," _St. Petersburger
    Medicinische Wochenschrift_, March 17, 1907). He wrote to over
    two hundred distinguished Russian and German professors of
    physiology, neurology, psychiatry, etc., asking them if they
    regarded sexual abstinence as harmless. The majority returned no
    answer; eleven Russian and twenty-eight Germans replied, but four
    of them merely said that "they had no personal experience," etc.;
    there thus remained thirty-five. Of these E. Pflüger, of Bonn,
    was skeptical of the advantage of any propaganda of abstinence:
    "if all the authorities in the world declared the harmlessness of
    abstinence that would have no influence on youth. Forces are here
    in play that break through all obstacles." The harmlessness of
    abstinence was affirmed by Kräpelin, Cramer, Gärtner, Tuczek,
    Schottelius, Gaffky, Finkler, Selenew, Lassar, Seifert, Gruber;
    the last, however, added that he knew very few abstinent young
    men, and himself only considered abstinence good before full
    development, and intercourse not dangerous in moderation even
    before then. Brieger knew cases of abstinence without harmful
    results, but himself thought that no general opinion could be
    given. Jürgensen said that abstinence _in itself_ is not harmful,
    but that in some cases intercourse exerts a more beneficial
    influence. Hoffmann said that abstinence is harmless, adding that
    though it certainly leads to masturbation, that is better than
    gonorrhoea, to say nothing of syphilis, and is easily kept within
    bounds. Strümpell replied that sexual abstinence is harmless, and
    indirectly useful as preserving from the risk of venereal
    disease, but that sexual intercourse, being normal, is always
    more desirable. Hensen said that abstinence is not to be
    unconditionally approved. Rumpf replied that abstinence was not
    harmful for most before the age of thirty, but after that age
    there was a tendency to mental obsessions, and marriage should
    take place at twenty-five. Leyden also considered abstinence
    harmless until towards thirty, when it leads to psychic
    anomalies, especially states of anxiety, and a certain
    affectation. Hein replied that abstinence is harmless for most,
    but in some leads to hysterical manifestations and indirectly to
    bad results from masturbation, while for the normal man
    abstinence cannot be directly beneficial, since intercourse is
    natural. Grützner thought that abstinence is almost never
    harmful. Nescheda said it is harmless in itself, but harmful in
    so far as it leads to unnatural modes of gratification. Neisser
    believes that more prolonged abstinence than is now usual would
    be beneficial, but admitted the sexual excitations of our
    civilization; he added that of course he saw no harm for healthy
    men in intercourse. Hoche replied that abstinence is quite
    harmless in normal persons, but not always so in abnormal
    persons. Weber thought it had a useful influence in increasing
    will-power. Tarnowsky said it is good in early manhood, but
    likely to be unfavorable after twenty-five. Orlow replied that,
    especially in youth, it is harmless, and a man should be as
    chaste as his wife. Popow said that abstinence is good at all
    ages and preserves the energy. Blumenau said that in adult age
    abstinence is neither normal nor beneficial, and generally leads
    to masturbation, though not generally to nervous disorders; but
    that even masturbation is better than syphilis. Tschiriew saw no
    harm in abstinence up to thirty, and thought sexual weakness more
    likely to follow excess than abstinence. Tschish regarded
    abstinence as beneficial rather than harmful up to twenty-five or
    twenty-eight, but thought it difficult to decide after that age
    when nervous alterations seem to be caused. Darkschewitcz
    regarded abstinence as harmless up to twenty-five. Fränkel said
    it was harmless for most, but that for a considerable proportion
    of people intercourse is a necessity. Erb's opinion is regarded
    by Jacobsohn as standing alone; he placed the age below which
    abstinence is harmless at twenty; after that age he regarded it
    as injurious to health, seriously impeding work and capacity,
    while in neurotic persons it leads to still more serious results.
    Jacobsohn concludes that the general opinion of those answering
    the inquiry may thus be expressed: "Youth should be abstinent.
    Abstinence can in no way injure them; on the contrary, it is
    beneficial. If our young people will remain abstinent and avoid
    extra-conjugal intercourse they will maintain a high ideal of
    love and preserve themselves from venereal diseases."

    The harmlessness of sexual abstinence was likewise affirmed in
    America in a resolution passed by the American Medical
    Association in 1906. The proposition thus formally accepted was
    thus worded: "Continence is not incompatible with health." It
    ought to be generally realized that abstract propositions of this
    kind are worthless, because they mean nothing. Every sane person,
    when confronted by the demand to boldly affirm or deny the
    proposition, "Continence is not incompatible with health," is
    bound to affirm it. He might firmly believe that continence is
    incompatible with the health of most people, and that prolonged
    continence is incompatible with anyone's health, and yet, if he
    is to be honest in the use of language, it would be impossible
    for him to deny the vague and abstract proposition that
    "Continence is not incompatible with health." Such propositions
    are therefore not only without value, but actually misleading.

    It is obvious that the more extreme and unqualified opinions in
    favor of sexual abstinence are based not on medical, but on what
    the writers regard as moral considerations. Moreover, as the same
    writers are usually equally emphatic in regard to the advantages
    of sexual intercourse in marriage, it is clear that they have
    committed themselves to a contradiction. The same act, as Näcke
    rightly points out, cannot become good or bad according as it is
    performed in or out of marriage. There is no magic efficacy in a
    few words pronounced by a priest or a government official.

    Remondino (loc. cit.) remarks that the authorities who have
    committed themselves to declarations in favor of the
    unconditional advantages of sexual abstinence tend to fall into
    three errors: (1) they generalize unduly, instead of considering
    each case individually, on its own merits; (2) they fail to
    realize that human nature is influenced by highly mixed and
    complex motives and cannot be assumed to be amenable only to
    motives of abstract morality; (3) they ignore the great army of
    masturbators and sexual perverts who make no complaint of sexual
    suffering, but by maintaining a rigid sexual abstinence, so far
    as normal relationships are concerned, gradually drift into
    currents whence there is no return.

Between those who unconditionally affirm or deny the harmlessness of
sexual abstinence we find an intermediate party of authorities whose
opinions are more qualified. Many of those who occupy this more guarded
position are men whose opinions carry much weight, and it is probable that
with them rather than with the more extreme advocates on either side the
greater measure of reason lies. So complex a question as this cannot be
adequately investigated merely in the abstract, and settled by an
unqualified negative or affirmative. It is a matter in which every case
requires its own special and personal consideration.

    "Where there is such a marked opposition of opinion truth is not
    exclusively on one side," remarks Löwenfeld (_Sexualleben und
    Nervenleiden_, second edition, p. 40). Sexual abstinence is
    certainly often injurious to neuropathic persons. (This is now
    believed by a large number of authorities, and was perhaps first
    decisively stated by Krafft-Ebing, "Ueber Neurosen durch
    Abstinenz," _Jahrbuch für Psychiatrie_, 1889, p. 1). Löwenfeld
    finds no special proclivity to neurasthenia among the Catholic
    clergy, and when it does occur, there is no reason to suppose a
    sexual causation. "In healthy and not hereditarily neuropathic
    men complete abstinence is possible without injury to the nervous
    system." Injurious effects, he continues, when they appear,
    seldom occur until between twenty-four and thirty-six years of
    age, and even then are not usually serious enough to lead to a
    visit to a doctor, consisting mainly in frequency of nocturnal
    emissions, pain in testes or rectum, hyperæsthesia in the
    presence of women or of sexual ideas. If, however, conditions
    arise which specially stimulate the sexual emotions, neurasthenia
    may be produced. Löwenfeld agrees with Freud and Gattel that the
    neurosis of anxiety tends to occur in the abstinent, careful
    examination showing that the abstinence is a factor in its
    production in both sexes. It is common among young women married
    to much older men, often appearing during the first years of
    marriage. Under special circumstances, therefore, abstinence can
    be injurious, but on the whole the difficulties due to such
    abstinence are not severe, and they only exceptionally call forth
    actual disturbance in the nervous or psychic spheres. Moll takes
    a similar temperate and discriminating view. He regards sexual
    abstinence before marriage as the ideal, but points out that we
    must avoid any doctrinal extremes in preaching sexual abstinence,
    for such preaching will merely lead to hypocrisy. Intercourse
    with prostitutes, and the tendency to change a woman like a
    garment, induce loss of sensitiveness to the spiritual and
    personal element in woman, while the dangers of sexual abstinence
    must no more be exaggerated than the dangers of sexual
    intercourse (Moll, _Libido Sexualis_, 1898, vol. i, p. 848; id.,
    _Konträre Sexualempfindung_, 1899, p. 588). Bloch also (in a
    chapter on the question of sexual abstinence in his _Sexualleben
    unserer Zeit_, 1908) takes a similar standpoint. He advocates
    abstention during early life and temporary abstention in adult
    life, such abstention being valuable, not only for the
    conservation and transformation of energy, but also to emphasize
    the fact that life contains other matters to strive for beyond
    the ends of sex. Redlich (_Medizinische Klinik_, 1908, No. 7)
    also, in a careful study of the medical aspects of the question,
    takes an intermediate standpoint in relation to the relative
    advantages and disadvantages of sexual abstinence. "We may say
    that sexual abstinence is not a condition which must, under all
    circumstances and at any price, be avoided, though it is true
    that for the majority of healthy adult persons regular sexual
    intercourse is advantageous, and sometimes is even to be

    It may be added that from the standpoint of Christian religious
    morality this same attitude, between the extremes of either
    party, recognizing the advantages of sexual abstinence, but not
    insisting that they shall be purchased at any price, has also
    found representation. Thus, in England, an Anglican clergyman,
    the Rev. H. Northcote (_Christianity and Sex Problems_, pp. 58,
    60) deals temperately and sympathetically with the difficulties
    of sexual abstinence, and is by no means convinced that such
    abstinence is always an unmixed advantage; while in Germany a
    Catholic priest, Karl Jentsch (_Sexualethik, Sexualjustiz,
    Sexualpolizei_, 1900) sets himself to oppose the rigorous and
    unqualified assertions of Ribbing in favor of sexual abstinence.
    Jentsch thus expresses what he conceives ought to be the attitude
    of fathers, of public opinion, of the State and the Church
    towards the young man in this matter: "Endeavor to be abstinent
    until marriage. Many succeed in this. If you can succeed, it is
    good. But, if you cannot succeed, it is unnecessary to cast
    reproaches on yourself and to regard yourself as a scoundrel or a
    lost sinner. Provided that you do not abandon yourself to mere
    enjoyment or wantonness, but are content with what is necessary
    to restore your peace of mind, self-possession, and cheerful
    capacity for work, and also that you observe the precautions
    which physicians or experienced friends impress upon you."

When we thus analyze and investigate the the three main streams of expert
opinions in regard to this question of sexual abstinence--the opinions in
favor of it, the opinions in opposition to it, and the opinions which take
an intermediate course--we can scarcely fail to conclude how
unsatisfactory the whole discussion is. The state of "sexual abstinence"
is a completely vague and indefinite state. The indefinite and even
meaningless character of the expression "sexual abstinence" is shown by
the frequency with which those who argue about it assume that it can, may,
or even must, involve masturbation. That fact alone largely deprives it of
value as morality and altogether as abstinence. At this point, indeed, we
reach the most fundamental criticism to which the conception of "sexual
abstinence" lies open. Rohleder, an experienced physician and a recognized
authority on questions of sexual pathology, has submitted the current
views on "sexual abstinence" to a searching criticism in a lengthy and
important paper.[95] He denies altogether that strict sexual abstinence
exists at all. "Sexual abstinence," he points out, in any strict scenes of
the term, must involve abstinence not merely from sexual intercourse but
from auto-erotic manifestations, from masturbation, from homosexual acts,
from all sexually perverse practices. It must further involve a permanent
abstention from indulgence in erotic imaginations and voluptuous reverie.
When, however, it is possible thus to render the whole psychic field a
_tabula rasa_ so far as sexual activity is concerned--and if it fails to
be so constantly and consistently there is no strict sexual
abstinence--then, Rohleder points out, we have to consider whether we are
not in presence of a case of sexual anæsthesia, of _anaphrodisia
sexualis_. That is a question which is rarely, if ever, faced by those who
discuss sexual abstinence. It is, however, an extremely pertinent
question, because, as Rohleder insists, if sexual anæsthesia exists the
question of sexual abstinence falls to the ground, for we can only
"abstain" from actions that are in our power. Complete sexual anæsthesia
is, however, so rare a state that it may be practically left out of
consideration, and as the sexual impulse, if it exists, must by
physiological necessity sometimes become active in some shape--even if
only, according to Freud's view, by transformation into some morbid
neurotic condition--we reach the conclusion that "sexual abstinence" is
strictly impossible. Rohleder has met with a few cases in which there
seemed to him no escape from the conclusion that sexual abstinence
existed, but in all of these he subsequently found that he was mistaken,
usually owing to the practice of masturbation, which he believes to be
extremely common and very frequently accompanied by a persistent attempt
to deceive the physician concerning its existence. The only kind of
"sexual abstinence" that exists is a partial and temporary abstinence.
Instead of saying, as some say, "Permanent abstinence is unnatural and
cannot exist without physical and mental injury," we ought to say,
Rohleder believes, "Permanent abstinence is unnatural and has never

It is impossible not to feel as we contemplate this chaotic mass of
opinions, that the whole discussion is revolving round a purely negative
idea, and that fundamental fact is responsible for what at first seem to
be startling conflicts of statement. If indeed we were to eliminate what
is commonly regarded as the religious and moral aspect of the matter--an
aspect, be it remembered, which has no bearing on the essential natural
facts of the question--we cannot fail to perceive that these ostentatious
differences of conviction would be reduced within very narrow and trifling

We cannot strictly coordinate the impulse of reproduction with the impulse
of nutrition. There are very important differences between them, more
especially the fundamental difference that while the satisfaction of the
one impulse is absolutely necessary both to the life of the individual and
of the race, the satisfaction of the other is absolutely necessary only to
the life of the race. But when we reduce this question to one of "sexual
abstinence" we are obviously placing it on the same basis as that of
abstinence from food, that is to say at the very opposite pole to which we
place it when (as in the previous chapter) we consider it from the point
of view of asceticism and chastity. It thus comes about that on this
negative basis there really is an interesting analogy between nutritive
abstinence, though necessarily only maintained incompletely and for a
short time, and sexual abstinence, maintained more completely and for a
longer time. A patient of Janet's seems to bring out clearly this
resemblance. Nadia, whom Janet was able to study during five years, was a
young woman of twenty-seven, healthy and intelligent, not suffering from
hysteria nor from anorexia, for she had a normal appetite. But she had an
idea; she was anxious to be slim and to attain this end she cut down her
meals to the smallest size, merely a little soup and a few eggs. She
suffered much from the abstinence she thus imposed on herself, and was
always hungry, though sometimes her hunger was masked by the inevitable
stomach trouble caused by so long a persistence in this _régime_. At
times, indeed, she had been so hungry that she had devoured greedily
whatever she could lay her hands on, and not infrequently she could not
resist the temptation to eat a few biscuits in secret. Such actions caused
her horrible remorse, but, all the same, she would be guilty of them
again. She realized the great efforts demanded by her way of life, and
indeed looked upon herself as a heroine for resisting so long.
"Sometimes," she told Janet, "I passed whole hours in thinking about food,
I was so hungry. I swallowed my saliva, I bit my handkerchief, I rolled
on the ground, I wanted to eat so badly. I searched books for descriptions
of meals and feasts, I tried to deceive my hunger by imagining that I too
was enjoying all these good things. I was really famished, and in spite of
a few weaknesses for biscuits I know that I showed much courage."[96]
Nadia's motive idea, that she wished to be slim, corresponds to the
abstinent man's idea that he wishes to be "moral," and only differs from
it by having the advantage of being somewhat more positive and personal,
for the idea of the person who wishes to avoid sexual indulgence because
it is "not right" is often not merely negative but impersonal and imposed
by the social and religious environment. Nadia's occasional outbursts of
reckless greediness correspond to the sudden impulses to resort to
prostitution, and her secret weaknesses for biscuits, followed by keen
remorse, to lapses into the habit of masturbation. Her fits of struggling
and rolling on the ground are precisely like the outbursts of futile
desire which occasionally occur to young abstinent men and women in health
and strength. The absorption in thoughts about meals and in literary
descriptions of meals is clearly analogous to the abstinent man's
absorption in wanton thoughts and erotic books. Finally, Nadia's
conviction that she is a heroine corresponds exactly to the attitude of
self-righteousness which often marks the sexually abstinent.

If we turn to Freud's penetrating and suggestive study of the problem of
sexual abstinence in relation to "civilized" sexual morality, we find
that, though he makes no reference to the analogy with abstinence from
food, his words would for the most part have an equal application to both
cases. "The task of subduing so powerful an instinct as the sexual
impulse, otherwise than by giving it satisfaction," he writes, "is one
which may employ the whole strength of a man. Subjugation through
sublimation, by guiding the sexual forces into higher civilizational
paths, may succeed with a minority, and even with these only for a time,
least easily during the years of ardent youthful energy. Most others
become neurotic or otherwise come to grief. Experience shows that the
majority of people constituting our society are constitutionally unequal
to the task of abstinence. We say, indeed, that the struggle with this
powerful impulse and the emphasis the struggle involves on the ethical and
æsthetic forces in the soul's life 'steels' the character, and for a few
favorably organized natures this is true; it must also be acknowledged
that the differentiation of individual character so marked in our time
only becomes possible through sexual limitations. But in by far the
majority of cases the struggle with sensuality uses up the available
energy of character, and this at the very time when the young man needs
all his strength in order to win his place in the world."[97]

When we have put the problem on this negative basis of abstinence it is
difficult to see how we can dispute the justice of Freud's conclusions.
They hold good equally for abstinence from food and abstinence from sexual
love. When we have placed the problem on a more positive basis, and are
able to invoke the more active and fruitful motives of asceticism and
chastity this unfortunate fight against a natural impulse is abolished. If
chastity is an ideal of the harmonious play of all the organic impulses of
the soul and body, if asceticism, properly understood, is the athletic
striving for a worthy object which causes, for the time, an indifference
to the gratification of sexual impulses, we are on wholesome and natural
ground, and there is no waste of energy in fruitless striving for a
negative end, whether imposed artificially from without, as it usually is,
or voluntarily chosen by the individual himself.

For there is really no complete analogy between sexual desire and hunger,
between abstinence from sexual relations and abstinence from food. When we
put them both on the basis of abstinence we put them on a basis which
covers the impulse for food but only half covers the impulse for sexual
love. We confer no pleasure and no service on our food when we eat it. But
the half of sexual love, perhaps the most important and ennobling half,
lies in what we give and not in what we take. To reduce this question to
the low level of abstinence, is not only to centre it in a merely negative
denial but to make it a solely self-regarding question. Instead of asking:
How can I bring joy and strength to another? we only ask: How can I
preserve my empty virtue?

Therefore it is that from whatever aspect we consider the
question,--whether in view of the flagrant contradiction between the
authorities who have discussed this question, or of the illegitimate
mingling here of moral and physiological considerations, or of the merely
negative and indeed unnatural character of the "virtue" thus set up, or of
the failure involved to grasp the ennoblingly altruistic and mutual side
of sexual love,--from whatever aspect we approach the problem of "sexual
abstinence" we ought only to agree to do so under protest.

If we thus decide to approach it, and if we have reached the
conviction--which, in view of all the evidence we can scarcely
escape--that, while sexual abstinence in so far as it may be recognized as
possible is not incompatible with health, there are yet many adults for
whom it is harmful, and a very much larger number for whom when prolonged
it is undesirable, we encounter a serious problem. It is a problem which
confronts any person, and especially the physician, who may be called upon
to give professional advice to his fellows on this matter. If sexual
relationships are sometimes desirable for unmarried persons, or for
married persons who, for any reason, are debarred from conjugal union, is
a physician justified in recommending such sexual relationships to his
patient? This is a question that has frequently been debated and decided
in opposing senses.

    Various distinguished physicians, especially in Germany, have
    proclaimed the duty of the doctor to recommend sexual intercourse
    to his patient whenever he considers it desirable. Gyurkovechky,
    for instance, has fully discussed this question, and answered it
    in the affirmative. Nyström (_Sexual-Probleme_, July, 1908, p.
    413) states that it is the physician's duty, in some cases of
    sexual weakness, when all other methods of treatment have failed,
    to recommend sexual intercourse as the best remedy. Dr. Max
    Marcuse stands out as a conspicuous advocate of the unconditional
    duty of the physician to advocate sexual intercourse in some
    cases, both to men and to women, and has on many occasions argued
    in this sense (e.g., _Darf der Arzt zum Ausserehelichen
    Geschlechtsverkehr raten?_ 1904). Marcuse is strongly of opinion
    that a physician who, allowing himself to be influenced by moral,
    sociological, or other considerations, neglects to recommend
    sexual intercourse when he considers it desirable for the
    patient's health, is unworthy of his profession, and should
    either give up medicine or send his patients to other doctors.
    This attitude, though not usually so emphatically stated, seems
    to be widely accepted. Lederer goes even further when he states
    (_Monatsschrift für Harnkrankheiten und Sexuelle Hygiene_, 1906,
    Heft 3) that it is the physician's duty in the case of a woman
    who is suffering from her husband's impotence, to advise her to
    have intercourse with another man, adding that "whether she does
    so with her husband's consent is no affair of the physician's,
    for he is not the guardian of morality, but the guardian of
    health." The physicians who publicly take this attitude are,
    however, a small minority. In England, so far as I am aware, no
    physician of eminence has openly proclaimed the duty of the
    doctor to advise sexual intercourse outside marriage, although,
    it is scarcely necessary to add, in England, as elsewhere, it
    happens that doctors, including women doctors, from time to time
    privately point out to their unmarried and even married patients,
    that sexual intercourse would probably be beneficial.

    The duty of the physician to recommend sexual intercourse has
    been denied as emphatically as it has been affirmed. Thus
    Eulenburg (_Sexuale Neuropathie_, p. 43), would by no means
    advise extra-conjugal relations to his patient; "such advice is
    quite outside the physician's competence." It is, of course,
    denied by those who regard sexual abstinence as always harmless,
    if not beneficial. But it is also denied by many who consider
    that, under some circumstances, sexual intercourse would do good.

    Moll has especially, and on many occasions, discussed the duty of
    the physician in relation to the question of advising sexual
    intercourse outside marriage (e.g., in his comprehensive work,
    _Aerztliche Ethik_, 1902; also _Zeitschrift für Aerztliche
    Fortbildung_, 1905, Nos. 12-15; _Mutterschutz_, 1905, Heft 3;
    _Geschlecht und Gesellschaft_, vol. ii, Heft 8). At the outset
    Moll had been disposed to assert the right of the physician to
    recommend sexual intercourse under some circumstances; "so long
    as marriage is unduly delayed and sexual intercourse outside
    marriage exists," he wrote (_Die Conträre Sexualempfindung_,
    second edition, p. 287), "so long, I think, we may use such
    intercourse therapeutically, provided that the rights of no third
    person (husband or wife) are injured." In all his later writings,
    however, Moll ranges himself clearly and decisively on the
    opposite side. He considers that the physician has no right to
    overlook the possible results of his advice in inflicting
    venereal disease, or, in the case of a woman, pregnancy, on his
    patient, and he believes that these serious results are far more
    likely to happen than is always admitted by those who defend the
    legitimacy of such advice. Nor will Moll admit that the physician
    is entitled to overlook the moral aspects of the question. A
    physician may know that a poor man could obtain many things good
    for his health by stealing, but he cannot advise him to steal.
    Moll takes the case of a Catholic priest who is suffering from
    neurasthenia due to sexual abstinence. Even although the
    physician feels certain that the priest may be able to avoid all
    the risks of disease as well as of publicity, he is not entitled
    to urge him to sexual intercourse. He has to remember that in
    thus causing a priest to break his vows of chastity he may induce
    a mental conflict and a bitter remorse which may lead to the
    worst results, even on his patient's physical health. Similar
    results, Moll remarks, may follow such advice when given to a
    married man or woman, to say nothing of possible divorce
    proceedings and accompanying evils.

    Rohleder (_Vorlesungen über Geschlechtstrieb und Gesamtes
    Geschlechtsleben der Menschen_) adopts a somewhat qualified
    attitude in this matter. As a general rule he is decidedly
    against recommending sexual intercourse outside marriage to those
    who are suffering from partial or temporary abstinence (the only
    form of abstinence he recognizes), partly on the ground that the
    evils of abstinence are not serious or permanent, and partly
    because the patient is fairly certain to exercise his own
    judgment in the matter. But in some classes of cases he
    recommends such intercourse, and notably to bisexual persons, on
    the ground that he is thus preserving his patient from the
    criminal risks of homosexual practices.

It seems to me that there should be no doubt whatever as to the correct
professional attitude of the physician in relation to this question of
advice concerning sexual intercourse. The physician is never entitled to
advise his patient to adopt sexual intercourse outside marriage nor any
method of relief which is commonly regarded as illegitimate. It is said
that the physician has nothing to do with considerations of conventional
morality. If he considers that champagne would be good for a poor patient
he ought to recommend him to take champagne; he is not called upon to
consider whether the patient will beg, borrow, or steal the champagne.
But, after all, even if that be admitted, it must still be said that the
physician knows that the champagne, however obtained, is not likely to be
poisonous. When, however, he prescribes sexual intercourse, with the same
lofty indifference to practical considerations, he has no such knowledge.
In giving such a prescription the physician has in fact not the slightest
knowledge of what he may be prescribing. He may be giving his patient a
venereal disease; he may be giving the anxieties and responsibilities of
an illegitimate child; the prescriber is quite in the dark. He is in the
same position as if he had prescribed a quack medicine of which the
composition was unknown to him, with the added disadvantage that the
medicine may turn out to be far more potently explosive than is the case
with the usually innocuous patent medicine. The utmost that a physician
can properly permit himself to do is to put the case impartially before
his patient and to present to him all the risks. The solution must be for
the patient himself to work out, as best he can, for it involves social
and other considerations which, while they are indeed by no means outside
the sphere of medicine, are certainly entirely outside the control of the
individual private practitioner of medicine.

    Moll also is of opinion that this impartial presentation of the
    case for and against sexual intercourse corresponds to the
    physician's duty in the matter. It is, indeed, a duty which can
    scarcely be escaped by the physician in many cases. Moll points
    out that it can by no means be assimilated, as some have
    supposed, with the recommendation of sexual intercourse. It is,
    on the contrary, he remarks, much more analogous to the
    physician's duty in reference to operations. He puts before the
    patient the nature of the operation, its advantages and its
    risks, but he leaves it to the patient's judgment to accept or
    reject the operation. Lewitt also (_Geschlechtliche
    Enthaltsamkeit und Gesundheitsstörungen_, 1905), after discussing
    the various opinions on this question, comes to the conclusion
    that the physician, if he thinks that intercourse outside
    marriage might be beneficial, should explain the difficulties and
    leave the patient himself to decide.

There is another reason why, having regard to the prevailing moral
opinions at all events among the middle classes, a physician should
refrain from advising extra-conjugal intercourse: he places himself in a
false relation to his social environment. He is recommending a remedy the
nature of which he could not publicly avow, and so destroying the public
confidence in himself. The only physician who is morally entitled to
advise his patients to enter into extra-conjugal relationships is one who
openly acknowledges that he is prepared to give such advice. The doctor
who is openly working for social reform has perhaps won the moral right to
give advice in accordance with the tendency of his public activity, but
even then his advice may be very dubiously judicious, and he would be
better advised to confine his efforts at social reform to his public
activities. The voice of the physician, as Professor Max Flesch of
Frankfort observes, is more and more heard in the development and new
growth of social institutions; he is a natural leaders in such movements,
and proposals for reform properly come from him. "But," as Flesch
continues, "publicly to accept the excellence of existing institutions and
in the privacy of the consulting-room to give advice which assumes the
imperfection of those institutions is illogical and confusing. It is the
physician's business to give advice which is in accordance with the
interests of the community as a whole, and those interests require that
sexual relationships should be entered into between healthy men and women
who are able and willing to accept the results of their union. That should
be the physician's rule of conduct. Only so can he become, what to-day he
is often proclaimed to be, the leader of the nation."[98] This view is
not, as we see, entirely in accord with that which assumes that the
physician's duty is solely and entirely to his patient, without regard to
the bearing of his advice on social conduct. The patient's interests are
primary, but they are not entitled to be placed in antagonism to the
interests of society. The advice given by the wise physician must always
be in harmony with the social and moral tone of his age. Thus it is that
the tendency among the younger generation of physicians to-day to take an
active interest in raising that tone and in promoting social reform--a
tendency which exists not only in Germany where such interests have long
been acute, but also in so conservative a land as England--is full of
promise for the future.

The physician is usually content to consider his duty to his patient in
relationship to sexual abstinence as sufficiently fulfilled when he
attempts to allay sexual hyperæsthesia by medical or hygienic treatment.
It can scarcely be claimed, however, that the results of such treatment
are usually satisfactory, and sometimes indeed the treatment has a result
which is the reverse of that intended. The difficulty generally is that in
order to be efficacious the treatment must be carried to an extreme which
exhausts or inhibits not only the genital activities alone but the
activities of the whole organism, and short of that it may prove a
stimulant rather than a sedative. It is difficult and usually impossible
to separate out a man's sexual activities and bring influence to bear on
these activities alone. Sexual activity is so closely intertwined with the
other organic activities, erotic exuberance is so much a flower which is
rooted in the whole organism, that the blow which crushes it may strike
down the whole man. The bromides are universally recognized as powerful
sexual sedatives, but their influence in this respect only makes itself
felt when they have dulled all the finest energies of the organism.
Physical exercise is universally recommended to sexually hyperæsthetic
patients. Yet most people, men and women, find that physical exercise is a
positive stimulus to sexual activity. This is notably so as regards
walking, and exuberantly energetic young women who are troubled by the
irritant activity of their healthy sexual emotions sometimes spend a large
part of their time in the vain attempt to lull their activity by long
walks. Physical exercise only proves efficacious in this respect when it
is carried to an extent which produces general exhaustion. Then indeed the
sexual activity is lulled; but so are all the mental and physical
activities. It is undoubtedly true that exercises and games of all sorts
for young people of both sexes have a sexually hygienic as well as a
generally hygienic influence which is undoubtedly beneficial. They are, on
all grounds, to be preferred to prolonged sedentary occupations. But it is
idle to suppose that games and exercises will suppress the sexual
impulses, for in so far as they favor health, they favor all the impulses
that are the result of health. The most that can be expected is that they
may tend to restrain the manifestations of sex by dispersing the energy
they generate.

There are many physical rules and precautions which are advocated, not
without reason, as tending to inhibit or diminish sexual activity. The
avoidance of heat and the cultivation of cold is one of the most important
of these. Hot climates, a close atmosphere, heavy bed-clothing, hot baths,
all tend powerfully to excite the sexual system, for that system is a
peripheral sensory organ, and whatever stimulates the skin generally,
stimulates the sexual system.[99] Cold, which contracts the skin, also
deadens the sexual feelings, a fact which the ascetics of old knew and
acted upon. The garments and the posture of the body are not without
influence. Constriction or pressure in the neighborhood of the sexual
region, even tight corsets, as well as internal pressure, as from a
distended bladder, are sources of sexual irritation. Sleeping on the back,
which congests the spinal centres, also acts in the same way, as has long
been known by those who attend to sexual hygiene; thus it is stated that
in the Franciscan order it is prohibited to lie on the back. Food and
drink are, further, powerful sexual stimulants. This is true even of the
simplest and most wholesome nourishment, but it is more especially true of
flesh meat, and, above all, of alcohol in its stronger forms such as
spirits, liqueurs, sparkling and heavy wines, and even many English beers.
This has always been clearly realized by those who cultivate asceticism,
and it is one of the powerful reasons why alcohol should not be given in
early youth. As St. Jerome wrote, when telling Eustochium that she must
avoid wine like poison, "wine and youth are the two fires of lust. Why
add oil to the flame?"[100] Idleness, again, especially when combined with
rich living, promotes sexual activity, as Burton sets forth at length in
his _Anatomy of Melancholy_, and constant occupation, on the other hand,
concentrates the wandering activities.

Mental exercise, like physical exercise, has sometimes been advocated as a
method of calming sexual excitement, but it seems to be equally equivocal
in its action. If it is profoundly interesting and exciting it may stir up
rather than lull the sexual emotions. If it arouses little interest it is
unable to exert any kind of influence. This is true even of mathematical
occupations which have been advocated by various authorities, including
Broussais, as aids to sexual hygiene.[101] "I have tried mechanical mental
work," a lady writes, "such as solving arithmetical or algebraic problems,
but it does no good; in fact it seems only to increase the excitement." "I
studied and especially turned my attention to mathematics," a clergyman
writes, "with a view to check my sexual tendencies. To a certain extent I
was successful. But at the approach of an old friend, a voice or a touch,
these tendencies came back again with renewed strength. I found
mathematics, however, the best thing on the whole to take off my attention
from women, better than religious exercises which I tried when younger
(twenty-two to thirty)." At the best, however, such devices are of merely
temporary efficacy.

It is easier to avoid arousing the sexual impulses than to impose silence
on them by hygienic measures when once they are aroused. It is,
therefore, in childhood and youth that all these measures may be most
reasonably observed in order to avoid any premature sexual excitement. In
one group of stolidly normal children influences that might be expected to
act sexually pass away unperceived. At the other extreme, another group of
children are so neurotically and precociously sensitive that no
precautions will preserve them from such influences. But between these
groups there is another, probably much the largest, who resist slight
sexual suggestions but may succumb to stronger or longer influences, and
on these the cares of sexual hygiene may profitably be bestowed.[102]

After puberty, when the spontaneous and inner voice of sex may at any
moment suddenly make itself heard, all hygienic precautions are liable to
be flung to the winds, and even the youth or maiden most anxious to retain
the ideals of chastity can often do little but wait till the storm has
passed. It sometimes happens that a prolonged period of sexual storm and
stress occurs soon after puberty, and then dies away although there has
been little or no sexual gratification, to be succeeded by a period of
comparative calm. It must be remembered that in many, and perhaps most,
individuals, men and women, the sexual appetite, unlike hunger or thirst,
can after a prolonged struggle, be reduced to a more or less quiescent
state which, far from injuring, may even benefit the physical and psychic
vigor generally. This may happen whether or not sexual gratification has
been obtained. If there has never been any such gratification, the
struggle is less severe and sooner over, unless the individual is of
highly erotic temperament. If there has been gratification, if the mind
is filled not merely with desires but with joyous experience to which the
body also has grown accustomed, then the struggle is longer and more
painfully absorbing. The succeeding relief, however, if it comes, is
sometimes more complete and is more likely to be associated with a state
of psychic health. For the fundamental experiences of life, under normal
conditions, bring not only intellectual sanity, but emotional
pacification. A conquest of the sexual appetites which has never at any
period involved a gratification of these appetites seldom produces results
that commend themselves as rich and beautiful.

In these combats there are, however, no permanent conquests. For a very
large number of people, indeed, though there may be emotional changes and
fluctuations dependent on a variety of circumstances, there can scarcely
be said to be any conquest at all. They are either always yielding to the
impulses that assail them, or always resisting those impulses, in the
first case with remorse, in the second with dissatisfaction. In either
case much of their lives, at the time when life is most vigorous, is
wasted. With women, if they happen to be of strong passions and reckless
impulses to abandonment, the results may be highly enervating, if not
disastrous to the general psychic life. It is to this cause, indeed, that
some have been inclined to attribute the frequent mediocrity of women's
work in artistic and intellectual fields. Women of intellectual force are
frequently if not generally women of strong passions, and if they resist
the tendency to merge themselves in the duties of maternity their lives
are often wasted in emotional conflict and their psychic natures

    The extent to which sexual abstinence and the struggles it
    involves may hamper and absorb the individual throughout life is
    well illustrated in the following case. A lady, vigorous, robust,
    and generally healthy, of great intelligence and high character,
    has reached middle life without marrying, or ever having sexual
    relationships. She was an only child, and when between three and
    four years of age, a playmate some six years older, initiated her
    into the habit of playing with her sexual parts. She was,
    however, at this age quite devoid of sexual feelings, and the
    habit dropped naturally, without any bad effects, as soon as she
    left the neighborhood of this girl a year or so later. Her health
    was good and even brilliant, and she developed vigorously at
    puberty. At the age of sixteen, however, a mental shock caused
    menstruation to diminish in amount during some years, and
    simultaneously with this diminution persistent sexual excitement
    appeared spontaneously, for the first time. She regarded such
    feelings as abnormal and unhealthy, and exerted all her powers of
    self-control in resisting them. But will power had no effect in
    diminishing the feelings. There was constant and imperious
    excitement, with the sense of vibration, tension, pressure,
    dilatation and tickling, accompanied, it may be, by some ovarian
    congestion, for she felt that on the left side there was a
    network of sexual nerves, and retroversion of the uterus was
    detected some years later. Her life was strenuous with many
    duties, but no occupation could be pursued without this
    undercurrent of sexual hyperæsthesia involving perpetual
    self-control. This continued more or less acutely for many years,
    when menstruation suddenly stopped altogether, much before the
    usual period of the climacteric. At the same time the sexual
    excitement ceased, and she became calm, peaceful, and happy.
    Diminished menstruation was associated with sexual excitement,
    but abundant menstruation and its complete absence were both
    accompanied by the relief of excitement. This lasted for two
    years. Then, for the treatment of a trifling degree of anæmia,
    she was subjected to a long, and, in her case, injudicious course
    of hypodermic injections of strychnia. From that time, five years
    ago, up to the present, there has been constant sexual
    excitement, and she has always to be on guard lest she should be
    overtaken by a sexual spasm. Her torture is increased by the fact
    that her traditions make it impossible for her (except under very
    exceptional circumstances) to allude to the cause of her
    sufferings. "A woman is handicapped," she writes. "She may never
    speak to anyone on such a subject. She must live her tragedy
    alone, smiling as much as she can under the strain of her
    terrible burden." To add to her trouble, two years ago, she felt
    impelled to resort to masturbation, and has done so about once a
    month since; this not only brings no real relief, and leaves
    irritability, wakefulness, and dark marks under the eyes, but is
    a cause of remorse to her, for she regards masturbation as
    entirely abnormal and unnatural. She has tried to gain benefit,
    not merely by the usual methods of physical hygiene, but by
    suggestion, Christian Science, etc., but all in vain. "I may
    say," she writes, "that it is the most passionate desire of my
    heart to be freed from this bondage, that I may relax the
    terrible years-long tension of resistance, and be happy in my own
    way. If I had this affliction once a month, once a week, even
    twice a week, to stand against it would be child's play. I should
    scorn to resort to unnatural means, however moderately. But
    self-control itself has its revenges, and I sometimes feel as if
    it is no longer to be borne."

Thus while it is an immense benefit in physical and psychic development if
the eruption of the disturbing sexual emotions can be delayed until
puberty or adolescence, and while it is a very great advantage, after that
eruption has occurred, to be able to gain control of these emotions, to
crush altogether the sexual nature would be a barren, if not, indeed, a
perilous victory, bringing with it no satisfaction. "If I had only had
three weeks' happiness," said a woman, "I would not quarrel with Fate, but
to have one's whole life so absolutely empty is horrible." If such vacuous
self-restraint may, by courtesy, be termed a virtue, it is but a negative
virtue. The persons who achieve it, as the result of congenitally feeble
sexual aptitudes, merely (as Gyurkovechky, Fürbringer, and Löwenfeld have
all alike remarked) made a virtue of their weakness. Many others, whose
instincts were less weak, when they disdainfully put to flight the desires
of sex in early life, have found that in later life that foe returns in
tenfold force and perhaps in unnatural shapes.[104]

The conception of "sexual abstinence" is, we see, an entirely false and
artificial conception. It is not only ill-adjusted to the hygienic facts
of the case but it fails even to invoke any genuinely moral motive, for it
is exclusively self-regarding and self-centred. It only becomes genuinely
moral, and truly inspiring, when we transform it into the altruistic
virtue of self-sacrifice. When we have done so we see that the element of
abstinence in it ceases to be essential, "Self-sacrifice," writes the
author of a thoughtful book on the sexual life, "is acknowledged to be the
basis of virtue; the noblest instances of self-sacrifice are those
dictated by sexual affection. Sympathy is the secret of altruism; nowhere
is sympathy more real and complete than in love. Courage, both moral and
physical, the love of truth and honor, the spirit of enterprise, and the
admiration of moral worth, are all inspired by love as by nothing else in
human nature. Celibacy denies itself that inspiration or restricts its
influence, according to the measure of its denial of sexual intimacy. Thus
the deliberate adoption of a consistently celibate life implies the
narrowing down of emotional and moral experience to a degree which is,
from the broad scientific standpoint, unjustified by any of the advantages
piously supposed to accrue from it."[105]

In a sane natural order all the impulses are centred in the fulfilment of
needs and not in their denial. Moreover, in this special matter of sex, it
is inevitable that the needs of others, and not merely the needs of the
individual himself, should determine action. It is more especially the
needs of the female which are the determining factor; for those needs are
more various, complex and elusive, and in his attentiveness to their
gratification the male finds a source of endless erotic satisfaction. It
might be thought that the introduction of an altruistic motive here is
merely the claim of theoretical morality insisting that there shall be a
firm curb on animal instinct. But, as we have again and again seen
throughout the long course of these _Studies_, it is not so. The animal
instinct itself makes this demand. It is a biological law that rules
throughout the zoölogical world and has involved the universality of
courtship. In man it is only modified because in man sexual needs are not
entirely concentrated in reproduction, but more or less penetrate the
whole of life.

While from the point of view of society, as from that of Nature, the end
and object of the sexual impulse is procreation, and nothing beyond
procreation, that is by no means true for the individual, whose main
object it must be to fulfil himself harmoniously with that due regard for
others which the art of living demands. Even if sexual relationships had
no connection with procreation whatever--as some Central Australian tribes
believe--they would still be justifiable, and are, indeed, an
indispensable aid to the best moral development of the individual, for it
is only in so intimate a relationship as that of sex that the finest
graces and aptitudes of life have full scope. Even the saints cannot
forego the sexual side of life. The best and most accomplished saints from
Jerome to Tolstoy--even the exquisite Francis of Assisi--had stored up in
their past all the experiences that go to the complete realization of
life, and if it were not so they would have been the less saints.

The element of positive virtue thus only enters when the control of the
sexual impulse has passed beyond the stage of rigid and sterile abstinence
and has become not merely a deliberate refusal of what is evil in sex, but
a deliberate acceptance of what is good. It is only at that moment that
such control becomes a real part of the great art of living. For the art
of living, like any other art, is not compatible with rigidity, but lies
in the weaving of a perpetual harmony between refusing and accepting,
between giving and taking.[106]

The future, it is clear, belongs ultimately to those who are slowly
building up sounder traditions into the structure of life. The "problem of
sexual abstinence" will more and more sink into insignificance. There
remain the great solid fact of love, the great solid fact of chastity.
Those are eternal. Between them there is nothing but harmony. The
development of one involves the development of the other.

It has been necessary to treat seriously this problem of "sexual
abstinence" because we have behind us the traditions of two thousand years
based on certain ideals of sexual law and sexual license, together with
the long effort to build up practices more or less conditioned by those
ideals. We cannot immediately escape from these traditions even when we
question their validity for ourselves. We have not only to recognize their
existence, but also to accept the fact that for some time to come they
must still to a considerable extent control the thoughts and even in some
degree the actions of existing communities.

It is undoubtedly deplorable. It involves the introduction of an
artificiality into a real natural order. Love is real and positive;
chastity is real and positive. But sexual abstinence is unreal and
negative, in the strict sense perhaps impossible. The underlying feelings
of all those who have emphasized its importance is that a physiological
process can be good or bad according as it is or is not carried out under
certain arbitrary external conditions, which render it licit or illicit.
An act of sexual intercourse under the name of "marriage" is beneficial;
the very same act, under the name of "incontinence," is pernicious. No
physiological process, and still less any spiritual process, can bear such
restriction. It is as much as to say that a meal becomes good or bad,
digestible or indigestible, according as a grace is or is not pronounced
before the eating of it.

It is deplorable because, such a conception being essentially unreal, an
element of unreality is thus introduced into a matter of the gravest
concern alike to the individual and to society. Artificial disputes have
been introduced where no matter of real dispute need exist. A contest has
been carried on marked by all the ferocity which marks contests about
metaphysical or pseudo-metaphysical differences having no concrete basis
in the actual world. As will happen in such cases, there has, after all,
been no real difference between the disputants because the point they
quarreled over was unreal. In truth each side was right and each side was

It is necessary, we see, that the balance should be held even. An absolute
license is bad; an absolute abstinence--even though some by nature or
circumstances are urgently called to adopt it--is also bad. They are both
alike away from the gracious equilibrium of Nature. And the force, we see,
which naturally holds this balance even is the biological fact that the
act of sexual union is the satisfaction of the erotic needs, not of one
person, but of two persons.


[92] This view was an ambiguous improvement on the view, universally
prevalent, as Westermarck has shown, among primitive peoples, that the
sexual act involves indignity to a woman or depreciation of her only in so
far as she is the property of another person who is the really injured

[93] This implicit contradiction has been acutely pointed out from the
religious side by the Rev. H. Northcote, _Christianity and Sex Problems_,
p. 53.

[94] It has already been necessary to discuss this point briefly in "The
Sexual Impulse in Women," vol. iii of these _Studies_.

[95] "Die Abstinentia Sexualis," _Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft_,
Nov., 1908.

[96] P. Janet, "La Maladie du Scrupule," _Revue Philosophique_, May, 1901.

[97] S. Freud, _Sexual-Probleme_, March, 1908. As Adele Schreiber also
points out (_Mutterschutz_, Jan., 1907, p. 30), it is not enough to prove
that abstinence is not dangerous; we have to remember that the spiritual
and physical energy used up in repressing this mighty instinct often
reduces a joyous and energetic nature to a weary and faded shadow.
Similarly, Helene Stöcker (_Die Liebe und die Frauen_, p. 105) says: "The
question whether abstinence is harmful is, to say the truth, a ridiculous
question. One needs to be no nervous specialist to know, as a matter of
course, that a life of happy love and marriage is the healthy life, and
its complete absence cannot fail to lead to severe psychic depression,
even if no direct physiological disturbances can be demonstrated."

[98] Max Flesch, "Ehe, Hygine und Sexuelle Moral," _Mutterschutz_, 1905,
Heft 7.

[99] See the Section on Touch in the fourth volume of these _Studies_.

[100] "I have had two years' close experience and connexion with the
Trappists," wrote Dr. Butterfield, of Natal (_British Medical Journal_,
Sept. 15, 1906, p. 668), "both as medical attendant and as being a
Catholic in creed myself. I have studied them and investigated their life,
habits and diet, and though I should be very backward in adopting it
myself, as not suited to me individually, the great bulk of them are in
absolute ideal health and strength, seldom ailing, capable of vast work,
mental and physical. Their life is very simple and very regular. A
healthier body of men and women, with perfect equanimity of temper--this
latter I lay great stress on--it would be difficult to find. Health beams
in their eyes and countenance and actions. Only in sickness or prolonged
journeys are they allowed any strong foods--meats, eggs, etc.--or any

[101] Féré, _L'Instinct Sexuel_, second edition, p. 332.

[102] Rural life, as we have seen when discussing its relation to sexual
precocity, _is_ on one side the reverse of a safeguard against sexual
influences. But, on the other hand, in so far as it involves hard work and
simple living under conditions that are not nervously stimulating, it is
favorable to a considerably delayed sexual activity in youth and to a
relative continence. Ammon, in the course of his anthropological
investigations of Baden conscripts, found that sexual intercourse was rare
in the country before twenty, and even sexual emissions during sleep rare
before nineteen or twenty. It is said, also, he repeats, that no one has a
right to run after girls who does not yet carry a gun, and the elder lads
sometimes brutally ill-treat any younger boy found going about with a
girl. No doubt this is often preliminary to much license later.

[103] The numerical preponderance which celibate women teachers have now
gained in the American school system has caused much misgiving among many
sagacious observers, and is said to be unsatisfactory in its results on
the pupils of both sexes. A distinguished authority, Professor McKeen
Cattell ("The School and the Family," _Popular Science Monthly_, Jan.,
1909), referring to this preponderance of "devitalized and unsexed
spinsters," goes so far as to say that "the ultimate result of letting the
celibate female be the usual teacher has been such as to make it a
question whether it would not be an advantage to the country if the whole
school plant could be scrapped."

[104] Corre (_Les Criminels_, p. 351) mentions that of thirteen priests
convicted of crime, six were guilty of sexual attempts on children, and of
eighty-three convicted lay teachers, forty-eight had committed similar
offenses. This was at a time when lay teachers were in practice almost
compelled to live a celibate life; altered conditions have greatly
diminished this class of offense among them. Without going so far as
crime, many moral and religious men, clergymen and others, who have led
severely abstinent lives in youth, sometimes experience in middle age or
later the eruption of almost uncontrollable sexual impulses, normal or
abnormal. In women such manifestations are apt to take the form of
obsessional thoughts of sexual character, as e.g., the case
(_Comptes-Rendus Congrès International de Médecine_, Moscow, 1897, vol.
iv, p. 27) of a chaste woman who was compelled to think about and look at
the sexual organs of men.

[105] J.A. Godfrey, _The Science of Sex_, p. 138.

[106] See, e.g., Havelock Ellis, "St. Francis and Others," _Affirmations_.



I. _The Orgy:_--The Religious Origin of the Orgy--The Feast of
Fools--Recognition of the Orgy by the Greeks and Romans--The Orgy Among
Savages--The Drama--The Object Subserved by the Orgy.

II. _The Origin and Development of Prostitution:_--The Definition of
Prostitution--Prostitution Among Savages--The Conditions Under Which
Professional Prostitution Arises--Sacred Prostitution--The Rite of
Mylitta--The Practice of Prostitution to Obtain a Marriage Portion--The
Rise of Secular Prostitution in Greece--Prostitution in the East--India,
China, Japan, etc.--Prostitution in Rome--The Influence of Christianity on
Prostitution--The Effort to Combat Prostitution--The Mediæval Brothel--The
Appearance of the Courtesan--Tullia D'Aragona--Veronica Franco--Ninon de
Lenclos--Later Attempts to Eradicate Prostitution--The Regulation of
Prostitution--Its Futility Becoming Recognized.

III. _The Causes of Prostitution:_--Prostitution as a Part of the Marriage
System--The Complex Causation of Prostitution--The Motives Assigned by
Prostitutes--(1) Economic Factor of Prostitution--Poverty Seldom the Chief
Motive for Prostitution--But Economic Pressure Exerts a Real
Influence--The Large Proportion of Prostitutes Recruited from Domestic
Service--Significance of This Fact--(2) The Biological Factor of
Prostitution--The So-called Born-Prostitute--Alleged Identity with the
Born-Criminal--The Sexual Instinct in Prostitutes--The Physical and
Psychic Characters of Prostitutes--(3) Moral Necessity as a Factor in the
Existence of Prostitution--The Moral Advocates of Prostitution--The Moral
Attitude of Christianity Towards Prostitution--The Attitude of
Protestantism--Recent Advocates of the Moral Necessity of
Prostitution--(4) Civilizational Value as a Factor of Prostitution--The
Influence of Urban Life--The Craving for Excitement--Why Servant-girls
so Often Turn to Prostitution--The Small Part Played by
Seduction--Prostitutes Come Largely from the Country--The Appeal of
Civilization Attracts Women to Prostitution--The Corresponding Attraction
Felt by Men--The Prostitute as Artist and Leader of Fashion--The Charm of

IV. _The Present Social Attitude Towards Prostitution:_--The Decay of the
Brothel--The Tendency to the Humanization of Prostitution--The Monetary
Aspects of Prostitution--The Geisha--The Hetaira--The Moral Revolt
Against Prostitution--Squalid Vice Based on Luxurious Virtue--The Ordinary
Attitude Towards Prostitutes--Its Cruelty Absurd--The Need of Reforming
Prostitution--The Need of Reforming Marriage--These These Two Needs
Closely Correlated--The Dynamic Relationships Involved.

_I. The Orgy_.

Traditional morality, religion, and established convention combine to
promote not only the extreme of rigid abstinence but also that of reckless
license. They preach and idealize the one extreme; they drive those who
cannot accept it to adopt the opposite extreme. In the great ages of
religion it even happens that the severity of the rule of abstinence is
more or less deliberately tempered by the permission for occasional
outbursts of license. We thus have the orgy, which flourished in mediæval
days and is, indeed, in its largest sense, a universal manifestation,
having a function to fulfil in every orderly and laborious civilization,
built up on natural energies that are bound by more or less inevitable

The consideration of the orgy, it may be said, lifts us beyond the merely
sexual sphere, into a higher and wider region which belongs to religion.
The Greek _orgeia_ referred originally to ritual things done with a
religious purpose, though later, when dances of Bacchanals and the like
lost their sacred and inspiring character, the idea was fostered by
Christianity that such things were immoral.[107] Yet Christianity was
itself in its origin an orgy of the higher spiritual activities released
from the uncongenial servitude of classic civilization, a great festival
of the poor and the humble, of the slave and the sinner. And when, with
the necessity for orderly social organization, Christianity had ceased to
be this it still recognized, as Paganism had done, the need for an
occasional orgy. It appears that in 743 at a Synod held in Hainault
reference was made to the February debauch (_de Spurcalibus in februario_)
as a pagan practice; yet it was precisely this pagan festival which was
embodied in the accepted customs of the Christian Church as the chief orgy
of the ecclesiastical year, the great Carnival prefixed to the long fast
of Lent. The celebration on Shrove Tuesday and the previous Sunday
constituted a Christian Bacchanalian festival in which all classes joined.
The greatest freedom and activity of physical movement was encouraged;
"some go about naked without shame, some crawl on all fours, some on
stilts, some imitate animals."[108] As time went on the Carnival lost its
most strongly marked Bacchanalian features, but it still retains its
essential character as a permitted and temporary relaxation of the tension
of customary restraints and conventions. The Mediæval Feast of Fools--a
New Year's Revel well established by the twelfth century, mainly in
France--presented an expressive picture of a Christian orgy in its extreme
form, for here the most sacred ceremonies of the Church became the subject
of fantastic parody. The Church, according to Nietzsche's saying, like all
wise legislators, recognized that where great impulses and habits have to
be cultivated, intercalary days must be appointed in which these impulses
and habits may be denied, and so learn to hunger anew.[109] The clergy
took the leading part in these folk-festivals, for to the men of that age,
as Méray remarks, "the temple offered the complete notes of the human
gamut; they found there the teaching of all duties, the consolation of all
sorrows, the satisfaction of all joys. The sacred festivals of mediæval
Christianity were not a survival from Roman times; they leapt from the
very heart of Christian society."[110] But, as Méray admits, all great and
vigorous peoples, of the East and the West, have found it necessary
sometimes to play with their sacred things.

Among the Greeks and Romans this need is everywhere visible, not only in
their comedy and their literature generally, but in everyday life. As
Nietzsche truly remarks (in his _Geburt der Tragödie_) the Greeks
recognized all natural impulses, even those that are seemingly unworthy,
and safeguarded them from working mischief by providing channels into
which, on special days and in special rites, the surplus of wild energy
might harmlessly flow. Plutarch, the last and most influential of the
Greek moralists, well says, when advocating festivals (in his essay "On
the Training of Children"), that "even in bows and harps we loosen their
strings that we may bend and wind them up again." Seneca, perhaps the most
influential of Roman if not of European moralists, even recommended
occasional drunkenness. "Sometimes," he wrote in his _De Tranquillilate_,
"we ought to come even to the point of intoxication, not for the purpose
of drowning ourselves but of sinking ourselves deep in wine. For it washes
away cares and raises our spirits from the lowest depths. The inventor of
wine is called _Liber_ because he frees the soul from the servitude of
care, releases it from slavery, quickens it, and makes it bolder for all
undertakings." The Romans were a sterner and more serious people than the
Greeks, but on that very account they recognized the necessity of
occasionally relaxing their moral fibres in order to preserve their tone,
and encouraged the prevalence of festivals which were marked by much more
abandonment than those of Greece. When these festivals began to lose
their moral sanction and to fall into decay the decadence of Rome had

All over the world, and not excepting the most primitive savages--for even
savage life is built up on systematic constraints which sometimes need
relaxation--the principle of the orgy is recognized and accepted. Thus
Spencer and Gillen describe[111] the Nathagura or fire-ceremony of the
Warramunga tribe of Central Australia, a festival taken part in by both
sexes, in which all the ordinary rules of social life are broken, a kind
of Saturnalia in which, however, there is no sexual license, for sexual
license is, it need scarcely be said, no essential part of the orgy, even
when the orgy lightens the burden of sexual constraints. In a widely
different part of the world, in British Columbia, the Salish Indians,
according to Hill Tout,[112] believed that, long before the whites came,
their ancestors observed a Sabbath or seventh day ceremony for dancing and
praying, assembling at sunrise and dancing till noon. The Sabbath, or
periodically recurring orgy,--not a day of tension and constraint but a
festival of joy, a rest from all the duties of everyday life,--has, as we
know, formed an essential part of many of the orderly ancient
civilizations on which our own has been built;[113] it is highly probable
that the stability of these ancient civilizations was intimately
associated with their recognition of the need of a Sabbath orgy. Such
festivals are, indeed, as Crawley observes, processes of purification and
reinvigoration, the effort to put off "the old man" and put on "the new
man," to enter with fresh energy on the path of everyday life.[114]

The orgy is an institution which by no means has its significance only for
the past. On the contrary, the high tension, the rigid routine, the gray
monotony of modern life insistently call for moments of organic relief,
though the precise form that that orgiastic relief takes must necessarily
change with other social changes. As Wilhelm von Humboldt said, "just as
men need suffering in order to become strong so they need joy in order to
become good." Charles Wagner, insisting more recently (in his _Jeunesse_)
on the same need of joy in our modern life, regrets that dancing in the
old, free, and natural manner has gone out of fashion or become
unwholesome. Dancing is indeed the most fundamental and primitive form of
the orgy, and that which most completely and healthfully fulfils its
object. For while it is undoubtedly, as we see even among animals, a
process by which sexual tumescence is accomplished,[115] it by no means
necessarily becomes focused in sexual detumescence but it may itself
become a detumescent discharge of accumulated energy. It was on this
account that, at all events in former days, the clergy in Spain, on moral
grounds, openly encouraged the national passion for dancing. Among
cultured people in modern times, the orgy tends to take on a purely
cerebral form, which is less wholesome because it fails to lead to
harmonious discharge along motor channels. In these comparatively passive
forms, however, the orgy tends to become more and more pronounced under
the conditions of civilization. Aristotle's famous statement concerning
the function of tragedy as "purgation" seems to be a recognition of the
beneficial effects of the orgy.[116] Wagner's music-dramas appeal
powerfully to this need; the theatre, now as ever, fulfils a great
function of the same kind, inherited from the ancient days when it was the
ordered expression of a sexual festival.[117] The theatre, indeed, tends
at the present time to assume a larger importance and to approximate to
the more serious dramatic performances of classic days by being
transferred to the day-time and the open-air. France has especially taken
the initiative in these performances, analogous to the Dionysiac festivals
of antiquity and the Mysteries and Moralities of the Middle Ages. The
movement began some years ago at Orange. In 1907 there were, in France, as
many as thirty open-air theatres ("Théâtres de la Nature," "Théâtres du
Soleil," etc.,) while it is in Marseilles that the first formal open-air
theatre has been erected since classic days.[118] In England, likewise,
there has been a great extension of popular interest in dramatic
performances, and the newly instituted Pageants, carried out and taken
part in by the population of the region commemorated in the Pageant, are
festivals of the same character. In England, however, at the present time,
the real popular orgiastic festivals are the Bank holidays, with which may
be associated the more occasional celebrations, "Maffekings," etc., often
called out by comparatively insignificant national events but still
adequate to arouse orgiastic emotions as genuine as those of antiquity,
though they are lacking in beauty and religious consecration. It is easy
indeed for the narrowly austere person to view such manifestations with a
supercilious smile, but in the eyes of the moralist and the philosopher
these orgiastic festivals exert a salutary and preservative function. In
every age of dull and monotonous routine--and all civilization involves
such routine--many natural impulses and functions tend to become
suppressed, atrophied, or perverted. They need these moments of joyous
exercise and expression, moments in which they may not necessarily attain
their full activity but in which they will at all events be able, as
Cyples expresses it, to rehearse their great possibilities.[119]

_II. The Origin and Development of Prostitution_.

The more refined forms of the orgy flourish in civilization, although on
account of their mainly cerebral character they are not the most
beneficent or the most effective. The more primitive and muscular forms of
the orgy tend, on the other hand, under the influence of civilization, to
fall into discredit and to be so far as possible suppressed altogether. It
is partly in this way that civilization encourages prostitution. For the
orgy in its primitive forms, forbidden to show itself openly and
reputably, seeks the darkness, and allying itself with a fundamental
instinct to which civilized society offers no complete legitimate
satisfaction, it firmly entrenches itself in the very centre of civilized
life, and thereby constitutes a problem of immense difficulty and

It is commonly said that prostitution has existed always and everywhere.
That statement is far from correct. A kind of amateur prostitution is
occasionally found among savages, but usually it is only when barbarism is
fully developed and is already approaching the stage of civilization that
well developed prostitution is found. It exists in a systematic form in
every civilization.

What is prostitution? There has been considerable discussion as to the
correct definition of prostitution.[121] The Roman Ulpian said that a
prostitute was one who openly abandons her body to a number of men without
choice, for money.[122] Not all modern definitions have been so
satisfactory. It is sometimes said a prostitute is a woman who gives
herself to numerous men. To be sound, however, a definition must be
applicable to both sexes alike and we should certainly hesitate to
describe a man who had sexual intercourse with many women as a prostitute.
The idea of venality, the intention to sell the favors of the body, is
essential to the conception of prostitution. Thus Guyot defines a
prostitute as "any person for whom sexual relationships are subordinated
to gain."[123] It is not, however, adequate to define a prostitute simply
as a woman who sells her body. That is done every day by women who become
wives in order to gain a home and a livelihood, yet, immoral as this
conduct may be from any high ethical standpoint, it would be inconvenient
and even misleading to call it prostitution.[124] It is better, therefore,
to define a prostitute as a woman who temporarily sells her sexual favors
to various persons. Thus, according to Wharton's _Law-lexicon_ a
prostitute is "a woman who indiscriminately consorts with men for hire";
Bonger states that "those women are prostitutes who sell their bodies for
the exercise of sexual acts and make of this a profession";[125] Richard
again states that "a prostitute is a woman who publicly gives herself to
the first comer in return for a pecuniary remuneration."[126] As, finally,
the prevalence of homosexuality has led to the existence of male
prostitutes, the definition must be put in a form irrespective of sex, and
we may, therefore, say that a prostitute is a person who makes it a
profession to gratify the lust of various persons of the opposite sex or
the same sex.

    It is essential that the act of prostitution should be habitually
    performed with "various persons." A woman who gains her living by
    being mistress to a man, to whom she is faithful, is not a
    prostitute, although she often becomes one afterwards, and may
    have been one before. The exact point at which a woman begins to
    be a prostitute is a question of considerable importance in
    countries in which prostitutes are subject to registration. Thus
    in Berlin, not long ago, a girl who was mistress to a rich
    cavalry officer and supported by him, during the illness of the
    officer accidentally met a man whom she had formerly known, and
    once or twice invited him to see her, receiving from him presents
    in money. This somehow came to the knowledge of the police, and
    she was arrested and sentenced to one day's imprisonment as an
    unregistered prostitute. On appeal, however, the sentence was
    annulled. Liszt, in his _Strafrecht_, lays it down that a girl
    who obtains whole or part of her income from "fixed
    relationships" is not practicing unchastity for gain in the sense
    of the German law (_Geschlecht und Gesellschaft_, Jahrgang 1,
    Heft 9, p. 345).

It is not altogether easy to explain the origin of the systematized
professional prostitution with the existence of which we are familiar in
civilization. The amateur kind of prostitution which has sometimes been
noted among primitive peoples--the fact, that is, that a man may give a
woman a present in seeking to persuade her to allow him to have
intercourse with her--is really not prostitution as we understand it. The
present in such a case is merely part of a kind of courtship leading to a
temporary relationship. The woman more or less retains her social position
and is not forced to make an avocation of selling herself because
henceforth no other career is possible to her. When Cook came to New
Zealand his men found that the women were not impregnable, "but the terms
and manner of compliance were as decent as those in marriage among us,"
and according "to their notions the agreement was as innocent." The
consent of the woman's friends was necessary, and when the preliminaries
were settled it was also necessary to treat this "Juliet of a night" with
"the same delicacy as is here required with the wife for life, and the
lover who presumed to take any liberties by which this was violated was
sure to be disappointed."[127] In some of the Melanesian Islands, it is
said that women would sometimes become prostitutes, or on account of their
bad conduct be forced to become prostitutes for a time; they were not,
however, particularly despised, and when they had in this way accumulated
a certain amount of property they could marry well, after which it would
not be proper to refer to their former career.[128]

When prostitution first arises among a primitive people it sometimes
happens that little or no stigma is attached to it for the reason that the
community has not yet become accustomed to attach any special value to the
presence of virginity. Schurtz quotes from the old Arabic geographer
Al-Bekri some interesting remarks about the Slavs: "The women of the
Slavs, after they have married, are faithful to their husbands. If,
however, a young girl falls in love with a man she goes to him and
satisfies her passion. And if a man marries and finds his wife a virgin he
says to her: 'If you were worth anything men would have loved you, and you
would have chosen one who would have taken away your virginity.' Then he
drives her away and renounces her." It is a feeling of this kind which,
among some peoples, leads a girl to be proud of the presents she has
received from her lovers and to preserve them as a dowry for her marriage,
knowing that her value will thus be still further heightened. Even among
the Southern Slavs of modern Europe, who have preserved much of the
primitive sexual freedom, this freedom, as Krauss, who has minutely
studied the manners and customs of these peoples, declares, is
fundamentally different from vice, licentiousness, or immodesty.[129]

Prostitution tends to arise, as Schurtz has pointed out, in every society
in which early marriage is difficult and intercourse outside marriage is
socially disapproved. "Venal women everywhere appear as soon as the free
sexual intercourse of young people is repressed, without the necessary
consequences being impeded by unusually early marriages."[130] The
repression of sexual intimacies outside marriage is a phenomenon of
civilization, but it is not itself by any means a measure of a people's
general level, and may, therefore, begin to appear at an early period. But
it is important to remember that the primitive and rudimentary forms of
prostitution, when they occur, are merely temporary, and
frequently--though not invariably--involve no degrading influence on the
woman in public estimation, sometimes indeed increasing her value as a
wife. The woman who sells herself for money purely as a professional
matter, without any thought of love or passion, and who, by virtue of her
profession, belongs to a pariah class definitely and rigidly excluded from
the main body of her sex, is a phenomenon which can seldom be found except
in developed civilization. It is altogether incorrect to speak of
prostitutes as a mere survival from primitive times.

On the whole, while among savages sexual relationships are sometimes free
before marriage, as well as on the occasion of special festivals, they are
rarely truly promiscuous and still more rarely venal. When savage women
nowadays sell themselves, or are sold by their husbands, it has usually
been found that we are concerned with the contamination of European

The definite ways in which professional prostitution may arise are no
doubt many.[131] We may assent to the general principle, laid down by
Schurtz, that whenever the free union of young people is impeded under
conditions in which early marriage is also difficult prostitution must
certainly arise. There are, however, different ways in which this
principle may take shape. So far as our western civilization is
concerned--the civilization, that is to say, which has its cradle in the
Mediterranean basin--it would seem that the origin of prostitution is to
be found primarily in a religious custom, religion, the great conserver of
social traditions, preserving in a transformed shape a primitive freedom
that was passing out of general social life.[132] The typical example is
that recorded by Herodotus, in the fifth century before Christ, at the
temple of Mylitta, the Babylonian Venus, where every woman once in her
life had to come and give herself to the first stranger who threw a coin
in her lap, in worship of the goddess. The money could not be refused,
however small the amount, but it was given as an offertory to the temple,
and the woman, having followed the man and thus made oblation to Mylitta,
returned home and lived chastely ever afterwards.[133] Very similar
customs existed in other parts of Western Asia, in North Africa, in Cyprus
and other islands of the Eastern Mediterranean, and also in Greece, where
the Temple of Aphrodite on the fort at Corinth possessed over a thousand
hierodules, dedicated to the service of the goddess, from time to time, as
Strabo states, by those who desired to make thank-offering for mercies
vouchsafed to them. Pindar refers to the hospitable young Corinthian women
ministrants whose thoughts often turn towards Ourania Aphrodite[134] in
whose temple they burned incense; and Athenæus mentions the importance
that was attached to the prayers of the Corinthian prostitutes in any
national calamity.[135]

We seem here to be in the presence, not merely of a religiously preserved
survival of a greater sexual freedom formerly existing,[136] but of a
specialized and ritualized development of that primitive cult of the
generative forces of Nature which involves the belief that all natural
fruitfulness is associated with, and promoted by, acts of human sexual
intercourse which thus acquire a religious significance. At a later stage
acts of sexual intercourse having a religious significance become
specialized and localized in temples, and by a rational transition of
ideas it becomes believed that such acts of sexual intercourse in the
service of the god, or with persons devoted to the god's service, brought
benefits to the individual who performed them, more especially, if a
woman, by insuring her fertility. Among primitive peoples generally this
conception is embodied mainly in seasonal festivals, but among the peoples
of Western Asia who had ceased to be primitive, and among whom traditional
priestly and hieratic influences had acquired very great influence, the
earlier generative cult had thus, it seems probable, naturally changed
its form in becoming attached to the temples.[137]

    The theory that religious prostitution developed, as a general
    rule, out of the belief that the generative activity of human
    beings possessed a mysterious and sacred influence in promoting
    the fertility of Nature generally seems to have been first set
    forth by Mannhardt in his _Antike Wald- und Feldkulte_ (pp. 283
    et seq.). It is supported by Dr. F.S. Krauss ("Beischlafausübung
    als Kulthandlung," _Anthropophyteia_, vol. iii, p. 20), who
    refers to the significant fact that in Baruch's time, at a period
    long anterior to Herodotus, sacred prostitution took place under
    the trees. Dr. J.G. Frazer has more especially developed this
    conception of the origin of sacred prostitution in his _Adonis,
    Attis, Osiris_. He thus summarizes his lengthy discussion: "We
    may conclude that a great Mother Goddess, the personification of
    all the reproductive energies of nature, was worshipped under
    different names, but with a substantial similarity of myth and
    ritual by many peoples of western Asia; that associated with her
    was a lover, or rather series of lovers, divine yet mortal, with
    whom she mated year by year, their commerce being deemed
    essential to the propagation of animals and plants, each in their
    several kind; and further, that the fabulous union of the divine
    pair was simulated, and, as it were, multiplied on earth by the
    real, though temporary, union of the human sexes at the sanctuary
    of the goddess for the sake of thereby ensuring the fruitfulness
    of the ground and the increase of man and beast. In course of
    time, as the institution of individual marriage grew in favor,
    and the old communism fell more and more into discredit, the
    revival of the ancient practice, even for a single occasion in a
    woman's life, became ever more repugnant to the moral sense of
    the people, and accordingly they resorted to various expedients
    for evading in practice the obligation which they still
    acknowledged in theory.... But while the majority of women thus
    contrived to observe the form of religion without sacrificing
    their virtue, it was still thought necessary to the general
    welfare that a certain number of them should discharge the old
    obligation in the old way. These became prostitutes, either for
    life or for a term of years, at one of the temples: dedicated to
    the service of religion, they were invested with a sacred
    character, and their vocation, far from being deemed infamous,
    was probably long regarded by the laity as an exercise of more
    than common virtue, and rewarded with a tribute of mixed wonder,
    reverence, and pity, not unlike that which in some parts of the
    world is still paid to women who seek to honor their Creator in a
    different way by renouncing the natural functions of their sex
    and the tenderest relations of humanity" (J.G. Frazer, _Adonis,
    Attis, Osiris_, 1907, pp. 23 et seq.).

    It is difficult to resist the conclusion that this theory
    represents the central and primitive idea which led to the
    development of sacred prostitution. It seems equally clear,
    however, that as time went on, and especially as temple cults
    developed and priestly influence increased, this fundamental and
    primitive idea tended to become modified, and even transformed.
    The primitive conception became specialized in the belief that
    religious benefits, and especially the gift of fruitfulness, were
    gained _by the worshipper_, who thus sought the goddess's favor
    by an act of unchastity which might be presumed to be agreeable
    to an unchaste deity. The rite of Mylitta, as described by
    Herodotus, was a late development of this kind in an ancient
    civilization, and the benefit sought was evidently for the
    worshipper herself. This has been pointed out by Dr. Westermarck,
    who remarks that the words spoken to the woman by her partner as
    he gives her the coin--"May the goddess be auspicious to
    thee!"--themselves indicate that the object of the act was to
    insure her fertility, and he refers also to the fact that
    strangers frequently had a semi-supernatural character, and their
    benefits a specially efficacious character (Westermarck, _Origin
    and Development of the Moral Ideas_, vol. ii, p. 446). It may be
    added that the rite of Mylitta thus became analogous with another
    Mediterranean rite, in which the act of simulating intercourse
    with the representative of a god, or his image, ensured a woman's
    fertility. This is the rite practiced by the Egyptians of Mendes,
    in which a woman went through the ceremony of simulated
    intercourse with the sacred goat, regarded as the representative
    of a deity of Pan-like character (Herodotus, Bk. ii, Ch. XLVI;
    and see Dulaure, _Des Divinités Génératrices_, Ch. II; cf. vol. v
    of these _Studies_, "Erotic Symbolism," Sect. IV). This rite was
    maintained by Roman women, in connection with the statues of
    Priapus, to a very much later date, and St. Augustine mentions
    how Roman matrons placed the young bride on the erect member of
    Priapus (_De Civitate Dei_, Bk. iii, Ch. IX). The idea evidently
    running through this whole group of phenomena is that the deity,
    or the representative or even mere image of the deity, is able,
    through a real or simulated act of intercourse, to confer on the
    worshipper a portion of its own exalted generative activity.

At a later period, in Corinth, prostitutes were still the priestesses of
Venus, more or less loosely attached to her temples, and so long as that
was the case they enjoyed a considerable degree of esteem. At this stage,
however, we realize that religious prostitution was developing a
utilitarian side. These temples flourished chiefly in sea-coast towns, in
islands, in large cities to which many strangers and sailors came. The
priestesses of Cyprus burnt incense on her altars and invoked her sacred
aid, but at the same time Pindar addresses them as "young girls who
welcome all strangers and give them hospitality." Side by side with the
religious significance of the act of generation the needs of men far from
home were already beginning to be definitely recognized. The Babylonian
woman had gone to the temple of Mylitta to fulfil a personal religious
duty; the Corinthian priestess had begun to act as an avowed minister to
the sexual needs of men in strange cities.

The custom which Herodotus noted in Lydia of young girls prostituting
themselves in order to acquire a marriage portion which they may dispose
of as they think fit (Bk. I, Ch. 93) may very well have developed (as
Frazer also believes) out of religious prostitution; we can indeed trace
its evolution in Cyprus where eventually, at the period when Justinian
visited the island, the money given by strangers to the women was no
longer placed on the altar but put into a chest to form marriage-portions
for them. It is a custom to be found in Japan and various other parts of
the world, notably among the Ouled-Nail of Algeria,[138] and is not
necessarily always based on religious prostitution; but it obviously
cannot exist except among peoples who see nothing very derogatory in free
sexual intercourse for the purpose of obtaining money, so that the custom
of Mylitta furnished a natural basis for it.[139]

As a more spiritual conception of religion developed, and as the growth of
civilization tended to deprive sexual intercourse of its sacred halo,
religious prostitution in Greece was slowly abolished, though on the
coasts of Asia Minor both religious prostitution and prostitution for the
purpose of obtaining a marriage portion persisted to the time of
Constantine, who put an end to these ancient customs.[140] Superstition
was on the side of the old religious prostitution; it was believed that
women who had never sacrificed to Aphrodite became consumed by lust, and
according to the legend recorded by Ovid--a legend which seems to point to
a certain antagonism between sacred and secular prostitution--this was the
case with the women who first became public prostitutes. The decay of
religious prostitution, doubtless combined with the cravings always born
of the growth of civilization, led up to the first establishment,
attributed by legend to Solon, of a public brothel, a purely secular
establishment for a purely secular end: the safeguarding of the virtue of
the general population and the increase of the public revenue. With that
institution the evolution of prostitution, and of the modern marriage
system of which it forms part, was completed. The Athenian _dikterion_ is
the modern brothel; the _dikteriade_ is the modern state-regulated
prostitute. The free _hetairæ_, indeed, subsequently arose, educated women
having no taint of the _dikterion_, but they likewise had no official part
in public worship.[141] The primitive conception of the sanctity of sexual
intercourse in the divine service had been utterly lost.

    A fairly typical example of the conditions existing among savages
    is to be found in the South Sea Island of Rotuma, where
    "prostitution for money or gifts was quite unknown." Adultery
    after marriage was also unknown. But there was great freedom in
    the formation of sexual relationships before marriage (J. Stanley
    Gardiner, _Journal Anthropological Institute_, February, 1898, p.
    409). Much the same is said of the Bantu Ba mbola of Africa (_op.
    cit._, July-December, 1905, p. 410).

    Among the early Cymri of Wales, representing a more advanced
    social stage, prostitution appears to have been not absolutely
    unknown, but public prostitution was punished by loss of valuable
    privileges (R.B. Holt, "Marriage Laws and Customs of the Cymri,"
    _Journal Anthropological Institute_, August-November, 1898, pp.

    Prostitution was practically unknown in Burmah, and regarded as
    shameful before the coming of the English and the example of the
    modern Hindus. The missionaries have unintentionally, but
    inevitably, favored the growth of prostitution by condemning free
    unions (_Archives d'Anthropologie Criminelle_, November, 1903, p.
    720). The English brought prostitution to India. "That was not
    specially the fault of the English," said a Brahmin to Jules
    Bois, "it is the crime of your civilization. We have never had
    prostitutes. I mean by that horrible word the brutalized servants
    of the gross desire of the passerby. We had, and we have, castes
    of singers and dancers who are married to trees--yes, to
    trees--by touching ceremonies which date from Vedic times; our
    priests bless them and receive much money from them. They do not
    refuse themselves to those who love them and please them. Kings
    have made them rich. They represent all the arts; they are the
    visible beauty of the universe" (Jules Bois, _Visions de l'Inde_,
    p. 55).

    Religious prostitutes, it may be added, "the servants of the
    god," are connected with temples in Southern India and the
    Deccan. They are devoted to their sacred calling from their
    earliest years, and it is their chief business to dance before
    the image of the god, to whom they are married (though in Upper
    India professional dancing girls are married to inanimate
    objects), but they are also trained in arousing and assuaging the
    desires of devotees who come on pilgrimage to the shrine. For the
    betrothal rites by which, in India, sacred prostitutes are
    consecrated, see, e.g., A. Van Gennep, _Rites de Passage_, p.

    In many parts of Western Asia, where barbarism had reached a high
    stage of development, prostitution was not unknown, though
    usually disapproved. The Hebrews knew it, and the historical
    Biblical references to prostitutes imply little reprobation.
    Jephtha was the son of a prostitute, brought up with the
    legitimate children, and the story of Tamar is instructive. But
    the legal codes were extremely severe on Jewish maidens who
    became prostitutes (the offense was quite tolerable in strange
    women), while Hebrew moralists exercised their invectives against
    prostitution; it is sufficient to refer to a well-known passage
    in the Book of Proverbs (see art. "Harlot," by Cheyne, in the
    _Encyclopædia Biblica_). Mahomed also severely condemned
    prostitution, though somewhat more tolerant to it in slave
    women; according to Haleby, however, prostitution was practically
    unknown in Islam during the first centuries after the Prophet's

    The Persian adherents of the somewhat ascetic _Zendavesta_ also
    knew prostitution, and regarded it with repulsion: "It is the
    Gahi [the courtesan, as an incarnation of the female demon,
    Gahi], O Spitama Zarathustra! who mixes in her the seed of the
    faithful and the unfaithful, of the worshipper of Mazda and the
    worshipper of the Dævas, of the wicked and the righteous. Her
    look dries up one-third of the mighty floods that run from the
    mountains, O Zarathustra; her look withers one-third of the
    beautiful, golden-hued, growing plants, O Zarathustra; her look
    withers one-third of the strength of Spenta Armaiti [the earth];
    and her touch withers in the faithful one-third of his good
    thoughts, of his good words, of his good deeds, one-third of his
    strength, of his victorious power, of his holiness. Verily I say
    unto thee, O Spitama Zarathustra! such creatures ought to be
    killed even more than gliding snakes, than howling wolves, than
    the she-wolf that falls upon the fold, or than the she-frog that
    falls upon the waters with her thousandfold brood" (_Zend-Avesta,
    the Vendidad_, translated by James Darmesteter, Farfad XVIII).

    In practice, however, prostitution is well established in the
    modern East. Thus in the Tartar-Turcoman region houses of
    prostitution lying outside the paths frequented by Christians
    have been described by a writer who appears to be well informed
    ("Orientalische Prostitution," _Geschlecht und Gesellschaft_,
    1907, Bd. ii, Heft 1). These houses are not regarded as immoral
    or forbidden, but as places in which the visitor will find a
    woman who gives him for a few hours the illusion of being in his
    own home, with the pleasure of enjoying her songs, dances, and
    recitations, and finally her body. Payment is made at the door,
    and no subsequent question of money arises; the visitor is
    henceforth among friends, almost as if in his own family. He
    treats the prostitute almost as if she were his wife, and no
    indecorum or coarseness of speech occurs. "There is no obscenity
    in the Oriental brothel." At the same time there is no artificial
    pretence of innocence.

    In Eastern Asia, among the peoples of Mongolian stock, especially
    in China, we find prostitution firmly established and organized
    on a practical business basis. Prostitution is here accepted and
    viewed with no serious disfavor, but the prostitute herself is,
    nevertheless, treated with contempt. Young children are
    frequently sold to be trained to a life of prostitution, educated
    accordingly, and kept shut up from the world. Young widows
    (remarriage being disapproved) frequently also slide into a life
    of prostitution. Chinese prostitutes often end through opium and
    the ravages of syphilis (see, e.g., Coltman's _The Chinese_,
    1900, Ch. VII). In ancient China, it is said prostitutes were a
    superior class and occupied a position somewhat similar to that
    of the _hetairæ_ in Greece. Even in modern China, however, where
    they are very numerous, and the flower boats, in which in towns
    by the sea they usually live, very luxurious, it is chiefly for
    entertainment, according to some writers, that they are resorted
    to. Tschang Ki Tong, military attaché in Paris (as quoted by
    Ploss and Bartels), describes the flower boat as less analogous
    to a European brothel than to a _café chantant_; the young
    Chinaman comes here for music, for tea, for agreeable
    conversation with the flower-maidens, who are by no means
    necessarily called upon to minister to the lust of their

    In Japan, the prostitute's lot is not so degraded as in China.
    The greater refinement of Japanese civilization allows the
    prostitute to retain a higher degree of self-respect. She is
    sometimes regarded with pity, but less often with contempt. She
    may associate openly with men, ultimately be married, even to men
    of good social class, and rank as a respectable woman. "In riding
    from Tokio to Yokohama, the past winter," Coltman observes (_op.
    cit._, p. 113), "I saw a party of four young men and three quite
    pretty and gaily-painted prostitutes, in the same car, who were
    having a glorious time. They had two or three bottles of various
    liquors, oranges, and fancy cakes, and they ate, drank and sang,
    besides playing jokes on each other and frolicking like so many
    kittens. You may travel the whole length of the Chinese Empire
    and never witness such a scene." Yet the history of Japanese
    prostitutes (which has been written in an interesting and
    well-informed book, _The Nightless City_, by an English student
    of sociology who remains anonymous) shows that prostitution in
    Japan has not only been severely regulated, but very widely
    looked down upon, and that Japanese prostitutes have often had to
    suffer greatly; they were at one time practically slaves and
    often treated with much hardship. They are free now, and any
    condition approaching slavery is strictly prohibited and guarded
    against. It would seem, however, that the palmiest days of
    Japanese prostitution lay some centuries back. Up to the middle
    of the eighteenth century Japanese prostitutes were highly
    accomplished in singing, dancing, music, etc. Towards this
    period, however, they seem to have declined in social
    consideration and to have ceased to be well educated. Yet even
    to-day, says Matignon ("La Prostitution au Japon," _Archives
    d'Anthropologie Criminelle_, October, 1906), less infamy attaches
    to prostitution in Japan than in Europe, while at the same time
    there is less immorality in Japan than in Europe. Though
    prostitution is organized like the postal or telegraph service,
    there is also much clandestine prostitution. The prostitution
    quarters are clean, beautiful and well-kept, but the Japanese
    prostitutes have lost much of their native good taste in costume
    by trying to imitate European fashions. It was when prostitution
    began to decline two centuries ago, that the geishas first
    appeared and were organized in such a way that they should not,
    if possible, compete as prostitutes with the recognized and
    licensed inhabitants of the Yoshiwara, as the quarter is called
    to which prostitutes are confined. The geishas, of course, are
    not prostitutes, though their virtue may not always be
    impregnable, and in social position they correspond to actresses
    in Europe.

    In Korea, at all events before Korea fell into the hands of the
    Japanese, it would seem that there was no distinction between the
    class of dancing girls and prostitutes. "Among the courtesans,"
    Angus Hamilton states, "the mental abilities are trained and
    developed with a view to making them brilliant and entertaining
    companions. These 'leaves of sunlight' are called _gisaing_, and
    correspond to the geishas of Japan. Officially, they are attached
    to a department of government, and are controlled by a bureau of
    their own, in common with the Court musicians. They are supported
    from the national treasury, and they are in evidence at official
    dinners and all palace entertainments. They read and recite; they
    dance and sing; they become accomplished artists and musicians.
    They dress with exceptional taste; they move with exceeding
    grace; they are delicate in appearance, very frail and very
    human, very tender, sympathetic, and imaginative." But though
    they are certainly the prettiest women in Korea, move in the
    highest society, and might become concubines of the Emperor, they
    are not allowed to marry men of good class (Angus Hamilton,
    _Korea_, p. 52).

The history of European prostitution, as of so many other modern
institutions, may properly be said to begin in Rome. Here at the outset we
already find that inconsistently mixed attitude towards prostitution which
to-day is still preserved. In Greece it was in many respects different.
Greece was nearer to the days of religious prostitution, and the sincerity
and refinement of Greek civilization made it possible for the better kind
of prostitute to exert, and often be worthy to exert, an influence in all
departments of life which she has never been able to exercise since,
except perhaps occasionally, in a much slighter degree, in France. The
course, vigorous, practical Roman was quite ready to tolerate the
prostitute, but he was not prepared to carry that toleration to its
logical results; he never felt bound to harmonize inconsistent facts of
life. Cicero, a moralist of no mean order, without expressing approval of
prostitution, yet could not understand how anyone should wish to prohibit
youths from commerce with prostitutes, such severity being out of harmony
with all the customs of the past or the present.[142] But the superior
class of Roman prostitutes, the _bonæ mulieres_, had no such dignified
position as the Greek _hetairæ_. Their influence was indeed immense, but
it was confined, as it is in the case of their European successors to-day,
to fashions, customs, and arts. There was always a certain moral rigidity
in the Roman which prevented him from yielding far in this direction. He
encouraged brothels, but he only entered them with covered head and face
concealed in his cloak. In the same way, while he tolerated the
prostitute, beyond a certain point he sharply curtailed her privileges.
Not only was she deprived of all influence in the higher concerns of life,
but she might not even wear the _vitta_ or the _stola_; she could indeed
go almost naked if she pleased, but she must not ape the emblems of the
respectable Roman matron.[143]

The rise of Christianity to political power produced on the whole less
change of policy than might have been anticipated. The Christian rulers
had to deal practically as best they might with a very mixed, turbulent,
and semi-pagan world. The leading fathers of the Church were inclined to
tolerate prostitution for the avoidance of greater evils, and Christian
emperors, like their pagan predecessors, were willing to derive a tax from
prostitution. The right of prostitution to exist was, however, no longer
so unquestionably recognized as in pagan days, and from time to time some
vigorous ruler sought to repress prostitution by severe enactments. The
younger Theodosius and Valentinian definitely ordained that there should
be no more brothels and that anyone giving shelter to a prostitute should
be punished. Justinian confirmed that measure and ordered that all panders
were to be exiled on pain of death. These enactments were quite vain. But
during a thousand years they were repeated again and again in various
parts of Europe, and invariably with the same fruitless or worse than
fruitless results. Theodoric, king of the Visigoths, punished with death
those who promoted prostitution, and Recared, a Catholic king of the same
people in the sixth century, prohibited prostitution altogether and
ordered that a prostitute, when found, should receive three hundred
strokes of the whip and be driven out of the city. Charlemagne, as well as
Genserich in Carthage, and later Frederick Barbarossa in Germany, made
severe laws against prostitution which were all of no effect, for even if
they seemed to be effective for the time the reaction was all the greater

It is in France that the most persistent efforts have been made to combat
prostitution. Most notable of all were the efforts of the King and Saint,
Louis IX. In 1254 St. Louis ordained that prostitutes should be driven out
altogether and deprived of all their money and goods, even to their
mantles and gowns. In 1256 he repeated this ordinance and in 1269, before
setting out for the Crusades, he ordered the destruction of all places of
prostitution. The repetition of those decrees shows how ineffectual they
were. They even made matters worse, for prostitutes were forced to mingle
with the general population and their influence was thus extended. St.
Louis was unable to put down prostitution even in his own camp in the
East, and it existed outside his own tent. His legislation, however, was
frequently imitated by subsequent rulers of France, even to the middle of
the seventeenth century, always with the same ineffectual and worse
results. In 1560 an edict of Charles IX abolished brothels, but the number
of prostitutes was thereby increased rather than diminished, while many
new kinds of brothels appeared in unsuspected shapes and were more
dangerous than the more recognized brothels which had been
suppressed.[145] In spite of all such legislation, or because of it, there
has been no country in which prostitution has played a more conspicuous

At Mantua, so great was the repulsion aroused by prostitutes that they
were compelled to buy in the markets any fruit or bread that had been
soiled by the mere touch of their hands. It was so also in Avignon in
1243. In Catalonia they could not sit at the same table as a lady or a
knight or kiss any honorable person.[147] Even in Venice, the paradise of
prostitution, numerous and severe regulations were passed against it, and
it was long before the Venetian rulers resigned themselves to its
toleration and regulation.[148]

The last vigorous attempt to uproot prostitution in Europe was that of
Maria Theresa at Vienna in the middle of the eighteenth century. Although
of such recent date it may be mentioned here because it was mediæval alike
in its conception and methods. Its object indeed, was to suppress not only
prostitution, but fornication generally, and the means adopted were fines,
imprisonment, whipping and torture. The supposed causes of fornication
were also dealt with severely; short dresses were prohibited; billiard
rooms and cafés were inspected; no waitresses were allowed, and when
discovered, a waitress was liable to be handcuffed and carried off by the
police. The Chastity Commission, under which these measures were
rigorously carried out, was, apparently, established in 1751 and was
quietly abolished by the Emperor Joseph II, in the early years of his
reign. It was the general opinion that this severe legislation was really
ineffective, and that it caused much more serious evils than it
cured.[149] It is certain in any case that, for a long time past,
illegitimacy has been more prevalent in Vienna than in any other great
European capital.

Yet the attitude towards prostitutes was always mixed and inconsistent at
different places or different times, or even at the same time and place.
Dufour has aptly compared their position to that of the mediæval Jews;
they were continually persecuted, ecclesiastically, civilly, and socially,
yet all classes were glad to have recourse to them and it was impossible
to do without them. In some countries, including England in the fourteenth
century, a special costume was imposed on prostitutes as a mark of
infamy.[150] Yet in many respects no infamy whatever attached to
prostitution. High placed officials could claim payment of their expenses
incurred in visiting prostitutes when traveling on public business.
Prostitution sometimes played an official part in festivities and
receptions accorded by great cities to royal guests, and the brothel might
form an important part of the city's hospitality. When the Emperor
Sigismund came to Ulm in 1434 the streets were illuminated at such times
as he or his suite desired to visit the common brothel. Brothels under
municipal protection are found in the thirteenth century in Augsburg, in
Vienna, in Hamburg.[151] In France the best known _abbayes_ of prostitutes
were those of Toulouse and Montpellier.[152] Durkheim is of opinion that
in the early middle ages, before this period, free love and marriage were
less severely differentiated. It was the rise of the middle class, he
considers, anxious to protect their wives and daughters, which led to a
regulated and publicly recognized attempt to direct debauchery into a
separate channel, brought under control.[153] These brothels constituted a
kind of public service, the directors of them being regarded almost as
public officials, bound to keep a certain number of prostitutes, to charge
according to a fixed tariff, and not to receive into their houses girls
belonging to the neighborhood. The institutions of this kind lasted for
three centuries. It was, in part, perhaps, the impetus of the new
Protestant movement, but mainly the terrible devastation produced by the
introduction of syphilis from America at the end of the fifteenth century
which, as Burckhardt and others have pointed out, led to the decline of
the mediæval brothels.[154]

The superior modern prostitute, the "courtesan" who had no connection with
the brothel, seems to have been the outcome of the Renaissance and made
her appearance in Italy at the end of the fifteenth century. "Courtesan"
or "cortegiana" meant a lady following the court, and the term began at
this time to be applied to a superior prostitute observing a certain
degree of decorum and restraint.[155] In the papal court of Alexander
Borgia the courtesan flourished even when her conduct was not altogether
dignified. Burchard, the faithful and unimpeachable chronicler of this
court, describes in his diary how, one evening, in October, 1501, the Pope
sent for fifty courtesans to be brought to his chamber; after supper, in
the presence of Cæsar Borgia and his young sister Lucrezia, they danced
with the servitors and others who were present, at first clothed,
afterwards naked. The candlesticks with lighted candles were then placed
upon the floor and chestnuts thrown among them, to be gathered by the
women crawling between the candlesticks on their hands and feet. Finally a
number of prizes were brought forth to be awarded to those men "qui
pluries dictos meretrices carnaliter agnoscerent," the victor in the
contest being decided according to the judgment of the spectators.[156]
This scene, enacted publicly in the Apostolic palace and serenely set
forth by the impartial secretary, is at once a notable episode in the
history of modern prostitution and one of the most illuminating
illustrations we possess of the paganism of the Renaissance.

    Before the term "courtesan" came into repute, prostitutes were
    even in Italy commonly called "sinners," _peccatrice_. The
    change, Graf remarks in a very interesting study of the
    Renaissance prostitute ("Una Cortigiana fra Mille," _Attraverso
    il Cinquecento_, pp. 217-351), "reveals a profound alteration in
    ideas and in life;" a term that suggested infamy gave place to
    one that suggested approval, and even honor, for the courts of
    the Renaissance period represented the finest culture of the
    time. The best of these courtesans seem to have been not
    altogether unworthy of the honor they received. We can detect
    this in their letters. There is a chapter on the letters of
    Renaissance prostitutes, especially those of Camilla de Pisa
    which are marked by genuine passion, in Lothar Schmidt's
    _Frauenbriefe der Renaissance_. The famous Imperia, called by a
    Pope in the early years of the sixteenth century "nobilissimum
    Romæ scortum," knew Latin and could write Italian verse. Other
    courtesans knew Italian and Latin poetry by heart, while they
    were accomplished in music, dancing, and speech. We are reminded
    of ancient Greece, and Graf, discussing how far the Renaissance
    courtesans resembled the hetairæ, finds a very considerable
    likeness, especially in culture and influence, though with some
    differences due to the antagonism between religion and
    prostitution at the later period.

    The most distinguished figure in every respect among the
    courtesans of that time was certainly Tullia D'Aragona. She was
    probably the daughter of Cardinal D'Aragona (an illegitimate
    scion of the Spanish royal family) by a Ferrarese courtesan who
    became his mistress. Tullia has gained a high reputation by her
    verse. Her best sonnet is addressed to a youth of twenty, whom
    she passionately loved, but who did not return her love. Her
    _Guerrino Meschino_, a translation from the Spanish, is a very
    pure and chaste work. She was a woman of refined instincts and
    aspirations, and once at least she abandoned her life of
    prostitution. She was held in high esteem and respect. When, in
    1546, Cosimo, Duke of Florence, ordered all prostitutes to wear a
    yellow veil or handkerchief as a public badge of their
    profession, Tullia appealed to the Duchess, a Spanish lady of
    high character, and received permission to dispense with this
    badge on account of her "rara scienzia di poesia et filosofia."
    She dedicated her _Rime_ to the Duchess. Tullia D'Aragona was
    very beautiful, with yellow hair, and remarkably large and bright
    eyes, which dominated those who came near her. She was of proud
    bearing and inspired unusual respect (G. Biagi, "Un' Etera
    Romana," _Nuova Antologia_, vol. iv, 1886, pp. 655-711; S.
    Bongi, _Rivista critica della Letteratura Italiana_, 1886, IV, p.

    Tullia D'Aragona was clearly not a courtesan at heart. Perhaps
    the most typical example of the Renaissance courtesan at her best
    is furnished by Veronica Franco, born in 1546 at Venice, of
    middle class family and in early life married to a doctor. Of her
    also it has been said that, while by profession a prostitute, she
    was by inclination a poet. But she appears to have been well
    content with her profession, and never ashamed of it. Her life
    and character have been studied by Arturo Graf, and more slightly
    in a little book by Tassini. She was highly cultured, and knew
    several languages; she also sang well and played on many
    instruments. In one of her letters she advises a youth who was
    madly in love with her that if he wishes to obtain her favors he
    must leave off importuning her and devote himself tranquilly to
    study. "You know well," she adds, "that all those who claim to be
    able to gain my love, and who are extremely dear to me, are
    strenuous in studious discipline.... If my fortune allowed it I
    would spend all my time quietly in the academies of virtuous
    men." The Diotimas and Aspasias of antiquity, as Graf comments,
    would not have demanded so much of their lovers. In her poems it
    is possible to trace some of her love histories, and she often
    shows herself torn by jealousy at the thought that perhaps
    another woman may approach her beloved. Once she fell in love
    with an ecclesiastic, possibly a bishop, with whom she had no
    relationships, and after a long absence, which healed her love,
    she and he became sincere friends. Once she was visited by Henry
    III of France, who took away her portrait, while on her part she
    promised to dedicate a book to him; she so far fulfilled this as
    to address some sonnets to him and a letter; "neither did the
    King feel ashamed of his intimacy with the courtesan," remarks
    Graf, "nor did she suspect that he would feel ashamed of it."
    When Montaigne passed through Venice she sent him a little book
    of hers, as we learn from his _Journal_, though they do not
    appear to have met. Tintoret was one of her many distinguished
    friends, and she was a strenuous advocate of the high qualities
    of modern, as compared with ancient, art. Her friendships were
    affectionate, and she even seems to have had various grand ladies
    among her friends. She was, however, so far from being ashamed of
    her profession of courtesan that in one of her poems she affirms
    she has been taught by Apollo other arts besides those he is
    usually regarded as teaching:

        "Cosi dolce e gustevole divento,
         Quando mi trovo con persona in letto
         Da cui amata e gradita mi sento."

    In a certain _catalogo_ of the prices of Venetian courtesans
    Veronica is assigned only 2 scudi for her favors, while the
    courtesan to whom the catalogue is dedicated is set down at 25
    scudi. Graf thinks there may be some mistake or malice here, and
    an Italian gentleman of the time states that she required not
    less than 50 scudi from those to whom she was willing to accord
    what Montaigne called the "negotiation entière."

    In regard to this matter it may be mentioned that, as stated by
    Bandello, it was the custom for a Venetian prostitute to have six
    or seven gentlemen at a time as her lovers. Each was entitled to
    come to sup and sleep with her on one night of the week, leaving
    her days free. They paid her so much per month, but she always
    definitely reserved the right to receive a stranger passing
    through Venice, if she wished, changing the time of her
    appointment with her lover for the night. The high and special
    prices which we find recorded are, of course, those demanded from
    the casual distinguished stranger who came to Venice as, once in
    the sixteenth century, Montaigne came.

    In 1580 (when not more than thirty-four) Veronica confessed to
    the Holy Office that she had had six children. In the same year
    she formed the design of founding a home, which should not be a
    monastery, where prostitutes who wished to abandon their mode of
    life could find a refuge with their children, if they had any.
    This seems to have led to the establishment of a Casa del
    Soccorso. In 1591 she died of fever, reconciled with God and
    blessed by many unfortunates. She had a good heart and a sound
    intellect, and was the last of the great Renaissance courtesans
    who revived Greek hetairism (Graf, _Attraverso il Cinquecento_,
    pp. 217-351). Even in sixteenth century Venice, however, it will
    be seen, Veronica Franco seems to have been not altogether at
    peace in the career of a courtesan. She was clearly not adapted
    for ordinary marriage, yet under the most favorable conditions
    that the modern world has ever offered it may still be doubted
    whether a prostitute's career can offer complete satisfaction to
    a woman of large heart and brain.

    Ninon de Lenclos, who is frequently called "the last of the great
    courtesans," may seem an exception to the general rule as to the
    inability of a woman of good heart, high character, and fine
    intelligence to find satisfaction in a prostitute's life. But it
    is a total misconception alike of Ninon de Lenclos's temperament
    and her career to regard her as in any true sense a prostitute at
    all. A knowledge of even the barest outlines of her life ought to
    prevent such a mistake. Born early in the seventeenth century,
    she was of good family on both sides; her mother was a woman of
    severe life, but her father, a gentleman of Touraine, inspired
    her with his own Epicurean philosophy as well as his love of
    music. She was extremely well educated. At the age of sixteen or
    seventeen she had her first lover, the noble and valiant Gaspard
    de Coligny; he was followed for half a century by a long
    succession of other lovers, sometimes more than one at a time;
    three years was the longest period during which she was faithful
    to one lover. Her attractions lasted so long that, it is said,
    three generations of Sévignés were among her lovers. Tallemant
    des Réaux enables us to study in detail her _liaisons_.

    It is not, however, the abundance of lovers which makes a woman a
    prostitute, but the nature of her relationships with them.
    Sainte-Beuve, in an otherwise admirable study of Ninon de Lenclos
    (_Causeries du Lundi_, vol. iv), seems to reckon her among the
    courtesans. But no woman is a prostitute unless she uses men as a
    source of pecuniary gain. Not only is there no evidence that this
    was the case with Ninon, but all the evidence excludes such a
    relationship. "It required much skill," said Voltaire, "and a
    great deal of love on her part, to induce her to accept
    presents." Tallemant, indeed, says that she sometimes took money
    from her lovers, but this statement probably involves nothing
    beyond what is contained in Voltaire's remark, and, in any case,
    Tallemant's gossip, though usually well-informed, was not always
    reliable. All are agreed as to her extreme disinterestedness.

    When we hear precisely of Ninon de Lenclos in connection with
    money, it is not as receiving a gift, but only as repaying a debt
    to an old lover, or restoring a large sum left with her for safe
    keeping when the owner was exiled. Such incidents are far from
    suggesting the professional prostitute of any age; they are
    rather the relationships which might exist between men friends.
    Ninon de Lenclos's character was in many respects far from
    perfect, but she combined many masculine virtues, and especially
    probity, with a temperament which, on the whole, was certainly
    feminine; she hated hypocrisy, and she was never influenced by
    pecuniary considerations. She was, moreover, never reckless, but
    always retained a certain self-restraint and temperance, even in
    eating and drinking, and, we are told, she never drank wine. She
    was, as Sainte-Beuve has remarked, the first to realize that
    there must be the same virtues for men and for women, and that it
    is absurd to reduce all feminine virtues to one. "Our sex has
    been burdened with all the frivolities," she wrote, "and men have
    reserved to themselves the essential qualities: I have made
    myself a man." She sometimes dressed as a man when riding (see,
    e.g., _Correspondence Authentique_ of Ninon de Lenclos, with a
    good introduction by Emile Colombey). Consciously or not, she
    represented a new feminine idea at a period when--as we may see
    in many forgotten novels written by the women of that time--ideas
    were beginning to emerge in the feminine sphere. She was the
    first, and doubtless, from one point of view, the most extreme
    representative of a small and distinguished group of French women
    among whom Georges Sand is the finest personality.

    Thus it is idle to attempt to adorn the history of prostitution
    with the name of Ninon de Lenclos. A debauched old prostitute
    would never, like Ninon towards the end of her long life, have
    been able to retain or to conquer the affection and the esteem
    of many of the best men and women of her time; even to the
    austere Saint-Simon it seemed that there reigned in her little
    court a decorum which the greatest princesses cannot achieve. She
    was not a prostitute, but a woman of unique personality with a
    little streak of genius in it. That she was inimitable we need
    not perhaps greatly regret. In her old age, in 1699, her old
    friend and former lover, Saint-Evremond, wrote to her, with only
    a little exaggeration, that there were few princesses and few
    saints who would not leave their courts and their cloisters to
    change places with her. "If I had known beforehand what my life
    would be I would have hanged myself," was her oft-quoted answer.
    It is, indeed, a solitary phrase that slips in, perhaps as the
    expression of a momentary mood; one may make too much of it. More
    truly characteristic is the fine saying in which her Epicurean
    philosophy seems to stretch out towards Nietzsche: "La joie de
    l'esprit en marque la force."

The frank acceptance of prostitution by the spiritual or even the temporal
power has since the Renaissance become more and more exceptional. The
opposite extreme of attempting to uproot prostitution has also in practice
been altogether abandoned. Sporadic attempts have indeed been made, here
and there, to put down prostitution with a strong hand even in quite
modern times. It is now, however, realized that in such a case the remedy
is worse than the disease.

    In 1860 a Mayor of Portsmouth felt it his duty to attempt to
    suppress prostitution. "In the early part of his mayoralty,"
    according to a witness before the Select Committee on the
    Contagious Diseases Acts (p. 393), "there was an order passed
    that every beerhouse-keeper and licensed victualer in the borough
    known to harbor these women would be dealt with, and probably
    lose his license. On a given day about three hundred or four
    hundred of these forlorn outcasts were bundled wholesale into the
    streets, and they formed up in a large body, many of them with
    only a shift and a petticoat on, and with a lot of drunken men
    and boys with a fife and fiddle they paraded the streets for
    several days. They marched in a body to the workhouse, but for
    many reasons they were refused admittance.... These women
    wandered about for two or three days shelterless, and it was felt
    that the remedy was very much worse than the disease, and the
    women were allowed to go back to their former places."

    Similar experiments have been made even more recently in America.
    "In Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1891, the houses of prostitutes
    were closed, the inmates turned out upon the streets, and were
    refused lodging and even food by the citizens of that place. A
    wave of popular remonstrance, all over the country, at the
    outrage on humanity, created a reaction which resulted in a last
    condition by no means better than the first." In the same year
    also a similar incident occurred in New York with the same
    unfortunate results (Isidore Dyer, "The Municipal Control of
    Prostitution in the United States," report presented to the
    Brussels International Conference in 1899).

There grew up instead the tendency to regulate prostitution, to give it a
semi-official toleration which enabled the authorities to exercise a
control over it, and to guard as far as possible against its evil by
medical and police inspection. The new brothel system differed from the
ancient mediæval houses of prostitution in important respects; it involved
a routine of medical inspection and it endeavored to suppress any rivalry
by unlicensed prostitutes outside. Bernard Mandeville, the author of the
_Fable of the Bees_, and an acute thinker, was a pioneer in the advocacy
of this system. In 1724, in his _Modest Defense of Publick Stews_, he
argues that "the encouraging of public whoring will not only prevent most
of the mischievous effects of this vice, but even lessen the quantity of
whoring in general, and reduce it to the narrowest bounds which it can
possibly be contained in." He proposed to discourage private prostitution
by giving special privileges and immunities to brothels by Act of
Parliament. His scheme involved the erection of one hundred brothels in a
special quarter of the city, to contain two thousand prostitutes and one
hundred matrons of ability and experience with physicians and surgeons, as
well as commissioners to oversee the whole. Mandeville was regarded merely
as a cynic or worse, and his scheme was ignored or treated with contempt.
It was left to the genius of Napoleon, eighty years later, to establish
the system of "maisons de tolérance," which had so great an influence over
modern European practice during a large part of the last century and even
still in its numerous survivals forms the subject of widely divergent

On the whole, however, it must be said that the system of registering,
examining, and regularizing prostitutes now belongs to the past. Many
great battles have been fought over this question; the most important is
that which raged for many years in England over the Contagious Diseases
Acts, and is embodied in the 600 pages of a Report by a Select Committee
on these Acts issued in 1882. The majority of the members of the Committee
reported favorably to the Acts which were, notwithstanding, repealed in
1886, since which date no serious attempt has been made in England to
establish them again.

At the present time, although the old system still stands in many
countries with the inert stolidity of established institutions, it no
longer commands general approval. As Paul and Victor Margueritte have
truly stated, in the course of an acute examination of the phenomena of
state-regulated prostitution as found in Paris, the system is "barbarous
to start with and almost inefficacious as well." The expert is every day
more clearly demonstrating its inefficacy while the psychologist and the
sociologist are constantly becoming more convinced that it is barbarous.

It can indeed by no means be said that any unanimity has been attained. It
is obviously so urgently necessary to combat the flood of disease and
misery which proceeds directly from the spread of syphilis and gonorrhoea,
and indirectly from the prostitution which is the chief propagator of
these diseases, that we cannot be surprised that many should eagerly catch
at any system which seems to promise a palliation of the evils. At the
present time, however, it is those best acquainted with the operation of
the system of control who have most clearly realized that the supposed
palliation is for the most part illusory,[157] and in any case attained at
the cost of the artificial production of other evils. In France, where the
system of the registration and control of prostitutes has been
established for over a century,[158] and where consequently its
advantages, if such there are, should be clearly realized, it meets with
almost impassioned opposition from able men belonging to every section of
the community. In Germany the opposition to regularized control has long
been led by well-equipped experts, headed by Blaschko of Berlin. Precisely
the same conclusions are being reached in America. Gottheil, of New York,
finds that the municipal control of prostitution is "neither successful
nor desirable." Heidingsfeld concludes that the regulation and control
system in force in Cincinnati has done little good and much harm; under
the system among the private patients in his own clinic the proportion of
cases of both syphilis and gonorrhoea has increased; "suppression of
prostitutes is impossible and control is impracticable."[159]

    It is in Germany that the attempt to regulate prostitution still
    remains most persistent, with results that in Germany itself are
    regarded as unfortunate. Thus the German law inflicts a penalty
    on householders who permit illegitimate sexual intercourse in
    their houses. This is meant to strike the unlicensed prostitute,
    but it really encourages prostitution, for a decent youth and
    girl who decide to form a relationship which later may develop
    into marriage, and which is not illegal (for extra-marital sexual
    intercourse _per se_ is not in Germany, as it is by the
    antiquated laws of several American States, a punishable
    offense), are subjected to so much trouble and annoyance by the
    suspicious police that it is much easier for the girl to become a
    prostitute and put herself under the protection of the police.
    The law was largely directed against those who live on the
    profits of prostitution. But in practice it works out
    differently. The prostitute simply has to pay extravagantly high
    rents, so that her landlord really lives on the fruits of her
    trade, while she has to carry on her business with increased
    activity and on a larger scale in order to cover her heavy
    expenses (P. Hausmeister, "Zur Analyse der Prostitution,"
    _Geschlecht und Gesellschaft_, vol. ii, 1907, p. 294).

    In Italy, opinion on this matter is much divided. The regulation
    of prostitution has been successively adopted, abandoned, and
    readopted. In Switzerland, the land of governmental experiments,
    various plans are tried in different cantons. In some there is
    no attempt to interfere with prostitution, except under special
    circumstances; in others all prostitution, and even fornication
    generally, is punishable; in Geneva only native prostitutes are
    permitted to practice; in Zurich, since 1897, prostitution is
    prohibited, but care is taken to put no difficulties in the path
    of free sexual relationships which are not for gain. With these
    different regulations, morals in Switzerland generally are said
    to be much on the same level as elsewhere (Moreau-Christophe, _Du
    Problème de la Misère_, vol. iii, p. 259). The same conclusion
    holds good of London. A disinterested observer, Félix Remo (_La
    Vie Galante en Angleterre_, 1888, p. 237), concluded that,
    notwithstanding its free trade in prostitution, its alcoholic
    excesses, its vices of all kinds, "London is one of the most
    moral capitals in Europe." The movement towards freedom in this
    matter has been evidenced in recent years by the abandonment of
    the system of regulation by Denmark in 1906.

Even the most ardent advocates of the registration of prostitutes
recognize that not only is the tendency of civilization opposed rather
than favorable to the system, but that in the numerous countries where the
system persists registered prostitutes are losing ground in the struggle
against clandestine prostitutes. Even in France, the classic land of
police-controlled prostitutes, the "maisons de tolérance" have long been
steadily decreasing in number, by no means because prostitution is
decreasing but because low-class _brasseries_ and small _cafés-chantants_,
which are really unlicensed brothels, are taking their place.[160]

The wholesale regularization of prostitution in civilized centres is
nowadays, indeed, advocated by few, if any, of the authorities who belong
to the newer school. It is at most claimed as desirable in certain places
under special circumstances.[161] Even those who would still be glad to
see prostitution thoroughly in the control of the police now recognize
that experience shows this to be impossible. As many girls begin their
career as prostitutes at a very early age, a sound system of regulation
should be prepared to enroll as permanent prostitutes even girls who are
little more than children. That, however, is a logical conclusion against
which the moral sense, and even the common sense, of a community
instinctively revolts. In Paris girls may not be inscribed as prostitutes
until they have reached the age of sixteen and some consider even that age
too low.[162] Moreover, whenever she becomes diseased, or grows tired of
her position, the registered woman may always slip out of the hands of the
police and establish herself elsewhere as a clandestine prostitute. Every
rigid attempt to keep prostitution within the police ring leads to
offensive interference with the actions and the freedom of respectable
women which cannot fail to be intolerable in any free community. Even in a
city like London, where prostitution is relatively free, the supervision
of the police has led to scandalous police charges against women who have
done nothing whatever which should legitimately arouse suspicion of their
behavior. The escape of the infected woman from the police cordon has, it
is obvious, an effect in raising the apparent level of health of
registered women, and the police statistics are still further fallaciously
improved by the fact that the inmates of brothels are older on the average
than clandestine prostitutes and have become immune to disease.[163] These
facts are now becoming fairly obvious and well recognized. The state
regulation of prostitution is undesirable, on moral grounds for the
oft-emphasized reason that it is only applied to one sex, and on practical
grounds because it is ineffective. Society allows the police to harass the
prostitute with petty persecutions under the guise of charges of
"solicitation," "disorderly conduct," etc., but it is no longer convinced
that she ought to be under the absolute control of the police.

The problem of prostitution, when we look at it narrowly, seems to be in
the same position to-day as at any time in the course of the past three
thousand years. In order, however, to comprehend the real significance of
prostitution, and to attain a reasonable attitude towards it, we must look
at it from a broader point of view; we must consider not only its
evolution and history, but its causes and its relation to the wider
aspects of modern social life. When we thus view the problem from a
broader standpoint we shall find that there is no conflict between the
claims of ethics and those of social hygiene, and that the coördinated
activity of both is involved in the progressive refinement and
purification of civilized sexual relationships.

_III. The Causes of Prostitution._

The history of the rise and development of prostitution enables us to see
that prostitution is not an accident of our marriage system, but an
essential constituent which appears concurrently with its other essential
constituents. The gradual development of the family on a patriarchal and
largely monogamic basis rendered it more and more difficult for a woman to
dispose of her own person. She belongs in the first place to her father,
whose interest it was to guard her carefully until a husband appeared who
could afford to purchase her. In the enhancement of her value the new idea
of the market value of virginity gradually developed, and where a "virgin"
had previously meant a woman who was free to do as she would with her own
body its meaning was now reversed and it came to mean a woman who was
precluded from having intercourse with men. When she was transferred from
her father to a husband, she was still guarded with the same care;
husband and father alike found their interest in preserving their women
from unmarried men. The situation thus produced resulted in the existence
of a large body of young men who were not yet rich enough to obtain wives,
and a large number of young women, not yet chosen as wives, and many of
whom could never expect to become wives. At such a point in social
evolution prostitution is clearly inevitable; it is not so much the
indispensable concomitant of marriage as an essential part of the whole
system. Some of the superfluous or neglected women, utilizing their money
value and perhaps at the same time reviving traditions of an earlier
freedom, find their social function in selling their favors to gratify the
temporary desires of the men who have not yet been able to acquire wives.
Thus every link in the chain of the marriage system is firmly welded and
the complete circle formed.

But while the history of the rise and development of prostitution shows us
how indestructible and essential an element prostitution is of the
marriage system which has long prevailed in Europe--under very varied
racial, political, social, and religious conditions--it yet fails to
supply us in every respect with the data necessary to reach a definite
attitude towards prostitution to-day. In order to understand the place of
prostitution in our existing system, it is necessary that we should
analyze the chief factors of prostitution. We may most conveniently learn
to understand these if we consider prostitution, in order, under four
aspects. These are: (1) _economic_ necessity; (2) _biological_
predisposition; (3) _moral_ advantages; and (4) what may be called its
_civilizational_ value.

While these four factors of prostitution seem to me those that here
chiefly concern us, it is scarcely necessary to point out that many other
causes contribute to produce and modify prostitution. Prostitutes
themselves often seek to lead other girls to adopt the same paths;
recruits must be found for brothels, whence we have the "white slave
trade," which is now being energetically combated in many parts of the
world; while all the forms of seduction towards this life are favored and
often predisposed to by alcoholism. It will generally be found that
several causes have combined to push a girl into the career of

    The ways in which various factors of environment and suggestion
    unite to lead a girl into the paths of prostitution are indicated
    in the following statement in which a correspondent has set forth
    his own conclusions on this matter as a man of the world: "I have
    had a somewhat varied experience among loose women, and can say,
    without hesitation, that not more than 1 per cent, of the women I
    have known could be regarded as educated. This indicates that
    almost invariably they are of humble origin, and the terrible
    cases of overcrowding that are daily brought to light suggest
    that at very early ages the sense of modesty becomes extinct, and
    long before puberty a familiarity with things sexual takes place.
    As soon as they are old enough these girls are seduced by their
    sweethearts; the familiarity with which they regard sexual
    matters removes the restraint which surrounds a girl whose early
    life has been spent in decent surroundings. Later they go to work
    in factories and shops; if pretty and attractive, they consort
    with managers and foremen. Then the love of finery, which forms
    so large a part of the feminine character, tempts the girl to
    become the 'kept' woman of some man of means. A remarkable thing
    in this connection is the fact that they rarely enjoy excitement
    with their protectors, preferring rather the coarser embraces of
    some man nearer their own station in life, very often a soldier.
    I have not known many women who were seduced and deserted, though
    this is a fiction much affected by prostitutes. Barmaids supply a
    considerable number to the ranks of prostitution, largely on
    account of their addiction to drink; drunkenness invariably leads
    to laxness of moral restraint in women. Another potent factor in
    the production of prostitutes lies in the flare of finery
    flaunted by some friend who has adopted the life. A girl, working
    hard to live, sees some friend, perhaps making a call in the
    street where the hard-working girl lives, clothed in finery,
    while she herself can hardly get enough to eat. She has a
    conversation with her finely-clad friend who tells her how easily
    she can earn money, explaining what a vital asset the sexual
    organs are, and soon another one is added to the ranks."

    There is some interest in considering the reasons assigned for
    prostitutes entering their career. In some countries this has
    been estimated by those who come closely into official or other
    contact with prostitutes. In other countries, it is the rule for
    girls, before they are registered as prostitutes, to state the
    reasons for which they desire to enter the career.

    Parent-Duchâtelet, whose work on prostitutes in Paris is still an
    authority, presented the first estimate of this kind. He found
    that of over five thousand prostitutes, 1441 were influenced by
    poverty, 1425 by seduction of lovers who had abandoned them,
    1255 by the loss of parents from death or other cause. By such an
    estimate, nearly the whole number are accounted for by
    wretchedness, that is by economic causes, alone
    (Parent-Duchâtelet, _De la Prostitution_, 1857, vol. i, p. 107).

    In Brussels during a period of twenty years (1865-1884) 3505
    women were inscribed as prostitutes. The causes they assigned for
    desiring to take to this career present a different picture from
    that shown by Parent-Duchâtelet, but perhaps a more reliable one,
    although there are some marked and curious discrepancies. Out of
    the 3505, 1523 explained that extreme poverty was the cause of
    their degradation; 1118 frankly confessed that their sexual
    passions were the cause; 420 attributed their fall to evil
    company; 316 said they were disgusted and weary of their work,
    because the toil was so arduous and the pay so small; 101 had
    been abandoned by their lovers; 10 had quarrelled with their
    parents; 7 were abandoned by their husbands; 4 did not agree with
    their guardians; 3 had family quarrels; 2 were compelled to
    prostitute themselves by their husbands, and 1 by her parents
    (_Lancet_, June 28, 1890, p. 1442).

    In London, Merrick found that of 16,022 prostitutes who passed
    through his hands during the years he was chaplain at Millbank
    prison, 5061 voluntarily left home or situation for "a life of
    pleasure;" 3363 assigned poverty as the cause; 3154 were
    "seduced" and drifted on to the street; 1636 were betrayed by
    promises of marriage and abandoned by lover and relations. On the
    whole, Merrick states, 4790, or nearly one-third of the whole
    number, may be said to owe the adoption of their career directly
    to men, 11,232 to other causes. He adds that of those pleading
    poverty a large number were indolent and incapable (G.P. Merrick,
    _Work Among the Fallen_, p. 38).

    Logan, an English city missionary with an extensive acquaintance
    with prostitutes, divided them into the following groups: (1)
    One-fourth of the girls are servants, especially in public
    houses, beer shops, etc., and thus led into the life; (2)
    one-fourth come from factories, etc.; (3) nearly one-fourth are
    recruited by procuresses who visit country towns, markets, etc.;
    (4) a final group includes, on the one hand, those who are
    induced to become prostitutes by destitution, or indolence, or a
    bad temper, which unfits them for ordinary avocations, and, on
    the other hand, those who have been seduced by a false promise of
    marriage (W. Logan, _The Great Social Evil_, 1871, p. 53).

    In America Sanger has reported the results of inquiries made of
    two thousand New York prostitutes as to the causes which induced
    them to take up their avocation:

        Destitution                                        525
        Inclination                                        513
        Seduced and abandoned                              258
        Drink and desire for drink                         181
        Ill-treatment by parents, relations, or husbands   164
        As an easy life                                    124
        Bad company                                         84
        Persuaded by prostitutes                            71
        Too idle to work                                    29
        Violated                                            27
        Seduced on emigrant ship                            16
        Seduced in emigrant boarding homes                   8

        (Sanger, _History of Prostitution_, p. 488.)

    In America, again, more recently, Professor Woods Hutchinson put
    himself into communication with some thirty representative men in
    various great metropolitan centres, and thus summarizes the
    answers as regards the etiology of prostitution:

                                                      Per cent.

        Love of display, luxury and idleness            42.1
        Bad family surroundings                         23.8
        Seduction in which they were innocent victims   11.3
        Lack of employment                               9.4
        Heredity                                         7.8
        Primary sexual appetite                          5.6

        (Woods Hutchinson, "The Economics of Prostitution," _American
        Gynæcologic and Obstetric Journal_, September, 1895; _Id., The
        Gospel According to Darwin_, p. 194.)

    In Italy, in 1881, among 10,422 inscribed prostitutes from the
    age of seventeen upwards, the causes of prostitution were
    classified as follows:

        Vice and depravity                            2,752
        Death of parents, husband, etc.               2,139
        Seduction by lover                            1,653
        Seduction by employer                           927
        Abandoned by parents, husband, etc.             794
        Love of luxury                                  698
        Incitement by lover or other persons outside
          family                                        666
        Incitement by parents or husband                400
        To support parents or children                  393

        (Ferriani, _Minorenni Delinquenti_, p. 193.) The reasons
        assigned by Russian prostitutes for taking up their career are
        (according to Federow) as follows:

        38.5 per cent. insufficient wages.
        21.  per cent. desire for amusement.
        14.  per cent. loss of place.
         9.5 per cent. persuasion by women friends.
         6.5 per cent. loss of habit of work.
         5.5 per cent. chagrin, and to punish lover.
          .5 per cent. drunkenness.

        (Summarized in _Archives d'Anthropologie Criminelle_, Nov. 15,

1. _The Economic Causation of Prostitution_.--Writers on prostitution
frequently assert that economic conditions lie at the root of prostitution
and that its chief cause is poverty, while prostitutes themselves often
declare that the difficulty of earning a livelihood in other ways was a
main cause in inducing them to adopt this career. "Of all the causes of
prostitution," Parent-Duchâtelet wrote a century ago, "particularly in
Paris, and probably in all large cities, none is more active than lack of
work and the misery which is the inevitable result of insufficient wages."
In England, also, to a large extent, Sherwell states, "morals fluctuate
with trade."[164] It is equally so in Berlin where the number of
registered prostitutes increases during bad years.[165] It is so also in
America. It is the same in Japan; "the cause of causes is poverty."[166]

Thus the broad and general statement that prostitution is largely or
mainly an economic phenomenon, due to the low wages of women or to sudden
depressions in trade, is everywhere made by investigators. It must,
however, be added that these general statements are considerably qualified
in the light of the detailed investigations made by careful inquirers.
Thus Ströhmberg, who minutely investigated 462 prostitutes, found that
only one assigned destitution as the reason for adopting her career, and
on investigation this was found to be an impudent lie.[167] Hammer found
that of ninety registered German prostitutes not one had entered on the
career out of want or to support a child, while some went on the street
while in the possession of money, or without wishing to be paid.[168]
Pastor Buschmann, of the Teltow Magdalene Home in Berlin, finds that it is
not want but indifference to moral considerations which leads girls to
become prostitutes. In Germany, before a girl is put on the police
register, due care is always taken to give her a chance of entering a Home
and getting work; in Berlin, in the course of ten years, only two
girls--out of thousands--were willing to take advantage of this
opportunity. The difficulty experienced by English Rescue Homes in finding
girls who are willing to be "rescued" is notorious. The same difficulty is
found in other cities, even where entirely different conditions prevail;
thus it is found in Madrid, according to Bernaldo de Quirós and Llanas
Aguilaniedo, that the prostitutes who enter the Homes, notwithstanding all
the devotion of the nuns, on leaving at once return to their old life.
While the economic factor in prostitution undoubtedly exists, the undue
frequency and emphasis with which it is put forward and accepted is
clearly due, in part to ignorance of the real facts, in part to the fact
that such an assumption appeals to those whose weakness it is to explain
all social phenomena by economic causes, and in part to its obvious

Prostitutes are mainly recruited from the ranks of factory girls, domestic
servants, shop girls, and waitresses. In some of these occupations it is
difficult to obtain employment all the year round. In this way many
milliners, dressmakers and tailoresses become prostitutes when business is
slack, and return to business when the season begins. Sometimes the
regular work of the day is supplemented concurrently by prostitution in
the street in the evening. It is said, possibly with some truth, that
amateur prostitution of this kind is extremely prevalent in England, as it
is not checked by the precautions which, in countries where prostitution
is regulated, the clandestine prostitute must adopt in order to avoid
registration. Certain public lavatories and dressing-rooms in central
London are said to be used by the girls for putting on, and finally
washing off before going home, the customary paint.[170] It is certain
that in England a large proportion of parents belonging to the working and
even lower middle class ranks are unacquainted with the nature of the
lives led by their own daughters. It must be added, also, that
occasionally this conduct of the daughter is winked at or encouraged by
the parents; thus a correspondent writes that he "knows some towns in
England where prostitution is not regarded as anything disgraceful, and
can remember many cases where the mother's house has been used by the
daughter with the mother's knowledge."

Acton, in a well-informed book on London prostitution, written in the
middle of the last century, said that prostitution is "a transitory stage,
through which an untold number of British women are ever on their
passage."[171] This statement was strenuously denied at the time by many
earnest moralists who refused to admit that it was possible for a woman
who had sunk into so deep a pit of degradation ever to climb out again,
respectably safe and sound. Yet it is certainly true as regards a
considerable proportion of women, not only in England, but in other
countries also. Thus Parent-Duchâtelet, the greatest authority on French
prostitution, stated that "prostitution is for the majority only a
transitory stage; it is quitted usually during the first year; very few
prostitutes continue until extinction." It is difficult, however, to
ascertain precisely of how large a proportion this is true; there are no
data which would serve as a basis for exact estimation,[172] and it is
impossible to expect that respectable married women would admit that they
had ever been "on the streets"; they would not, perhaps, always admit it
even to themselves.

    The following case, though noted down over twenty years ago, is
    fairly typical of a certain class, among the lower ranks of
    prostitution, in which the economic factor counts for much, but
    in which we ought not too hastily to assume that it is the sole

    Widow, aged thirty, with two children. Works in an umbrella
    manufactory in the East End of London, earning eighteen shillings
    a week by hard work, and increasing her income by occasionally
    going out on the streets in the evenings. She haunts a quiet side
    street which is one of the approaches to a large city railway
    terminus. She is a comfortable, almost matronly-looking woman,
    quietly dressed in a way that is only noticeable from the skirts
    being rather short. If spoken to she may remark that she is
    "waiting for a lady friend," talks in an affected way about the
    weather, and parenthetically introduces her offers. She will
    either lead a man into one of the silent neighboring lanes filled
    with warehouses, or will take him home with her. She is willing
    to accept any sum the man may be willing or able to give;
    occasionally it is a sovereign, sometimes it is only a sixpence;
    on an average she earns a few shillings in an evening. She had
    only been in London for ten months; before that she lived in
    Newcastle. She did not go on the streets there; "circumstances
    alter cases," she sagely remarks. Though not speaking well of
    the police, she says they do not interfere with her as they do
    with some of the girls. She never gives them money, but hints
    that it is sometimes necessary to gratify their desires in order
    to keep on good terms with them.

It must always be remembered, for it is sometimes forgotten by socialists
and social reformers, that while the pressure of poverty exerts a markedly
modifying influence on prostitution, in that it increases the ranks of the
women who thereby seek a livelihood and may thus be properly regarded as a
factor of prostitution, no practicable raising of the rate of women's
wages could possibly serve, directly and alone, to abolish prostitution.
De Molinari, an economist, after remarking that "prostitution is an
industry" and that if other competing industries can offer women
sufficiently high pecuniary inducements they will not be so frequently
attracted to prostitution, proceeds to point out that that by no means
settles the question. "Like every other industry prostitution is governed
by the demand of the need to which it responds. As long as that need and
that demand persist, they will provoke an offer. It is the need and the
demand that we must act on, and perhaps science will furnish us the means
to do so."[173] In what way Molinari expects science to diminish the
demand for prostitutes, however, is not clearly brought out.

Not only have we to admit that no practicable rise in the rate of wages
paid to women in ordinary industries can possibly compete with the wages
which fairly attractive women of quite ordinary ability can earn by
prostitution,[174] but we have also to realize that a rise in general
prosperity--which alone can render a rise of women's wages healthy and
normal--involves a rise in the wages of prostitution, and an increase in
the number of prostitutes. So that if good wages is to be regarded as the
antagonist of prostitution, we can only say that it more than gives back
with one hand what it takes with the other. To so marked a degree is this
the case that Després in a detailed moral and demographic study of the
distribution of prostitution in France comes to the conclusion that we
must reverse the ancient doctrine that "poverty engenders prostitution"
since prostitution regularly increases with wealth,[175] and as a
département rises in wealth and prosperity, so the number both of its
inscribed and its free prostitutes rises also. There is indeed a fallacy
here, for while it is true, as Després argues, that wealth demands
prostitution, it is also true that a wealthy community involves the
extreme of poverty as well as of riches and that it is among the poorer
elements that prostitution chiefly finds its recruits. The ancient dictum
that "poverty engenders prostitution" still stands, but it is complicated
and qualified by the complex conditions of civilization. Bonger, in his
able discussion of the economic side of the question, has realized the
wide and deep basis of prostitution when he reaches the conclusion that it
is "on the one hand the inevitable complement of the existing legal
monogamy, and on the other hand the result of the bad conditions in which
many young girls grow up, the result of the physical and psychical
wretchedness in which the women of the people live, and the consequence
also of the inferior position of women in our actual society."[176] A
narrowly economic consideration of prostitution can by no means bring us
to the root of the matter.

    One circumstance alone should have sufficed to indicate that the
    inability of many women to secure "a living wage," is far from
    being the most fundamental cause of prostitution: a large
    proportion of prostitutes come from the ranks of domestic
    service. Of all the great groups of female workers, domestic
    servants are the freest from economic anxieties; they do not pay
    for food or for lodging; they often live as well as their
    mistresses, and in a large proportion of cases they have fewer
    money anxieties than their mistresses. Moreover, they supply an
    almost universal demand, so that there is never any need for even
    very moderately competent servants to be in want of work. They
    constitute, it is true, a very large body which could not fail to
    supply a certain contingent of recruits to prostitution. But when
    we see that domestic service is the chief reservoir from which
    prostitutes are drawn, it should be clear that the craving for
    food and shelter is by no means the chief cause of prostitution.

    It may be added that, although the significance of this
    predominance of servants among prostitutes is seldom realized by
    those who fancy that to remove poverty is to abolish
    prostitution, it has not been ignored by the more thoughtful
    students of social questions. Thus Sherwell, while pointing out
    truly that, to a large extent, "morals fluctuate with trade,"
    adds that, against the importance of the economic factor, it is a
    suggestive and in every way impressive fact that the majority of
    the girls who frequent the West End of London (88 per cent.,
    according to the Salvation Army's Registers) are drawn from
    domestic service where the economic struggle is not severely felt
    (Arthur Sherwell, _Life in West London_, Ch. V, "Prostitution").

    It is at the same time worthy of note that by the conditions of
    their lives servants, more than any other class, resemble
    prostitutes (Bernaldo de Quirós and Llanas Aguilaniedo have
    pointed this out in _La Mala Vida en Madrid_, p. 240). Like
    prostitutes, they are a class of women apart; they are not
    entitled to the considerations and the little courtesies usually
    paid to other women; in some countries they are even registered,
    like prostitutes; it is scarcely surprising that when they suffer
    from so many of the disadvantages of the prostitute, they should
    sometimes desire to possess also some of her advantages. Lily
    Braun (_Frauenfrage_, pp. 389 et seq.) has set forth in detail
    these unfavorable conditions of domestic labor as they bear on
    the tendency of servant-girls to become prostitutes. R. de
    Ryckère, in his important work, _La Servante Criminelle_ (1907,
    pp. 460 et seq.; cf., the same author's article, "La Criminalité
    Ancillaire," _Archives d'Anthropologie Criminelle_, July and
    December, 1906), has studied the psychology of the servant-girl.
    He finds that she is specially marked by lack of foresight,
    vanity, lack of invention, tendency to imitation, and mobility of
    mind. These are characters which ally her to the prostitute. De
    Ryckère estimates the proportion of former servants among
    prostitutes generally as fifty per cent., and adds that what is
    called the "white slavery" here finds its most complacent and
    docile victims. He remarks, however, that the servant prostitute
    is, on the whole, not so much immoral as non-moral.

    In Paris Parent-Duchâtelet found that, in proportion to their
    number, servants furnished the largest contingent to
    prostitution, and his editors also found that they head the list
    (Parent-Duchâtelet, edition 1857, vol. i, p. 83). Among
    clandestine prostitutes at Paris, Commenge has more recently
    found that former servants constitute forty per cent. In Bordeaux
    Jeannel (_De le Prostitution Publique_, p. 102) also found that
    in 1860 forty per cent, of prostitutes had been servants,
    seamstresses coming next with thirty-seven per cent.

    In Germany and Austria it has long been recognized that domestic
    service furnishes the chief number of recruits to prostitution.
    Lippert, in Germany, and Gross-Hoffinger, in Austria, pointed out
    this predominance of maid-servants and its significance before
    the middle of the nineteenth century, and more recently Blaschko
    has stated ("Hygiene der Syphilis" in Weyl's _Handbuch der
    Hygiene_, Bd. ii, p. 40) that among Berlin prostitutes in 1898
    maid-servants stand at the head with fifty-one per cent.
    Baumgarten has stated that in Vienna the proportion of servants
    is fifty-eight per cent.

    In England, according to the Report of a Select Committee of the
    Lords on the laws for the protection of children, sixty per cent,
    of prostitutes have been servants. F. Remo, in his _Vie Galante
    en Angleterre_, states the proportion as eighty per cent. It
    would appear to be even higher as regards the West End of London.
    Taking London as a whole the extensive statistics of Merrick
    (_Work Among the Fallen_), chaplain of the Millbank Prison,
    showed that out of 14,790 prostitutes, 5823, or about forty per
    cent., had previously been servants, laundresses coming next, and
    then dressmakers; classifying his data somewhat more summarily
    and roughly, Merrick found that the proportion of servants was
    fifty-three per cent.

    In America, among two thousand prostitutes, Sanger states that
    forty-three per cent, had been servants, dressmakers coming next,
    but at a long interval, with six per cent. (Sanger, _History of
    Prostitution_, p. 524). Among Philadelphia prostitutes, Goodchild
    states that "domestics are probably in largest proportion,"
    although some recruits may be found from almost any occupation.

    It is the same in other countries. In Italy, according to Tammeo
    (_La Prostituzione_, p. 100), servants come first among
    prostitutes with a proportion of twenty-eight per cent., followed
    by the group of dressmakers, tailoresses and milliners, seventeen
    per cent. In Sardinia, A Mantegazza states, most prostitutes are
    servants from the country. In Russia, according to Fiaux, the
    proportion is forty-five per cent. In Madrid, according to Eslava
    (as quoted by Bernaldo de Quirós and Llanas Aguilaniedo (_La Mala
    Vida, en Madrid_, p. 239)), servants come at the head of
    registered prostitutes with twenty-seven per cent.--almost the
    same proportion as in Italy--and are followed by dressmakers. In
    Sweden, according to Welander (_Monatshefte für Praktische
    Dermatologie_, 1899, p. 477) among 2541 inscribed prostitutes,
    1586 (or sixty-two per cent.) were domestic servants; at a long
    interval followed 210 seamstresses, then 168 factory workers,

2. _The Biological Factor of Prostitution_.--Economic considerations, as
we see, have a highly important modificatory influence on prostitution,
although it is by no means correct to assert that they form its main
cause. There is another question which has exercised many investigators:
To what extent are prostitutes predestined to this career by organic
constitution? It is generally admitted that economic and other conditions
are an exciting cause of prostitution; in how far are those who succumb
predisposed by the possession of abnormal personal characteristics? Some
inquirers have argued that this predisposition is so marked that
prostitution may fairly be regarded as a feminine equivalent for
criminality, and that in a family in which the men instinctively turn to
crime, the women instinctively turn to prostitution. Others have as
strenuously denied this conclusion.

    Lombroso has more especially advocated the doctrine that
    prostitution is the vicarious equivalent of criminality. In this
    he was developing the results reached, in the important study of
    the Jukes family, by Dugdale, who found that "there where the
    brothers commit crime, the sisters adopt prostitution;" the fines
    and imprisonments of the women of the family were not for
    violations of the right of property, but mainly for offences
    against public decency. "The psychological as well as anatomical
    identity of the criminal and the born prostitute," Lombroso and
    Ferrero concluded, "could not be more complete: both are
    identical with the moral insane, and therefore, according to the
    axiom, equal to each other. There is the same lack of moral
    sense, the same hardness of heart, the same precocious taste for
    evil, the same indifference to social infamy, the same
    volatility, love of idleness, and lack of foresight, the same
    taste for facile pleasures, for the orgy and for alcohol, the
    same, or almost the same, vanity. Prostitution is only the
    feminine side of criminality. And so true is it that prostitution
    and criminality are two analogous, or, so to say, parallel,
    phenomena, that at their extremes they meet. The prostitute is,
    therefore, psychologically a criminal: if she commits no offenses
    it is because her physical weakness, her small intelligence, the
    facility of acquiring what she wants by more easy methods,
    dispenses her from the necessity of crime, and on these very
    grounds prostitution represents the specific form of feminine
    criminality." The authors add that "prostitution is, in a certain
    sense, socially useful as an outlet for masculine sexuality and a
    preventive of crime" (Lombroso and Ferrero, _La Donna
    Delinquente_, 1893, p. 571).

    Those who have opposed this view have taken various grounds, and
    by no means always understood the position they are attacking.
    Thus W. Fischer (in _Die Prostitution_) vigorously argues that
    prostitution is not an inoffensive equivalent of criminality, but
    a factor of criminality. Féré, again (in _Dégénérescence et
    Criminalité_), asserts that criminality and prostitution are not
    equivalent, but identical. "Prostitutes and criminals," he holds,
    "have as a common character their unproductiveness, and
    consequently they are both anti-social. Prostitution thus
    constitutes a form of criminality." The essential character of
    criminals is not, however, their unproductiveness, for that they
    share with a considerable proportion of the wealthiest of the
    upper classes; it must be added, also, that the prostitute,
    unlike the criminal, is exercising an activity for which there is
    a demand, for which she is willingly paid, and for which she has
    to work (it has sometimes been noted that the prostitute looks
    down on the thief, who "does not work"); she is carrying on a
    profession, and is neither more nor less productive than those
    who carry on many more reputable professions. Aschaffenburg, also
    believing himself in opposition to Lombroso, argues, somewhat
    differently from Féré, that prostitution is not indeed, as Féré
    said, a form of criminality, but that it is too frequently united
    with criminality to be regarded as an equivalent. Mönkemöller has
    more recently supported the same view. Here, however, as usual,
    there is a wide difference of opinion as to the proportion of
    prostitutes of whom this is true. It is recognized by all
    investigators to be true of a certain number, but while
    Baumgarten, from an examination of eight thousand prostitutes,
    only found a minute proportion who were criminals, Ströhmberg
    found that among 462 prostitutes there were as many as 175
    thieves. From another side, Morasso (as quoted in _Archivio di
    Psichiatria_, 1896, fasc. I), on the strength of his own
    investigations, is more clearly in opposition to Lombroso, since
    he protests altogether against any purely degenerative view of
    prostitutes which would in any way assimilate them with

The question of the sexuality of prostitutes, which has a certain bearing
on the question of their tendency to degeneration, has been settled by
different writers in different senses. While some, like Morasso, assert
that sexual impulse is a main cause inducing women to adopt a prostitute's
career, others assert that prostitutes are usually almost devoid of sexual
impulse. Lombroso refers to the prevalence of sexual frigidity among
prostitutes.[177] In London, Merrick, speaking from a knowledge of over
16,000 prostitutes, states that he has met with "only a very few cases"
in which gross sexual desire has been the motive to adopt a life of
prostitution. In Paris, Raciborski had stated at a much earlier period
that "among prostitutes one finds very few who are prompted to libertinage
by sexual ardor."[178] Commenge, again, a careful student of the Parisian
prostitute, cannot admit that sexual desire is to be classed among the
serious causes of prostitution. "I have made inquiries of thousands of
women on this point," he states, "and only a very small number have told
me that they were driven to prostitution for the satisfaction of sexual
needs. Although girls who give themselves to prostitution are often
lacking in frankness, on this point, I believe, they have no wish to
deceive. When they have sexual needs they do not conceal them, but, on the
contrary, show a certain _amour-propre_ in acknowledging them, as a
sufficient sort of justification for their life; so that if only a very
small minority avow this motive the reason is that for the great majority
it has no existence."

There can be no doubt that the statements made regarding the sexual
frigidity of prostitutes are often much too unqualified. This is in part
certainly due to the fact that they are usually made by those who speak
from a knowledge of old prostitutes whose habitual familiarity with normal
sexual intercourse in its least attractive aspects has resulted in
complete indifference to such intercourse, so far as their clients are
concerned.[179] It may be stated with truth that to the woman of deep
passions the ephemeral and superficial relationships of prostitution can
offer no temptation. And it may be added that the majority of prostitutes
begin their career at a very early age, long before the somewhat late
period at which in women the tendency for passion to become strong, has
yet arrived.[180] It may also be said that an indifference to sexual
relationships, a tendency to attach no personal value to them, is often a
predisposing cause in the adoption of a prostitute's career; the general
mental shallowness of prostitutes may well be accompanied by shallowness
of physical emotion. On the other hand, many prostitutes, at all events
early in their careers, appear to show a marked degree of sensuality, and
to women of coarse sexual fibre the career of prostitution has not been
without attractions from this point of view; the gratification of physical
desire is known to act as a motive in some cases and is clearly indicated
in others.[181] This is scarcely surprising when we remember that
prostitutes are in a very large proportion of cases remarkably robust and
healthy persons in general respects.[182] They withstand without
difficulty the risks of their profession, and though under its influence
the manifestations of sexual feeling can scarcely fail to become modified
or perverted in course of time, that is no proof of the original absence
of sexual sensibility. It is not even a proof of its loss, for the real
sexual nature of the normal prostitute, and her possibilities of sexual
ardor, are chiefly manifested, not in her professional relations with her
clients, but in her relations with her "fancy boy" or "bully."[183] It is
quite true that the conditions of her life often make it practically
advantageous to the prostitute to have attached to her a man who is
devoted to her interests and will defend them if necessary, but that is
only a secondary, occasional, and subsidiary advantage of the "fancy boy,"
so far as prostitutes generally are concerned. She is attracted to him
primarily because he appeals to her personally and she wants him for
herself. The motive of her attachment is, above all, erotic, in the full
sense, involving not merely sexual relations but possession and common
interests, a permanent and intimate life led together. "You know that what
one does in the way of business cannot fill one's heart," said a German
prostitute; "Why should we not have a husband like other women? I, too,
need love. If that were not so we should not want a bully." And he, on his
part, reciprocates this feeling and is by no means merely moved by

    One of my correspondents, who has had much experience of
    prostitutes, not only in Britain, but also in Germany, France,
    Belgium and Holland, has found that the normal manifestations of
    sexual feeling are much more common in British than in
    continental prostitutes. "I should say," he writes, "that in
    normal coitus foreign women are generally unconscious of sexual
    excitement. I don't think I have ever known a foreign woman who
    had any semblance of orgasm. British women, on the other hand, if
    a man is moderately kind, and shows that he has some feelings
    beyond mere sensual gratification, often abandon themselves to
    the wildest delights of sexual excitement. Of course in this
    life, as in others, there is keen competition, and a woman, to
    vie with her competitors, must please her gentlemen friends; but
    a man of the world can always distinguish between real and
    simulated passion." (It is possible, however, that he may be most
    successful in arousing the feelings of his own fellow-country
    women.) On the other hand, this writer finds that the foreign
    women are more anxious to provide for the enjoyment of their
    temporary consorts and to ascertain what pleases them. "The
    foreigner seems to make it the business of her life to discover
    some abnormal mode of sexual gratification for her consort." For
    their own pleasure also foreign prostitutes frequently ask for
    _cunnilinctus_, in preference to normal coitus, while anal coitus
    is also common. The difference evidently is that the British
    women, when they seek gratification, find it in normal coitus,
    while the foreign women prefer more abnormal methods. There is,
    however, one class of British prostitutes which this
    correspondent finds to be an exception to the general rule: the
    class of those who are recruited from the lower walks of the
    stage. "Such women are generally more licentious--that is to say,
    more acquainted with the bizarre in sexualism--than girls who
    come from shops or bars; they show a knowledge of _fellatio_, and
    even anal coitus, and during menstruation frequently suggest
    inter-mammary coitus."

On the whole it would appear that prostitutes, though not usually impelled
to their life by motives of sensuality, on entering and during the early
part of their career possess a fairly average amount of sexual impulse,
with variations in both directions of excess and deficiency as well as of
perversion. At a somewhat later period it is useless to attempt to measure
the sexual impulse of prostitutes by the amount of pleasure they take in
the professional performance of sexual intercourse. It is necessary to
ascertain whether they possess sexual instincts which are gratified in
other ways. In a large proportion of cases this is found to be so.
Masturbation, especially, is extremely common among prostitutes
everywhere; however prevalent it may be among women who have no other
means of obtaining sexual gratification it is admitted by all to be still
more prevalent among prostitutes, indeed almost universal.[185]

Homosexuality, though not so common as masturbation, is very frequently
found among prostitutes--in France, it would seem, more frequently than in
England--and it may indeed be said that it occurs more often among
prostitutes than among any other class of women. It is favored by the
acquired distaste for normal coitus due to professional intercourse with
men, which leads homosexual relationships to be regarded as pure and ideal
by comparison. It would appear also that in a considerable proportion of
cases prostitutes present a congenital condition of sexual inversion, such
a condition, with an accompanying indifference to intercourse with men,
being a predisposing cause of the adoption of a prostitute's career.
Kurella even regards prostitutes as constituting a sub-variety of
congenital inverts. Anna Rüling in Germany states that about twenty per
cent. prostitutes are homosexual; when asked what induced them to become
prostitutes, more than one inverted woman of the street has replied to her
that it was purely a matter of business, sexual feeling not coming into
the question except with a friend of the same sex.[186]

The occurrence of congenital inversion among prostitutes--although we need
not regard prostitutes as necessarily degenerate as a class--suggests the
question whether we are likely to find an unusually large number of
physical and other anomalies among them. It cannot be said that there is
unanimity of opinion on this point. For some authorities prostitutes are
merely normal ordinary women of low social rank, if indeed their instincts
are not even a little superior to those of the class in which they were
born. Other investigators find among them so large a proportion of
individuals deviating from the normal that they are inclined to place
prostitutes generally among one or other of the abnormal classes.[187]

    Baumgarten, in Vienna, from a knowledge of over 8000 prostitutes,
    concluded that only a very minute proportion are either criminal
    or psychopathic in temperament or organization (_Archiv für
    Kriminal-Anthropologie_, vol. xi, 1902). It is not clear,
    however, that Baumgarten carried out any detailed and precise
    investigations. Mr. Lane, a London police magistrate, has stated
    as the result of his own observation, that prostitution is "at
    once a symptom and outcome of the same deteriorated physique and
    decadent moral fibre which determine the manufacture of male
    tramps, petty thieves, and professional beggars, of whom the
    prostitute is in general the female analogue" (_Ethnological
    Journal_, April, 1905, p. 41). This estimate is doubtless correct
    as regards a considerable proportion of the women, often
    enfeebled by drink, who pass through the police courts, but it
    could scarcely be applied without qualification to prostitutes

    Morasso (_Archivio di Psichiatria_, 1896, fasc. I) has protested
    against a purely degenerative view of prostitutes on the strength
    of his own observations. There is, he states, a category of
    prostitutes, unknown to scientific inquirers, which he calls that
    of the _prostitute di alto bordo_. Among these the signs of
    degeneration, physical or moral, are not to be found in greater
    number than among women who do not belong to prostitution. They
    reveal all sorts of characters, some of them showing great
    refinement, and are chiefly marked off by the possession of an
    unusual degree of sexual appetite. Even among the more degraded
    group of the _bassa prostituzione_, he asserts, we find a
    predominance of sexual, as well as professional, characters,
    rather than the signs of degeneration. It is sufficient to quote
    one more testimony, as set down many years ago by a woman of high
    intelligence and character, Mrs. Craik, the novelist: "The women
    who fall are by no means the worst of their station," she wrote.
    "I have heard it affirmed by more than one lady--by one in
    particular whose experience was as large as her benevolence--that
    many of them are of the very best, refined, intelligent,
    truthful, and affectionate. 'I don't know how it is,' she would
    say, 'whether their very superiority makes them dissatisfied with
    their own rank--such brutes or clowns as laboring men often
    are!--so that they fall easier victims to the rank above them; or
    whether, though this theory will shock many people, other virtues
    can exist and flourish entirely distinct from, and after the
    loss of, that which we are accustomed to believe the
    indispensable prime virtue of our sex--chastity. I cannot explain
    it; I can only say that it is so, that some of my most promising
    village girls have been the first to come to harm; and some of
    the best and most faithful servants I ever had, have been girls
    who have fallen into shame, and who, had I not gone to the rescue
    and put them in the way to do well, would infallibly have become
    "lost women"'" (_A Woman's Thoughts About Women_, 1858, p. 291).
    Various writers have insisted on the good moral qualities of
    prostitutes. Thus in France, Despine first enumerates their vices
    as (1) greediness and love of drink, (2) lying, (3) anger, (4)
    want of order and untidiness, (5) mobility of character, (6) need
    of movement, (7) tendency to homosexuality; and then proceeds to
    detail their good qualities: their maternal and filial affection,
    their charity to each other; and their refusal to denounce each
    other; while they are frequently religious, sometimes modest, and
    generally very honest (Despine, _Psychologie Naturelle_, vol.
    iii, pp. 207 et seq.; as regards Sicilian prostitutes, cf.
    Callari, _Archivio di Psichiatria_, fasc. IV, 1903). The charity
    towards each other, often manifested in distress, is largely
    neutralized by a tendency to professional suspicion and jealousy
    of each other.

    Lombroso believes that the basis of prostitution must be found in
    moral idiocy. If by moral idiocy we are to understand a condition
    at all closely allied with insanity, this assertion is dubious.
    There seems no clear relationship between prostitution and
    insanity, and Tammeo has shown (_La Prostituzione_, p. 76) that
    the frequency of prostitutes in the various Italian provinces is
    in inverse ratio to the frequency of insane persons; as insanity
    increases, prostitution decreases. But if we mean a minor degree
    of moral imbecility--that is to say, a bluntness of perception
    for the ordinary moral considerations of civilization which,
    while it is largely due to the hardening influence of an
    unfavorable early environment, may also rest on a congenital
    predisposition--there can be no doubt that moral imbecility of
    slight degree is very frequently found among prostitutes. It
    would be plausible, doubtless, to say that every woman who gives
    her virginity in exchange for an inadequate return is an
    imbecile. If she gives herself for love, she has, at the worst,
    made a foolish mistake, such as the young and inexperienced may
    at any time make. But if she deliberately proposes to sell
    herself, and does so for nothing or next to nothing, the case is
    altered. The experiences of Commenge in Paris are instructive on
    this point. "For many young girls," he writes, "modesty has no
    existence, they experience no emotion in showing themselves
    completely undressed, they abandon themselves to any chance
    individual whom they will never see again. They attach no
    importance to their virginity; they are deflowered under the
    strangest conditions, without the least thought or care about the
    act they are accomplishing. No sentiment, no calculation, pushes
    them into a man's arms. They let themselves go without reflexion
    and without motive, in an almost animal manner, from indifference
    and without pleasure." He was acquainted with forty-five girls
    between the ages of twelve and seventeen who were deflowered by
    chance strangers whom they never met again; they lost their
    virginity, in Dumas's phrase, as they lost their milk-teeth, and
    could give no plausible account of the loss. A girl of fifteen,
    mentioned by Commenge, living with her parents who supplied all
    her wants, lost her virginity by casually meeting a man who
    offered her two francs if she would go with him; she did so
    without demur and soon begun to accost men on her own account. A
    girl of fourteen, also living comfortably with her parents,
    sacrificed her virginity at a fair in return for a glass of beer,
    and henceforth begun to associate with prostitutes. Another girl
    of the same age, at a local fête, wishing to go round on the
    hobby horse, spontaneously offered herself to the man directing
    the machinery for the pleasure of a ride. Yet another girl, of
    fifteen, at another fête, offered her virginity in return for the
    same momentary joy (Commenge, _Prostitution Clandestine_, 1897,
    pp. 101 et seq.). In the United States, Dr. W. Travis Gibb,
    examining physician to the New York Society for the Prevention of
    Cruelty to Children, bears similar testimony to the fact that in
    a fairly large proportion of "rape" cases the child is the
    willing victim. "It is horribly pathetic," he says (_Medical
    Record_, April 20, 1907), "to learn how far a nickel or a quarter
    will go towards purchasing the virtue of these children."

    In estimating the tendency of prostitutes to display congenital
    physical anomalies, the crudest and most obvious test, though not
    a precise or satisfactory one, is the general impression produced
    by the face. In France, when nearly 1000 prostitutes were divided
    into five groups from the point of view of their looks, only from
    seven to fourteen per cent, were found to belong to the first
    group, or that of those who could be said to possess youth and
    beauty (Jeannel, _De la Prostitution Publique_, 1860, p. 168).
    Woods Hutchinson, again, judging from an extensive acquaintance
    with London, Paris, Vienna, New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago,
    asserts that a handsome or even attractive-looking prostitute, is
    rare, and that the general average of beauty is lower than in any
    other class of women. "Whatever other evils," he remarks, "the
    fatal power of beauty may be responsible for, it has nothing to
    do with prostitution" (Woods Hutchinson, "The Economics of
    Prostitution," _American Gynæcological and Obstetric Journal_,
    September, 1895). It must, of course, be borne in mind that these
    estimates are liable to be vitiated through being based chiefly
    on the inspection of women who most obviously belong to the class
    of prostitutes and have already been coarsened by their

    If we may conclude--and the fact is probably undisputed--that
    beautiful, agreeable, and harmoniously formed faces are rare
    rather than common among prostitutes, we may certainly say that
    minute examination will reveal a large number of physical
    abnormalities. One of the earliest important physical
    investigations of prostitutes was that of Dr. Pauline Tarnowsky
    in Russia (first published in the _Vratch_ in 1887, and
    afterwards as _Etudes anthropométriques sur les Prostituées et
    les Voleuses_). She examined fifty St. Petersburg prostitutes who
    had been inmates of a brothel for not less than two years, and
    also fifty peasant women of, so far as possible, the same age and
    mental development. She found that (1) the prostitute showed
    shorter anterior-posterior and transverse diameters of skull; (2)
    a proportion equal to eighty-four per cent. showed various signs
    of physical degeneration (irregular skull, asymmetry of face,
    anomalies of hard palate, teeth, ears, etc.). This tendency to
    anomaly among the prostitutes was to some extent explained when
    it was found that about four-fifths of them had parents who were
    habitual drunkards, and nearly one-fifth were the last survivors
    of large families; such families have been often produced by
    degenerate parents.

    The frequency of hereditary degeneration has been noted by
    Bonhoeffer among German prostitutes. He investigated 190 Breslau
    prostitutes in prison, and therefore of a more abnormal class
    than ordinary prostitutes, and found that 102 were hereditarily
    degenerate, and mostly with one or both parents who were
    drunkards; 53 also showed feeble-mindedness (_Zeitschrift für die
    Gesamte Strafwissenschaft_, Bd. xxiii, p. 106).

    The most detailed examinations of ordinary non-criminal
    prostitutes, both anthropometrically and as regards the
    prevalence of anomalies, have been made in Italy, though not on a
    sufficiently large number of subjects to yield absolutely
    decisive results. Thus Fornasari made a detailed examination of
    sixty prostitutes belonging chiefly to Emilia and Venice, and
    also of twenty-seven others belonging to Bologna, the latter
    group being compared with a third group of twenty normal women
    belonging to Bologna (_Archivio di Psichiatria_, 1892, fasc. VI).
    The prostitutes were found to be of lower type than the normal
    individuals, having smaller heads and larger faces. As the author
    himself points out, his subjects were not sufficiently numerous
    to justify far-reaching generalizations, but it may be worth
    while to summarize some of his results. At equal heights the
    prostitutes showed greater weight; at equal ages they were of
    shorter stature than other women, not only of well-to-do, but of
    the poor class: height of face, bi-zygomatic diameter (though not
    the distance between zygomas), the distance from chin to external
    auditory meatus, and the size of the jaw were all greater in the
    prostitutes; the hands were longer and broader, compared to the
    palm, than in ordinary women; the foot also was longer in
    prostitutes, and the thigh, as compared to the calf, was larger.
    It is noteworthy that in most particulars, and especially in
    regard to head measurements, the variations were much greater
    among the prostitutes than among the other women examined; this
    is to some extent, though not entirely, to be accounted for by
    the slightly greater number of the former.

    Ardu (in the same number of the _Archivio_) gave the result of
    observations (undertaken at Lombroso's suggestion) as to the
    frequency of abnormalities among prostitutes. The subjects were
    seventy-four in number and belonged to Professor Giovannini's
    _Clinica Sifilopatica_ at Turin. The abnormalities investigated
    were virile distribution of hair on pubes, chest, and limbs,
    hypertrichosis on forehead, left-handedness, atrophy of nipple,
    and tattooing (which was only found once). Combining Ardu's
    observations with another series of observations on fifty-five
    prostitutes examined by Lombroso, it is found that virile
    disposition of hair is found in fifteen per cent. as against six
    per cent. in normal women; some degree of hypertrichosis in
    eighteen per cent.; left-handedness in eleven per cent. (but in
    normal women as high as twelve per cent. according to Gallia);
    and atrophy of nipple in twelve per cent.

    Giuffrida-Ruggeri, again (_Atti della, Società Romana di
    Antropologia_, 1897, p. 216), on examining eighty-two prostitutes
    found anomalies in the following order of decreasing frequency:
    tendency of eyebrows to meet, lack of cranial symmetry,
    depression at root of nose, defective development of calves,
    hypertrichosis and other anomalies of hair, adherent or absent
    lobule, prominent zigoma, prominent forehead or frontal bones,
    bad implantation of teeth, Darwinian tubercle of ear, thin
    vertical lips. These signs are separately of little or no
    importance, though together not without significance as an
    indication of general anomaly.

    More recently Ascarilla, in an elaborate study (_Archivio di
    Psichiatria_, 1906, fasc. VI, p. 812) of the finger prints of
    prostitutes, comes to the conclusion that even in this respect
    prostitutes tend to form a class showing morphological
    inferiority to normal women. The patterns tend to show unusual
    simplicity and uniformity, and the significance of this is
    indicated by the fact that a similar uniformity is shown by the
    finger prints of the insane and deaf-mutes (De Sanctis and
    Toscano, _Atti Società Romana Antropologia_, vol. viii, 1901,
    fasc. II).

    In Chicago Dr. Harriet Alexander, in conjunction with Dr. E.S.
    Talbot and Dr. J.G. Kiernan, examined thirty prostitutes in the
    Bridewell, or House of Correction; only the "obtuse" class of
    professional prostitutes reach this institution, and it is not
    therefore surprising that they were found to exhibit very marked
    stigmata of degeneracy. In race nearly half of those examined
    were Celtic Irish. In sixteen the zygomatic processes were
    unequal and very prominent. Other facial asymmetries were common.
    In three cases the heads were of Mongoloid type; sixteen were
    epignathic, and eleven prognathic; five showed arrest of
    development of face. Brachycephaly predominated (seventeen
    cases); the rest were mesaticephalic; there were no
    dolichocephals. Abnormalities in shape of the skull were
    numerous, and twenty-nine had defective ears. Four were
    demonstrably insane, and one was an epileptic (H.C.B. Alexander,
    "Physical Abnormalities in Prostitutes," Chicago Academy of
    Medicine, April, 1893; E.S. Talbot, _Degeneracy_, p. 320; _Id.,
    Irregularities of the Teeth_, fourth edition, p. 141).

It would seem, on the whole, so far as the evidence at present goes, that
prostitutes are not quite normal representatives of the ranks into which
they were born. There has been a process of selection of individuals who
slightly deviate congenitally from the normal average and are,
correspondingly, slightly inapt for normal life.[188] The psychic
characteristics which accompany such deviation are not always necessarily
of an obviously unfavorable nature; the slightly neurotic girl of low
class birth--disinclined for hard work, through defective energy, and
perhaps greedy and selfish--may even seem to possess a refinement superior
to her station. While, however, there is a tendency to anomaly among
prostitutes, it must be clearly recognized that that tendency remains
slight so long as we consider impartially the whole class of prostitutes.
Those investigators who have reached the conclusion that prostitutes are a
highly degenerate and abnormal class have only observed special groups of
prostitutes, more especially those who are frequently found in prison. It
is not possible to form a just conception of prostitutes by studying them
only in prison, any more than it would be possible to form a just
conception of clergymen, doctors, or lawyers by studying them exclusively
in prison, and this remains true even although a much larger proportion of
prostitutes than of members of the more reputable professions pass through
prisons; that fact no doubt partly indicates the greater abnormality of

It has, of course, to be remembered that the special conditions of the
lives of prostitutes tend to cause in them the appearance of certain
professional characteristics which are entirely acquired and not
congenital. In that way we may account for the gradual modification of the
feminine secondary and tertiary sexual characters, and the appearance of
masculine characters, such as the frequent deep voice, etc.[189] But with
all due allowance for these acquired characters, it remains true that such
comparative investigations as have so far been made, although
inconclusive, seem to indicate that, even apart from the prevalence of
acquired anomalies, the professional selection of their avocation tends to
separate out from the general population of the same social class,
individuals who possess anthropometrical characters varying in a definite
direction. The observations thus made seem, in this way, to indicate that
prostitutes tend to be in weight over the average, though not in stature,
that in length of arm they are inferior though the hands are longer (this
has been found alike in Italy and Russia); they have smaller ankles and
larger calves, and still larger thighs in proportion to their large
calves. The estimated skull capacity and the skull circumference and
diameters are somewhat below the normal, not only when compared with
respectable women but also with thieves; there is a tendency to
brachycephaly (both in Italy and Russia); the cheek-bones are usually
prominent and the jaws developed; the hair is darker than in respectable
women though less so than in thieves; it is also unusually abundant, not
only on the head but also on the pudenda and elsewhere; the eyes have been
found to be decidedly darker than those of either respectable women or

So far as the evidence goes it serves to indicate that prostitutes tend to
approximate to the type which, as was shown in the previous volume, there
is reason to regard as specially indicative of developed sexuality. It is,
however, unnecessary to discuss this question until our anthropometrical
knowledge of prostitutes is more extended and precise.

3. _The Moral Justification of Prostitution_.--There are and always have
been moralists--many of them people whose opinions are deserving of the
most serious respect--who consider that, allowing for the need of
improved hygienic conditions, the existence of prostitution presents no
serious problem for solution. It is, at most, they say, a necessary evil,
and, at best, a beneficent institution, the bulwark of the home, the
inevitable reverse of which monogamy is the obverse. "The immoral guardian
of public morality," is the definition of prostitutes given by one writer,
who takes the humble view of the matter, and another, taking the loftier
ground, writes: "The prostitute fulfils a social mission. She is the
guardian of virginal modesty, the channel to carry off adulterous desire,
the protector of matrons who fear late maternity; it is her part to act as
the shield of the family." "Female Decii," said Balzac in his _Physiologie
du Mariage_ of prostitutes, "they sacrifice themselves for the republic
and make of their bodies a rampart for the protection of respectable
families." In the same way Schopenhauer called prostitutes "human
sacrifices on the altar of monogamy." Lecky, again, in an oft-quoted
passage of rhetoric,[191] may be said to combine both the higher and the
lower view of the prostitute's mission in human society, to which he even
seeks to give a hieratic character. "The supreme type of vice," he
declared, "she is ultimately the most efficient guardian of virtue. But
for her, the unchallenged purity of countless happy homes would be
polluted, and not a few who, in the pride of their untempted chastity,
think of her with an indignant shudder, would have known the agony of
remorse and of despair. On that one degraded and ignoble form are
concentrated the passions that might have filled the world with shame. She
remains, while creeds and civilizations rise and fall, the eternal
priestess of humanity, blasted for the sins of the people."[192]

I am not aware that the Greeks were greatly concerned with the moral
justification of prostitution. They had not allowed it to assume very
offensive forms and for the most part they were content to accept it. The
Romans usually accepted it, too, but, we gather, not quite so easily.
There was an austerely serious, almost Puritanic, spirit in the Romans of
the old stock and they seem sometimes to have felt the need to assure
themselves that prostitution really was morally justifiable. It is
significant to note that they were accustomed to remember that Cato was
said to have expressed satisfaction on seeing a man emerge from a brothel,
for otherwise he might have gone to lie with his neighbor's wife.[193]

The social necessity of prostitution is the most ancient of all the
arguments of moralists in favor of the toleration of prostitutes; and if
we accept the eternal validity of the marriage system with which
prostitution developed, and of the theoretical morality based on that
system, this is an exceedingly forcible, if not an unanswerable, argument.

The advent of Christianity, with its special attitude towards the "flesh,"
necessarily caused an enormous increase of attention to the moral aspects
of prostitution. When prostitution was not morally denounced, it became
clearly necessary to morally justify it; it was impossible for a Church,
whose ideals were more or less ascetic, to be benevolently indifferent in
such a matter. As a rule we seem to find throughout that while the more
independent and irresponsible divines take the side of denunciation, those
theologians who have had thrust upon them the grave responsibilities of
ecclesiastical statesmanship have rather tended towards the reluctant
moral justification of prostitution. Of this we have an example of the
first importance in St. Augustine, after St. Paul the chief builder of the
Christian Church. In a treatise written in 386 to justify the Divine
regulation of the world, we find him declaring that just as the
executioner, however repulsive he may be, occupies a necessary place in
society, so the prostitute and her like, however sordid and ugly and
wicked they may be, are equally necessary; remove prostitutes from human
affairs and you would pollute the world with lust: "Aufer meretrices de
rebus humanis, turbaveris omnia libidinibus."[194] Aquinas, the only
theological thinker of Christendom who can be named with Augustine, was of
the same mind with him on this question of prostitution. He maintained the
sinfulness of fornication but he accepted the necessity of prostitution as
a beneficial part of the social structure, comparing it to the sewers
which keep a palace pure.[195] "Prostitution in towns is like the sewer in
a palace; take away the sewers and the palace becomes an impure and
stinking place." Liguori, the most influential theologian of more modern
times, was of the like opinion.

This wavering and semi-indulgent attitude towards prostitution was indeed
generally maintained by theologians. Some, following Augustine and
Aquinas, would permit prostitution for the avoidance of greater evils;
others were altogether opposed to it; others, again, would allow it in
towns but nowhere else. It was, however, universally held by theologians
that the prostitute has a right to her wages, and is not obliged to make
restitution.[196] The earlier Christian moralists found no difficulty in
maintaining that there is no sin in renting a house to a prostitute for
the purposes of her trade; absolution was always granted for this and
abstention not required.[197] Fornication, however, always remained a sin,
and from the twelfth century onwards the Church made a series of organized
attempts to reclaim prostitutes. All Catholic theologians hold that a
prostitute is bound to confess the sin of prostitution, and most, though
not all, theologians have believed that a man also must confess
intercourse with a prostitute. At the same time, while there was a certain
indulgence to the prostitute herself, the Church was always very severe on
those who lived on the profits of promoting prostitution, on the
_lenones_. Thus the Council of Elvira, which was ready to receive without
penance the prostitute who married, refused reconciliation, even at death,
to persons who had been guilty of _lenocinium_.[198]

Protestantism, in this as in many other matters of sexual morality, having
abandoned the confessional, was usually able to escape the necessity for
any definite and responsible utterances concerning the moral status of
prostitution. When it expressed any opinion, or sought to initiate any
practical action, it naturally founded itself on the Biblical injunctions
against fornication, as expressed by St. Paul, and showed no mercy for
prostitutes and no toleration for prostitution. This attitude, which was
that of the Puritans, was the more easy since in Protestant countries,
with the exception of special districts at special periods--such as Geneva
and New England in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries--theologians
have in these matters been called upon to furnish religious exhortation
rather than to carry out practical policies. The latter task they have
left to others, and a certain confusion and uncertainty has thus often
arisen in the lay Protestant mind. This attitude in a thoughtful and
serious writer, is well illustrated in England by Burton, writing a
century after the Reformation. He refers with mitigated approval to "our
Pseudo-Catholics," who are severe with adultery but indulgent to
fornication, being perhaps of Cato's mind that it should be encouraged to
avoid worse mischiefs at home, and who holds brothels "as necessary as
churches" and "have whole Colleges of Courtesans in their towns and
cities." "They hold it impossible," he continues, "for idle persons,
young, rich and lusty, so many servants, monks, friars, to live honest,
too tyrannical a burden to compel them to be chaste, and most unfit to
suffer poor men, younger brothers and soldiers at all to marry, as also
diseased persons, votaries, priests, servants. Therefore as well to keep
and ease the one as the other, they tolerate and wink at these kind of
brothel-houses and stews. Many probable arguments they have to prove the
lawfulness, the necessity, and a toleration of them, as of usery; and
without question in policy they are not to be contradicted, but altogether
in religion."[199]

It was not until the beginning of the following century that the ancient
argument of St. Augustine for the moral justification of prostitution was
boldly and decisively stated in Protestant England, by Bernard Mandeville
in his _Fable of the Bees_, and at its first promulgation it seemed so
offensive to the public mind that the book was suppressed. "If courtesans
and strumpets were to be prosecuted with as much rigor as some silly
people would have it," Mandeville wrote, "what locks or bars would be
sufficient to preserve the honor of our wives and daughters?... It is
manifest that there is a necessity of sacrificing one part of womankind to
preserve the other, and prevent a filthiness of a more heinous nature.
From whence I think I may justly conclude that chastity may be supported
by incontinence, and the best of virtues want the assistance of the worst
of vices."[200] After Mandeville's time this view of prostitution began to
become common in Protestant as well as in other countries, though it was
not usually so clearly expressed.

    It may be of interest to gather together a few more modern
    examples of statements brought forward for the moral
    justification of prostitution.

    Thus in France Meusnier de Querlon, in his story of _Psaphion_,
    written in the middle of the eighteenth century, puts into the
    mouth of a Greek courtesan many interesting reflections
    concerning the life and position of the prostitute. She defends
    her profession with much skill, and argues that while men imagine
    that prostitutes are merely the despised victims of their
    pleasures, these would-be tyrants are really dupes who are
    ministering to the needs of the women they trample beneath their
    feet, and themselves equally deserve the contempt they bestow.
    "We return disgust for disgust, as they must surely perceive. We
    often abandon to them merely a statue, and while inflamed by
    their own desires they consume themselves on insensible charms,
    our tranquil coldness leisurely enjoys their sensibility. Then it
    is we resume all our rights. A little hot blood has brought
    these proud creatures to our feet, and rendered us mistresses of
    their fate. On which side, I ask, is the advantage?" But all men,
    she adds, are not so unjust towards the prostitute, and she
    proceeds to pronounce a eulogy, not without a slight touch of
    irony in it, of the utility, facility, and convenience of the

    A large number of the modern writers on prostitution insist on
    its socially beneficial character. Thus Charles Richard concludes
    his book on the subject with the words: "The conduct of society
    with regard to prostitution must proceed from the principle of
    gratitude without false shame for its utility, and compassion for
    the poor creatures at whose expense this is attained" (_La
    Prostitution devant le Philosophe_, 1882, p. 171). "To make
    marriage permanent is to make it difficult," an American medical
    writer observes; "to make it difficult is to defer it; to defer
    it is to maintain in the community an increasing number of
    sexually perfect individuals, with normal, or, in cases where
    repression is prolonged, excessive sexual appetites. The social
    evil is the natural outcome of the physical nature of man, his
    inherited impulses, and the artificial conditions under which he
    is compelled to live" ("The Social Evil," _Medicine_, August and
    September, 1906). Woods Hutchinson, while speaking with strong
    disapproval of prostitution and regarding prostitutes as "the
    worst specimens of the sex," yet regards prostitution as a social
    agency of the highest value. "From a medico-economic point of
    view I venture to claim it as one of the grand selective and
    eliminative agencies of nature, and of highest value to the
    community. It may be roughly characterized as a safety valve for
    the institution of marriage" (_The Gospel According to Darwin_,
    p. 193; cf. the same author's article on "The Economics of
    Prostitution," summarized in _Boston Medical and Surgical
    Journal_, November 21, 1895). Adolf Gerson, in a somewhat similar
    spirit, argues ("Die Ursache der Prostitution,"
    _Sexual-Probleme_, September, 1908) that "prostitution is one of
    the means used by Nature to limit the procreative activity of
    men, and especially to postpone the period of sexual maturity."
    Molinari considers that the social benefits of prostitution have
    been manifested in various ways from the first; by sterilizing,
    for instance, the more excessive manifestations of the sexual
    impulse prostitution suppressed the necessity for the infanticide
    of superfluous children, and led to the prohibition of that
    primitive method of limiting the population (G. de Molinari, _La
    Viriculture_, p. 45). In quite another way than that mentioned by
    Molinari, prostitution has even in very recent times led to the
    abandonment of infanticide. In the Chinese province of Ping-Yang,
    Matignon states, it was usual not many years ago for poor parents
    to kill forty per cent. of the girl children, or even all of
    them, at birth, for they were too expensive to rear and brought
    nothing in, since men who wished to marry could easily obtain a
    wife in the neighboring province of Wenchu, where women were
    very easy to obtain. Now, however, the line of steamships along
    the coast makes it very easy for girls to reach the brothels of
    Shang-Hai, where they can earn money for their families; the
    custom of killing them has therefore died out (Matignon,
    _Archives d'Anthropologie Criminelle_, 1896, p. 72). "Under
    present conditions," writes Dr. F. Erhard ("Auch ein Wort zur
    Ehereform," _Geschlecht und Gesellschaft_, Jahrgang I, Heft 9),
    "prostitution (in the broadest sense, including free
    relationships) is necessary in order that young men may, in some
    degree, learn to know women, for conventional conversation cannot
    suffice for this; an exact knowledge of feminine thought and
    action is, however, necessary for a proper choice, since it is
    seldom possible to rely on the certainty of instinct. It is good
    also that men should wear off their horns before marriage, for
    the polygamous tendency will break through somewhere.
    Prostitution will only spoil those men in whom there is not much
    to spoil, and if the desire for marriage is thus lost, the man's
    unbegotten children may have cause to thank him." Neisser, Näcke,
    and many others, have pleaded for prostitution, and even for
    brothels, as "necessary evils."

    It is scarcely necessary to add that many, among even the
    strongest upholders of the moral advantages of prostitution,
    believe that some improvement in method is still desirable. Thus
    Bérault looks forward to a time when regulated brothels will
    become less contemptible. Various improvements may, he thinks, in
    the near future, "deprive them of the barbarous attributes which
    mark them out for the opprobrium of the skeptical or ignorant
    multitude, while their recognizable advantages will put an end to
    the contempt aroused by their cynical aspect" (_La Maison de
    Tolérance_, Thèse de Paris, 1904).

4. _The Civilizational Value of Prostitution._--The moral argument for
prostitution is based on the belief that our marriage system is so
infinitely precious that an institution which serves as its buttress must
be kept in existence, however ugly or otherwise objectionable it may in
itself be. There is, however, another argument in support of prostitution
which scarcely receives the emphasis it deserves. I refer to its influence
in adding an element, in some form or another necessary, of gaiety and
variety to the ordered complexity of modern life, a relief from the
monotony of its mechanical routine, a distraction from its dull and
respectable monotony. This is distinct from the more specific function of
prostitution as an outlet for superfluous sexual energy, and may even
affect those who have little or no commerce with prostitutes. This
element may be said to constitute the civilizational value of

It is not merely the general conditions of civilization, but more
specifically the conditions of urban life, which make this factor
insistent. Urban life imposes by the stress of competition a very severe
and exacting routine of dull work. At the same time it makes men and women
more sensitive to new impressions, more enamored of excitement and change.
It multiplies the opportunities of social intercourse; it decreases the
chances of detection of illegitimate intercourse while at the same time it
makes marriage more difficult, for, by heightening social ambitions and
increasing the expenses of living, it postpones the time when a home can
be created. Urban life delays marriage and yet renders the substitutes for
marriage more imperative.[201]

There cannot be the slightest doubt that it is this motive--the effort to
supplement the imperfect opportunities for self-development offered by our
restrained, mechanical, and laborious civilization--which plays one of the
chief parts in inducing women to adopt, temporarily or permanently, a
prostitute's life. We have seen that the economic factor is not, as was
once supposed, by any means predominant in this choice. Nor, again, is
there any reason to suppose that an over-mastering sexual impulse is a
leading factor. But a large number of young women turn instinctively to a
life of prostitution because they are moved by an obscure impulse which
they can scarcely define to themselves or express, and are often ashamed
to confess. It is, therefore, surprising that this motive should find so
large a place even in the formal statistics of the factors of
prostitution. Merrick, in London, found that 5000, or nearly a third, of
the prostitutes he investigated, voluntarily gave up home or situation
"for a life of pleasure," and he puts this at the head of the causes of
prostitution.[202] In America Sanger found that "inclination" came almost
at the head of the causes of prostitution, while Woods Hutchinson found
"love of display, luxury and idleness" by far at the head. "Disgusted and
wearied with work" is the reason assigned by a large number of Belgian
girls when stating to the police their wish to be enrolled as prostitutes.
In Italy a similar motive is estimated to play an important part. In
Russia "desire for amusement" comes second among the causes of
prostitution. There can, I think, be little doubt that, as a thoughtful
student of London life has concluded, the problem of prostitution is "at
bottom a mad and irresistible craving for excitement, a serious and wilful
revolt against the monotony of commonplace ideals, and the uninspired
drudgery of everyday life."[203] It is this factor of prostitution, we may
reasonably conclude, which is mainly responsible for the fact, pointed out
by F. Schiller,[204] that with the development of civilization the supply
of prostitutes tends to outgrow the demand.

    Charles Booth seems to be of the same opinion, and quotes (_Life
    and Labor of the People_, Third Series, vol. vii, p. 364) from a
    Rescue Committee Report: "The popular idea is, that these women
    are eager to leave a life of sin. The plain and simple truth is
    that, for the most part, they have no desire at all to be
    rescued. So many of these women do not, and will not, regard
    prostitution as a sin. 'I am taken out to dinner and to some
    place of amusement every night; why should I give it up?'"
    Merrick, who found that five per cent. of 14,000 prostitutes who
    passed through Millbank Prison, were accustomed to combine
    religious observance with the practice of their profession, also
    remarks in regard to their feelings about morality: "I am
    convinced that there are many poor men and women who do not in
    the least understand what is implied in the term 'immorality.'
    Out of courtesy to you, they may assent to what you say, but they
    do not comprehend your meaning when you talk of virtue or purity;
    you are simply talking over their heads" (Merrick, op. cit., p.
    28). The same attitude may be found among prostitutes everywhere.
    In Italy Ferriani mentions a girl of fifteen who, when accused of
    indecency with a man in a public garden, denied with tears and
    much indignation. He finally induced her to confess, and then
    asked her: "Why did you try to make me believe you were a good
    girl?" She hesitated, smiled, and said: "Because _they say_ girls
    ought not to do what I do, but ought to work. But I am what I am,
    and it is no concern of theirs." This attitude is often more than
    an instinctive feeling; in intelligent prostitutes it frequently
    becomes a reasoned conviction. "I can bear everything, if so it
    must be," wrote the author of the _Tagebuch einer Verlorenen_ (p.
    291), "even serious and honorable contempt, but I cannot bear
    scorn. Contempt--yes, if it is justified. If a poor and pretty
    girl with sick and bitter heart stands alone in life, cast off,
    with temptations and seductions offering on every side, and, in
    spite of that, out of inner conviction she chooses the grey and
    monotonous path of renunciation and middle-class morality, I
    recognize in that girl a personality, who has a certain
    justification in looking down with contemptuous pity on weaker
    girls. But those geese who, under the eyes of their shepherds and
    life-long owners, have always been pastured in smooth green
    fields, have certainly no right to laugh scornfully at others who
    have not been so fortunate." Nor must it be supposed that there
    is necessarily any sophistry in the prostitute's justification of
    herself. Some of our best thinkers and observers have reached a
    conclusion that is not dissimilar. "The actual conditions of
    society are opposed to any high moral feeling in women," Marro
    observes (_La Pubertà_, p. 462), "for between those who sell
    themselves to prostitution and those who sell themselves to
    marriage, the only difference is in price and duration of the

We have already seen how very large a part in prostitution is furnished by
those who have left domestic service to adopt this life (_ante_ p. 264).
It is not difficult to find in this fact evidence of the kind of impulse
which impels a woman to adopt the career of prostitution. "The servant, in
our society of equality," wrote Goncourt, recalling somewhat earlier days
when she was often admitted to a place in the family life, "has become
nothing but a paid pariah, a machine for doing household work, and is no
longer allowed to share the employer's human life."[205] And in England,
even half a century ago, we already find the same statements concerning
the servant's position: "domestic service is a complete slavery," with
early hours and late hours, and constant running up and down stairs till
her legs are swollen; "an amount of ingenuity appears too often to be
exercised, worthy of a better cause, in obtaining the largest possible
amount of labor out of the domestic machine"; in addition she is "a kind
of lightning conductor," to receive the ill-temper and morbid feelings of
her mistress and the young ladies; so that, as some have said, "I felt so
miserable I did not care what became of me, I wished I was dead."[206] The
servant is deprived of all human relationships; she must not betray the
existence of any simple impulse, or natural need. At the same time she
lives on the fringe of luxury; she is surrounded by the tantalizing
visions of pleasure and amusement for which her fresh young nature
craves.[207] It is not surprising that, repelled by unrelieved drudgery
and attracted by idle luxury, she should take the plunge which will alone
enable her to enjoy the glittering aspects of civilization which seem so
desirable to her.[208]

    It is sometimes stated that the prevalence of prostitution among
    girls who were formerly servants is due to the immense numbers of
    servants who are seduced by their masters or the young men of the
    family, and are thus forced on to the streets. Undoubtedly in a
    certain proportion of cases, perhaps sometimes a fairly
    considerable proportion, this is a decisive factor in the matter,
    but it scarcely seems to be the chief factor. The existence of
    relationships between servants and masters, it must be
    remembered, by no means necessarily implies seduction. In a
    large number of cases the servant in a household is, in sexual
    matters, the teacher rather than the pupil. (In "The Sexual
    Impulse in Women," in the third volume of these _Studies_, I have
    discussed the part played by servants as sexual initiators of the
    young boys in the households in which they are placed.) The more
    precise statistics of the causes of prostitution seldom assign
    seduction as the main determining factor in more than about
    twenty per cent. of cases, though this is obviously one of the
    most easily avowable motives (see _ante_, p. 256). Seduction by
    any kind of employer constitutes only a proportion (usually less
    than half) even of these cases. The special case of seduction of
    servants by masters can thus play no very considerable part as a
    factor of prostitution.

    The statistics of the parentage of illegitimate children have
    some bearing on this question. In a series of 180 unmarried
    mothers assisted by the Berlin Bund für Mutterschutz, particulars
    are given of the occupations both of the mothers, and, as far as
    possible, of the fathers. The former were one-third
    servant-girls, and the great majority of the remainder assistants
    in trades or girls carrying on work at home. At the head of the
    fathers (among 120 cases) came artisans (33), followed by
    tradespeople (22); only a small proportion (20 to 25) could be
    described as "gentlemen," and even this proportion loses some of
    its significance when it is pointed out that some of the girls
    were also of the middle-class; in nineteen cases the fathers were
    married men (_Mutterschutz_, January, 1907, p. 45).

    Most authorities in most countries are of opinion that girls who
    eventually (usually between the ages of fifteen and twenty)
    become prostitutes have lost their virginity at an early age, and
    in the great majority of cases through men of their own class.
    "The girl of the people falls by the people," stated Reuss in
    France (_La Prostitution_, p. 41). "It is her like, workers like
    herself, who have the first fruits of her beauty and virginity.
    The man of the world who covers her with gold and jewels only has
    their leavings." Martineau, again (_De la Prostitution
    Clandestine_, 1885), showed that prostitutes are usually
    deflowered by men of their own class. And Jeannel, in Bordeaux,
    found reason for believing that it is not chiefly their masters
    who lead servants astray; they often go into service because they
    have been seduced in the country, while lazy, greedy, and
    unintelligent girls are sent from the country into the town to
    service. In Edinburgh, W. Tait (_Magdalenism_, 1842) found that
    soldiers more than any other class in the community are the
    seducers of women, the Highlanders being especially notorious in
    this respect. Soldiers have this reputation everywhere, and in
    Germany especially it is constantly found that the presence of
    the soldiery in a country district, as at the annual manoeuvres,
    is the cause of unchastity and illegitimate births; it is so also
    in Austria, where, long ago, Gross-Hoffinger stated that
    soldiers were responsible for at least a third of all
    illegitimate births, a share out of all proportion to their
    numbers. In Italy, Marro, investigating the occasion of the loss
    of virginity in twenty-two prostitutes, found that ten gave
    themselves more or less spontaneously to lovers or masters, ten
    yielded in the expectation of marriage, and two were outraged
    (_La Pubertà_, p. 461). The loss of virginity, Marro adds, though
    it may not be the direct cause of prostitution, often leads on to
    it. "When a door has once been broken in," a prostitute said to
    him, "it is difficult to keep it closed." In Sardinia, as A.
    Mantegazza and Ciuffo found, prostitutes are very largely
    servants from the country who have already been deflowered by men
    of their own class.

This civilizational factor of prostitution, the influence of luxury and
excitement and refinement in attracting the girl of the people, as the
flame attracts the moth, is indicated by the fact that it is the
country-dwellers who chiefly succumb to the fascination. The girls whose
adolescent explosive and orgiastic impulses, sometimes increased by a
slight congenital lack of nervous balance, have been latent in the dull
monotony of country life and heightened by the spectacle of luxury acting
on the unrelieved drudgery of town life, find at last their complete
gratification in the career of a prostitute. To the town girl, born and
bred in the town, this career has not usually much attraction, unless she
has been brought up from the first in an environment that predisposes her
to adopt it. She is familiar from childhood with the excitements of urban
civilization and they do not intoxicate her; she is, moreover, more shrewd
to take care of herself than the country girl, and too well acquainted
with the real facts of the prostitute's life to be very anxious to adopt
her career. Beyond this, also, it is probable that the stocks she belongs
to possess a native or acquired power of resistance to unbalancing
influences which has enabled them to survive in urban life. She has become
immune to the poisons of that life.[209]

    In all great cities a large proportion, if not the majority, of
    the inhabitants have usually been born outside the city (in
    London only about fifty per cent. of heads of households are
    definitely reported as born in London); and it is not therefore
    surprising that prostitutes also should often be outsiders. Still
    it remains a significant fact that so typically urban a
    phenomenon as prostitution should be so largely recruited from
    the country. This is everywhere the case. Merrick enumerates the
    regions from which came some 14,000 prostitutes who passed
    through Millbank Prison. Middlesex, Kent, Surrey, Essex and Devon
    are the counties that stand at the head, and Merrick estimates
    that the contingent of London from the four counties which make
    up London was 7000, or one-half of the whole; military towns like
    Colchester and naval ports like Plymouth supply many prostitutes
    to London; Ireland furnished many more than Scotland, and Germany
    far more than any other European country, France being scarcely
    represented at all (Merrick, _Work Among the Fallen_, 1890, pp.
    14-18). It is, of course, possible that the proportions among
    those who pass through a prison do not accurately represent the
    proportions among prostitutes generally. The registers of the
    London Salvation Army Rescue Home show that sixty per cent. of
    the girls and women come from the provinces (A. Sherwell, _Life
    in West London_, Ch. V). This is exactly the same proportion as
    Tait found among prostitutes generally, half a century earlier,
    in Edinburgh. Sanger found that of 2000 prostitutes in New York
    as many as 1238 were born abroad (706 in Ireland), while of the
    remaining 762 only half were born in the State of New York, and
    clearly (though the exact figures are not given) a still smaller
    proportion in New York City. Prostitutes come from the
    North--where the climate is uncongenial, and manufacturing and
    sedentary occupations prevail--much more than from the South;
    thus Maine, a cold bleak maritime State, sent twenty-four of
    these prostitutes to New York, while equidistant Virginia, which
    at the same rate should have sent seventy-two, only sent nine;
    there was a similar difference between Rhode Island and Maryland
    (Sanger, _History of Prostitution_, p. 452). It is instructive to
    see here the influence of a dreary climate and monotonous labor
    in stimulating the appetite for a "life of pleasure." In France,
    as shown by a map in Parent-Duchâtelet's work (vol. i, pp. 37-64,
    1857), if the country is divided into five zones, on the whole
    running east and west, there is a steady and progressive decrease
    in the number of prostitutes each zone sends to Paris, as we
    descend southwards. Little more than a third seem to belong to
    Paris, and, as in America, it is the serious and hard-working
    North, with its relatively cold climate, which furnishes the
    largest contingent; even in old France, Dufour remarks (_op.
    cit._, vol. iv, Ch. XV), prostitution, as the _fabliaux_ and
    _romans_ show, was less infamous in the _langue d'oil_ than in
    the _langue d'oc_, so that they were doubtless rare in the
    South. At a later period Reuss states (_La Prostitution_, p. 12)
    that "nearly all the prostitutes of Paris come from the
    provinces." Jeannel found that of one thousand Bordeaux
    prostitutes only forty-six belonged to the city itself, and
    Potton (Appendix to Parent-Duchâtelet, vol. ii, p. 446) states
    that of nearly four thousand Lyons prostitutes only 376 belonged
    to Lyons. In Vienna, in 1873, Schrank remarks that of over 1500
    prostitutes only 615 were born in Vienna. The general rule, it
    will be seen, though the variations are wide, is that little more
    than a third of a city's prostitutes are children of the city.

    It is interesting to note that this tendency of the prostitute to
    reach cities from afar, this migratory tendency--which they
    nowadays share with waiters--is no merely modern phenomenon.
    "There are few cities in Lombardy, or France, or Gaul," wrote St.
    Boniface nearly twelve centuries ago, "in which there is not an
    adulteress or prostitute of the English nation," and the Saint
    attributes this to the custom of going on pilgrimage to foreign
    shrines. At the present time there is no marked English element
    among Continental prostitutes. Thus in Paris, according to Reuss
    (_La Prostitution_, p. 12), the foreign prostitutes in decreasing
    order are Belgian, German (Alsace-Lorraine), Swiss (especially
    Geneva), Italian, Spanish, and only then English. Connoisseurs in
    this matter say, indeed, that the English prostitute, as compared
    with her Continental (and especially French) sister, fails to
    show to advantage, being usually grasping as regards money and
    deficient in charm.

It is the appeal of civilization, though not of what is finest and best in
civilization, which more than any other motive, calls women to the career
of a prostitute. It is now necessary to point out that for the man also,
the same appeal makes itself felt in the person of the prostitute. The
common and ignorant assumption that prostitution exists to satisfy the
gross sensuality of the young unmarried man, and that if he is taught to
bridle gross sexual impulse or induced to marry early the prostitute must
be idle, is altogether incorrect. If all men married when quite young, not
only would the remedy be worse than the disease--a point which it would be
out of place to discuss here--but the remedy would not cure the disease.
The prostitute is something more than a channel to drain off superfluous
sexual energy, and her attraction by no means ceases when men are married,
for a large number of the men who visit prostitutes, if not the majority,
are married. And alike whether they are married or unmarried the motive
is not one of uncomplicated lust.

    In England, a well-informed writer remarks that "the value of
    marriage as a moral agent is evidenced by the fact that all the
    better-class prostitutes in London are almost entirely supported
    by married men," while in Germany, as stated in the interesting
    series of reminiscences by a former prostitute, Hedwig Hard's
    _Beichte einer Gefallenen_, (p. 208), the majority of the men who
    visit prostitutes are married. The estimate is probably
    excessive. Neisser states that only twenty-five per cent. of
    cases of gonorrhoea occur in married men. This indication is
    probably misleading in the opposite direction, as the married
    would be less reckless than the young and unmarried. As regards
    the motives which lead married men to prostitutes, Hedwig Hard
    narrates from her own experiences an incident which is
    instructive and no doubt typical. In the town in which she lived
    quietly as a prostitute a man of the best social class was
    introduced by a friend, and visited her habitually. She had often
    seen and admired his wife, who was one of the beauties of the
    place, and had two charming children; husband and wife seemed
    devoted to each other, and every one envied their happiness. He
    was a man of intellect and culture who encouraged Hedwig's love
    of books; she became greatly attached to him, and one day
    ventured to ask him how he could leave his lovely and charming
    wife to come to one who was not worthy to tie her shoe-lace.
    "Yes, my child," he answered, "but all her beauty and culture
    brings nothing to my heart. She is cold, cold as ice, proper,
    and, above all, phlegmatic. Pampered and spoilt, she lives only
    for herself; we are two good comrades, and nothing more. If, for
    instance, I come back from the club in the evening and go to her
    bed, perhaps a little excited, she becomes nervous and she thinks
    it improper to wake her. If I kiss her she defends herself, and
    tells me that I smell horribly of cigars and wine. And if perhaps
    I attempt more, she jumps out of bed, bristles up as though I
    were assaulting her, and threatens to throw herself out of the
    window if I touch her. So, for the sake of peace, I leave her
    alone and come to you." There can be no doubt whatever that this
    is the experience of many married men who would be well content
    to find the sweetheart as well as the friend in their wives. But
    the wives, from a variety of causes, have proved incapable of
    becoming the sexual mates of their husbands. And the husbands,
    without being carried away by any impulse of strong passion or
    any desire for infidelity, seek abroad what they cannot find at

    This is not the only reason why married men visit prostitutes.
    Even men who are happily married to women in all chief respects
    fitted to them, are apt to find, after some years of married
    life, a mysterious craving for variety. They are not tired of
    their wives, they have not the least wish or intention to abandon
    them, they will not, if they can help it, give them the slightest
    pain. But from time to time they are led by an almost
    irresistible and involuntary impulse to seek a temporary intimacy
    with women to whom nothing would persuade them to join themselves
    permanently. Pepys, whose _Diary_, in addition to its other
    claims upon us, is a psychological document of unique importance,
    furnishes a very characteristic example of this kind of impulse.
    He had married a young and charming wife, to whom he is greatly
    attached, and he lives happily with her, save for a few
    occasional domestic quarrels soon healed by kisses; his love is
    witnessed by his jealousy, a jealousy which, as he admits, is
    quite unreasonable, for she is a faithful and devoted wife. Yet a
    few years after marriage, and in the midst of a life of strenuous
    official activity, Pepys cannot resist the temptation to seek the
    temporary favors of other women, seldom prostitutes, but nearly
    always women of low social class--shop women, workmen's wives,
    superior servant-girls. Often he is content to invite them to a
    quiet ale-house, and to take a few trivial liberties. Sometimes
    they absolutely refuse to allow more than this; when that happens
    he frequently thanks Almighty God (as he makes his entry in his
    _Diary_ at night) that he has been saved from temptation and from
    loss of time and money; in any case, he is apt to vow that it
    shall never occur again. It always does occur again. Pepys is
    quite sincere with himself; he makes no attempt at justification
    or excuse; he knows that he has yielded to a temptation; it is an
    impulse that comes over him at intervals, an impulse that he
    seems unable long to resist. Throughout it all he remains an
    estimable and diligent official, and in most respects a tolerably
    virtuous man, with a genuine dislike of loose people and loose
    talk. The attitude of Pepys is brought out with incomparable
    simplicity and sincerity because he is setting down these things
    for his own eyes only, but his case is substantially that of a
    vast number of other men, perhaps indeed of the typical _homme
    moyen sensuel_ (see Pepys, _Diary_, ed. Wheatley; e.g., vol. iv,

    There is a third class of married men, less considerable in
    number but not unimportant, who are impelled to visit
    prostitutes: the class of sexually perverted men. There are a
    great many reasons why such men may desire to be married, and in
    some cases they marry women with whom they find it possible to
    obtain the particular form of sexual gratification they crave.
    But in a large proportion of cases this is not possible. The
    conventionally bred woman often cannot bring herself to humor
    even some quite innocent fetishistic whim of her husband's, for
    it is too alien to her feelings and too incomprehensible to her
    ideas, even though she may be genuinely in love with him; in many
    cases the husband would not venture to ask, and scarcely even
    wish, that his wife should lend herself to play the fantastic or
    possibly degrading part his desires demand. In such a case he
    turns naturally to the prostitute, the only woman whose business
    it is to fulfil his peculiar needs. Marriage has brought no
    relief to these men, and they constitute a noteworthy proportion
    of a prostitute's clients in every great city. The most ordinary
    prostitute of any experience can supply cases from among her own
    visitors to illustrate a treatise of psychopathic sexuality. It
    may suffice here to quote a passage from the confessions of a
    young London (Strand) prostitute as written down from her lips by
    a friend to whom I am indebted for the document; I have merely
    turned a few colloquial terms into more technical forms. After
    describing how, when she was still a child of thirteen in the
    country, a rich old gentleman would frequently come and exhibit
    himself before her and other girls, and was eventually arrested
    and imprisoned, she spoke of the perversities she had met with
    since she had become a prostitute. She knew a young man, about
    twenty-five, generally dressed in a sporting style, who always
    came with a pair of live pigeons, which he brought in a basket.
    She and the girl with whom she lived had to undress and take the
    pigeons and wring their necks; he would stand in front of them,
    and as the necks were wrung orgasm occurred. Once a man met her
    in the street and asked her if he might come with her and lick
    her boots. She agreed, and he took her to a hotel, paid half a
    guinea for a room, and, when she sat down, got under the table
    and licked her boots, which were covered with mud; he did nothing
    more. Then there were some things, she said, that were too dirty
    to repeat; well, one man came home with her and her friend and
    made them urinate into his mouth. She also had stories of
    flagellation, generally of men who whipped the girls, more rarely
    of men who liked to be whipped by them. One man, who brought a
    new birch every time, liked to whip her friend until he drew
    blood. She knew another man who would do nothing but smack her
    nates violently. Now all these things, which come into the
    ordinary day's work of the prostitute, are rooted in deep and
    almost irresistible impulses (as will be clear to any reader of
    the discussion of Erotic Symbolism in the previous volume of
    these _Studies_). They must find some outlet. But it is only the
    prostitute who can be relied upon, through her interests and
    training, to overcome the natural repulsion to such actions, and
    gratify desires which, without gratification, might take on other
    and more dangerous forms.

Although Woods Hutchinson quotes with approval the declaration of a
friend, "Out of thousands I have never seen one with good table manners,"
there is still a real sense in which the prostitute represents, however
inadequately, the attraction of civilization. "There was no house in
which I could habitually see a lady's face and hear a lady's voice," wrote
the novelist Anthony Trollope in his _Autobiography_, concerning his early
life in London. "No allurement to decent respectability came in my way. It
seems to me that in such circumstances the temptations of loose life will
almost certainly prevail with a young man. The temptation at any rate
prevailed with me." In every great city, it has been said, there are
thousands of men who have no right to call any woman but a barmaid by her
Christian name.[210] All the brilliant fever of civilization pulses round
them in the streets but their lips never touch it. It is the prostitute
who incarnates this fascination of the city, far better than the virginal
woman, even if intimacy with her were within reach. The prostitute
represents it because she herself feels it, because she has even
sacrificed her woman's honor in the effort to identify herself with it.
She has unbridled feminine instincts, she is a mistress of the feminine
arts of adornment, she can speak to him concerning the mysteries of
womanhood and the luxuries of sex with an immediate freedom and knowledge
the innocent maiden cloistered in her home would be incapable of. She
appeals to him by no means only because she can gratify the lower desires
of sex, but also because she is, in her way, an artist, an expert in the
art of feminine exploitation, a leader of feminine fashions. For she is
this, and there are, as Simmel has stated in his _Philosophie der Mode_,
good psychological reasons why she always should be this. Her uncertain
social position makes all that is conventional and established hateful to
her, while her temperament makes perpetual novelty delightful. In new
fashions she finds "an æsthetic form of that instinct of destruction which
seems peculiar to all pariah existences, in so far as they are not
completely enslaved in spirit."

    "However surprising it may seem to some," a modern writer
    remarks, "prostitutes must be put on the same level as artists.
    Both use their gifts and talents for the joy and pleasure of
    others, and, as a rule, for payment. What is the essential
    difference between a singer who gives pleasure to hearers by her
    throat and a prostitute who gives pleasure to those who seek her
    by another part of her body? All art works on the senses." He
    refers to the significant fact that actors, and especially
    actresses, were formerly regarded much as prostitutes are now (R.
    Hellmann, _Ueber Geschlechtsfreiheit_, pp. 245-252).

    Bernaldo de Quirós and Llanas Aguilaniedo (_La Mala Vida en
    Madrid_, p. 242) trace the same influence still lower in the
    social scale. They are describing the more squalid kind of _café
    chantant_, in which, in Spain and elsewhere, the most vicious and
    degenerate feminine creatures become waitresses (and occasionally
    singers and dancers), playing the part of amiable and
    distinguished _hetairæ_ to the public of carmen and shop-boys who
    frequent these resorts. "Dressed with what seems to the youth
    irreproachable taste, with hair elaborately prepared, and clean
    face adorned with flowers or trinkets, affable and at times
    haughty, superior in charm and in finery to the other women he is
    able to know, the waitresses become the most elevated example of
    the _femme galante_ whom he is able to contemplate and talk to,
    the courtesan of his sphere."

But while to the simple, ignorant, and hungry youth the prostitute appeals
as the embodiment of many of the refinements and perversities of
civilization, on many more complex and civilized men she exerts an
attraction of an almost reverse kind. She appeals by her fresh and natural
coarseness, her frank familiarity with the crudest facts of life; and so
lifts them for a moment out of the withering atmosphere of artificial
thought and unreal sentiment in which so many civilized persons are
compelled to spend the greater part of their lives. They feel in the words
which the royal friend of a woman of this temperament is said to have used
in explaining her incomprehensible influence over him: "She is so
splendidly vulgar!"

    In illustration of this aspect of the appeal of prostitution, I
    may quote a passage in which the novelist, Hermant, in his
    _Confession d'un Enfant d'Hier_ (Lettre VII), has set down the
    reasons which may lead the super-refined child of a cultured age,
    yet by no means radically or completely vicious, to find
    satisfaction in commerce with prostitutes: "As long as my heart
    was not touched the object of my satisfaction was completely
    indifferent to me. I was, moreover, a great lover of absolute
    liberty, which is only possible in the circle of these anonymous
    creatures and in their reserved dwelling. There everything became
    permissible. With other women, however low we may seek them,
    certain convenances must be observed, a kind of protocol. To
    these one can say everything: one is protected by incognito and
    assured that nothing will be divulged. I profited by this
    freedom, which suited my age, but with a perverse fancy which was
    not characteristic of my years. I scarcely know where I found
    what I said to them, for it was the opposite of my tastes, which
    were simple, and, if I may venture to say so, classic. It is true
    that, in matters of love, unrestrained naturalism always tends to
    perversion, a fact that can only seem paradoxical at first sight.
    Primitive peoples have many traits in common with degenerates. It
    was, however, only in words that I was unbridled; and that was
    the only occasion on which I can recollect seriously lying. But
    that necessity, which I then experienced, of expelling a lower
    depth of ignoble instincts, seems to me characteristic and
    humiliating. I may add that even in the midst of these
    dissipations I retained a certain reserve. The contacts to which
    I exposed myself failed to soil me; nothing was left when I had
    crossed the threshold. I have always retained, from that forcible
    and indifferent commerce, the habit of attributing no consequence
    to the action of the flesh. The amorous function, which religion
    and morality have surrounded with mystery or seasoned with sin,
    seems to me a function like any other, a little vile, but
    agreeable, and one to which the usual epilogue is too long....
    This kind of companionship only lasted for a short time." This
    analysis of the attitude of a certain common type of civilized
    modern man seems to be just, but it may perhaps occur to some
    readers that a commerce which led to "the action of the flesh"
    being regarded as of no consequence can scarcely be said to have
    left no taint.

    In a somewhat similar manner, Henri de Régnier, in his novel,
    _Les Rencontres de Monsieur Bréot_ (p. 50), represents Bercaillé
    as deliberately preferring to take his pleasures with
    servant-girls rather than with ladies, for pleasure was, to his
    mind, a kind of service, which could well be accommodated with
    the services they are accustomed to give; and then they are
    robust and agreeable, they possess the _naïveté_ which is always
    charming in the common people, and they are not apt to be
    repelled by those little accidents which might offend the
    fastidious sensibilities of delicately bred ladies.

    Bloch, who has especially emphasized this side of the appeal of
    prostitution (_Das Sexualleben unserer Zeit_, pp. 359-362),
    refers to the delicate and sensitive young Danish writer, J.P.
    Jakobsen, who seems to have acutely felt the contrast between the
    higher and more habitual impulses, and the occasional outburst of
    what he felt to be lower instincts; in his _Niels Lyhne_ he
    describes the kind of double life in which a man is true for a
    fortnight to the god he worships, and is then overcome by other
    powers which madly bear him in their grip towards what he feels
    to be humiliating, perverse, and filthy. "At such moments," Bloch
    remarks, "the man is another being. The 'two souls' in the breast
    become a reality. Is that the famous scholar, the lofty idealist,
    the fine-souled æsthetician, the artist who has given us so many
    splendid and pure works in poetry and painting? We no longer
    recognize him, for at such moments another being has come to the
    surface, another nature is moving within him, and with the power
    of an elementary force is impelling him towards things at which
    his 'upper consciousness,' the civilized man within him, would
    shudder." Bloch believes that we are here concerned with a kind
    of normal masculine masochism, which prostitution serves to

_IV. The Present Social Attitude Towards Prostitution._

We have now surveyed the complex fact of prostitution in some of its most
various and typical aspects, seeking to realise, intelligently and
sympathetically, the fundamental part it plays as an elementary
constituent of our marriage system. Finally we have to consider the
grounds on which prostitution now appears to a large and growing number of
persons not only an unsatisfactory method of sexual gratification but a
radically bad method.

The movement of antagonism towards prostitution manifests itself most
conspicuously, as might beforehand have been anticipated, by a feeling of
repugnance towards the most ancient and typical, once the most credited
and best established prostitutional manifestation, the brothel. The growth
of this repugnance is not confined to one or two countries but is
international, and may thus be regarded as corresponding to a real
tendency in our civilization. It is equally pronounced in prostitutes
themselves and in the people who are their clients. The distaste on the
one side increases the distaste on the other. Since only the most helpless
or the most stupid prostitutes are nowadays willing to accept the
servitude of the brothel, the brothel-keeper is forced to resort to
extraordinary methods for entrapping victims, and even to take part in
that cosmopolitan trade in "white slaves" which exists solely to feed
brothels.[211] This state of things has a natural reaction in prejudicing
the clients of prostitution against an institution which is going out of
fashion and out of credit. An even more fundamental antipathy is
engendered by the fact that the brothel fails to respond to the high
degree of personal freedom and variety which civilization produces, and
always demands even when it fails to produce. On one side the prostitute
is disinclined to enter into a slavery which usually fails even to bring
her any reward; on the other side her client feels it as part of the
fascination of prostitution under civilized conditions that he shall enjoy
a freedom and choice the brothel cannot provide.[212] Thus it comes about
that brothels which once contained nearly all the women who made it a
business to minister to the sexual needs of men, now contain only a
decreasing minority, and that the transformation of cloistered
prostitution into free prostitution is approved by many social reformers
as a gain to the cause of morality.[213]

The decay of brothels, whether as cause or as effect, has been associated
with a vast increase of prostitution outside brothels. But the repugnance
to brothels in many essential respects also applies to prostitution
generally, and, as we shall see, it is exerting a profoundly modifying
influence on that prostitution.

The changing feeling in regard to prostitution seems to express itself
mainly in two ways. On the one hand there are those who, without desiring
to abolish prostitution, resent the abnegation which accompanies it, and
are disgusted by its sordid aspects. They may have no moral scruples
against prostitution, and they know no reason why a woman should not
freely do as she will with her own person. But they believe that, if
prostitution is necessary, the relationships of men with prostitutes
should be humane and agreeable to each party, and not degrading to either.
It must be remembered that under the conditions of civilized urban life,
the discipline of work is often too severe, and the excitements of urban
existence too constant, to render an abandonment to orgy a desirable
recreation. The gross form of orgy appeals, not to the town-dweller but to
the peasant, and to the sailor or soldier who reaches the town after long
periods of dreary routine and emotional abstinence. It is a mistake, even,
to suppose that the attraction of prostitution is inevitably associated
with the fulfilment of the sexual act. So far is this from being the case
that the most attractive prostitute may be a woman who, possessing few
sexual needs of her own, desires to please by the charm of her
personality; these are among those who most often find good husbands.
There are many men who are even well content merely to have a few hours'
free intimacy with an agreeable woman, without any further favor, although
that may be open to them. For a very large number of men under urban
conditions of existence the prostitute is ceasing to be the degraded
instrument of a moment's lustful desire; they seek an agreeable human
person with whom they may find relaxation from the daily stress or routine
of life. When an act of prostitution is thus put on a humane basis,
although it by no means thereby becomes conducive to the best development
of either party, it at least ceases to be hopelessly degrading. Otherwise
it would not have been possible for religious prostitution to flourish for
so long in ancient days among honorable women of good birth on the shores
of the Mediterranean, even in regions like Lydia, where the position of
women was peculiarly high.[214]

It is true that the monetary side of prostitution would still exist. But
it is possible to exaggerate its importance. It must be pointed out that,
though it is usual to speak of the prostitute as a woman who "sells
herself," this is rather a crude and inexact way of expressing, in its
typical form, the relationship of a prostitute to her client. A prostitute
is not a commodity with a market-price, like a loaf or a leg of mutton.
She is much more on a level with people belonging to the professional
classes, who accept fees in return for services rendered; the amount of
the fee varies, on the one hand in accordance with professional standing,
on the other hand in accordance with the client's means, and under special
circumstances may be graciously dispensed with altogether. Prostitution
places on a venal basis intimate relationships which ought to spring up
from natural love, and in so doing degrades them. But strictly speaking
there is in such a case no "sale." To speak of a prostitute "selling
herself" is scarcely even a pardonable rhetorical exaggeration; it is both
inexact and unjust.[215]

    This tendency in an advanced civilization towards the
    humanization of prostitution is the reverse process, we may note,
    to that which takes place at an earlier stage of civilization
    when the ancient conception of the religious dignity of
    prostitution begins to fall into disrepute. When men cease to
    reverence women who are prostitutes in the service of a goddess
    they set up in their place prostitutes who are merely abject
    slaves, flattering themselves that they are thereby working in
    the cause of "progress" and "morality." On the shores of the
    Mediterranean this process took place more than two thousand
    years ago, and is associated with the name of Solon. To-day we
    may see the same process going on in India. In some parts of
    India (as at Jejuri, near Poonah) first born girls are dedicated
    to Khandoba or other gods; they are married to the god and termed
    _muralis_. They serve in the temple, sweep it, and wash the holy
    vessels, also they dance, sing and prostitute themselves. They
    are forbidden to marry, and they live in the homes of their
    parents, brothers, or sisters; being consecrated to religious
    service, they are untouched by degradation. Nowadays, however,
    Indian "reformers," in the name of "civilization and science,"
    seek to persuade the _muralis_ that they are "plunged in a career
    of degradation." No doubt in time the would-be moralists will
    drive the _muralis_ out of their temples and their homes, deprive
    them of all self-respect, and convert them into wretched
    outcasts, all in the cause of "science and civilization" (see,
    e.g., an article by Mrs. Kashibai Deodhar, _The New Reformer_,
    October, 1907). So it is that early reformers create for the
    reformers of a later day the task of humanizing prostitution

    There can be no doubt that this more humane conception of
    prostitution is to-day beginning to be realized in the actual
    civilized life of Europe. Thus in writing of prostitution in
    Paris, Dr. Robert Michels ("Erotische Streifzüge,"
    _Mutterschutz_, 1906, Heft 9, p. 368) remarks: "While in Germany
    the prostitute is generally considered as an 'outcast' creature,
    and treated accordingly, an instrument of masculine lust to be
    used and thrown away, and whom one would under no circumstances
    recognize in public, in France the prostitute plays in many
    respects the part which once give significance and fame to the
    _hetairæ_ of Athens." And after describing the consideration and
    respect which the Parisian prostitute is often able to require of
    her friends, and the non-sexual relation of comradeship which she
    can enter into with other men, the writer continues: "A girl who
    certainly yields herself for money, but by no means for the first
    comer's money, and who, in addition to her 'business friends,'
    feels the need of, so to say, non-sexual companions with whom she
    can associate in a free comrade-like way, and by whom she is
    treated and valued as a free human being, is not wholly lost for
    the moral worth of humanity." All prostitution is bad, Michels
    concludes, but we should have reason to congratulate ourselves if
    love-relationships of this Parisian species represented the
    lowest known form of extra-conjugal sexuality. (As bearing on the
    relative consideration accorded to prostitutes I may mention that
    a Paris prostitute remarked to a friend of mine that Englishmen
    would ask her questions which no Frenchman would venture to ask.)

    It is not, however, only in Paris, although here more markedly
    and prominently, that this humanizing change in prostitution is
    beginning to make itself felt. It is manifested, for instance, in
    the greater openness of a man's sexual life. "While he formerly
    slinked into a brothel in a remote street," Dr. Willy Hellpach
    remarks (_Nervosität und Kultur_, p. 169), "he now walks abroad
    with his 'liaison,' visiting the theatres and cafés, without
    indeed any anxiety to meet his acquaintances, but with no
    embarrassment on that point. The thing is becoming more
    commonplace, more--natural." It is also, Hellpach proceeds to
    point out, thus becoming more moral also, and much unwholesome
    prudery and pruriency is being done away with.

    In England, where change is slow, this tendency to the
    humanization of prostitution may be less pronounced. But it
    certainly exists. In the middle of the last century Lecky wrote
    (_History of European Morals_, vol. ii, p. 285) that habitual
    prostitution "is in no other European country so hopelessly
    vicious or so irrevocable." That statement, which was also made
    by Parent-Duchâtelet and other foreign observers, is fully
    confirmed by the evidence on record. But it is a statement which
    would hardly be made to-day, except perhaps, in reference to
    special confined areas of our cities. It is the same in America,
    and we may doubtless find this tendency reflected in the report
    on _The Social Evil_ (1902), drawn up by a committee in New York,
    who gave it (p. 176) as one of their chief recommendations that
    prostitution should no longer be regarded as a crime, in which
    light, one gathers, it had formerly been regarded in New York.
    That may seem but a small step in the path of humanization, but
    it is in the right direction.

    It is by no means only in lands of European civilization that we
    may trace with developing culture the refinement and humanization
    of the slighter bonds of relationship with women. In Japan
    exactly the same demands led, several centuries ago, to the
    appearance of the geisha. In the course of an interesting and
    precise study of the geisha Mr. R.T. Farrer remarks (_Nineteenth
    Century_, April, 1904): "The geisha is in no sense necessarily a
    courtesan. She is a woman educated to attract; perfected from her
    childhood in all the intricacies of Japanese literature;
    practiced in wit and repartee; inured to the rapid give-and-take
    of conversation on every topic, human and divine. From her
    earliest youth she is broken into an inviolable charm of manner
    incomprehensible to the finest European, yet she is almost
    invariably a blossom of the lower classes, with dumpy claws, and
    squat, ugly nails. Her education, physical and moral, is far
    harder than that of the _ballerina_, and her success is achieved
    only after years of struggle and a bitter agony of torture....
    And the geisha's social position may be compared with that of the
    European actress. The Geisha-house offers prizes as desirable as
    any of the Western stage. A great geisha with twenty nobles
    sitting round her, contending for her laughter, and kept in
    constant check by the flashing bodkin of her wit, holds a
    position no less high and famous than that of Sarah Bernhardt in
    her prime. She is equally sought, equally flattered, quite as
    madly adored, that quiet little elderly plain girl in dull blue.
    But she is prized thus primarily for her tongue, whose power only
    ripens fully as her physical charms decline. She demands vast
    sums for her owners, and even so often appears and dances only at
    her own pleasure. Few, if any, Westerners ever see a really
    famous geisha. She is too great to come before a European, except
    for an august or imperial command. Finally she may, and
    frequently does, marry into exalted places. In all this there is
    not the slightest necessity for any illicit relation."

    In some respects the position of the ancient Greek _hetaira_ was
    more analogous to that of the Japanese _geisha_ than to that of
    the prostitute in the strict sense. For the Greeks, indeed, the
    _hetaira_, was not strictly a _porne_ or prostitute at all. The
    name meant friend or companion, and the woman to whom the name
    was applied held an honorable position, which could not be
    accorded to the mere prostitute. Athenæus (Bk. xiii, Chs.
    XXVIII-XXX) brings together passages showing that the _hetaira_
    could be regarded as an independent citizen, pure, simple, and
    virtuous, altogether distinct from the common crew of
    prostitutes, though these might ape her name. The _hetairæ_ "were
    almost the only Greek women," says Donaldson (_Woman_, p. 59),
    "who exhibited what was best and noblest in women's nature." This
    fact renders it more intelligible why a woman of such
    intellectual distinction as Aspasia should have been a _hetaira_.
    There seems little doubt as to her intellectual distinction.
    "Æschines, in his dialogue entitled 'Aspasia,'" writes Gomperz,
    the historian of Greek philosophy (_Greek Thinkers_, vol. iii,
    pp. 124 and 343), "puts in the mouth of that distinguished woman
    an incisive criticism of the mode of life traditional for her
    sex. It would be exceedingly strange," Gomperz adds, in arguing
    that an inference may thus be drawn concerning the historical
    Aspasia, "if three authors--Plato, Xenophon and Æschines--had
    agreed in fictitiously enduing the companion of Pericles with
    what we might very reasonably have expected her to possess--a
    highly cultivated mind and intellectual influence." It is even
    possible that the movement for woman's right which, as we dimly
    divine through the pages of Aristophanes, took place in Athens in
    the fourth century B.C., was led by _hetairæ_. According to Ivo
    Bruns (_Frauenemancipation in Athen_, 1900, p. 19) "the most
    certain information which we possess concerning Aspasia bears a
    strong resemblance to the picture which Euripides and
    Aristophanes present to us of the leaders of the woman movement."
    It was the existence of this movement which made Plato's ideas on
    the community of women appear far less absurd than they do to us.
    It may perhaps be thought by some that this movement represented
    on a higher plane that love of distruction, or, as we should
    better say, that spirit of revolt and aspiration, which Simmel
    finds to mark the intellectual and artistic activity of those who
    are unclassed or dubiously classed in the social hierarchy. Ninon
    de Lenclos, as we have seen, was not strictly a courtesan, but
    she was a pioneer in the assertion of woman's rights. Aphra Behn
    who, a little later in England, occupied a similarly dubious
    social position, was likewise a pioneer in generous humanitarian
    aspirations, which have since been adopted in the world at

    These refinements of prostitution may be said to be chiefly the
    outcome of the late and more developed stages in civilization. As
    Schurtz has put it (_Altersklassen und Männerbünde_, p. 191):
    "The cheerful, skilful and artistically accomplished _hetaira_
    frequently stands as an ideal figure in opposition to the
    intellectually uncultivated wife banished to the interior of the
    house. The courtesan of the Italian Renaissance, Japanese
    geishas, Chinese flower-girls, and Indian bayaderas, all show
    some not unnoble features, the breath of a free artistic
    existence. They have achieved--with, it is true, the sacrifice of
    their highest worth--an independence from the oppressive rule of
    man and of household duties, and a part of the feminine endowment
    which is so often crippled comes in them to brilliant
    development. Prostitution in its best form may thus offer a path
    by which these feminine characteristics may exert a certain
    influence on the development of civilization. We may also believe
    that the artistic activity of women is in some measure able to
    offer a counterpoise to the otherwise less pleasant results of
    sexual abandonment, preventing the coarsening and destruction of
    the emotional life; in his _Magda_ Sudermann has described a type
    of woman who, from the standpoint of strict morality, is open to
    condemnation, but in her art finds a foothold, the strength of
    which even ill-will must unwillingly recognize." In his _Sex and
    Character_, Weininger has developed in a more extreme and
    extravagant manner the conception of the prostitute as a
    fundamental and essential part of life, a permanent feminine

There are others, apparently in increasing numbers, who approach the
problem of prostitution not from an æsthetic standpoint but from a moral
standpoint. This moral attitude is not, however, that conventionalized
morality of Cato and St. Augustine and Lecky, set forth in previous pages,
according to which the prostitute in the street must be accepted as the
guardian of the wife in the home. These moralists reject indeed the claim
of that belief to be considered moral at all. They hold that it is not
morally possible that the honor of some women shall be purchaseable at the
price of the dishonor of other women, because at such a price virtue loses
all moral worth. When they read that, as Goncourt stated, "the most
luxurious articles of women's _trousseaux_, the bridal chemises of girls
with dowries of six hundred thousand francs, are made in the prison of
Clairvaux,"[216] they see the symbol of the intimate dependence of our
luxurious virtue on our squalid vice. And while they accept the
historical and sociological evidence which shows that prostitution is an
inevitable part of the marriage system which still survives among us, they
ask whether it is not possible so to modify our marriage system that it
shall not be necessary to divide feminine humanity into "disreputable"
women, who make sacrifices which it is dishonorable to make, and
"respectable" women, who take sacrifices which it cannot be less
dishonorable to accept.

    Prostitutes, a distinguished man of science has said (Duclaux,
    _L'Hygiène Sociale_, p. 243), "have become things which the
    public uses when it wants them, and throws on the dungheap when
    it has made them vile. In its pharisaism it even has the
    insolence to treat their trade as shameful, as though it were not
    just as shameful to buy as to sell in this market." Bloch
    (_Sexualleben unserer Zeit_, Ch. XV) insists that prostitution
    must be ennobled, and that only so can it be even diminished.
    Isidore Dyer, of New Orleans, also argues that we cannot check
    prostitution unless we create "in the minds of men and women a
    spirit of tolerance instead of intolerance of fallen women." This
    point may be illustrated by a remark by the prostitute author of
    the _Tagebuch einer Verlorenen_. "If the profession of yielding
    the body ceased to be a shameful one," she wrote, "the army of
    'unfortunates' would diminish by four-fifths--I will even say
    nine-tenths. Myself, for example! How gladly would I take a
    situation as companion or governess!" "One of two things," wrote
    the eminent sociologist Tarde ("La Morale Sexuelle," _Archives
    d'Anthropologie Criminelle_, January, 1907), "either prostitution
    will disappear through continuing to be dishonorable and will be
    replaced by some other institution which will better remedy the
    defects of monogamous marriage, or it will survive by becoming
    respectable, that is to say, by making itself respected, whether
    liked or disliked." Tarde thought this might perhaps come about
    by a better organization of prostitutes, a more careful selection
    among those who desired admission to their ranks and the
    cultivation of professional virtues which would raise their moral
    level. "If courtesans fulfil a need," Balzac had already said in
    his _Physiologie du Mariage_, "they must become an institution."

This moral attitude is supported and enforced by the inevitable democratic
tendency of civilization which, although it by no means destroys the idea
of class, undermines that idea as the mark of fundamental human
distinctions and renders it superficial. Prostitution no longer makes a
woman a slave; it ought not to make her even a pariah: "My body is my
own," said the young German prostitute of to-day, "and what I do with it
is nobody else's concern." When the prostitute was literally a slave moral
duty towards her was by no means necessarily identical with moral duty
towards the free woman. But when, even in the same family, the prostitute
may be separated by a great and impassable social gulf from her married
sister, it becomes possible to see, and in the opinion of many
imperatively necessary to see, that a readjustment of moral values is
required. For thousands of years prostitution has been defended on the
ground that the prostitute is necessary to ensure the "purity of women."
In a democratic age it begins to be realized that prostitutes also are

The developing sense of a fundamental human equality underlying the
surface divisions of class tends to make the usual attitude towards the
prostitute, the attitude of her clients even more than that of society
generally, seem painfully cruel. The callous and coarsely frivolous tone
of so many young men about prostitutes, it has been said, is "simply
cruelty of a peculiarly brutal kind," not to be discerned in any other
relation of life.[217] And if this attitude is cruel even in speech it is
still more cruel in action, whatever attempts may be made to disguise its

    Canon Lyttelton's remarks may be taken to refer chiefly to young
    men of the upper middle class. Concerning what is perhaps the
    usual attitude of lower middle class people towards prostitution,
    I may quote from a remarkable communication which has reached me
    from Australia: "What are the views of a young man brought up in
    a middle-class Christian English family on prostitutes? Take my
    father, for instance. He first mentioned prostitutes to me, if I
    remember rightly, when speaking of his life before marriage. And
    he spoke of them as he would speak of a horse he had hired, paid
    for, and dismissed from his mind when it had rendered him
    service. Although my mother was so kind and good she spoke of
    abandoned women with disgust and scorn as of some unclean animal.
    As it flatters vanity and pride to be able with good countenance
    and universal consent to look down on something, I soon grasped
    the situation and adopted an attitude which is, in the main, that
    of most middle-class Christian Englishmen towards prostitutes.
    But as puberty develops this attitude has to be accommodated with
    the wish to make use of this scum, these moral lepers. The
    ordinary young man, who likes a spice of immorality and has it
    when in town, and thinks it is not likely to come to his mother's
    or sisters' ears, does not get over his arrogance and disgust or
    abate them in the least. He takes them with him, more or less
    disguised, to the brothel, and they color his thoughts and
    actions all the time he is sleeping with prostitutes, or kissing
    them, or passing his hands over them, as he would over a mare,
    getting as much as he can for his money. To tell the truth, on
    the whole, that was my attitude too. But if anyone had asked me
    for the smallest reason for this attitude, for this feeling of
    superiority, pride, _hauteur_, and prejudice, I should, like any
    other 'respectable' young man, have been entirely at a loss, and
    could only have gaped foolishly."

From the modern moral standpoint which now concerns us, not only is the
cruelty involved in the dishonor of the prostitute absurd, but not less
absurd, and often not less cruel, seems the honor bestowed on the
respectable women on the other side of the social gulf. It is well
recognized that men sometimes go to prostitutes to gratify the excitement
aroused by fondling their betrothed.[218] As the emotional and physical
results of ungratified excitement are not infrequently more serious in
women than in men, the betrothed women in these cases are equally
justified in seeking relief from other men, and the vicious circle of
absurdity might thus be completed.

From the point of view of the modern moralist there is another
consideration which was altogether overlooked in the conventional and
traditional morality we have inherited, and was indeed practically
non-existent in the ancient days when that morality was still a living
reality. Women are no longer divided only into the two groups of wives who
are to be honored, and prostitutes who are the dishonored guardians of
that honor; there is a large third class of women who are neither wives
nor prostitutes. For this group of the unmarried virtuous the traditional
morality had no place at all; it simply ignored them. But the new
moralist, who is learning to recognize both the claims of the individual
and the claims of society, begins to ask whether on the one hand these
women are not entitled to the satisfaction of their affectional and
emotional impulses if they so desire, and on the other hand whether, since
a high civilization involves a diminished birthrate, the community is not
entitled to encourage every healthy and able-bodied woman to contribute to
maintain the birthrate when she so desires.

All the considerations briefly indicated in the preceding pages--the
fundamental sense of human equality generated by our civilization, the
repugnance to cruelty which accompanies the refinement of urban life, the
ugly contrast of extremes which shock our developing democratic
tendencies, the growing sense of the rights of the individual to authority
over his own person, the no less strongly emphasized right of the
community to the best that the individual can yield--all these
considerations are every day more strongly influencing the modern moralist
to assume towards the prostitute an attitude altogether different from
that of the morality which we derived from Cato and Augustine. He sees the
question in a larger and more dynamic manner. Instead of declaring that it
is well worth while to tolerate and at the same time to condemn the
prostitute, in order to preserve the sanctity of the wife in her home, he
is not only more inclined to regard each as the proper guardian of her own
moral freedom, but he is less certain about the time-honored position of
the prostitute, and moreover, by no means sure that the wife in the home
may not be fully as much in need of rescuing as the prostitute in the
street; he is prepared to consider whether reform in this matter is not
most likely to take place in the shape of a fairer apportionment of sexual
privileges and sexual duties to women generally, with an inevitably
resultant elevation in the sexual lives of men also.

    The revolt of many serious reformers against the injustice and
    degradation now involved by our system of prostitution is so
    profound that some have declared themselves ready to accept any
    revolution of ideas which would bring about a more wholesome
    transmutation of moral values. "Better indeed were a saturnalia
    of _free_ men and women," exclaims Edward Carpenter (_Love's
    Coming of Age_, p. 62), "than the spectacle which, as it is, our
    great cities present at night."

    Even those who would be quite content with as conservative a
    treatment as possible of social institutions still cannot fail to
    realize that prostitution is unsatisfactory, unless we are
    content to make very humble claims of the sexual act. "The act of
    prostitution," Godfrey declares (_The Science of Sex_, p. 202),
    "may be physiologically complete, but it is complete in no other
    sense. All the moral and intellectual factors which combine with
    physical desire to form the perfect sexual attraction are absent.
    All the higher elements of love--admiration, respect, honor, and
    self-sacrificing devotion--are as foreign to prostitution as to
    the egoistic act of masturbation. The principal drawbacks to the
    morality of the act lie in its associations more than in the act
    itself. Any affectional quality which a more or less promiscuous
    connection might possess is at once destroyed by the intrusion of
    the monetary element. In the resulting degradation the woman has
    the largest share, since it makes her a pariah and involves her
    in all the hardening and depraving influences of social
    ostracism. But her degradation only serves to render her
    influence on her partners more demoralizing. Prostitution," he
    concludes, "has a strong tendency towards emphasizing the
    naturally selfish attitude of men towards women, and encouraging
    them in the delusion, born of unregulated passions, that the
    sexual act itself is the aim and end of the sex life.
    Prostitution can therefore make no claim to afford even a
    temporary solution to the sex problem. It fulfils only that
    mission which has made it a 'necessary evil'--the mission of
    palliative to the physical rigors of celibacy and monogamy. It
    does so at the cost of a considerable amount of physical and
    moral deterioration, much of which is undoubtedly due to the
    action of society in completing the degradation of the prostitute
    by persistent ostracism. Prostitution was not so great an evil
    when it was not thought so great, yet even at its best it was a
    real evil, a melancholy and sordid travesty of sincere and
    natural passional relations. It is an evil which we are bound to
    have with us so long as celibacy is a custom and monogamy a law."
    It is the wife as well as the prostitute who is degraded by a
    system which makes venal love possible. "The time has gone past,"
    the same writer remarks elsewhere (p. 195) "when a mere ceremony
    can really sanctify what is base and transform lust and greed
    into the sincerity of sexual affection. If, to enter into sexual
    connections with a man for a solely material end is a disgrace to
    humanity, it is a disgrace under the marriage bond just as much
    as apart from the hypocritical blessing of the church or the law.
    If the public prostitute is a being who deserves to be treated as
    a pariah, it is hopelessly irrational to withhold every sort of
    moral opprobrium from the woman who leads a similar life under a
    different set of external circumstances. Either the prostitute
    wife must come under the moral ban, or there must be an end to
    the complete ostracism under which the prostitute labors."

    The thinker who more clearly and fundamentally than others, and
    first of all, realized the dynamical relationships of
    prostitution, as dependent upon a change in the other social
    relationships of life, was James Hinton. More than thirty years
    ago, in fragmentary writings that still remain unpublished, since
    he never worked them into an orderly form, Hinton gave vigorous
    and often passionate expression to this fundamental idea. It may
    be worth while to quote a few brief passages from Hinton's MSS.:
    "I feel that the laws of force should hold also amid the waves of
    human passion, that the relations of mechanics are true, and will
    rule also in human life.... There is a tension, a crushing of the
    soul, by our modern life, and it is ready for a sudden spring to
    a different order in which the forces shall rearrange themselves.
    It is a dynamical question presented in moral terms.... Keeping a
    portion of the woman population without prospect of marriage
    means having prostitutes, that is women as instruments of man's
    mere sensuality, and this means the killing, in many of them, of
    all pure love or capacity of it. This is the fact we have to
    face.... To-day I saw a young woman whose life was being consumed
    by her want of love, a case of threatened utter misery: now see
    the price at which we purchase her ill-health; for her ill-health
    we pay the crushing of another girl into hell. We give that for
    it; her wretchedness of soul and body are bought by prostitution;
    we have prostitutes made for that.... We devote some women
    recklessly to perdition to make a hothouse Heaven for the
    rest.... One wears herself out in vainly trying to endure
    pleasures she is not strong enough to enjoy, while other women
    are perishing for lack of these very pleasures. If marriage is
    this, is it not embodied lust? The happy Christian homes are the
    true dark places of the earth.... Prostitution for man, restraint
    for woman--they are two sides of the same thing, and both are
    denials of love, like luxury and asceticism. The mountains of
    restraint must be used to fill up the abysses of luxury."

    Some of Hinton's views were set forth by a writer intimately
    acquainted with him in a pamphlet entitled _The Future of
    Marriage: An Eirenicon for a Question of To-day_, by a
    Respectable Woman (1885). "When once the conviction is forced
    home upon the 'good' women," the writer remarks, "that their
    place of honor and privilege rests upon the degradation of others
    as its basis, they will never rest till they have either
    abandoned it or sought for it some other pedestal. If our
    inflexible marriage system has for its essential condition the
    existence side by side with it of prostitution, then one of two
    things follows: either prostitution must be shown to be
    compatible with the well-being, moral and physical, of the women
    who practice it, or our marriage system must be condemned. If it
    was clearly put before anyone, he could not seriously assert that
    to be 'virtue' which could only be practiced at the expense of
    another's vice.... Whilst the laws of physics are becoming so
    universally recognized that no one dreams of attempting to
    annihilate a particle of matter, or of force, yet we do not
    instinctively apply the same conception to moral forces, but
    think and act as if we could simply do away with an evil, while
    leaving unchanged that which gives it its strength. This is the
    only view of the social problem which can give us hope. That
    prostitution should simply cease, leaving everything else as it
    is, would be disastrous if it were possible. But it is not
    possible. The weakness of all existing efforts to put down
    prostitution is that they are directed against it as an isolated
    thing, whereas it is only one of the symptoms proceeding from a
    common disease."

    Ellen Key, who during recent years has been the chief apostle of
    a gospel of sexual morality based on the needs of women as the
    mothers of the race, has, in a somewhat similar spirit, denounced
    alike prostitution and rigid marriage, declaring (in her _Essays
    on Love and Marriage_) that "the development of erotic personal
    consciousness is as much hindered by socially regulated
    'morality' as by socially regulated 'immorality,'" and that "the
    two lowest and socially sanctioned expressions of sexual dualism,
    rigid marriage and prostitution, will gradually become
    impossible, because with the conquest of the idea of erotic unity
    they will no longer correspond to human needs."

We may sum up the present situation as regards prostitution by saying that
on the one hand there is a tendency for its elevation, in association with
the growing humanity and refinement of civilization, characteristics which
must inevitably tend to mark more and more both those women who become
prostitutes and those men who seek them; on the other hand, but perhaps
through the same dynamic force, there is a tendency towards the slow
elimination of prostitution by the successful competition of higher and
purer methods of sexual relationship freed from pecuniary considerations.
This refinement and humanization, this competition by better forms of
sexual love, are indeed an essential part of progress as civilization
becomes more truly sound, wholesome, and sincere.

This moral change cannot, it seems probable, fail to be accompanied by the
realization that the facts of human life are more important than the
forms. For all changes from lower to higher social forms, from savagery to
civilization, are accompanied--in so far as they are vital changes--by a
slow and painful groping towards the truth that it is only in natural
relations that sanity and sanctity can be found, for, as Nietzsche said,
the "return" to Nature should rather be called the "ascent." Only so can
we achieve the final elimination from our hearts of that clinging
tradition that there is any impurity or dishonor in acts of love for which
the reasonable, and not merely the conventional, conditions have been
fulfilled. For it is vain to attempt to cleanse our laws, or even our
by-laws, until we have first cleansed our hearts.

It would be out of place here to push further the statement of the moral
question as it is to-day beginning to shape itself in the sphere of sex.
In a psychological discussion we are only concerned to set down the actual
attitude of the moralist, and of civilization. The practical outcome of
that attitude must be left to moralists and sociologists and the community
generally to work out.

Our inquiry has also, it may be hoped, incidentally tended to show that in
practically dealing with the question of prostitution it is pre-eminently
necessary to remember the warning which, as regards many other social
problems, has been embodied by Herbert Spencer in his famous illustration
of the bent iron plate. In trying to make the bent plate smooth, it is
useless, Spencer pointed out, to hammer directly on the buckled up part;
if we do so we merely find that we have made matters worse; our hammering,
to be effective, must be around, and not directly on, the offensive
elevation we wish to reduce; only so can the iron plate be hammered
smooth.[219] But this elementary law has not been understood by
moralists. The plain, practical, common-sense reformer, as he fancied
himself to be--from the time of Charlemagne onwards--has over and over
again brought his heavy fist directly down on to the evil of prostitution
and has always made matters worse. It is only by wisely working outside
and around the evil that we can hope to lessen it effectually. By aiming
to develop and raise the relationships of men to women, and of women to
women, by modifying our notions of sexual relationships, and by
introducing a saner and truer conception of womanhood and of the
responsibilities of women as well as of men, by attaining, socially as
well as economically, a higher level of human living--it is only by such
methods as these that we can reasonably expect to see any diminution and
alleviation of the evil of prostitution. So long as we are incapable of
such methods we must be content with the prostitution we deserve, learning
to treat it with the pity, and the respect, which so intimate a failure of
our civilization is entitled to.


[107] See, e.g., Cheetham's Hulsean Lectures, _The Mysteries, Pagan and
Christian_, pp. 123, 136.

[108] Hormayr's _Taschenbuch_, 1835, p. 255. Hagelstange, in a chapter on
mediæval festivals in his _Süddeutsches Bauernleben im Mittelalter_, shows
how, in these Christian orgies which were really of pagan origin, the
German people reacted with tremendous and boisterous energy against the
laborious and monotonous existence of everyday life.

[109] This was clearly realized by the more intelligent upholders of the
Feast of Fools. Austere persons wished to abolish this Feast, and in a
remarkable petition sent up to the Theological Faculty of Paris (and
quoted by Flogel, _Geschichte des Grotesk-Komischen_, fourth edition, p.
204) the case for the Feast is thus presented: "We do this according to
ancient custom, in order that folly, which is second nature to man and
seems to be inborn, may at least once a year have free outlet. Wine casks
would burst if we failed sometimes to remove the bung and let in air. Now
we are all ill-bound casks and barrels which would let out the wine of
wisdom if by constant devotion and fear of God we allowed it to ferment.
We must let in air so that it may not be spoilt. Thus on some days we give
ourselves up to sport, so that with the greater zeal we may afterwards
return to the worship of God." The Feast of Fools was not suppressed until
the middle of the sixteenth century, and relics of it persisted (as at
Aix) till near the end of the eighteenth century.

[110] A Méray, _La Vie au Temps des Libres Prêcheurs_, vol. ii, Ch. X. A
good and scholarly account of the Feast of Fools is given by E.K.
Chambers, _The Mediæval Stage_, Ch. XIII. It is true that the Church and
the early Fathers often anathematized the theatre. But Gregory of
Nazianzen wished to found a Christian theatre; the Mediæval Mysteries were
certainly under the protection of the clergy; and St. Thomas Aquinas, the
greatest of the schoolmen, only condemns the theatre with cautious

[111] Spencer and Gillen, _Northern Tribes of Central Australia_, Ch. XII.

[112] _Journal Anthropological Institute_, July-Dec., 1904, p. 329.

[113] Westermarck (_Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas_, vol. ii,
pp. 283-9) shows how widespread is the custom of setting apart a
periodical rest day.

[114] A.E. Crawley, _The Mystic Rose_, pp. 273 et seq., Crawley brings
into association with this function of great festivals the custom, found
in some parts of the world, of exchanging wives at these times. "It has
nothing whatever to do with the marriage system, except as breaking it for
a season, women of forbidden degree being lent, on the same grounds as
conventions and ordinary relations are broken at festivals of the
Saturnalia type, the object being to change life and start afresh, by
exchanging every thing one can, while the very act of exchange coincides
with the other desire, to weld the community together" (Ib., p. 479).

[115] See "The Analysis of the Sexual Impulse" in vol. iii of these

[116] G. Murray, _Ancient Greek Literature_, p. 211.

[117] The Greek drama probably arose out of a folk-festival of more or
less sexual character, and it is even possible that the mediæval drama had
a somewhat similar origin (see Donaldson, _The Greek Theatre_; Gilbert
Murray, loc. cit.; Karl Pearson, _The Chances of Death_, vol. ii, pp.
135-6, 280 et seq.).

[118] R. Canudo, "Les Chorèges Français," _Mercure de France_, May 1,
1907, p. 180.

[119] "This is, in fact," Cyples declares (_The Process of Human
Experience_, p. 743), "Art's great function--to rehearse within us greater
egoistic possibilities, to habituate us to larger actualizations of
personality in a rudimentary manner," and so to arouse, "aimlessly but
splendidly, the sheer as yet unfulfilled possibilities within us."

[120] Even when monotonous labor is intellectual, it is not thereby
protected against degrading orgiastic reactions. Prof. L. Gurlitt shows
(_Die Neue Generation_, January, 1909, pp. 31-6) how the strenuous,
unremitting intellectual work of Prussian seminaries leads among both
teachers and scholars to the worst forms of the orgy.

[121] Rabutaux discusses various definitions of prostitution, _De la
Prostitution en Europe_, pp. 119 et seq. For the origin of the names to
designate the prostitute, see Schrader, _Reallexicon_, art.

[122] _Digest_, lib. xxiii, tit. ii, p. 43. If she only gave herself to
one or two persons, though for money, it was not prostitution.

[123] Guyot, _La Prostitution_, p. 8. The element of venality is
essential, and religious writers (like Robert Wardlaw, D.D., of Edinburgh,
in his _Lectures on Female Prostitution_, 1842, p. 14) who define
prostitution as "the illicit intercourse of the sexes," and synonymous
with theological "fornication," fall into an absurd confusion.

[124] "Such marriages are sometimes stigmatized as 'legalized
prostitution,'" remarks Sidgwick (_Methods of Ethics_, Bk. iii, Ch. XI),
"but the phrase is felt to be extravagant and paradoxical."

[125] Bonger, _Criminalité et Conditions Economiques_, p. 378. Bonger
believes that the act of prostitution is "intrinsically equal to that of a
man or woman who contracts a marriage for economical reasons."

[126] E. Richard, _La Prostitution à Paris_, 1890, p. 44. It may be
questioned whether publicity or notoriety should form an essential part of
the definition; it seems, however, to be involved, or the prostitute
cannot obtain clients. Reuss states that she must, in addition, be
absolutely without means of subsistence; that is certainly not essential.
Nor is it necessary, as the _Digest_ insisted, that the act should be
performed "without pleasure;" that may be as it will, without affecting
the prostitutional nature of the act.

[127] Hawkesworth, _Account of the Voyages_, etc., 1775, vol. ii, p. 254.

[128] R.W. Codrington, _The Melanesians_, p. 235.

[129] F.S. Krauss, _Romanische Forschungen_, 1903, p. 290.

[130] H. Schurtz, _Altersklassen und Männerbünde_, 1902, p. 190. In this
work Schurtz brings together (pp. 189-201) some examples of the germs of
prostitution among primitive peoples. Many facts and references are given
by Westermarck (_History of Human Marriage_, pp. 66 et seq., and _Origin
and Development of the Moral Ideas_, vol. ii, pp. 441 _et seq._).

[131] Bachofen (more especially in his _Mutterrecht_ and _Sage von
Tanaquil_) argued that even religious prostitution sprang from the
resistance of primitive instincts to the individualization of love. Cf.
Robertson Smith, _Religion of Semites_, second edition, p. 59.

[132] Whatever the reason may be, there can be no doubt that there is a
widespread tendency for religion and prostitution to be associated; it is
possibly to some extent a special case of that general connection between
the religious and sexual impulses which has been discussed elsewhere
(Appendix C to vol. i of these _Studies_). Thus A.B. Ellis, in his book on
_The Ewe-speaking Peoples of West Africa_ (pp. 124, 141) states that here
women dedicated to a god become promiscuous prostitutes. W.G. Sumner
(_Folkways_, Ch. XVI) brings together many facts concerning the wide
distribution of religious prostitution.

[133] Herodotus, Bk. I, Ch. CXCIX; Baruch, Ch. VI, p. 43. Modern scholars
confirm the statements of Herodotus from the study of Babylonian
literature, though inclined to deny that religious prostitution occupied
so large a place as he gives it. A tablet of the Gilgamash epic, according
to Morris Jastrow, refers to prostitutes as attendants of the goddess
Ishtar in the city Uruk (or Erech), which was thus a centre, and perhaps
the chief centre, of the rites described by Herodotus (Morris Jastrow,
_The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria_, 1898, p. 475). Ishtar was the
goddess of fertility, the great mother goddess, and the prostitutes were
priestesses, attached to her worship, who took part in ceremonies intended
to symbolize fertility. These priestesses of Ishtar were known by the
general name Kadishtu, "the holy ones" (op. cit., pp. 485, 660).

[134] It is usual among modern writers to associate Aphrodite Pandemos,
rather than Ourania, with venal or promiscuous sexuality, but this is a
complete mistake, for the Aphrodite Pandemos was purely political and had
no sexual significance. The mistake was introduced, perhaps intentionally,
by Plato. It has been suggested that that arch-juggler, who disliked
democratic ideas, purposely sought to pervert and vulgarize the conception
of Aphrodite Pandemos (Farnell, _Cults of Greek States_, vol. ii, p. 660).

[135] Athenæus, Bk. xiii, cap. XXXII. It appears that the only other
Hellenic community where the temple cult involved unchastity was a city of
the Locri Epizephyrii (Farnell, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 636).

[136] I do not say an earlier "promiscuity," for the theory of a primitive
sexual promiscuity is now widely discredited, though there can be no
reasonable doubt that the early prevalence of mother-right was more
favorable to the sexual freedom of women than the later patriarchal
system. Thus in very early Egyptian days a woman could give her favors to
any man she chose by sending him her garment, even if she were married. In
time the growth of the rights of men led to this being regarded as
criminal, but the priestesses of Amen retained the privilege to the last,
as being under divine protection (Flinders Petrie, _Egyptian Tales_, pp.
10, 48).

[137] It should be added that Farnell ("The Position of Women in Ancient
Religion," _Archiv für Religionswissenschaft_, 1904, p. 88) seeks to
explain the religious prostitution of Babylonia as a special religious
modification of the custom of destroying virginity before marriage in
order to safeguard the husband from the mystic dangers of defloration.
E.S. Hartland, also ("Concerning the Rite at the Temple of Mylitta,"
_Anthropological Essays Presented to E.B. Tyler_, p. 189), suggests that
this was a puberty rite connected with ceremonial defloration. This theory
is not, however, generally accepted by Semitic scholars.

[138] The girls of this tribe, who are remarkably pretty, after spending
two or three years in thus amassing a little dowry, return home to marry,
and are said to make model wives and mothers. They are described by
Bertherand in Parent-Duchâtelet, _La Prostitution à Paris_, vol. ii, p.

[139] In Abyssinia (according to Fiaschi, _British Medical Journal_, March
13, 1897), where prostitution has always been held in high esteem, the
prostitutes, who are now subject to medical examination twice a week,
still attach no disgrace to their profession, and easily find husbands
afterwards. Potter (_Sohrab and Rustem_, pp. 168 et seq.) gives references
as regards peoples, widely dispersed in the Old World and the New, among
whom the young women have practiced prostitution to obtain a dowry.

[140] At Tralles, in Lydia, even in the second century A.D., as Sir W.M.
Ramsay notes (_Cities of Phrygia_, vol. i, pp. 94, 115), sacred
prostitution was still an honorable practice for women of good birth who
"felt themselves called upon to live the divine life under the influence
of divine inspiration."

[141] The gradual secularization of prostitution from its earlier
religious form has been traced by various writers (see, e.g., Dupouey, _La
Prostitution dans l'Antiquité_). The earliest complimentary reference to
the _Hetaira_ in literature is to be found, according to Benecke
(_Antimachus of Colophon_, p. 36), in Bacchylides.

[142] Cicero, _Oratio prô Coelio_, Cap. XX.

[143] Pierre Dufour, _Histoire de la Prostitution_, vol. ii, Chs. XIX-XX.
The real author of this well-known history of prostitution, which, though
not scholarly in its methods, brings together a great mass of interesting
information, is said to be Paul Lacroix.

[144] Rabutaux, in his _Histoire de la Prostitution en Europe_, describes
many attempts to suppress prostitution; cf. Dufour, _op. cit._, vol. iii.

[145] Dufour, op. cit., vol. vi, Ch. XLI. It was in the reign of the
homosexual Henry III that the tolerance of brothels was established.

[146] In the eighteenth century, especially, houses of prostitution in
Paris attained to an astonishing degree of elaboration and prosperity.
Owing to the constant watchful attention of the police a vast amount of
detailed information concerning these establishments was accumulated, and
during recent years much of it has been published. A summary of this
literature will be found in Dühren's _Neue Forshungen über den Marquis de
Sade und seine Zeit_, 1904, pp. 97 et seq.

[147] Rabutaux, op. cit., p. 54.

[148] Calza has written the history of Venetian prostitution; and some of
the documents he found have been reproduced by Mantegazza, _Gli Amori
degli Uomimi_, cap. XIV. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, a
comparatively late period, Coryat visited Venice, and in his _Crudities_
gives a full and interesting account of its courtesans, who then numbered,
he says, at least 20,000; the revenue they brought into the State
maintained a dozen galleys.

[149] J. Schrank, _Die Prostitution in Wien_, Bd. I, pp. 152-206.

[150] U. Robert, _Les Signes d'Infamie au Moyen Age_, Ch. IV.

[151] Rudeck (_Geschichte der öffentlichen Sittlichkeit in Deutschland_,
pp. 26-36) gives many details concerning the important part played by
prostitutes and brothels in mediæval German life.

[152] They are described by Rabutaux, op. cit., pp. 90 _et seq._

[153] _L'Année Sociologique_, seventh year, 1904, p. 440.

[154] Bloch, _Der Ursprung der Syphilis_. As regards the German
"Frauenhausen" see Max Bauer, _Das Geschlechtsleben in der Deutschen
Vergangenheit_, pp. 133-214. In Paris, Dufour states (op. cit., vol. v,
Ch. XXXIV), brothels under the ordinances of St. Louis had many rights
which they lost at last in 1560, when they became merely tolerated houses,
without statutes, special costumes, or confinement to special streets.

[155] "Cortegiana, hoc est meretrix honesta," wrote Burchard, the Pope's
Secretary, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, _Diarium_, ed.
Thuasne, vol. ii, p. 442; other authorities are quoted by Thuasne in a

[156] Burchard, _Diarium_, vol. iii, p. 167. Thuasne quotes other
authorities in confirmation.

[157] The example of Holland, where some large cities have adopted the
regulation of prostitution and others have not, is instructive as regards
the illusory nature of the advantages of regulation. In 1883 Dr. Després
brought forward figures, supplied by Dutch officials, showing that in
Rotterdam, where prostitution was regulated, both prostitution and
venereal diseases were more prevalent than in Amsterdam, a city without
regulation (A. Després, _La Prostitution en France_, p. 122).

[158] It was in 1802 that the medical inspection of prostitutes in Paris
brothels was introduced, though not until 1825 fully established and made

[159] M.L. Heidingsfeld, "The Control of Prostitution," _Journal American
Medical Association_, January 30, 1904.

[160] See, e.g., G. Bérault, _La Maison de Tolérance_, Thèse de Paris,

[161] Thus the circumstances of the English army in India are of a special
character. A number of statements (from the reports of committees,
official publications, etc.) regarding the good influence of regulation in
reducing venereal diseases in India are brought together by
Surgeon-Colonel F.H. Welch, "The Prevention of Syphilis," _Lancet_, August
12, 1899. The system has been abolished, but only as the result of a
popular outcry and not on the question of its merits.

[162] Thus Richard, who accepts regulation and was instructed to report on
it for the Paris Municipal Council, would not have girls inscribed as
professional prostitutes until they are of age and able to realize what
they are binding themselves to (E. Richard, _La Prostitution à Paris_, p.
147). But at that age a large proportion of prostitutes have been
practicing their profession for years.

[163] In Germany, where the cure of infected prostitutes under regulation
is nearly everywhere compulsory, usually at the cost of the community, it
is found that 18 is the average age at which they are affected by
syphilis; the average age of prostitutes in brothels is higher than that
of those outside, and a much larger proportion have therefore become
immune to disease (Blaschko, "Hygiene der Syphilis," in Weyl's _Handbuch
der Hygiene_, Bd. ii, p. 62, 1900).

[164] A. Sherwell, _Life in West London_, 1897, Ch. V.

[165] Bonger brings together statistics illustrating this point, op. cit.,
pp. 402-6.

[166] _The Nightless City_, p. 125.

[167] Ströhmberg, as quoted by Aschaffenburg, _Das Verbrechen_, 1903, p.

[168] _Monatsschrift für Harnkrankheiten und Sexuelle Hygiene_, 1906. Heft
10, p. 460. But this cause is undoubtedly effective in some cases of
unmarried women in Germany unable to get work (see article by Sister
Henrietta Arendt, Police-Assistant at Stuttgart, _Sexual-Probleme_,
December, 1908).

[169] Thus, for instance, we find Irma von Troll-Borostyáni saying in her
book, _Im Freien Reich_ (p. 176): "Go and ask these unfortunate creatures
if they willingly and freely devoted themselves to vice. And nearly all of
them will tell you a story of need and destitution, of hunger and lack of
work, which compelled them to it, or else of love and seduction and the
fear of the discovery of their false step which drove them out of their
homes, helpless and forsaken, into the pool of vice from which there is
hardly any salvation." It is, of course, quite true that the prostitute is
frequently ready to tell such stories to philanthropic persons who expect
to hear them, and sometimes even put the words into her mouth.

[170] C. Booth, _Life and Labour_, final volume, p. 125. Similarly in
Sweden, Kullberg states that girls of thirteen to seventeen, living at
home with their parents in comfortable circumstances, have often been
found on the streets.

[171] W. Acton, _Prostitution_, 1870, pp. 39, 49.

[172] In Lyons, according to Potton, of 3884 prostitutes, 3194 abandoned,
or apparently abandoned, their profession; in Paris a very large number
became servants, dressmakers, or tailoresses, occupations which, in many
cases, doubtless, they had exercised before (Parent-Duchâtelet, _De la
Prostitution_, 1857, vol. i, p. 584; vol. ii, p. 451). Sloggett (quoted by
Acton) stated that at Davenport, 250 of the 1775 prostitutes there
married. It is well known that prostitutes occasionally marry extremely
well. It was remarked nearly a century ago that marriages of prostitutes
to rich men were especially frequent in England, and usually turned out
well; the same seems to be true still. In their own social rank they not
infrequently marry cabmen and policemen, the two classes of men with whom
they are brought most closely in contact in the streets. As regards
Germany, C.K. Schneider (_Die Prostituirte und die Gesellschaft_), states
that young prostitutes take up all sorts of occupations and situations,
sometimes, if they have saved a little money, establishing a business,
while old prostitutes become procuresses, brothel-keepers, lavatory women,
and so on. Not a few prostitutes marry, he adds, but the proportion among
inscribed German prostitutes is very small, less than 2 per cent.

[173] G. de Molinari, _La Viriculture_, 1897, p. 155.

[174] Reuss and other writers have reproduced typical extracts from the
private account books of prostitutes, showing the high rate of their
earnings. Even in the common brothels, in Philadelphia (according to
Goodchild, "The Social Evil in Philadelphia," _Arena_, March, 1896), girls
earn twenty dollars or more a week, which is far more than they could earn
in any other occupation open to them.

[175] A. Després, _La Prostitution en France_, 1883.

[176] Bonger, _Criminalité et Conditions Economiques_, 1905, pp. 378-414.

[177] _La Donna Delinquente_, p. 401.

[178] Raciborski, _Traité de l'Impuissance_, p. 20. It may be added that
Bergh, a leading authority on the anatomical peculiarities of the external
female sexual organs, who believe that strong development of the external
genital organs accompanies libidinous tendencies, has not found such
development to be common among prostitutes.

[179] Hammer, who has had much opportunity of studying the psychology of
prostitutes, remarks that he has seen no reason to suspect sexual coldness
(_Monatsschrift für Harnkrankheiten und Sexuelle Hygiene_, 1906, Heft 2,
p. 85), although, as he has elsewhere stated, he is of opinion that
indolence, rather than excess of sensuality, is the chief cause of

[180] See "The Sexual Impulse in Women," in the third volume of these

[181] Tait stated that in Edinburgh many married women living with their
husbands in comfortable circumstances, and having children, were found to
be acting as prostitutes, that is, in the regular habit of making
assignations with strangers (W. Tait, _Magdalenism in Edinburgh_, 1842, p.

[182] Janke brings together opinions to this effect, _Die Willkürliche
Hervorbringen des Geschlechts_, p. 275. "If we compare a prostitute of
thirty-five with her respectable sister," Acton remarked (_Prostitution_,
1870, p. 39), "we seldom find that the constitutional ravages often
thought to be necessary consequences of prostitution exceed those
attributable to the cares of a family and the heart-wearing struggles of
virtuous labor."

[183] Hirschfeld states (_Wesen der Liebe_, p. 35) that the desire for
intercourse with a sympathetic person is heightened, and not decreased, by
a professional act of coitus.

[184] This has been clearly shown by Hans Ostwald (from whom I take the
above-quoted observation of a prostitute), one of the best authorities on
prostitute life and character; see, e.g., his article, "Die erotischen
Beziehungen zwischen Dirne und Zuhälter," _Sexual-Probleme_, June, 1908.
In the subsequent number of the same periodical (July, 1908, p. 393) Dr.
Max Marcuse supports Ostwald's experiences, and says that the letters of
prostitutes and their bullies are love-letters exactly like those of
respectable people of the same class, and with the same elements of love
and jealousy; these relationships, he remarks, often prove very enduring.
The prostitute author of the _Tagebuch einer Verlorenen_ (p. 147) also has
some remarks on the prostitute's relations to her bully, stating that it
is simply the natural relationship of a girl to her lover.

[185] Thus Moraglia found that among 180 prostitutes in North Italian
brothels, and among 23 elegant Italian and foreign cocottes, every one
admitted that she masturbated, preferably by friction of the clitoris; 113
of them, the majority, declared that they preferred solitary or mutual
masturbation to normal coitus. Hammer states (_Zehn Lebensläufe Berliner
Kontrollmädchen_ in Ostwald's series of "Grosstadt Dokumente," 1905) that
when in hospital all but three or four of sixty prostitutes masturbate,
and those who do not are laughed at by the rest.

[186] _Jahrbuch für Sexuelle Zwischenstufen_, Jahrgang VII, 1905, p. 148;
"Sexual Inversion," vol. ii of these _Studies_, Ch. IV. Hammer found that
of twenty-five prostitutes in a reformatory as many as twenty-three were
homosexual, or, on good grounds, suspected to be such. Hirschfeld
(_Berlins Drittes Geschlecht_, p. 65) mentions that prostitutes sometimes
accost better-class women who, from their man-like air, they take to be
homosexual; from persons of their own sex prostitutes will accept a
smaller remuneration, and sometimes refuse payment altogether.

[187] With prostitution, as with criminality, it is of course difficult to
disentangle the element of heredity from that of environment, even when we
have good grounds for believing that the factor of heredity here, as
throughout the whole of life, cannot fail to carry much weight. It is
certain, in any case, that prostitution frequently runs in families. "It
has often been my experience," writes a former prostitute (Hedwig Hard,
_Beichte einer Gefallenen_, p. 156) "that when in a family a girl enters
this path, her sister soon afterwards follows her: I have met with
innumerable cases; sometimes three sisters will all be on the register,
and I knew a case of four sisters, whose mother, a midwife, had been in
prison, and the father drank. In this case, all four sisters, who were
very beautiful, married, one at least very happily, to a rich doctor who
took her out of the brothel at sixteen and educated her."

[188] This fact is not contradicted by the undoubted fact that prostitutes
are by no means always contented with the life they choose.

[189] This point has been discussed by Bloch, _Sexualleben unserer Zeit_,

[190] Various series of observations are summarized by Lombroso and
Ferrero, _La Donna Delinquente_, 1893, Part III, cap. IV.

[191] _History of European Morals_, vol. iii, p. 283.

[192] Similarly Lord Morley has written (_Diderot_, vol. ii, p. 20): "The
purity of the family, so lovely and dear as it is, has still only been
secured hitherto by retaining a vast and dolorous host of female outcasts
... upon whose heads, as upon the scapegoat of the Hebrew ordinance, we
put all the iniquities of the children of the house, and all their
transgressions in all their sins, and then banish them with maledictions
into the foul outer wilderness and the land not inhabited."

[193] Horace, _Satires_, lib. i, 2.

[194] Augustine, _De Ordine_, Bk. II, Ch. IV.

[195] _De Regimine Principum_ (_Opuscula XX_), lib. iv, cap. XIV. I am
indebted to the Rev. H. Northcote for the reference to the precise place
where this statement occurs; it is usually quoted more vaguely.

[196] Lea, _History of Auricular Confession_, vol. ii, p. 69. There was
even, it seems, an eccentric decision of the Salamanca theologians that a
nun might so receive money, "licite et valide."

[197] Lea, op. cit., vol. ii, pp. 263, 399.

[198] Rabutaux, _De la Prostitution en Europe_, pp. 22 et seq.

[199] Burton, _Anatomy of Melancholy_, Part III, Sect. III, Mem. IV, Subs.

[200] B. Mandeville, _Remarks to Fable of the Bees_, 1714, pp. 93-9; cf.
P. Sakmann, _Bernard de Mandeville_, pp. 101-4.

[201] These conditions favor temporary free unions, but they also favor
prostitution. The reason is, according to Adolf Gerson (_Sexual-Probleme_,
September, 1908), that the woman of good class will not have free unions.
Partly moved by moral traditions, and partly by the feeling that a man
should be legally her property, she will not give herself out of love to a
man; and he therefore turns to the lower-class woman who gives herself for

[202] Many girls, said Ellice Hopkins, get into mischief merely because
they have in them an element of the "black kitten," which must frolic and
play, but has no desire to get into danger. "Do you not think it a little
hard," she added, "that men should have dug by the side of her foolish
dancing feet a bottomless pit, and that she cannot have her jump and fun
in safety, and put on her fine feathers like the silly bird-witted thing
she is, without a single false step dashing her over the brink, and
leaving her with the very womanhood dashed out of her?"

[203] A. Sherwell, _Life in West London_, 1897, Ch. V.

[204] As quoted by Bloch, _Sexualleben Unserer Zeit_, p. 358. In Berlin
during recent years the number of prostitutes has increased at nearly
double the rate at which the general population has increased. It is no
doubt probable that the supply tends to increase the demand.

[205] Goncourt, _Journal_, vol. iii, p. 49.

[206] Vanderkiste, _The Dens of London_, 1854, p. 242.

[207] Bonger (_Criminalité et Conditions Economiques_, p. 406) refers to
the prevalence of prostitution among dressmakers and milliners, as well as
among servants, as showing the influence of contact with luxury, and adds
that the rich women, who look down on prostitution, do not always realize
that they are themselves an important factor of prostitution, both by
their luxury and their idleness; while they do not seem to be aware that
they would themselves act in the same way if placed under the same

[208] H. Lippert, in his book on prostitution in Hamburg, laid much stress
on the craving for dress and adornment as a factor of prostitution, and
Bloch (_Das Sexualleben unsurer Zeit_, p. 372) considers that this factor
is usually underestimated, and that it exerts an especially powerful
influence on servants.

[209] Since this was written the influence of several generations of
town-life in immunizing a stock to the evils of that life (though without
reference to prostitution) has been set forth by Reibmayr, _Die
Entwicklungsgeschichte des Talentes und Genies_, 1908, vol. ii, pp. 73 _et

[210] In France this intimacy is embodied in the delicious privilege of
_tutoiement_. "The mystery of _tutoiement!_" exclaims Ernest La Jennesse
in _L'Holocauste:_ "Barriers broken down, veils drawn away, and the ease
of existence! At a time when I was very lonely, and trying to grow
accustomed to Paris and to misfortune, I would go miles--on foot,
naturally--to see a girl cousin and an aunt, merely to have something to
_tutoyer_. Sometimes they were not at home, and I had to come back with my
_tu_, my thirst for confidence and familiarity and brotherliness."

[211] For some facts and references to the extensive literature concerning
this trade, see, e.g., Bloch, _Das Sexualleben Unserer Zeit_, pp. 374-376;
also K.M. Baer, _Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft_, Sept., 1908;
Paulucci de Calboli, _Nuova Antologia_, April, 1902.

[212] These considerations do not, it is true, apply to many kinds of
sexual perverts who form an important proportion of the clients of
brothels. These can frequently find what they crave inside a brothel much
more easily than outside.

[213] Thus Charles Booth, in his great work on _Life and Labor in London_,
final volume (p. 128), recommends that "houses of accommodation," instead
of being hunted out, should be tolerated as a step towards the suppression
of brothels.

[214] "Towns like Woolwich, Aldershot, Portsmouth, Plymouth," it has been
said, "abound with wretched, filthy monsters that bear no resemblance to
women; but it is drink, scorn, brutality and disease which have reduced
them to this state, not the mere fact of associating with men."

[215] "The contract of prostitution in the opinion of prostitutes
themselves," Bernaldo de Quirós and Llanas Aguilaniedo remark (_La Mala
Vida en Madrid_, p. 254), "cannot be assimilated to a sale, nor to a
contract of work, nor to any other form of barter recognized by the civil
law. They consider that in these pacts there always enters an element
which makes it much more like a gift in a matter in which no payment could
be adequate. 'A woman's body is without price' is an axiom of
prostitution. The money placed in the hands of her who procures the
satisfaction of sexual desire is not the price of the act, but an offering
which the priestess of Venus applies to her maintenance." To the Spaniard,
it is true, every transaction which resembles trade is repugnant, but the
principle underlying this feeling holds good of prostitution generally.

[216] _Journal des Goncourt_, vol. iii; this was in 1866.

[217] Rev. the Hon. C. Lyttelton, _Training of the Young in Laws of Sex_,
p. 42.

[218] See, e.g., R.W. Taylor, _Treatise on Sexual Disorders_, 1897, pp.
74-5. Georg Hirth (_Wege zur Heimat_, 1909, p. 619) narrates the case of a
young officer who, being excited by the caresses of his betrothed and
having too much respect for her to go further than this, and too much
respect for himself to resort to masturbation, knew nothing better than to
go to a prostitute. Syphilis developed a few days after the wedding. Hirth
adds, briefly, that the results were terrible.

[219] It is an oft-quoted passage, but can scarcely be quoted too often:
"You see that this wrought-iron plate is not quite flat: it sticks up a
little, here towards the left--'cockles,' as we say. How shall we flatten
it? Obviously, you reply, by hitting down on the part that is prominent.
Well, here is a hammer, and I give the plate a blow as you advise. Harder,
you say. Still no effect. Another stroke? Well, there is one, and another,
and another. The prominence remains, you see: the evil is as great as
ever--greater, indeed. But that is not all. Look at the warp which the
plate has got near the opposite edge. Where it was flat before it is now
curved. A pretty bungle we have made of it. Instead of curing the original
defect we have produced a second. Had we asked an artisan practiced in
'planishing,' as it is called, he would have told us that no good was to
be done, but only mischief, by hitting down on the projecting part. He
would have taught us how to give variously-directed and specially-adjusted
blows with a hammer elsewhere: so attacking the evil, not by direct, but
by indirect actions. The required process is less simple than you thought.
Even a sheet of metal is not to be successfully dealt with after those
common-sense methods in which you have so much confidence. What, then,
shall we say about a society?... Is humanity more readily straightened
than an iron plate?" (_The Study of Sociology_, p. 270.)



The Significance of the Venereal Diseases--The History of Syphilis--The
Problem of Its Origin--The Social Gravity of Syphilis--The Social Dangers
of Gonorrhoea--The Modern Change in the Methods of Combating
Venereal Diseases--Causes of the Decay of the System of Police
Regulation--Necessity of Facing the Facts--The Innocent Victims of
Venereal Diseases--Diseases Not Crimes--The Principle of Notification--The
Scandinavian System--Gratuitous Treatment--Punishment for Transmitting
Venereal Diseases--Sexual Education in Relation to Venereal
Diseases--Lectures, Etc.--Discussion in Novels and on the Stage--The
"Disgusting" Not the "Immoral."

It may, perhaps, excite surprise that in the preceding discussion of
prostitution scarcely a word has been said of venereal diseases. In the
eyes of many people, the question of prostitution is simply the question
of syphilis. But from the psychological point of view with which we are
directly concerned, as from the moral point of view with which we cannot
fail to be indirectly concerned, the question of the diseases which may
be, and so frequently are, associated with prostitution cannot be placed
in the first line of significance. The two questions, however intimately
they may be mingled, are fundamentally distinct. Not only would venereal
diseases still persist even though prostitution had absolutely ceased,
but, on the other hand, when we have brought syphilis under the same
control as we have brought the somewhat analogous disease of leprosy, the
problem of prostitution would still remain.

Yet, even from the standpoint which we here occupy, it is scarcely
possible to ignore the question of venereal disease, for the psychological
and moral aspects of prostitution, and even the whole question of the
sexual relationships, are, to some extent, affected by the existence of
the serious diseases which are specially liable to be propagated by sexual

Fournier, one of the leading authorities on this subject, has well said
that syphilis, alcoholism, and tuberculosis are the three modern plagues.
At a much earlier period (1851) Schopenhauer in _Parerga und Paralipomena_
had expressed the opinion that the two things which mark modern social
life, in distinction from that of antiquity, and to the advantage of the
latter, are the knightly principle of honor and venereal disease;
together, he added, they have poisoned life, and introduced a hostile and
even diabolical element into the relations of the sexes, which has
indirectly affected all other social relationships.[220] It is like a
merchandise, says Havelburg, of syphilis, which civilization has
everywhere carried, so that only a very few remote districts of the globe
(as in Central Africa and Central Brazil) are to-day free from it.[221]

It is undoubtedly true that in the older civilized countries the
manifestations of syphilis, though still severe and a cause of physical
deterioration in the individual and the race, are less severe than they
were even a generation ago.[222] This is partly the result of earlier and
better treatment, partly, it is possible, the result also of the
syphilization of the race, some degree of immunity having now become an
inherited possession, although it must be remembered that an attack of
syphilis does not necessarily confer immunity from the actual attack of
the disease even in the same individual. But it must be added that, even
though it has become less severe, syphilis, in the opinion of many, is
nevertheless still spreading, even in the chief centres of civilization;
this has been noted alike in Paris and in London.[223]

According to the belief which is now tending to prevail, syphilis was
brought to Europe at the end of the fifteenth century by the first
discoverers of America. In Seville, the chief European port for America,
it was known as the Indian disease, but when Charles VIII and his army
first brought it to Italy in 1495, although this connection with the
French was only accidental, it was called the Gallic disease, "a monstrous
disease," said Cataneus, "never seen in previous centuries and altogether
unknown in the world."

The synonyms of syphilis were at first almost innumerable. It was in his
Latin poem _Syphilis sive Morbus Gallicus_, written before 1521 and
published at Verona in 1530, that Fracastorus finally gave the disease its
now universally accepted name, inventing a romantic myth to account for
its origin.

    Although the weight of authoritative opinion now seems to incline
    towards the belief that syphilis was brought to Europe from
    America, on the discovery of the New World, it is only within
    quite recent years that that belief has gained ground, and it
    scarcely even yet seems certain that what the Spaniards brought
    back from America was really a disease absolutely new to the Old
    World, and not a more virulent form of an old disease of which
    the manifestations had become benign. Buret, for instance (_Le
    Syphilis Aujourd'hui et chez les Anciens_, 1890), who some years
    ago reached "the deep conviction that syphilis dates from the
    creation of man," and believed, from a minute study of classic
    authors, that syphilis existed in Rome under the Cæsars, was of
    opinion that it has broken out at different places and at
    different times, in epidemic bursts exhibiting different
    combinations of its manifold symptoms, so that it passed
    unnoticed at ordinary times, and at the times of its more intense
    manifestation was looked upon as a hitherto unknown disease. It
    was thus regarded in classic times, he considers, as coming from
    Egypt, though he looked upon its real home as Asia. Leopold Glück
    has likewise quoted (_Archiv für Dermatologie und Syphilis_,
    January, 1899) passages from the medical epigrams of a sixteenth
    century physician, Gabriel Ayala, declaring that syphilis is not
    really a new disease, though popularly supposed to be so, but an
    old disease which has broken out with hitherto unknown violence.
    There is, however, no conclusive reason for believing that
    syphilis was known at all in classic antiquity. A.V. Notthaft
    ("Die Legende von der Althertums-syphilis," in the Rindfleisch
    _Festschrift_, 1907, pp. 377-592) has critically investigated the
    passages in classic authors which were supposed by Rosenbaum,
    Buret, Proksch and others to refer to syphilis. It is quite
    true, Notthaft admits, that many of these passages might possibly
    refer to syphilis, and one or two would even better fit syphilis
    than any other disease. But, on the whole, they furnish no proof
    at all, and no syphilologist, he concludes, has ever succeeded in
    demonstrating that syphilis was known in antiquity. That belief
    is a legend. The most damning argument against it, Notthaft
    points out, is the fact that, although in antiquity there were
    great physicians who were keen observers, not one of them gives
    any description of the primary, secondary, tertiary, and
    congenital forms of this disease. China is frequently mentioned
    as the original home of syphilis, but this belief is also quite
    without basis, and the Japanese physician, Okamura, has shown
    (_Monatsschrift für praktische Dermatologie_, vol. xxviii, pp.
    296 et seq.) that Chinese records reveal nothing relating to
    syphilis earlier than the sixteenth century. At the Paris Academy
    of Medicine in 1900 photographs from Egypt were exhibited by
    Fouquet of human remains which date from B.C. 2400, showing bone
    lesions which seemed to be clearly syphilitic; Fournier, however,
    one of the greatest of authorities, considered that the diagnosis
    of syphilis could not be maintained until other conditions liable
    to produce somewhat similar bone lesions had been eliminated
    (_British Medical Journal_, September 29, 1900, p. 946). In
    Florida and various regions of Central America, in undoubtedly
    pre-Columbian burial places, diseased bones have been found which
    good authorities have declared could not be anything else than
    syphilitic (e.g., _British Medical Journal_, November 20, 1897,
    p. 1487), though it may be noted that so recently as 1899 the
    cautious Virchow stated that pre-Columbian syphilis in America
    was still for him an open question (_Zeitschrift für Ethnologie_,
    Heft 2 and 3, 1899, p. 216). From another side, Seler, the
    distinguished authority on Mexican antiquity, shows (_Zeitschrift
    für Ethnologie_, 1895, Heft 5, p. 449) that the ancient Mexicans
    were acquainted with a disease which, as they described it, might
    well have been syphilis. It is obvious, however, that while the
    difficulty of demonstrating syphilitic diseased bones in America
    is as great as in Europe, the demonstration, however complete,
    would not suffice to show that the disease had not already an
    existence also in the Old World. The plausible theory of Ayala
    that fifteenth century syphilis was a virulent recrudescence of
    an ancient disease has frequently been revived in more modern
    times. Thus J. Knott ("The Origin of Syphilis," _New York Medical
    Journal_, October 31, 1908) suggests that though not new in
    fifteenth century Europe, it was then imported afresh in a form
    rendered more aggravated by coming from an exotic race, as is
    believed often to be the case.

    It was in the eighteenth century that Jean Astruc began the
    rehabilitation of the belief that syphilis is really a
    comparatively modern disease of American origin, and since then
    various authorities of weight have given their adherence to this
    view. It is to the energy and learning of Dr. Iwan Bloch, of
    Berlin (the first volume of whose important work, _Der Ursprung
    der Syphilis_, was published in 1901) that we owe the fullest
    statement of the evidence in favor of the American origin of
    syphilis. Bloch regards Ruy Diaz de Isla, a distinguished Spanish
    physician, as the weightiest witness for the Indian origin of the
    disease, and concludes that it was brought to Europe by
    Columbus's men from Central America, more precisely from the
    Island of Haiti, to Spain in 1493 and 1494, and immediately
    afterwards was spread by the armies of Charles VIII in an
    epidemic fashion over Italy and the other countries of Europe.

    It may be added that even if we have to accept the theory that
    the central regions of America constitute the place of origin of
    European syphilis, we still have to recognize that syphilis has
    spread in the North American continent very much more slowly and
    partially than it has in Europe, and even at the present day
    there are American Indian tribes among whom it is unknown.
    Holder, on the basis of his own experiences among Indian tribes,
    as well as of wide inquiries among agency physicians, prepared a
    table showing that among some thirty tribes and groups of tribes,
    eighteen were almost or entirely free from venereal disease,
    while among thirteen it was very prevalent. Almost without
    exception, the tribes where syphilis is rare or unknown refuse
    sexual intercourse with strangers, while those among whom such
    disease is prevalent are morally lax. It is the whites who are
    the source of infection among these tribes (A.B. Holder, "Gynecic
    Notes Among the American Indians," _American Journal of
    Obstetrics_, 1892, No. 1).

Syphilis is only one, certainly the most important, of a group of three
entirely distinct "venereal diseases" which have only been distinguished
in recent times, and so far as their precise nature and causation are
concerned, are indeed only to-day beginning to be understood, although two
of them were certainly known in antiquity. It is but seventy years ago
since Ricord, the great French syphilologist, following Bassereau, first
taught the complete independence of syphilis both from gonorrhoea
and soft chancre, at the same time expounding clearly the three stages,
primary, secondary and tertiary, through which syphilitic manifestations
tend to pass, while the full extent of tertiary syphilitic symptoms is
scarcely yet grasped, and it is only to-day beginning to be generally
realized that two of the most prevalent and serious diseases of the brain
and nervous system--general paralysis and tabes dorsalis or locomotor
ataxia--have their predominant though not sole and exclusive cause in the
invasion of the syphilitic poison many years before. In 1879 a new stage
of more precise knowledge of the venereal diseases began with Neisser's
discovery of the gonococcus which is the specific cause of gonorrhoea.
This was followed a few years later by the discovery by Ducrey and Unna of
the bacillus of soft chancre, the least important of the venereal diseases
because exclusively local in its effects. Finally, in 1905--after
Metchnikoff had prepared the way by succeeding in carrying syphilis from
man to monkey, and Lassar, by inoculation, from monkey to monkey--Fritz
Schaudinn made his great discovery of the protozoal _Spirochoeta
pallida_ (since sometimes called _Treponema pallidum_), which is now
generally regarded as the cause of syphilis, and thus revealed the final
hiding place of one of the most dangerous and insidious foes of

There is no more subtle poison than that of syphilis. It is not, like
smallpox or typhoid, a disease which produces a brief and sudden storm, a
violent struggle with the forces of life, in which it tends, even without
treatment, provided the organism is healthy, to succumb, leaving little or
no traces of its ravages behind. It penetrates ever deeper and deeper into
the organism, with the passage of time leading to ever new manifestations,
and no tissue is safe from its attack. And so subtle is this all-pervading
poison that though its outward manifestations are amenable to prolonged
treatment, it is often difficult to say that the poison has been finally
killed out.[225]

The immense importance of syphilis, and the chief reason why it is
necessary to consider it here, lies in the fact that its results are not
confined to the individual himself, nor even to the persons to whom he may
impart it by the contagion due to contact in or out of sexual
relationships: it affects the offspring, and it affects the power to
produce offspring. It attacks men and women at the centre of life, as the
progenitors of the coming race, inflicting either sterility or the
tendency to aborted and diseased products of conception. The father alone
can perhaps transmit syphilis to his child, even though the mother escapes
infection, and the child born of syphilitic parents may come into the
world apparently healthy only to reveal its syphilitic origin after a
period of months or even years. Thus syphilis is probably a main cause of
the enfeeblement of the race.[226]

Alike in the individual and in his offspring syphilis shows its
deteriorating effects on all the structures of the body, but especially on
the brain and nervous system. There are, as has been pointed out by Mott,
a leading authority in this matter,[227] five ways in which syphilis
affects the brain and nervous system: (1) by moral shock; (2) by the
effects of the poison in producing anæmia and impaired general nutrition;
(3) by causing inflammation of the membranes and tissues of the brain; (4)
by producing arterial degeneration, leading on to brain-softening,
paralysis, and dementia; (5) as a main cause of the para-syphilitic
affections of general paralysis and tabes dorsalis.

It is only within recent years that medical men have recognized the
preponderant part played by acquired or inherited syphilis in producing
general paralysis, which so largely helps to fill lunatic asylums, and
tabes dorsalis which is the most important disease of the spinal cord.
Even to-day it can scarcely be said that there is complete agreement as
to the supreme importance of the factor of syphilis in these diseases.
There can, however, be little doubt that in about ninety-five per cent. at
least of cases of general paralysis syphilis is present.[228]

Syphilis is not indeed by itself an adequate cause of general paralysis
for among many savage peoples syphilis is very common while general
paralysis is very rare. It is, as Krafft-Ebing was accustomed to say,
syphilization and civilization working together which produce general
paralysis, perhaps in many cases, there is reason for thinking, on a
nervous soil that is hereditarily degenerated to some extent; this is
shown by the abnormal prevalence of congenital stigmata of degeneration
found in general paralytics by Näcke and others. "Paralyticus nascitur
atque fit," according to the dictum of Obersteiner. Once undermined by
syphilis, the deteriorated brain is unable to resist the jars and strains
of civilized life, and the result is general paralysis, truly described as
"one of the most terrible scourges of modern times." In 1902 the
Psychological Section of the British Medical Association, embodying the
most competent English authority on this question, unanimously passed a
resolution recommending that the attention of the Legislature and other
public bodies should be called to the necessity for immediate action in
view of the fact that "general paralysis, a very grave and frequent form
of brain disease, together with other varieties of insanity, is largely
due to syphilis, and is therefore preventable." Yet not a single step has
yet been taken in this direction.

The dangers of syphilis lie not alone in its potency and its persistence
but also in its prevalence. It is difficult to state the exact incidence
of syphilis, but a great many partial investigations have been made in
various countries, and it would appear that from five to twenty per cent.
of the population in European countries is syphilitic, while about fifteen
per cent. of the syphilitic cases die from causes directly or indirectly
due to the disease.[229] In France generally, Fournier estimates that
seventeen per cent. of the whole population have had syphilis, and at
Toulouse, Audry considers that eighteen per cent. of all his patients are
syphilitic. In Copenhagen, where notification is obligatory, over four per
cent. of the population are said to be syphilitic. In America a committee
of the Medical Society of New York, appointed to investigate the question,
reported as the result of exhaustive inquiry that in the city of New York
not less than a quarter of a million of cases of venereal disease occurred
every year, and a leading New York dermatologist has stated that among the
better class families he knows intimately at least one-third of the sons
have had syphilis. In Germany eight hundred thousand cases of venereal
disease are by one authority estimated to occur yearly, and in the larger
universities twenty-five per cent. of the students are infected every
term, venereal disease being, however, specially common among students.
The yearly number of men invalided in the German army by venereal diseases
equals a third of the total number wounded in the Franco-Prussian war. Yet
the German army stands fairly high as regards freedom from venereal
disease when compared with the British army which is more syphilized than
any other European army.[230] The British army, however, being
professional and not national, is less representative of the people than
is the case in countries where some form of conscription prevails. At one
London hospital it could be ascertained that ten per cent. of the patients
had had syphilis; this probably means a real proportion of about fifteen
per cent., a high though not extremely high ratio. Yet it is obvious that
even if the ratio is really lower than this the national loss in life and
health, in defective procreation and racial deterioration, must be
enormous and practically incalculable. Even in cash the venereal budget is
comparable in amount to the general budget of a great nation. Stritch
estimates that the cost to the British nation of venereal diseases in the
army, navy and Government departments alone, amounts annually to
£3,000,000, and when allowance is made for superannuations and sick-leave
indirectly occasioned through these diseases, though not appearing in the
returns as such, the more accurate estimate of the cost to the nation is
stated to be £7,000,000. The adoption of simple hygienic measures for the
prevention and the speedy cure of venereal diseases will be not only
indirectly but even directly a source of immense wealth to the nation.

Syphilis is the most obviously and conspicuously appalling of the venereal
diseases. Yet it is less frequent and in some respects less dangerously
insidious than the other chief venereal disease, gonorrhoea.[231]
At one time the serious nature of gonorrhoea, especially in women, was
little realized. Men accepted it with a light heart as a trivial accident;
women ignored it. This failure to realize the gravity of gonorrhoea, even
sometimes on the part of the medical profession--so that it has been
popularly looked upon, in Grandin's words, as of little more significance
than a cold in the nose--has led to a reaction on the part of some towards
an opposite extreme, and the risks and dangers of gonorrhoea have been
even unduly magnified. This is notably the case as regards sterility. The
inflammatory results of gonorrhoea are indubitably a potent cause of
sterility in both sexes; some authorities have stated that not only eighty
per cent. of the deaths from inflammatory diseases of the pelvic organs
and the majority of the cases of chronic invalidism in women, but ninety
per cent. of involuntary sterile marriages, are due to gonorrhoea.
Neisser, a great authority, ascribes to this disease without doubt fifty
per cent, of such marriages. Even this estimate is in the experience of
some observers excessive. It is fully proved that the great majority of
men who have had gonorrhoea, even if they marry within two years of being
infected, fail to convey the disease to their wives, and even of the women
infected by their husbands more than half have children. This is, for
instance, the result of Erb's experience, and Kisch speaks still more
strongly in the same sense. Bumm, again, although regarding gonorrhoea as
one of the two chief causes of sterility in women, finds that it is not
the most frequent cause, being only responsible for about one-third of the
cases; the other two-thirds are due to developmental faults in the genital
organs. Dunning in America has reached results which are fairly concordant
with Bumm's.

With regard to another of the terrible results of gonorrhoea, the part it
plays in producing life-long blindness from infection of the eyes at
birth, there has long been no sort of doubt. The Committee of the
Ophthalmological Society in 1884, reported that thirty to forty-one per
cent. of the inmates of four asylums for the blind in England owed their
blindness to this cause.[232] In German asylums Reinhard found that thirty
per cent. lost their sight from the same cause. The total number of
persons blind from gonorrhoeal infection from their mothers at birth is
enormous. The British Royal Commission on the Condition of the Blind
estimated there were about seven thousand persons in the United Kingdom
alone (or twenty-two per cent. of the blind persons in the country) who
became blind as the result of this disease, and Mookerji stated in his
address on Ophthalmalogy at the Indian Medical Congress of 1894 that in
Bengal alone there were six hundred thousand totally blind beggars, forty
per cent. of whom lost their sight at birth through maternal gonorrhoea;
and this refers to the beggar class alone.

Although gonorrhoea is liable to produce many and various calamities,[233]
there can be no doubt that the majority of gonorrhoeal persons escape
either suffering or inflicting any very serious injury. The special reason
why gonorrhoea has become so peculiarly serious a scourge is its extreme
prevalence. It is difficult to estimate the proportion of men and women in
the general population who have had gonorrhoea, and the estimates vary
within wide limits. They are often set too high. Erb, of Heidelberg,
anxious to disprove exaggerated estimates of the prevalence of gonorrhoea,
went over the records of two thousand two hundred patients in his private
practice (excluding all hospital patients) and found the proportion of
those who had suffered from gonorrhoea was 48.5 per cent.

Among the working classes the disease is much less prevalent than among
higher-class people. In a Berlin Industrial Sick Club, 412 per 10,000 men
and 69 per 10,000 women had gonorrhoea in a year; taking a series of years
the Club showed a steady increase in the number of men, and decrease in
the number of women, with venereal infection; this seems to indicate that
the laboring classes are beginning to have intercourse more with
prostitutes and less with respectable girls.[234] In America Wood Ruggles
has given (as had Noggerath previously, for New York), the prevalence of
gonorrhoea among adult males as from 75 to 80 per cent.; Tenney places it
much lower, 20 per cent. for males and 5 per cent. for females. In
England, a writer in the _Lancet_, some years ago,[235] found as the
result of experience and inquiries that 75 per cent. adult males have had
gonorrhoea once, 40 per cent. twice, 15 per cent. three or more times.
According to Dulberg about twenty per cent. of new cases occur in married
men of good social class, the disease being comparatively rare among
married men of the working class in England.

Gonorrhoea in its prevalence is thus only second to measles and in the
gravity of its results scarcely second to tuberculosis. "And yet," as
Grandin remarks in comparing gonorrhoea to tuberculosis, "witness the
activity of the crusade against the latter and the criminal apathy
displayed when the former is concerned."[236] The public must learn to
understand, another writer remarks, that "gonorrhoea is a pest that
concerns its highest interests and most sacred relations as much as do
smallpox, cholera, diphtheria, or tuberculosis."[237]

It cannot fairly be said that no attempts have been made to beat back the
flood of venereal disease. On the contrary, such attempts have been made
from the first. But they have never been effectual;[238] they have never
been modified to changed condition; at the present day they are
hopelessly unscientific and entirely opposed alike to the social and the
individual demands of modern peoples. At the various conferences on this
question which have been held during recent years the only generally
accepted conclusion which has emerged is that all the existing systems
of interference or non-interference with prostitution are

The character of prostitution has changed and the methods of dealing with
it must change. Brothels, and the systems of official regulation which
grew up with special reference to brothels, are alike out of date; they
have about them a mediæval atmosphere, an antiquated spirit, which now
render them unattractive and suspected. The conspicuously distinctive
brothel is falling into disrepute; the liveried prostitute absolutely
under municipal control can scarcely be said to exist. Prostitution tends
to become more diffused, more intimately mingled with social life
generally, less easily distinguished as a definitely separable part of
life. We can nowadays only influence it by methods of permeation which
bear upon the whole of our social life.

    The objection to the regulation of prostitution is still of slow
    growth, but it is steadily developing everywhere, and may be
    traced equally in scientific opinion and in popular feeling. In
    France the municipalities of some of the largest cities have
    either suppressed the system of regulation entirely or shown
    their disapproval of it, while an inquiry among several hundred
    medical men showed that less than one-third were in favor of
    maintaining regulation (_Die Neue Generation_, June, 1909, p.
    244). In Germany, where there is in some respects more patient
    endurance of interference with the liberty of the individual than
    in France, England, or America, various elaborate systems for
    organizing prostitution and dealing with venereal disease
    continue to be maintained, but they cannot be completely carried
    out, and it is generally admitted that in any case they could not
    accomplish the objects sought. Thus in Saxony no brothels are
    officially tolerated, though as a matter of fact they
    nevertheless exist. Here, as in many other parts of Germany, most
    minute and extensive regulations are framed for the use of
    prostitutes. Thus at Leipzig they must not sit on the benches in
    public promenades, nor go to picture galleries, or theatres, or
    concerts, or restaurants, nor look out of their windows, nor
    stare about them in the street, nor smile, nor wink, etc., etc.
    In fact, a German prostitute who possesses the heroic
    self-control to carry out conscientiously all the self-denying
    ordinances officially decreed for her guidance would seem to be
    entitled to a Government pension for life.

    Two methods of dealing with prostitution prevail in Germany. In
    some cities public houses of prostitution are tolerated (though
    not licensed); in other cities prostitution is "free," though
    "secret." Hamburg is the most important city where houses of
    prostitution are tolerated and segregated. But, it is stated,
    "everywhere, by far the larger proportion of the prostitutes
    belong to the so-called 'secret' class." In Hamburg, alone, are
    suspected men, when accused of infecting women, officially
    examined; men of every social class must obey a summons of this
    kind, which is issued secretly, and if diseased, they are bound
    to go under treatment, if necessary under compulsory treatment in
    the city hospital, until no longer dangerous to the community.

    In Germany it is only when a woman has been repeatedly observed
    to act suspiciously in the streets that she is quietly warned; if
    the warning is disregarded she is invited to give her name and
    address to the police, and interviewed. It is not until these
    methods fail that she is officially inscribed as a prostitute.
    The inscribed women, in some cities at all events, contribute to
    a sick benefit fund which pays their expenses when in hospital.
    The hesitation of the police to inscribe a woman on the official
    list is legitimate and inevitable, for no other course would be
    tolerated; yet the majority of prostitutes begin their careers
    very young, and as they tend to become infected very early after
    their careers begin, it is obvious that this delay contributes to
    render the system of regulation ineffective. In Berlin, where
    there are no officially recognized brothels, there are some six
    thousand inscribed prostitutes, but it is estimated that there
    are over sixty thousand prostitutes who are not inscribed. (The
    foregoing facts are taken from a series of papers describing
    personal investigations in Germany made by Dr. F. Bierhoff, of
    New York, "Police Methods for the Sanitary Control of
    Prostitution," _New York Medical Journal_, August, 1907.) The
    estimation of the amount of clandestine prostitution can indeed
    never be much more than guesswork; exactly the same figure of
    sixty thousand is commonly brought forward as the probable number
    of prostitutes not only in Berlin, but also in London and in New
    York. It is absolutely impossible to say whether it is under or
    over the real number, for secret prostitution is quite
    intangible. Even if the facts were miraculously revealed there
    would still remain the difficulty of deciding what is and what is
    not prostitution. The avowed and public prostitute is linked by
    various gradations on the one side to the respectable girl living
    at home who seeks some little relief from the oppression of her
    respectability, and on the other hand to the married woman who
    has married for the sake of a home. In any case, however, it is
    very certain that public prostitutes living entirely on the
    earnings of prostitution form but a small proportion of the vast
    army of women who may be said, in a wide sense of the word, to be
    prostitutes, i.e., who use their attractiveness to obtain from
    men not love alone, but money or goods.

"The struggle against syphilis is only possible if we agree to regard its
victims as unfortunate and not as guilty.... We must give up the prejudice
which has led to the creation of the term 'shameful diseases,' and which
commands silence concerning this scourge of the family and of humanity."
In these words of Duclaux, the distinguished successor of Pasteur at the
Pasteur Institute, in his noble and admirable work _L'Hygiène Sociale_, we
have indicated to us, I am convinced, the only road by which we can
approach the rational and successful treatment of the great social problem
of venereal disease.

    The supreme importance of this key to the solution of a problem
    which has often seemed insoluble is to-day beginning to become
    recognized in all quarters, and in every country. Thus a
    distinguished German authority, Professor Finger (_Geschlecht und
    Gesellschaft_, Bd. i, Heft 5) declares that venereal disease must
    not be regarded as the well-merited punishment for a debauched
    life, but as an unhappy accident. It seems to be in France,
    however, that this truth has been proclaimed with most courage
    and humanity, and not alone by the followers of science and
    medicine, but by many who might well be excused from interfering
    with so difficult and ungrateful a task. Thus the brothers, Paul
    and Victor Margueritte, who occupy a brilliant and honorable
    place in contemporary French letters, have distinguished
    themselves by advocating a more humane attitude towards
    prostitutes, and a more modern method of dealing with the
    question of venereal disease. "The true method of prevention is
    that which makes it clear to all that syphilis is not a
    mysterious and terrible thing, the penalty of the sin of the
    flesh, a sort of shameful evil branded by Catholic malediction,
    but an ordinary disease which may be treated and cured." It may
    be remarked that the aversion to acknowledge venereal disease is
    at least as marked in France as in any other country; "maladies
    honteuses" is a consecrated French term, just as "loathsome
    disease" is in English; "in the hospital," says Landret, "it
    requires much trouble to obtain an avowal of gonorrhoea,
    and we may esteem ourselves happy if the patient acknowledges the
    fact of having had syphilis."

No evils can be combated until they are recognized, simply and frankly,
and honestly discussed. It is a significant and even symbolic fact that
the bacteria of disease rarely flourish when they are open to the free
currents of pure air. Obscurity, disguise, concealment furnish the best
conditions for their vigor and diffusion, and these favoring conditions we
have for centuries past accorded to venereal diseases. It was not always
so, as indeed the survival of the word 'venereal' itself in this
connection, with its reference to a goddess, alone suffices to show. Even
the name "syphilis" itself, taken from a romantic poem in which
Fracastorus sought a mythological origin for the disease, bears witness to
the same fact. The romantic attitude is indeed as much out of date as that
of hypocritical and shamefaced obscurantism. We need to face these
diseases in the same simple, direct, and courageous way which has already
been adopted successfully in the ease of smallpox, a disease which, of
old, men thought analogous to syphilis and which was indeed once almost as
terrible in its ravages.

At this point, however, we encounter those who say that it is unnecessary
to show any sort of recognition of venereal diseases, and immoral to do
anything that might seem to involve indulgence to those who suffer from
such diseases; they have got what they deserve and may well be left to
perish. Those who take this attitude place themselves so far outside the
pale of civilization--to say nothing of morality or religion--that they
might well be disregarded. The progress of the race, the development of
humanity, in fact and in feeling, has consisted in the elimination of an
attitude which it is an insult to primitive peoples to term savage. Yet
it is an attitude which should not be ignored for it still carries weight
with many who are too weak to withstand those who juggle with fine moral
phrases. I have even seen in a medical quarter the statement that venereal
disease cannot be put on the same level with other infectious diseases
because it is "the result of voluntary action." But all the diseases,
indeed all the accidents and misfortunes of suffering human beings, are
equally the involuntary results of voluntary actions. The man who is run
over in crossing the street, the family poisoned by unwholesome food, the
mother who catches the disease of the child she is nursing, all these
suffer as the involuntary result of the voluntary act of gratifying some
fundamental human instinct--the instinct of activity, the instinct of
nutrition, the instinct of affection. The instinct of sex is as
fundamental as any of these, and the involuntary evils which may follow
the voluntary act of gratifying it stand on exactly the same level. This
is the essential fact: a human being in following the human instincts
implanted within him has stumbled and fallen. Any person who sees, not
this essential fact but merely some subsidiary aspect of it, reveals a
mind that is twisted and perverted; he has no claim to arrest our

But even if we were to adopt the standpoint of the would-be moralist, and
to agree that everyone must be left to suffer his deserts, it is far
indeed from being the fact that all those who contract venereal diseases
are in any sense receiving their deserts. In a large number of cases the
disease has been inflicted on them in the most absolutely involuntary
manner. This is, of course, true in the case of the vast number of infants
who are infected at conception or at birth. But it is also true in a
scarcely less absolute manner of a large proportion of persons infected in
later life.

_Syphilis insontium_, or syphilis of the innocent, as it is commonly
called, may be said to fall into five groups: (1) the vast army of
congenitally syphilitic infants who inherit the disease from father or
mother; (2) the constantly occurring cases of syphilis contracted, in the
course of their professional duties, by doctors, midwives and wet-nurses;
(3) infection as a result of affection, as in simple kissing; (4)
accidental infection from casual contacts and from using in common the
objects and utensils of daily life, such as cups, towels, razors, knives
(as in ritual circumcision), etc; (5) the infection of wives by their

Hereditary congenital syphilis belongs to the ordinary pathology of the
disease and is a chief element in its social danger since it is
responsible for an enormous infantile mortality.[241] The risks of
extragenital infection in the professional activity of doctors, midwives
and wet-nurses is also universally recognized. In the case of wet-nurses
infected by their employers' syphilitic infants at their breast, the
penalty inflicted on the innocent is peculiarly harsh and unnecessary. The
influence of infected low-class midwives is notably dangerous, for they
may inflict widespread injury in ignorance; thus the case has been
recorded of a midwife, whose finger became infected in the course of her
duties, and directly or indirectly contaminated one hundred persons.
Kissing is an extremely common source of syphilitic infection, and of all
extragenital regions the mouth is by far the most frequent seat of primary
syphilitic sores. In some cases, it is true, especially in prostitutes,
this is the result of abnormal sexual contacts. But in the majority of
cases it is the result of ordinary and slight kisses as between young
children, between parents and children, between lovers and friends and
acquaintances. Fairly typical examples, which have been reported, are
those of a child, kissed by a prostitute, who became infected and
subsequently infected its mother and grandmother; of a young French bride
contaminated on her wedding-day by one of the guests who, according to
French custom, kissed her on the cheek after the ceremony; of an American
girl who, returning from a ball, kissed, at parting, the young man who had
accompanied her home, thus acquiring the disease which she not long
afterwards imparted in the same way to her mother and three sisters. The
ignorant and unthinking are apt to ridicule those who point out the
serious risks of miscellaneous kissing. But it remains nevertheless true
that people who are not intimate enough to know the state of each other's
health are not intimate enough to kiss each other. Infection by the use of
domestic utensils, linen, etc., while comparatively rare among the better
social classes, is extremely common among the lower classes and among the
less civilized nations; in Russia, according to Tarnowsky, the chief
authority, seventy per cent. of all cases of syphilis in the rural
districts are due to this cause and to ordinary kissing, and a special
conference in St. Petersburg in 1897, for the consideration of the methods
of dealing with venereal disease, recorded its opinion to the same effect;
much the same seems to be true regarding Bosnia and various parts of the
Balkan peninsula where syphilis is extremely prevalent among the
peasantry. As regards the last group, according to Bulkley in America,
fifty per cent. of women generally contract syphilis innocently, chiefly
from their husbands, while Fournier states that in France seventy-five per
cent. of married women with syphilis have been infected by their husbands,
most frequently (seventy per cent.) by husbands who were themselves
infected before marriage and supposed that they were cured. Among men the
proportion of syphilitics who have been accidentally infected, though less
than among women, is still very considerable; it is stated to be at least
ten per cent., and possibly it is a much larger proportion of cases. The
scrupulous moralist who is anxious that all should have their deserts
cannot fail to be still more anxious to prevent the innocent from
suffering in place of the guilty. But it is absolutely impossible for him
to combine these two aims; syphilis cannot be at the same time perpetuated
for the guilty and abolished for the innocent.

    I have been taking only syphilis into account, but nearly all
    that is said of the accidental infection of syphilis applies with
    equal or greater force to gonorrhoea, for though gonorrhoea does
    not enter into the system by so many channels as syphilis, it is
    a more common as well as a more subtle and elusive disease.

    The literature of Syphilis Insontium is extremely extensive.
    There is a bibliography at the end of Duncan Bulkley's _Syphilis
    in the Innocent_, and a comprehensive summary of the question in
    a Leipzig Inaugural Dissertation by F. Moses, _Zur Kasuistik der
    Extragenitalen Syphilis-infektion_, 1904.

Even, however, when we have put aside the vast number of venereally
infected people who may be said to be, in the narrowest and most
conventionally moral sense, "innocent" victims of the diseases they have
contracted, there is still much to be said on this question. It must be
remembered that the majority of those who contract venereal diseases by
illegitimate sexual intercourse are young. They are youths, ignorant of
life, scarcely yet escaped from home, still undeveloped, incompletely
educated, and easily duped by women; in many cases they have met, as they
thought, a "nice" girl, not indeed strictly virtuous but, it seemed to
them, above all suspicion of disease, though in reality she was a
clandestine prostitute. Or they are young girls who have indeed ceased to
be absolutely chaste, but have not yet lost all their innocence, and who
do not consider themselves, and are not by others considered, prostitutes;
that indeed, is one of the rocks on which the system of police regulation
of prostitution comes to grief, for the police cannot catch the prostitute
at a sufficiently early stage. Of women who become syphilitic, according
to Fournier, twenty per cent. are infected before they are nineteen; in
hospitals the proportion is as high as forty per cent.; and of men fifteen
per cent. cases occur between eleven and twenty-one years of age. The age
of maximum frequency of infection is for women twenty years (in the rural
population eighteen), and for men twenty-three years. In Germany Erb
finds that as many as eighty-five per cent men with gonorrhoea
contracted the disease between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five, a very
small percentage being infected after thirty. These young things for the
most part fell into a trap which Nature had baited with her most
fascinating lure; they were usually ignorant; not seldom they were
deceived by an attractive personality; often they were overcome by
passion; frequently all prudence and reserve had been lost in the fumes of
wine. From a truly moral point of view they were scarcely less innocent
than children.

    "I ask," says Duclaux, "whether when a young man, or a young
    girl, abandon themselves to a dangerous caress society has done
    what it can to warn them. Perhaps its intentions were good, but
    when the need came for precise knowledge a silly prudery has held
    it back, and it has left its children without _viaticum_.... I
    will go further, and proclaim that in a large number of cases the
    husbands who contaminate their wives are innocent. No one is
    responsible for the evil which he commits without knowing it and
    without willing it." I may recall the suggestive fact, already
    referred to, that the majority of husbands who infect their wives
    contracted the disease before marriage. They entered on marriage
    believing that their disease was cured, and that they had broken
    with their past. Doctors have sometimes (and quacks frequently)
    contributed to this result by too sanguine an estimate of the
    period necessary to destroy the poison. So great an authority as
    Fournier formerly believed that the syphilitic could safely be
    allowed to marry three or four years after the date of infection,
    but now, with increased experience, he extends the period to four
    or five years. It is undoubtedly true that, especially when
    treatment has been thorough and prompt, the diseased
    constitution, in a majority of cases, can be brought under
    complete control in a shorter period than this, but there is
    always a certain proportion of cases in which the powers of
    infection persist for many years, and even when the syphilitic
    husband is no longer capable of infecting his wife he may still
    perhaps be in a condition to effect a disastrous influence on the

In nearly all these cases there was more or less ignorance--which is but
another word for innocence as we commonly understand innocence--and when
at last, after the event, the facts are more or less bluntly explained to
the victim he frequently exclaims: "Nobody told me!" It is this fact which
condemns the pseudo-moralist. If he had seen to it that mothers began to
explain the facts of sex to their little boys and girls from childhood, if
he had (as Dr. Joseph Price urges) taught the risks of venereal disease in
the Sunday-school, if he had plainly preached on the relations of the
sexes from the pulpit, if he had seen to it that every youth at the
beginning of adolescence received some simple technical instruction from
his family doctor concerning sexual health and sexual disease--then,
though there would still remain the need of pity for those who strayed
from a path that must always be difficult to walk in, the would-be
moralist at all events would in some measure be exculpated. But he has
seldom indeed lifted a finger to do any of these things.

Even those who may be unwilling to abandon an attitude of private moral
intolerance towards the victims of venereal diseases may still do well to
remember that since the public manifestation of their intolerance is
mischievous, and at the best useless, it is necessary for them to restrain
it in the interests of society. They would not be the less free to order
their own personal conduct in the strictest accordance with their superior
moral rigidity; and that after all is for them the main thing. But for the
sake of society it is necessary for them to adopt what they may consider
the convention of a purely hygienic attitude towards these diseases. The
erring are inevitably frightened by an attitude of moral reprobation into
methods of concealment, and these produce an endless chain of social evils
which can only be dissipated by openness. As Duclaux has so earnestly
insisted, it is impossible to grapple successfully with venereal disease
unless we consent not to introduce our prejudices, or even our morals and
religion, into the question, but treat it purely and simply as a sanitary
question. And if the pseudo-moralist still has difficulty in coöperating
towards the healing of this social sore he may be reminded that he
himself--like every one of us little though we may know it--has certainly
had a great army of syphilitic and gonorrhoeal persons among his own
ancestors during the past four centuries. We are all bound together, and
it is absurd, even when it is not inhuman, to cast contempt on our own
flesh and blood.

I have discussed rather fully the attitude of those who plead morality as
a reason for ignoring the social necessity of combating venereal disease,
because although there may not be many who seriously and understandingly
adopt so anti-social and inhuman an attitude there are certainly many who
are glad at need of the existence of so fine an excuse for their moral
indifference or their mental indolence.[242] When they are confronted by
this great and difficult problem they find it easy to offer the remedy of
conventional morality, although they are well aware that on a large scale
that remedy has long been proved to be ineffectual. They ostentatiously
affect to proffer the useless thick end of the wedge at a point where it
is only possible with much skill and prudence to insinuate the thin
working end.

The general acceptance of the fact that syphilis and gonorrhoea
are diseases, and not necessarily crimes or sins, is the condition for any
practical attempt to deal with this question from the sanitary point of
view which is now taking the place of the antiquated and ineffective
police point of view. The Scandinavian countries of Europe have been the
pioneers in practical modern hygienic methods of dealing with venereal
disease. There are several reasons why this has come about. All the
problems of sex--of sexual love as well as of sexual disease--have long
been prominent in these countries, and an impatience with prudish
hypocrisy seems here to have been more pronounced than elsewhere; we see
this spirit, for instance, emphatically embodied in the plays of Ibsen,
and to some extent in Björnson's works. The fearless and energetic temper
of the people impels them to deal practically with sexual difficulties,
while their strong instincts of independence render them averse to the
bureaucratic police methods which have flourished in Germany and France.
The Scandinavians have thus been the natural pioneers of the methods of
combating venereal diseases which are now becoming generally recognized
to be the methods of the future, and they have fully organized the system
of putting venereal diseases under the ordinary law and dealing with them
as with other contagious diseases.

The first step in dealing with a contagious disease is to apply to it the
recognized principles of notification. Every new application of the
principle, it is true, meets with opposition. It is without practical
result, it is an unwarranted inquisition into the affairs of the
individual, it is a new tax on the busy medical practitioner, etc.
Certainly notification by itself will not arrest the progress of any
infectious disease. But it is an essential element in every attempt to
deal with the prevention of disease. Unless we know precisely the exact
incidence, local variations, and temporary fluctuations of a disease we
are entirely in the dark and can only beat about at random. All progress
in public hygiene has been accompanied by the increased notification of
disease, and most authorities are agreed that such notification must be
still further extended, any slight inconvenience thus caused to
individuals being of trifling importance compared to the great public
interests at stake. It is true that so great an authority as Neisser has
expressed doubt concerning the extension of notification to gonorrhoea;
the diagnosis cannot be infallible, and the patients often give false
names. These objections, however, seem trivial; diagnosis can very seldom
be infallible (though in this field no one has done so much for exact
diagnosis as Neisser himself), and names are not necessary for
notification, and are not indeed required in the form of compulsory
notification of venereal disease which existed a few years ago in Norway.

The principle of the compulsory notification of venereal diseases seems to
have been first established in Prussia, where it dates from 1835. The
system here, however, is only partial, not being obligatory in all cases
but only when in the doctor's opinion secrecy might be harmful to the
patient himself or to the community; it is only obligatory when the
patient is a soldier. This method of notification is indeed on a wrong
basis, it is not part of a comprehensive sanitary system but merely an
auxiliary to police methods of dealing with prostitution. According to
the Scandinavian system, notification, though not an essential part of
this system, rests on an entirely different basis.

The Scandinavian plan in a modified form has lately been established in
Denmark. This little country, so closely adjoining Germany, for some time
followed in this matter the example of its great neighbor and adopted the
police regulation of prostitution and venereal disease. The more
fundamental Scandinavian affinities of Denmark were, however, eventually
asserted, and in 1906, the system of regulation was entirely abandoned and
Denmark resolved to rely on thorough and systematic application of the
sanitary principle already accepted in the country, although something of
German influence still persists in the strict regulation of the streets
and the penalties imposed upon brothel-keepers, leaving prostitution
itself free. The decisive feature of the present system is, however, that
the sanitary authorities are now exclusively medical. Everyone, whatever
his social or financial position, is entitled to the free treatment of
venereal disease. Whether he avails himself of it or not, he is in any
case bound to undergo treatment. Every diseased person is thus, so far as
it can be achieved, in a doctor's hands. All doctors have their
instructions in regard to such cases, they have not only to inform their
patients that they cannot marry so long as risks of infection are
estimated to be present, but that they are liable for the expenses of
treatment, as well as the dangers suffered, by any persons whom they may
infect. Although it has not been possible to make the system at every
point thoroughly operative, its general success is indicated by the entire
reliance now placed on it, and the abandonment of the police regulation of
prostitution. A system very similar to that of Denmark was established
some years previously in Norway. The principle of the treatment of
venereal disease at the public expense exists also in Sweden as well as in
Finland, where treatment is compulsory.[243]

It can scarcely be said that the principle of notification has yet been
properly applied on a large scale to venereal diseases. But it is
constantly becoming more widely advocated, more especially in England and
the United States,[244] where national temperament and political
traditions render the system of the police regulation of prostitution
impossible--even if it were more effective than it practically is--and
where the system of dealing with venereal disease on the basis of public
health has to be recognized as not only the best but the only possible

In association with this, it is necessary, as is also becoming ever more
widely recognized, that there should be the most ample facilities for the
gratuitous treatment of venereal diseases; the general establishment of
free dispensaries, open in the evenings, is especially necessary, for many
can only seek advice and help at this time. It is largely to the
systematic introduction of facilities for gratuitous treatment that the
enormous reduction in venereal disease in Sweden, Norway, and Bosnia is
attributed. It is the absence of the facilities for treatment, the implied
feeling that the victims of venereal disease are not sufferers but merely
offenders not entitled to care, that has in the past operated so
disastrously in artificially promoting the dissemination of preventable
diseases which might be brought under control.

If we dispense with the paternal methods of police regulation, if we rely
on the general principles of medical hygiene, and for the rest allow the
responsibility for his own good or bad actions to rest on the individual
himself, there is a further step, already fully recognized in principle,
which we cannot neglect to take: We must look on every person as
accountable for the venereal diseases he transmits. So long as we refuse
to recognize venereal diseases as on the same level as other infectious
diseases, and so long as we offer no full and fair facilities for their
treatment, it is unjust to bring the individual to account for spreading
them. But if we publicly recognize the danger of infectious venereal
diseases, and if we leave freedom to the individual, we must inevitably
declare, with Duclaux, that every man or woman must be held responsible
for the diseases he or she communicates.

According to the Oldenburg Code of 1814 it was a punishable offence for a
venereally diseased person to have sexual intercourse with a healthy
person, whether or not infection resulted. In Germany to-day, however,
there is no law of this kind, although eminent German legal authorities,
notably Von Liszt, are of opinion that a paragraph should be added to the
Code declaring that sexual intercourse on the part of a person who knows
that he is diseased should be punishable by imprisonment for a period not
exceeding two years, the law not to be applied as between married couples
except on the application of one of the parties. At the present time in
Germany the transmission of venereal disease is only punishable as a
special case of the infliction of bodily injury.[246] In this matter
Germany is behind most of the Scandinavian countries where individual
responsibility for venereal infection is well recognized and actively

In France, though the law is not definite and satisfactory, actions for
the transmission of syphilis are successfully brought before the courts.
Opinion seems to be more decisively in favor of punishment for this
offense than it is in Germany. In 1883 Després discussed the matter and
considered the objections. Few may avail themselves of the law, he
remarks, but all would be rendered more cautious by the fear of infringing
it; while the difficulties of tracing and proving infection are not
greater, he points out, than those of tracing and proving paternity in the
case of illegitimate children. Després would punish with imprisonment for
not more than two years any person, knowing himself to be diseased, who
transmitted a venereal disease, and would merely fine those who
communicated the contagion by imprudence, not realizing that they were
diseased.[247] The question has more recently been discussed by Aurientis
in a Paris thesis. He states that the present French law as regards the
transmission of sexual diseases is not clearly established and is
difficult to act upon, but it is certainly just that those who have been
contaminated and injured in this way should easily be able to obtain
reparation. Although it is admitted in principle that the communication of
syphilis is an offence even under common law he is in agreement with those
who would treat it as a special offence, making a new and more practical
law.[248] Heavy damages are even at the present time obtained in the
French courts from men who have infected young women in sexual
intercourse, and also from the doctors as well as the mothers of
syphilitic infants who have infected the foster-mothers they were
entrusted to. Although the French Penal Code forbids in general the
disclosure of professional secrets, it is the duty of the medical
practitioner to warn the foster-mother in such a case of the danger she is
incurring, but without naming the disease; if he neglects to give this
warning he may be held liable.

In England, as well as in the United States, the law is more
unsatisfactory and more helpless, in relation to this class of offences,
than it is in France. The mischievous and barbarous notion, already dealt
with, according to which venereal disease is the result of illicit
intercourse and should be tolerated as a just visitation of God, seems
still to flourish in these countries with fatal persistency. In England
the communication of venereal disease by illicit intercourse is not an
actionable wrong if the act of intercourse has been voluntary, even
although there has been wilful and intentional concealment of the disease.
_Ex turpi causâ non oritur actio_, it is sententiously said; for there is
much dormitative virtue in a Latin maxim. No legal offence has still been
committed if a husband contaminates his wife, or a wife her husband.[249]
The "freedom" enjoyed in this matter by England and the United States is
well illustrated by an American case quoted by Dr. Isidore Dyer, of New
Orleans, in his report to the Brussels Conference on the Prevention of
Venereal Diseases, in 1899: "A patient with primary syphilis refused even
charitable treatment and carried a book wherein she kept the number of men
she had inoculated. When I first saw her she declared the number had
reached two hundred and nineteen and that she would not be treated until
she had had revenge on five hundred men." In a community where the most
elementary rules of justice prevailed facilities would exist to enable
this woman to obtain damages from the man who had injured her or even to
secure his conviction to a term of imprisonment. In obtaining some
indemnity for the wrong done her, and securing the "revenge" she craved,
she would at the same time have conferred a benefit on society. She is
shut out from any action against the one person who injured her; but as a
sort of compensation she is allowed to become a radiating focus of
disease, to shorten many lives, to cause many deaths, to pile up
incalculable damages; and in so doing she is to-day perfectly within her
legal rights. A community which encourages this state of things is not
only immoral but stupid.

There seems, however, to be a growing body of influential opinion, both in
England and in the United States, in favor of making the transmission of
venereal disease an offence punishable by heavy fine or by
imprisonment.[250] In any enactment no stress should be put on the
infection being conveyed "knowingly." Any formal limitation of this kind
is unnecessary, as in such a case the Court always takes into account the
offender's ignorance or mere negligence, and it is mischievous because it
tends to render an enactment ineffective and to put a premium on
ignorance; the husbands who infect their wives with gonorrhoea
immediately after marriage have usually done so from ignorance, and it
should be at least necessary for them to prove that they have been
fortified in their ignorance by medical advice. It is sometimes said that
the existing law could be utilized for bringing actions of this kind, and
that no greater facilities should be offered for fear of increasing
attempts at blackmail. The inutility of the law at present for this
purpose is shown by the fact that it seldom or never happens that any
attempt is made to utilize it, while not only are there a number of
existing punishable offences which form the subject of attempts at
blackmail, but blackmail can still be demanded even in regard to
disreputable actions that are not legally punishable at all. Moreover, the
attempt to levy blackmail is itself an offence always sternly dealt with
in the courts.

It is possible to trace the beginning of a recognition that the
transmission of a venereal disease is a matter of which legal cognizance
may be taken in the English law courts. It is now well settled that the
infection of a wife by her husband may be held to constitute the legal
cruelty which, according to the present law, must be proved, in addition
to adultery, before a wife can obtain divorce from her husband. In 1777
Restif de la Bretonne proposed in his _Gynographes_ that the communication
of a venereal disease should itself be an adequate ground for divorce;
this, however, is not at present generally accepted.[251]

It is sometimes said that it is very well to make the individual legally
responsible for the venereal disease he communicates, but that the
difficulties of bringing that responsibility home would still remain. And
those who admit these difficulties frequently reply that at the worst we
should have in our hands a means of educating responsibility; the man who
deliberately ran the risk of transmitting such infection would be made to
feel that he was no longer fairly within his legal rights but had done a
bad action. We are thus led on finally to what is now becoming generally
recognized as the chief and central method of combating venereal disease,
if we are to accept the principle of individual responsibility as ruling
in this sphere of life. Organized sanitary and medical precautions, and
proper legal protection for those who have been injured, are inoperative
without the educative influence of elementary hygienic instruction placed
in the possession of every young man and woman. In a sphere that is
necessarily so intimate medical organization and legal resort can never be
all-sufficing; knowledge is needed at every step in every individual to
guide and even to awaken that sense of personal moral responsibility which
must here always rule. Wherever the importance of these questions is
becoming acutely realized--and notably at the Congresses of the German
Society for Combating Venereal Disease--the problem is resolving itself
mainly into one of education.[252] And although opinion and practice in
this matter are to-day more advanced in Germany than elsewhere the
conviction of this necessity is becoming scarcely less pronounced in all
other civilized countries, in England and America as much as in France and
the Scandinavian lands.

A knowledge of the risks of disease by sexual intercourse, both in and out
of marriage,--and indeed, apart from sexual intercourse altogether,--is a
further stage of that sexual education which, as we have already seen,
must begin, so far as the elements are concerned, at a very early age.
Youths and girls should be taught, as the distinguished Austrian
economist, Anton von Menger wrote, shortly before his death, in his
excellent little book, _Neue Sittenlehre_, that the production of children
is a crime when the parents are syphilitic or otherwise incompetent
through transmissible chronic diseases. Information about venereal disease
should not indeed be given until after puberty is well established. It is
unnecessary and undesirable to impart medical knowledge to young boys and
girls and to warn them against risks they are yet little liable to be
exposed to. It is when the age of strong sexual instinct, actual or
potential, begins that the risks, under some circumstances, of yielding to
it, need to be clearly present to the mind. No one who reflects on the
actual facts of life ought to doubt that it is in the highest degree
desirable that every adolescent youth and girl ought to receive some
elementary instruction in the general facts of venereal disease,
tuberculosis, and alcoholism. These three "plagues of civilization" are so
widespread, so subtle and manifold in their operation, that everyone comes
in contact with them during life, and that everyone is liable to suffer,
even before he is aware, perhaps hopelessly and forever, from the results
of that contact. Vague declamation about immorality and vaguer warnings
against it have no effect and possess no meaning, while rhetorical
exaggeration is unnecessary. A very simple and concise statement of the
actual facts concerning the evils that beset life is quite sufficient and
adequate, and quite essential. To ignore this need is only possible to
those who take a dangerously frivolous view of life.

It is the young woman as much as the youth who needs this enlightenment.
There are still some persons so ill-informed as to believe that though it
may be necessary to instruct the youth it is best to leave his sister
unsullied, as they consider it, by a knowledge of the facts of life. This
is the very reverse of the truth. It is desirable indeed that all should
be acquainted with facts so vital to humanity, even although not
themselves personally concerned. But the girl is even more concerned than
the youth. A man has the matter more within his own grasp, and if he so
chooses he may avoid all the grosser risks of contact with venereal
disease. But it is not so with the woman. Whatever her own purity, she
cannot be sure that she may not have to guard against the possibility of
disease in her future husband as well as in those to whom she may entrust
her child. It is a possibility which the educated woman, so far from
being dispensed from, is more liable to encounter than is the
working-class woman, for venereal disease is less prevalent among the poor
than the rich.[253] The careful physician, even when his patient is a
minister of religion, considers it his duty to inquire if he has had
syphilis, and the clergyman of most severely correct life recognizes the
need of such inquiry and may perhaps smile, but seldom feels himself
insulted. The relationship between husband and wife is even much more
intimate and important than that between doctor and patient, and a woman
is not dispensed from the necessity of such inquiry concerning her future
husband by the conviction that the reply must surely be satisfactory.
Moreover, it may well be in some cases that, if she is adequately
enlightened, she may be the means of saving him, before it is too late,
from the guilt of premature marriage and its fateful consequences, so
deserving to earn his everlasting gratitude. Even if she fails in winning
that, she still has her duty to herself and to the future race which her
children will help to form.

    In most countries there is a growing feeling in favor of the
    enlightenment of young women equally with young men as regards
    venereal diseases. Thus in Germany Max Flesch, in his
    _Prostitution und Frauenkrankheiten_, considers that at the end
    of their school days all girls should receive instruction
    concerning the grave physical and social dangers to which women
    are exposed in life. In France Duclaux (in his _L'Hygiène
    Sociale_) is emphatic that women must be taught. "Already," he
    states, "doctors who by custom have been made, in spite of
    themselves, the husband's accomplices, will tell you of the
    ironical gaze they sometimes encounter when they seek to lead a
    wife astray concerning the causes of her ills. The day is
    approaching of a revolt against the social lie which has made so
    many victims, and you will be obliged to teach women what they
    need to know in order to guard themselves against you." It is the
    same in America. Reform in this field, Isidore Dyer declares,
    must emblazon on its flag the motto, "Knowledge is Health," as
    well of mind as of body, for women as well as for men. In a
    discussion introduced by Denslow Lewis at the annual meeting of
    the American Medical Association in 1901 on the limitation of
    venereal diseases (_Medico-Legal Journal_, June and September,
    1903), there was a fairly general agreement among all the
    speakers that almost or quite the chief method of prevention lay
    in education, the education of women as much as of men.
    "Education lies at the bottom of the whole thing," declared one
    speaker (Seneca Egbert, of Philadelphia), "and we will never gain
    much headway until every young man, and every young woman, even
    before she falls in love and becomes engaged, knows what these
    diseases are, and what it will mean if she marries a man who has
    contracted them." "Educate father and mother, and they will
    educate their sons and daughters," exclaims Egbert Grandin, more
    especially in regard to gonorrhoea (_Medical Record_, May 26,
    1906); "I lay stress on the daughter because she becomes the
    chief sufferer from inoculation, and it is her right to know that
    she should protect herself against the gonorrhoeic as well as
    against the alcoholic."

We must fully face the fact that it is the woman herself who must be
accounted responsible, as much as a man, for securing the right conditions
of a marriage she proposes to enter into. In practice, at the outset, that
responsibility may no doubt be in part delegated to parents or guardians.
It is unreasonable that any false delicacy should be felt about this
matter on either side. Questions of money and of income are discussed
before marriage, and as public opinion grows sounder none will question
the necessity of discussing the still more serious question of health,
alike that of the prospective bridegroom and of the bride. An incalculable
amount of disease and marital unhappiness would be prevented if before an
engagement was finally concluded each party placed himself or herself in
the hands of a physician and authorized him to report to the other party.
Such a report would extend far beyond venereal disease. If its necessity
became generally recognized it would put an end to much fraud which now
takes place when entering the marriage bond. It constantly happens at
present that one party or the other conceals the existence of some serious
disease or disability which is speedily discovered after marriage,
sometimes with a painful and alarming shock--as when a man discovers his
wife in an epileptic fit on the wedding night--and always with the bitter
and abiding sense of having been duped. There can be no reasonable doubt
that such concealment is an adequate cause of divorce. Sir Thomas More
doubtless sought to guard against such frauds when he ordained in his
_Utopia_ that each party should before marriage be shown naked to the
other. The quaint ceremony he describes was based on a reasonable idea,
for it is ludicrous, if it were not often tragic in its results, that any
person should be asked to undertake to embrace for life a person whom he
or she has not so much as seen.

It may be necessary to point out that every movement in this direction
must be the spontaneous action of individuals directing their own lives
according to the rules of an enlightened conscience, and cannot be
initiated by the dictation of the community as a whole enforcing its
commands by law. In these matters law can only come in at the end, not at
the beginning. In the essential matters of marriage and procreation laws
are primarily made in the brains and consciences of individuals for their
own guidance. Unless such laws are already embodied in the actual practice
of the great majority of the community it is useless for parliaments to
enact them by statute. They will be ineffective or else they will be worse
than ineffective by producing undesigned mischiefs. We can only go to the
root of the matter by insisting on education in moral responsibility and
instruction, in matters of fact.

The question arises as to the best person to impart this instruction. As
we have seen there can be little doubt that before puberty the parents,
and especially the mother, are the proper instructors of their children in
esoteric knowledge. But after puberty the case is altered. The boy and the
girl are becoming less amenable to parental influence, there is greater
shyness on both sides, and the parents rarely possess the more technical
knowledge that is now required. At this stage it seems that the assistance
of the physician, of the family doctor if he has the proper qualities for
the task, should be called in. The plan usually adopted, and now widely
carried out, is that of lectures setting forth the main facts concerning
venereal diseases, their dangers, and allied topics.[254] This method is
quite excellent. Such lectures should be delivered at intervals by medical
lecturers at all urban, educational, manufacturing, military, and naval
centres, wherever indeed a large number of young persons are gathered
together. It should be the business of the central educational authority
either to carry them out or to enforce on those controlling or employing
young persons the duty of providing such lectures. The lectures should be
free to all who have attained the age of sixteen.

    In Germany the principle of instruction by lectures concerning
    venereal diseases seems to have become established, at all events
    so far as young men are concerned, and such lectures are
    constantly becoming more usual. In 1907 the Minister of Education
    established courses of lectures by doctors on sexual hygiene and
    venereal diseases for higher schools and educational
    institutions, though attendance was not made compulsory. The
    courses now frequently given by medical men to the higher classes
    in German secondary schools on the general principles of sexual
    anatomy and physiology nearly always include sexual hygiene with
    special reference to venereal diseases (see, e.g.,
    _Sexualpädagogik_, pp. 131-153). In Austria, also, lectures on
    personal hygiene and the dangers of venereal disease are
    delivered to students about to leave the gymnasium for the
    university; and the working men's clubs have instituted regular
    courses of lectures on the same subjects delivered by physicians.
    In France many distinguished men, both inside and outside the
    medical profession, are working for the cause of the instruction
    of the young in sexual hygiene, though they have to contend
    against a more obstinate degree of prejudice and prudery on the
    part of the middle class than is to be found in the Germanic
    lands. The Commission Extraparlementaire du Régime des Moeurs,
    with the conjunction of Augagneur, Alfred Fournier, Yves Guyot,
    Gide, and other distinguished professors, teachers, etc., has
    lately pronounced in favor of the official establishment of
    instruction in sexual hygiene, to be given in the highest classes
    at the lycées, or in the earliest class at higher educational
    colleges; such instruction, it is argued, would not only furnish
    needed enlightenment, but also educate the sense of moral
    responsibility. There is in France, also, an active and
    distinguished though unofficial Société Française de Prophylaxie
    Sanitaire et Morale, which delivers public lectures on sexual
    hygiene. Fournier, Pinard, Burlureaux and other eminent
    physicians have written pamphlets on this subject for popular
    distribution (see, e.g., _Le Progrès Médical_ of September,
    1907). In England and the United States very little has yet been
    done in this direction, but in the United States, at all events,
    opinion in favor of action is rapidly growing (see, e.g., W.A.
    Funk, "The Venereal Peril," _Medical Record_, April 13, 1907).
    The American Society of Sanitary and Moral Prophylaxis (based on
    the parent society founded in Paris in 1900 by Fournier) was
    established in New York in 1905. There are similar societies in
    Chicago and Philadelphia. The main object is to study venereal
    diseases and to work toward their social control. Doctors,
    laymen, and women are members. Lectures and short talks are now
    given under the auspices of these societies to small groups of
    young women in social settlements, and in other ways, with
    encouraging success; it is found to be an excellent method of
    reaching the young women of the working classes. Both men and
    women physicians take part in the lectures (Clement Cleveland,
    Presidential Address on "Prophylaxis of Venereal Diseases,"
    _Transactions American Gynecological Society_, Philadelphia, vol.
    xxxii, 1907).

    An important auxiliary method of carrying out the task of sexual
    hygiene, and at the same time of spreading useful enlightenment,
    is furnished by the method of giving to every syphilitic patient
    in clinics where such cases are treated a card of instruction for
    his guidance in hygienic matters, together with a warning of the
    risks of marriage within four or five years after infection, and
    in no case without medical advice. Such printed instruction, in
    clear, simple, and incisive language, should be put into the
    hands of every syphilitic patient as a matter of routine, and it
    might be as well to have a corresponding card for gonorrhoeal
    patients. This plan has already been introduced at some
    hospitals, and it is so simple and unobjectionable a precaution
    that it will, no doubt, be generally adopted. In some countries
    this measure is carried out on a wider scale. Thus in Austria, as
    the result of a movement in which several university professors
    have taken an active part, leaflets and circulars, explaining
    briefly the chief symptoms of venereal diseases and warning
    against quacks and secret remedies, are circulated among young
    laborers and factory hands, matriculating students, and scholars
    who are leaving trade schools.

    In France, where great social questions are sometimes faced with
    a more chivalrous daring than elsewhere, the dangers of syphilis,
    and the social position of the prostitute, have alike been dealt
    with by distinguished novelists and dramatists. Huysmans
    inaugurated this movement with his first novel, _Marthe_, which
    was immediately suppressed by the police. Shortly afterwards
    Edmond de Goncourt published _La Fille Elisa_, the first notable
    novel of the kind by a distinguished author. It was written with
    much reticence, and was not indeed a work of high artistic
    value, but it boldly faced a great social problem and clearly set
    forth the evils of the common attitude towards prostitution. It
    was dramatized and played by Antoine at the Théâtre Libre, but
    when, in 1891, Antoine wished to produce it at the
    Porte-Saint-Martin Theatre, the censor interfered and prohibited
    the play on account of its "contexture générale." The Minister of
    Education defended this decision on the ground that there was
    much in the play that might arouse repugnance and disgust.
    "Repugnance here is more moral than attraction," exclaimed M.
    Paul Déroulède, and the newspapers criticized a censure which
    permitted on the stage all the trivial indecencies which favor
    prostitution, but cannot tolerate any attack on prostitution. In
    more recent years the brothers Margueritte, both in novels and in
    journalism, have largely devoted their distinguished abilities
    and high literary skill to the courageous and enlightened
    advocacy of many social reforms. Victor Margueritte, in his
    _Prostituée_ (1907)--a novel which has attracted wide attention
    and been translated into various languages--has sought to
    represent the condition of women in our actual society, and more
    especially the condition of the prostitute under what he regards
    as the odious and iniquitous system still prevailing. The book is
    a faithful picture of the real facts, thanks to the assistance
    the author received from the Paris Préfecture of Police, and
    largely for that reason is not altogether a satisfactory work of
    art, but it vividly and poignantly represents the cruelty,
    indifference, and hypocrisy so often shown by men towards women,
    and is a book which, on that account, cannot be too widely read.
    One of the most notable of modern plays is Brieux's _Les Avariés_
    (1902). This distinguished dramatist, himself a medical man,
    dedicates his play to Fournier, the greatest of syphilographers.
    "I think with you," he writes here, "that syphilis will lose much
    of its danger when it is possible to speak openly of an evil
    which is neither a shame nor a punishment, and when those who
    suffer from it, knowing what evils they may propagate, will
    better understand their duties towards others and towards
    themselves." The story developed in the drama is the old and
    typical story of the young man who has spent his bachelor days in
    what he considers a discrete and regular manner, having only had
    two mistresses, neither of them prostitutes, but at the end of
    this period, at a gay supper at which he bids farewell to his
    bachelor life, he commits a fatal indiscretion and becomes
    infected by syphilis; his marriage is approaching and he goes to
    a distinguished specialist who warns him that treatment takes
    time, and that marriage is impossible for several years; he finds
    a quack, however, who undertakes to cure him in six months; at
    the end of the time he marries; a syphilitic child is born; the
    wife discovers the state of things and forsakes her home to
    return to her parents; her indignant father, a deputy in
    Parliament, arrives in Paris; the last word is with the great
    specialist who brings finally some degree of peace and hope into
    the family. The chief morals Brieux points out are that it is the
    duty of the bride's parents before marriage to ascertain the
    bridegroom's health; that the bridegroom should have a doctor's
    certificate; that at every marriage the part of the doctors is at
    least as important as that of the lawyers. Even if it were a less
    accomplished work of art than it is, _Les Avariés_ is a play
    which, from the social and educative point of view alone, all who
    have reached the age of adolescence should be compelled to see.

    Another aspect of the same problem has been presented in _Plus
    Fort que le Mal_, a book written in dramatic form (though not as
    a properly constituted play intended for the stage) by a
    distinguished French medical author who here adopts the name of
    Espy de Metz. The author (who is not, however, pleading _pro
    domo_) calls for a more sympathetic attitude towards those who
    suffer from syphilis, and though he writes with much less
    dramatic skill than Brieux, and scarcely presents his moral in so
    unequivocal a form, his work is a notable contribution to the
    dramatic literature of syphilis.

    It will probably be some time before these questions, poignant as
    they are from the dramatic point of view, and vitally important
    from the social point of view, are introduced on the English or
    the American stage. It is a remarkable fact that, notwithstanding
    the Puritanic elements which still exist in Anglo-Saxon thought
    and feeling generally, the Puritanic aspect of life has never
    received embodiment in the English or American drama. On the
    English stage it is never permitted to hint at the tragic side of
    wantonness; vice must always be made seductive, even though a
    _deus ex machina_ causes it to collapse at the end of the
    performance. As Mr. Bernard Shaw has said, the English theatrical
    method by no means banishes vice; it merely consents that it
    shall be made attractive; its charms are advertised and its
    penalties suppressed. "Now, it is futile to plead that the stage
    is not the proper place for the representation and discussion of
    illegal operations, incest, and venereal disease. If the stage is
    the proper place for the exhibition and discussion of seduction,
    adultery, promiscuity, and prostitution, it must be thrown open
    to all the consequences of these things, or it will demoralize
    the nation."

    The impulse to insist that vice shall always be made attractive
    is not really, notwithstanding appearances, a vicious impulse. It
    arises from a mental confusion, a common psychic tendency, which
    is by no means confined to Anglo-Saxon lands, and is even more
    well marked among the better educated in the merely literary
    sense, than among the worse educated people. The æsthetic is
    confused with the moral, and what arouses disgust is thus
    regarded as immoral. In France the novels of Zola, the most
    pedestrianally moralistic of writers, were for a long time
    supposed to be immoral because they were often disgusting. The
    same feeling is still more widespread in England. If a
    prostitute is brought on the stage, and she is pretty,
    well-dressed, seductive, she may gaily sail through the play and
    every one is satisfied. But if she were not particularly pretty,
    well-dressed, or seductive, if it were made plain that she was
    diseased and was reckless in infecting others with that disease,
    if it were hinted that she could on occasion be foul-mouthed, if,
    in short, a picture were shown from life--then we should hear
    that the unfortunate dramatist had committed something that was
    "disgusting" and "immoral." Disgusting it might be, but, on that
    very account, it would be moral. There is a distinction here that
    the psychologist cannot too often point out or the moralist too
    often emphasize.

It is not for the physician to complicate and confuse his own task as
teacher by mixing it up with considerations which belong to the spiritual
sphere. But in carrying out impartially his own special work of
enlightenment he will always do well to remember that there is in the
adolescent mind, as it has been necessary to point out in a previous
chapter, a spontaneous force working on the side of sexual hygiene. Those
who believe that the adolescent mind is merely bent on sensual indulgence
are not less false and mischievous in their influence than are those who
think it possible and desirable for adolescents to be preserved in sheer
sexual ignorance. However concealed, suppressed, or deformed--usually by
the misplaced and premature zeal of foolish parents and teachers--there
arise at puberty ideal impulses which, even though they may be rooted in
sex, yet in their scope transcend sex. These are capable of becoming far
more potent guides of the physical sex impulse than are merely material or
even hygienic considerations.

It is time to summarize and conclude this discussion of the prevention of
venereal disease, which, though it may seem to the superficial observer to
be merely a medical and sanitary question outside the psychologist's
sphere, is yet seen on closer view to be intimately related even to the
most spiritual conception of the sexual relationships. Not only are
venereal diseases the foes to the finer development of the race, but we
cannot attain to any wholesome and beautiful vision of the relationships
of sex so long as such relationships are liable at every moment to be
corrupted and undermined at their source. We cannot yet precisely measure
the interval which must elapse before, so far as Europe at least is
concerned, syphilis and gonorrhoea are sent to that limbo of monstrous old
dead diseases to which plague and leprosy have gone and smallpox is
already drawing near. But society is beginning to realize that into this
field also must be brought the weapons of light and air, the sword and the
breastplate with which all diseases can alone be attacked. As we have
seen, there are four methods by which in the more enlightened countries
venereal disease is now beginning to be combated.[255] (1) By proclaiming
openly that the venereal diseases are diseases like any other disease,
although more subtle and terrible than most, which may attack anyone from
the unborn baby to its grandmother, and that they are not, more than other
diseases, the shameful penalties of sin, from which relief is only to be
sought, if at all, by stealth, but human calamities; (2) by adopting
methods of securing official information concerning the extent,
distribution, and variation of venereal disease, through the already
recognized plan of notification and otherwise, and by providing such
facilities for treatment, especially for free treatment, as may be found
necessary; (3) by training the individual sense of moral responsibility,
so that every member of the community may realize that to inflict a
serious disease on another person, even only as a result of reckless
negligence, is a more serious offence than if he or she had used the knife
or the gun or poison as the method of attack, and that it is necessary to
introduce special legal provision in every country to assist the recovery
of damages for such injuries and to inflict penalties by loss of liberty
or otherwise; (4) by the spread of hygienic knowledge, so that all
adolescents, youths and girls alike, may be furnished at the outset of
adult life with an equipment of information which will assist them to
avoid the grosser risks of contamination and enable them to recognize and
avoid danger at the earliest stages.

A few years ago, when no method of combating venereal disease was known
except that system of police regulation which is now in its decadence, it
would have been impossible to bring forward such considerations as these;
they would have seemed Utopian. To-day they are not only recognizable as
practical, but they are being actually put into practice, although, it is
true, with very varying energy and insight in different countries. Yet it
is certain that in the competition of nationalities, as Max von Niessen
has well said, "that country will best take a leading place in the march
of civilization which has the foresight and courage to introduce and carry
through those practical movements of sexual hygiene which have so wide and
significant a bearing on its own future, and that of the human race


[220] It is probable that Schopenhauer felt a more than merely speculative
interest in this matter. Bloch has shown good reason for believing that
Schopenhauer himself contracted syphilis in 1813, and that this was a
factor in constituting his conception of the world and in confirming his
constitutional pessimism (_Medizinische Klinik_, Nos. 25 and 26, 1906).

[221] Havelburg, in Senator and Kaminer, _Health and Disease in Relation
to Marriage_, vol. i, pp. 186-189.

[222] This is the very definite opinion of Lowndes after an experience of
fifty-four years in the treatment of venereal diseases in Liverpool
(_British Medical Journal_, Feb. 9, 1907, p. 334). It is further indicated
by the fact (if it is a real fact) that since 1876 there has been a
decline of both the infantile and general mortality from syphilis in

[223] "There is no doubt whatever that syphilis is on the increase in
London, judging from hospital work alone," says Pernet (_British Medical
Journal_, March 30, 1907). Syphilis was evidently very prevalent, however,
a century or two ago, and there is no ground for asserting positively that
it is more prevalent to-day.

[224] See, e.g., A. Neisser, _Die experimentelle Syphilisforschung_, 1906,
and E. Hoffmann (who was associated with Schaudinn's discovery), _Die
Aetiologie der Syphilis_, 1906; D'Arcy Power, _A System of Syphilis_,
1908, etc.; F.W. Mott, "Pathology of Syphilis in the Light of Modern
Research," _British Medical Journal_, February 20, 1909; also, _Archives
of Neurology and Psychiatry_, vol. iv, 1909.

[225] There is some difference of opinion on this point, and though it
seems probable that early and thorough treatment usually cures the disease
in a few years and renders further complications highly improbable, it is
not possible, even under the most favorable circumstances, to speak with
absolute certainty as to the future.

[226] "That syphilis has been, and is, one of the chief causes of physical
degeneration in England cannot be denied, and it is a fact that is
acknowledged on all sides," writes Lieutenant-Colonel Lambkin, the medical
officer in command of the London Military Hospital for Venereal Diseases.
"To grapple with the treatment of syphilis among the civil population of
England ought to be the chief object of those interested in that most
burning question, the physical degeneration of our race" (_British Medical
Journal_, August 19, 1905).

[227] F.W. Mott, "Syphilis as a Cause of Insanity," _British Medical
Journal_, October 18, 1902.

[228] It can seldom be proved in more than eighty per cent. of cases, but
in twenty per cent. of old syphilitic cases it is commonly impossible to
find traces of the disease or to obtain a history of it. Crocker found
that it was only in eighty per cent. of cases of absolutely certain
syphilitic skin diseases that he could obtain a history of syphilitic
infection, and Mott found exactly the same percentage in absolutely
certain syphilitic lesions of the brain; Mott believes (e.g., "Syphilis in
Relation to the Nervous System," _British Medical Journal_, January 4,
1908) that syphilis is the essential cause of general paralysis and tabes.

[229] Audry. _La Semaine Médicale_, June 26, 1907. When Europeans carry
syphilis to lands inhabited by people of lower race, the results are often
very much worse than this. Thus Lambkin, as a result of a special mission
to investigate syphilis in Uganda, found that in some districts as many as
ninety per cent, of the people suffer from syphilis, and fifty to sixty
per cent, of the infant mortality is due to this cause. These people are
Baganda, a highly intelligent, powerful, and well-organized tribe before
they received, in the gift of syphilis, the full benefit of civilization
and Christianity, which (Lambkin points out) has been largely the cause of
the spread of the disease by breaking down social customs and emancipating
the women. Christianity is powerful enough to break down the old morality,
but not powerful enough to build up a new morality (_British Medical
Journal_, October 3, 1908, p. 1037).

[230] Even within the limits of the English army it is found In India
(H.C. French, _Syphilis in the Army_, 1907) that venereal disease is ten
times more frequent among British troops than among Native troops. Outside
of national armies it is found, by admission to hospital and death rates,
that the United States stands far away at the head for frequency of
venereal disease, being followed by Great Britain, then France and
Austria-Hungary, Russia, and Germany.

[231] There is no dispute concerning the antiquity of gonorrhoea in the
Old World as there is regarding syphilis. The disease was certainly known
at a very remote period. Even Esarhaddon, the famous King of Assyria,
referred to in the Old Testament, was treated by the priests for a
disorder which, as described in the cuneiform documents of the time, could
only have been gonorrhoea. The disease was also well known to the ancient
Egyptians, and evidently common, for they recorded many prescriptions for
its treatment (Oefele, "Gonorrhoe 1350 vor Christi Geburt," _Monatshefte
für Praktische Dermatologie_, 1899, p. 260).

[232] Cf. Memorandum by Sydney Stephenson, Report of Ophthalmia Neonatorum
Committee, _British Medical Journal_, May 8, 1909.

[233] The extent of these evils is set forth, e.g., in a comprehensive
essay by Taylor, _American Journal Obstetrics_, January, 1908.

[234] Neisser brings together figures bearing on the prevalence of
gonorrhoea in Germany, Senator and Kaminer, _Health and Disease in
Relation to Marriage_, vol. ii, pp. 486-492.

[235] _Lancet_, September 23, 1882. As regards women, Dr. Frances Ivens
(_British Medical Journal_, June 19, 1909) has found at Liverpool that 14
per cent. of gynæcological cases revealed the presence of gonorrhoea. They
were mostly poor respectable married women. This is probably a high
proportion, as Liverpool is a busy seaport, but it is less than Sänger's
estimate of 18 per cent.

[236] E.H. Grandin, _Medical Record_, May 26, 1906.

[237] E.W. Cushing, "Sociological Aspects of Gonorrhoea," _Transactions
American Gynecological Society_, vol. xxii, 1897.

[238] It is only in very small communities ruled by an autocratic power
with absolute authority to control conditions and to examine persons of
both sexes that reglementation becomes in any degree effectual. This is
well shown by Dr. W.E. Harwood, who describes the system he organized in
the mines of the Minnesota Iron Company (_Journal American Medical
Association_, December 22, 1906). The women in the brothels on the
company's estate were of the lowest class, and disease was very prevalent.
Careful examination of the women was established, and control of the men,
who, immediately on becoming diseased, were bound to declare by what woman
they had been infected. The woman was responsible for the medical bill of
the man she infected, and even for his board, if incapacitated, and the
women were compelled to maintain a fund for their own hospital expenses
when required. In this way venereal disease, though not entirely uprooted,
was very greatly diminished.

[239] A clear and comprehensive statement of the present position of the
question is given by Iwan Bloch, _Das Sexualleben Unserer Zeit_, Chs.
XIII-XV. How ineffectual the system of police regulation is, even in
Germany, where police interference is tolerated to so marked a degree, may
be illustrated by the case of Mannheim. Here the regulation of
prostitution is very severe and thorough, yet a careful inquiry in 1905
among the doctors of Mannheim (ninety-two of whom sent in detailed
returns) showed that of six hundred cases of venereal disease in men,
nearly half had been contracted from prostitutes. About half the remaining
cases (nearly a quarter of the whole) were due to waitresses and
bar-maids; then followed servant-girls (Lion and Loeb, in
_Sexualpädagogik_, the Proceedings of the Third German Congress for
Combating Venereal Diseases, 1907, p. 295).

[240] A sixth less numerous class might be added of the young girls, often
no more than children, who have been practically raped by men who believe
that intercourse with a virgin is a cure for obstinate venereal disease.
In America this belief is frequently held by Italians, Chinese, negroes,
etc. W. Travis Gibb, Examining Physician of the New York Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Children, has examined over 900 raped children
(only a small proportion, he states, of the cases actually occurring), and
finds that thirteen per cent have venereal diseases. A fairly large
proportion of these cases, among girls from twelve to sixteen, are, he
states, willing victims. Dr. Flora Pollack, also, of the Johns Hopkins
Hospital Dispensary, estimates that in Baltimore alone from 800 to 1,000
children between the ages of one and fifteen are venereally infected every
year. The largest number, she finds, is at the age of six, and the chief
cause appears to be, not lust, but superstition.

[241] For a discussion of inherited syphilis, see, e.g., Clement Lucas,
_Lancet_, February 1, 1908.

[242] Much harm has been done in some countries by the foolish and
mischievous practice of friendly societies and sick clubs of ignoring
venereal diseases, and not according free medical aid or sick pay to those
members who suffer from them. This practice prevailed, for instance, in
Vienna until 1907, when a more humane and enlightened policy was
inaugurated, venereal diseases being placed on the same level as other

[243] Active measures against venereal disease were introduced in Sweden
early in the last century, and compulsory and gratuitous treatment
established. Compulsory notification was introduced many years ago in
Norway, and by 1907 there was a great diminution in the prevalence of
venereal diseases; there is compulsory treatment.

[244] See, e.g., Morrow, _Social Diseases and Marriage_, Ch. XXXVII.

[245] A committee of the Medical Society of New York, appointed in 1902 to
consider this question, reported in favor of notification without giving
names and addresses, and Dr. C.R. Drysdale, who took an active part in the
Brussels International Conference of 1899, advocated a similar plan in
England, _British Medical Journal_, February 3, 1900.

[246] Thus in Munich, in 1908, a man who had given gonorrhoea to a
servant-girl was sent to prison for ten months on this ground. The state
of German opinion to-day on this subject is summarized by Bloch,
_Sexualleben unserer Zeit_, p. 424.

[247] A. Després, _La Prostitution à Paris_, p. 191.

[248] F. Aurientis, _Etude Medico-légale sur la jurisprudence actuelle à
propos de la Transmission des Maladies Venériennes_, Thèse de Paris, 1906.

[249] In England at present "a husband knowingly and wilfully infecting
his wife with the venereal disease, cannot be convicted criminally, either
under a charge of assault or of inflicting grievous bodily harm" (N.
Geary, _The Law of Marriage_, p. 479). This was decided in 1888 in the
case of _R. v. Clarence_ by nine judges to four judges in the Court for
the Consideration of Crown Cases Reserved.

[250] Modern democratic sentiment is opposed to the sequestration of a
prostitute merely because she is diseased. But there can be no reasonable
doubt whatever that if a diseased prostitute infects another person, and
is unable to pay the very heavy damages which should be demanded in such a
case, she ought to be secluded and subjected to treatment. That is
necessary in the interests of the community. But it is also necessary, to
avoid placing a premium on the commission of an offence which would ensure
gratuitous treatment and provision for a prostitute without means, that
she should be furnished with facilities for treatment in any case.

[251] It has, however, been decided by the Paris Court of Appeal that for
a husband to marry when knowingly suffering from a venereal disease and to
communicate that disease to his wife is a sufficient cause for divorce
(_Semaine Médicale_, May, 1896).

[252] The large volume, entitled _Sexualpädagogik_, containing the
Proceedings of the Third of these Congresses, almost ignores the special
subject of venereal disease, and is devoted to the questions involved by
the general sexual education of the young, which, as many of the speakers
maintained, must begin with the child at his mother's knee.

[253] "Workmen, soldiers, and so on," Neisser remarks (Senator and
Kaminer, _Health and Disease in Relation to Marriage_, vol. ii, p. 485),
"can more easily find non-prostitute girls of their own class willing to
enter into amorous relations with them which result in sexual intercourse,
and they are therefore less exposed to the danger of infection than those
men who have recourse almost exclusively to prostitutes" (see also Bloch,
_Sexualleben unserer Zeit_, p. 437).

[254] The character and extent of such lectures are fully discussed in the
Proceedings of the Third Congress of the German Society for Combating
Venereal Diseases, _Sexualpädagogik_, 1907.

[255] I leave out of account, as beyond the scope of the present work, the
auxiliary aids to the suppression of venereal diseases furnished by the
promising new methods, only now beginning to be understood, of treating or
even aborting such diseases (see, e.g., Metchnikoff, _The New Hygiene_,

[256] Max von Niessen, "Herr Doktor, darf ich heiraten?" _Mutterschutz_,
1906, p. 352.



Prostitution in Relation to Our Marriage System--Marriage and
Morality--The Definition of the Term "Morality"--Theoretical Morality--Its
Division Into Traditional Morality and Ideal Morality--Practical
Morality--Practical Morality Based on Custom--The Only Subject of
Scientific Ethics--The Reaction Between Theoretical and Practical
Morality--Sexual Morality in the Past an Application of Economic
Morality--The Combined Rigidity and Laxity of This Morality--The
Growth of a Specific Sexual Morality and the Evolution of Moral
Ideals--Manifestations of Sexual Morality--Disregard of the Forms of
Marriage--Trial Marriage--Marriage After Conception of Child--Phenomena in
Germany, Anglo-Saxon Countries, Russia, etc.--The Status of Woman--The
Historical Tendency Favoring Moral Equality of Women with Men--The Theory
of the Matriarchate--Mother-Descent--Women in Babylonia--Egypt--Rome--The
Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries--The Historical Tendency
Favoring Moral Inequality of Woman--The Ambiguous Influence of
Christianity--Influence of Teutonic Custom and Feudalism--Chivalry--Woman
in England--The Sale of Wives--The Vanishing Subjection of
Woman--Inaptitude of the Modern Man to Domineer--The Growth of Moral
Responsibility in Women--The Concomitant Development of Economic
Independence--The Increase of Women Who Work--Invasion of the Modern
Industrial Field by Women--In How Far This Is Socially Justifiable--The
Sexual Responsibility of Women and Its Consequences--The Alleged Moral
Inferiority of Women--The "Self-Sacrifice" of Women--Society Not Concerned
with Sexual Relationships--Procreation the Sole Sexual Concern of the
State--The Supreme Importance of Maternity.

It has been necessary to deal fully with the phenomena of prostitution
because, however aloof we may personally choose to hold ourselves from
those phenomena, they really bring us to the heart of the sexual question
in so far as it constitutes a social problem. If we look at prostitution
from the outside, as an objective phenomenon, as a question of social
dynamics, it is seen to be not a merely accidental and eliminable incident
of our present marriage system but an integral part of it, without which
it would fall to pieces. This will probably be fairly clear to all who
have followed the preceding exposition of prostitutional phenomena. There
is, however, more than this to be said. Not only is prostitution to-day,
as it has been for more than two thousand years, the buttress of our
marriage system, but if we look at marriage, not from the outside as a
formal institution, but from the inside with relation to the motives that
constitute it, we find that marriage in a large proportion of cases is
itself in certain respects a form of prostitution. This has been
emphasized so often and from so many widely different standpoints that it
may seem hardly necessary to labor the point here. But the point is one of
extreme importance in relation to the question of sexual morality. Our
social conditions are unfavorable to the development of a high moral
feeling in woman. The difference between the woman who sells herself in
prostitution and the woman who sells herself in marriage, according to the
saying of Marro already quoted, "is only a difference in price and
duration of the contract." Or, as Forel puts it, marriage is "a more
fashionable form of prostitution," that is to say, a mode of obtaining, or
disposing of, for monetary considerations, a sexual commodity. Marriage
is, indeed, not merely a more fashionable form of prostitution, it is a
form sanctified by law and religion, and the question of morality is not
allowed to intrude. Morality may be outraged with impunity provided that
law and religion have been invoked. The essential principle of
prostitution is thus legalized and sanctified among us. That is why it is
so difficult to arouse any serious indignation, or to maintain any
reasoned objections, against our prostitution considered by itself. The
most plausible ground is that of those[257] who, bringing marriage down to
the level of prostitution, maintain that the prostitute is a "blackleg"
who is accepting less than the "market rate of wages," i.e., marriage, for
the sexual services she renders. But even this low ground is quite unsafe.
The prostitute is really paid extremely well considering how little she
gives in return; the wife is really paid extremely badly considering how
much she often gives, and how much she necessarily gives up. For the sake
of the advantage of economic dependence on her husband, she must give up,
as Ellen Key observes, those rights over her children, her property, her
work, and her own person which she enjoys as an unmarried woman, even, it
may be added, as a prostitute. The prostitute never signs away the right
over her own person, as the wife is compelled to do; the prostitute,
unlike the wife, retains her freedom and her personal rights, although
these may not often be of much worth. It is the wife rather than the
prostitute who is the "blackleg."

    It is by no means only during recent years that our marriage
    system has been arraigned before the bar of morals. Forty years
    ago James Hinton exhausted the vocabulary of denunciation in
    describing the immorality and selfish licentiousness which our
    marriage system covers with the cloak of legality and sanctity.
    "There is an unsoundness in our marriage relations," Hinton
    wrote. "Not only practically are they dreadful, but they do not
    answer to feelings and convictions far too widespread to be
    wisely ignored. Take the case of women of marked eminence
    consenting to be a married man's mistress; of pure and simple
    girls saying they cannot see why they should have a marriage by
    law; of a lady saying that if she were in love she would not have
    any legal tie; of its being necessary--or thought so by good and
    wise men--to keep one sex in bitter and often fatal ignorance.
    These things (and how many more) show some deep unsoundness in
    the marriage relations. This must be probed and searched to the

    At an earlier date, in 1847, Gross-Hoffinger, in his _Die
    Schicksale der Frauen und die Prostitution_--a remarkable book
    which Bloch, with little exaggeration, describes as possessing an
    epoch-marking significance--vigorously showed that the problem of
    prostitution is in reality the problem of marriage, and that we
    can only reform away prostitution by reforming marriage, regarded
    as a compulsory institution resting on an antiquated economic
    basis. Gross-Hoffinger was a pioneering precursor of Ellen Key.

    More than a century and a half earlier a man of very different
    type scathingly analyzed the morality of his time, with a brutal
    frankness, indeed, that seemed to his contemporaries a
    revoltingly cynical attitude towards their sacred institutions,
    and they felt that nothing was left to them save to burn his
    books. Describing modern marriage in his _Fable of the Bees_
    (1714, p. 64), and what that marriage might legally cover,
    Mandeville wrote: "The fine gentleman I spoke of need not
    practice any greater self-denial than the savage, and the latter
    acted more according to the laws of nature and sincerity than the
    first. The man that gratifies his appetite after the manner the
    custom of the country allows of, has no censure to fear. If he
    is hotter than goats or bulls, as soon as the ceremony is over,
    let him sate and fatigue himself with joy and ecstasies of
    pleasure, raise and indulge his appetite by turns, as
    extravagantly as his strength and manhood will give him leave. He
    may, with safety, laugh at the wise men that should reprove him:
    all the women and above nine in ten of the men are of his side;
    nay, he has the liberty of valuing himself upon the fury of his
    unbridled passions, and the more he wallows in lust and strains
    every faculty to be abandonedly voluptuous, the sooner he shall
    have the good-will and gain the affection of the women, not the
    young, vain, and lascivious only, but the prudent, grave, and
    most sober matrons."

    Thus the charge brought against our marriage system from the
    point of view of morality is that it subordinates the sexual
    relationship to considerations of money and of lust. That is
    precisely the essence of prostitution.

The only legitimately moral end of marriage--whether we regard it from the
wider biological standpoint or from the narrower standpoint of human
society--is as a sexual selection, effected in accordance with the laws of
sexual selection, and having as its direct object a united life of
complete mutual love and as its indirect object the procreation of the
race. Unless procreation forms part of the object of marriage, society has
nothing whatever to do with it and has no right to make its voice heard.
But if procreation is one of the ends of marriage, then it is imperative
from the biological and social points of view that no influences outside
the proper natural influence of sexual selection should be permitted to
affect the choice of conjugal partners, for in so far as wholesome sexual
selection is interfered with the offspring is likely to be injured and the
interests of the race affected.

    It must, of course, be clearly understood that the idea of
    marriage as a form of sexual union based not on biological but on
    economic considerations, is very ancient, and is sometimes found
    in societies that are almost primitive. Whenever, however,
    marriage on a purely property basis, and without due regard to
    sexual selection, has occurred among comparatively primitive and
    vigorous peoples, it has been largely deprived of its evil
    results by the recognition of its merely economic character, and
    by the absence of any desire to suppress, even nominally, other
    sexual relationships on a more natural basis which were outside
    this artificial form of marriage. Polygamy especially tended to
    conciliate unions on an economic basis with unions on a natural
    sexual basis. Our modern marriage system has, however, acquired
    an artificial rigidity which excludes the possibility of this
    natural safeguard and compensation. Whatever its real moral
    content may be, a modern marriage is always "legal" and "sacred."
    We are indeed so accustomed to economic forms of marriage that,
    as Sidgwick truly observed (_Method of Ethics_, Bk. ii, Ch. XI),
    when they are spoken of as "legalized prostitution" it constantly
    happens that "the phrase is felt to be extravagant and

A man who marries for money or for ambition is departing from the
biological and moral ends of marriage. A woman who sells herself for life
is morally on the same level as one who sells herself for a night. The
fact that the payment seems larger, that in return for rendering certain
domestic services and certain personal complacencies--services and
complacencies in which she may be quite inexpert--she will secure an
almshouse in which she will be fed and clothed and sheltered for life
makes no difference in the moral aspect of her case. The moral
responsibility is, it need scarcely be said, at least as much the man's as
the woman's. It is largely due to the ignorance and even the indifference
of men, who often know little or nothing of the nature of women and the
art of love. The unintelligence with which even men who might, one thinks,
be not without experience, select as a mate, a woman who, however fine and
charming she may be, possesses none of the qualities which her wooer
really craves, is a perpetual marvel. To refrain from testing and proving
the temper and quality of the woman he desires for a mate is no doubt an
amiable trait of humility on a man's part. But it is certain that a man
should never be content with less than the best of what a woman's soul and
body have to give, however unworthy he may feel himself of such a
possession. This demand, it must be remarked, is in the highest interests
of the woman herself. A woman can offer to a man what is a part at all
events of the secret of the universe. The woman degrades herself who sinks
to the level of a candidate for an asylum for the destitute.

Our discussion of the psychic facts of sex has thus, it will be seen,
brought us up to the question of morality. Over and over again, in
setting forth the phenomena of prostitution, it has been necessary to use
the word "moral." That word, however, is vague and even, it may be,
misleading because it has several senses. So far, it has been left to the
intelligent reader, as he will not fail to perceive, to decide from the
context in what sense the word was used. But at the present point, before
we proceed to discuss sexual psychology in relation to marriage, it is
necessary, in order to avoid ambiguity, to remind the reader what
precisely are the chief main senses in which the word "morality" is
commonly used.

The morality with which ethical treatises are concerned is _theoretical
morality_. It is concerned with what people "ought"--or what is "right"
for them--to do. Socrates in the Platonic dialogues was concerned with
such theoretical morality: what "ought" people to seek in their actions?
The great bulk of ethical literature, until recent times one may say the
whole of it, is concerned with that question. Such theoretical morality
is, as Sidgwick said, a study rather than a science, for science can only
be based on what is, not on what ought to be.

Even within the sphere of theoretical morality there are two very
different kinds of morality, so different indeed that sometimes each
regards the other as even inimical or at best only by courtesy, with yet a
shade of contempt, "moral." These two kinds of theoretical morality are
_traditional morality_ and _ideal morality_. Traditional morality is
founded on the long established practices of a community and possesses the
stability of all theoretical ideas based in the past social life and
surrounding every individual born into the community from his earliest
years. It becomes the voice of conscience which speaks automatically in
favor of all the rules that are thus firmly fixed, even when the
individual himself no longer accepts them. Many persons, for example, who
were brought up in childhood to the Puritanical observance of Sunday, will
recall how, long after they had ceased to believe that such observances
were "right," they yet in the violation of them heard the protest of the
automatically aroused voice of "conscience," that is to say the expression
within the individual of customary rules which have indeed now ceased to
be his own but were those of the community in which he was brought up.

Ideal morality, on the other hand, refers not to the past of the community
but to its future. It is based not on the old social actions that are
becoming antiquated, and perhaps even anti-social in their tendency, but
on new social actions that are as yet only practiced by a small though
growing minority of the community. Nietzsche in modern times has been a
conspicuous champion of ideal morality, the heroic morality of the
pioneer, of the individual of the coming community, against traditional
morality, or, as he called it, herd-morality, the morality of the crowd.
These two moralities are necessarily opposed to each other, but, we have
to remember, they are both equally sound and equally indispensable, not
only to those who accept them but to the community which they both
contribute to hold in vital theoretical balance. We have seen them both,
for instance, applied to the question of prostitution; traditional
morality defends prostitution, not for its own sake, but for the sake of
the marriage system which it regards as sufficiently precious to be worth
a sacrifice, while ideal morality refuses to accept the necessity of
prostitution, and looks forward to progressive changes in the marriage
system which will modify and diminish prostitution.

But altogether outside theoretical morality, or the question of what
people "ought" to do, there remains _practical morality_, or the question
of what, as a matter of fact, people actually do. This is the really
fundamental and essential morality. Latin _mores_ and Greek aethos both
refer to _custom_, to the things that are, and not to the things that
"ought" to be, except in the indirect and secondary sense that whatever
the members of the community, in the mass, actually do, is the thing that
they feel they ought to do. In the first place, however, a moral act was
not done because it was felt that it ought to be done, but for reasons of
a much deeper and more instinctive character.[258] It was not first done
because it was felt it ought to be done, but it was felt it "ought" to be
done because it had actually become the custom to do it.

The actions of a community are determined by the vital needs of a
community under the special circumstances of its culture, time, and land.
When it is the general custom for children to kill their aged parents that
custom is always found to be the best not only for the community but even
for the old people themselves, who desire it; the action is both
practically moral and theoretically moral.[259] And when, as among
ourselves, the aged are kept alive, that action is also both practically
and theoretically moral; it is in no wise dependent on any law or rule
opposed to the taking of life, for we glory in the taking of life under
the patriotic name of "war," and are fairly indifferent to it when
involved by the demands of our industrial system; but the killing of the
aged no longer subserves any social need and their preservation ministers
to our civilized emotional needs. The killing of a man is indeed
notoriously an act which differs widely in its moral value at different
periods and in different countries. It was quite moral in England two
centuries ago and less, to kill a man for trifling offences against
property, for such punishment commended itself as desirable to the general
sense of the educated community. To-day it would be regarded as highly
immoral. We are even yet only beginning to doubt the morality of
condemning to death and imprisoning for life an unmarried girl who
destroyed her infant at birth, solely actuated, against all her natural
impulses, by the primitive instinct of self-defense. It cannot be said
that we have yet begun to doubt the morality of killing men in war, though
we no longer approve of killing women and children, or even non-combatants
generally. Every age or land has its own morality.

"Custom, in the strict sense of the word," well says Westermarck,
"involves a moral rule.... Society is the school in which men learn to
distinguish between right and wrong. The headmaster is custom."[260]
Custom is not only the basis of morality but also of law. "Custom is
law."[261] The field of theoretical morality has been found so fascinating
a playground for clever philosophers that there has sometimes been a
danger of forgetting that, after all, it is not theoretical morality but
practical morality, the question of what men in the mass of a community
actually do, which constitutes the real stuff of morals.[262] If we define
more precisely what we mean by morals, on the practical side, we may say
that it is constituted by those customs which the great majority of the
members of a community regard as conducive to the welfare of the community
at some particular time and place. It is for this reason--i.e., because it
is a question of what is and not of merely what some think ought to
be--that practical morals form the proper subject of science. "If the word
'ethics' is to be used as the name for a science," Westermarck says, "the
object of that science can only be to study the moral consciousness as a

    Lecky's _History of European Morals_ is a study in practical
    rather than in theoretical morals. Dr. Westermarck's great work,
    _The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas_, is a more modern
    example of the objectively scientific discussion of morals,
    although this is not perhaps clearly brought out by the title. It
    is essentially a description of the actual historical facts of
    what has been, and not of what "ought" to be. Mr. L.T. Hobhouse's
    _Morals in Evolution_, published almost at the same time, is
    similarly a work which, while professedly dealing with ideas,
    i.e., with rules and regulations, and indeed disclaiming the task
    of being "the history of conduct," yet limits itself to those
    rules which are "in fact, the normal conduct of the average man"
    (vol. i, p. 26). In other words, it is essentially a history of
    practical morality, and not of theoretical morality. One of the
    most subtle and suggestive of living thinkers, M. Jules de
    Gaultier, in several of his books, and notably in _La Dépendance
    de la Morale et l'Indépendance des Moeurs_ (1907), has analyzed
    the conception of morals in a somewhat similar sense. "Phenomena
    relative to conduct," as he puts it (op. cit., p. 58), "are given
    in experience like other phenomena, so that morality, or the
    totality of the laws which at any given moment of historic
    evolution are applied to human practice, is dependent on
    customs." I may also refer to the masterly exposition of this
    aspect of morality in Lévy-Bruhl's _La Morale et la Science des
    Moeurs_ (there is an English translation).

Practical morality is thus the solid natural fact which forms the
biological basis of theoretical morality, whether traditional or ideal.
The excessive fear, so widespread among us, lest we should injure morality
is misplaced. We cannot hurt morals though we can hurt ourselves. Morals
is based on nature and can at the most only be modified. As Crawley
rightly insists,[264] even the categorical imperatives of our moral
traditions, so far from being, as is often popularly supposed, attempts to
suppress Nature, arise in the desire to assist Nature; they are simply an
attempt at the rigid formulation of natural impulses. The evil of them
only lies in the fact that, like all things that become rigid and dead,
they tend to persist beyond the period when they were a beneficial vital
reaction to the environment. They thus provoke new forms of ideal
morality; and practical morals develops new structures, in accordance with
new vital relationships, to replace older and desiccated traditions.

There is clearly an intimate relationship between theoretical morals and
practical morals or morality proper. For not only is theoretical morality
the outcome in consciousness of realized practices embodied in the
general life of the community, but, having thus become conscious, it
reacts on those practices and tends to support them or, by its own
spontaneous growth, to modify them. This action is diverse, according as
we are dealing with one or the other of the strongly marked divisions of
theoretical morality: traditional and posterior morality, retarding the
vital growth of moral practice, or ideal and anterior morality,
stimulating the vital growth of moral practice. Practical morality, or
morals proper, may be said to stand between these two divisions of
theoretical morality. Practice is perpetually following after anterior
theoretical morality, in so far of course as ideal morality really is
anterior and not, as so often happens, astray up a blind alley. Posterior
or traditional morality always follows after practice. The result is that
while the actual morality, in practice at any time or place, is always
closely related to theoretical morality, it can never exactly correspond
to either of its forms. It always fails to catch up with ideal morality;
it is always outgrowing traditional morality.

It has been necessary at this point to formulate definitely the three
chief forms in which the word "moral" is used, although under one shape or
another they cannot but be familiar to the reader. In the discussion of
prostitution it has indeed been easily possible to follow the usual custom
of allowing the special sense in which the word was used to be determined
by the context. But now, when we are, for the moment, directly concerned
with the specific question of the evolution of sexual morality, it is
necessary to be more precise in formulating the terms we use. In this
chapter, except when it is otherwise stated, we are concerned primarily
with morals proper, with actual conduct as it develops among the masses of
a community, and only secondarily with anterior morality or with posterior

Sexual morality, like all other kinds of morality, is necessarily
constituted by inherited traditions modified by new adaptations to the
changing social environment. If the influence of tradition becomes unduly
pronounced the moral life tends to decay and lose its vital adaptability.
If adaptability becomes too facile the moral life tends to become unstable
and to lose authority. It is only by a reasonable synthesis of structure
and function--of what is called the traditional with what is called the
ideal--that the moral life can retain its authority without losing its
reality. Many, even among those who call themselves moralists, have found
this hard to understand. In a vain desire for an impossible logicality
they have over-emphasized either the ideal influence on practical morals
or, still more frequently, the traditional influence, which has appealed
to them because of the impressive authority its _dicta_ seem to convey.
The results in the sphere we are here concerned with have often been
unfortunate, for no social impulse is so rebellious to decayed traditions,
so volcanically eruptive, as that of sex.

We are accustomed to identify our present marriage system with "morality"
in the abstract, and for many people, perhaps for most, it is difficult to
realize that the slow and insensible movement which is always affecting
social life at the present time, as at every other time, is profoundly
affecting our sexual morality. A transference of values is constantly
taking place; what was once the very standard of morality becomes immoral,
what was once without question immoral becomes a new standard. Such a
process is almost as bewildering as for the European world two thousand
years ago was the great struggle between the Roman city and the Christian
Church, when it became necessary to realize that what Marcus Aurelius, the
great pattern of morality, had sought to crush as without question
immoral,[265] was becoming regarded as the supreme standard of morality.
The classic world considered love and pity and self-sacrifice as little
better than weakness and sometimes worse; the Christian world not only
regarded them as moralities but incarnated them in a god. Our sexual
morality has likewise disregarded natural human emotions, and is incapable
of understanding those who declare that to retain unduly traditional laws
that are opposed to the vital needs of human societies is not a morality
but an immorality.

The reason why the gradual evolution of moral ideals, which is always
taking place, tends in the sexual sphere, at all events among ourselves,
to reach a stage in which there seems to be an opposition between
different standards lies in the fact that as yet we really have no
specific sexual morality at all.[266] That may seem surprising at first to
one who reflects on the immense weight which is usually attached to
"sexual morality." And it is undoubtedly true that we have a morality
which we apply to the sphere of sex. But that morality is one which
belongs mainly to the sphere of property and was very largely developed on
a property basis. All the historians of morals in general, and of marriage
in particular, have set forth this fact, and illustrated it with a wealth
of historical material. We have as yet no generally recognized sexual
morality which has been based on the specific sexual facts of life. That
becomes clear at once when we realize the central fact that the sexual
relationship is based on love, at the very least on sexual desire, and
that that basis is so deep as to be even physiological, for in the absence
of such sexual desire it is physiologically impossible for a man to effect
intercourse with a woman. Any specific sexual morality must be based on
that fact. But our so-called "sexual morality," so far from being based on
that fact, attempts to ignore it altogether. It makes contracts, it
arranges sexual relationships beforehand, it offers to guarantee
permanency of sexual inclinations. It introduces, that is, considerations
of a kind that is perfectly sound in the economic sphere to which such
considerations rightly belong, but ridiculously incongruous in the sphere
of sex to which they have solemnly been applied. The economic
relationships of life, in the large sense, are, as we shall see, extremely
important in the evolution of any sound sexual morality, but they belong
to the conditions of its development and do not constitute its basis.[267]

    The fact that, from the legal point of view, marriage is
    primarily an arrangement for securing the rights of property and
    inheritance is well illustrated by the English divorce law
    to-day. According to this law, if a woman has sexual intercourse
    with any man beside her husband, he is entitled to divorce her;
    if, however, the husband has intercourse with another woman
    beside his wife, she is not entitled to a divorce; that is only
    accorded if, in addition, he has also been cruel to her, or
    deserted her, and from any standpoint of ideal morality such a
    law is obviously unjust, and it has now been discarded in nearly
    all civilized lands except England.

    But from the standpoint of property and inheritance it is quite
    intelligible, and on that ground it is still supported by the
    majority of Englishmen. If the wife has intercourse with other
    men there is a risk that the husband's property will be inherited
    by a child who is not his own. But the sexual intercourse of the
    husband with other women is followed by no such risk. The
    infidelity of the wife is a serious offence against property; the
    infidelity of the husband is no offence against property, and
    cannot possibly, therefore, be regarded as a ground for divorce
    from our legal point of view. The fact that his adultery
    complicated by cruelty is such a ground, is simply a concession
    to modern feeling. Yet, as Helena Stöcker truly points out
    ("Verschiedenheit im Liebesleben des Weibes und des Mannes,"
    _Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft_, Dec., 1908), a married man
    who has an unacknowledged child with a woman outside of marriage,
    has committed an act as seriously anti-social as a married woman
    who has a child without acknowledging that the father is not her
    husband. In the first case, the husband, and in the second case,
    the wife, have placed an undue amount of responsibility on
    another person. (The same point is brough