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Title: What Every Girl Should Know
Author: Sanger, Margaret H.
Language: English
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                     _What Every Girl Should Know_



                           Margaret H. Sanger

                               AUTHOR OF

            “How Six Little Children Were Taught the Truth.”

                         SENTINEL PRINTING CO.

                              PRINTERS AND

                            READING, PENNA.



                          TO THE WORKING GIRLS
                              OF THE WORLD
                            THIS LITTLE BOOK
                           LOVINGLY DEDICATED




    Part   I. Physical Growth.

    Part  II. Mental Development.


    Part   I. General Organs, Uterus, Ovaries, Etc.

    Part  II. Menstruation and Its Disorders.


    Part   I. Masturbation

    Part  II. Sexual Impulse in Animals—In Men. Its Significance in

 CHAPTER   V. Reproduction.

    Part   I. Growth of the Life Cell in the Uterus.

    Part  II. Hygiene of Pregnancy—Miscarriage.


    Part   I. Continence in Young Men.

    Part  II. Gonorrhoea.

    Part III. Syphilis.


                      What Every Girl Should Know

                               CHAPTER I.


Students of vice, whether teachers, clergymen, social workers or
physicians, have been laboring for years to find the cause and cure for
vice, and especially for prostitution. They have failed so far to agree
on either the cause or the cure, but it is interesting to know that upon
one point they have been compelled to agree, and that is, that
=ignorance of the sex functions= is one of the strongest forces that
sends young girls into =unclean= living.

This, together with the knowledge of the rapidly increasing spread of
venereal diseases and the realization of their subtle nature, has
awakened us to the need of a saner and healthier attitude on the sex
subject, and to the importance of =sex education= for boys and girls.

This need has shown itself so clearly that the question no longer seems
to be, “Is there need of instruction?” but, “Who shall instruct?” Shall
the mother or teacher instruct? When shall such instruction be given? In
childhood, or in puberty? These are the points now under discussion.

To the writer the answer is simple. The mother is the logical person to
teach the child as soon as questions arise, for it is to the mother that
the child goes for information before he enters the schoolroom. If,
therefore, the mother answers his questions truthfully and simply and
satisfies his curiosity, she will find that the subject of sex ceases to
be an isolated subject, and becomes a natural part of the child's
general learning. A woman does not need to be a college graduate, with a
special degree in the study of botany, before she can tell her child the
beautiful truth of its birth. But she does need to clear her own mind of
prudishness, and to understand that the procreative act is natural,
clean and healthful; that all nature is beautified through it, and
consequently that it is devoid of offensiveness.

If the mother can impress the child with the beauty and wonder and
sacredness of the sex functions, she has taught it the first lesson, and
the teacher can elaborate on these teachings as the child advances in
school. All schools should teach anatomy of the sex organs and their
physiology, instead of teaching the human body in the neuter gender as
has been done up to this time.

The whole object of teaching the child about reproduction through
evolution is to clear its mind of any shame or mystery concerning its
birth and to impress it with the beauty and naturalness of procreation,
in order to prepare it for the knowledge of puberty and marriage.

There must of necessity be special information for the pubescent boy and
girl, for having arrived at the stage in their mental development they
no longer take for granted what has been told them by the parents, but
are keen to form their own ideas and gather information independently.
It is right, therefore, to give them the facts as science has found

There are workers and philanthropists who say there is too much stress
put upon the subject of venereal diseases; that the young girl after
learning or hearing of the dangers she is likely to encounter in the
sexual relation, is afraid to marry and consequently lives a life
unloved and alone.

“Your treatment of this subject is dangerous,” said a very earnest
social worker a few weeks ago. “Such knowledge will prevent our young
girls from marrying.”

To which I replied that my object in telling young girls the truth is
for the definite purpose of preventing them from entering into sexual
relations whether in marriage or out of it, without thinking and
knowing. Better a thousand times to live alone and unloved than to be
tied to a man who has robbed her of health or of the joy of motherhood,
or welcoming the pains of motherhood, live in anxiety lest her sickly
offspring be taken out of her life, or grow up a chronic invalid.

I have more faith in the force of love. I believe that two people
convinced that they love each other and desire to live together will
talk as frankly of their own health and natures as they do today of the
house furnishings and salaries. Their love for each other will protect
them from ill health and disease, and prompt them to procure of their
own accord, a certificate of health if each has the right information
and knowledge.

There are, however, different phases of nature, the knowledge of which
binds and cements the love of two people, other than venereal diseases,
for these diseases are only symptoms of a great social disorder.

Every girl should first understand herself; she should know her anatomy,
including sex anatomy; she should know the epochs of a normal woman's
life, and the unfoldment which each epoch brings; she should know the
effect the emotions have on her acts, and finally she should know the
fullness and richness of life when crowned by the flower of motherhood.

This knowledge I shall endeavor to give in the following articles.
Fragmentary the articles must of necessity be, for there are volumes
written on each subject.

I shall try to free the subjects from technicalities and give the
opinions of writers who have made these subjects their life studies and
also the facts as I myself have learned them.

It is not my intention to thrust upon any one a special code of morals,
or to inflict upon the readers my own ideals of morality. I only presume
to present the facts for you to accept according to your understanding.

The first subject will deal with the girl during the age when sex first
manifests itself, in that most fascinating, interesting and puzzling
period of a woman's life—the budding period, called girlhood.

                              CHAPTER II.

                            GIRLHOOD—PART I.

                      The Physical Manifestations

It has been said that the American girl between the ages of 12 and 18 is
the most neglected girl in the world. Just why this is so, it is
difficult to say, but I doubt whether she is alone in this neglect, for
this is known as the =adolescent period=, and it is only within the last
few years that the mental and physiological aspect of this period has
been at all considered, or its importance recognized in any part of the

The =adolescent period= is the time occupied between the ages of 12 and
22, when the physical development comes suddenly into prominence; when
the mental faculties become independently active, and the sex of the
individual strongly manifests itself. It is a period of the greatest
importance to the girl herself, for her physical, mental and moral
development during this time will have an important effect on her future

It is also a period of the greatest interest to the mother, provided
there is sympathy, confidence and understanding between them. Too much
importance cannot be attached to the necessity of an early confidence
between the girl and her mother before this period arrives for this will
give a girl a sense of superiority, a poise, an understanding of herself
and her nature. She will then be prepared for the changes taking place
within herself, and consequently be practically immune from the
influence of a bad environment, which otherwise might affect her in a
way detrimental to her health and happiness. Up to this period there is
very little manifestation of sex.

Fortunately, we have come to recognize that healthy outdoor play is as
good for the little girl as it is for the boy, and the ideas of our
grandmothers' day—that boys were to play ball, ride horseback, swim,
shoot, etc., while the girl's play was restricted to sedentary pursuits,
such as sewing, doll playing, etc.—have been placed on the relic heap,
and the girl of today keeps pace with her brother in physical freedom
and activity.

With the passing of those ideas passed also our ideal of the delicate
girl, with a cough, small waist and dainty appetite, and the girl
physically strong and healthy, with a broader view of life, has taken
her place.

About the age of 12 there comes a sudden change in the girl, her dresses
are outgrown, her form assumes shape, her bust and limbs develop, and,
in the words of Stanley Hall, “hips, thighs, limbs, shoulders and arms
round out into contours more or less beautiful, curves always
predominating over angles.” Thus we come to realize that the little girl
has left us.

The physical development is not alone in this work, for the mental and
moral instincts are developing so rapidly that it is difficult to
understand this new and lovely creature who is neither the child of
yesterday nor the woman of tomorrow.

There is often very little patience shown the adolescent girl, for
neither parents nor teachers have been aware that this is a separate and
distinct stage—this passing from childhood into womanhood—and as such
must be recognized.

Let us first take the bony structure. It is a well known fact that there
is not sufficient lime salts in the system to complete the bony
structure until the 25th year. The bones are not completely hardened,
which is one of the reasons that so many deformities have their
foundation laid at this time.

The first and most noticeable change in the girl at this age is the
increase of height, which begins at the 13th year and ends about the
15th. There are girls who begin earlier and continue to grow for several
years after this age, but it is with the average we deal, and the growth
after the age of 15 is not so perceptible.

Many girls show almost no other signs of womanly development until after
this growth has ceased. The bones at this time are soft enough to yield
to pressure (being cartilaginous), which makes the wearing of a corset
especially dangerous, for the pressure on the ribs interferes with the
development of the lungs and tuberculosis is more easily contracted.
Corsets should not be worn before the 21st year if possible, and then
very loosely, for tight lacing is more harmful at this age than a few
years later. Those who have made careful investigations of the harmful
effects of corsets claim that not only are the chest and walls of the
abdomen injured, but the development of the sexual organs is seriously
hampered, causing many functional diseases, commonly painful and
irregular menstruation, caused by arrested development of the cervix.

The girl who scoffs at the idea of the Chinese women binding up their
feet, is doubtless ignorant of the knowledge that to bind up their own
thoracic and pelvic structures, i. e., the chest and abdominal portions
of her body, in tight corsets is doing greater harm to her health and
injury to her development than the binding of the feet could possibly
do. Ellis brings forth a few words on this subject which shows that the
habit of binding the feet of the Chinese women is based on the same
ideas as the European woman has when she deforms her waist—they are both
done for sexual attractiveness.

A Chinese woman's foot is more interesting than her face—to her husband.

No man of good breeding would look at a Chinese woman's foot in the
street; such an act is most indelicate.

This question of corsets every girl should consider seriously.

As this rapid growth begins, the girl often finds it difficult to hold
herself up straight, her shoulders become stooped, her head and neck are
thrust forward in a most ungainly manner. As she becomes conscious of
this, instead of correcting it, she is likely to slouch and assume the
most awkward habits. Her arms seem longer to her; hands, legs and feet
become new burdens to carry, and the desire to hide the hands behind the
back, to fold the arms, to bend one knee in order to lessen the length
of the body, and to lean on something while talking, are all signs of
this consciousness.

With the invention of modern machinery and the monotony of specialized
work in the mills and factories, it is natural that this should bring
with it, if not entirely new diseases and deformities, at least a
greater number than have heretofore been known. Consider the little
children in the cotton mills, standing for long periods, with the weight
of the body thrown on one foot—a position, which causes curvature of the
spine. Again consider the young girls still in their “teens” bending
over sewing machines from morning until night from year to year; their
premium for this work is right sided lateral curvature. Sitting with one
leg crossed over the other as in sewing, carrying books under the arm to
and from school, lifting and carrying heavy burdens, bundles, or small
children, such as the abused and deformed “little mothers” spend their
play time in doing—all cause curvature of the spine.

Curvature is one of the most common deformities. Any position which
throws the spinal column out of its natural line for any length of time
is likely to produce it.

Regular exercise in the open air will do much to prevent this, together
with walking and dancing. If curvature is already noticeable, then it is
best to get professional instructions and follow them closely.

Next to the rapid bony development, the changes in the heart and
circulation are most noticeable. The heart grows more rapidly during the
adolescent age than the arteries do, which increases the supply of blood
in the arteries and causes general circulatory disturbance of which we
see many outward signs such as blushing, nose bleed, headache, cold feet
and hands, anaemia, loss of appetite, or an appetite so capricious as to
drive one frantic trying to satisfy it, for it jumps from ice cream soda
to dill pickles, according to whim. Some of these symptoms require
special attention, particularly in the case of the girl at school or in
an office, who finds her work a great effort, tires easily, and becomes
pale and nervous. Such a girl should spend as much time as possible in
the open air, and build up on milk and eggs. Sometimes a simple iron
tonic will do much to overcome these disturbances.

Pimples on the face are also very common at this period. Physicians
assert that with cleanliness of the skin and regularity of the bowels,
these symptoms will disappear without the aid of medicines or cosmetics.
The above mentioned symptoms are of great annoyance to the adolescent
girl, who is just developing pride in looking neat and keeping up an
appearance of daintiness, and she goes to unending trouble to rid
herself of facial blemishes, which often seem to grow worse and if
tampered with, leave ugly scars.

The nervous system also undergoes great changes at this age, and the
growing girl is subject to various forms of nervous affections,
stammering, jerking, restlessness, etc. These are symptoms which, if
allowed to continue unattended, may develop into permanent disorders. In
short, the adolescent girl needs constant watchfulness and attention.

                           GIRLHOOD—PART II.

The organs of sense are also awakened to activity in the adolescent
girl. The sense of smell becomes extremely acute; offensive odors are
=very= offensive, while pleasant ones are greatly enjoyed and desired.
Thus we find perfumes used lavishly in girlhood, and alas! too often

With the development of the other senses the sense of color is awakened.
The girl, who, yesterday allowed her elders to choose clothing and
colors for her, at this time becomes most exacting in her own selection
of ribbons and dresses. Sunsets and forests have become beautiful, and
often the girl with artistic talent decides at this age to choose her
life work. Laces, jewelry, trinkets, ribbons and shop windows become her
world. Indeed, so great is her desire to possess ornaments that she has
been known to resort to petty thievery, when unable to avail herself of
the means to obtain them otherwise. Certain authorities, who have made
vice and kindred subjects a study, assert that it is this great desire
for trinkets, silk petticoats, etc., which induces girls to sell their
bodies and enter prostitution. Such authorities fail to see the economic
significance of these unsatisfied desires. There is something wrong with
a system of society which allows its women to sell their bodies for such
trifles, the desire for which is part of their natural development.

Is flesh and blood and the virtue of the mothers of the future so cheap
in this land of plenty that it can be sacrificed for such passing whims?
It is impossible to suppress that inherent and natural desire in the
adolescent girl to adorn and beautify herself. She must and will do it.

The girl of wealth, of the so-called upper class, can beautify herself
and adorn her body with the costliest jewels and fabrics. All eyes are
upon her in admiration of her exquisite taste and attractive appearance.
Yet this same manifestation in a working girl is condemned. Any attempt
on the part of a working girl to give expression to the desire to be
beautiful is considered “dangerous to her welfare”; is spoken of as her
“awful desire for trinkets.”

The women of wealth set certain standards for themselves and their
class, but separate and distinct standards for the women of the working
class. It is about time the reformers and philanthropists do something
other than deal with the symptoms of the great social unrest, and some
of the latest reports of vice investigators have been compelled to face
some of the most fundamental causes, and acknowledged these causes.

A craving for beauty and pleasure, dancing, music, singing and laughter,
an innate hereditary desire to adorn and beautify herself, which comes
down to her from primitive woman, together with a burning desire for and
love of romance, characterize the adolescent girl and often remain with
her far beyond the adolescent age.

When the imagination is thus aroused it is not unusual to learn that the
young girl yields to it, tells strange tales about herself, and is,
therefore, often accused of lying. But this and petty thievery disappear
as reason and will power are developed.

The change of voice in a girl is not so distinct as in a boy, but the
voice gradually becomes softer, fuller and of a more womanly pitch,
though the change is quite unnoticeable while it occurs.

The hearing becomes keener, noises which a few months ago were
considered a joke are now disturbing (such as father's loud sneeze).
Music and singing have charms, which in childhood were unappreciated.

Parents and teachers who do not appreciate the change taking place
within the girl at this period, have small patience with such doings,
calling her “giddy” and “affected” when in reality it is all part of her
development and can be guided and directed into beautiful channels.
Together with her personal adornment comes interest in her surroundings.
New and elaborate decorations furnish her bedroom, and toilet
accessories become objects of pride. Primitive colors are displayed,
largely in curtains, bed coverings, wall paper, etc., all of which
explain the independent ego in the stage of transition.

There are many forms of disturbance which the girl suffers at this
period, such as hysteria and insanity, which, however, we will not dwell
upon here. Enough has been said on the subject to impress upon my
readers the cause of these physical and mental disturbances, and to
realize that special care and consideration should be given at this
particular age of the girl.

The emotional nature also plays a most prominent part in the developing
girl, and justice, I feel, would not be shown her here, unless we cover
briefly this most interesting part of her nature. One of the strongest
emotions which very few girls, passing from childhood into womanhood,
escape, is the religious awakening of one kind or another. It is said by
some investigators that 80 per cent. of the conversions of women in the
churches take place before the age of 20. From 30 to 40 years only a
very small percentage occur—something like 1 or 2 per cent.

It is also shown that more young girls join church than boys. Some girls
seem almost consumed by the desire to do good and be good in every
thought and word and act, and have been known to go through various
forms of self punishment, such as fasting, sacrificing pleasure, etc.
Again, others spend hours in absolute devotion to the neglect of health
and studies. It is very easily seen why the church takes its “flock,”
while still in the adolescent period, for at no subsequent time is the
girl's mind so plastic or impressionable. If the same girl who enters
the convent at 18 years had waited until 22, she would very likely not
have entered, for the mental changes are most intense from 16 to 18
years of age.

Another common emotional awakening of girlhood is the affections. In
boys this awakening causes them to gather together in gangs. They follow
their leader whom they greatly admire and obey. In girls it assumes a
more simple form, the devotion to a girl friend of her own age, and the
affection between them is deep and intense while it lasts. They tell
their most private thoughts in secret to each other, dividing all
honors, pleasures and gifts; they are almost inseparable, and I have
known a girl whose affection was so deep for her “chum” that she wore
mourning when the chum's father died.

Another form of affection which the girl of this age manifests is that
for an older woman, often a teacher or neighbor. Parents sometimes look
askance at this relation, and rightly so, for a friendship can be
beneficial or harmful according to the character of the older woman. But
with all these interests there is nothing so all-absorbing or so
interesting to the adolescent girl as =herself=. She has become
conscious of =self=. Now she burns with ambition to go out into the
world and do mighty things. She feels sure she will be a great singer,
or a dancer, or, perhaps, an actress. Again, she feels she will write a
wonderful book—about herself—or at least she will be the heroine. Or she
will write a wonderful tragic play; or she will nurse on the
battlefields and care for the sick and dying. These, together with
thousands of other desires, burn in her mind, and can be increased or
lessened according to the character of the books she reads. The
literature placed in a girl's hands at this age has as great an
influence on her thoughts and acts as her companions.

In early adolescence this self-consciousness manifests itself in
modesty, blushing, giggling, physical awkwardness, mentioned earlier on
this subject, all signs that the girl is conscious of that inner
self—the ego.

It is at this stage when the mother tries to explain what the menstrual
period means to the girl that she is met with icy indifference. She
refuses to talk on this subject, or anything pertaining to the sex
subject, because she has just become conscious of her sex, and
everything connected with it seems offensively personal.

She most likely has received her sexual information from some one else,
and the mother is astonished at the stubborn silence on the part of her
daughter. She fails to realize that some one else has that confidence
which belongs to her and which she should have gained many years
earlier. There is a strong tie between the adolescent girl and her
sexual informant. The influence of an older girl over a younger, between
whom there are confidences regarding sex, is surprisingly great. The
mind at this age is very susceptible to influences of any kind, and the
ideals instilled into a girl's mind are of paramount importance.

These are only a few of the disturbances of the adolescent girl. But
they are sufficient for us to know that at the bottom of all these
disturbances is the mysterious influence of sex gradually unfolding
itself and finally claiming its own.

At the time these emotions are in full sway along comes a newer and
deeper one. The boy with whom she has played for the past several years,
run races, played house, ball and games, one day looks into her eyes—and
something happens.

Perhaps that look was accompanied by a pull at her hair, a pinch on her
arm, or a hit with an apple core, but the glance was one which awakened
within her a new instinct; the consciousness of sex, and upon her
horizon man appears.

Those who have investigated boy and girl love affairs seem to be of the
opinion that they are invariably of short duration. Out of 100 high
school girls interrogated, two had married while at school, and one of
these had received a divorce shortly after. This goes to prove that the
boy a girl is willing to elope with, or even starve for at 18, is quite
forgotten at the age of 25.

When girls marry between the ages of 19 and 20—the years when they are
developing in body, mind and character, they are at a loss to understand
themselves, because they are ignorant of the fact that the wonderful
instinct of sex is making itself felt. For thousands of years this
instinct has been in the germ of life. When they have reached that age
nature is preparing them to proclaim its right, to perform their natural
functions, to propagate.

As the knowledge of the sex functions is one of the most important to
the health and happiness of the girl, we shall now consider the girl in
the period when nature has developed and prepared her to carry out its
plan, in the Age of Puberty.

                              CHAPTER III.

                            PUBERTY—PART I.

Puberty is the age at which the girl or boy becomes capable of
reproduction. Writers differ in the use of the word. Many use it to
denote the whole period of time during which the procreative ability
continues, which is usually from the fourteenth to the forty-fifth year.
There are still other uses of the word, but we will use it as the age
when the boy or girl becomes sexually matured or ripe, the first
indication of which is the menstrual flow in the girl and seminal
emissions in the boy.

This sign of puberty is celebrated by initiations among the savage
peoples, mostly for the purpose of trying the powers of endurance in the
boy or girl. The boy is taken away among strange tribes, is subjected to
the greatest physical pain and hardship, and among some tribes is
circumcized. The girl is often subjected to a vaginal incision and
should she cry out or show any sign of suffering she is disgraced among
the women of her tribe and promptly expelled from the settlement. In
Ellis' Psychology of Sex the author relates of the Yuman Indians of
California how the girls prepare for marriage at the first sign of
menstruation by being wrapped in blankets and placed in a warm pit for
four days and nights. The old women of the tribe dance about them and
sing constantly; they give away coin, cloth and wheat to teach the girls
generosity, and sow wild seeds broadcast over the girls to cause them to
be prolific. These and various other initiations are practiced by nearly
all savage tribes. The boys and girls receive their sex knowledge at
this time, and are instructed in the duties of married life.

The girls are fully informed of menstruation. It has been said the
knowledge of sexual relations is openly discussed and naturally taught;
that, therefore, it has no glamour for them, and in consequence the
women of these tribes are virtuous.

Perhaps you will wonder what bearing all this has on What Every Girl
Should Know. I relate it only to show that the savages have recognized
the importance of plain sexual talks to their young for ages, while
civilization is still hiding itself under the black pall of prudery.

When we speak of puberty it is necessary to have some knowledge of the
organs of reproduction and their structure. So far the physiology taught
in the public schools has not treated of these organs. In order to get
books on this subject a girl is met with the question: “Are you a nurse
or physician?” If not the books are denied her. Consequently the average
girl is kept in ignorance of the function of these organs, and is at a
loss to know where to go for clean information. It is necessary,
therefore, to give this information here, without mincing words, if
there is any benefit to be derived from the following subject. It is
very simple for the girl to learn the correct names of these organs and
call them by such names. They are the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus,
vagina and breasts. The breasts were not always classed as reproductive
organs, but later writers recognize their relation to them, and as such
they are now included.

Let us first take the ovaries, which are two small


  FIG. I.


          To the right the ovary and tube have been laid open.

                           c—Fallopian Tube.

glands about the size and shape of an almond, placed one on each side of
the extreme lower part of the woman's abdomen. They are imbedded in
large ligaments and tissues which also help to hold the uterus (the
womb) in place. Inside the ovaries are thousands of little eggs called
ovules, which have been there since the birth of the girl. It is claimed
there are from twenty to fifty thousand ovules in the ovary at birth.
The work of the ovary is to develop and mature these eggs, and send them
on to be fertilized. At the time of puberty, these eggs are all in
different stages of development. Those in the center of the ovary ripen
first and burst through the outer cover of the ovary (which is like a
capsule and at the time of menstruation becomes swollen and congested).
The ovule is caught by the fringy ends of the fallopian tubes which are
in a constant lashing motion, which motion sends the egg through the
tube to the uterus.

The fallopian tubes are about four and one-half inches in length and
join the ovaries to the upper and outer angle of the uterus. Its duties
are to convey the ova from the ovary to the uterus. Sometimes the sperm
cell from the male comes up into the tube to meet the egg and it is
fertilized here. The union of the two cells usually occurs in the outer
end of the fallopian tube; but this is not the nest nature has prepared
for the egg's development, and unless it returns into the uterus it
causes serious trouble and an operation is necessary. Impregnation in
the tube is very rare, but it is possible.

The uterus, often spoken of as the womb, is a hollow muscular organ into
which the egg comes from the tubes to be fertilized—four to eight days
from ovaries to uterus. After fertilization it remains here, is
nourished and developed until it can develop no more. Then it is thrown
out by the contraction of the muscles, which process we call the birth
of a child. The uterus is about three inches long, its shape is like a
pear with the small end downward. It is not fastened to any of the bony
parts, but is held in place by the ligaments and tissues, which also
allow it to move with different movements of the body. One of the most
interesting features about the uterus which is so small in its cavity is
that it can stretch to accommodate the growing child within it to the
length of nineteen to twenty-one inches. This is because it is one and
one half inches thick and composed of layers of muscles which are tough
and yet elastic. At the upper side of the uterus are the openings into
the fallopian tubes. At the small end of the uterus is another opening
leading into the vagina. It is through this opening the sperm of the
male comes in order to fertilize the egg. Thus you can readily see the
uterus is the nest or cradle where the egg is to live until it becomes
strong enough to subsist on other nourishment.

The vagina is a muscular tube-like passage which extends from the small
part of the uterus (called the neck) to the outer surface of the body,
where its opening is usually partly closed in virgins by a thin membrane
or film known as the hymen. The walls of the vagina are also very thick
and elastic. This is sometimes called the birth canal. The hymen was for
years a subject for discussion in the professional world among
physicians. In my talks to girls I find it a subject of great interest
and often anxiety to many of them, for the average girl seems possessed
with the old idea that the presence of the hymen is necessary to marital
happiness. The time was not long ago when its absence was considered
cause for serious discord between husband and wife, and I have been told
that under the old law its absence was sufficient ground for divorce.

Fortunately, modern science has thrown some light on this subject and
disproved the theory that its absence was necessarily due to a woman's
having had sexual relations. There are cases on record of women who have
lived four and five years in prostitution who were found with perfectly
preserved hymen. It is important to know that it differs in size and
shape in women. Also, that in some women it has been entirely absent
since birth. Many little girls and babies have no hymen. It can be
destroyed by accident or injured by operations, or examinations where
the physician did not use the greatest care. In some women it is easily
destroyed; in others it is more difficult. It is not at all uncommon for
a physician to find the hymen unruptured when he comes to deliver the
first born child. All of which goes to prove that neither its presence
nor its absence is necessarily the sign of virginity.

Now that we have some idea of the situation of the reproductive organs
and their relations to one another we shall be ready to consider in
greater detail the ovule or egg in the ovary.

                            PUBERTY—PART II.

Beginning with puberty the eggs from the ovary are expelled as they
ripen or mature. This process is called ovulation and occurs about every
twenty-eight days. It is closely related to menstruation, but it is not
menstruation as you will soon learn. Some writers say the egg is
expelled at other times than at the menstrual periods; another writer
asserts that one passes every six hours, alternating male and female.
There are many views and ideas on the subject of ovulation, but I will
tell you of the most generally accepted theory, that the egg is expelled
from the ovary every twenty-eight days.

When the egg ripens, the ovary discharges it and sends it on to find its
way through the tubes to the uterus. Here we find the blood supply of
the uterus greatly increased in preparation for the egg. We find the
inner lining of the uterus becomes very soft and smooth so that the egg
can very easily find a place in which to lodge itself after it has been
fertilized. We also find that the cells swell and multiply, all in
preparation to welcome and nourish the incoming egg or ovum. If the egg
is fertilized by the male, it then remains in the uterus to develop. If
not, it is thrown out, together with all the preparation made to receive
it. The cells burst and discharge their contents; the mucus, blood,
cells and all come away in what is called the menstrual flow.

At one time woman was thought to be the only creature which menstruated.
But science now tells us that all warm blooded animals which walk erect
menstruate. The discharge is chiefly due to the position which in
standing upright, throws the large part of the uterus higher than the
neck. In animals, such as dogs, cats, etc., the same process goes on,
but the position of these animals keeps the large part of the uterus
lower than the small part, where the blood is retained and then
reabsorbed into the system.

This process goes on every four weeks in girls after they reach the age
of puberty and continues at regular periods as long as the egg is not
fertilized until the reproductive age is over, which is usually between
the forty-fifth and fiftieth year. If, however, the egg is fertilized
the menstrual flow ceases and this blood supply goes to nourish the new
life in the uterus. It does not appear again until after the birth of
the child, and usually ceases while the child depends upon the milk from
the mammal glands.

The age at which this process (menstruation) first takes place in girls
differs in individuals. Climate has some effect upon it, for girls in
warm or Southern climates mature earlier than in colder places. In this
climate the average girl reaches puberty at fourteen years of age. Some
have been known to reach it as early as the eleventh and others not
until the eighteenth year, all in the same place and yet normal and
healthy, which shows there is no reason for anxiety if the girl does not
menstruate at fourteen, provided she is developing normally and is in
good health. During the first few years after its appearances the
periods are likely to be irregular. This is because the sexual organs
are not fully developed. Often the period does not occur after the first
time for three, five, eight months and sometimes a year. This
irregularity continues for two or three years. Cases of girls coming
from Europe have been known where the period was perfectly established
over there, but after arriving in this climate the menstrual flow did
not occur again for a year and over. Usually this irregularity lasts
only a few months, and when once it has become regular, there should be
no worry over its arrival a day or two earlier or later.

The length of time the period lasts differs in women also. The average
length of time is four or five days, yet there are women in which it
lasts fully a week, and others but a few hours. The length of time
should not be of as much concern as the amount of discharge which is
expelled each time. It is, of course, difficult to estimate this, but
physicians claim that more than three protectives in twenty-four hours
should not be used. In all women the flow is most profuse during the
first two days.

The care of the health should receive more attention during the first
two days than is usually given it. To the girl who has to work from
early morning until late at night, these two days are unusually hard on
her nerves and on her general health, and I regret that I have no new
message for her to help lighten the burden, which under the present
atrocious industrial system makes it so hard for her.

Physicians say there should be no need of interrupting the regular
routine of the day at this time more than any other. There are a few
strong women to whom this period makes no difference, but the average
girl in this country spends two days of pain and discomfort. Out of
1,000 girls questioned, only 16 per cent. were entirely free from pain,
which proves that the time has come for women to cease being ashamed of
this function, and insisting upon at least one day's rest at the expense
of her employer. Some of the old biblical ideas instilling into the
man's mind, that a woman is unclean at this time has been the cause of
much hardship and many sneers endured by a woman during these periods.
The consequence has been that she will bear the most intense pain rather
than allow the men working with her to suspect that she is menstruating.
It is all nonsense and wrong, and it is time women should band together
in one great sisterhood to protect one another from being slowly drained
and exhausted of their powers of motherhood for the benefit of their
exploiters. Women who belong to unions should demand that this day be
given them and their sisters. Girls continue to suffer pains in the
abdomen and back, pains running down the limbs, headache, often nausea,
besides being nervous and irritable, yet hang on a strap in an
overcrowded street car, stand or sit all day in the shop or at the
machine and utter no protest. They know, too, they are not alone in this
suffering, for they see about them day after day hundreds of other women
enduring the same pain, yet they remain silent.

How long will you endure this, working women?

There is one thing to remember, that the greatest strain comes on the
nervous system at this period. One of the best ways to assist in
building up the nerve strength is in sleep and rest and for the girl who
dares not remain away from the shop fearing to lose her “job” the next
best thing is to get to bed early, for there's nothing that builds up
the exhausted nerves like sleep.

Fortunately, the girl at school has some consideration shown her at this
time, and it is well that this is so, for until the period becomes
established there is special danger of overdoing in school work, which
often causes St. Vitus dance and other nervous disorders.

I believe in the regular warm tub bath, or cold sponge followed by a
good rubbing all over the body at this time, together with nine or ten
hours' sleep, and light, nourishing food without stimulant. If the
bowels are active, it often lessens the pain considerably, and it is
very important that every girl attend to this if she has any regard for
her health. There are a few abnormalities of the menstrual function
which I will not take the space to state here. Before leaving the
subject, I wish to impress upon the reader that most abnormalities, such
as too little or too much flow, or very great exhausting pain are
usually caused, not by any disease of the generative organs, but more
often a disturbance of the general health, which can often be treated
and cured by building up the system.

Every girl should learn the laws of menstruation and its hygiene and
have a full understanding of the same. The menstrual function occurs
only in the female at puberty, but at the same time there comes to both
boys and girls, or male and female, a mysterious and impelling
influence, which has great power over the lives of both during the
adolescent period unless they understand and control it. This is known
as the Sexual Impulse.

                              CHAPTER IV.

                         SEXUAL IMPULSE—PART I.

The sexual impulse is the strongest force in all living creatures. It is
this that animates the struggle for existence; it is this that attracts
and unites two beings, that they may reproduce their kind; it is this
that inspires man to the highest and noblest thoughts; it is this also
that inspires man to all endeavors and achievements, to all art and
poetry; this impulse is the creative instinct which dominates all living
things and without which life must die. If, then, this force, this
impulse plays so strong a part in our lives, is it not necessary that we
know something about it?

                  *       *       *       *       *

At the time of puberty there comes both to boys and girls, two
impulses—one, the desire to touch or caress; to come in contact with, to
write or to speak to, an individual of the opposite sex. This impulse is
much stronger in girls than in boys. The other is the impulse that
impels the individual to discharge the accumulation of ripe sex cells,
and relieve himself of the nervous tension which this accumulation
produces. This impulse is stronger in boys than in girls. One writer
states that this is an unconscious desire for relief from physical
congestion, not differing greatly from the sense of relief which the
emptying of the bladder or rectum produces.

                  *       *       *       *       *

These two impulses together, according to Moll, constitute the Sexual
Impulse, and this constitutes the foundation upon which love, the
greatest of all emotions, is based.

                  *       *       *       *       *

At the time of puberty, we learned from the last article, that the first
manifestations of sexual maturity in the girl is the appearance of the
menstrual flow. But also at puberty there comes the sexual impulse,
which evidences itself during sleep, in a filmy substance dropping from
the mouth of the uterus. This “detumescence” does not appear very often
in young girls, but later in life when sex instinct becomes stronger it
occurs during sleep, especially in young widows having experienced
sexual relations. They are, however, seldom aware of its taking place;
consequently, it has not the danger which it presents to the boy.

                  *       *       *       *       *

In the preceding article on puberty, we discussed only the girl at
puberty, but here it is necessary to understand that during puberty many
changes take place in the boy, such as change of voice, the growth of
hair on the face, various parts of the body, and most important, the
discharge of the sexual fluid commonly known as seminal emissions. This
latter symptom appears in every normal healthy boy on reaching the age
of puberty, but unlike the menstrual period which occurs at a stated
period in girls, the seminal emissions do not depend upon a special
period; they occur at different times, often twice a month. Unlike
menstruation, which in the girl lasts from two to seven days, the
discharge lasts only a few seconds, and is not accompanied by pain. This
expulsion is considered perfectly normal, and is not a sign of physical
or sexual weakness, but a sign that a surplus accumulation of ripe sex
cells are present and have come to their full development and overflow.
Nature takes care of this and uses all of this life-giving fluid
according to the needs of the individual, casting off the surplus.

It is this symptom that alarms young boys at puberty. It is this
overflow which enables quack doctors to play upon the innocent and
ignorant boy, telling him that it is an indication of weakness. And it
is also this—as the result of telling older boys about it—that leads
boys to houses of prostitution; for they are told by their ignorant
advisers that they must have sexual relations or endanger their sexual

It is also this overflow which, occurring in sleep awakens the boy, and
he is conscious of what has occurred; he is conscious also of a
pleasurable sensation which this sense of relief produces, and unless
warned against it he will try at some later time to bring on this relief
by friction or mechanical means, which is known as masturbation—often
called self-abuse. The age of puberty is one of the periods in an
individual's life in which it is easiest to acquire this habit, in girls
as well as in boys, although the girl may not be conscious of any
sensation, through the accumulation of the “detumescence”. Yet there is
the same nervous tension that exists in boys, due to congestion of the
now fully developed genital organs, perhaps slighter in intensity, but
it is there and the girl becomes conscious of it.

In talking to older girls about sex, menstruation, etc., she is often
led into the habit of masturbation. Cases have been known where children
formed this habit in infancy almost, through the ignorance of nurses or
even mothers, who, not aware of the consequences, have kept babies from
crying by gently patting or rubbing the sexual parts. It may be caused
also by uncleanliness, itching, tight clothing, etc.

When the habit is formed in very small children, it can be exercised in
the very presence of the parents, but they being ignorant of the habit
itself, or the consequences, interpret the actions as “baby ways”.
Again, the habit is formed upon entering school. It is said no school is
free from it; and it is a fact that no institution today is free from
pupils who practice masturbation.

In public schools are found groups of perverted boys and girls whose
depraved ideas sooner or later permeate the place. A recent issue of a
conservative woman's journal says: “In absolute filth of conversation
nothing could equal the talk of boys and girls during recess in our
schools. What is still worse is that the child is generally instructed
in masturbation, prostitution and sometimes sexual perversity.”

This subject of masturbation is at present under discussion from many
points of view among the medical profession; some claiming, that, as
with venereal diseases, we lay too much stress on the matter, and
exaggerate the harm done to the individual by it. One writer plainly
states that it is of such common practice that out of a hundred young
men and women, ninety-nine are addicted to it, and the hundredth one is
lying. Another says that out of a hundred men and women arriving at the
age of 25, ninety-nine have practiced it at some time.

By these examples such writers would try to prove that because
ninety-nine people out of one hundred are not in insane asylums the
practice cannot be as harmful as it is stated by others to be.

Let us take a sane and logical view of this subject.

In children, before they have reached the age of puberty, prior to the
development of the sexual organs, it stands to reason that to abuse
these organs before they are strong enough to be exercised must weaken
them for their natural functions. Again, masturbation, unlike the sexual
act, can be practiced individually and at all times and nearly anywhere.
This gives the individual unlimited opportunity for indulgence, and
consequently drains and exhausts the system of the vitality necessary
for full development.

In the boy or girl past puberty we find one of the most dangerous forms
of masturbation, i. e., mental masturbation, which consists of forming
mental pictures, or thinking of obscene or voluptuous pictures. This
form is considered especially harmful to the brain, for the habit
becomes so fixed that it is almost impossible to free the thoughts from
lustful pictures. Every girl should guard against the man who invariably
turns a word or sentence into a lustful, or commonly termed, “smutty”
channel, for nine times out of ten he is a mental masturbator.

Perhaps the greatest physical danger to the chronic masturbator is the
inability to perform the sexual act naturally. The strong physical
irritants which are used are likely to produce catarrhal disease of
these organs in both sexes, producing such irritating sensations that
relief is demanded, and this can be obtained only by repeating the
habit, and so it continues. The individual promises himself over and
over again after such exercises to overcome the habit, but his will
power gradually becomes destroyed and the impulse continues. He knows
and intuitively feels such practice degrades him and destroys his
character; he feels he is losing control of himself, and also realizes
that his health, especially his nervous system is being undermined.

In my personal experience as a trained nurse while attending persons
afflicted with various and often revolting diseases, no matter what
their ailments, I never found any one so repulsive as the chronic

It would not be difficult to fill page upon page of heart-rending
confessions made by young girls, whose lives were blighted by this
pernicious habit, always begun so innocently, for even after they have
ceased the habit, they find themselves incapable of any relief in the
natural act. This causes a nervous and excited condition in the girl,
tossing about nervously for hours after. It is much more difficult for a
girl to overcome the habit than a man. The effects are more permanent in

Before closing this subject, however, I want to tell of a case of an
eight year old boy I attended during an attack of measles. I found he
was shy and unresponsive, and at times very nervous and irritable with a
strong liking to be alone. I observed him closely for a few days and
reported the results of my observation to the attending physician. He
was convinced of the truth, that the little fellow was masturbating. The
physician assigned me to the task of talking to the child, who
acknowledged that he was “touching” himself and had been ever since he
could remember. The little fellow's mother had died when he was in
infancy, leaving beside himself a brother a year older with whom he
slept. I explained to him the danger as well as I could and the result
was that I was awakened in the night by whisperings and found the little
fellow asking the older brother to tie his hands to the bedpost. This
the older brother did with a handkerchief, and the child went to sleep
in this way every night during the few weeks I was attending him. The
first few nights he was awake practically all of the time struggling to
overcome this habit, which he finally overcame completely.

At puberty every boy and girl should be taught these dangers and
temptations and also how to avoid them, by keeping active, mentally and
physically, going to bed only when sleepy, avoiding intoxicating drinks
and stimulants.

We have strayed some distance, I know, from the beginning of our
subject—Sexual Impulse—to treat of its perversion (masturbation), but we
shall now take up the normal natural impulse and see what there is that
every girl should know.

                        SEXUAL IMPULSE—PART II.

In the first part of this article we learned that the sexual impulse is
a combination of the two impulses: the one which impels the discharge of
ripe sex cells, strongest in the boy, and the other which impels the
individual to touch or caress an individual of the opposite sex,
strongest in the girl.

Every girl has in mind an ideal man. This ideal begins to form sometime
in the early adolescent age. He is usually distinct in her mind as to
his physical qualities, such as dark or light hair, or brown or blue
eyes. He is always a certain physical type and often remains an ideal to
her through life. At the forming period of the type she will be
attracted toward many men who seem to answer the ideal type, but as she
reads and develops through the various stages of the adolescent period,
the ideal changes and grows with her. As she reaches the romantic stage
the ideal must be brave, daring, courteous. If she is inclined toward
outdoor sports he must be athletic. And so it goes on until the
twenty-third year, when the average girl has a fairly settled idea of
the man who would suit her as a mate through life.

When the sexual impulse makes itself felt strongly in the adolescent boy
or girl, they, feeling satisfied with the physical beauty and perfection
of the other, marry, they are unconscious that the incentive to love
when based on physical attraction alone is soon destroyed. For sickness,
poverty or disease will affect even the most seemingly perfect physical

Let us not confuse the sexual impulse with love, for it alone is not
love, but merely a necessary quality for the growth of love.

No sexual attraction or impulse is the foundation of the beautiful
emotion of love. Upon this is built respect, self-control, sympathy,
unity of purpose, many common tastes and desires, building up and up
until this real love unites two individuals as one being, one life. Then
it becomes the strongest and purest emotion of which the human soul is
capable. There is no doubt that the natural aim of the sexual impulse is
the sexual act, yet when the impulse is strongest and followed by the
sexual act without love or any of the relative instincts which go to
make up love, the relations are invariably followed by a feeling of
disgust. Respect for each other and for one's self is a primary
essential to this intimate relation.

In plant and animal life the reproductive cell of the male is the active
seeker of the passive female cell, imbued with the instinct to chase and
bodily capture the female cell for the purpose of reproduction.

This instinct man, as he is today, has inherited, and, as with the lower
forms of life, the senses are intensely involved. It is kept alive by
the sense of sight, sound and smell, and reaches its highest development
through the sense of touch. It is heightened by touching smooth and soft
surfaces—which is said to account for the pleasure of kissing.

In the early part of this article I spoke of the desire to touch being
stronger in girls than in boys. This desire leads a girl to kiss and
fondle a man without any conscious desire for the sexual act; whereas in
the man, to be touched and caressed by the girl for whom he has a sexual
attraction, stimulates the accumulation of sex cells, and the desire for
the sexual act becomes paramount in his mind. Many a young girl bubbling
over with the joy of living, innocent of any serious consequences, is
oft-times misjudged by men on account of these natural actions. But she
soon puts on her armor of defense, and stifles and represses any
outbursts of affection.

Society, too, condemns the natural expression of woman's emotion, save
under certain prescribed conditions. In consequence of this, women
suppress their natural desires and direct this great force into other
channels, participating in the bigger and broader movements and
activities in which they are active today.

This is one reason why the type of the so-called “old maid”, so
characteristic of the generation past, has disappeared. These great
maternal powers are being used up in the activities of modern life.
Instead of allowing it to remain dormant and make her odd and whimsical,
the modern woman turns her sexual impulse into a big directing force.

That the male creature is the pursuer of the female in all forms of
life, there is no question, but that the female has the choice of
selection and uses fine discrimination in her choice, cannot be denied
either. This instinct of selection seems to lie dormant in women of
today, for at puberty nature calls to every girl to make a selection
suitable to her nature. Yet few girls follow this instinct on account of
the specter of economic insecurity which looms up before them. Instead
of asking themselves: “Are we mateable and sympathetic?” they ask:
“Shall we have enough food, clothing and shelter?”

Indeed, girls, this system increases our degradation, and places us in
ideals lower than the animals. All over the civilized world today girls
are being given and taken in marriage with but one purpose in view: to
be well-supported by the man who takes her. She does not concern herself
with the man's physical condition; his hereditary taints, the
cleanliness of his mind or past life, nor with the future of the race.

There will no doubt be a great change in woman's attitude on this
subject in the next few years. When women gain their economic freedom
they will cease being playthings and utilities for men, but will assert
themselves and choose the father of their offspring. As Bernard Shaw
tells of her in one of his greatest plays, she will hunt down her ideal
in order to produce the Superman.

                  *       *       *       *       *

There seems to be a general tendency on the part of the woman who is
demanding political freedom, to demand sexual freedom also. When a girl
reaches the age nearing thirty her natural development tends toward
sexual freedom. It seems as though nature, knowing the time of
reproduction is drawing to a close, calls with all the fury of her
strength to complete its development and procreate.

It is at this age where physicians claim a woman awakens to the sexual
desire, and it is at this age that women seek affection, or
gratification with a “lover.” To her there is nothing to say; she is
mature, developed and can judge for herself where best her happiness

But to the young girl at the age of say twenty, or even younger,
immature, mentally undeveloped, there is something she should know, and
that is that every physical impulse, every sensual feeling, every
lustful desire will come to her whitewashed with the sacred word “Love”.

Neither the boy nor the girl knows the difference between the sexual
impulse and love. A boy meets a girl he feels a great attraction for
her, he feels the sexual impulse throbbing within him, he is full of
this life-giving current, he feels it throughout his being; he walks
lighter and straighter, he feels it in his voice, in his laughter; he
grows tenderer within himself, and to women. He feels all this and is
sure it is a love that will never die. If there is an attraction on the
girl's part there is no difficulty in persuading her that this feeling
is love.

But it is not love; it is the creative force or sexual impulse scattered
through his being and the sexual act brings it to a focus.

If motherhood comes to the girl through this relation, she has developed
and the experience has enriched her life. But today the girl has an idea
she has escaped the greatest disgrace when she has avoided motherhood.
If the relation was based on physical attraction alone, a few abortions
and the monotony of every day life soon remove this, and the man goes
elsewhere in search of this wonderful sensation which he felt at first,
but did not know how to keep or how to use.

The girl, however, has become a new being, sexually awakened and
conscious of it, but ignorant of the use of the forces she possesses,
she plunges forth blindly, with social and economic forces against her,
and prostitution beckoning at every turn. So she soon passes with the
crowd on the road to the Easiest Way. This is the story of thousands of
young girls living in prostitution.

Women should know that the creative instinct does not need to be
expended entirely on the propagation of the race. Though the sex cells
are placed in a part of the anatomy for the essential purpose of easily
expelling them into the female for the purpose of reproduction, there
are other elements in the sexual fluid which are the essence of blood,
nerve, brain and muscle. When redirected into the building and
strengthening of these, we find men or women of the greatest endurance
and greatest magnetic power. A girl can waste her creative powers by
brooding over a love affair to the extent of exhausting her system, with
results not unlike the effects of masturbation and debauchery.

The sexual impulse is natural. It is natural in animals, degenerates,
and in man. But in man it is mixed with other essentials which,
together, are termed love. These essentials are derived from man's power
of reasoning by which he is known as a higher species and through which
he differs from the animals.

When man emerged from the jungle and stood upright on his hind legs, the
shape of his head and his face changed from the long jaw and flat head
of the animal to the flat face and high head of the man. All progress
from that time forward was made along mental lines. According to
universal law then in existence he should have been limited to a
geographical area and killed by the extreme heat or cold or starved for
one kind of food if it were not obtained, but against all these he
fought, because he became endowed with such attributes as reason,
knowledge and will-power. Instead of using his creative powers solely in
hunting food and reproducing his species, he used this force in making
plans for his self-preservation. He built rafts and boats to cross
rivers and streams; he devised methods of clothing himself against
extreme heat and cold and discovered various ways of preparing food for
different climates suitable for his various needs. In other words he
conserved his creative force and redirected it into its channels which
have resulted in giving him precedence over all other living creatures.
For man has developed a conscious mind which asserts itself by
reasoning, which in turn has developed his brain power.

It is said a fish as large as a man has a brain no larger than the
kernel of an almond. In all fish and reptiles where there is no great
brain development, there is also no conscious sexual control. The lower
down in the scale of human development we go the less sexual control we
find. It is said the aboriginal Australian, the lowest known species of
the human family, just a step higher than the chimpanzee in brain
development, has so little sexual control that police authority alone
prevents him from obtaining sexual satisfaction on the streets.
According to one writer, the rapist has just enough brain development to
raise him above the animal, but like the animal, when in heat, knows no
law except nature, which impels him to procreate, whatever the result.
Every normal man and woman has the power to control and direct his
sexual impulse. Men and women who have it in control and constantly use
their brain cells thinking deeply, are never sensual.

It is well to understand that the natural aim of the sexual impulse is
the sexual act and the natural aim of the sexual act is reproduction,
though it does not always result in this. It is possible for conception
to take place without love, it is even possible that there is no
conscious knowledge to procreate before or during the act, yet this does
not disprove the fact that nature has designed it for the purpose of
reproduction, no matter what uses man has put it to today. This subject
of procreation we shall discuss next.

Every girl should know that to hold in check the sexual impulse, to
absorb this power into the system until there is a freely conscious
sympathy, a confidence and respect between her and her ideal, that this
will go toward building up the sexual impulse and will make the purest,
strongest and most sacred passion of adult life, compared to which all
other passions pale into insignificance.

                               CHAPTER V.

                          REPRODUCTION—PART I.

In teaching children or young persons the process of reproduction one of
the cleanest, most natural and beautiful methods of doing this is to
tell them the process which goes on in the various forms of life in the
flower, fish, frog, bird and to lead up to the highest and most complex
of all living creatures—man.

They watch the butterfly and bee carry a load of pollen from the father
buttercup to fertilize the seeds within the mother flower. They watch
Mr. and Mrs. Frog awaken from their long winter nap, and stirred by the
life-giving impulse within them, start for the breeding pond. They watch
Father Thrush win his mate and patiently stand guard over her during the
tedious hatching days. They are told and see that the flowers depend
upon outside forces to bring the pollen from the male to the female to
fertilize the seeds before the seeds could grow. They are taught that
the mother fish lay her eggs in the water first and that the father
fish, unlike the flowers, being able to move about, carries the pollen
(which is now a fluid) to the seeds himself. They are told that Father
Frog, being a higher creature, fertilized the eggs before they reached
the water, and Father Thrush being still higher in the scale fertilized
the eggs before they left the mother's body. That the higher the species
was, the greater the care required to preserve that species.

In this way the mind is prepared for the information which should

The girl at puberty should be taught this process and something of what
goes on within the womb after the ovum has been fertilized. She should
know that all organic life is the result of a simple cell; that man is a
community of cells, banded together and depending upon each cell to
carry on its work, for the benefit of the whole.

Let us first, then, get an idea of a cell and what it is and what it
does. A cell is a tiny portion of living matter having in its center a
spot or nucleus which represents the point of germination; it is
separated from its sister cells by partitions of cell membrane.

A simple cell is formed by the fusion of two germ cells when they meet
to exchange nuclear elements. After this fusion they are able to proceed
with fission, which means splitting into parts, and it is the subsequent
cellular growth of the fused germ-cell that constitutes reproduction.

There are two kinds of reproductive cells, the ova in the female and the
spermatozoa in the male.

When the sexual act takes place, there is deposited into the vagina a
secretion known as semen. According to Sutkowsky, each deposit or
ejaculation contains 50,000,000 of spermatozoa.

About the same time in the act there occurs in the female, spasmodic
contractions of the muscles of the uterus which draws in a small amount
of the sperm which the male has left there.

The sperm cell of the male under the microscope shows that it contains
both head and tail.

The tail enables it to move and advance with a tadpole-like motion
toward the ovum.

As in the lower forms of life, the male cell has within it the instinct
to chase and capture the female cell. Consequently, it does not depend
upon the uterine contractions of the female to enable it to reach the
ovum for fertilization. The vagina being a corrugated or wrinkled tube,
hides and secretes the sperm cell for days, unless it is removed with
water or killed by poisonous injections.

When, however, the sperm comes near the ovum it is drawn to it as to a

The ovum being carefully protected by nature within the ovaries, leaves
its sister cells and travels alone. The sperm cell, however, having more
dangerous paths to travel, must provide against the uncertainty of doing
its great work by going in numbers, though it takes but one single cell
to produce human life.

A number of the male cells go to meet the ovum, but only one enters it.
Almost at the moment the head enters the ovum it becomes completely
absorbed by the ovum and all trace of it is lost.

This union of the two cells is called fertilization, fecundation,
impregnation, or conception. Any of these terms may be used. This union
usually takes place in the tube, but the fertilized egg does not remain
there; it wanders along and finds its way into the uterus.

Now that the ovum has been fertilized, it readily becomes attached to
the soft lining of the uterus which has been specially prepared to
receive it. No menstruation occurs. The woman is now pregnant. A new
being is created, and marvelous changes will now take place within the
tiny cell clinging so weakly to the lining of the uterus. At this time
the ovum is so small it can scarcely be seen by the naked eye, but in
two weeks it has grown to the size of a pea; in four weeks to the size
of a walnut, and in eight weeks to the size of a lemon. At this time it
is three inches long and is completely formed, the head being much
larger in proportion to the rest of its body. What has happened to the
ovum in these few weeks is briefly this: All the changes in the
evolution of the animal kingdom, that man had to pass through to arrive
at his present shape, the human embryo goes through step by step within
the uterus in a very short period. Immediately after fertilization the
ovum begins to divide into sections or lobes, into 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, etc.
cells until they are almost countless. Each cell splits in the middle of
the nucleus, forming two complete new cells and so on.

The next stage is represented by this mass of cells forming themselves
into a shape like a hollow ball. The third stage is the meeting of the
two layers of cells, as if the ball had collapsed, and these two layers
meet and unite as one, stretch and flatten out like a worm. After this
stage things become more complicated; new organs begin to develop, line
marks for the backbone and intestinal canal show themselves, as do the
bony and muscular structure of the skeleton.

A slight pulsation is observed, showing the development of the heart.
The head fold is formed by a gradual bending of the spinal column at the
front end of the ovum, which we will now call the embryo. There are also
formed at this time, processes which soon become arms and legs, there is
a furrow on the face, pits for the eyes; all of which has happened in
less than four weeks.

From this time forward development is rapid; the bones, which up to this
time have been soft matter, grow harder, and all organs which were only


  FIG. II.

  Foetus in the Uterus at two months' pregnancy.

now become definitely formed. At the end of the fourth month it has
grown to its natural shape. The remaining months it increases in size
and gains strength. The uterus becomes enlarged, rises out of the pelvis
and occupies the abdominal cavity. It takes forty weeks or 280 days to
complete the growth of the human embryo, although the time may be two
weeks more or less and yet be normal.

Let us see how the child has been fed all this time. When the ovum is
fertilized and up to the eighth week it is fed by delicate branched
threads, which form a covering for it. These threads are called “villi”,
and dip into the uterine surface for nourishment from the mother to
supply the embryo.

About the eighth week these “villi” have grown greatly intertwined into
a mass of spongy tissue full of blood vessels called the placenta
(afterbirth). This fastens itself to one side of the uterus, takes
oxygen as well as nutriment from the mother and sends it through the
umbilical cord to the child, the point of attachment being at the navel,
the depression left on the belly of the child by the cutting of the
umbilical cord at birth. In the same way it takes the waste product from
the child to the mother, and she, in turn, throws them out of her system
through the kidneys, bowels and skin. The child and placenta are both
encased within a membraneous sac, which secretes and serves to hold a
watery fluid in which the child swims.

The child is folded together with legs on the thighs and thighs on the
belly, arms on the chest and head bent forward over the breast. Toward
the end of the term it moves about slightly, often stretches a little,
and has periods of rest when it scarcely moves, and again periods of
great activity. A mother first feels the child move in the fourth or
fifth month. Often the young mother at this time begins to worry over
her acts lest something she should do might deform the precious charge
she carries. This, as you can readily understand from its early
development, is impossible, for by the end of the second month the child
has been formed, and no mental impressions of the mother can alter its
shape. Just as the nucleus of the male sperm has within it all the
contributions which the father of the child can give it, until after it
is born, so does the mother give it its physical qualities right at the

Whatever is to be inherited from the father must be within the substance
of the spermatozoon at the time the ovum is fertilized. He has no
further pre-natal influence over it.

It is interesting to observe that the children of so-called great men
are seldom above the average in intelligence, where, on the other hand,
almost all men of great minds have had intelligent mothers.

How great or how little influence a mother has over her child through
her thoughts has not been proven, nor has the subject of determining or
influencing sex of the unborn child been settled.

At the end of nine months the child's development is complete and it is
ready for its journey to the outside world. The process of this journey
is called “labor”—a word which will describe the mother's share in it.
When this occurs before the embryo is able to live outside the uterus it
is known as abortion.

                         REPRODUCTION—PART II.

In the first part of this essay I said that if the process of labor
occurs before the seventh month (which is the earliest time the foetus
can live for any length of time outside the womb) it is known as
abortion or miscarriage. When labor occurs later than this or within two
weeks before term, it is known as premature labor.

The average girl in using the word abortion, has in mind a criminal act,
whereby the process of pregnancy is purposely interrupted. She prefers
the word miscarriage.

There is also a belief among girls that a miscarriage occurring in the
early stages of pregnancy can be brought about without bad results or
any serious consequences to her health.

It is a mistake to regard an abortion as of slight importance, for any
interruption in the process of pregnancy is always more dangerous than
the natural labor at full term. One writer claims there are more women
ill in consequence of abortion than from full term childbirth, on
account of which there are so many women who are semi-invalids.

There can be no doubt that the often excessive loss of blood leaves the
woman in a weak and rundown condition, thereby lessening her powers of
resistance to other diseases.

The shock to the woman's system is greater than that produced by natural
labor, and consequently leaves her in a hysterical and often critically
nervous state for some time after.

The causes of abortion are many. Among them are overexertion,
overexcitement, shock, fright, fall, great anger, dancing, fatigue,
lifting heavy weights, purgative medicines and excessive sexual

The dangers resulting from abortion are blood poison, hemorrhage—even
lockjaw has been known to be the result of abortion, also the danger
that one miscarriage is likely to follow another, and disables a woman
to carry a child to the full term.

If there is the same care and treatment given the woman who aborts as
the woman in childbirth, she will naturally be less likely to suffer
serious results than if no medical attention were given her.

One of the most common disturbances of pregnancy is nausea, more
commonly called “morning sickness,” because it is felt in the morning
when the woman first assumes the erect position. As a rule, this lasts
only during the early months.

About the latter part of the fourth month, or often not before the fifth
month, movements of the foetus are felt. These movements are called
“life”, and women are glad of this signal that all is progressing
naturally. One writer said a woman had described the first feeling of
life as “the trembling movements of a bird within the hand.”

There are often many nervous manifestations accompanying the pregnant
woman, such as headache, neuralgia, toothache and as a usual thing,
constipation is always present, and should receive attention. The teeth
also should receive attention at this time for they decay easily on
account of the secretions in the mouth which are increased during

The breasts enlarge in the early months of pregnancy, and there is a
fullness and tingling felt often in the fifth week. The nipples become
erect and the skin around the nipple becomes dark brown. These are only
a few of the disturbances of pregnancy, but enough to show that other
organs beside the uterus are tested in strength and how important it is
to have a good healthy body. In fact, every tissue and fiber in the
woman's body feels the impetus of pregnancy, and all kinds of physical
changes occur. Like in June, “Every clod feels a stir of might, an
instinct within it that reaches and towers.”—Howell.

One of the common questions asked by young women in early married life
is how to tell if they are pregnant.

This is not always easy, but there are a few points on which a diagnosis
is based, namely: in a healthy woman (during the reproductive age) the
function of menstruation stops, together with the morning sickness, and
the enlargement of the breasts with dark color around the nipples. These
are early indications that pregnancy exists. I am not going to take the
time nor space to explain that all three of the above named can exist in
nervous women, even when pregnancy does not exist. It is, as I said
before, with the average healthy girl I am dealing, not with the
exception. The only certain signs of pregnancy are the hearing of the
heart-beats of the child and its movements.

Another question which troubles a young woman is how to count the time
when she will be confined. This, too, is difficult to say, for an error
of two weeks earlier or later is possible, because the time of
conception is seldom definitely known. Experience has given a method of
arriving at an approximate date which is used and which answers the
purpose fairly well, though it is by no means perfect. Add seven days to
the first day of the last menstruation and count nine months forward.
For example: Mrs. A. menstruated last, beginning October 5 add seven
days; this brings the date to October 12; add nine months, which brings
the date of confinement to July 12. It is well to have everything
prepared two weeks before this date so that the woman can be as much as
possible in the open air during the remaining waiting days.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The dress of the pregnant woman should receive serious attention. In the
first place, it should be simple and warm, without bands restricting the
circulation of any part of the body, like skirt bands, round garters,
corsets and tight shoes. The secret of a comfortable outfit for the
expectant mother is to have all clothing hang from the shoulders.
Combination underwear can be bought as reasonably as the separate
drawers and shirt. There should be no pressure on the womb from above,
rather let all support come from below. The corset gets in its harmful
work by pressing down the uterus into the pelvis, thus displacing the
abdominal organs and crowding them together in such a way as to cause
injury to the uterus as well as to the child itself. The muscles of the
uterus and abdomen are weakened and from this results that horror of all
women: the “high stomach.” Some women, especially those having borne
children, prefer to wear in the latter days of pregnancy an abdominal
supporter. If it is well fitted to the body it helps to assist the
abdominal muscles in carrying the weight and affords great relief. If
women would devote to making themselves comfortable during pregnancy as
much time as they give on the baby's outfit, they would profit by it.
Instead of wearing any old worn-out dress, ill-fitting and out of style,
make one “maternity” dress to fit the figure. This can, of course, be
let out in size as the figure grows. It can be made of some pretty,
inexpensive material and gives such comfort and ease to the mind as well
as to the body that the woman who has once had one will never again do
without it.

The food also should be simple. In fact, there are few restrictions to
be placed on food unless so ordered by the physician. One common mistake
of women is that they believe they are eating for two persons, and
consequently, must gorge themselves, which, of course, results in
indigestion. Physicians advise a small amount of meat once a day. Plenty
of water, milk and cereals, fruit, vegetables and especially fruit,
which loosens the bowels. Rich pastry or starches fried in fat should
not be eaten, because they are hard to digest. There is no reason why
the diet should be at all strict unless a woman is under the special
care of a physician. She should take a moderate amount of exercise every
day, but should not get tired. Walking in the open air in the sunlight
is best. Avoid dancing, swimming and all violent exercise; sewing on the
sewing machine should be restricted. Fainting in the early months is
often caused from bad air in overcrowded and overheated rooms, also from
an empty stomach when the woman is too busy to notice nature's call for

It is now generally agreed that alcohol taken by the mother during
pregnancy, has very bad effects on the offspring.

There is little more to be said here except that a pregnant woman should
be mentally and physically active, though not fatigued. And of all
things she should keep out of the hearing of old superstitions, which
have a sign for every act and keep a young woman constantly worried. She
should not be allowed to worry over her approaching labor, and as far as
possible be kept cheerful and happy. Another question which concerns
every expectant mother, is, if there is any danger in sexual intercourse
during pregnancy.

At the end of the period the child and the placenta are expelled from
the uterus. The uterus gradually returns to its former size. It requires
about six weeks for this to occur and it is very important that there
should be no heavy lifting and overwork at this time. As a rule after
childbirth, the woman's form becomes matured and more developed. The
facial expression takes on a kinder, a maternal look, the whole nervous
system is awakened to sympathy, pain or grief bringing tears to the eyes
quicker than ever before. Especially is this true for the first few
years following.

The important thing is that the care of the pregnant woman should be
begun in girlhood. If we are going to be and have mothers, then we
should give attention to the development of the organs which make us

                              CHAPTER VI.


When the boy arrives at the age of puberty, he is in greater danger than
a girl of being not only led astray by companions, but being actually
sent into unclean living by those nearest and most interested in his
welfare—HIS PARENTS.

The reason of this is that there has been and still is a false idea
clinging to many parents that as soon as the boy has seminal emissions,
it is a signal that he must have sexual relations or suffer in health.

That the seminal emissions are not harmful and that they grow less
frequent as the boy grows older is a fact of which few mothers seem to
be aware.

We cannot blame the mothers of the past for not informing their sons of
this physical condition, for few of them knew it themselves. Mothers
have been as ignorant as the boys of their sex functions as well as
other functions of the body.

They accepted sickness, disease, and even death without a question,
placing their faith and confidence entirely in the hands of the medical
profession, who, like the rabbis and high priests, made a church of
their knowledge.

Fortunately this condition of affairs is changing, and the knowledge of
the human body, which for ages has been most carefully locked within the
medical libraries, is fast taking up its abode in the homes of the
people—where it belongs.

It is said that in Japan or China, the duty of a physician is to keep
his patients in good health, receiving payment only when they are well.

Certainly this sounds like civilization.

Only a few weeks ago I had occasion to talk to a woman about her oldest
son, whom I considered sick from overwork and lack of nourishment. She
informed me, however, that this was not so, and whispered confidently
that he was 16 years old and “in that age when he needs a woman.” She
further remarked that she and “the papa” had talked it over with the
result that the father had told the boy, when he had “the desire for a
woman,” that he, the father, “would give him money enough to get one.”

Think of that boy's attitude toward women, and the danger to become
affected with venereal diseases that he was likely to contract. Yet both
parents had the sincerest wish to do their best for that boy; they gave
the best advice they knew.

One of the most common errors I have found among people, even those
educated in other lines of thought, is that the sexual organs will
become useless unless they are used in early manhood. This is considered
untrue by the best authorities on the subject, for it is known that the
essential organs of reproduction are glands, not unlike the tear glands
of the eyes or the milk glands of the breasts. The tear glands do not
atrophy even if one does not cry for years, nor the milk glands during
the entire period of reproduction. The same can be said of the sexual

Another idea which is fast being uprooted is that the sexual act is an
appetite, not unlike that of hunger and thirst, which must be fed by the
boy sowing his “wild oats” first before settling down to marriage. It is
now a recognized fact that it is no more necessary for a boy to “sow
wild oats” than it is for a girl, and women are today demanding of men
the same cleanliness of body and mind which men have heretofore
considered necessary only in women.

It is now the unreserved opinion of the foremost medical men of the day
that a man does not suffer in health from living a continent life, nor
is he a “mollycoddle” from so doing.

Hutchinson says: “The belief that the exercise of the sex functions is
necessary to the health of the male at any age is a pure delusion, while
before full maturity it is highly injurious.”

Ruggles says: “Sexual abstinence is compatible with perfect health and
tends to increase virility (which means manhood) through the
reabsorption of the semen.”

The ancient Teutons were aware of this, for it is said that it was
considered a most shameful thing for their young men to have sexual
relations with a woman before their twenty-sixth year. From observation
and experience they were convinced that men were not sexually mature
much before this age, and no one will dispute they were strong and

Statistics show that 65 per cent. of men infected with venereal diseases
(which means diseases due to sexual intercourse) are contracted between
the ages of 15 and 21 years; and 25 per cent. are contracted in the 21st
and 23rd years.

Writers claim that from statistics they have found men are not sexually
mature before the twenty-fifth year and women not before the twentieth
year. Yet we find them both reeking with sexual diseases before this

According to Sanger's “History of Prostitution,” it is claimed that
three-eighths of the prostitutes enter the life before the twentieth
year in New York City. It is safe to say this is a conservative
estimate, for the more recent investigations in Chicago and other cities
show a very much higher percentage. However, this, together with the
statistics of venereal diseases mentioned above, show that it is before
the boy and girl are sexually mature that there is the greatest
difficulty in directing the impulses and controlling the passions.

Chassaignac says that the more healthy and normal an individual is, the
better can he not only control his passions, but the less likely is he
to be disturbed by continence.

Just one more word on the subject of continence, and that is that it is
not at all unusual to find men determined to remain continent until they
find their ideal woman. Nor for athletes in training engaged in
contests, nor for sailors on long sea voyages, and many others for long
periods of time is continence impossible; in fact, they are better for

This knowledge was not lost sight of in ancient times.

Reference is made to it in the Bible, in the sending of women
prostitutes into the camps of the enemy the night before an expected
battle, in order to exhaust or decrease the vitality of the soldiers.

When one finds an individual who realizes the force of the sexual
impulses and knows how to conserve them, you usually find a person who
does not drain or exhaust these forces, but uses them in creative work.

Every girl should look upon the man who indulges freely in the sexual
relations =without Social responsibility=, as a prostitute far more
degraded than the unfortunate girl who is compelled to sell her body to
sustain life.

Every girl should know something about the physical makeup of a boy as
well as of her own, for upon the well-being of both does the future race
depend. To be a real mother a woman must understand a boy's emotions and
development, if she would sympathize with him. And when she does
understand, she will not send him to buy a woman for physical

It is this ignorance of parents, together with the silence of the
medical profession, which is largely responsible for the terrible spread
of venereal diseases which exist today.

When a few years ago Dr. Morrow stated that there is more venereal
diseases among innocent, virtuous wives, than among prostitutes, this
statement should have resounded throughout the walls of every home in
the land, instead of which it is kept intact within the covers of large
volumes, where only those wearing cap and gown have access to it.

It is claimed that out of 1,000 married men in New York 800 have
gonorrhoea, and 90 per cent. of these have not been cured and can infect
their wives. The result is that at least three out of every five married
women in New York have gonorrhoea.

This seems astounding and exaggerated, but the following quotation is
taken from an authority and is considered quite conservative: “Over 90
per cent. of our young men stray from the path of virtue before
marriage; 60 per cent. contract venereal diseases which are difficult to
cure; more wives than prostitutes have venereal diseases; one-eighth of
all diseases in New York hospitals are venereal; 20,000 infected persons
walk the streets daily.”

It seems to me that the above facts are sufficient to warrant every girl
and boy knowing something about these diseases.


The two venereal diseases which I will tell you something of here are
those most commonly known to all—gonorrhoea and syphilis.

Gonorrhoea is an inflammation of the urethra (water passage)
characterized by redness, swelling, smarting pain on the passing of
water, and accompanied by thick purulent (poisonous) discharge, at first
creamy in color, and later a greenish yellow. It is considered by the
highest authorities as solely a sexual disease in adults, depending
almost exclusively upon sexual intercourse as its mode of origin and
infection. In children, however, it is not the rule, especially in
infants and little girls, who can be infected by the hands of the mother
or nurse being soiled with the discharge, also where the fresh discharge
is on towels, toilets, etc. It starts an inflammation of the outer
delicate parts but seldom enters the urethra.

In former days gonorrhoea was considered an ordinary catarrhal
inflammation, “no worse than a bad cold,” the old saying went. It was
thought to originate in women with the discharge at the end of the
menstrual period, or leucorrhoea; in fact any secretions from the
uterus, of an irritating character, were thought to be sources of
gonorrhoea. However, with the discovery of the microbe “gonococcus”, in
1879, by Dr. Neisser, it is now an established fact that the disease
comes from a source where there is either latent or chronic gonorrhoea,
which, of course, means that the gonococcus is present. It is considered
a conservative estimate that at least 50 per cent. of the adult
population in this country have suffered from gonococcal infection. More
men than women have been and are infected.

The first symptoms of the disease appear from three to seven days after
infection, and under proper treatment the discharge may disappear in six
or eight weeks.

If the man or woman places himself under the care of a specialist within
forty-eight hours after infection, the disease is often of much shorter
duration. When allowed to become chronic, it is called gleet. Too much
emphasis cannot be put upon the danger of placing any one with this
disease into the hands of the doctors who advertise so conspicuously,
claiming rapid and complete cures for all sexual diseases. Experience
has found that thousands of boys and young men, attracted by such
alluring promises as only the quack can put forth, have been under such
treatment, only to find later that the disease was allowed to remain in
the tissues, the discharge only having been dried up. The germs were
allowed to continue their work on up into the bladder, kidneys, joints,
heart and even to the brain. The germs can live for years in the body
hidden away in the gland ducts, the mucous membrane of the organ first
attacked being in a normal state, yet when a condition arises when the
vitality of the tissues in which the germs are lodged is lowered, or
which gives the germs themselves more nourishment or stimulus, such as
alcohol or excessive intercourse, they almost always become active

In women the small part of the womb (cervix), as well as the urethra,
are favorite places of attack. When the disease attacks the cervix a
woman may not be conscious of it, and so, unless prominent symptoms
attend it, she may infect many persons in the meantime. In man, on the
other hand, the disease cannot be present without his knowing there is
something wrong, and it should be impressed upon him that it is a moral
obligation on his part not to have sexual relations until he has been
examined and pronounced cured by a specialist in genito-urinary

Your general practitioner will always recommend to you a specialist if
you ask him to. When the disease attacks the uterus and ovaries it very
often blocks the fallopian tubes and prevents the impregnation of the
ovum. It is said that over one-third of the childless marriages are due
to gonorrhoea in women, innocently contracted from their husbands. Both
men and women can become sterile from this disease. The seminal tubes in
the man become blocked, thus disabling him from impregnating the ovum.

Again, when the disease attacks the organs of generation, unless
speedily attended to, the organs get into a chronic state of
inflammation. The disease is, therefore, more difficult to reach, the
chances of cure more difficult, and it usually means an operation for
the woman.

The great mass of ailing women who trace their misery back to never
seeing a well day since marriage, can be classed among those suffering
with this disease, as can also that army of women whose illness is
classed among “female disorders.”

A curious point to know is that a man may have a hidden or latent
gonorrhoea, of which he is not aware, for it gives him no trouble, and
may infect a clean, healthy woman during sexual relations, and she in
turn, can infect him with the same disease, acting like a fresh
infection, giving rise to pain and discomfort. The great majority of
infections in women are contracted from men who believe themselves
cured, being under the false impression that they are cured because the
discharge has ceased.

At a lecture given by a well-known physician in this city last winter,
the physician advised every girl whose sweetheart, lover or expected
husband had a history of inflammatory rheumatism of the joints, back of
him, that as she values her life and future health, not to marry that
man without a thorough examination by a specialist in these diseases. He
declared: =No young man should have inflammatory rheumatism=. This
statement is considered somewhat exaggerated by some making more recent
investigations, yet all seem to agree that a very large majority of
cases of inflammatory rheumatism of the joints have the gonococcus

If the woman is not made sterile by the disease and is able to carry the
child to full term labor, then there is another danger of infecting the
child's eyes during the process of labor, when the secretions lodge
themselves into the delicate membrane of the eyes. Then, unless quick
action is applied, the sight of both eyes can be lost. Over 80 per cent.
of blindness in babies is due to this germ. It can be carried into the
eyes of both children and adults by any means which can carry the
discharge to the eyes. Upon the slightest suspicion that this has been
done, medical aid should be summoned at once.

There is one fortunate thing to know, that the germ cannot live for a
great length of time outside its natural or proper environment, though
it can for years be hidden in the body. It dries up very quickly, and
special solutions of both bichloride and permanganate of potash will
kill the germs with which the solution comes in contact. There is but
one course to follow, that upon any of the symptoms mentioned above, go
at once to a reliable physician and follow his instructions closely. And
remember that the causes which retard recovery are alcoholic drinks,
lack of rest, spicy food and =sexual excitement=. It is said there is no
positive proof against this disease, except continency until marriage
and then monogamy.

A story is told of a young Irish physician, who, being asked how he
treated gonorrhoea, replied most tersely, “with contimpt.” That this was
for a time a general feeling is agreed, but with the knowledge that so
many persons, especially women, contract the disease, under the moral,
as well as legal, conditions of present society, the feeling has
changed. A woman is infected by her husband after the marriage is
sanctioned by the state and blessed by the church, neither taking the
interest in the woman's future to guarantee to her a clean individual as
a husband. Prostitution has been upheld and women segregated for man's
sexual use, the government going to the extent of authorizing
examinations of the women for venereal diseases to insure =man's= safety
from these diseases. Yet there has been no such protection given either
the woman prostitute or the wife that the man's body is free from them.
On the other hand, every means to keep a married woman in ignorance of
the source of her infection is made by the church, state and society in
general. Every law to protect the man's crime is made for his use, while
women remain unprotected victims of his guilt. And this, they say, is
“to protect the family and the home.”

Dr. James S. Wood tells a story of his experience With a young woman of
25, married five years, when she came to him. The husband admitted
having had gonorrhoea previous to marriage. The doctor found her flowing
excessively, the cervix badly torn, the uterus sharply bent back and
fixed, ovaries bound down and adherent, the tubes thickened; a
leuchorreal discharge was present which contained gonococci, and other
symptoms which made her sick and miserable. The doctor operated upon
her, scraping her womb, sewing the torn cervix, opening the abdomen to
remove the thickened appendix and inflamed ovaries and tubes. She
convalesced beautifully, and had no bad or unusual symptoms for six
months, at which time she returned with a renewed infection. Careful
questioning extracted from the husband the confession that he had been
“out with the boys,” and had had a recurrence of gonorrhoea. Most of the
good which came from the operation was spoiled by this second infection.

This is only one simple example of what is meant by preserving the home
and family at the terrible cost of women's lives. Women should protest
against the so-called medical secret which decrees that they be kept in
ignorance where their health, as well as life, is directly concerned.
That there are men in the medical profession in this country, as well as
in Europe, who have openly protested against respecting the secret where
another life is involved, seems a cheerful signal of a general social
awakening in this field.

In the Medical Record, April 20, 1912, Maude Glasgow says: “After
suffering for years a woman becomes a feeble, worn-out, nervous woman;
her life is a burden The operating table is her only hope, and she
leaves it deformed, mutilated and sexless.”

If women voluntarily exposed themselves to diseases which would sap the
husband's vitality, making him a dependent invalid, or expose him to the
shock of a mutilating operation, or death—would men continue to suffer?
Would they allow the medical secret to protect women in this alleged
“freedom”? Every girl knows he would neither protect her nor continue to
suffer. It is women only who have allowed the double standard of morals
to stand so long, giving men the purest and best of their womanhood, but
not demanding the same from them. As soon as women realize the danger to
themselves and their children which they are likely to incur from men
who have lived promiscuously, they will revolt against such standards.

Gonorrhoea differs from syphilis, and though it is not a disease which
can be transmitted from the parent to children, as syphilis can, yet it
is a subtle, wrecking disease and can do almost as much harm to the

                      WHAT EVERY GIRL SHOULD KNOW

[Illustration: NOTHING!]

                            BY ORDER OF THE

                         POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT

                             FEB. 9, 1913.

  [From New York Call, after temporary suppression of article, “What
  Every Girl Should Know,” by the postal authorities.]

     [The particular part of the article objected to by the postal


Prominent medical authorities claim that syphilis was not known in
Europe before the discovery of America. Others equally as prominent hold
that it has existed for many centuries in Europe, but was confused with
other diseases such as leprosy. It makes little difference to the girl
or boy today just how long or where it came from; the point we do know
is that it is here in our homes and workshops, and we should know what
it is like and how to avoid it.

A story is told of a French nobleman whose son was about to leave his
home to live in a big city. Said the father to the son: “If you are not
afraid of God, fear at least syphilis.” This advice might be applied
today, for if boys or girls knew, or could see the appalling results of
syphilis, they would surely fear it, for it is humanity's most deadly

Syphilis is an infectious disease, caused by a special microbe which is
acquired by contagion or heredity.

It is chronic in course, varied and intermittent in character, and the
length of time it remains in the body is indefinite.

It is so widespread that no country in the world is free from it,
neither is any organ of the body exempt from its ravages.

Let us take a young man indulging in promiscuous sexual intercourse, who
cohabits with a syphilitic woman. He notices nothing wrong for about
five weeks, when he becomes aware of a pimple on the sexual organs, to
which perhaps he pays little attention. This grows and becomes hard at
the base and is ulcerated on the top.

About ten days after the appearance of the ulcer (or chancre) the boy
notices that the glands of the groins begin to swell, but as there is
little or no pain attached he still pays no attention to all this.

After three, or sometimes four weeks the ulcerated opening heals, but
leaves the hard lump under the skin. In two or even three months after
the time of infection the first general symptoms appear. His bones ache,
he is mentally depressed, slightly feverish at night, and a rash appears
upon his body and sore spots in the mouth; and throat. These symptoms
usually decide him to consult a doctor, who finds him in the second
stage of syphilis. This condition lasts usually about two and one-half
years, the rash often lasting a short period, and leaving, but to return

The blood within and the ulcers on the body contain the poisons of the
disease, and for three or four years the poison =can be transmitted= by
contagion, or by heredity.

The third stage is the most destructive, especially to the nervous
system, for this disease is recognized as the greatest factor in organic
disturbances of the nervous system.

It not rarely is the cause of cerebral and spinal meningitis, paralysis
of the legs, paralysis of one side of the body, and that most helpless
and terrible disease, softening of the brain and many other diseases
which affect the spinal cord, which are seldom ever cured. The majority
of those diseased are left with physical or mental infirmities,
rendering them public charges.

There have been cases where the third stage did not develop, and as this
stage is not distinctly separated from the second stage by a definite
line, it may not take place for months, or even years after the first
sore appeared. Again, this stage has been averted by careful treatment
in the early stages, and it is here the hope of all afflicted lies.

Every case of syphilis begins with the characteristic pimple or chancre,
except inherited syphilis. The chancre always appears where the
infection enters, and the glands swell in the same vicinity. For
instance, if in using a pipe of a syphilitic, whose mouth contains the
sore patches, the victim finds the chancre will appear on his lips,
mouth or throat, and the glands of the neck will swell.

It is said that almost 10 per cent. of the infections are contracted
innocently, especially in European countries, where kissing and other
forms of endearment are much indulged in. In this country it is not so
common, but more women than men contract it innocently and in this

In women, too, the first symptoms are not so characteristic as in men.
She may pay no attention to the chancre for a month, even if she does
feel aches in the bones, she thinks she is run down, or thinks she has
malaria; even the rash does not alarm her, and often only repeated
miscarriages will be the only symptoms she can remember of the early
stages. She may continue for years before the disease reaches the third
stage. This is not always so, for in every individual the disease
differs in character and duration.

Gonorrhoea and syphilis differ in many ways. For instance, the former
shows itself in a week or ten days after infection, where syphilis shows
no signs for five or six weeks.

Gonorrhoea is considered a purely sexual disease, because infection
takes place only in sexual relations (except where the germ gets into
the eyes), while syphilis can be contracted in many other ways, through
forks, spoons, glasses or cups, towels, sponges, bathtubs, toilets,
pipes, dental and barbers' instruments, and kissing.

Gonorrhoea is considered a social danger because of its effect upon the
sexual organs, often rendering them sterile. Syphilis is also a social
danger, but it has direct effect upon the offspring, and upon future
generations because its effects are visited upon the child.

Sixty to eighty per cent. of the syphilitic offspring die at birth or in
early infancy. Someone has well said, “The greatest criminal is he who
poisons the germ cells.”

In hereditary syphilis there is more difficulty in gathering facts, for
the laws which control it are not so well understood, as yet.

There is no sore or chancre in hereditary syphilis, but other symptoms
appear which every physician recognizes and of course attends to at

Under proper treatment the danger of the father transmitting the disease
to the child should cease in from two to five years, while the danger of
the mother transmitting it to her offspring does not end at any definite
time, for there have been mothers known to give birth to syphilitic
offspring years after all disappearance of their own symptoms.

The strongest features of the disease transmitted to the offspring are
the deformities which it imparts to the bones of the head as well as of
the body.

It is said on good authority that if a patient, at the end of five
years, has been two years without symptoms or treatment, he may be
guaranteed for marriage. Though he can never be wholly guaranteed from
relapses in his own person. These, however, are considered

The cure of the disease depends upon the individual's environment,
constitution and his habits, chiefly as regards alcohol and tobacco.

Alcohol is considered the commonest and most active enemy of the
patient's recovery. Men addicted to the use of alcohol are the most
difficult to cure.

There seems to be no doubt that if the disease receives the proper
treatment there is every hope for the individual to live a normal life.
Fouriner, a French authority, says:

“Personally I could cite several hundred observations concerning
syphilitic subjects who, after undergoing thorough treatment, have
married and became fathers of healthy, good-looking children.” The
question, then, to receive some attention is what means are available
for the treatment of both syphilis and gonorrhoea.

Dr. Prince A. Morrow says: “Prompt curative treatment is not only in the
interests of the patients themselves, but especially in the interests of
the others they might infect. But everywhere we are confronted with this
situation: There are no special hospitals for this class of diseases;
few general hospitals receive them in the early, curable stage; still
fewer have special venereal wards; even the dispensary services are not
organized with special adaption to the needs of venereal cases; few have
night classes, so that working people who go to the dispensary must lose
half a day, which often means the sacrifice of their employment. As a
consequence they resort to quacks or the use of nostrums (secret or
quack medicines). They are not cured, but go on spreading the seeds of

This is the condition as far as hospitals are concerned in the matter of
venereal diseases. And in relation to private practice the average
person's position is still more deplorable. Take, for example, the story
of a girl who came under my care some years ago, after having suffered
three years with the disease. She had been refused attendance in public
hospitals in three different cities while she was working her way to New
York. At different times she consulted physicians, only to learn that to
be cured she must be treated regularly, and to be so treated would
require money. Different estimates were quoted from $150 to $500 for
treatment. As the amount of money left over after she had paid her
expenses each week was never over $2, the possibility of a cure looked
hopeless. She concluded to purchase patent medicines whenever she could,
but her condition became worse, until she was picked up by a charitable
organization, who cared for her until she died. When I saw her all her
hair, eyebrows and eyelashes were gone, her nose and upper lip were
almost entirely eaten away, most of her teeth were gone—in fact, to try
to describe her condition would be almost impossible.

This is only one case, but there are thousands of syphilitics who are
wandering around unable to pay the prices which the physician asks to
treat this disease. The same can be said of gonorrhoea, and the same
physician who clamors against the prices of the so-called quack, forgets
that the price he asks of the public is exorbitant in the extreme. So
the only course for the individual to take, if he cannot pay the price,
is to remain a menace to society. The physician assumes no
responsibility toward society to find out if the patient is under
treatment elsewhere; the patient can do as he pleases with his disease
when he closes the doctor's door. This, then is the situation as regards
society's attitude toward the venereal subject: Society seems to take a
different attitude towards other contagious and infectious diseases,
such as measles, chicken pox, diphtheria, etc. In these diseases, a
physician has some responsibility toward society; he must report each
case as it comes to his attention, to the Board of Health, who in turn
assume some responsibility by isolating the disease.

If this is necessary in these comparatively simple diseases, how much
more important should it be to register and isolate patients suffering
from the venereal diseases.

                              CHAPTER VII.
                      MENOPAUSE OR CHANGE OF LIFE

In the previous chapter on Puberty, it was stated that the menstrual
function began in the average girl at fifteen years of age and continued
until the forty-fifth or fiftieth year.

At this later age it ceases, together with her sexual or child-bearing
capabilities and is known as the Menopause or Change of Life.

This constitutes a period from the beginning of irregularities in the
appearance of the menstrual flow, until it has actually ceased, which
period usually lasts two and one-half to three years.

Thousands of women know nothing of the period which, like puberty, they
must pass through, but are entirely ignorant of the process.

It is usual for them to look toward this age with dread and foreboding;
where a little knowledge of the nature of the process would enable them
to enter upon this period physically prepared, which would insure their
safe arrival through this dreaded and much-feared period.

The greatest change occurring in the woman at this time is that which
goes on in the ovaries. They cease to do their work and ovulation stops.

The first indication that the woman has, that this is likely to occur,
is by the ceasing of the menses or monthlies.

Ovulation, however, very often continues for several months, even a year
after menstruation has entirely ceased.

The glandular tissues of the uterus, tubes and ovaries degenerate, which
is said to account for the Menopause, and that of the ovaries occurs
later than the tubes and uterus, which explains the continuance of
ovulation after the menses have stopped.

In a few women the Menopause is accompanied by very little or almost no
discomfort at all, just a sudden stopping of the monthlies announces to
them that this period has come.

The majority, however, do not pass through this time so easily, but
suffer for the entire period with one affliction or another.

Among those symptoms most common are flushings or flashes, which are
mostly confined to head, face and neck, are increased by heat and motion
and followed by profuse sweating, giddiness, backache, headache,
sleeplessness, disturbances of digestion like diarrhoea or constipation,
blueness, depression of spirits, shortness of breath, palpitation and
nervous irritability.

But the most alarming symptom of the Menopause is hemorrhage. This is
too often considered lightly and classed with the minor symptoms of this

Whenever there is excessive bleeding, there is surely a cause and calls
for special and immediate attention. It may be caused by an inflamed
condition of the lining of the uterus (womb), ulceration, general
diseases of the heart, lungs and kidneys can also be the cause of
excessive bleeding at this period. Some authorities claim that it also
has its cause in early or profuse menstruation, too frequent and
difficult labors, abortions and alcoholic drinking, but the most common
cause of hemmorhage at this time is cancer. It is a fact that cancer in
women, from the age of 40 to 50 is more common that at any other age.

Perhaps it is not generally known that cancer is now known to begin as a
local disease, and if taken in time it can be removed so completely that
a radical cure follows. No wonder then, that hemmorhage should be an
alarming symptom, for if care is not taken and the dreaded disease,
cancer, is allowed to take root, the results are too generally known to
dwell upon. At the first signs of hemorrhages or excessive flow, a woman
should place herself under the care of a gynecologist (specialist in the
diseases of woman), just as a pregnant woman is under the care of a
physician until she is entirely free from the dangers of childbirth.

Women have heretofore looked to this period with dread, on account of
the consequences which neglect has caused. It need not be dreaded for
assuring word comes from prominent physicians who have made this special
period a study, that the natural symptoms of the Menopause do not
portend loss of life, reason or health. It is a period as natural to the
woman as menstruation and with little care, these symptoms or ailments
will cease in a few years, leaving the woman to enjoy years of good

When the period is delayed beyond the fiftieth year, it calls for the
same attention as excessive flow. These are two important signs of
disease, and should receive immediate care. The period is, however,
often brought about at an earlier age than is normal, by mental or
physical shock, illness, operations, etc.

The age at which it occurs often differs with climate, race and
according to Kisch, social relations, who claims, that the sexual
function is “generally abolished earlier in the laboring classes, who
are compelled to work hard and have many cares,” and further states that
a vigorous vitality causes prolongation of the menstrual process.

In the average woman it does not cease at once, but has two or three
periods of cessation, returns again for an irregular period and
continues in this irregularity for the entire time of two and one-half
to three years. It is important to know that the changes which are going
on in the organs of the woman are exactly opposite from those which
occur at puberty.

At puberty the organs are increasing with life, vigor, and vitality,
while at the Menopause they are receding or going backward.

The generative organs gradually but surely shrink or atrophy after
menstruation stops. The uterus becomes small. The vagina, whose walls
were formerly corrugated or wrinkled, now become smooth. The orifice or
opening of the vagina, becomes shrunken, unless it has been previously
enlarged by child-bearing. The whole process tends to show that the
child-bearing period is at an end, which in fact has caused much mental
anxiety and disturbance among women to the extent of melancholy and

It seems a very small things to give to every woman, going through this
disagreeable period of life—a complete change of climate and rest, until
the change has become established. Certainly she has served society to
the best of her knowledge, often “entering into the valley of the shadow
of death”; many times fearlessly, to give the best of herself to the
race. It is a small thing to give in return.

Tilt believes that unmarried women suffer less at this period than
married women, and says: “As at puberty, from the ignorance in which it
is still thought right to leave young women, so at the change of life,
women often suffer from ignorance of what may occur, or from exaggerated
notions of the perils which await them.”

All that is needed is to keep guard on one's self—watch the diet and
bowels. A light vegetable diet seems best at this time unless very
actively engaged in physical exercise, then meat once a day. Keep free
from foods difficult to digest, cheese, fried foods, hot bread, etc.,
drink plenty of water and eat fruit to keep the bowels open; slight
exercise in the open air, rest, sleep and freedom from mental anxiety
are the simple rules which are generally prescribed for women at this

Tilt says: “The best way to avoid the danger of this critical time is to
meet its approach with a healthy constitution.” And again says, “All
complaints remain chronic because there is not stamina enough to carry
them through their stages.”

It is the opinion of the foremost medical men that if women at the first
sign of irregularities, consult a gynecologist, it would be the means of
saving thousands of lives every year, and would prepare women to enter
upon the post-climatic period in health and happiness.


In conclusion I cannot refrain from saying that women must come to
recognize there is some function of womanhood other than being a
child-bearing machine. Too long have they allowed themselves to become
this, bowing to the yoke of motherhood from puberty to the grave. No
other thought has entered the mind except to be a good mother—which has
usually meant a slave-mother. This has been her only use, her only wish
and hope—and when the age arrives where she cannot perform this function
longer, she considers herself useless. No wonder she becomes melancholic
or even insane.

Fortunately the woman of today is gradually ridding herself of such
archaic notions. More and more is she realizing that motherhood is only
one of her capabilities; that there are certain individuals more fitted
for motherhood than others, just as individuals are better fitted for
nursing, teaching, etc.

And further must she realize that though she is past the age of
motherhood, yet she is still a woman with all the instincts and
experiences which motherhood has bestowed upon her, and she can now
begin a new development, based upon these valuable experiences, she can
now enter into public life unhampered by the details of kitchen and
babies, for as she completes her work and passes on, others come in to
take her place.

Being free from domestic and maternal cares enables her to give to
society the benefit of her matured thought, seasoned and enriched by
these experiences.

She often does enjoy the best health of her life after the Menopause and
this, together with a vista of a future of usefulness, should open to
the woman in the post-climateric period, a new life—a new world.

In completing this series of articles I cannot refrain from uttering
just a word about the relation of the entire subject I have been
discussing to the economic problem. It is impossible to separate the
ignorance of parents, prostitution, venereal diseases, or the silence of
the medical profession from the great economic question that the world
is facing today. It is here ever before us, and the more we look into
the so-called evils of the day the more we realize that the whole
structure of the present day society is built upon a rotten and decaying
foundation. Until capitalism is swept away, there is no hope for young
girls to live a beautiful life during their girlhood. There is no hope
for boys or girls to build up strong and sturdy bodies. There is no hope
that a woman can live in the family relation and have children without
sacrificing every vestige of individual development. There is no hope
that prostitution will cease, as long as there is hunger. There is no
hope for a strong race as long as venereal diseases exist. And they will
exist until women rise in one big sisterhood to fight this capitalist
society which compels a woman to serve as a sex implement for man's use.

Education is necessary—education is the need of the people. For this
will soon enable one to see that knowledge alone does not suffice, but
that it is only through economic security that the man and the woman
will emerge in a future civilization.

                               (The end.)

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                          TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES

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