The Project Gutenberg eBook of Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 6

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Title: Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 6

Author: Havelock Ellis

Release date: October 8, 2004 [eBook #13615]
Most recently updated: December 18, 2020

Language: English


E-text prepared by Juliet Sutherland
and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team










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

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

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

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

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

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


Carbis Bay, Cornwall, England.




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


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


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


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


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


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



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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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






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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It must be remarked that the increased tendency to premature birth, while in part it may be due to general tendencies of civilization, is also in part due to very definite and preventable causes. Syphilis, alcoholism, and attempts to produce abortion are among the not uncommon causes of premature birth (see, e.g., G. F. McCleary, "The Influence of Antenatal Conditions on Infantile Mortality," British Medical Journal, Aug. 13, 1904).

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

The frequency of premature birth is probably as great in England as in France. Ballantyne states (Manual of Antenatal Pathology; The Fœtus, p. 456) that for practical purposes the frequency of premature labors in maternity hospitals may be put at 20 per cent., but that if all infants weighing less than 3,000 grammes are to be regarded as premature, it rises to 41.5 per cent. That premature birth is increasing in England seems to be indicated by the fact that during the past twenty-five years there has been a steady rise in the mortality rate from premature birth. McCleary, who discusses this point and considers the increase real, concludes that "it would appear that there has been a diminution in the quality as well as in the quantity of our output of babies" (see also a discussion, introduced by Dawson Williams, on "Physical Deterioration," British Medical Journal, Oct. 14, 1905).

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

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

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

Perruc states that at least two months' rest before confinement should be made compulsory, and that during this period the woman should receive an indemnity regulated by the State. He is of opinion that it should take the form of compulsory assurance, to which the worker, the employer, and the State alike contributed (Perruc, Assistance aux Femmes Enceintes, Thèse de Paris, 1905).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


In La Grossesse (pp. 450 et seq.) Bouchacourt has discussed the problems of puericulture at some length.


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


Max Bartels, "Isländischer Brauch," etc., Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, 1900, p. 65. A summary of the customs of various peoples in regard to pregnancy is given by Ploss and Bartels, Das Weib, Sect. XXIX.


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


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


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


Debreyne, Mœchialogie, p. 277. And from the Protestant side see Northcote (Christianity and Sex Problems, Ch. IX), who permits sexual intercourse during pregnancy.


See Appendix A to the third volume of these Studies; also Ploss and Bartels, loc. cit.


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


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


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


"Infantile Mortality: The Huddersfield Scheme," British Medical Journal, Dec., 1907; Samson Moore, "Infant Mortality," ib., August 29, 1908.


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The great part played by servant-girls of the lower class in the sexual initiation of the children of the middle class has been illustrated in dealing with "The Sexual Impulse in Women" in vol. iii, of these Studies, and need not now be further discussed. I would only here say a word, in passing, on the other side. Often as servant-girls take this part, we must not go so far as to say that it is the case with the majority. As regards Germany, Dr. Alfred Kind has lately put on record his experience: "I have never, in youth, heard a bad or improper word on sex-relationships from a servant-girl, although servant-girls followed one another in our house like sunshine and showers in April, and there was always a relation of comradeship between us children and the servants." As regards England, I can add that my own youthful experiences correspond to Dr. Kind's. This is not surprising, for one may say that in the ordinary well-conditioned girl, though her virtue may not be developed to heroic proportions, there is yet usually a natural respect for the innocence of children, a natural sexual indifference to them, and a natural expectation that the male should take the active part when a sexual situation arises.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


These manifestations have been dealt with in the study of Autoerotism in vol. i of the present Studies. It may be added that the sexual life of the child has been exhaustively investigated by Moll, Das Sexualleben des Kindes, 1909.


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


Amélineau, La Morale des Egyptiens, p. 64.


"The Social Evil in Philadelphia," Arena, March, 1896.


Moll, Konträre Sexualempfindung, third edition, p. 592.


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


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


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


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


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


For a summary of the physical and mental phenomena of the menstrual period, see Havelock Ellis: Man and Woman, Ch. XI. The primitive conception of menstruation is briefly discussed in Appendix A to the first volume of these Studies, and more elaborately by J. G. Frazer in The Golden Bough. A large collection of facts with regard to the menstrual seclusion of women throughout the world will be found in Ploss and Bartels, Das Weib. The pubertal seclusion of girls at Torres Straits has been especially studied by Seligmann, Reports Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits, vol. v, Ch. VI.


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


J. H. McBride, "The Life and Health of Our Girls in Relation to Their Future," Alienist and Neurologist, Feb., 1904.


W. G. Chambers, "The Evolution of Ideals," Pedagogical Seminary, March, 1903; Catherine Dodd, "School Children's Ideals," National Review, Feb. and Dec., 1900, and June, 1901. No German girls acknowledged a wish to be men; they said it would be wicked. Among Flemish girls, however, Varendonck found at Ghent (Archives de Psychologie, July, 1908) that 26 per cent. had men as their ideals.


A. Reibmayr, Die Entwicklungsgeschichte des Talentes und Genies, 1908, Bd. i, p. 70.


R. Hellmann, Ueber Geschlechtsfreiheit, p. 14.


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


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


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


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


I have further developed this argument in "Religion and the Child," Nineteenth Century and After, 1907.


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Augustine (De civitate Dei, lib. ii, cap. XIII) refers to the same point, contrasting the Romans with the Greeks who honored their actors.


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


C. H. Stratz, Die Körperformen in Kunst und Leben der Japaner, Second edition, Ch. III; id., Frauenkleidung, Third edition, pp. 22, 30.


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That love is a natural insanity, a temporary delusion which the individual is compelled to suffer for the sake of the race, is indeed an explanation that has suggested itself to many who have been baffled by this mystery. That, as we know, was the explanation offered by Schopenhauer. When a youth and a girl fall into each other's arms in the ecstacy of love they imagine that they are seeking their own happiness. But it is not so, said Schopenhauer; they are deluded by the genius of the race into the belief that they are seeking a personal end in order that they may be induced to effect a far greater impersonal end: the creation of the future race. The intensity of their passion is not the measure of the personal happiness they will secure but the measure of their aptitude for producing offspring. In accepting passion and renouncing the counsels of cautious prudence the youth and the girl are really sacrificing their chances of selfish happiness and fulfilling the larger ends of Nature. As Schopenhauer saw the matter, there was here no vulgar illusion. The lovers thought that they were reaching towards a boundlessly immense personal happiness; they were probably deceived. But they were deceived not because the reality was less than their imagination, but because it was more; instead of pursuing, as they thought, a merely personal end they were carrying on the creative work of the world, a task better left undone, as Schopenhauer viewed it, but a task whose magnitude he fully recognized.[65]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


See (in Mignes' edition) S. Odonis abbatis Cluniacensis Collationes, lib. ii, cap. IX.


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


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


"La Morale Sexuelle," Archives d'Anthropologie Criminelle, Jan., 1907.


The above passage, now slightly modified, originally formed an unpublished part of an essay on Walt Whitman in The New Spirit, first issued in 1889.


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


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


See, e.g., Wilhelm Capitaine, Die Moral des Clemens von Alexandrien, pp. 112 et seq.


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


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


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


Rufinus, Commentarius in Symbolum Apostolorum, cap. XII.


Migne, Patrologia Græca, vol. xxvi, pp. 1170 et seq.


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


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


Loc. cit., Archives d'Anthropologie Criminelle, Jan., 1907.


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


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


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


Schopenhauer, Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung, vol. ii, pp. 608 et seq.


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


The whole argument of the fourth volume of these Studies, on "Sexual Selection in Man," points in this direction.


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Christians rejected the grosser forms of sexual indulgence, but in doing so they entered with a more delicate ardor into the more refined forms of sexual intimacy. They cultivated a relationship of brothers and sisters to each other, they kissed one another; at one time, in the spiritual orgy of baptism, they were not ashamed to adopt complete nakedness.[74]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As, however, we liberate ourselves from the bondage of a compulsory physical chastity, it becomes possible to rehabilitate chastity as a virtue. At the present day it can no longer be said that there is on the part of thinkers and moralists any active hostility to the idea of chastity; there is, on the contrary, a tendency to recognize the value of chastity. But this recognition has been accompanied by a return to the older and sounder conception of chastity. The preservation of a rigid sexual abstinence, an empty virginity, can only be regarded as a pseudo-chastity. The only positive virtue which Aristotle could have recognized in this field was a temperance involving restraint of the lower impulses, a wise exercise and not a non-exercise.[80] The best thinkers of the Christian Church adopted the same conception; St. Basil in his important monastic rules laid no weight on self-discipline as an end in itself, but regarded it as an instrument for enabling the spirit to gain power over the flesh. St. Augustine declared that continence is only excellent when practised in the faith of the highest good,[81] and he regarded chastity as "an orderly movement of the soul subordinating lower things to higher things, and specially to be manifested in conjugal relationships"; Thomas Aquinas, defining chastity in much the same way, defined impurity as the enjoyment of sexual pleasure not according to right reason, whether as regards the object or the conditions.[82] But for a time the voices of the great moralists were unheard. The virtue of chastity was swamped in the popular Christian passion for the annihilation of the flesh, and that view was, in the sixteenth century, finally consecrated by the Council of Trent, which formally pronounced an anathema upon anyone who should declare that the state of virginity and celibacy was not better than the state of matrimony. Nowadays the pseudo-chastity that was of value on the simple ground that any kind of continence is of higher spiritual worth than any kind of sexual relationship belongs to the past, except for those who adhere to ancient ascetic creeds. The mystic value of virginity has gone; it seems only to arouse in the modern man's mind the idea of a piquancy craved by the hardened rake;[83] it is men who have themselves long passed the age of innocence who attach so much importance to the innocence of their brides. The conception of life-long continence as an ideal has also gone; at the best it is regarded as a mere matter of personal preference. And the conventional simulation of universal chastity, at the bidding of respectability, is coming to be regarded as a hindrance rather than a help to the cultivation of any real chastity.[84]

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

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

Many influences have, however, worked together to favor an insistence on chastity. There has, in the first place, been an inevitable reaction against the sexual facility which had come to be regarded as natural. Such facility was found to have no moral value, for it tended to relaxation of moral fibre and was unfavorable to the finest sexual satisfaction. It could not even claim to be natural in any broad sense of the word, for, in Nature generally, sexual gratification tends to be rare and difficult.[86] Courtship is arduous and long, the season of love is strictly delimited, pregnancy interrupts sexual relationships. Even among savages, so long as they have been untainted by civilization, virility is usually maintained by a fine asceticism; the endurance of hardship, self-control and restraint, tempered by rare orgies, constitute a discipline which covers the sexual as well as every other department of savage life. To preserve the same virility in civilized life, it may well be felt, we must deliberately cultivate a virtue which under savage conditions of life is natural.[87]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


For evidence of the practices of savages in this matter, see Appendix A to the third volume of these Studies, "The Sexual Instinct in Savages." Cf. also Chs. IV and VII of Westermarck's History of Human Marriage, and also Chs. XXXVIII and XLI of the same author's Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas, vol. ii; Frazer's Golden Bough contains much bearing on this subject, as also Crawley's Mystic Rose.


See, e.g., Westermarck, Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas, vol. ii, pp. 412 et seq.


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


Thus, long before Christian monks arose, the ascetic life of the cloister on very similar lines existed in Egypt in the worship of Serapis (Dill, Roman Society, p. 79).


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


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


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


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


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


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


See, e.g., Nicomachean Ethics, Bk. iii, Ch. XIII.


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


Summa, Migne's edition, vol. iii, qu. 154, art. I.


See the Study of Modesty in the first volume of these Studies.


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


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


See "Analysis of the Sexual Impulse," and Appendix, "The Sexual Instinct in Savages," in vol. iii of these Studies.


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


Der Wille zur Macht, p. 392.


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


Reibmayr, Die Entwicklungsgeschichte des Talentes und Genies., Bd. i, p. 437.


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many, though not all, who deny that prolonged sexual abstinence is harmless, include women in this statement. There are some authorities indeed who believe that, whether or not any conscious sexual desire is present, sexual abstinence is less easily tolerated by women than by men.[94]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In these combats there are, however, no permanent conquests. For a very large number of people, indeed, though there may be emotional changes and fluctuations dependent on a variety of circumstances, there can scarcely be said to be any conquest at all. They are either always yielding to the impulses that assail them, or always resisting those impulses, in the first case with remorse, in the second with dissatisfaction. In either case much of their lives, at the time when life is most vigorous, is wasted. With women, if they happen to be of strong passions and reckless impulses to abandonment, the results may be highly enervating, if not disastrous to the general psychic life. It is to this cause, indeed, that some have been inclined to attribute the frequent mediocrity of women's work in artistic and intellectual fields. Women of intellectual force are frequently if not generally women of strong passions, and if they resist the tendency to merge themselves in the duties of maternity their lives are often wasted in emotional conflict and their psychic natures impoverished.[103]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


This implicit contradiction has been acutely pointed out from the religious side by the Rev. H. Northcote, Christianity and Sex Problems, p. 53.


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


"Die Abstinentia Sexualis," Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft, Nov., 1908.


P. Janet, "La Maladie du Scrupule," Revue Philosophique, May, 1901.


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


Max Flesch, "Ehe, Hygine und Sexuelle Moral," Mutterschutz, 1905, Heft 7.


See the Section on Touch in the fourth volume of these Studies.


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


Féré, L'Instinct Sexuel, second edition, p. 332.


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


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


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


J. A. Godfrey, The Science of Sex, p. 138.


See, e.g., Havelock Ellis, "St. Francis and Others," Affirmations.



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

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

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

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

I. The Orgy.

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

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

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

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

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

II. The Origin and Development of Prostitution.

The more refined forms of the orgy flourish in civilization, although on account of their mainly cerebral character they are not the most beneficent or the most effective. The more primitive and muscular forms of the orgy tend, on the other hand, under the influence of civilization, to fall into discredit and to be so far as possible suppressed altogether. It is partly in this way that civilization encourages prostitution. For the orgy in its primitive forms, forbidden to show itself openly and reputably, seeks the darkness, and allying itself with a fundamental instinct to which civilized society offers no complete legitimate satisfaction, it firmly entrenches itself in the very centre of civilized life, and thereby constitutes a problem of immense difficulty and importance.[120]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Among the early Cymri of Wales, representing a more advanced social stage, prostitution appears to have been not absolutely unknown, but public prostitution was punished by loss of valuable privileges (R. B. Holt, "Marriage Laws and Customs of the Cymri," Journal Anthropological Institute, August-November, 1898, pp. 161-163).

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

Religious prostitutes, it may be added, "the servants of the god," are connected with temples in Southern India and the Deccan. They are devoted to their sacred calling from their earliest years, and it is their chief business to dance before the image of the god, to whom they are married (though in Upper India professional dancing girls are married to inanimate objects), but they are also trained in arousing and assuaging the desires of devotees who come on pilgrimage to the shrine. For the betrothal rites by which, in India, sacred prostitutes are consecrated, see, e.g., A. Van Gennep, Rites de Passage, p. 142.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The rise of Christianity to political power produced on the whole less change of policy than might have been anticipated. The Christian rulers had to deal practically as best they might with a very mixed, turbulent, and semi-pagan world. The leading fathers of the Church were inclined to tolerate prostitution for the avoidance of greater evils, and Christian emperors, like their pagan predecessors, were willing to derive a tax from prostitution. The right of prostitution to exist was, however, no longer so unquestionably recognized as in pagan days, and from time to time some vigorous ruler sought to repress prostitution by severe enactments. The younger Theodosius and Valentinian definitely ordained that there should be no more brothels and that anyone giving shelter to a prostitute should be punished. Justinian confirmed that measure and ordered that all panders were to be exiled on pain of death. These enactments were quite vain. But during a thousand years they were repeated again and again in various parts of Europe, and invariably with the same fruitless or worse than fruitless results. Theodoric, king of the Visigoths, punished with death those who promoted prostitution, and Recared, a Catholic king of the same people in the sixth century, prohibited prostitution altogether and ordered that a prostitute, when found, should receive three hundred strokes of the whip and be driven out of the city. Charlemagne, as well as Genserich in Carthage, and later Frederick Barbarossa in Germany, made severe laws against prostitution which were all of no effect, for even if they seemed to be effective for the time the reaction was all the greater afterwards.[144]

It is in France that the most persistent efforts have been made to combat prostitution. Most notable of all were the efforts of the King and Saint, Louis IX. In 1254 St. Louis ordained that prostitutes should be driven out altogether and deprived of all their money and goods, even to their mantles and gowns. In 1256 he repeated this ordinance and in 1269, before setting out for the Crusades, he ordered the destruction of all places of prostitution. The repetition of those decrees shows how ineffectual they were. They even made matters worse, for prostitutes were forced to mingle with the general population and their influence was thus extended. St. Louis was unable to put down prostitution even in his own camp in the East, and it existed outside his own tent. His legislation, however, was frequently imitated by subsequent rulers of France, even to the middle of the seventeenth century, always with the same ineffectual and worse results. In 1560 an edict of Charles IX abolished brothels, but the number of prostitutes was thereby increased rather than diminished, while many new kinds of brothels appeared in unsuspected shapes and were more dangerous than the more recognized brothels which had been suppressed.[145] In spite of all such legislation, or because of it, there has been no country in which prostitution has played a more conspicuous part.[146]

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

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

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

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

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

The most distinguished figure in every respect among the courtesans of that time was certainly Tullia D'Aragona. She was probably the daughter of Cardinal D'Aragona (an illegitimate scion of the Spanish royal family) by a Ferrarese courtesan who became his mistress. Tullia has gained a high reputation by her verse. Her best sonnet is addressed to a youth of twenty, whom she passionately loved, but who did not return her love. Her Guerrino Meschino, a translation from the Spanish, is a very pure and chaste work. She was a woman of refined instincts and aspirations, and once at least she abandoned her life of prostitution. She was held in high esteem and respect. When, in 1546, Cosimo, Duke of Florence, ordered all prostitutes to wear a yellow veil or handkerchief as a public badge of their profession, Tullia appealed to the Duchess, a Spanish lady of high character, and received permission to dispense with this badge on account of her "rara scienzia di poesia et filosofia." She dedicated her Rime to the Duchess. Tullia D'Aragona was very beautiful, with yellow hair, and remarkably large and bright eyes, which dominated those who came near her. She was of proud bearing and inspired unusual respect (G. Biagi, "Un' Etera Romana," Nuova Antologia, vol. iv, 1886, pp. 655-711; S. Bongi, Rivista critica della Letteratura Italiana, 1886, IV, p. 186).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

III. The Causes of Prostitution.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Sanger, History of Prostitution, p. 488.)

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

                                                      Per cent.

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

(Woods Hutchinson, "The Economics of Prostitution," American Gynæcologic and Obstetric Journal, September, 1895; Id., The Gospel According to Darwin, p. 194.)

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

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

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

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

(Summarized in Archives d'Anthropologie Criminelle, Nov. 15, 1901.)

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

Thus the broad and general statement that prostitution is largely or mainly an economic phenomenon, due to the low wages of women or to sudden depressions in trade, is everywhere made by investigators. It must, however, be added that these general statements are considerably qualified in the light of the detailed investigations made by careful inquirers. Thus Ströhmberg, who minutely investigated 462 prostitutes, found that only one assigned destitution as the reason for adopting her career, and on investigation this was found to be an impudent lie.[167] Hammer found that of ninety registered German prostitutes not one had entered on the career out of want or to support a child, while some went on the street while in the possession of money, or without wishing to be paid.[168] Pastor Buschmann, of the Teltow Magdalene Home in Berlin, finds that it is not want but indifference to moral considerations which leads girls to become prostitutes. In Germany, before a girl is put on the police register, due care is always taken to give her a chance of entering a Home and getting work; in Berlin, in the course of ten years, only two girls—out of thousands—were willing to take advantage of this opportunity. The difficulty experienced by English Rescue Homes in finding girls who are willing to be "rescued" is notorious. The same difficulty is found in other cities, even where entirely different conditions prevail; thus it is found in Madrid, according to Bernaldo de Quirós and Llanas Aguilaniedo, that the prostitutes who enter the Homes, notwithstanding all the devotion of the nuns, on leaving at once return to their old life. While the economic factor in prostitution undoubtedly exists, the undue frequency and emphasis with which it is put forward and accepted is clearly due, in part to ignorance of the real facts, in part to the fact that such an assumption appeals to those whose weakness it is to explain all social phenomena by economic causes, and in part to its obvious plausibility.[169]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There can be no doubt that the statements made regarding the sexual frigidity of prostitutes are often much too unqualified. This is in part certainly due to the fact that they are usually made by those who speak from a knowledge of old prostitutes whose habitual familiarity with normal sexual intercourse in its least attractive aspects has resulted in complete indifference to such intercourse, so far as their clients are concerned.[179] It may be stated with truth that to the woman of deep passions the ephemeral and superficial relationships of prostitution can offer no temptation. And it may be added that the majority of prostitutes begin their career at a very early age, long before the somewhat late period at which in women the tendency for passion to become strong, has yet arrived.[180] It may also be said that an indifference to sexual relationships, a tendency to attach no personal value to them, is often a predisposing cause in the adoption of a prostitute's career; the general mental shallowness of prostitutes may well be accompanied by shallowness of physical emotion. On the other hand, many prostitutes, at all events early in their careers, appear to show a marked degree of sensuality, and to women of coarse sexual fibre the career of prostitution has not been without attractions from this point of view; the gratification of physical desire is known to act as a motive in some cases and is clearly indicated in others.[181] This is scarcely surprising when we remember that prostitutes are in a very large proportion of cases remarkably robust and healthy persons in general respects.[182] They withstand without difficulty the risks of their profession, and though under its influence the manifestations of sexual feeling can scarcely fail to become modified or perverted in course of time, that is no proof of the original absence of sexual sensibility. It is not even a proof of its loss, for the real sexual nature of the normal prostitute, and her possibilities of sexual ardor, are chiefly manifested, not in her professional relations with her clients, but in her relations with her "fancy boy" or "bully."[183] It is quite true that the conditions of her life often make it practically advantageous to the prostitute to have attached to her a man who is devoted to her interests and will defend them if necessary, but that is only a secondary, occasional, and subsidiary advantage of the "fancy boy," so far as prostitutes generally are concerned. She is attracted to him primarily because he appeals to her personally and she wants him for herself. The motive of her attachment is, above all, erotic, in the full sense, involving not merely sexual relations but possession and common interests, a permanent and intimate life led together. "You know that what one does in the way of business cannot fill one's heart," said a German prostitute; "Why should we not have a husband like other women? I, too, need love. If that were not so we should not want a bully." And he, on his part, reciprocates this feeling and is by no means merely moved by self-interest.[184]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It has, of course, to be remembered that the special conditions of the lives of prostitutes tend to cause in them the appearance of certain professional characteristics which are entirely acquired and not congenital. In that way we may account for the gradual modification of the feminine secondary and tertiary sexual characters, and the appearance of masculine characters, such as the frequent deep voice, etc.[189] But with all due allowance for these acquired characters, it remains true that such comparative investigations as have so far been made, although inconclusive, seem to indicate that, even apart from the prevalence of acquired anomalies, the professional selection of their avocation tends to separate out from the general population of the same social class, individuals who possess anthropometrical characters varying in a definite direction. The observations thus made seem, in this way, to indicate that prostitutes tend to be in weight over the average, though not in stature, that in length of arm they are inferior though the hands are longer (this has been found alike in Italy and Russia); they have smaller ankles and larger calves, and still larger thighs in proportion to their large calves. The estimated skull capacity and the skull circumference and diameters are somewhat below the normal, not only when compared with respectable women but also with thieves; there is a tendency to brachycephaly (both in Italy and Russia); the cheek-bones are usually prominent and the jaws developed; the hair is darker than in respectable women though less so than in thieves; it is also unusually abundant, not only on the head but also on the pudenda and elsewhere; the eyes have been found to be decidedly darker than those of either respectable women or criminals.[190]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IV. The Present Social Attitude Towards Prostitution.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


See, e.g., Cheetham's Hulsean Lectures, The Mysteries, Pagan and Christian, pp. 123, 136.


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


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


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


Spencer and Gillen, Northern Tribes of Central Australia, Ch. XII.


Journal Anthropological Institute, July-Dec., 1904, p. 329.


Westermarck (Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas, vol. ii, pp. 283-9) shows how widespread is the custom of setting apart a periodical rest day.


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


See "The Analysis of the Sexual Impulse" in vol. iii of these Studies.


G. Murray, Ancient Greek Literature, p. 211.


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


R. Canudo, "Les Chorèges Français," Mercure de France, May 1, 1907, p. 180.


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


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


Rabutaux discusses various definitions of prostitution, De la Prostitution en Europe, pp. 119 et seq. For the origin of the names to designate the prostitute, see Schrader, Reallexicon, art. "Beischläferin."


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


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


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


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


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


Hawkesworth, Account of the Voyages, etc., 1775, vol. ii, p. 254.


R. W. Codrington, The Melanesians, p. 235.


F. S. Krauss, Romanische Forschungen, 1903, p. 290.


H. Schurtz, Altersklassen und Männerbünde, 1902, p. 190. In this work Schurtz brings together (pp. 189-201) some examples of the germs of prostitution among primitive peoples. Many facts and references are given by Westermarck (History of Human Marriage, pp. 66 et seq., and Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas, vol. ii, pp. 441 et seq.).


Bachofen (more especially in his Mutterrecht and Sage von Tanaquil) argued that even religious prostitution sprang from the resistance of primitive instincts to the individualization of love. Cf. Robertson Smith, Religion of Semites, second edition, p. 59.


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


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


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


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


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


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


The girls of this tribe, who are remarkably pretty, after spending two or three years in thus amassing a little dowry, return home to marry, and are said to make model wives and mothers. They are described by Bertherand in Parent-Duchâtelet, La Prostitution à Paris, vol. ii, p. 539.


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


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


The gradual secularization of prostitution from its earlier religious form has been traced by various writers (see, e.g., Dupouey, La Prostitution dans l'Antiquité). The earliest complimentary reference to the Hetaira in literature is to be found, according to Benecke (Antimachus of Colophon, p. 36), in Bacchylides.


Cicero, Oratio prô Coelio, Cap. XX.


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


Rabutaux, in his Histoire de la Prostitution en Europe, describes many attempts to suppress prostitution; cf. Dufour, op. cit., vol. iii.


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


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


Rabutaux, op. cit., p. 54.


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


J. Schrank, Die Prostitution in Wien, Bd. I, pp. 152-206.


U. Robert, Les Signes d'Infamie au Moyen Age, Ch. IV.


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


They are described by Rabutaux, op. cit., pp. 90 et seq.


L'Année Sociologique, seventh year, 1904, p. 440.


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


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


Burchard, Diarium, vol. iii, p. 167. Thuasne quotes other authorities in confirmation.


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


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


M. L. Heidingsfeld, "The Control of Prostitution," Journal American Medical Association, January 30, 1904.


See, e.g., G. Bérault, La Maison de Tolérance, Thèse de Paris, 1904.


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


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


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


A. Sherwell, Life in West London, 1897, Ch. V.


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


The Nightless City, p. 125.


Ströhmberg, as quoted by Aschaffenburg, Das Verbrechen, 1903, p. 77.


Monatsschrift für Harnkrankheiten und Sexuelle Hygiene, 1906. Heft 10, p. 460. But this cause is undoubtedly effective in some cases of unmarried women in Germany unable to get work (see article by Sister Henrietta Arendt, Police-Assistant at Stuttgart, Sexual-Probleme, December, 1908).


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


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


W. Acton, Prostitution, 1870, pp. 39, 49.


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


G. de Molinari, La Viriculture, 1897, p. 155.


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


A. Després, La Prostitution en France, 1883.


Bonger, Criminalité et Conditions Economiques, 1905, pp. 378-414.


La Donna Delinquente, p. 401.


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


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


See "The Sexual Impulse in Women," in the third volume of these Studies.


Tait stated that in Edinburgh many married women living with their husbands in comfortable circumstances, and having children, were found to be acting as prostitutes, that is, in the regular habit of making assignations with strangers (W. Tait, Magdalenism in Edinburgh, 1842, p. 16).


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


This point has been discussed by Bloch, Sexualleben unserer Zeit, Ch. XIII.


Various series of observations are summarized by Lombroso and Ferrero, La Donna Delinquente, 1893, Part III, cap. IV.


History of European Morals, vol. iii, p. 283.


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


Horace, Satires, lib. i, 2.


Augustine, De Ordine, Bk. II, Ch. IV.


De Regimine Principum (Opuscula XX), lib. iv, cap. XIV. I am indebted to the Rev. H. Northcote for the reference to the precise place where this statement occurs; it is usually quoted more vaguely.


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


Lea, op. cit., vol. ii, pp. 263, 399.


Rabutaux, De la Prostitution en Europe, pp. 22 et seq.


Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, Part III, Sect. III, Mem. IV, Subs. II.


B. Mandeville, Remarks to Fable of the Bees, 1714, pp. 93-9; cf. P. Sakmann, Bernard de Mandeville, pp. 101-4.


These conditions favor temporary free unions, but they also favor prostitution. The reason is, according to Adolf Gerson (Sexual-Probleme, September, 1908), that the woman of good class will not have free unions. Partly moved by moral traditions, and partly by the feeling that a man should be legally her property, she will not give herself out of love to a man; and he therefore turns to the lower-class woman who gives herself for money.


Many girls, said Ellice Hopkins, get into mischief merely because they have in them an element of the "black kitten," which must frolic and play, but has no desire to get into danger. "Do you not think it a little hard," she added, "that men should have dug by the side of her foolish dancing feet a bottomless pit, and that she cannot have her jump and fun in safety, and put on her fine feathers like the silly bird-witted thing she is, without a single false step dashing her over the brink, and leaving her with the very womanhood dashed out of her?"


A. Sherwell, Life in West London, 1897, Ch. V.


As quoted by Bloch, Sexualleben Unserer Zeit, p. 358. In Berlin during recent years the number of prostitutes has increased at nearly double the rate at which the general population has increased. It is no doubt probable that the supply tends to increase the demand.


Goncourt, Journal, vol. iii, p. 49.


Vanderkiste, The Dens of London, 1854, p. 242.


Bonger (Criminalité et Conditions Economiques, p. 406) refers to the prevalence of prostitution among dressmakers and milliners, as well as among servants, as showing the influence of contact with luxury, and adds that the rich women, who look down on prostitution, do not always realize that they are themselves an important factor of prostitution, both by their luxury and their idleness; while they do not seem to be aware that they would themselves act in the same way if placed under the same conditions.


H. Lippert, in his book on prostitution in Hamburg, laid much stress on the craving for dress and adornment as a factor of prostitution, and Bloch (Das Sexualleben unsurer Zeit, p. 372) considers that this factor is usually underestimated, and that it exerts an especially powerful influence on servants.


Since this was written the influence of several generations of town-life in immunizing a stock to the evils of that life (though without reference to prostitution) has been set forth by Reibmayr, Die Entwicklungsgeschichte des Talentes und Genies, 1908, vol. ii, pp. 73 et seq.


In France this intimacy is embodied in the delicious privilege of tutoiement. "The mystery of tutoiement!" exclaims Ernest La Jennesse in L'Holocauste: "Barriers broken down, veils drawn away, and the ease of existence! At a time when I was very lonely, and trying to grow accustomed to Paris and to misfortune, I would go miles—on foot, naturally—to see a girl cousin and an aunt, merely to have something to tutoyer. Sometimes they were not at home, and I had to come back with my tu, my thirst for confidence and familiarity and brotherliness."


For some facts and references to the extensive literature concerning this trade, see, e.g., Bloch, Das Sexualleben Unserer Zeit, pp. 374-376; also K. M. Baer, Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft, Sept., 1908; Paulucci de Calboli, Nuova Antologia, April, 1902.


These considerations do not, it is true, apply to many kinds of sexual perverts who form an important proportion of the clients of brothels. These can frequently find what they crave inside a brothel much more easily than outside.


Thus Charles Booth, in his great work on Life and Labor in London, final volume (p. 128), recommends that "houses of accommodation," instead of being hunted out, should be tolerated as a step towards the suppression of brothels.


"Towns like Woolwich, Aldershot, Portsmouth, Plymouth," it has been said, "abound with wretched, filthy monsters that bear no resemblance to women; but it is drink, scorn, brutality and disease which have reduced them to this state, not the mere fact of associating with men."


"The contract of prostitution in the opinion of prostitutes themselves," Bernaldo de Quirós and Llanas Aguilaniedo remark (La Mala Vida en Madrid, p. 254), "cannot be assimilated to a sale, nor to a contract of work, nor to any other form of barter recognized by the civil law. They consider that in these pacts there always enters an element which makes it much more like a gift in a matter in which no payment could be adequate. 'A woman's body is without price' is an axiom of prostitution. The money placed in the hands of her who procures the satisfaction of sexual desire is not the price of the act, but an offering which the priestess of Venus applies to her maintenance." To the Spaniard, it is true, every transaction which resembles trade is repugnant, but the principle underlying this feeling holds good of prostitution generally.


Journal des Goncourt, vol. iii; this was in 1866.


Rev. the Hon. C. Lyttelton, Training of the Young in Laws of Sex, p. 42.


See, e.g., R. W. Taylor, Treatise on Sexual Disorders, 1897, pp. 74-5. Georg Hirth (Wege zur Heimat, 1909, p. 619) narrates the case of a young officer who, being excited by the caresses of his betrothed and having too much respect for her to go further than this, and too much respect for himself to resort to masturbation, knew nothing better than to go to a prostitute. Syphilis developed a few days after the wedding. Hirth adds, briefly, that the results were terrible.


It is an oft-quoted passage, but can scarcely be quoted too often: "You see that this wrought-iron plate is not quite flat: it sticks up a little, here towards the left—'cockles,' as we say. How shall we flatten it? Obviously, you reply, by hitting down on the part that is prominent. Well, here is a hammer, and I give the plate a blow as you advise. Harder, you say. Still no effect. Another stroke? Well, there is one, and another, and another. The prominence remains, you see: the evil is as great as ever—greater, indeed. But that is not all. Look at the warp which the plate has got near the opposite edge. Where it was flat before it is now curved. A pretty bungle we have made of it. Instead of curing the original defect we have produced a second. Had we asked an artisan practiced in 'planishing,' as it is called, he would have told us that no good was to be done, but only mischief, by hitting down on the projecting part. He would have taught us how to give variously-directed and specially-adjusted blows with a hammer elsewhere: so attacking the evil, not by direct, but by indirect actions. The required process is less simple than you thought. Even a sheet of metal is not to be successfully dealt with after those common-sense methods in which you have so much confidence. What, then, shall we say about a society?... Is humanity more readily straightened than an iron plate?" (The Study of Sociology, p. 270.)



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

It may, perhaps, excite surprise that in the preceding discussion of prostitution scarcely a word has been said of venereal diseases. In the eyes of many people, the question of prostitution is simply the question of syphilis. But from the psychological point of view with which we are directly concerned, as from the moral point of view with which we cannot fail to be indirectly concerned, the question of the diseases which may be, and so frequently are, associated with prostitution cannot be placed in the first line of significance. The two questions, however intimately they may be mingled, are fundamentally distinct. Not only would venereal diseases still persist even though prostitution had absolutely ceased, but, on the other hand, when we have brought syphilis under the same control as we have brought the somewhat analogous disease of leprosy, the problem of prostitution would still remain.

Yet, even from the standpoint which we here occupy, it is scarcely possible to ignore the question of venereal disease, for the psychological and moral aspects of prostitution, and even the whole question of the sexual relationships, are, to some extent, affected by the existence of the serious diseases which are specially liable to be propagated by sexual intercourse.

Fournier, one of the leading authorities on this subject, has well said that syphilis, alcoholism, and tuberculosis are the three modern plagues. At a much earlier period (1851) Schopenhauer in Parerga und Paralipomena had expressed the opinion that the two things which mark modern social life, in distinction from that of antiquity, and to the advantage of the latter, are the knightly principle of honor and venereal disease; together, he added, they have poisoned life, and introduced a hostile and even diabolical element into the relations of the sexes, which has indirectly affected all other social relationships.[220] It is like a merchandise, says Havelburg, of syphilis, which civilization has everywhere carried, so that only a very few remote districts of the globe (as in Central Africa and Central Brazil) are to-day free from it.[221]

It is undoubtedly true that in the older civilized countries the manifestations of syphilis, though still severe and a cause of physical deterioration in the individual and the race, are less severe than they were even a generation ago.[222] This is partly the result of earlier and better treatment, partly, it is possible, the result also of the syphilization of the race, some degree of immunity having now become an inherited possession, although it must be remembered that an attack of syphilis does not necessarily confer immunity from the actual attack of the disease even in the same individual. But it must be added that, even though it has become less severe, syphilis, in the opinion of many, is nevertheless still spreading, even in the chief centres of civilization; this has been noted alike in Paris and in London.[223]

According to the belief which is now tending to prevail, syphilis was brought to Europe at the end of the fifteenth century by the first discoverers of America. In Seville, the chief European port for America, it was known as the Indian disease, but when Charles VIII and his army first brought it to Italy in 1495, although this connection with the French was only accidental, it was called the Gallic disease, "a monstrous disease," said Cataneus, "never seen in previous centuries and altogether unknown in the world."

The synonyms of syphilis were at first almost innumerable. It was in his Latin poem Syphilis sive Morbus Gallicus, written before 1521 and published at Verona in 1530, that Fracastorus finally gave the disease its now universally accepted name, inventing a romantic myth to account for its origin.

Although the weight of authoritative opinion now seems to incline towards the belief that syphilis was brought to Europe from America, on the discovery of the New World, it is only within quite recent years that that belief has gained ground, and it scarcely even yet seems certain that what the Spaniards brought back from America was really a disease absolutely new to the Old World, and not a more virulent form of an old disease of which the manifestations had become benign. Buret, for instance (Le Syphilis Aujourd'hui et chez les Anciens, 1890), who some years ago reached "the deep conviction that syphilis dates from the creation of man," and believed, from a minute study of classic authors, that syphilis existed in Rome under the Cæsars, was of opinion that it has broken out at different places and at different times, in epidemic bursts exhibiting different combinations of its manifold symptoms, so that it passed unnoticed at ordinary times, and at the times of its more intense manifestation was looked upon as a hitherto unknown disease. It was thus regarded in classic times, he considers, as coming from Egypt, though he looked upon its real home as Asia. Leopold Glück has likewise quoted (Archiv für Dermatologie und Syphilis, January, 1899) passages from the medical epigrams of a sixteenth century physician, Gabriel Ayala, declaring that syphilis is not really a new disease, though popularly supposed to be so, but an old disease which has broken out with hitherto unknown violence. There is, however, no conclusive reason for believing that syphilis was known at all in classic antiquity. A. V. Notthaft ("Die Legende von der Althertums-syphilis," in the Rindfleisch Festschrift, 1907, pp. 377-592) has critically investigated the passages in classic authors which were supposed by Rosenbaum, Buret, Proksch and others to refer to syphilis. It is quite true, Notthaft admits, that many of these passages might possibly refer to syphilis, and one or two would even better fit syphilis than any other disease. But, on the whole, they furnish no proof at all, and no syphilologist, he concludes, has ever succeeded in demonstrating that syphilis was known in antiquity. That belief is a legend. The most damning argument against it, Notthaft points out, is the fact that, although in antiquity there were great physicians who were keen observers, not one of them gives any description of the primary, secondary, tertiary, and congenital forms of this disease. China is frequently mentioned as the original home of syphilis, but this belief is also quite without basis, and the Japanese physician, Okamura, has shown (Monatsschrift für praktische Dermatologie, vol. xxviii, pp. 296 et seq.) that Chinese records reveal nothing relating to syphilis earlier than the sixteenth century. At the Paris Academy of Medicine in 1900 photographs from Egypt were exhibited by Fouquet of human remains which date from B.C. 2400, showing bone lesions which seemed to be clearly syphilitic; Fournier, however, one of the greatest of authorities, considered that the diagnosis of syphilis could not be maintained until other conditions liable to produce somewhat similar bone lesions had been eliminated (British Medical Journal, September 29, 1900, p. 946). In Florida and various regions of Central America, in undoubtedly pre-Columbian burial places, diseased bones have been found which good authorities have declared could not be anything else than syphilitic (e.g., British Medical Journal, November 20, 1897, p. 1487), though it may be noted that so recently as 1899 the cautious Virchow stated that pre-Columbian syphilis in America was still for him an open question (Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, Heft 2 and 3, 1899, p. 216). From another side, Seler, the distinguished authority on Mexican antiquity, shows (Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, 1895, Heft 5, p. 449) that the ancient Mexicans were acquainted with a disease which, as they described it, might well have been syphilis. It is obvious, however, that while the difficulty of demonstrating syphilitic diseased bones in America is as great as in Europe, the demonstration, however complete, would not suffice to show that the disease had not already an existence also in the Old World. The plausible theory of Ayala that fifteenth century syphilis was a virulent recrudescence of an ancient disease has frequently been revived in more modern times. Thus J. Knott ("The Origin of Syphilis," New York Medical Journal, October 31, 1908) suggests that though not new in fifteenth century Europe, it was then imported afresh in a form rendered more aggravated by coming from an exotic race, as is believed often to be the case.

It was in the eighteenth century that Jean Astruc began the rehabilitation of the belief that syphilis is really a comparatively modern disease of American origin, and since then various authorities of weight have given their adherence to this view. It is to the energy and learning of Dr. Iwan Bloch, of Berlin (the first volume of whose important work, Der Ursprung der Syphilis, was published in 1901) that we owe the fullest statement of the evidence in favor of the American origin of syphilis. Bloch regards Ruy Diaz de Isla, a distinguished Spanish physician, as the weightiest witness for the Indian origin of the disease, and concludes that it was brought to Europe by Columbus's men from Central America, more precisely from the Island of Haiti, to Spain in 1493 and 1494, and immediately afterwards was spread by the armies of Charles VIII in an epidemic fashion over Italy and the other countries of Europe.

It may be added that even if we have to accept the theory that the central regions of America constitute the place of origin of European syphilis, we still have to recognize that syphilis has spread in the North American continent very much more slowly and partially than it has in Europe, and even at the present day there are American Indian tribes among whom it is unknown. Holder, on the basis of his own experiences among Indian tribes, as well as of wide inquiries among agency physicians, prepared a table showing that among some thirty tribes and groups of tribes, eighteen were almost or entirely free from venereal disease, while among thirteen it was very prevalent. Almost without exception, the tribes where syphilis is rare or unknown refuse sexual intercourse with strangers, while those among whom such disease is prevalent are morally lax. It is the whites who are the source of infection among these tribes (A. B. Holder, "Gynecic Notes Among the American Indians," American Journal of Obstetrics, 1892, No. 1).

Syphilis is only one, certainly the most important, of a group of three entirely distinct "venereal diseases" which have only been distinguished in recent times, and so far as their precise nature and causation are concerned, are indeed only to-day beginning to be understood, although two of them were certainly known in antiquity. It is but seventy years ago since Ricord, the great French syphilologist, following Bassereau, first taught the complete independence of syphilis both from gonorrhœa and soft chancre, at the same time expounding clearly the three stages, primary, secondary and tertiary, through which syphilitic manifestations tend to pass, while the full extent of tertiary syphilitic symptoms is scarcely yet grasped, and it is only to-day beginning to be generally realized that two of the most prevalent and serious diseases of the brain and nervous system—general paralysis and tabes dorsalis or locomotor ataxia—have their predominant though not sole and exclusive cause in the invasion of the syphilitic poison many years before. In 1879 a new stage of more precise knowledge of the venereal diseases began with Neisser's discovery of the gonococcus which is the specific cause of gonorrhœa. This was followed a few years later by the discovery by Ducrey and Unna of the bacillus of soft chancre, the least important of the venereal diseases because exclusively local in its effects. Finally, in 1905—after Metchnikoff had prepared the way by succeeding in carrying syphilis from man to monkey, and Lassar, by inoculation, from monkey to monkey—Fritz Schaudinn made his great discovery of the protozoal Spirochœta pallida (since sometimes called Treponema pallidum), which is now generally regarded as the cause of syphilis, and thus revealed the final hiding place of one of the most dangerous and insidious foes of humanity.[224]

There is no more subtle poison than that of syphilis. It is not, like smallpox or typhoid, a disease which produces a brief and sudden storm, a violent struggle with the forces of life, in which it tends, even without treatment, provided the organism is healthy, to succumb, leaving little or no traces of its ravages behind. It penetrates ever deeper and deeper into the organism, with the passage of time leading to ever new manifestations, and no tissue is safe from its attack. And so subtle is this all-pervading poison that though its outward manifestations are amenable to prolonged treatment, it is often difficult to say that the poison has been finally killed out.[225]

The immense importance of syphilis, and the chief reason why it is necessary to consider it here, lies in the fact that its results are not confined to the individual himself, nor even to the persons to whom he may impart it by the contagion due to contact in or out of sexual relationships: it affects the offspring, and it affects the power to produce offspring. It attacks men and women at the centre of life, as the progenitors of the coming race, inflicting either sterility or the tendency to aborted and diseased products of conception. The father alone can perhaps transmit syphilis to his child, even though the mother escapes infection, and the child born of syphilitic parents may come into the world apparently healthy only to reveal its syphilitic origin after a period of months or even years. Thus syphilis is probably a main cause of the enfeeblement of the race.[226]

Alike in the individual and in his offspring syphilis shows its deteriorating effects on all the structures of the body, but especially on the brain and nervous system. There are, as has been pointed out by Mott, a leading authority in this matter,[227] five ways in which syphilis affects the brain and nervous system: (1) by moral shock; (2) by the effects of the poison in producing anæmia and impaired general nutrition; (3) by causing inflammation of the membranes and tissues of the brain; (4) by producing arterial degeneration, leading on to brain-softening, paralysis, and dementia; (5) as a main cause of the para-syphilitic affections of general paralysis and tabes dorsalis.

It is only within recent years that medical men have recognized the preponderant part played by acquired or inherited syphilis in producing general paralysis, which so largely helps to fill lunatic asylums, and tabes dorsalis which is the most important disease of the spinal cord. Even to-day it can scarcely be said that there is complete agreement as to the supreme importance of the factor of syphilis in these diseases. There can, however, be little doubt that in about ninety-five per cent. at least of cases of general paralysis syphilis is present.[228]

Syphilis is not indeed by itself an adequate cause of general paralysis for among many savage peoples syphilis is very common while general paralysis is very rare. It is, as Krafft-Ebing was accustomed to say, syphilization and civilization working together which produce general paralysis, perhaps in many cases, there is reason for thinking, on a nervous soil that is hereditarily degenerated to some extent; this is shown by the abnormal prevalence of congenital stigmata of degeneration found in general paralytics by Näcke and others. "Paralyticus nascitur atque fit," according to the dictum of Obersteiner. Once undermined by syphilis, the deteriorated brain is unable to resist the jars and strains of civilized life, and the result is general paralysis, truly described as "one of the most terrible scourges of modern times." In 1902 the Psychological Section of the British Medical Association, embodying the most competent English authority on this question, unanimously passed a resolution recommending that the attention of the Legislature and other public bodies should be called to the necessity for immediate action in view of the fact that "general paralysis, a very grave and frequent form of brain disease, together with other varieties of insanity, is largely due to syphilis, and is therefore preventable." Yet not a single step has yet been taken in this direction.

The dangers of syphilis lie not alone in its potency and its persistence but also in its prevalence. It is difficult to state the exact incidence of syphilis, but a great many partial investigations have been made in various countries, and it would appear that from five to twenty per cent. of the population in European countries is syphilitic, while about fifteen per cent. of the syphilitic cases die from causes directly or indirectly due to the disease.[229] In France generally, Fournier estimates that seventeen per cent. of the whole population have had syphilis, and at Toulouse, Audry considers that eighteen per cent. of all his patients are syphilitic. In Copenhagen, where notification is obligatory, over four per cent. of the population are said to be syphilitic. In America a committee of the Medical Society of New York, appointed to investigate the question, reported as the result of exhaustive inquiry that in the city of New York not less than a quarter of a million of cases of venereal disease occurred every year, and a leading New York dermatologist has stated that among the better class families he knows intimately at least one-third of the sons have had syphilis. In Germany eight hundred thousand cases of venereal disease are by one authority estimated to occur yearly, and in the larger universities twenty-five per cent. of the students are infected every term, venereal disease being, however, specially common among students. The yearly number of men invalided in the German army by venereal diseases equals a third of the total number wounded in the Franco-Prussian war. Yet the German army stands fairly high as regards freedom from venereal disease when compared with the British army which is more syphilized than any other European army.[230] The British army, however, being professional and not national, is less representative of the people than is the case in countries where some form of conscription prevails. At one London hospital it could be ascertained that ten per cent. of the patients had had syphilis; this probably means a real proportion of about fifteen per cent., a high though not extremely high ratio. Yet it is obvious that even if the ratio is really lower than this the national loss in life and health, in defective procreation and racial deterioration, must be enormous and practically incalculable. Even in cash the venereal budget is comparable in amount to the general budget of a great nation. Stritch estimates that the cost to the British nation of venereal diseases in the army, navy and Government departments alone, amounts annually to £3,000,000, and when allowance is made for superannuations and sick-leave indirectly occasioned through these diseases, though not appearing in the returns as such, the more accurate estimate of the cost to the nation is stated to be £7,000,000. The adoption of simple hygienic measures for the prevention and the speedy cure of venereal diseases will be not only indirectly but even directly a source of immense wealth to the nation.

Syphilis is the most obviously and conspicuously appalling of the venereal diseases. Yet it is less frequent and in some respects less dangerously insidious than the other chief venereal disease, gonorrhœa.[231] At one time the serious nature of gonorrhœa, especially in women, was little realized. Men accepted it with a light heart as a trivial accident; women ignored it. This failure to realize the gravity of gonorrhœa, even sometimes on the part of the medical profession—so that it has been popularly looked upon, in Grandin's words, as of little more significance than a cold in the nose—has led to a reaction on the part of some towards an opposite extreme, and the risks and dangers of gonorrhœa have been even unduly magnified. This is notably the case as regards sterility. The inflammatory results of gonorrhœa are indubitably a potent cause of sterility in both sexes; some authorities have stated that not only eighty per cent. of the deaths from inflammatory diseases of the pelvic organs and the majority of the cases of chronic invalidism in women, but ninety per cent. of involuntary sterile marriages, are due to gonorrhœa. Neisser, a great authority, ascribes to this disease without doubt fifty per cent, of such marriages. Even this estimate is in the experience of some observers excessive. It is fully proved that the great majority of men who have had gonorrhœa, even if they marry within two years of being infected, fail to convey the disease to their wives, and even of the women infected by their husbands more than half have children. This is, for instance, the result of Erb's experience, and Kisch speaks still more strongly in the same sense. Bumm, again, although regarding gonorrhœa as one of the two chief causes of sterility in women, finds that it is not the most frequent cause, being only responsible for about one-third of the cases; the other two-thirds are due to developmental faults in the genital organs. Dunning in America has reached results which are fairly concordant with Bumm's.

With regard to another of the terrible results of gonorrhœa, the part it plays in producing life-long blindness from infection of the eyes at birth, there has long been no sort of doubt. The Committee of the Ophthalmological Society in 1884, reported that thirty to forty-one per cent. of the inmates of four asylums for the blind in England owed their blindness to this cause.[232] In German asylums Reinhard found that thirty per cent. lost their sight from the same cause. The total number of persons blind from gonorrhœal infection from their mothers at birth is enormous. The British Royal Commission on the Condition of the Blind estimated there were about seven thousand persons in the United Kingdom alone (or twenty-two per cent. of the blind persons in the country) who became blind as the result of this disease, and Mookerji stated in his address on Ophthalmalogy at the Indian Medical Congress of 1894 that in Bengal alone there were six hundred thousand totally blind beggars, forty per cent. of whom lost their sight at birth through maternal gonorrhœa; and this refers to the beggar class alone.

Although gonorrhœa is liable to produce many and various calamities,[233] there can be no doubt that the majority of gonorrhœal persons escape either suffering or inflicting any very serious injury. The special reason why gonorrhœa has become so peculiarly serious a scourge is its extreme prevalence. It is difficult to estimate the proportion of men and women in the general population who have had gonorrhœa, and the estimates vary within wide limits. They are often set too high. Erb, of Heidelberg, anxious to disprove exaggerated estimates of the prevalence of gonorrhœa, went over the records of two thousand two hundred patients in his private practice (excluding all hospital patients) and found the proportion of those who had suffered from gonorrhœa was 48.5 per cent.

Among the working classes the disease is much less prevalent than among higher-class people. In a Berlin Industrial Sick Club, 412 per 10,000 men and 69 per 10,000 women had gonorrhœa in a year; taking a series of years the Club showed a steady increase in the number of men, and decrease in the number of women, with venereal infection; this seems to indicate that the laboring classes are beginning to have intercourse more with prostitutes and less with respectable girls.[234] In America Wood Ruggles has given (as had Noggerath previously, for New York), the prevalence of gonorrhœa among adult males as from 75 to 80 per cent.; Tenney places it much lower, 20 per cent. for males and 5 per cent. for females. In England, a writer in the Lancet, some years ago,[235] found as the result of experience and inquiries that 75 per cent. adult males have had gonorrhœa once, 40 per cent. twice, 15 per cent. three or more times. According to Dulberg about twenty per cent. of new cases occur in married men of good social class, the disease being comparatively rare among married men of the working class in England.

Gonorrhœa in its prevalence is thus only second to measles and in the gravity of its results scarcely second to tuberculosis. "And yet," as Grandin remarks in comparing gonorrhœa to tuberculosis, "witness the activity of the crusade against the latter and the criminal apathy displayed when the former is concerned."[236] The public must learn to understand, another writer remarks, that "gonorrhœa is a pest that concerns its highest interests and most sacred relations as much as do smallpox, cholera, diphtheria, or tuberculosis."[237]

It cannot fairly be said that no attempts have been made to beat back the flood of venereal disease. On the contrary, such attempts have been made from the first. But they have never been effectual;[238] they have never been modified to changed condition; at the present day they are hopelessly unscientific and entirely opposed alike to the social and the individual demands of modern peoples. At the various conferences on this question which have been held during recent years the only generally accepted conclusion which has emerged is that all the existing systems of interference or non-interference with prostitution are unsatisfactory.[239]

The character of prostitution has changed and the methods of dealing with it must change. Brothels, and the systems of official regulation which grew up with special reference to brothels, are alike out of date; they have about them a mediæval atmosphere, an antiquated spirit, which now render them unattractive and suspected. The conspicuously distinctive brothel is falling into disrepute; the liveried prostitute absolutely under municipal control can scarcely be said to exist. Prostitution tends to become more diffused, more intimately mingled with social life generally, less easily distinguished as a definitely separable part of life. We can nowadays only influence it by methods of permeation which bear upon the whole of our social life.

The objection to the regulation of prostitution is still of slow growth, but it is steadily developing everywhere, and may be traced equally in scientific opinion and in popular feeling. In France the municipalities of some of the largest cities have either suppressed the system of regulation entirely or shown their disapproval of it, while an inquiry among several hundred medical men showed that less than one-third were in favor of maintaining regulation (Die Neue Generation, June, 1909, p. 244). In Germany, where there is in some respects more patient endurance of interference with the liberty of the individual than in France, England, or America, various elaborate systems for organizing prostitution and dealing with venereal disease continue to be maintained, but they cannot be completely carried out, and it is generally admitted that in any case they could not accomplish the objects sought. Thus in Saxony no brothels are officially tolerated, though as a matter of fact they nevertheless exist. Here, as in many other parts of Germany, most minute and extensive regulations are framed for the use of prostitutes. Thus at Leipzig they must not sit on the benches in public promenades, nor go to picture galleries, or theatres, or concerts, or restaurants, nor look out of their windows, nor stare about them in the street, nor smile, nor wink, etc., etc. In fact, a German prostitute who possesses the heroic self-control to carry out conscientiously all the self-denying ordinances officially decreed for her guidance would seem to be entitled to a Government pension for life.

Two methods of dealing with prostitution prevail in Germany. In some cities public houses of prostitution are tolerated (though not licensed); in other cities prostitution is "free," though "secret." Hamburg is the most important city where houses of prostitution are tolerated and segregated. But, it is stated, "everywhere, by far the larger proportion of the prostitutes belong to the so-called 'secret' class." In Hamburg, alone, are suspected men, when accused of infecting women, officially examined; men of every social class must obey a summons of this kind, which is issued secretly, and if diseased, they are bound to go under treatment, if necessary under compulsory treatment in the city hospital, until no longer dangerous to the community.

In Germany it is only when a woman has been repeatedly observed to act suspiciously in the streets that she is quietly warned; if the warning is disregarded she is invited to give her name and address to the police, and interviewed. It is not until these methods fail that she is officially inscribed as a prostitute. The inscribed women, in some cities at all events, contribute to a sick benefit fund which pays their expenses when in hospital. The hesitation of the police to inscribe a woman on the official list is legitimate and inevitable, for no other course would be tolerated; yet the majority of prostitutes begin their careers very young, and as they tend to become infected very early after their careers begin, it is obvious that this delay contributes to render the system of regulation ineffective. In Berlin, where there are no officially recognized brothels, there are some six thousand inscribed prostitutes, but it is estimated that there are over sixty thousand prostitutes who are not inscribed. (The foregoing facts are taken from a series of papers describing personal investigations in Germany made by Dr. F. Bierhoff, of New York, "Police Methods for the Sanitary Control of Prostitution," New York Medical Journal, August, 1907.) The estimation of the amount of clandestine prostitution can indeed never be much more than guesswork; exactly the same figure of sixty thousand is commonly brought forward as the probable number of prostitutes not only in Berlin, but also in London and in New York. It is absolutely impossible to say whether it is under or over the real number, for secret prostitution is quite intangible. Even if the facts were miraculously revealed there would still remain the difficulty of deciding what is and what is not prostitution. The avowed and public prostitute is linked by various gradations on the one side to the respectable girl living at home who seeks some little relief from the oppression of her respectability, and on the other hand to the married woman who has married for the sake of a home. In any case, however, it is very certain that public prostitutes living entirely on the earnings of prostitution form but a small proportion of the vast army of women who may be said, in a wide sense of the word, to be prostitutes, i.e., who use their attractiveness to obtain from men not love alone, but money or goods.

"The struggle against syphilis is only possible if we agree to regard its victims as unfortunate and not as guilty.... We must give up the prejudice which has led to the creation of the term 'shameful diseases,' and which commands silence concerning this scourge of the family and of humanity." In these words of Duclaux, the distinguished successor of Pasteur at the Pasteur Institute, in his noble and admirable work L'Hygiène Sociale, we have indicated to us, I am convinced, the only road by which we can approach the rational and successful treatment of the great social problem of venereal disease.

The supreme importance of this key to the solution of a problem which has often seemed insoluble is to-day beginning to become recognized in all quarters, and in every country. Thus a distinguished German authority, Professor Finger (Geschlecht und Gesellschaft, Bd. i, Heft 5) declares that venereal disease must not be regarded as the well-merited punishment for a debauched life, but as an unhappy accident. It seems to be in France, however, that this truth has been proclaimed with most courage and humanity, and not alone by the followers of science and medicine, but by many who might well be excused from interfering with so difficult and ungrateful a task. Thus the brothers, Paul and Victor Margueritte, who occupy a brilliant and honorable place in contemporary French letters, have distinguished themselves by advocating a more humane attitude towards prostitutes, and a more modern method of dealing with the question of venereal disease. "The true method of prevention is that which makes it clear to all that syphilis is not a mysterious and terrible thing, the penalty of the sin of the flesh, a sort of shameful evil branded by Catholic malediction, but an ordinary disease which may be treated and cured." It may be remarked that the aversion to acknowledge venereal disease is at least as marked in France as in any other country; "maladies honteuses" is a consecrated French term, just as "loathsome disease" is in English; "in the hospital," says Landret, "it requires much trouble to obtain an avowal of gonorrhœa, and we may esteem ourselves happy if the patient acknowledges the fact of having had syphilis."

No evils can be combated until they are recognized, simply and frankly, and honestly discussed. It is a significant and even symbolic fact that the bacteria of disease rarely flourish when they are open to the free currents of pure air. Obscurity, disguise, concealment furnish the best conditions for their vigor and diffusion, and these favoring conditions we have for centuries past accorded to venereal diseases. It was not always so, as indeed the survival of the word 'venereal' itself in this connection, with its reference to a goddess, alone suffices to show. Even the name "syphilis" itself, taken from a romantic poem in which Fracastorus sought a mythological origin for the disease, bears witness to the same fact. The romantic attitude is indeed as much out of date as that of hypocritical and shamefaced obscurantism. We need to face these diseases in the same simple, direct, and courageous way which has already been adopted successfully in the ease of smallpox, a disease which, of old, men thought analogous to syphilis and which was indeed once almost as terrible in its ravages.

At this point, however, we encounter those who say that it is unnecessary to show any sort of recognition of venereal diseases, and immoral to do anything that might seem to involve indulgence to those who suffer from such diseases; they have got what they deserve and may well be left to perish. Those who take this attitude place themselves so far outside the pale of civilization—to say nothing of morality or religion—that they might well be disregarded. The progress of the race, the development of humanity, in fact and in feeling, has consisted in the elimination of an attitude which it is an insult to primitive peoples to term savage. Yet it is an attitude which should not be ignored for it still carries weight with many who are too weak to withstand those who juggle with fine moral phrases. I have even seen in a medical quarter the statement that venereal disease cannot be put on the same level with other infectious diseases because it is "the result of voluntary action." But all the diseases, indeed all the accidents and misfortunes of suffering human beings, are equally the involuntary results of voluntary actions. The man who is run over in crossing the street, the family poisoned by unwholesome food, the mother who catches the disease of the child she is nursing, all these suffer as the involuntary result of the voluntary act of gratifying some fundamental human instinct—the instinct of activity, the instinct of nutrition, the instinct of affection. The instinct of sex is as fundamental as any of these, and the involuntary evils which may follow the voluntary act of gratifying it stand on exactly the same level. This is the essential fact: a human being in following the human instincts implanted within him has stumbled and fallen. Any person who sees, not this essential fact but merely some subsidiary aspect of it, reveals a mind that is twisted and perverted; he has no claim to arrest our attention.

But even if we were to adopt the standpoint of the would-be moralist, and to agree that everyone must be left to suffer his deserts, it is far indeed from being the fact that all those who contract venereal diseases are in any sense receiving their deserts. In a large number of cases the disease has been inflicted on them in the most absolutely involuntary manner. This is, of course, true in the case of the vast number of infants who are infected at conception or at birth. But it is also true in a scarcely less absolute manner of a large proportion of persons infected in later life.

Syphilis insontium, or syphilis of the innocent, as it is commonly called, may be said to fall into five groups: (1) the vast army of congenitally syphilitic infants who inherit the disease from father or mother; (2) the constantly occurring cases of syphilis contracted, in the course of their professional duties, by doctors, midwives and wet-nurses; (3) infection as a result of affection, as in simple kissing; (4) accidental infection from casual contacts and from using in common the objects and utensils of daily life, such as cups, towels, razors, knives (as in ritual circumcision), etc; (5) the infection of wives by their husbands.[240]

Hereditary congenital syphilis belongs to the ordinary pathology of the disease and is a chief element in its social danger since it is responsible for an enormous infantile mortality.[241] The risks of extragenital infection in the professional activity of doctors, midwives and wet-nurses is also universally recognized. In the case of wet-nurses infected by their employers' syphilitic infants at their breast, the penalty inflicted on the innocent is peculiarly harsh and unnecessary. The influence of infected low-class midwives is notably dangerous, for they may inflict widespread injury in ignorance; thus the case has been recorded of a midwife, whose finger became infected in the course of her duties, and directly or indirectly contaminated one hundred persons. Kissing is an extremely common source of syphilitic infection, and of all extragenital regions the mouth is by far the most frequent seat of primary syphilitic sores. In some cases, it is true, especially in prostitutes, this is the result of abnormal sexual contacts. But in the majority of cases it is the result of ordinary and slight kisses as between young children, between parents and children, between lovers and friends and acquaintances. Fairly typical examples, which have been reported, are those of a child, kissed by a prostitute, who became infected and subsequently infected its mother and grandmother; of a young French bride contaminated on her wedding-day by one of the guests who, according to French custom, kissed her on the cheek after the ceremony; of an American girl who, returning from a ball, kissed, at parting, the young man who had accompanied her home, thus acquiring the disease which she not long afterwards imparted in the same way to her mother and three sisters. The ignorant and unthinking are apt to ridicule those who point out the serious risks of miscellaneous kissing. But it remains nevertheless true that people who are not intimate enough to know the state of each other's health are not intimate enough to kiss each other. Infection by the use of domestic utensils, linen, etc., while comparatively rare among the better social classes, is extremely common among the lower classes and among the less civilized nations; in Russia, according to Tarnowsky, the chief authority, seventy per cent. of all cases of syphilis in the rural districts are due to this cause and to ordinary kissing, and a special conference in St. Petersburg in 1897, for the consideration of the methods of dealing with venereal disease, recorded its opinion to the same effect; much the same seems to be true regarding Bosnia and various parts of the Balkan peninsula where syphilis is extremely prevalent among the peasantry. As regards the last group, according to Bulkley in America, fifty per cent. of women generally contract syphilis innocently, chiefly from their husbands, while Fournier states that in France seventy-five per cent. of married women with syphilis have been infected by their husbands, most frequently (seventy per cent.) by husbands who were themselves infected before marriage and supposed that they were cured. Among men the proportion of syphilitics who have been accidentally infected, though less than among women, is still very considerable; it is stated to be at least ten per cent., and possibly it is a much larger proportion of cases. The scrupulous moralist who is anxious that all should have their deserts cannot fail to be still more anxious to prevent the innocent from suffering in place of the guilty. But it is absolutely impossible for him to combine these two aims; syphilis cannot be at the same time perpetuated for the guilty and abolished for the innocent.

I have been taking only syphilis into account, but nearly all that is said of the accidental infection of syphilis applies with equal or greater force to gonorrhœa, for though gonorrhœa does not enter into the system by so many channels as syphilis, it is a more common as well as a more subtle and elusive disease.

The literature of Syphilis Insontium is extremely extensive. There is a bibliography at the end of Duncan Bulkley's Syphilis in the Innocent, and a comprehensive summary of the question in a Leipzig Inaugural Dissertation by F. Moses, Zur Kasuistik der Extragenitalen Syphilis-infektion, 1904.

Even, however, when we have put aside the vast number of venereally infected people who may be said to be, in the narrowest and most conventionally moral sense, "innocent" victims of the diseases they have contracted, there is still much to be said on this question. It must be remembered that the majority of those who contract venereal diseases by illegitimate sexual intercourse are young. They are youths, ignorant of life, scarcely yet escaped from home, still undeveloped, incompletely educated, and easily duped by women; in many cases they have met, as they thought, a "nice" girl, not indeed strictly virtuous but, it seemed to them, above all suspicion of disease, though in reality she was a clandestine prostitute. Or they are young girls who have indeed ceased to be absolutely chaste, but have not yet lost all their innocence, and who do not consider themselves, and are not by others considered, prostitutes; that indeed, is one of the rocks on which the system of police regulation of prostitution comes to grief, for the police cannot catch the prostitute at a sufficiently early stage. Of women who become syphilitic, according to Fournier, twenty per cent. are infected before they are nineteen; in hospitals the proportion is as high as forty per cent.; and of men fifteen per cent. cases occur between eleven and twenty-one years of age. The age of maximum frequency of infection is for women twenty years (in the rural population eighteen), and for men twenty-three years. In Germany Erb finds that as many as eighty-five per cent men with gonorrhœa contracted the disease between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five, a very small percentage being infected after thirty. These young things for the most part fell into a trap which Nature had baited with her most fascinating lure; they were usually ignorant; not seldom they were deceived by an attractive personality; often they were overcome by passion; frequently all prudence and reserve had been lost in the fumes of wine. From a truly moral point of view they were scarcely less innocent than children.

"I ask," says Duclaux, "whether when a young man, or a young girl, abandon themselves to a dangerous caress society has done what it can to warn them. Perhaps its intentions were good, but when the need came for precise knowledge a silly prudery has held it back, and it has left its children without viaticum.... I will go further, and proclaim that in a large number of cases the husbands who contaminate their wives are innocent. No one is responsible for the evil which he commits without knowing it and without willing it." I may recall the suggestive fact, already referred to, that the majority of husbands who infect their wives contracted the disease before marriage. They entered on marriage believing that their disease was cured, and that they had broken with their past. Doctors have sometimes (and quacks frequently) contributed to this result by too sanguine an estimate of the period necessary to destroy the poison. So great an authority as Fournier formerly believed that the syphilitic could safely be allowed to marry three or four years after the date of infection, but now, with increased experience, he extends the period to four or five years. It is undoubtedly true that, especially when treatment has been thorough and prompt, the diseased constitution, in a majority of cases, can be brought under complete control in a shorter period than this, but there is always a certain proportion of cases in which the powers of infection persist for many years, and even when the syphilitic husband is no longer capable of infecting his wife he may still perhaps be in a condition to effect a disastrous influence on the offspring.

In nearly all these cases there was more or less ignorance—which is but another word for innocence as we commonly understand innocence—and when at last, after the event, the facts are more or less bluntly explained to the victim he frequently exclaims: "Nobody told me!" It is this fact which condemns the pseudo-moralist. If he had seen to it that mothers began to explain the facts of sex to their little boys and girls from childhood, if he had (as Dr. Joseph Price urges) taught the risks of venereal disease in the Sunday-school, if he had plainly preached on the relations of the sexes from the pulpit, if he had seen to it that every youth at the beginning of adolescence received some simple technical instruction from his family doctor concerning sexual health and sexual disease—then, though there would still remain the need of pity for those who strayed from a path that must always be difficult to walk in, the would-be moralist at all events would in some measure be exculpated. But he has seldom indeed lifted a finger to do any of these things.

Even those who may be unwilling to abandon an attitude of private moral intolerance towards the victims of venereal diseases may still do well to remember that since the public manifestation of their intolerance is mischievous, and at the best useless, it is necessary for them to restrain it in the interests of society. They would not be the less free to order their own personal conduct in the strictest accordance with their superior moral rigidity; and that after all is for them the main thing. But for the sake of society it is necessary for them to adopt what they may consider the convention of a purely hygienic attitude towards these diseases. The erring are inevitably frightened by an attitude of moral reprobation into methods of concealment, and these produce an endless chain of social evils which can only be dissipated by openness. As Duclaux has so earnestly insisted, it is impossible to grapple successfully with venereal disease unless we consent not to introduce our prejudices, or even our morals and religion, into the question, but treat it purely and simply as a sanitary question. And if the pseudo-moralist still has difficulty in coöperating towards the healing of this social sore he may be reminded that he himself—like every one of us little though we may know it—has certainly had a great army of syphilitic and gonorrhœal persons among his own ancestors during the past four centuries. We are all bound together, and it is absurd, even when it is not inhuman, to cast contempt on our own flesh and blood.

I have discussed rather fully the attitude of those who plead morality as a reason for ignoring the social necessity of combating venereal disease, because although there may not be many who seriously and understandingly adopt so anti-social and inhuman an attitude there are certainly many who are glad at need of the existence of so fine an excuse for their moral indifference or their mental indolence.[242] When they are confronted by this great and difficult problem they find it easy to offer the remedy of conventional morality, although they are well aware that on a large scale that remedy has long been proved to be ineffectual. They ostentatiously affect to proffer the useless thick end of the wedge at a point where it is only possible with much skill and prudence to insinuate the thin working end.

The general acceptance of the fact that syphilis and gonorrhœa are diseases, and not necessarily crimes or sins, is the condition for any practical attempt to deal with this question from the sanitary point of view which is now taking the place of the antiquated and ineffective police point of view. The Scandinavian countries of Europe have been the pioneers in practical modern hygienic methods of dealing with venereal disease. There are several reasons why this has come about. All the problems of sex—of sexual love as well as of sexual disease—have long been prominent in these countries, and an impatience with prudish hypocrisy seems here to have been more pronounced than elsewhere; we see this spirit, for instance, emphatically embodied in the plays of Ibsen, and to some extent in Björnson's works. The fearless and energetic temper of the people impels them to deal practically with sexual difficulties, while their strong instincts of independence render them averse to the bureaucratic police methods which have flourished in Germany and France. The Scandinavians have thus been the natural pioneers of the methods of combating venereal diseases which are now becoming generally recognized to be the methods of the future, and they have fully organized the system of putting venereal diseases under the ordinary law and dealing with them as with other contagious diseases.

The first step in dealing with a contagious disease is to apply to it the recognized principles of notification. Every new application of the principle, it is true, meets with opposition. It is without practical result, it is an unwarranted inquisition into the affairs of the individual, it is a new tax on the busy medical practitioner, etc. Certainly notification by itself will not arrest the progress of any infectious disease. But it is an essential element in every attempt to deal with the prevention of disease. Unless we know precisely the exact incidence, local variations, and temporary fluctuations of a disease we are entirely in the dark and can only beat about at random. All progress in public hygiene has been accompanied by the increased notification of disease, and most authorities are agreed that such notification must be still further extended, any slight inconvenience thus caused to individuals being of trifling importance compared to the great public interests at stake. It is true that so great an authority as Neisser has expressed doubt concerning the extension of notification to gonorrhœa; the diagnosis cannot be infallible, and the patients often give false names. These objections, however, seem trivial; diagnosis can very seldom be infallible (though in this field no one has done so much for exact diagnosis as Neisser himself), and names are not necessary for notification, and are not indeed required in the form of compulsory notification of venereal disease which existed a few years ago in Norway.

The principle of the compulsory notification of venereal diseases seems to have been first established in Prussia, where it dates from 1835. The system here, however, is only partial, not being obligatory in a