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Title: The Sexual Question
       A Scientific, psychological, hygienic and sociological study

Author: August Forel

Translator: C. F. Marshall

Release Date: September 4, 2009 [EBook #29903]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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Transcriber's Note:

Inconsistent hyphenation in the original document has been preserved.

Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. For a complete list, please see the end of this document.

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Formerly Professor of Psychiatry at and Director of the
Insane Asylum in Zurich (Switzerland)




Late Assistant Surgeon to the Hospital for
Diseases of the Skin, London


Publisher's Mark

Copyright, 1906
Copyright, 1922

owned by
Physicians and Surgeons Book Co.



This book is the fruit of long experience and reflection. It has two fundamental ideas—the study of nature, and the study of the psychology of man in health and in disease.

To harmonize the aspirations of human nature and the data of the sociology of the different human races and the different epochs of history, with the results of natural science and the laws of mental and sexual evolution which these have revealed to us, is a task which has become more and more necessary at the present day. It is our duty to our descendants to contribute as far as is in our power to its accomplishment. In recognition of the immense progress of education which we owe to the sweat, the blood, and often to the martyrdom of our predecessors, it behoves us to prepare for our children a life more happy than ours.

I am well aware of the disproportion which exists between the magnitude of my task and the imperfections of my work. I have not been able to study as much as should be done the innumerable works which treat of the same subject. Others, better versed than myself in the literature of the subject, will be able later on to fill this regrettable lacuna. I have endeavored, above all things, to study the question from all points of view, in order to avoid the errors which result from any study which is made from one point of view only. This is a thing which has generally been neglected.

I must express my thanks to my friend, Professor Mahaim, and especially to my publisher and cousin, S. Steinheil, for the help and excellent advice which they have given me in the revision of my work; also to Professor Boveri, who has been kind enough to revise the figures, 1 to 17.

Dr. A. Forel.

Chigny près Morges (Suisse).



The text of the first edition has been revised and corrected, but, apart from some points of detail, the subject matter has not been changed. The examples at the end of Chapter V (First Edition) no longer form a special appendix; they have been included in the parts of the book which specially concern them; some of them have been omitted as being superfluous.

In the domain with which we are concerned the French public are too much afraid, I think, of crudities and of calling things by their proper name. By veiled words and by indirect locution one may say anything, but I have decided not to employ such subterfuges in treating of such a vital social question with the seriousness that it requires. It seems that there is a fear of young people hearing the sexual question spoken of freely and openly; but it is not taken into account that in hiding these things under half-understood words one only excites their curiosity, and, owing to their being blindfolded, they are delivered into the snares and surprises of debauchery.

I cannot better illustrate the error that I have just pointed out than by quoting, among several others of the same kind, a letter which I have received from a young girl, aged 21 years, intelligent, virtuous, educated, and well brought up, but without restraint.

Having read my book she put several questions to me to which I replied. On my part I requested her to tell me frankly:

(1). If, in her opinion, I had been mistaken in my judgment of the sexual psychology of the normal young girl; (2). If my book had done her the least harm, moral or otherwise.

I begged her to criticise me without pity, for I wished above all things to be clear on the effect produced by my book. This is her letter:

"I must thank you for the deep and unalterable impression which[x] your book has produced on me. I am a young girl of 21 years, and you know how difficult it is for us to see clearly into those natural things which so closely concern us. I cannot, therefore, thank you too much for the calm enlightenment which has been produced in me, and for the just and humane words which you devote to the education of our sex. I hope one day to have the good fortune to apply to my children the ideas on education with which you have inspired me.

"You ask me for the impression which your book has made on me. It is true that I am still very young, but I have read much. My mother has brought me up very freely, so that I can count myself among the young girls who are free from prejudice. In spite of this, a sort of internal anxiety or false shame has hindered me from speaking of all the things of which you treat. All that I knew I had read in books or derived by instinct. Although I knew very well that my mother would always answer my questions I never asked any.

"I declare that latterly my mind had been in a state of veritable chaos. I was obsessed and tormented by a fear of everything of which I was ignorant and some day ought to learn. This is why I was anxious to read your book which a friend showed me. I will now express myself more clearly.

"The first chapters were difficult for me, not because I could not understand them, but owing to the strange and novel experience which the truth made in me when plainly and scientifically expounded. Wishing to read everything I applied myself to the book laboriously. My first impression was that of disgust for all human beings and mistrust of everything. But I was soon glad to find that I was a very normal young girl, so that this impression soon passed away. I was no longer excited over conversations which I heard, but took a real interest in them, and I was happy to have become acquainted with some one who understood us young girls.

"I am, therefore, a young girl whose sensations are neither cold nor perverse, and I am always rejoiced, in reading your book, to see with what truth you describe our sexual impressions. Those who maintain that we feel in this way the same as men make me smile. In your book ("Hygiene of Marriage," p. 479) you say that the idea of marriage awakens in a normal young girl a kind of anguish and disgust, and that this feeling disappears as soon as she has found some one whom she loves. This [xi]is extremely true and well observed. I am in complete agreement with a friend with whom I have often discussed your book; we young girls are very little attracted by the purely sexual side of marriage, and we should prefer to see children come into the world by some other way than that ordained by Nature. This will, perhaps, make you laugh. However, I think you will understand my feelings.

"When I had finished reading your book I became absolutely tranquil, and my ideas were enlightened. It goes without saying that it is no longer possible for me to be ingenuous, but I should like to know what one gains by such naivety. It is very easy to be innocent when one knows nothing, and this is of no account. I never thought for a moment to find your book immoral, and that is why I do not think you have done me any harm. Excuse me for having written at such length, but I could not abbreviate when dealing with such a serious question."

The author of this letter has, at my request, authorized me to publish it anonymously. I think that the candor, the loyalty and the maturity of judgment of the sentiments expressed by this young girl are of much more value and are much more healthy than all the prudishness and false shame of our conventional morality.

Dr. A. Forel.

Chigny près Morges (Suisse).





The reproduction of living beings—History of the germ—Cell-division—Parthenogenesis—Conjugation—Mneme—Embryonic development—Difference of sexes—Castration—Hermaphrodism— Heredity—Blastophthoria


The evolution or descent of living beings


Natural conditions of mechanism of human coitus—Pregnancy— Correlative sexual characters


The sexual appetite in man and woman—Flirtation


Love and other irradiations of the sexual appetite in the human mind—Psychic irradiations of love in man: Procreative instinct, jealousy, sexual braggardism, pornographic spirit, sexual hypocrisy, prudery and modesty, old bachelors—Psychic irradiations of love in woman: Old maids, passiveness and desire, abandon and exaltation, desire for domination, petticoat government, desire of maternity and maternal love, routine and infatuation, jealousy, dissimulation, coquetry, prudery and modesty—Fetichism and anti-fetichism— Psychological relations of love to religion


Ethnology and history of the sexual life of man and of marriage—Origin of marriage—Antiquity of matrimonial institutions—Criticism of the doctrine of promiscuity— Marriage and celibacy—Sexual advances and demands of marriage—Methods of attraction—Liberty of choice—Sexual selection—Law of resemblance—Hybrids—Prohibition of consanguineous marriages—Role of sentiment and calculation in sexual selection—Marriage by purchase—Decadence of marriage by purchase—Dowry—Nuptial ceremonies—Forms of marriage—Duration of marriage—History of extra-nuptial sexual intercourse


Sexual evolution—Phylogeny and ontogeny of sexual life


Sexual pathology—Pathology of the sexual organs—Venereal disease—Sexual psychology—Reflex anomalies—Psychic impotence—Sexual paradoxy—Sexual anæsthesia—Sexual hyperæsthesia—Masturbation and onanism—Perversions of the sexual appetite: Sadism, masochism, fetichism, exhibitionism, homosexual love, sexual inversion, pederosis, sodomy—Sexual anomalies in the insane and psychopathic— Effects of alcohol on the sexual appetite—Sexual anomalies by suggestion and auto-suggestion—Sexual perversions due to habit


The role of suggestion in sexual life—Amorous intoxication


The relations of the sexual question to money and property— Prostitution, proxenetism and venal concubinage


The influence of environment on sexual life—Influence of climate—Town and country life—Vagabondage—Americanism— Saloons and alcohol—Riches and poverty—Rank and social position—Individual life—Boarding schools.


Religion and sexual life


Rights in sexual life—Civil law—Penal law—A medico-legal case


Medicine and sexual life—Prostitution—Sexual hygiene— Extra-nuptial intercourse—Medical advice—Means of regulating or preventing conception—Hygiene of marriage— Hygiene of pregnancy—Medical advice as to marriage—Medical secrecy—Artificial abortion—Treatment of sexual disorders


Sexual morality


The sexual question in politics and in political economy


The sexual question in pedagogy


The sexual question in art


Conclusions—Utopian ideas on the ideal marriage of the future—Bibliographical remarks






My object is to study the sexual question under all its aspects: scientific, ethnological, pathological and social, and to seek the best solution of the numerous problems connected with it. Unfortunately, in publications dealing with this subject, eroticism usually plays a considerable part, and it is difficult for an author to abstract himself from this, for it is reflected unconsciously in his thoughts. As all sentiment, more or less, warps judgment, it is the duty of scientific criticism to eliminate eroticism in order to be exact and impartial. We shall, therefore, do all that is possible to free ourselves from it in the course of the present study.

The sexual question is of fundamental importance for humanity, whose happiness and well-being depend largely on the best solution of this important problem. In dealing with such a delicate subject I shall endeavor to avoid narrow-mindedness and prejudice; I shall avoid tiresome quotations, and shall only employ technical terms when necessary, as they rather interfere with the comprehension of the subject. I shall take care to explain all those which appear to me indispensable.

My opinions on the sexual question are based, on the one hand, on my scientific study of the human brain, and on the other hand on the long personal experience of an alienist who has devoted himself almost as much to normal mentality and questions of social hygiene as to pathological mentality. I have, however, been obliged to rely on the fundamental work of Westermark with regard to ethnology, this subject being strange to me. Concerning sexual psycho-pathology I have followed the classification of Krafft-Ebing.

The sexual question is extraordinarily complex, and we cannot expect to find a simple solution for it as we can for the questions of alcoholism, slavery, torture, etc. The latter are [4]solved in one word—suppression. Suppression of slavery and torture; suppression of the usage of alcoholic drinks. We are concerned here with ulcers artificially produced and preserved in human society; ulcers which must be simply extirpated. Their suppression is nothing but beneficial, since, far from being connected with the normal conditions of human existence, they place it in peril. Sexual instinct and sentiment, on the contrary, have their roots in life itself; they are intimately bound up with humanity, and therefore require quite a different treatment. But human society has guided them into false and pernicious ways. It is important to turn them from these in order to tranquilize and regulate their course by damming them up and canalizing them.

The fundamental axiom of the sexual question is as follows:

With man, as with all living beings, the constant object of all sexual function, and consequently of sexual love, is the reproduction of the species. It is therefore necessary to treat the question from the point of view of the natural sciences, physiology, psychology and sociology. This has already been done more than once, but usually in erudite treatises which only look upon one side of the question; or, on the other hand, in a superficial and often frivolous manner.

To ensure happiness, humanity should desire to reproduce itself in a manner which elevates progressively all the physical and mental faculties of man, with regard to health and bodily strength, as much as to sentiment, intelligence, will, creative imagination, love of work, joy of living, and the sentiment of social solidarity. Every attempt made to solve the sexual question should, therefore, be directed toward the future and toward the happiness of our descendants.

It requires much disinterestedness to attempt seriously any sexual reform. But, as the human subject is by nature extremely weak, as his views are limited, especially in the matter which concerns us, it is absolutely necessary, if we would avoid Utopia, to adapt the fundamental aim of sexual union to happiness and joy, even to the natural weakness of man.

The fundamental difficulty of the problem lies in the necessity for such an adaptation, and this difficulty requires us to make [5]a clean sweep of prejudices, traditions and prudery. It is this which we wish to attempt.

Considered from an exalted point of view, sexual life is beautiful as well as good. What there is in it which is shameful and infamous is the obscenity and ignominy caused by the coarse passions of egoism and folly, allied with ignorance, erotic curiosity and mystic superstition, often combined with social narcotic intoxication and cerebral anomalies.

We shall divide our subject into nineteen chapters. Chapters I to VII deal with the natural history and psychology of sexual life; Chapter VIII with its pathology, and Chapters IX to XVIII with its social role, that is to say, its connection with the different domains of human social life.




History of the Germ:—Cell-division—Parthenogenesis—Conjugation—Mneme—Embryological Development— Difference of the Sexes—Castration—Hermaphrodism— Heredity—Blastophthoria.

A general law of organic life decrees that every living individual is gradually transformed in the course of a cycle which is called individual life, and which terminates with death, that is by the destruction of the greater part of the organism. It then becomes inert matter, and the germinative cells alone of all its parts continue its life under certain conditions.

The Cells: Protoplasm. The Nucleus.—Since the time of Schwann (1830) it is agreed that the cell is the most simple morphological element which is capable of living. Among the lower organisms this element constitutes the entire individual. There is no doubt that the cell is already a thing of high organization. It is formed of infinitely small elements of very different value and chemical constitution, which form what is called protoplasm or the cell-substance. But these infinitely small elements are so far absolutely unknown. It is in them that must be sought the change from inanimate matter, that is the chemical molecule, to living matter, a change which was formerly believed to lie in the protoplasm itself, before its complicated structure was known. We need not concern ourselves here with this question which remains an open one.

Life being established, the cell remains its only known constant element. The cell is composed of protoplasm which contains a rounded nucleus formed of nucleo-plasma. The nucleus is the most important part of the cell, and governs its life.

Cell-division.—The lowest unicellular organisms, as each cell of a multicellular organism, reproduce themselves by division [7]or fission. Each cell originates from another cell in the following manner: the cell divides in the center as well as its nucleus, and in this way forms two cells which grow by absorbing by endosmosis (filtration) the nutritive juices which surround them. Death or destruction of the cell is therefore death of the entire organism when this is unicellular. But it has been previously reproduced.

We find here already the special and fundamental act of conjugation, that is the fusion of two cells into one, which serves to strengthen reproduction. This act, common to all living things including man, shows us that continuation of life is only possible when from time to time different elements, that is elements which have been exposed to different influences, combine together. If this conjugation is prevented and life is allowed to continue indefinitely by means of fission or by budding (vide infra), there results a progressive weakening and degeneration which leads to the disappearance of the whole group thus reproduced.

It is necessary to explain here the results of recent scientific work on the intimate phenomena of cell-division, for they are closely allied to those of fecundation.

The nucleus of an ordinary cell presents itself in the form of a nearly spherical vesicle. Delicate methods of staining have shown that the nucleus encloses several round nucleolar corpuscles, and also a reticulum which is attached to its membrane and spreads through its whole substance. The liquid part of the nucleus fills the meshes of this reticular tissue, which stains easily and for this reason is named chromatin. The phenomena of cell division in well-developed cells with nuclei is termed mitosis. Certain lower forms of cells exist in which the nucleus is not well differentiated. Mitosis begins in the nucleus (Plate I). Figure 1 represents the cell before division has commenced. In the protoplasm, by the side of the nucleus, is formed a small corpuscle (c) which is called the centrosome. The nucleus itself is marked b. When the cell commences to divide, the meshes of the network of chromatin contract and the centrosome divides into two parts (Fig. 2). Shortly afterward the particles of chromatin concentrate in the form of convoluted rods called [8]chromosomes (Figs. 3 and 4). The number of these varies according to the species of organism, but remains constant for each animal or vegetable species. At the same time the two centrosomes separate from each other on each side of the nucleus. The chromosomes then become shorter and thicker while the nucleus is completely dissolved in the protoplasm of the cell, and its membrane disappears (Fig. 4).

Directly afterwards the chromosomes arrange themselves regularly in line, like soldiers at drill, following one of the larger diameters of the cell, and forming a barrier between the two centrosomes (Fig. 5). Each of the chromosomes then divides into two parallel halves of equal thickness (Fig. 6).

Figures 3 and 4 show that, while these changes are being produced, each of the two centrosomes is surrounded by stellate rays. Some of these rays extending in the direction of the chromosomes, become attached to one of their extremities and draw it toward the corresponding centrosome (Fig. 7). Thus around each centrosome are grouped as many chromosomes as the mother cell possessed itself (Fig. 8). Simultaneously, the cell enlarges and its protoplasm commences to become indented at each end of the diameter previously formed by the chromosomes. From this moment the nuclear liquid concentrates itself around each of the groups of chromosomes, the rays disappear and the cell divides into two halves, each containing a group of chromosomes (Fig. 9); the indentation increases so as to form a partition across the protoplasm. The chromosomes then form a new meshwork of nuclear chromatin, and we have then two cells each with a nucleus and a centrosome like the mother cell (Fig. 10).

This is what takes place in the reproduction of all cells of the animal and vegetable kingdoms. In the simplest unicellular organisms which are known fission constitutes the only means of reproduction. In the complicated organisms of the higher plants and animals each cell divides in the manner indicated above, both in the embryonic period and later on during the development of each of the organs which forms the organism. This fact shows more than any other the intimate relationship which connects all living organisms. The most remarkable thing, [9]perhaps, is the almost mathematical division of the chromosomes into two halves, a division which results in the equal distribution of their substance through the whole organism. We shall return to this point later on.

Reproduction by Budding. Parthenogenesis. In the animal and vegetable kingdoms the higher organisms become more and more complicated. They are no longer composed of a single cell, but of an increasing number of these cells combined in a whole, of which each part, adapted for a special purpose, is itself formed of cells, differentiated as much by their organic form as by their chemical and physical constitution. In this way, in plants, are formed the leaves, flowers, buds, branches, trunk, bark, etc.; and in animals the skin, intestine, glands, blood, muscles, nerves, brain, sense organs, etc. In spite of the great complication of the divers living multicellular organisms, one often finds among them the power of reproduction by fission or by budding. In certain animals and plants, groups of cells vegetate in buds which separate from the body later on and form a new individual; this occurs among the polypi and plants with bulbs, etc. One can even form a tree by means of a cutting. Ants and bees, which have not been fecundated, are capable of laying eggs which develop by parthenogenesis (virgin parturition) and become complete individuals. But these degenerate and disappear if reproduction by parthenogenesis or budding is continued during several generations.

Among the higher animals, the vertebrates and man, there is no reproduction without conjugation; no parthenogenesis or budding. So far as we have studied the question we see in the animal and vegetable kingdoms sexual reproduction, or conjugation, as a sine qua non for the indefinite continuation of life.

The Sexual Glands. The Embryo. However complicated the organism, it always possesses a special organ, the cells of which, all of the same form, are reserved for the reproduction of the species and especially for conjugation. The cells of these organs, called sexual glands, have the power of reproducing themselves so that they reconstruct the whole individual (the type of the species) from which they arose, in an almost identical form, by conjugation (sometimes also, for a certain time, by [10]parthenogenesis) under certain fixed conditions as soon as they leave its body. We can thus say with Weismann, speaking philosophically, that these germinal cells continue the life of their parents, so that in reality death only destroys part of the individual, namely, that which has been specially adapted for certain exclusively individual ends. Each individual, therefore, continues to live in his descendants.

The germinal cell divides into a number of cells called embryonic, which become differentiated into layers or groups which later on form the different organs of the body. The embryonic period is the name given to the period between the exit of the germinal cell from the maternal body and the final complete development which it acquires in becoming the adult individual. During this period the organism undergoes the most singular metamorphoses. In certain cases it forms a free embryo which appears to be complete, having a special form and mode of life, but which finally becomes transformed into an entirely different sexual individual. Thus from the egg of a butterfly there first emerges a caterpillar, which lives and grows for some time, then changes to a chrysalis and finally to a butterfly. The caterpillar and the chrysalis belong to the embryonic period. During this period every animal reproduces in an abbreviated manner certain forms which resemble more or less those through which its ancestors have passed. The caterpillar, for example, resembles the worm which is the ancestor of the insects. Haeckel calls this the fundamental biogenetic law. We are not concerned here with embryology, and will content ourselves with some of the main points.

Germinal Cells. Hermaphrodites. We now come to conjugation. In order to avoid complications we will leave aside plants and speak only of animals. Among multicellular animals, sometimes in the same individual, sometimes in different individuals, occur two kinds of sexual glands, each containing one kind of cells—the male cells and the female cells. When both kinds of sexual glands occur in the same individual, the animal is said to be hermaphrodite. When they develop in two different individuals the animals are of distinct sexes. Snails, for example, are hermaphrodite. There also exist lower multicellular [11]animals which reproduce by budding, but among which conjugation takes place from time to time. We shall not consider these animals any further, as they are too remote to interest us here.

Spermatozoa and Ova.—In all the higher animals, including the hermaphrodites, the male germinal cells, or spermatozoa are characterized by their mobility. Their protoplasm is contractile and their form varies according to the species. In man and vertebrate animals they resemble infinitely small tadpoles, and their tails are equally mobile. The female germinative cell, on the contrary, is immobile and much larger than the male cell. Conjugation consists in the movement of the male cell, by means of variable mechanism, toward the female cell, or egg, into the protoplasm of which it enters. At this moment it produces on the surface of the egg a coagulation, which prevents the entrance of a second spermatozoid.

The egg and the spermatozoid both consist of protoplasm containing a nucleus. But, while the spermatozoid has only a small nucleus and very little protoplasm, the egg has a large nucleus and a large quantity of protoplasm. In certain species the protoplasm of the egg grows in the maternal organism in a regular manner to form the vitellus (yolk of egg) which serves as nourishment for the embryo for a long period of its existence. This occurs in birds and reptiles.

Conjugation.—The phenomena of conjugation were made clear by van Beneden and Hertwig. These phenomena, as we have seen, commence among unicellular organisms. In these they do not constitute reproduction, but the vital reënforcement of certain individuals. Conjugation takes place in a different manner in different cases.

For example, a unicellular animal applies itself against one of its fellows. The nucleus of each cell divides into two. Then the protoplasm of the two cells fuses over the whole surface of contact, and half the nucleus of the first cell penetrates the second cell, while half the nucleus of the latter enters the first cell. After this exchange the cells separate from each other and each exchanged half of the nucleus fuses with the primitive half of the nucleus remaining in the cell.

[12]From this moment each cell continues to reproduce itself by fission, as we have seen above. In another form, two cells meet and fuse completely. Their nuclei become applied against each other and each exchanges half its substance with the other as in the preceding case, so that the final result is the same. In both cases the two conjugated cells are identical, and one cannot call them male and female.

Penetration of the Spermatozoid into the Egg.—In all the higher animals in which the germinal cells are of two kinds, male and female, conjugation takes place in rather a different manner. Here, the female cell or egg only reproduces itself exceptionally by parthenogenesis. It usually contains no chromosomes and often too little chromatin, so that it perishes when conjugation does not occur.

The spermatozoid swims by means of its tail to meet the egg. As soon as it touches it it penetrates it and the coagulation which we have mentioned is produced. This coagulation forms the vitelline membrane, which prevents the entry of other spermatozoids. If, from pathological causes the entry of several spermatozoids takes place, there results, according to Fol, a double or triple monster.

In Fig. 11 on Plate II, we see the egg with its vitelline membrane and nucleus, the chromatin network of which is marked in blue: b shows the protoplasm of the egg or vitellus; a the vitelline membrane; d the spermatozoid which has just entered, and the nucleus of which, composed chiefly of chromatin, is colored red, while its tail has performed its task and is about to disappear. The letters e, f, and g, show a spermatozoid which has arrived too late.

Before the head of the spermatozoid which has entered, appears a centrosome (Fig. 12) which it brings to the egg with its small amount of protoplasm, and around this centrosome rays form, as in the case of cellular fission. At the same time a nuclear liquid arising from the protoplasm of the egg becomes concentrated around the chromatin of the spermatozoid, while the nucleus of the egg remains in place and does not change. The nucleus of the spermatozoid, on the contrary, begins to grow rapidly. It forms half the number of chromosomes [13]corresponding to the cell of the species to which it belongs, and grows at the expense of the vitellus of the egg. During this time the centrosome divides into two halves, which progress slowly on each side toward the periphery of the egg, as in the case of fission (see Plate I), while the chromatin of the chromosomes of the spermatozoid is dissolved in the network. The nucleus thus formed by the spermatozoid enlarges more and more (Figs. 13 and 14) till it attains the size and shape of that of the egg (Fig. 15). The male and female chromatin are colored red and blue respectively.

Then only commences activity of the nucleus of the egg, at the same time as fresh activity on the part of the nucleus of the spermatozoid. Before this, however, the nucleus of the egg has thrown off a part of its chromatin called a polar body, and it now possesses only half as much chromatin as the other cells of the body of the individual. The nucleus of the egg and that of the spermatozoid then begin at the same time to concentrate their chromatin in the form of chromosomes (Fig. 16) which arrange themselves regularly in the middle line exactly as shown in Plate I, and divide longitudinally into two halves which are then attracted in opposite directions by the rays of each of the centrosomes (Fig. 17). Figure 17, of Plate II, thus corresponds exactly to Fig. 6, of Plate I.

In fact, the growth of the nucleus of the spermatozoid has given to its substance the same power of development as to that of the nucleus of the egg. Both enter into conjugation in equal parts, which symbolizes the social equality and the rights of the two sexes!

The signification of these facts is as follows: as soon as, in the course of development, the conjugated nuclei divide again into two cells, as in Figs. 7 to 10, of Plate I, each of these two cells contains almost the same quantity of paternal as maternal chromatin. We do not say exactly as much, for the paternal and maternal influences are not divided equally in the descendants. This phenomenon may be explained by what Semon calls alternating ecphoria in mnemic dichotomy. (Vide infra.) As cell division continues in the same way during embryonic life, it follows that each cell, or at least each nucleus of the future [14]organism, will contain on the average half its substance and energy from the paternal and half from the maternal side.

Heredity. The Mneme.—The secret of heredity lies in the phenomena which have been just described. Hereditary influence preserves all its primary power and original qualities in the chromosomes, which enlarge and divide, while the vitelline substance, absorbed by the chromosomes and transformed by the vital chemical processes into the specific substance of the chromosomes, loses its specific and plastic vital energy, as completely as the food which we swallow loses its energy in forming the structure of our living organs. We do not acquire any of the characters of the ox by eating beefsteaks; and the spermatozoid, after eating much vitelline protoplasm, preserves its own hereditary energies, increased and fortified, but without change in their qualities.

In this way the nuclear chromatin of our germinal cells becomes the carrier of all the hereditary qualities of the species (hereditary mneme), and more especially those of our direct ancestors. The uniformity of the intracellular phenomena in cell division and conjugation proves, however, that, without being capable of reproducing the individual, the other non-germinal cells of the body may also possess these hereditary energies, and that there exists, hidden behind all these facts, an unknown law of life, the explanation of which is reserved for the future.

However, a recent work based on an idea of the physiologist, E. Hering, which looks upon instinct as a kind of memory of the species, opens up a new horizon. I refer to the book of Richard Semon: "The mneme considered as the conservative principle in the transmutations of organic life." (Die Mneme als erhaltendes Prinzip im Wechsel des organischen Geschehens, Leipzig, 1904.)

Conception of Irritation.[1]—By the aid of the fundamental facts of morphological science, biological and psychological, [15]Semon proves that Hering's idea is more than an analogy, and that there is a fundamental identity in the mechanism of organic life. In order to avoid the terminology of psychology which tends to be equivocal, Semon employs some new terms to designate his new ideas, based on the fundamental conception of irritation in its physiological sense.

Semon defines irritation as an energetic action on the organism which determines a series of complicated changes in the irritable substance of the living organism. The condition of the organism thus modified, which lasts as long as the irritation, is called by Semon the state of irritation. Before the action of irritation, the organism is in a condition which Semon calls the primary state of indifference, and after its action, in the secondary state of indifference.

Engram. Ecphoria.—If, when an irritation has entirely ceased, the irritable substance of the living organism becomes modified permanently during its secondary state of indifference, Semon calls the action engraphic. To the modification itself he gives the word engram. The sum of the hereditary and individual engrams thus produced in a living organism is designated by the term mneme. Semon gives the name ecphoria to the revival of the engram by the repetition of part only of the original irritation, or by the entire but weakened reproduction of the whole state of irritation of the organism, which was originally produced in a synchronous manner with the primary irritation.

Thus, an engram may be ecphoriated (that is to say, reproduced or revived) by the return of one part of the complex of primary irritations which produced it. A young dog, for example, is attacked by urchins who throw stones at it. It experiences two kinds of irritation: (1) the urchins stooping down and throwing stones (optic irritation); (2) the pain caused by the stones (tactile irritation).

In its brain are produced two associated series of corresponding engrams. Previously, this dog did not react when it saw people stoop down. From this moment it will run away and howl at the sight, without any stone being thrown at it. Thus the tactile engram will be ecphoriated by the repetition of the original associated irritation. In the same way, the image of a tree in a known landscape will ecphoriate the entire landscape.

Moreover, an engram may be revived by the enfeebled return of the primary irritating agent which produced it, or by an analogous enfeebled irritation. Thus, the sight of a photograph will [16]revive the image of a known person. A certain kind of maize imported for a long time into Norway and influenced in that country during many generations by the sun of the long summer days, finally accelerated its time of maturation. When imported again to the south of Europe it first preserved its faculty of accelerated maturation in spite of the shortness of the days (Schübeler). Semon gives a series of analogous examples which show how engrams repeated during several generations accumulate and end by becoming ecphoriated when they have acquired enough power.

Engrams may be associated simultaneously in space, such as those of sight. But they may also be associated in succession, such as those of hearing and of ontogeny. Simultaneous engrams are associated in every direction with the same intensity. Successive engrams, on the contrary, are associated more strongly forwards than backwards, and have only two poles. In the succession a b, a acts more strongly on b than b on a. In the successions of engrams it often happens that two or more analogous engrams are associated in a manner more or less equivalent to a preceding engram. Semon calls this phenomenon dichotomy, trichotomy, etc. But in the successions, two engrams cannot be ecphoriated simultaneously. Hence the phenomenon which Semon names alternating ecphoria; that is sometimes one, sometimes the other of the constituent engrams, for example, of a dichotomy, which arrives at ecphoria. Similarly, the engram of the ecphoriated dichotomy is most often that which has been previously most often repeated.

In the laws of ontogeny and heredity alternating ecphoria plays an important part. The branch less often repeated remains latent and the other only is ecphoriated. But certain combinations which reënforce the latent branch or paralyze the other may induce ecphoria of the first to the second generation.

Semon also shows that the phenomena of regeneration in the embryo, as well as those of the adult, obey the law of the mneme.

Homophony.—The terms engram and ecphoria correspond to the well-known introspective phenomena in psychology of memory and the association of ideas. Engrams are thus ecphoriated. At the time of such phenomena every mnemic irritation of the engrams vibrates simultaneously with the state of synchronous irritation produced by a new irritation. This simultaneous irritation is named by Semon homophony. When a partial discord is produced between the new irritation and the mnemic irritation, the organism always tends to reëstablish homophony (harmony). [17]This is seen in psychological introspection by activity of attention; in embryology by the phenomenon of regeneration; and in phylogeny by that of adaptation.

Relying on these convincing facts, Semon shows that irritative actions are only localized at first in their zone of entry (primary zone); but that afterward they irradiate or vibrate, gradually becoming weaker in the whole organism (not only in the nervous system, for they also act on plants). By this means, engraphia, although infinitely enfeebled, may finally reach the germinal cells. Semon then shows how the most feeble engraphias may gradually arrive at ecphoria, as the result of numerous repetitions (in phylogeny after innumerable generations). This is how the mnemic principle allows us to conceive the possibility of an infinitely slow heredity of characters acquired by individuals, a heredity resulting from prolonged repetition.

The facts invoked by Weismann against the heredity of acquired characters lose nothing of their weight by this, for the influence of crossing (conjugation) and selection transforms the material organic forms in an infinitely more rapid and intense manner than individual mnemic engraphias. The latter, on the other hand, furnish the explanation of the mutations of de Vries, which appear to be only sudden ecphoria of accumulated long engraphic actions.

The way in which Semon studies and discusses the laws of the mneme in morphology, physiology and psychology, is truly magisterial, and the perspective which opens out from these new ideas is extensive. The mneme, with the aid of the energetic action of the external world, acts on organisms by preserving them and combining them by engraphia, while selection eliminates all that is ill-adapted, and homophony reëstablishes the equilibrium. The irritations of the external world, therefore, furnish the material for the construction of organisms. I confess to having been converted by Semon to this way of conceiving the heredity of acquired characters. Instead of several nebulous hypotheses, we have only one—the nature of mnemic engraphia. It is for the future to discover its origin in physical and chemical laws.

I must refer my readers to Semon's book, for this volume of 343 pages, filled with facts and proofs, cannot be condensed into a few paragraphs.

Each Cell bears in itself Ancestral Energy. As we have already seen, the germinal, cells are not the only ones which possess the [18]energies of all the characters of the species. On the contrary it becomes more and more certain, from further investigation, that each cell of the body bears in itself, so to speak, all the energies of the species, as is distinctly seen in plants. But in all the cells which are not capable of germinating, these energies remain incapable of development. It results that such energies, remaining virtual, have no practical importance.

In an analogous sense we may say that all the cells of the body are hermaphrodite, as all germinal cells, for each possesses in itself the undifferentiated energies of each sex. Each spermatozoid contains all the energies of the paternal and maternal ancestry of man, and each egg those of the paternal and maternal ancestry of woman. The male and the female are only the bearers of each kind of germinal cells necessary for conjugation, and each of these bearers only differs from the others by its sexual cells and by what is called correlative sexual differences. But we must not forget that the germinal cells themselves are only differentiated at a certain period in the development of the embryo; they are thus hermaphrodite originally and only become male and female later.

New experiments made on the eggs of sea urchins and other organisms have shown that conjugation may be replaced by an external irritating agent; for example, the action of certain chemical substances is sufficient to make eggs develop by parthenogenesis which would have died without this action. An entire being has been successfully produced from an egg divided into two by means of a hair. And even from the protoplasm of the egg without its nucleus, with the aid of a spermatozoid. We must not, however, base premature hypotheses on these facts.

When a female cell, or egg, develops without fecundation (parthenogenesis) its nucleus enlarges and divides in the same manner as conjugated nuclei (mitosis).

A point of general interest is what is called the specific polyembryony of certain parasitic insects (hymenoptera of the genus Encyrtus). According to Marchal, their eggs grow and divide into a considerable number of secondary eggs, each of which gives rise to an embryo and later on a perfect insect. By shaking the eggs of certain marine animals they have been caused [19]to divide into several eggs and thus to produce several embryos. All the individuals arising from the division of the same egg of Encyrtus are of the same sex.


Plate 1: Cell Division


Plate 2: Fertilization of the Ovum by the Spermatozoid

Embryology.—It is not necessary to describe here in detail the different changes which the two conjugated cells pass through to become an adult man. This is the object of the science of embryology. We shall return to this in Chapter III. A few words are necessary, however, to explain the general principles.

Ovulation. The corpus luteum.—The ovaries of woman (Fig. 18) contain a considerable number of cells or ovules, although infinitely less than the number of spermatozoids contained in the testicles. From time to time some of these ovules enlarge and are surrounded by a vesicle with liquid contents, which is called the Graafian follicle. At the time of the monthly periods an egg (sometimes two) is discharged from its Graafian follicle, from one or other ovary. This phenomenon is called ovulation. The empty follicle becomes cicatrized in the ovary and is called the corpus luteum (yellow body).

The egg after its discharge arrives at the abdominal orifice of the Fallopian tube, which communicates directly with the abdominal cavity. Some authors state that the end of the tube becomes applied against the ovary by the aid of muscular movement and, so to speak, sucks in the discharged ovule, while others hold that the movements of the vibratile cilia, with which the epithelium of the tubes is furnished, suffice to draw the ovule into its cavity. Figure 18 explains this phenomenon.

Having arrived in the tube, the ovule moves very slowly in the almost capillary tube by means of the vibratile cilia and arrives in the cavity of the womb. Fecundation probably takes place most often at the entrance to the tube or in its canal; sometimes possibly in the womb. On some occasions a squad of spermatozoids advances to meet the descending egg, and numerous spermatozoids are often found in the tubes, even as far as the abdominal cavity.

Fixation of the egg. Formation of the Decidua.—After fecundation, the egg becomes attached to the mucous membrane of the cavity of the womb. This mucous membrane proliferates and becomes gradually detached from the womb to form the[20] membrana decidua which envelops the egg or ovule. An egg fecundated and fixed in this way may keep its position and grow during the first weeks of pregnancy, by the aid of villosities covering its envelope which penetrate the wall of the womb.

Figure 18

Fig. 18. Diagrammatic section in median plane of the female genital organs. It shows the position of an ovule which has just been discharged lying in the opening of the right tube, and that of another ovary fecundated and surrounded by the decidual membrane. In reality this could hardly coexist with the other ovule freely discharged. In the right ovary are seen ovules in various degrees of maturity in their Graafian follicles: also a corpus luteum—an empty Graafian follicle after expulsion of the ovule. The figure also shows the end of the penis in the vagina at the moment of ejaculation of semen, and the position of a preventive to avoid fecundation.

[21] Figure 19

Fig. 19. The mouth of the tube applied to the ovary at the moment of expulsion of the ovule.

The womb. The placenta. The womb or uterus is the size of a small egg flattened in one direction. It terminates below in the neck or cervix, which is prolonged into the vagina as a projection, called the vaginal portion of the uterus. The cavity of the womb is continued into the neck and opens below in the vagina by an aperture which is round in virgins and is called the external os uteri. The walls of the womb consist of a thick layer of unstriped muscle. When childbirth takes place it causes tearing which makes the external os uteri irregular and fissured. During copulation the aperture of the penis or male organ is placed nearly opposite the os uteri, which facilitates the entrance of spermatozoa into the uterus. (For the illustration of these points see Fig. 18.)

The vitellus and the membrane of the egg enlarge with the embryo and absorb by endosmosis the nutritive matter necessary for the latter, contained in the maternal blood. The womb itself enlarges at the same time as the embryo.

[22] Figure 20

Fig. 20. Human egg of the second week: magnified eight times. (After Kölliker.)

Chor. Chorion or envelope of the egg.
Vill. Villi of the chorion.
Emb. Embryo (near the head are seen the branchial arches).
Umb. Umbilical vesicle.
Am. Amnion.

Figure 21

Fig. 21. Embryo of four weeks (After Kölliker).

1. Auditory vesicle.
2. Ocular vesicle.
3. Olfactory fossa.
4. Bud forming upper maxilla.
5. Bud of lower maxilla.
6. Right ear.
7. Liver.
8. Upper limb.
9. Lower limb.
10. Caudal extremity.

The fasciculus attached to the embryo is the allantois which becomes the umbilical cord. The vertebræ are already easy to recognize in this embryo. The embryo is formed from a portion of blastoderm, that is to say, from the cellular layer applied to the membranes of the egg and arising from the successive divisions of the two primary conjugated cells and their daughter cells. The embryo has the form of a spatula with the head at one end and the tail at the other. From its walls is detached a surrounding vesicle (Fig. 20) called the amnion, while another vesicle, the umbilical vesicle, grows from its ventral surface and serves, in birds, for the vitelline circulation of the egg which is detached from the mother's body.

In man, the umbilical vesicle is unimportant. In its place the circulation of the blood takes place by the aid of another vesicle, called the allantois, which arises from the intestine of the embryo, and which becomes attached to the walls of the womb in the form of a thick disk called the placenta.

The placenta is formed of dilated blood vessels which meet the [23]maternal blood vessels, also dilated, in the uterine wall, allantois later on becomes the umbilical cord.

In the placenta the embryonic and maternal vessels without actually communicating, are placed in intimate contact, which allows nutritive matter and oxygen to pass by endosmosis from the maternal vessels to those of the embryo. Figure 21 shows a human embryo at the beginning of the fifth week of pregnancy.

Figure 22

Fig. 22. Sagittal section of a primipara in the last month of pregnancy.

Duration of pregnancy. Birth. Pregnancy lasts from conjugation, which is synonymous with conception, till birth, that is about nine months (ten lunar months of four weeks). The embryo is then ready to separate from the maternal body (Fig. 22). By the act of birth it is expelled violently, bringing with it the umbilical cord and the placenta (Fig. 23). Immediately afterward the empty womb contracts strongly and gradually recovers its former size. The sudden interruption of its communications with the maternal circulation deprives the embryo, which has suddenly become a child, of its nutritive matter and oxygen.

[24] Figure 23

Fig. 23. Sagittal section of frozen body of a woman in labor: the head of the child is engaged in the neck of the womb; the orifice of the neck of the womb (os uteri) is already fully dilated and the bag of waters commences to project from the vulva: it is formed by the former membranes of the egg and the decidua.

In order to avoid suffocation it is obliged to breathe atmospheric air immediately, for its blood becomes dark by saturation with carbonic acid, which irritates the respiratory nerve centers. The first independent act of the new-born child is, therefore, a nervous reflex determined by asphyxia, and is performed with the first cry. Soon afterward the infant begins to suck, so as not to die of hunger, while the umbilical cord, having become useless, shrivels up, and the placenta is destroyed (some animals [25]eat it). The new-born infant is only distinguished from the embryo soon after birth by its breathing and crying.

We may, therefore, say that infancy, especially early infancy, is only a continuation of embryonic life. The transformations which the infant undergoes from birth to adult age are known to all. They take place more and more slowly, except at the relatively short period of puberty.

Formation of the sexual glands.—We must remember that at a very early embryonic period certain groups of cells are reserved to form later on the sexual glands. These cells are at first neither male nor female, but are undifferentiated; later on they become differentiated to form in certain individuals, called males, the testicles with their spermatozoa, and in others, called females, the ovaries with their eggs. On this differentiation depends the sex of the individual, and, according as it takes place in one way or the other, all the rest of the body develops with the correlative sexual characters of the corresponding sex (at first the external genital organs peculiar to each sex, then the beard in man, the breasts in woman, etc).

Castration. Correlative sexual characters.—Castration is the term applied to the extirpation of the sexual glands. When it takes place in infancy it causes a considerable change in the whole subsequent development of the body, especially in man, but also in woman. Man becomes more slender, preserves a high and infantile voice, and his sexual correlative characters develop incompletely or not at all. Eunuchs are men castrated, usually in infancy. To ensure more safety in their harems the Orientals not only remove the testicles but also the penis. Bullocks and horses are bulls and stallions castrated at an early age, and can be distinguished at first sight from normal males. Females who have undergone castration become fat and sometimes take on certain masculine characters. Male human eunuchs have a high-pitched voice, a narrow chest; they remain beardless or nearly so, and have an effeminate character, often intriguing. In both sexes there is a tendency to neurosis and degeneration. It is a mistake to qualify the peculiarities of the male eunuch in the terms of female peculiarities; there is only a relative tendency. The eunuch is no more a woman than a bullock is a cow.

[26]The characters of castrated individuals are due only to ablation of the sexual glands themselves—the testicles in man and the ovary in woman; mutilation of other sexual organs, internal or external, such as the penis, womb, etc., produces no result of this kind. It would even appear to result from recent experiments that reimplantation of a sexual gland in any part of the body is sufficient to arrest the production of the special peculiarities of the eunuch.

All these facts, almost inexplicable hitherto, become comprehensible by the aid of the engraphia of the mnemic energies. (Vide above; Semon). The sexual glands, being of undifferentiated origin, contain the energies of both sexes. The ecphoria of one of them provokes that of its correlative characters and excludes that of the characters of the other. If ecphoria of the sexual glands is arrested by castration before it is finished, this paralyzes the predominance of that of its corresponding correlative characters and reëstablishes a kind of intermediate or undifferentiated equilibrium between the ecphorias of the correlative hereditary sexual characters of the two sexes.

On the other hand, if the sexual glands of an adult are removed, his body is not sensibly modified. The sexual functions do not cease completely, although they cannot lead to fecundation. Men castrated in adult age may cohabit with their wives; but the liquid ejaculated is not semen but only secretion from the accessory prostatic gland. Adult women after castration preserve their sexual appetite, and sometimes even their menstruation, for a certain time. They generally become fat and often suffer from nervous troubles and change in character. The ecphoria of the correlative sexual characters being complete in the adult, suppression of the sexual glands can only act on their direct functions.

In different species of animals, the correlative sexual characters of which we have spoken vary enormously; sometimes the differences are insignificant, at other times they are considerable; while we can hardly distinguish a male swallow from a female, the cock and hen, the peacock and peahen, the stag and hind are very different from each other. In man, the correlative sexual characters are very distinct, even externally. These [27]characters may extend to all parts of the body, even to the brain and mental faculties.

In some of the lower animals, for example the ants, the sexes differ remarkably from each other and appear to belong to different zoölogical families. The eyes, the form of the head, the color, and the whole body differ so much that, when a case of pathological lateral hermaphrodism is produced (that is, when the sexual glands are male on the one side and female on the other), we can exactly determine the male or female character on each portion of the body. We thus see hermaphrodite ants with one half of the body male and the other half female—black on one side and red on the other, a large eye on one side and a small eye on the other, thirteen joints in one antenna and twelve in the other, and so on. In this case the mental faculties are sometimes female, sometimes male, according as the ecphoria of the brain is influenced by the hereditary mneme of the male or female part of the hermaphrodite sexual organs, which results in a male or female brain. I have seen hermaphrodite ants in which two parts of the thorax formed a crossed hermaphrodism; in front, male on the right and female on the left, behind female on the right and male on the left. Further; among ants which live in societies, the progressive transformation of the species, or phylogeny, has produced a third sex derived from the female sex—the worker; sometimes there is even a fourth—the warrior. In these two forms the wings are absent, but the head and brain are much larger; the sexual organs remain female, but are very small. While the large brain (pedunculated bodies of the supra-esophageal ganglion) is almost rudimentary in the male, it is well developed in the female and very large in the worker and the warrior. Among these singular animals exist pathological hermaphrodites, not only between males and females, but between males and workers, and not only lateral but mixed and crossed in all possible ways. I have seen a hermaphrodite, whose abdomen and sexual organs were almost entirely male, accomplish all the complex instinctive actions of a worker of his species (expeditions, attacks on a hostile ant heap, abduction of chrysalids), thanks to its head and brain which were of the worker type. The female [28]itself is incapable of such complex actions. I cite these facts here as material for study, for we are only too prone in this domain to generalize prematurely and to draw too hasty conclusions. In reality, there is still a wide field for study of the greatest interest.

There are animals which are normally and physiologically hermaphrodite, for they possess in the normal state male and female sexual glands and fecundate themselves, such as the solitary worms, or in pairs such as the snails. In the latter case there is copulation, during which each animal plays the parts of both male and female.

In man and other vertebrates, hermaphrodism is always abnormal. In man it is extremely rare and nearly always very incomplete, being usually limited to the external or correlative characters.

Heredity.—It results from what we have said that every living being reproduces, more or less identically, in its specific characters, the whole life of its parents and less remote ancestors, and constitutes the continuation of life from a minute part of their bodies.

Each individual life thus repeats an entire cycle of development called ontogeny, which is peculiar to all individuals of the species. Here we must mention three fundamental points:

(1). In its principal characters, each individual is the copy of its parents or direct ancestors, with correlative sexual peculiarities which we have mentioned, and with individual variations due to the combinations of varieties by conjugation, and the alternating or unequal ecphorias of hereditary characters; that is to say paternal or maternal hereditary engrams.

(2). No individual is absolutely identical with another.

(3). On the average, each individual resembles more especially its direct ancestry and its parents, and differs more markedly from its parentage the more this is remote.

We shall see later on that the ancestral relationship of the different groups, species and varieties of animals has been fairly well fixed, and we may say that the third of the laws stated above is equally true in a wider sense. In fact the species and varieties of animals which are near related resemble each other, [29]while the genera, families and classes are more dissimilar as their relationship is more remote. We employ here the terms resemblance, homology and difference in their profound and general sense. Certain purely external resemblances, due to phenomena of convergence, must not be considered as homologies in the sense of hereditary relationship. Thus, in the language of natural history we do not say that a bat resembles a bird, nor that a whale resembles a fish, for here the resemblances are due simply to aërial or aquatic life which produces the effects of convergence, while the internal structure shows them to be quite dissimilar organisms. Although it swims in the sea the whale is a mammal; its fins at first sight resemble those of a fish, but they are really the homologues of the four limbs of other mammals and contain the corresponding bones.

In man, we see that brothers and sisters resemble each other in a general way, but that each one is dissimilar in some respects from the others. If we compare different families with many children we find that brothers and sisters resemble each other the more their parents are alike and come from a uniform ancestry which has undergone little crossing, while the crossing of different races and human varieties results in the production of individuals which differ from each other considerably, even when they come from the same couple.

If we examine things more closely, we find that the characters of each of the offspring of the same couple present neither simple repetition nor an equal mixture of the peculiarities of the parents, but very diverse combinations of the characters of several ancestors. For instance, children may bear a striking resemblance to a paternal grandfather, a maternal grand-aunt, or a maternal great-grandmother, etc. This is called atavism. Some children resemble their father, others their mother, and others a kind of mixture of father and mother.

A closer examination reveals further very curious facts. An infant which, in its early years, strongly resembles its father, may later on resemble its mother, or inversely. Certain peculiarities of a certain ancestor appear suddenly, often at an advanced age. It is needless to say that peculiarities concerning the beard cannot appear till this has grown, and this simple [30]fact is so characteristic that it has been called hereditary disposition. Everything may be transmitted by heredity, even to the finest shades of sentiment, intelligence and will, even to the most insignificant details of the nails, the form of the bones, etc. But the combinations of ancestral qualities vary so infinitely that it is extremely difficult to recognize them. Hereditary dispositions arise from the energy of two conjugated germs during the whole of life and till death. Old people sometimes develop peculiarities hitherto unknown in them, owing to the fact that one or more of their ancestors also presented the same phenomena at an advanced age.

Semon has clearly proved that, although forming an infinite number of combinations the engrams or hereditary energies never blend in the proper sense of the term, and in the light of his exposition the above facts are more clearly explained than they had been hitherto. The experiments of Mendel have shown in plants a certain alteration in the hereditary ecphorias of the products of dissimilar parents.

Certain parental characters, according as they are added or subtracted, may disappear during one or two generations, to reappear all the more strongly in the following generations. In short, there are a number of phenomena, the laws of which may be more clearly explained to us in the future.

To sum up, each individual inherits on the average as much from his paternal as from his maternal side, although the minute nucleus of the spermatozoid is the only agent concerned on the paternal side, while the mother provides not only the egg which is much larger, but also nutrition during the nine months of embryonic life. We can only conclude that in the egg also it is only from the part of the nucleus which conjugates with the male nucleus that arise all the inherited maternal peculiarities; that all the rest is only utilized as food; and that the nutritive blood of the mother in no way influences the inherited energies of the offspring.

This shows the capital importance of conjugation and of the substance of the conjugated nuclei, especially of their chromatin. The fact that, in certain of the lower animals, the protoplasm of the egg without nuclei may occasionally produce some [31]phenomena of cell division, thanks to its inherited mnemic engrams, in no way alters the fundamental principle which alone occurs in man, for this vicarious action, which is moreover rudimentary, only happens when the protoplasm of the egg is not consumed by the conjugated nuclei.

Parthenogenesis is also a very interesting phenomenon in the history of our animal ancestors, but for the same reasons it has no direct interest for humanity.

If we take into consideration all the observations of which we have just spoken, which are as simple as they are irrefutably demonstrated, it is hardly possible to interpret them in any other way than by the following hypothesis:

In each sexual gland, male or female, the germinal cells which are produced by division of the cells of the embryo, reserved primarily for reproduction, differ considerably from each other in quality and contain in their infinitely small atoms very diverse and irregularly distributed energies, inherited from their different ancestors. Some contain more paternal and others more maternal energy, and among the former there are some contain, for example, more paternal grandfather and others more maternal grandmother, and so on to infinity, till it is impossible to discover the ancestral origin of the fully grown individual we are examining. The same holds good for the energies of the maternal cells.

At the time of conjugation, the qualities of the child which will result from it depend therefore on conditions of the ancestral qualities of the conjugated egg and spermatozoön. Moreover, although of the same size, the nuclei which become conjugated are evidently of unequal strength; the energies of one or the other predominate later on in the embryo, and still later in man. According to circumstances the latter will resemble more or less his paternal or maternal progenitors.

Moreover, the different organs of the body may receive their energies from different parts of the conjugated nuclei in different degrees. A person may have his father's nose and his mother's eyes, the paternal grandmother's humor and the maternal grandfather's intelligence, and all this with infinite degrees and variations, for it is only a matter of more or less accentuated [32]averages. In my own face the two halves are distinctly different, one resembling my maternal ancestry and the other, in a lesser degree, my paternal ancestry, these points being seen distinctly in photographs taken in profile.

Each germinal cell contains the hereditary mneme of its ancestors, paternal and maternal, and the two cells united by conjugation (Fig. 17) that of the ancestors of each of them. We have spoken above of ecphorias produced according to Mendel's law and reproducing characters which have been latent during one or two generations. Darwin was the first to study this interesting fact, which shows how atavism often results from the crossing of varieties. There are several varieties of fowls which do not brood; if two of these varieties, b and c, are crossed excellent brooders are obtained. Semon assumes that in each of the non-brooding varieties the ancestral energy, a, of the primary species, is weaker than that of varieties b and c; we have then a > b, and a < c. But if b is coupled with a the product represents the value b + c + a + a. Then b and c are in equilibrium; and a being doubled becomes stronger than each of them and arrives at ecphoria in their place, which restores the faculty of brooding to the product of crossing.

De Vries has shown, in the crossing of varieties with their primary species, more or less analogous phenomena which he calls "Vicino-variations." Conjugation leads to infinite combinations and variations which the law of heredity traverses like a guiding line.

The celebrated zoölogist, Weismann, considers that the chromatin of each germinal cell contains a considerable quantity of particles each of which is capable of forming an entire organism similar to the parents; these he calls "ides." According to Weismann, each ide is subdivided into "determinants" from which each part of the body is derived, being potentially predetermined in them. According to the action of a yet unknown irritation male or female determinants develop in each individual of the animal species with separate sexes. But if the determinants are disordered, either by abnormal variations or by pathological causes, hermaphrodites or monstrosities may be produced. In animals which are normally hermaphrodite (snails, [33]etc.), there is only one kind of sexual determinant, while in polymorphous animals (ants, etc.), there are as many as the polymorphous forms. The conception of "ides" and "determinants" is only a hypothesis to which we must not attach much value. The mnemic laws established by Semon give a much better explanation of the facts.

It has often been maintained that the qualities of higher forms of man are exhausted in a few generations, while the mass of mediocrities continually produce new genius. The fact that the descendants of distinguished men are often mediocre and that remarkable men suddenly arise from the common people, appears at first sight to support this superficial assertion. It is forgotten, however, that in a people whose average mass consists of thousands or millions of individuals, while men of higher powers are only counted by units or dozens, all this arithmetic is reduced to absurdity by the inequality of numbers, as soon as the law of heredity is understood. To make a more exact calculation, it would be necessary to compare the number of superior men who have arisen from some hundreds of the most distinguished families of a country with that of distinguished men who have arisen from some millions of the rest of the people, and then calculate the percentage. It is also necessary to take into account the means employed in the education of the individuals. If education is obligatory and gratuitous in a country, this factor will have less importance.

Another error which is committed in such cases is to neglect the influence of the maternal lineage. A common woman will lower the level of the offspring of a distinguished husband, and inversely. In his "History of Science and Scientists" Alphonse de Candolle has given irrefutable proof that the posterity of high-class men furnishes a great number proportionally of men high class in their turn, compared with that of the average population. This shows the value of the usual twaddle concerning this question. It is inconceivable that the laws of heredity should make an exception of the mental qualities of man. Moreover, the most deceptive point is the contrast of a man of genius with his children, who do not rise to his standard because they represent a combination of his ancestral energies with those of [34]their mother. This contrast makes the children appear unfavorably, while the public has a general tendency to exaggerate the value of a great man.

The theory of the mneme throws light on this subject, by introducing a new factor in the question, that of ecphoria of the cerebral engrams of the ancestors, accumulated in the hereditary mneme.

Heredity of Acquired Characters.—While Darwin and Haeckel affirmed the possibility of the heredity of characters acquired during life by different tissues, for instance the brain, Weismann limits the possibility to everything that can modify the nucleoplasm of the germinal cells. We must first eliminate the question of the phenomena of blastophthoria, which we shall consider next, and which Weismann was, I think, the first to comprehend, without giving them the name.

On one hand we see the singular effects of castration, which we have already considered; on the other hand, an extraordinary constancy in the hereditary characters of the species. For more than three thousand six hundred years, which corresponds to about eight hundred generations, the Jews have been circumcised. Nevertheless, if a Jew ceases to circumcise his offspring the prepuce of his children grows as it did three thousand six hundred years ago, although, during the eight hundred generations in question, its absence from birth has prevented it reacting on the germinal cells of the individuals. If the engraphia of the external world could sensibly modify in a few generations the hereditary mneme of the species, it appears evident that the Jewish infants of the present day would be born without prepuce, or at least with an atrophied one.

It is on such facts, which are innumerable in natural history, that Weismann relies to repudiate absolutely the heredity of characters acquired by non-germinal organs and to attribute the development of organisms to blends and combinations due to conjugation, or crossing, as well as to natural selection, which he regards as all-powerful. Darwin well recognized the difficulty in question, and being unable to explain the facts, had recourse to the hypothesis of pangenesis, that is of small particles detached from all parts of the body and transported by the [35]blood to the germinal cells, to transmit to them, for example, the qualities acquired by the brain during life. This hypothesis was so improbable that Darwin himself was forced to recognize it. Let us examine the facts.

On the one hand a newly born Chinese transported and brought up in France will learn French, and will show no inclination to learn or understand Chinese. This well-established fact seems in favor of Weismann and against the heredity of acquired characters. But, on the other hand, we cannot understand how the evolution of the brain and its functions takes place, without admitting that in one way or another the characters acquired by habits repeated during many generations gradually accumulate in the form of hereditary dispositions in the germinal protoplasm. It is certain that our brain has progressed since the time when our ancestors were similar to the gorilla, or even the cave man at the beginning of the quaternary age. How can this cerebral progression be explained only by selection which can only eliminate, and by crossings which by themselves can hardly raise the average? It is here that the intervention of an unknown power is necessary, something unexplained, the action of which has been lately recorded in the phenomena of mutations of de Vries.

De Vries proves that certain variations appear suddenly and without any known cause, and have a much greater tendency to be preserved than the variations obtained by crossing and selection. In my opinion the phenomena of the mneme revealed by Hering and Semon explain the apparent contradictions which have hitherto impaired the theories of heredity. Mnemic engraphy explains, by its infinitesimal and repeated action through numerous generations, how the external world may little by little transmit to the germinal cells the characters which it impresses on organisms. The eight hundred generations during which the prepuce of the Jews has been cut off have not yet sufficed for the ecphoria of the corresponding negative mnemic engraphia; while conjugation and selection modify rapidly and strongly in a few generations; a fact which is more striking and allows of direct experiment. Moreover, a positive engraphia must necessarily act more powerfully, and it seems to me that [36]mutations must be the ecphoria of accumulated former latent engraphias.

Merrifield and Standfuss, by exposing caterpillars and chrysalids for varying periods to considerable degrees of cold and heat, have determined permanent changes in the specific characters of the butterflies which have emerged from them.

Standfuss and Fischer have also shown that, after several generations, by continuing the action of cold on the caterpillars, the variations thus produced can be preserved even after the cold has ceased to act. No doubt the cold acts on the germinal cells as on the rest of the body, but the heredity of an acquired character is thus demonstrated.

The experiments of Miss de Chauvin on salamanders (Axolotl) are still more conclusive, for we are dealing here with characters acquired through aquatic or aërial media, which can hardly act on the sexual glands. We cannot continue this subject any further and we return to the work of Semon. It is needless to say that the nature of mnemic engraphia remains itself an unknown quantity. As long as we are unable to transform inert matter into a living organism we shall remain in ignorance. But, when it is accepted with the laws of the phenomena which it produces, this unknown quantity, as Semon has shown, alone suffices to explain all the rest, and is already a great step toward the comprehension of the laws which govern life.

Blastophthoria.—By blastophthoria, or deterioration of the germ, I mean what might also be called false heredity, that is to say, the results of all direct pathogenic or disturbing action, especially that of certain intoxications, on the germinal cells, whose hereditary determinants are thus changed. Blastophthoria thus acts on germs not yet conjugated, through the medium of their bearers, and creates at their origin hereditary stigmata of all kinds, while true heredity only combines and reproduces the ancestral energies.

Blastophthoria deranges the mneme or hereditary engrams, and consequently a more or less considerable part of their ecphorias during the life of the individuals which arise from them. It is not a question here of the reproduction of the hereditary ancestral energies in the descendants (in different combinations) [37]as is the case in the heredity which we have just studied, but, on the contrary, a question of their perturbation. However, the store of cells reserved as germinal cells in the embryo, the germ of which has been damaged by blastophthoric action, being usually also affected by the disturbing cause, it follows that the pathological change introduced by blastophthoria in the hereditary mneme is transmitted to the descendants by ordinary heredity. In this way blastophthoria deposits the first germ of most pathological degenerations by causing immediate deviation of all the determinants of the germ in the same direction.

The most typical and the commonest example of blastophthoria is that of alcoholic intoxication. The spermatozoa of alcoholics suffer like the other tissues from the toxic action of alcohol on the protoplasm. The result of this intoxication of the germs may be that the children resulting from their conjugation become idiots, epileptics, dwarfs or feeble minded. Thus it is not alcoholism or the craving for drink which is inherited. No doubt the peculiarity of badly supporting alcohol is inherited by ordinary heredity as a hereditary disposition, but it is not this which produces the alcoholic degenerations of the race. These are the result of the single blastophthoria. When, on the other hand, a man is found to be imbecile or epileptic as the result of the insobriety of his father, he preserves the tendency to transmit his mental weakness or his epilepsy to his descendants, even when he abstains completely from alcoholic drinks. In fact, the chromosomes of the spermatozoid, from which about a half of his organism has issued, have preserved the pathological derangement produced by the parental alcoholism in their hereditary mneme, and have transmitted it to the store of germinal cells of the feeble minded or the epileptic, who in his turn transmits it to his descendants. From Weismann's point of view his hereditary determinants remain pathologically deviated. All intoxications which alter the protoplasm of the germinal cells may produce blastophthoric degenerations, which continue to menace several successive generations in the form of hereditary taints.

Other deviations in the development of the germs may act in an analogous manner to blastophthoria. We have mentioned [38]above the experiments of Merrifield and Standfuss on the caterpillars of certain butterflies. Without being really of a pathological nature, these actions of a physical agent on the hereditary energies resemble blastophthoria.

Mechanical action on the embryo may also give rise to pathological products or even mutilation. Thus, Weismann demonstrated the production of degenerate individuals in ants when certain coleoptera were introduced in their nest, the ants being fond of the secretion of the large glandular hairs of the coleoptera. The exact cause of the degeneration has not yet been found, but the fact is certain. In man, certain constitutional affections and congenital anomalies are the result of certain diseases in the procreators, which have affected the germinal cells or the embryo (for instance syphilis). As soon as the blastophthoric actions cease in the procreators, those of their descendants who live under a normal regimen have evidently a tendency to eliminate the blastophthoric organs at the end of several generations and to regenerate themselves little by little. Thanks to the power of the ancestral mneme which tends to reëstablish homophony. However, the data on this subject are insufficient. In this case homophony is represented by the normal equilibrium of the different typical or normal characters of the species.


[1] I insert here some passages intended for more advanced readers, but this does not imply that they are of less importance. On the contrary I strongly advise all my readers to try and understand the theories of Hering and Semon, which appear to me to throw a new light on the question of transformation and heredity.




The theory of evolution is intimately associated with the name of Darwin, for it was he who established it in the scientific world. In reality, the idea of the transformation of organisms was put forward by Lamarck more than a century ago, but he did not sufficiently support it. The theory of evolution states that the different animal and vegetable species are not each of them specially created as such from the first, but that they are connected with each other by a real and profound relationship, and derived progressively one from another; generally from more simple forms, by engraphia and selection. Man himself is no exception to this rule, for he is closely related to the higher apes.

It is no longer possible to-day to deny the fundamental fact which we have just stated. Since Darwin, and as the result of the powerful impulse which this man of genius gave to natural science, innumerable observations and experiments have confirmed the truth of the progressive evolution of living beings. Comparative anatomy, comparative geography of plants and animals, comparative embryology, and the study of the morphology and biology of a number of recently discovered plants and animals, have built up more and more the genealogical tree, or phylogeny, of living beings, that is to say their ancestral lineage. The number of varieties and races or sub-species increases indefinitely, the more closely they are examined.

Researches on the fossil remains of species of animals and plants which have been extinct for thousands and millions of years (palæontology) have also contributed to determine the trunk of the great tree of former life. The numerous gaps which still exist between these fragmentary documents of [40]former ages are nevertheless too considerable for continuous connections to be established in the past by the aid of fossils.

We not only know that the different forms of living beings are connected to each other by a real relationship, but we can fathom more and more deeply the degrees of this relationship, and can often prove from which group of animals a given group is descended. In many cases we can determine at which period the fauna and flora of two continents have been separated from each other, and in what manner they have been transformed, each in its own way, while still preserving the general characters which were common before their separation. The specialist can soon discover what species belong to the old geographically differentiated fauna and flora of the country, and what have been ulteriorily imported.

I record these facts for the benefit of those persons who have not yet understood that it is absolutely useless at the present day to dispute the evolution of living beings. Deceived by the divergent opinions of scientists concerning hypotheses which endeavor to explain the details of evolution, these persons confound the details with the fundamental facts of evolution.

Ontogeny. Phylogeny.—In the light of the facts of evolution, heredity takes quite a new aspect when removed from the old biblical idea of the independent creation of species. Haeckel launched into the scientific world, under the name of "fundamental biogenetic law," a theory which, without having the right to the title of an immutable dogma, explains the facts in a general way, and gives us a guiding line along the phylogenetic history of living beings. "Ontogeny," that is the history of the embryological development of each individual, always consists in a summary and fragmentary repetition of phylogeny, or the history of the ancestors of the species to which the individual belongs. This signifies that, as embryos, we repeat in an abridged form the series of types or morphological stages through which has passed the series of our animal ancestors, from the primitive cell to man. In reality this is only true in a relative way, for a considerable part of the ancestral engraphias of the embryo has disappeared without leaving any trace; also many embryos, especially those which have special conditions of [41]existence outside the body of their mother, have acquired special complex organs and corresponding functions. Thus, the caterpillars of butterflies with their specific and generic peculiarities, hairs, horns, etc., furnish many examples of secondary acquired characters which have nothing in common with the worm, which is the ancestral type of the butterfly represented by the embryonic period when it is a caterpillar. However, many undoubted vestiges of the ancestral history are found in the embryos at different periods of their development. It is certain that insects descended from worms, and there is no doubt that the larvæ of insects, which are almost worms, represent the ontogenetic repetition of the phylogeny of insects.

It is also certain that whales, although they have whalebone instead of teeth, have descended from cetacea provided with teeth, which in their turn descended from terrestrial mammals. But we find in the embryo whale a complete denture which is of no use to it, and which disappears in the course of the embryonic period. This denture is nothing else than a phylogenetic incident in the ontogeny of the whale.

In the fins of cetacea, as in the four limbs of other mammals, we find the same bones, which are derived from the bones of the wings and legs of their bird ancestors. In birds, the same bones are the phylogenetic derivatives of the limbs of reptiles.

All these facts demonstrate with certainty the descent of animal forms, a descent which we can follow in all its details. In certain ants whose bodies show their close relationship with a slave-keeping group, but which have become the parasitic hosts of other ants, we find not only the arched mandibles, shaped for rape, but the undoubted rudiments of the slave instinct, although this instinct has, perhaps, not been exercised by them for thousands of years.

These examples suffice to show that the form and functions of a living organism, as well as its mental faculties, are derived not only from the most recent direct ancestors of this organism, but that they partly mount much higher in the genealogical tree.

Our coccyx is a vestige of the tail of animals. It is from them also that we have inherited anger and jealousy, sexual appetites, [42]fear, cunning, etc. As long as they remain in use, the oldest inherited characters normally remain the most tenacious and are preserved the longest. When they cease to be utilized, or become useless, they still remain for a long time as rudiments before finally disappearing; for instance the vermiform appendix of the intestine and the pineal gland of the brain. These rudiments often persist for still a longer time in the embryo, as we have seen in the case of the ancestral teeth of the embryo whales. We also meet with the stumps of wings in the chrysalis of certain ants (Anergates), the males of which have lost their wings.

Natural Selection.—The artificial selection practiced by gardeners and cattle breeders led Darwin to his hypothesis of natural selection by the struggle for existence. Confirmed in his idea by the observation of tropical nature, Darwin thought he could explain the origin of living beings by natural selection. It is this hypothesis which is properly called Darwinism. But the name Darwinism has also been given to evolution as a whole, which has been the cause of endless confusion. All the mystic and narrow-minded, full of biblical prejudice, naturally profit by this confusion to attack the facts of evolution and science itself.

The Struggle for Existence.—The struggle for existence and natural selection are absolutely positive facts, which can be constantly verified by the observation of living nature as it is presented to us. All living beings eat one another or at any rate struggle against each other, plants as well as animals; and, apart from air and water, animals are almost entirely nourished by plants and other animals. It is obvious that in this perpetual struggle the less adapted and the less armed—and by arms we include the powers of reproduction, resistance to diseases and to cold, etc.—disappear, while the better adapted and the better armed persist. I confess I cannot understand the detractors of Darwin who are blind in face of these facts and hypnotized by certain conventional suggestions.

On the other hand, what always has been and still remains hypothetical is the explanation of the descent of all plants and animals by natural selection alone. We have already spoken [43]of the mutations of de Vries, and the theory of the mneme elaborated by Semon, and need not repeat them here. Thanks to the idea of Hering, worked out by Semon, the facts are now explained in a satisfactory manner. Engraphia, produced in the organisms by the irritating agents of the external world, prepares and builds up little by little their increasing complications, while selection, by continually eliminating the unfit, directs the elaborating work of the mneme and adapts it to the surrounding local circumstances.

De Vries has objected that the variations produced by artificial and natural selections are mutable, while sudden mutations have a much more stable character. But we have just seen that these mutations themselves are evidently only the delayed ecphoria of a long ancestral engraphia accumulated.

On the other hand, the variations obtained by selection are themselves only due to more rapid ecphorias, derived from repeated conjugations in a certain direction. Plate and others have shown that they may become more and more fixed, if they are well adapted, and thus become more tenacious. There is, therefore, no contradiction between the fundamental facts, and all is simply and naturally explained by the combination of hereditary mnemic engraphia with selection.

Recent study on the transformations of living beings have shown that they do not take place in a regularly progressive manner, as Darwin at first believed, but that periods of relatively rapid transformation alternate with periods of relative arrest, both in a general way and for each particular species. We see certain species remaining almost stationary for an immense time and tending rather to disappear, while others vary enormously, showing actual transformation. The transplantation of one species to a new environment, for instance to a new continent, provokes, as has been proved, a relatively rapid transformation. It is evident that mnemic engraphia transforms organisms the more rapidly as it changes in nature itself, which is the case in the migrations we have just mentioned, and which also changes the factors of selection.

Other facts show clearly that the fauna and flora of the present world find themselves in a period of recoil with regard to their [44]modification. In the tertiary period the fauna and flora of the world were richer than to-day; many more older species have disappeared than new ones have arisen. This fundamental fact seems due to the extremely slow cooling of the earth, and appears to be indicated by the powerful growth in tropical climates, the fauna and flora of which resemble those of the tertiary period, and, on the other hand by the relative poverty and slowness of growth in cold countries.

Conclusions.—What are the principal conclusions to which we are led by this short study of the ancestral history or phylogeny of man?

(1). The transformation or evolution of living beings is a demonstrated fact.

(2). The factors in evolution appear at first sight to be very diverse: selection, mutation, climatological, physical and chemical factors, etc.

We have seen that they may all be connected with the fundamental principle of mnemic engraphia, aided by natural selection. No doubt the nature of the mnemic engraphia of external agents in the living substance is still unknown. When we are able to connect the laws of life with the laws of inert nature, we shall only have before us a single great metaphysical mystery, that of the tendency of mundane energy to the differentiation of details and the production of complicated forms. What is important here is to know that engraphia and selection are capable of considerably modifying species in a positive or negative manner, for good or evil, improving them by good influence and good conjugations, or deteriorating them by bad selection or by blastophthoria, which causes them to degenerate. The combination of a bad selection with blastophthoric influences constitutes the great danger for humanity, and it is here that a rational sexual life should intervene.

(3). The mental faculties of animal species, as well as their physical characters, depend on their ancestral hereditary mneme. They simply represent the internal or introspective side of central activity, and the brain obeys the natural laws of the mneme in the same way as the other organs.

(4). It follows from all this that phylogeny and selection, the [45]same as heredity properly understood, have the right to a fundamental place in the sexual question, for the germs which, after each conception, reproduce an individual are, on the one hand, bearers of the inherited energy of our ancestors, and on the other hand, that of future generations. According to the care or neglect of civilized humanity they may be transformed for good or evil, progress or recede. Unfortunately, owing to religious and other prejudices, the question of evolution is not discussed in schools. Hence, the majority of men only hear of these things by hearsay in a rough and inexact manner; so that a series of phenomena familiar to naturalists and medical men, are still dead letters for the rest of the public. This obliges me to speak further on some points of detail.

The so-called historical times, that is the times of the Chinese, Egyptians and Assyrians, which appear to us extremely remote, are from the point of view of evolution very near to us. These ancient peoples, at any rate those who were our direct ancestors, or who were closely related to them, are thus, in the language of evolution, which takes no count of time or of the number of generations, our very near relations. The generations which separate them from us and the few hundred generations between them and those of their direct ancestors, who were at the same time ours, represent a limited period from the point of view of the ethnological history of mankind.

On the other hand, if we examine the savage peoples of America, Asia, Africa and Australia, which have been specially studied since the discovery of America and some of which are actually living, and compare them with ourselves and with our ancestors of four thousand years ago, we find that they differ infinitely more from us than we differ from our ancestors, as their ethnographical and historical remains are sufficient to prove.

Among the savage peoples we find races such as the pigmies of Stanley (Akkaas), the Weddas of Ceylon, even Australians and negroes, whose whole bodily structure differs profoundly from our European race and its varieties. The profoundness and constancy of these differences clearly show that the relationship of such races to ours must be very remote. We are [46]concerned here with veritable races or sub-species, or at least with very constant and accentuated varieties. It is true that it is difficult to unravel the almost inextricable confusion of human races; but we may be certain that the savage races and varieties remote from ours, and even certain less-remote races such as the Mongols and Malays, are, phylogenetically speaking, infinitely less related to us than the ancient Assyrians. This indicates that the ancestors which were common to us and these races must probably be looked for several thousands of generations back, even when their descendants are still living on other continents at the present day.

It is easy to explain that human races so different could develop separately in continents and under climates with a very different mode of life and conditions of development, if we reflect that at these remote periods men only had very limited modes of transport and lived in a fashion very little different from that of the anthropoid apes, so that the ethnological forms were preserved separated from each other by small distances. This fact can still be observed among the small hostile Indian or Malay tribes, who live in tropical regions and often occupy only a few square leagues. The higher civilizations of former times could not develop beyond a comparatively limited circle, as their means of transport did not allow them to venture too far. The conquest of the whole earth by modern civilization by means of the mariner's compass, firearms, steam and electricity is thus an absolutely contemporaneous event, unique in the history of the world, the origin of which hardly goes back more than four hundred years. This event has completely upset the natural internal evolution of human races, by the fact that all the lower races attacked by civilized races armed with guns and alcohol, are destined to rapid and complete destruction.

Geology has discovered in the caves of the quaternary period, human remains which are much lower in the scale of evolution and much nearer the anthropoid apes than the lowest races still living. Their brain, as shown by the cranial cavity, was still smaller. Lastly, Dubois has discovered in Java the cranium of Pithecanthropus erectus which is intermediate between that of the orang-utan and man. If more such remains are [47]discovered the chain of transition between the apes and man will be almost complete.

Hybridity. Consanguinity.—Before concluding this chapter we must study the question of hybrids. It is important to know to what point fecundity and descent are influenced by the degree of relationship between the two procreators. Conjugation probably arises from the general necessity of organisms to reënforce their race by variety. Consanguinity perpetuated is harmful to the species, in the same way as parthenogenesis, or indefinite reproduction by fission or budding. It produces enfeeblement and degeneration of the race, and leads to extinction by causing sterility.

By consanguinity is meant continued sexual union between near relatives. It is easy to understand that the conjugation of two germs derived from brothers and sisters or from a father and his daughter approaches parthenogenesis from the point of view of the mixing of hereditary energies. We shall see later on that nearly all peoples have a certain repugnance to consanguineous marriages. Among animals, natural selection eliminates too consanguineous products.

On the other hand, sexual union between different species, however little removed, gives no products. Near species may produce hybrids between themselves, but these hybrids are as a rule sterile or nearly so, and are incapable of perpetuating their type, which reverts rapidly to one of the primitive species.

It has been recently demonstrated that the incapacity of two species of animals to produce hybrids is intimately connected with the reciprocal toxicity of their blood. When the blood of one species is injected into the veins of another the production of hybrids is possible between them, at least as far as has been observed. It is curious to note that the blood of the anthropoid apes is not toxic for man, although these animals are very different from us, and hybrids have not yet been produced. This fact helps us to understand how it is that the differences which exist between the different human races do not prevent the production of hybrids between any two of them. In spite of this we may state, without risk of error, that the most dissimilar human races give a bad quality of hybrids, which have little [48]chance of forming a viable mongrel race. We have not sufficient information on this point concerning the lowest human races, such as the pigmies and Weddas. On the other hand, mulattoes (hybrids between negroes and whites) constitute a race of very bad quality and hardly viable, while the hybrids between Indians and whites are much more resistant and of relatively better quality.

In this question, the middle course appears without any doubt the true one. Unions between near races and varieties, or at least between individuals of the same race or variety whose relationship is old, are certainly the best. We readily grant that the homogeneity of a race has the advantage of fixing its peculiarities in a more durable and characteristic fashion; but many inconveniences counterbalance this advantage. If we one day, by wise selection and by eliminating all sources of blastophthoria obtain a superior quality of human germs, it is possible that in the remote future, consanguinity, provided it is not exaggerated may lose its dangers.




It is impossible to comprehend the deep meaning and lofty aim of an act like that of sexual union without knowing the details of conjugation and the origin of man as we have explained them in the preceding chapters.

Conjugation requires the bringing together of two cells, and consequently the movement of at least one of them. This cellular movement suffices for the lower forms of union and is usually limited to the male cell. Owing to its movement it plays the active role, while the passive role is reserved for the female cell. Hence we see in the higher plants the male cells, or pollen, transported to the pistil by the wind or by insects, and thence reach the egg by mechanical endosmotic attraction which brings about conjugation.

This takes place in an analogous manner in lower animals, but the male cell is generally endowed with special movement. As soon as we deal with complicated animals, mobile in themselves and composed of cells differentiated to form complex organs, we see a second phenomena of reproductive movements appear in the animal phylogeny, namely the movement of the whole individual bearing male cells toward the individual bearing female cells. This simple fact gives rise to the formation of correlative sexual differences between the individuals bearing each kind of germinal cells. As the result of the evolution of these two phylogenetic systems of motor phenomena tending to establish conjugation, we obtain for each sex two categories of sexual formations:

(1). The germinal cells themselves, the female form of which becomes larger, more rich in protoplasm, and remains [50]immobile, while the male form, or spermatozoid becomes extremely small and is provided with motor apparatus (Fig. 11).

(2). The individuals with their correlative sexual differences proper to the male and female, disposed in a way to give the male the active role and the female the passive role.

Normal hermaphrodism, complete or reciprocal (snails, etc.) constitutes an intermediate stage. Here each individual bears two kinds of germinal cells and possesses also male and female copulative organs, so that there only exists one form of individuals which copulate reciprocally; the male organ of one penetrating the female organ of the other and vice versa. It is obvious that this excludes the formation of correlative individual sexual characters.

In the second category, the male always differs from the female, at least in the sexual organs, and usually in other physical and mental characters. The difference in the sexual functions leads to the formation of differences in other parts of the body, and in instincts and sentiments, which find their material expression in the different development of the brain.

Certain specific functions in society may, in social animals like the ants, lead to the formation or differentiation of a third or fourth kind of individuals. This is what is called polymorphism. Here it is not the sexual function causes the correlative differences of the individuals, but division of social labor. The ecphoria of the hereditary mneme which produces the polymorphous, and more or less asexual individual forms (workers, warriors,) still proceeds through the energies of the reproducing germs. Here the action of selection is necessary to explain the phenomena.

In man, sexual differentiation has led to the formation of two kinds of individuals, differing little in their correlative attributes, but each bearing one kind of germinal cells. In sexual union man plays the active part, woman, the passive. When sexual activity, in the animal kingdom, is no longer limited to the movement of one of the cells but requires the displacement of the whole individual, we can quite understand that the organization of these individuals must become much more complex, and that it requires a central nervous system as a directing apparatus. [51]Sexual individuality thus involves collaboration of the other organs of the body, and especially that of the central organs for reflex movements, the instincts and the higher mental faculties of man, in the accomplishment of the fecundating act those which are the consequences of it.

From this simple animal origin is evolved the complex sexual love of man. The duty of the active or male individual is to bring the spermatozoa to a point where they can easily reach the female cells or ovules. When this is done the duty of the male is accomplished. In the passive or female individual of the higher animals, pairing and conjugation are only the commencement of reproductive activity. However, this is not the case in the whole animal kingdom. For instance, fish have distinct sexes, but in them the female deposits her non-fecundated eggs in the water and is not concerned with them any further. The male then arrives and discharges his sperm on the eggs. In this case fecundation takes place without copulation. With such a system sexual love and maternal love lose their raison d'être, for the young fish are capable of providing for themselves as soon as they are born. There are, however, a few exceptions, one of the most curious being that of certain fish of the Dead Sea, in which the male incubates the eggs by taking them into his buccal cavity.

Reproduction in Vertebrates.—We should never finish if we were to describe even the chief varieties of sexual union among the vertebrates. As a rule, the male possesses a copulating organ which projects externally, while the female presents an invaginated cavity, more or less cylindrical, into which the male organ can penetrate. A certain amount of sperm is deposited by the male in the neighborhood of the mature ovules (Fig. 18) discharged from the female germinal gland or ovary, which renders conjugation possible. By means of their mobile tails, the spermatozoa (Fig. 11) are able to reach the ovules and fecundate them. The manner in which the egg when fecundated, either in the mother's body or after being laid, continues its development, varies enormously in different species. The eggs are often deposited by the female and the embryo develops outside the mother's body. This occurs in insects, mollusks, [52]fish, amphibia, reptiles, birds and the lowest mammals or monotremes (ornithorhynchus and echidna).

In the lower mammals is developed an organ called the womb which allows the embryo to remain longer in the maternal body. This organ is very incomplete in them, and a pocket or fold in the skin of the belly allows the mother to carry her young, which are extremely embryonic at birth, till they have developed sufficiently to live alone. This occurs in marsupials (kangaroos and opossums), in which the vagina and uterus are double.

In the higher mammals the womb becomes more and more developed, opening into a single vagina in the middle line of the abdomen, between the two ovaries, and constituting a highly specialized organ which allows the mother to preserve the young for a long time in her belly. In most mammals the uterus has two elongated diverticula, each of which may contain a successive series of embryos. In man it forms a single cavity and normally contains a single embryo, occasionally two or more. These facts show that the role of the female mammal in reproduction is more important than that of the male. But this is not all. Whether it still lays eggs, or whether it gives birth to young which are more or less developed its sexual role is far from ended. The higher oviparous vertebrates, especially the birds, take care of their progeniture for some time after laying. The young are still fed by the mother, either by milk from the teats, as in mammals, or by nourishment obtained from outside, as in birds, or by both methods combined or succeeding each other, as in cats.

In many animals the male contributes to the raising of the young; a point to which we shall return. Here, we indicate these complicated details simply to show that sexual union only contributes one link in the long chain of reproduction. Let us study its mechanism in man.

The Copulatory Organ of Man. The Testicles. The Seminal Vesicles.—Nature is often very sparing even in the highest organizations. It has thus combined in the male the urethra with the copulatory organ, and the sexual germinal glands, or testicles, with an accessory gland, the epididymis. Hundreds of thousands of spermatozoa are contained in the glandular tubes [53]of these organs, which, when they are mature can always produce new ones by cell division. The spermatozoa accumulate at the extremity of the duct of the gland in a reservoir called the seminal vesicle, where they float in the mucus, thus constituting the seminal fluid or sperm. This liquid has a special odor. The two seminal vesicles are situated in the abdominal cavity underneath the urinary bladder, each having a duct which meets that of the other side and opens by the side of it in the deep part of the urethra. Here the secretion of several other glands, especially of the prostate, is added to the sperm and mixes with it. The point where the two seminal ducts open into the urethra forms a small elevation, the verumontanum. From this point the male urethra emerges from the abdominal cavity and is continued along the special prolongation which forms the penis, or virile member of copulation. In the ordinary way the penis only serves for the emission of urine. It hangs flaccid and terminates in a rounded swelling called the glans, at the end of which opens the urethra (Fig. 18). This opening serves also for the emission of the sperm.

Erection. The Corpus Cavernosum.—The most curious part of this apparatus is the mechanism of erection, or the power possessed by the penis of swelling under the influence of certain nervous irritations, increasing in length and diameter as well as becoming rigid. This phenomenon is produced by three organs called the cavernous bodies which form the principal bulk of the penis. One of them, situated in the middle and underneath and formed by two bodies united into one, surrounds the urethra and terminates in front in a dilatation which constitutes the glans already mentioned. The two others are situated symmetrically on the dorsal part of the penis. All three consist of caverns or diverticula formed by blood-vessels, which are empty when the penis is flaccid. By a complex nervous mechanism based on vascular paralysis due to nervous phenomena called inhibition and dynamogeny, the nervous irritations cause an accumulation of blood in the spaces of the cavernous bodies which become so gorged with blood as to form stiff and hard rods. The size of the penis is thereby increased considerably and its stiffness allows it to penetrate the vagina of the female. [54]At the same time and by the same mechanism the verumontanum swells so as to close the ureter from the bladder, while the seminal ducts open toward the urethral orifice. In this way the copulatory organ is ready for its function.

Repeated irritations are however necessary to provoke the ejaculation of semen. This is finally produced by excitation of a special muscle which compresses the seminal vesicles in a spasmodic manner and ejaculates the semen by the urethra. After ejaculation, the accumulation of blood in the cavernous bodies gradually diminishes and the penis again becomes flaccid.

This apparatus is thus very complicated and is put in action by several nervous irritations which may be disturbed in many ways in affections of the nervous system. We may observe here that the nervous centers of erection and ejaculation may be put in action directly by the brain, or indirectly by peripheral irritation of the glans.

Those peripheral nerves which provoke sexual excitation are especially the nerves of the glans. This possesses a skin or mucous membrane which is extremely delicate and is protected against external irritation by a fold of skin called the prepuce, or foreskin. The prepuce is often too narrow so that it cannot be withdrawn behind the glans. It then forms a pocket in which sebaceous matter, semen, urine, etc., accumulate and decompose. This anomaly, called phimosis, does not exist among the Jews owing to circumcision, or the removal of the prepuce in the newly born, which forms part of their religious rites. Hygienic considerations sometimes oblige us to perform this operation in others. The bad habit of masturbation, so common in boys, is often provoked by phimosis, and shows that simple mechanical irritation of the glans, due here to secretions contained in the prepuce, may lead to ejaculation of semen as well as to erection.

We have seen above that the male and female germinal glands arise from the same primitive organ in the embryo. If the embryo becomes male, this organ is transformed into the two testicles which descend gradually in the canal of the groin and become placed in the scrotum. If it becomes female, the two [55]sexual glands remain in the abdominal cavity and are transformed into ovaries.

The Genital Organs of Woman.—The organs described in Chapter II (Figs. 18 and 19), constitute the internal and more important part of the female sexual apparatus. In women, the urethra opens externally on its own account. It is much shorter and wider than in men. At its external extremity is a small cavernous body called the clitoris, which corresponds embryologically to the penis in man, and chiefly to the glans. Like the latter it is specialized for sexual irritation and possesses very sensitive nerves. The opening of the female urethra is situated in front of the vulva directly under the pubic bone, at the same place as the root of the male penis. From this point, on each side of the middle line, extend two longitudinal folds, one external covered with skin and called the larger lip of the vulva (Fig. 18, labia majora), the other internal, hidden under the first, called the lesser lip of the vulva (labia minora), and covered with thin mucous membrane. Between the two lesser lips is the sexual aperture, which, with the labia majora and minora is called the vulva. This opening is distinct from that of the urethra, and leads to the internal cavity or vagina (Fig. 18). The vagina is about ten to twelve centimeters long (2 to 2-½ inches) and terminates in a cul-de-sac which surrounds the vaginal portion of the womb, of which we have spoken above.

In virgins the entrance to the vagina is more or less closed by a delicate transverse membrane called the hymen, which is only perforated by a narrow opening. At the first coitus the hymen is torn, causing a certain amount of pain and bleeding. The walls of the vagina are thrown into transverse folds, which render them somewhat rough. The remains of the hymen torn by the first coitus afterward form behind the vulva small excrescences named carunculæ myrtiformes.

In the first chapter we have spoken of the changes undergone by the fecundated ovule till it becomes the embryo and then the infant. It remains to speak of the mechanism of expulsion of the ovule and of its fecundation, as well as the changes in the womb which result from these phenomena.

[56]Menstruation.—About every four weeks, one or two ovules (rarely more) mature and are discharged into the Fallopian tubes, down which they pass by the movement of the vibratile cilia of the mucous membrane, to the uterus, to the walls of which they become attached if they have been fecundated on the way (Fig. 18). Fecundation or conjugation takes place most often in the Fallopian tube, sometimes in the uterus. The maturation and expulsion of the ovule are generally accompanied in women by a nervous phenomenon closely related to erection in man. The mucous membrane of the cavity of the uterus is very rich in blood vessels which become dilated and gorged with blood under the inhibitory influence of certain nerve centers. As the mucous membrane is very thin, the result is otherwise than in man; the blood transudes through the mucous membrane and flows away. This is called menstruation ("courses" or monthly periods). The object of this is, no doubt, to prepare the mucous membrane of the womb for the fixation of the fecundated egg which will become grafted on its surface. The courses in women generally last three or four days, but are often very irregular. It is necessary to point out that they do not depend on ovulation (expulsion of the egg). The two phenomena may take place independently of each other, for menstruation in itself depends only on nervous irritation, which may be provoked or averted by hypnotic suggestion, for example.

Moreover, there are women who never menstruate and who, in spite of this, not only regularly discharge ovules but may be fecundated and become pregnant. Usually, however, the two phenomena are associated by nervous reflexes, so that menstruation takes place first and then the ovule commences its migration.

The Mechanism of Coitus.—Copulation, or coitus, takes place as follows: After a certain degree of excitation, both mental and sensory, the male introduces the erect and stiffened penis into the vagina. In the case of advanced pregnancy he should place himself behind, so as to avoid injuring the unborn child. Rhythmic movements of the two individuals, especially of the man, gradually increase the excitation of the mucous membrane or skin of the genital organs of each party, till voluptuous [57]sensations, arising chiefly in the glans penis and clitoris, spread to the whole nervous system and the entire body, constituting what is called the venereal orgasm, and terminating in the man by the ejaculation of semen.

The localizations of irritability in woman are multiple, and to the clitoris must be added the nipples, the vulva, and even, it is said, the neck of the womb. In man the parts round the anus may also, besides the glans penis, form an excitable region. At the acme of erection the glans is turgid, and is applied directly against the neck of the womb (Fig. 18). In this way the sperm is ejaculated directly against the neck of the womb.

In the woman an analogous phenomenon takes place; the clitoris becomes turgid and the mild and repeated friction of the mucous membranes, together with contact on other sensitive parts, produces a voluptuous sensation as in the man. Through nervous association, the repeated excitation determines secretion from certain glands of the vagina which lubricate the vulva (glands of Bartholin). At the maximum point of voluptuous feeling the woman experiences something analogous to the venereal orgasm of the man. There is thus manifested in the two sexes an intense and reciprocal desire of penetration one by the other, a desire which powerfully favors fecundation. In the woman as in the man the end of the orgasm is followed by an agreeable relaxation which invites sleep.

The hereditary or instinctive nervous actions produce after coitus a profound effect of contrast. When the sexual appetite commences, the odors, especially those of the sexual organs, the contacts, the movements, and the sight of the individual of the opposite sex, all increase desire, producing a voluptuous excitation stronger than all contrary feeling. Hardly is the sexual act consummated than all vanishes like a dream. What was a moment before the object of the most violent desire becomes indifferent, and sometimes even excites a slight feeling of disgust, at least as regards certain odors, sometimes even regarding touch and sight. The name sexual appetite (libido sexualis) is given to the passionate and purely sexual desire of the two sexes for each other. It varies greatly in different individuals.

According to Ferdy and other authors, the neck of the womb, [58]during the venereal orgasm of the woman, executes movements of suction in the glans penis. I do not know if this is a fact, but it is certain that the female orgasm is useless for conception. Absolutely cold women, incapable of the least voluptuous sensation are as fruitful as those who have pronounced venereal orgasms. It proves that the spermatozoa arrive at their goal even when the womb is entirely passive. The great variation of sexual desire in different individuals renders mutual adaptation often very difficult. The venereal orgasm is sometimes more rapid in man, sometimes in woman (more rarely in the latter). This inequality is rather to the detriment of the woman, for the man can still satisfy himself when the orgasm of the woman has terminated, while the contrary is not possible without artificial manipulation. Moreover, the frequence and intensity of the sexual appetite are often much greater in one than in the other, which is detrimental to both. Here again it is the woman who suffers the most, for the man can always satisfy himself without the woman having voluptuous sensations. What is commonly called good manners generally prevents the conjoints from speaking of their sexual desires before marriage. This very often results in grave deceptions, dissensions, and often even divorce. I shall return to this subject in Chapter XIV.

Voluptuous sensations only represent the means employed by nature to bring together the sexes with the object of reproducing the species. A woman can be fecundated and give birth to a child by the aid of semen injected into the uterus by a syringe. Moreover, it is rather exceptional for the venereal orgasm to occur in the two sexes at the same moment. It is essential for fecundation that the semen should enter the womb. When the spermatozoa have reached the neighborhood of the neck of the womb they swim by their own movements, not only along the whole uterine cavity, but also along the Fallopian tubes and even in the abdominal cavity, so that the force of ejaculation is of little importance.

Pregnancy.—The womb enlarges considerably during pregnancy. It exceeds the size of an adult head, and the muscles of its walls are greatly increased, so as to be capable of expelling the child later on.

[59]The phenomena of pregnancy, birth and suckling are known to all, so that I shall be brief. The almost sudden activity of the breasts after childbirth is a very interesting correlative phenomenon. It suffices to glance at one who has just become a mother and to observe the complications which profoundly influence all her organism with regard to the life of the infant, to comprehend to what extent the role of sexual life is more important, more profound, even more vital, in woman than in man. The latter no doubt requires a more violent appetite to urge him to copulation because he plays the active part, short though it be. But fecundating coitus having been effected, his contribution to the reproduction of the species is ended.

While the activity of man is terminated at conception, that of woman only begins at this moment. In the first chapter we have indicated in a few words the transformations of the human embryo up to its birth. During nine months it grows from the size of a pin's head (the ovule) to that of the new-born child. Although a woman seldom bears more than one embryo at the same time, twins being rare on the whole, she has nevertheless more pain and fatigue to bear than any female animal. This is due not only to the fact that our artificial and alcoholized civilization, with its specialized labor which disturbs vital equilibrium, has made women indolent and degenerate, but also to the enormous development of the human brain. The head of the human embryo is disproportionately large because the brain, as I showed with Schiller in 1889, already contains at birth all the nerve elements which it will possess during the rest of its life (Comptes rendus de l'Académie des Sciences). No doubt these elements are small and embryonic but the nerve fibers are ready to be covered with myelin and to enter upon their functions, and all this requires a cranium of considerable size. But it is not everything for the mother to nourish with her blood the brain and the cranium of the child; it is also necessary for this relatively large head to pass through the pelvis at the time of childbirth, and we know that this moment is the most dangerous for the life of the pregnant woman. As boys have on the average a larger brain and cranium than those of girls, their birth is usually more difficult.

[60]Accouchement.—The sexual organs of woman undergo great changes in order to render childbirth possible. These organs become larger and more vascular, especially the womb, the growth of which is astonishing. Originally the size of a small egg (a guinea fowl's) it exceeds the size of a human head, and there is an enormous increase of muscular tissue in its walls. Large blood vessels develop in the uterine wall, especially in the placenta (Figs. 22 and 23), where they enter into endosmotic relations with the circulation of the embryo.

From the abdomen of the embryo arises an organ, the allantois, which is destined to carry the blood-vessels of the embryo to the placenta, and at the same time to give rise to the formation of the latter. In the placenta the blood-vessels of the embryo are separated from those of the mother by walls so thin that the nutritive juices of the maternal blood transude into the venous blood of the embryo, as well as combined oxygen in the blood necessary for its respiration. Up to this point the vitellus of the egg, nourished by endosmosis through its membranes, had sufficed for the nutrition of the still very small embryo. While these phenomena are taking place, and while the substance of the two conjugated germs divides into an ever increasing number of cells, which become differentiated in layers to form the future organs (Fig. 21), while certain groups of cells are prepared some to form the intestinal canal, others the muscles and blood vessels, others the skin and organs of sense, others arising from the last to form the brain, the spinal cord and the nerves, the mother can still live her ordinary life. She suffers, however, from different disorders connected with what is passing on in her body.

It is a curious fact that these disorders are more accentuated at the commencement of pregnancy, when the womb is hardly enlarged, than at the end. They consist chiefly of nervous troubles—slight derangement of the cerebral functions and sensations, etc. Obstinate vomiting, peculiar desires, and changes of temper are some of the most frequent troubles of pregnant women, and probably arise more from local nervous irritation than from general transformations of the nutrition of the body. The mother's body is becoming adapted to the development of [61]the infant in the womb. However embarrassed a woman may be in the last months of pregnancy by the great swelling of the belly (Fig. 22) the disorders are less accentuated than at the beginning of pregnancy.

During pregnancy menstruation ceases. The sexual appetite is very variable; in many pregnant women it is diminished, in others there is no change, and it is seldom increased. There are other troubles which are more or less frequent, such as varicose veins in the legs caused by pressure of the uterus on the veins.

But all the sufferings of pregnancy and childbirth are compensated for by the ardent desire of the normal woman to have a child, and by the happiness of hearing its first cry. Proud and happy to give life to a new human being, which she hopes soon to suckle and carry in her arms, she cheerfully bears all the inconveniences and pains of pregnancy and childbirth. The latter is actually painful, for in spite of all that nature does to relax the pelvis and render it elastic, to dilate the neck of the womb, the vagina and the vulva, the passage of the enormous head of a human infant through all these relatively narrow apertures is extremely difficult (Figs. 22 and 23). The passage is forced by the powerful contractions of the muscles of the womb. However, they do not always succeed by themselves, and in this case the accoucheur is obliged to apply the forceps to extract the head of the child. Very often the neck of the womb, the vagina or the perineum (the part situated between the anus and the vulva) become torn during labor, and this may lead later on to disorders such as prolapse of the womb, etc.; disorders which may last through life.

When the child is born, the umbilical cord (that is the transformed allantois, Fig. 23) cut, and the placenta extracted, the connecting nutrition and respiration between the child and its mother are suddenly interrupted. Nourished hitherto by its mother's blood through the placenta and the vessels of the umbilical cord which supplied the necessary oxygen, the infant is suddenly obliged to breathe and feed for itself. Its lungs, hitherto inactive, expand instantaneously under the nervous influence produced by the blood saturated with carbonic acid, and the first cry is produced. Thus commences individual [62]respiration. Several hours later the cessation of maternal nutrition causes hunger, and this the reflex movements of suction, and the child takes the breast. During this time the empty womb contracts strongly and retracts enormously in a few days. The increase of blood produced by the maternal organism, by its adaptation to the nutrition of the embryo, is then employed in the production of milk in the breasts or lactiferous glands, which were already well developed during pregnancy.

Suckling. Maternity.—The mother is instinctively disposed to suckle her child as the infant is to suck. At the end of four to six weeks, the womb has almost completely regained its former size.

In savage races suckling at the breast lasts for two years or more. It is useless to mention here to what point the capacity for suckling and the production of milk have diminished among the modern women of civilized countries. This sad sign of degeneration is due to a large extent, as Bunge has shown by careful statistics, to the habit of taking alcoholic drinks, and is combined with other blastophthoric degenerations due to hereditary alcoholism. The future will show whether the artificial feeding of infants with cows' milk will benefit humanity. In any case it allows infants to survive who would die without it. On the other hand the development of a degeneration can hardly be an advantage for the species and we should hope for a return to the natural rule by abstinence from all alcoholic drinks.

The false modesty of women concerning their pregnancy and everything that concerns childbirth, the pleasantries often made with regard to pregnant women are a sad sign of the degeneration and even corruption of our refined civilization. Pregnant women ought not to hide themselves, or to be ashamed to carry a child in their womb; on the contrary they should be proud. Such pride would certainly be much more justified than that of the fine officers parading in their uniforms. The external signs of the formation of humanity are more honorable to their bearers than the symbols of destruction, and woman should become imbued more and more with this truth! They will then cease to hide their pregnancy and to be ashamed of it. Conscious of the grandeur of their sexual and social duty they will raise aloft [63]the standard of our descent, which is that of the true future life of man, at the same time striving for the emancipation of their sex. Viewed in this way, the sexual role of woman becomes elevated and solemn. Man should less and less maintain his indifference towards the social miseries to which the slavery of woman has led, which has lasted thousands of years and which has dishonored the highest functions of her sex, by abuses without number.

The hygiene of pregnancy, labor and its sequels, is of the highest importance. It certainly should not consist in exaggerated care and precaution, for in spoiling and softening women by inaction more harm than good is done. On the other hand, the social cruelty which neglects poor women of the people in confinement, often even without giving them sufficient nourishment, is revolting, and it is here especially that the reform of social hygiene becomes an elementary necessity for humanity.

All that we have just spoken of binds the woman for months or years to each of her children, and we can understand that her whole soul is adapted in consequence to maternity. Even when birth has detached the child from the maternal body, it remains attached to its mother by a hundred bonds, not only during the period of suckling, but long afterward when the conventions do not violate natural laws. Little children are deeply attached to their mother, and while the father is impatient with their cries and the embarrassment which they cause, the mother takes a natural delight in them. When pregnancies succeed each other at reasonable intervals of one or two years, the normal woman lives with her children for many years in intimacy which never entirely ceases in a family animated by human and social sentiments.

In normal circumstances the special bonds which unite the mother to her children last for life, while the father, if all goes well, becomes simply the best friend of his growing children. It is time that fathers began to recognize these natural laws, instead of clinging so tenaciously to the historic and artificial prestige of a worm-eaten and unnatural patriarchal authority. No doubt there are many pathological and degenerate mothers, [64]but such an anomaly only proves the rule that we have just laid down.

Correlative Sexual Characters.—The correlative sexual characters, which we have previously spoken of in animals, are well known in man. Man is in the average larger, broader in the shoulders and more robust; his skeleton is more solid but his pelvis narrower. At the age of puberty, from 16 to 20 years, the beard grows on the face, while in the pubic region hair develops in both sexes. At the same time the testicles and external genital organs enlarge. The sexual glands as well as the external genital organs have remained so far in an embryonic state although the mechanism of erection is already established in young boys. But this mechanism, in the normal boy, is not associated with any voluptuous sensation or any glandular secretion.

Man possesses the rudiments of the correlative sexual characters of woman, such as nipples without lactiferous glands, etc. In a general way each part of the external genital organs of one sex has its corresponding embryonic homologue in the other, which is explained by the different transformations which were originally the same in the embryo. The clitoris of woman corresponds to the penis of man, the labia majora to the scrotum, etc. In certain individuals these rudiments are more strongly developed, and may by exaggeration and transition lead to pathological hermaphrodism (Chapter I); such are bearded women, and those possessing a large clitoris, or beardless men with effeminate bodies and small sexual organs. Such cases are not examples of hermaphrodism, but of incomplete embryological differentiation. They consist in certain correlative sexual characters which show a tendency toward the other sex, a tendency which we find, from the mental point of view, in homosexuals.

There is also to be noticed the "breaking" of the voice which occurs in man at the age of puberty, and is connected with the nervous system.

In women the body is smaller and more delicate, the bones weaker, the pelvis wider and the chest narrower. The normal woman has no beard while the pubic hairs are the same as in [65]man. The pubis, covered with a layer of fat, is slightly prominent in women and is called the mons Veneris. There is more fat under the skin in a woman's body, and the voice does not break. After puberty breasts develop with their lactiferous glands and nipples for suction. Puberty takes place a little earlier in women than in men, and corresponds to the growth of the internal and external sexual organs, at the same time that the ovules commence to mature and menstruation is established.

The mental correlative sexual characters are much more important than those of the body. The psychology of man is different from that of woman. Many books have been written on this subject, usually with more sentimentality than exactitude. Mysogynists, like the philosopher Schopenhauer, disparage woman from all points of view, while the friends of the female sex often exalt her in an exaggerated manner. In contemporary literature we see women authors judging man in quite different ways according as they are affected with "misandery" or "philandery"—that is enemies or friends of men. Quite recently Moebius has published a mysogynistic work on the "Physiological Imbecility of Woman." (Der physiologische Schwachsinn des Weibes). One must be a misogynist of very high degree to introduce the pathological notion of imbecility into the evolution of the normal mentality of woman. In reality, the individual differences are much greater in man and woman from the psychological than from the physical point of view, so that they render a definition of the average extremely difficult.

We are acquainted with bearded women, athletic women, as well as beardless men and puny men. From the mental point of view, there are also viragos and men with feminine instincts. Imbeciles are not wanting in both sexes, but no reasonable person will deny that an intelligent woman is superior to a narrow-minded man even from the purely intellectual point of view. In spite of these difficulties, I shall attempt to bring forward the principal points which distinguish, in a general way, the masculine mind from the feminine, relying on my own observations and especially on the mental phenomena of both sexes.

[66]The Weight of the Brain.—According to statistics, the weight of the brain in men of our race is on the average 1350 grammes, while that of women averages 1200 grammes. The absolute weight is, however, not of much importance, because part of the cerebral substance in the larger animals is only for the supply of a greater number of cellular elements of the rest of the body, which necessitates a greater number of nervous elements.

To make the matter clear, it is necessary to separate the weight of the cerebral hemispheres from the other nervous centers, such as the cerebellum, corpora striata, the optic thalami, the mid-brain, the pons Varolii, the medulla oblongata and the spinal cord, for these centers constitute parts which are phylogenetically older, that is to say, inherited from lower animal ancestors. Compared with the cerebral hemispheres, these nerve centers are relatively more important in other vertebrates than in man, and are in more constant proportion to the size of the body, the muscular, glandular and sensory elements of which they supply. When the intelligence is about the same, they are, therefore, compared with the cerebral hemispheres, much more developed in the larger than in the smaller animals. For example, they are very large in the ox, but small in mice. I have weighed a considerable number of human brains separated in this way with the following results:

Man 1060 grammes, 78.5% 290 grammes, 21.5%
Woman 955 grammes, 77.9% 270 grammes, 22.1%

Thus the cerebellum and basal ganglia are a little smaller in men than in women, compared with the cerebral hemispheres.

These figures appear to show that the cerebral hemispheres in woman are on the average a little smaller than in man, even proportionately to the stature; for, according to a general law in the animal kingdom, woman being smaller, her cerebral hemispheres should be, with equal mentality, proportionately a little larger. There are, however, female brains larger than many male brains, and the absolute and relative size of the cerebral hemispheres does not give a complete measure of the productive faculties. Remarkable men have been known to possess rather small brains and imbeciles heavy ones. We must [67]not forget the great importance of the hereditary or engraphic predispositions of the nerve element or neurone, to certain activities and especially to work in general, that is to say, their aptitude to produce energy, or if one prefers it, their disposition to "will."

It is also interesting to consider the relationship of the frontal lobe to the rest of the cerebral hemispheres, the frontal lobe being without doubt the principal seat of intellectual activity. According to Meynert, the weight of the frontal lobe in man exceeds that of woman, not only absolutely, but relatively to the rest of the brain. In his résumé of the statistical data collected on this subject and from the results of my own material (autopsies at the asylum of Burgholzli in Zurich), Mercier has confirmed the opinion of Meynert. The average weight of the hemispheres separated from the rest of the brain is 1019 grammes in man (frontal lobe 428, the rest 591), and 930 in woman (frontal lobe 384, rest 546). Here, atrophied brains (except general paralytics) have been weighed with others, which lowers the average total weight without altering the proportion. Thus, the rest of the cerebral hemispheres exceeds the frontal lobe by 163 grammes in man and 162 grammes in woman, which means that in man the frontal lobe constitutes 42 per cent. of the cerebral hemispheres and in woman 41.3 per cent. The difference is not great, but it is definite, for it is based on a large number of observations.

Mental Capacity of the Two Sexes.—The fundamental difference between the psychology of woman and that of man is constituted by the irradiations of the sexual sphere in the cerebral hemispheres, which constitute what may be called sexual mentality. We shall discuss this in the following chapters, for it constitutes the foundation of our subject. We are only concerned here with the correlative differences.

Adhering in a general way to the main definitions of psychology, we assert that from the purely intellectual point of view, man considerably excels woman in his creative imagination, his faculty for combination and discovery, and by his critical mind. For a long time this was said to be explained by the statement that women had not the opportunity of measuring [68]their intelligence against that of men; but, thanks to the modern movement of the emancipation of women, this assertion becomes more and more untenable. It is so with regard to artistic creations, for women have at all times taken part in works of art. When certain people maintain that a few generations of activity suffice to elevate the intellectual development of women, they confound the results of education with those of heredity and phylogeny (vide Chapter II). Education is a purely individual matter and only requires one generation to produce its results. But neither mnemic engraphia, nor even selection can modify hereditary energies in two or three generations. Tied down hitherto partly by servitude, the mental faculties of woman will doubtless rise and flourish in all their natural power as soon as they are absolutely free to develop in society equally with those of men, by the aid of equal rights. But what does not exist in the hereditary mneme, that is to say in the energies of germs, inherited through thousands or millions of years, cannot be created in a few generations. The specific characters and consequently the sexual characters have quite another constancy than is believed by the superficial prattlers, who deafen us with their jargon on a question of which they only grasp the surface. There is no excuse, at the present day, for confounding hereditary correlative sexual characters with the individual results of education. The latter are acquired by habit and can only be inherited as such by an infinitesimal engraphia, possibly after hundreds of generations.

On the other hand woman possesses, from the intellectual point of view, a faculty of reception and comprehension as well as a facility of reproduction which are almost equal to those of man. In higher education at the universities the women I have had the opportunity of observing at Zurich for many years, show a more equal level than that of the men. The most intelligent men reproduce best and the most stupid men reproduce worse than the corresponding female extremes. I do not think one can say much more concerning the purely intellectual domain.

Artistic production confirms this opinion. Woman is here on the average much inferior as regards creation or production, [69]properly so called, and even her best results are wanting in originality and do not open up new paths. On the contrary, as virtuosos, women compare well with men in simply reproductive art. There are, however, exceptional women whose productions are original, creative and independent. The philosopher Stuart Mill points out the intuitive gift of woman who, led by her individual observations, rapidly and clearly discovers a general truth, and applies it in particular cases, without troubling with abstract theories. This may be called the intuitive or subconscious judgment of woman.

In the domain of sentiment the two sexes differ very much from each other, but we cannot say that one surpasses the other. Both are passionate, but in different ways. The passions of man are coarser and less durable, and are only more elevated when associated with more original and more complex intellectual aims. In woman sentiment is more delicate and more finely shaded esthetically and morally; it is also more durable, at least on the average, although its objects are often of a mean and banal nature.

When man compares himself with woman he usually identifies himself, more or less unconsciously, with the highest male intellects, with the men of genius in art and science, and complaisantly ignores the crowd of idiots of his own sex! In the life of sentiment the two sexes may complement each other admirably; while man raises the height of the ideal and of objects to be attained, woman has the necessary tact to soften and refine the tones, and to adapt their shades to each special situation, by the aid of her natural intuition, where man risks spoiling everything by the violence of his passions and his efforts. This reciprocal influence should conduce to the best and highest harmony of sentiments in a happy sexual combination.

As regards will power, woman is, in my opinion, on the average superior to man. It is in this psychological domain more than in any other, that she will always triumph. This is generally misunderstood, because men have so far apparently held the scepter of an unlimited omnipotence; because by the abuse of brute force, aided by superiority of inventive genius, humanity has been hitherto led by strong masculine wills, and because the [70]strongest feminine wills have been dominated by the law of the right of the stronger. But the unprejudiced observer is soon obliged to recognize that the directive will of the family is only, in general, represented externally by the master. Man parades his authority much more often than he puts it into practice; he lacks the perseverance, tenacity and elasticity which constitute the true power of will, and which are peculiar to woman. It is needless to say that I am only speaking of the average and that there are many women whose will power is feeble. But these easily become the prey of prostitution, which causes their disappearance. This is perhaps one of the causes which have strengthened by selection the will power in women. Man is impulsive and violent as regards his will power, but often inconstant and irresolute, yielding as soon as he has to strive persistently for a certain object. From these facts it naturally results that, on the average, it is the man in the family who provides the ideas and impulses, but the woman who, with the finesse of her tact and perseverance, instinctively makes the distinction between the useful and the harmful, utilizing the former and constantly combating the latter; not because she is fundamentally superior, but because she is more capable of dominating herself, which proves the superiority of her will power.

Nothing is more unjust than to disparage one sex relatively to the other. The parthenogenesis of the lower animals having ceased in the vertebrates, each sex is indispensable, not only to the preservation of species, but also to each conception or reproduction of the individual. Both are thus equivalent and belong to each other as the two halves of a whole, one being incapable of resisting without the other. Everything which benefits one of the halves benefits the other. If by the magic wand of a fairy, the male half or the female half of our humanity, such as it is to-day, was rendered capable and obliged to reproduce alone, men would soon degenerate owing to the weakness of their will combined with their sensual passions, and women from their incapacity to raise their intellectual level by means of creative ideas.

We need not dwell here on the numerous psychological peculiarities of woman, inherent in her capacity as mother, nor on [71]those of man adapted to his muscular strength and to his capacity as protector of the family. These are derived from sexual differences which are mentioned in Chapter V. Nor need we describe correlative differences of less importance which are well known and which arise from those of which we have spoken or from direct sexual differences. They can be observed, on the one hand, in purely male reunions in saloons, smoking rooms and other similar places; on the other hand, in feminine circles of all classes, among the common people, among the fashionable, or even in philanthropic associations. On the average, woman is more artful and more modest; man coarser and more cynical, etc. After much personal experience, gained in societies in which the two sexes possess the same rights and are admitted to the same titles, I am obliged to declare that I have never found any confirmation (at least in the German-Swiss country) of the popular saying that gossip and intrigue are the special appanage of woman. I have found these two vices quite as often in man.




If we sum up the three preceding chapters we arrive at the philosophical conclusion that reproduction depends on the general natural tendency of all living beings to multiply indefinitely. Fission and sexual reproduction arise from the simple fact that the growth of each individual is necessarily limited in space as well as time. Reproduction is thus destined to assure the continuation of life; the individual dies but is perpetuated in his progeny. We do not know why the crossing of individuals is rendered necessary by the phenomenon of conjugation. On this subject we can only build hypotheses, but the study of nature shows us that where conjugation ceases reproduction is etiolated and finally disappears, even when it is still possible for a certain time.

From the commencement of life there is thus a powerful law of attraction with the object of reproduction. At first there are unicellular organisms, in which one cell penetrates the other in the act of conjugation. Their substances combine intimately, while the molecules of each nucleus become so arranged as to give the new individual a more fresh and powerful energy of growth.

In the lower multicellular plants and animals which bud, fresh buds live at the expense of the old trunk to give life to new branches, and the male cells or pollen fecundate the female cells so as to disperse the germs capable of growth and of thus reproducing the species. It is also the same in the madrepores and other agglomerated animals (such as the solitary worms), composed of parameres or metameres, so long as a single central nervous system does not coordinate the metameres, or primary agglutinated animals, into a single organism.

In the higher animals, the complex polycellular individuals [73]formed by the agglomeration of several primitive animals, are transformed into a higher and mobile unity by the aid of the great vital apparatus called the nervous system, which becomes the mental director of the living organism and invests it with its individual character. However, this higher unity of life, which always becomes more psychic, that is to say, at the same time intellectual, sentimental and voluntary, by its complication and its numerous relations with other individuals, this unity called the central nervous system cannot do without the necessity for reproduction. In animal phylogeny, as soon as hermaphrodism has ceased and each individual has become the sole bearer of one of the two kinds of sexual cells, the species will eventually disappear if the male cells cannot reach the female cells by the active movement of the whole individual. Thus is produced the marvelous phenomenon of the desire of increase and reproduction, originally peculiar to the male cell, penetrating the nervous system, that is to say life and soul in its entirety, the life of the higher unity of the individual. An ardent desire, a powerful impulse thus arises in the nervous system at the time of puberty and attracts the individual toward the opposite sex. The care and the pleasure of self preservation, which had hitherto fully occupied his attention, become effaced by this new impulse. The desire to procreate dominates everything. A single pleasure, a single desire, a single passion lays hold of the organism and urges it toward the individual of the opposite sex, and to become united with it in intimate contact and penetration. It is as if the nervous system or the whole organism felt as if it had for the moment become a germinal cell, so powerful is the desire to unite with the other sex.

In some beautiful verses the German poet-philosopher Goethe (West-Oestlicher Divan, book VIII, "Suleika") describes the desire to procreate (p. 63):

Und mit eiligem Bestreben
Sucht sich, was sich angehört,
Und zu ungemessnem Leben
Ist Gefühl und Blick gekehrt.
Sei's ergreifen, sei es raffen,
Wenn es nur sich fasst und hält!
Allah braucht nicht mehr zu schaffen,
Wir erschaffen seine Welt!

[74]If we look at nature we see everywhere the same desire and the same attraction of the sexes for each other; the bird which warbles, the mammal which ruts, the insect which hums while pursuing the female with implacable tenacity, at the risk of their own life, employing sometimes cunning, sometimes dexterity, and sometimes force to attain their object. The ardor of the female is not always much less, but she uses coquetry, pretending to resist, and simulates repulsion. The more eager the male, the more coquettish is the female. If we observe the amorous sport of butterflies and birds, we see what efforts it costs the male to attain his object. On the other hand when the male is clumsy and slow the female often comes toward him or at any rate does not resist him, for instance in certain ants the males of which are wingless while the females have wings. The final act always consists in intimate union at the moment of copulation.

In some animals Nature is prodigal in the means she employs to pursue her great object, reproduction, by aid of the sexual appetite. The apiary raises hundreds of male bees. As soon as the single queen-bee takes wing for its nuptial flight all the males follow, but a single male only, the strongest and most nimble, succeeds in reaching her. In the intoxication of copulation he abandons all his genital organs to the body of the queen and dies. The other males, now useless, are all massacred in autumn by the working bees.

Sexual connection among butterflies of the Bombyx family is no less marvelous. They live for months as caterpillars and sometimes for two years as chrysalids, hibernating in a cocoon in some corner of the earth or in the bark of trees. Finally the butterfly, brilliantly colored, emerges from the cocoon and spreads its wings. It only possesses, however, a rudimentary intestinal canal for the short life which remains, for it does not require much nourishment and is only devoted to sexual connection. The female remains quiet and waits. The male, furnished with large antennæ which perceive the odor of the female at a distance of several kilometers, commences an infatuated flight through the woods and fields, as soon as his wings are sufficiently strong. His sole object is to reach the female. [75]Here again there are numerous competitors. The one who arrives first possesses the female, but expires shortly afterward. His competitors die also, exhausted by their long flight and by starvation, but without having attained their object. After copulation, the female searches for the green plants which will ensure a long caterpillar life for her offspring. There she deposits her fecundated eggs in considerable numbers and then expires in her turn, like a faded flower which has fulfilled the object of its existence and falls after leaving the fruit in its place.

The French naturalist Fabre has described these phenomena, relying on conclusive experiments, and my own observations and those of other naturalists confirm them fully. Among the ants, all the males die also, soon after an aërial nuptial flight, in which copulation is generally polyandrous, one male hardly waiting for the preceding one to discharge his semen before taking his place. Here the female possesses a receptacle for semen which often contains the sperm of many males, and which allows it to fecundate the eggs one after another for several years as she lays them, and thus to act as the mother of an ant's nest during a period which may extend to eleven or twelve years, or even more.

In the lower organisms, love consists only in sexual instinct or appetite. As soon as the function is accomplished love disappears. It is only in the higher animals that we see a more or less durable sympathy develop between the two sexes. However, here also and even in man the sexual passion intoxicates for the moment all the senses. In his sexual rut even man is dominated as by a magic influence, and for the time he sees the world only under the aspect inspired by this influence. The object loved appears to him under celestial colors, which veil all the defects and miseries of reality. Each moment of his amorous feeling inspires sentiments which it seems to him should last eternally. He swears impossible things and believes in immortal happiness. A reciprocal illusion transforms life momentarily into mirages of paradise. The most common things, and even certain things which usually disgust him, are then the object of the most violent desire. But, as soon as the orgasm is ended and the appetite satisfied the feeling of satiety appears. [76]A curtain falls on the scene, and, at least for the moment, repose and reality reappear.

Such are, in a few words, the general phenomena of the normal sexual appetite among sexual organisms in the whole of living nature. I am not speaking here of degenerations, such as onanism and prostitution. Let us now analyze this appetite further.

The natural appetites are inherited instincts the roots of which lie far back in the phylogenetic history of our ancestors. Hunger forms the basis for the preservation of the individual, the sexual appetite that for the preservation of the species, as soon as reproduction takes place by separate sexes. All appetite belongs to the motor side of nervous activity; there is something internal which urges us to an act, but, on the other hand, one or more sensations may exist at the base of this something to put it in action. I have proved, for example, that the egg-laying instinct in the corpse fly (Lucilia cæsar) is only produced by the odor of putrefaction. As soon as the antennæ, which contain the organ of smell, are removed from these flies they cease to lay, while other more severe operations, or removal of one antenna only does not produce this result.

The mechanism of appetites is thus a lower mechanism and has its seat in the primitive nervous centers. As Yersin has proved, a cricket deprived of its brain may copulate so long as the sensory irritations can reach the sexual nervous centers.

We can thus say that the mechanism of appetites belongs to automatic actions deeply inherited by phylogeny. Although complicated and composed of coördinated reflex movements which follow one another in regular succession, it has no actual power of modifying the so-called voluntary acts, which depend entirely on the cerebral hemispheres, and of which we men only have a conscious feeling. The appetites are not capable of adapting themselves to new circumstances and cease to be produced when the chain is interrupted. We are obliged to admit that the instincts or appetites are accompanied by a sub-conscious introspection which, as such, can hardly enter into direct relation with our higher consciousness, that is, with our ordinary consciousness in the waking state.

[77]In spite of this, when their intensity increases, the appetites overcoming the central nervous resistances, reach the cerebral hemispheres, and consequently our introspection or higher consciousness, under a synthetic or unified appearance, and influence in a high degree the cerebral activities, which are reflected in association with all the elements of what we call our mind in the proper sense of the term, that is to say, our intellect, sentiments and will. It is from this point of view that sexual appetite must be considered in order to make it comprehensible. Love, with all that appertains to it, belongs as such to our mind, that is, to the activity of our cerebral hemispheres, but it is produced there by a secondary irradiation from the sexual appetite, which alone concerns us at present. We may also remark that sexual ideas when once awakened in the cerebral hemispheres by sexual appetite, are worked up there by the attention, that is to say by concentrated cerebral activity, then associated with other ideas, which on their side react strongly on the sexual appetite, developing or paralyzing it, attracting or repelling it, or finally transforming its attributes and objects.

By sexual desire (libido sexualis) we mean the manner in which the sexual appetite manifests itself in man. Each term may be employed for the other.

The Sexual Appetite in Man.—Man represents the active element in sexual union, and in him the sexual appetite, or desire for coitus, is at first the stronger. This desire develops spontaneously, and the role of fecundator represents the principal male activity. This appetite powerfully affects the male mind, although sexual life plays a less important part in him than in the female.

In boys, the sexual appetite is often prematurely awakened, excited in unnatural ways by bad example. Moreover, it varies enormously in different individuals, a point to which we shall return when dealing with pathology. Leaving aside unnatural appetites and abnormal forms of sexual instinct we shall describe here its most spontaneous and normal form.

Puberty. Awakening of the Sexual Instinct in Boys.—Sooner or later in different individuals, the boy pays attention to his erections, which are at first produced in a reflex and [78]involuntary manner. Mental development and reflection, so precocious in man, are causes which draw attention to the differences of the sexes before the sexual appetite is developed. It is, however, the first signs of this appetite which concentrate the attention on these differences, for in their absence, the boy is more indifferent to them than to the straight or crooked form of a nose. Man has the habit of passing by without notice anything which does not interest him, and this is why we find, in individuals whose sexual appetite is developed late or feebly, an indifference and ignorance in these matters which appear almost incredible to those whose sexual appetite is precocious and violent; while, on the contrary, the lively interest which the latter show in everything concerning the sexes appears foolish and absurd to the sexually indifferent.

The pairing of animals, even of insects, awakens a curious interest in those whose sexual dispositions are strong and precocious; they comprehend very quickly the reason and are led to draw analogies with their own sensations in the same domain. The aspect of the female sex has, however, a much stronger action still on the normal man. But here is produced a peculiar phenomenon. What especially excites the boy in the aspect of the female sex is anything unusual; the sight of certain parts of the skin which are normally covered, the clothes or ornaments, particular odors, women whom the boy is not accustomed to see, etc. It is for this reason that brothers and sisters do not excite, or excite very little, their reciprocal sexual appetite, at least if there are no anomalies or exceptional exhibitions. The sexual appetites of boys among savage peoples who live naked is hardly at all excited by naked girls; on the other hand, it is strongly excited by those who are clothed or ornamented in a peculiar manner. The sexual appetite of a Mahometan is strongly excited by the nudity of the feminine face, that of the European by that of a woman's legs, because women are accustomed to veil their faces in the first case and their legs in the second. These are naturally only relative differences. When the sexual appetite of man is violent and unsatisfied woman excites it in a general way, if she is not too old or repulsive.

[79]A second important character of the normal sexual appetite is the special attraction that appearances of health and strength in woman produce in man. Healthy forms, normal odors, a normal voice, a skin healthy in appearance and to the touch, constitute attractions which charm and excite man, while all that is unhealthy or faded, every pathological odor, produce a repulsive effect and hinders or diminishes sexual desire.

Everything connected with the sexual organs, their appearance, touch and odor, tend to excite the sexual appetite, all the more when they are usually covered; it is the same with the breasts.

The first sexual sensations are of a quite indeterminate nature; something unconscious and obscure inclines the boy toward the female sex and makes it appear desirable. A boy may thus become enamored of the portrait of a woman with a swelling bosom and alluring eyes and be seized with desire, either at their sight or only on remembrance. This desire is not concentrated especially on the sexual act, as with an adult who is already experienced in these matters; it is more generalized and vague, although sensual.

For a long time, these repeated aspirations, impulses and desires, remain unsatisfied. In different individuals the imagination associates the most diverse images with such manifestations of the sexual appetite. The objects of the latter appear in dreams and provoke nocturnal erections. The boy soon remarks a sensory localization of his appetites in his sexual organs, especially in the glans penis, but also in the surrounding parts, and the known or only vaguely defined image of the female sexual organs, which is hardly present at the first appearance of his desires, begin to excite him more and more.

In natural or savage man, as well as in animals, the boy then makes attempts at coitus and soon attains his object, for, in the state of nature, man marries as soon as puberty is attained.

Nocturnal Emissions.—In civilized man such difficulties are opposed to marriage, that he replaces it by prostitution, or by more or less unnatural means, as soon as his sexual appetite becomes strong. In those who abstain, the images produced by sexual excitation, combined with erections, act more strongly [80]during sleep than waking and produce ejaculations of semen called nocturnal emissions or pollutions. These generally occur during erotic dreams, and as the dreams produce the illusion of real perception, in quality as well as in intensity, it is not surprising that they are followed by an orgasm and ejaculation of semen.

Masturbation.—In the waking state the unsatisfied sexual appetite may produce such excitation that the boy applies friction to the glans penis, which cause voluptuous sensations. As soon as he has made this discovery he repeats the act and provokes ejaculation of semen artificially. Thus arises the bad habit of masturbation or onanism, a habit which is both depressing and exhausting, which takes an increasing hold on those who practice it. Although from the purely mechanical point of view masturbation causes a more normal ejaculation than nocturnal emissions, which are often interrupted by awakening and the vanishing of the dream which produced them, it has a much more harmful effect, by its frequency and especially by its depressing action on sentiment and will. We shall return to this subject in Chapter VIII.

The accumulation of semen in the seminal vesicles strongly excites the sexual appetite of man, and he is momentarily satisfied by their evacuation. But we shall soon see that this purely organic or mechanical excitation, which seems at first to be only adapted for natural wants, does not in man play the principal role. We can easily understand that it cannot be the principal moving power of the sexual act. In fact, for any of the animals in which copulation occurs, the possibility of accomplishing this is not connected solely with the accumulation of semen, for it depends on obtaining a female. It is necessary, therefore, for the accumulated semen to wait, and for the perception of the female by the aid of the senses to excite the male to coitus.

External Signs of the Sexual Appetite.—Like every other desire the sexual appetite betrays itself by the physionomy. This consists in the play of cerebral activity, that is the thoughts, sentiments and resolutions, on the muscles by means of motor nerves and nerve centers. It is not limited to the face but extends to the whole body. The abdomen, the hands and even [81]the feet have their physionomy; that of the muscles of the face and eyes is, however, the most active and most expressive. Sexual desire betrays itself in looks, by the expression of the face and by certain movements in the presence of the female sex. Men differ greatly in the way in which they betray or hide their sentiments and thoughts by the play of their muscles, so that the inner self is not always reflected without. Moreover, the expression of sexual desire by the play of the physionomy may be confounded with that of other sentiments, so that one who appears libidinous is not always so in reality, and inversely.

Continence in Man.—Abstinence or sexual continence is by no means impracticable for a normal young man of average constitution, assiduous in intellectual and physical work, abstaining from all artificial excitations, especially from all narcotics and alcohol in particular, for these substances paralyze the judgment and will. When sexual maturity is complete, that is after about twenty years, continence is usually facilitated by nocturnal emissions accompanied by corresponding dreams. The health does not suffer from these in any way. However, in the long run this state cannot be considered as normal, especially when there is no hope of it coming to an end in a reasonable time. What is much more abnormal are the numerous artificial sexual excitations that civilization brings with it.

Sexual Power.—The individual variations in the sexual instinct are enormous, and may be said to vary from zero to an intense and perpetual excitation called Satyriasis. By sexual power is understood the faculty of accomplishing coitus. This power in the first place requires strong and complete erections, as well as the faculty of following them by frequent seminal ejaculations, without being precipitate. Impotence or incapacity for coitus belongs to pathology and consists usually in the absence or defectiveness of erections. Sexual power and appetite generally go together, but not always, for it is possible to be powerful with feeble sexual appetite, and intense appetite sometimes goes with impotence; the latter condition, it is true, is pathological. Sexual power also varies so much in individuals that it is hardly possible to fix a limit between the normal and the pathological.

[82]The sexual power and appetite in man are strongest on the average between 20 and 40 years, especially between 25 and 35. But, while young men of 18 to 20 years or more may be still tranquil, without having had seminal ejaculations, one often finds, among races who mature earlier, boys of 12 or 16 who are fully developed both in sexual power and appetite. In our Aryan races, however, when this occurs before the age of 14, it is a case of pathological precocity. The late appearance of sexual power and appetite is rather a sign of strength and health.

After the age of 40, the sexual power slowly diminishes, and after the seventieth year, or even before this, becomes extinct. Exceptionally one finds old men of 80 who are still capable. Normally the sexual appetite diminishes with age; often, however, especially when it is artificially excited, it lasts longer than sexual power.

As regards sexual power we must distinguish between that of copulation and that of fecundation. The power may exist without the latter, when the testicles have ceased to functionate, while the other glands, in particular the prostate, second the venereal orgasm by their secretion, when the power of erection is still preserved. Inversely, the testicles may contain healthy spermatozoa in the impotent. In this case artificial fecundation by the syringe is practicable.

Individual Variations in Sexual Power.—The fact that there are men who for several years can copulate several times a day proves to what extent sexual power varies in man. Sexual excitation and desire may sometimes attain such a degree that they are repeated a few minutes after ejaculation. It is not rare for a man to perform coitus ten or fifteen times in a single night, in brothels and elsewhere, although such excess borders on the domain of pathology. I know a case in which coitus was performed thirty times. I was once consulted by an old woman of 65 who complained of the insatiable sexual appetite of her husband, aged 73! He awakened her every morning at three o'clock to have connection, before going to work. Not content with this, he repeated the performance every evening and often also after the mid-day meal. Inversely, I have seen [83]healthy looking husbands, at the age of greatest sexual power, accuse themselves of excess for having cohabited with their wives once a month or less. The reformer, Luther, who was a practical man, laid down the average rule of two or three connections a week in marriage, at the time of highest sexual power. I may say that my numerous observations as a physician have generally confirmed this rule, which seems to me to conform very well to the normal state to which man has become gradually adapted during thousands of years.

Husbands who would consider this average as an imprescriptible right would, however, make wrong pretensions, for it is quite possible for a normal man to contain himself much longer, and it is his duty to do so, not only when his wife is ill, but also during menstruation and pregnancy.

The question of sexual relations during pregnancy is more difficult, on account of its long duration. In this case caution is necessary, but total abstinence from sexual connection is, in my opinion, superfluous.

The Desire of Change in Man.—A peculiarity of the sexual appetite in man, which is fatal for society, is his desire for change. This desire is not only one of the principal causes of polygamy, but also of prostitution and other analogous organizations. It arises from the want of sexual attraction in what one is accustomed to and from the stronger excitation produced by all that is new; a phenomenon of which we have spoken above. On the average, woman has a hereditary disposition which is much more monogamous than man. The sexual appetite thus loses its intensity from the prolonged habit of connection with the same woman, but, becomes much more intense with other women, if not in all men at any rate in most. Such desires may generally be overcome by the aid of a true and noble love, and by sentiments of duty and fidelity toward the family and toward a respected wife. We cannot, however, deny that they exist, nor that they are the cause of the worst excesses, and the most violent scenes, often with a tragic result. We shall return to this subject later.

Excitation and Cooling of the Sexual Appetite.—Without touching the domain of pathology, I must again dwell on the great [84]individual diversity of the objects of the male sexual appetite. It is usually young but mature female forms of healthy appearance, and especially the sight of the nudity of certain parts of the body which are usually covered, particularly the breasts and sexual organs, which most strongly excite the sexual appetite in man. It is the same with the corresponding odors. The voice, the physionomy, the clothing and many other details may also provoke his desires. There are, however, men who are more excited by thin and pale women.

Certain attributes excite one and not another; for instance, the hair, certain odors, certain forms of face, a certain fashion of clothing, the form of the breasts, etc. The peculiarities, which are absent in women with whom a man has been on familiar terms in his youth are generally those which attract the most. In sexual matters contrasts tend to mutual attraction. Thin people often become enamored of fat, short ones of long ones, and inversely. One cannot, however, fix any rules. One often sees young men excited at the sight of women of older age, and old men enamored of very young women, even of children. All these discrepancies constitute the more important points of origin of sexual pathology. In spite of all, there still exist a great number of tranquil men with monogamous instincts and not fond of change. Lastly, we must not forget that super-abundant feeding and idleness exalt the sexual appetite and tend to polygamy, while hard work, especially physical, and frugal diet diminish it.

It is needless to say that the mental qualities react powerfully on the sexual appetite. A quarrelsome temper, coldness and repulsion on the part of a woman cool the desires of the man, while an ardent sexual desire on the part of the woman, her love and tenderness, tend to increase and maintain them. We are dealing here with purely animal sexual instinct, and we may state that the sexual appetite of woman generally excites strongly that of man, and considerably increases his pleasure during coitus. There are, however, exceptions in the inverse sense, in which coldness and disgust on the part of the woman excite the passion of certain men, who have, however, no taste for libidinous women. All degrees are found in this domain.

[85]Active in the sexual act the man desires corresponding sentiments in the woman. But, on the other hand, all want of natural reserve, and delicate sentiment, and all cynical sexual provocation on the part of a woman, produce in the normal man a repulsive effect. The normal woman possesses an admirable instinct in these matters and knows how to betray her feelings in a sufficiently fine and delicate manner, so as not to hurt those of the man.

A phenomenon, which we shall meet with in Chapter VIII, under the name of psychic impotence, shows the powerful and disturbing interference of thoughts on the automatic action of instinctive sexual activity. A momentary psychic impotence is not necessarily pathological. While voluptuous sensations alternate during coitus with desire and corresponding erotic representations, a sudden idea of the ridiculousness of the situation, signs of pain or of bad temper in the woman, the idea of impotence or of the real object of coitus; finally, anything which acts as a contrast to the sensations and impulses of coitus, may interrupt it, so that the voluptuous sensations and sexual appetite disappear and erection subsides. Voluntary efforts are often incapable of putting things right again. The charm is broken, and only new images and new sentiments associated instinctively with the sexual appetite can be reëstablished, by making the subconscious state preponderate over the reasoning consciousness.

Influence of Modern Civilization. Pornography.—Human sexuality has been unfortunately perverted and in part grossly altered by civilization, which has even developed it artificially in a pathological sense. The point has been reached of considering as normal, relations which are in reality absolutely abnormal. For example, it is maintained that prostitution produces normal coitus in man. How can this term be seriously employed in speaking of connection with a prostitute who is absolutely indifferent to it, and who seeks only to excite her clients artificially and to get their money, without mentioning venereal diseases which she so often presents them with! Forgetful of the natural aim of the sexual appetite, civilization has transformed it into artificial enjoyment, and has invented all possible means to increase and diversify it.

[86]As far back as the history of civilization goes we see this state of affairs, and in this sense we are neither better nor worse than our ancestors. But we possess more diverse and more refined measures than barbarian peoples, and than our direct ancestors, to satisfy our unwholesome desires. Modern art in particular often serves to excite eroticism, and we must frankly admit that it often descends to the level of pornography. Hypocritical indignation against those who dare to say this often serves only to cover in the name of art the most indecent excitants of eroticism.

Photography and all the perfected methods of reproduction of pictures, the increasing means of travel which facilitate clandestine sexual relations, the industrial art which ornaments our apartments, the increasing luxury and comfort of dwellings, beds, etc., are, at the present day, so many factors in the science of erotic voluptuousness. Prostitution itself has become adapted to all the pathological excrescences of vice. In a word, the artificial culture of the human sexual appetite has given rise to a veritable high school of debauchery. The artistic and realistic representations of erotic sexual scenes, so widespread at the present day, are much more capable of exciting the sexual appetite than the crude and unnatural pictures of former days, when, however, erotic objects of art generally belonged to a few rich persons or to museums.

Influence of Repeated Sexual Excitations.—The artificial and varied repetition of sexual excitation, by means of objects which provoke it, increases the sexual appetite. This cannot be doubted, for the law of exercise is a general truth in the physiology of the nervous system. This law, which is also called the law of training, shows that every kind of nervous activity is increased by exercise. A man becomes a glutton by accustoming himself to eat too much, a good walker by exercising his legs. The habit of wearing fine clothes or of washing in cold water causes these things to become a necessity. By continually occupying ourselves with a certain thing, we take a liking for it and often become virtuosos. By always thinking of a disease we are led to imagine that we suffer from it. A melody too often repeated often becomes automatic and we whistle or hum it unconsciously.

[87]Inversely, inactivity weakens the effect of irritations which correspond to it. By neglecting certain activities or the provocation of certain sensations, these diminish in intensity, and we cease more and more to be affected by them. We become idle when we are inactive, for the cerebral resistance accumulates, and idleness renders the renewal of the corresponding activity more difficult. It is not surprising, therefore, to find this law in the phenomena of the sexual appetite, which diminishes with abstinence and increases with repeated excitation and satisfaction. However, another force, that of the accumulation of semen in the seminal vesicles, associated with an old natural inherited instinct, often counteracts the law of exercise of the nervous system, as the empty stomach excites the instinct of nutrition. But, however imperious the hunger, and however indispensable its satisfaction for the maintenance of life, this does not impair the truth of the old saying, "Appetite comes by eating."

The exaggerated desire for sleep experienced by idle people is an analogous phenomenon. Although sufficient sleep is a necessity for healthy and productive cerebral activity, an exaggerated desire for sleep may be artificially developed.

These phenomena are of fundamental importance in the question of the sexual appetite. Here, the well-known axiom of moderation which says, "Abuse does not exclude use" finds its application. An English commentator on Cicero erroneously attributes to him the following: "True moderation consists in the absolute domination of the passions and appetites, as well as all wrong desires, by reason. It exacts total abstinence from all things which are not good and which are not of an absolutely innocent character." This definition is excellent, although it is not Cicero's. It excludes, for example, the use of a toxic substance such as alcohol, which is not a natural food, but not the moderate satisfaction of the sexual appetite which is normally intended for the preservation of the species, for this satisfaction may be good or bad, normal or vicious, innocent or criminal, according to circumstances. In this connection, the application of the right measure, and choice of the appropriate object raise delicate and complicated questions. So-called moral sermons lead to nothing in this domain.

[88]After numerous personal observations made on very diverse individuals who have consulted me with regard to sexual questions, I think I can affirm that when a man wishes to be loyal to himself he is generally able to distinguish between natural desire and artificial excitation of the sexual appetite. To be pursued and tormented by sexual images and desires, even when striving against them, and when the legitimate and normal occasion to satisfy them is absent, is not the same thing as to pass the time in inventing means of artificial excitement to pleasure and orgy while leading an idle and egoistic life. I speak here of the normal man and not of certain pathological states in which the sexual appetite takes the character of a perpetual obsession, even against the will of the patient. By serious and persevering work and by avoiding all means of excitation, the sexual appetite can usually be kept within the bounds of moderation.

We have mentioned above pornographic art as one of the means which artificially excite the sexual appetite. Along with the interested exploitation of the habit of taking alcoholic drinks, exploitation of the sexual appetite constitutes one of the largest fields of what may be called social brigandage. Besides pornographic pictures, the principal means employed to artificially excite the sexual weaknesses of man are the following:

Pornographic novels in which sexual desire is excited by all the artifice of the novelist, and in which the illustrations often rival those we have just spoken of to seduce the purchaser.

Alcohol which, by paralyzing the judgment and will as well as moral inhibitory sentiments, excites the sexual appetite and renders it grossly impulsive. Its first fumes make man enterprising, and he falls an easy prey to proxenetism and prostitution, although it soon weakens the sexual power.

But it is the modern arsenal of prostitution which plays the principal role. The proxenets (pimps) exploit both the sexual appetites of men and the weakness and venality of women. Their chief source of gain consisting in the artificial excitation of the male sexual appetite by all possible means, their art consists in dressing their merchandise, the prostitutes, with attractive refinement, especially when dealing with rich clients who pay well. It is on this soil that are cultivated the most disgusting [89]artifices, intended to excite even the most pathological appetites.

Other causes are added to lucre, or are the consequences of it. A boy led to masturbation by pornographic pictures, or by the seduction of a corrupted individual, becomes in his turn the seducer of his comrades. Certain libidinous and unscrupulous women have often persuaded adolescents and schoolboys to sleep with them, thus awakening precocious and unhealthy sexual appetites.

Such habits which excite the sexual appetite and cause it to degenerate artificially, develop in their turn a mode of sexual boasting in men, the effects of which are deplorable. To appear manly, the boy thinks he ought to have a cigar in his mouth, even if it makes him sick. In the same way the spirit of imitation leads youth to prostitution. The fear of not doing as the others and especially the terror of ridicule constitute a powerful lever which is abused and exploited. Fearing mockery, a youth is the more easily seduced by bad example the less he is put on guard by parents or true friends. Instead of explaining to him in time, seriously and affectionately, the nature of sexual connection, its effects and dangers, he is abandoned to the chance of the worst seductions.

In this way the sexual appetite is not only artificially increased and often directed into unnatural channels, but also leads to the poisoning and ruin of youth by venereal diseases, to say nothing of alcoholism.

We have referred especially to educated youth, but the youth of the lower classes are perhaps in a still worse condition, owing to the promiscuity of their life in miserable dwellings. They often witness coitus between their parents, or are themselves trained in evil ways for purposes of exploitation.

It is astonishing that the results of such abominable deviation of the sexual appetite are not worse. No doubt excesses disturb the ties of marriage and of the family, and often provoke impotence and other disorders of the sexual functions. It must, however, be admitted that their satellites, the venereal diseases, and their most common companion, alcoholism, are in reality the greatest destroyers of health, and make much more [90]considerable ravages in society than the artificial increase and abnormal deviations of the sexual appetite itself. However, the latter by themselves very often poison the mind and social morality, as we shall have occasion to see.

Immoderate sexual desire, provoked in men by the artificial excitations of prostitution, etc., is a bad acquisition. It renders difficult the accustomance to marriage, fidelity and ideal and life-long love for the same woman. It is true, that many old roués and habitués of brothels later on become faithful husbands and fathers, especially when they have had the luck to escape venereal disease.

But whoever looks behind the scenes may soon convince himself that the happiness of most unions of this kind is very relative. The degradation of the sexual sentiment of a man who has long been accustomed to live with prostitutes is never entirely effaced, and generally leaves indelible traces in the human brain.

I readily admit that a man with good hereditary dispositions, who has only yielded for a short time to seductive influences, may be reformed by a true and profound love. But even in him, excesses leave traces which later on may easily lead him astray when he becomes tired of the monotony of conjugal relations with the same woman. On the other hand, we must also recognize that sexual relations in themselves, even in marriage, create a habit which often urges a married man to extra-nuptial coitus, even when he had remained continent before marriage.

The tricks which are played on a man by his sexual appetite, especially by his polygamous instincts, must not, however, be confounded with the systematic, artificial and abnormal training of the same appetite. The physical and psychic attractions of a woman are capable of completely diverting the sexual desires of a man from their primary object, and of directing them on the siren who captivates his senses. The elements of the sexual appetite here form an inextricable mixture with those of love, and constitute the inexhaustible theme of novels and most true and sensational love stories.

Hereditary pathological dispositions play a considerable role [91]in many cases of this kind. Also, marriages of sudden and passionate love (we are not dealing here with love marriages concluded after sufficient reflection and deep mutual acquaintanceship) are not more stable than the so-called "mariages de convenance," for passionate natures, usually more or less pathological, are apt to fall from one extreme to the other. The power exercised by sexual passion in such cases is terrible. It produces conditions that may lead to suicide or assassination. In men whose power of reason is neither strong nor independent, opinions and conceptions are frequently changed; love may change to hatred and hatred to love, the sentiment of justice may lead to injustice, the loyal man may become a liar, etc. In fact the sexual appetite is let loose like a hurricane in the brain and becomes the despot of the whole mind. The sexual passion has often been compared to drunkenness or to mental disease. Even in its mildest forms it often renders the husband incapable of sexual connection with his wife.

For example, a man may cherish, respect and even adore his wife, and yet her presence and touch may not appeal to his senses, nor excite his appetite or erection; while some low-minded woman will produce in him an irresistible sensual attraction, even when he experiences neither esteem nor love for her. In such cases sexual appetite is in more or less radical opposition to love. Such extreme phenomena are not rare, but hardly common. Although excited to coitus with the woman in question, the husband would not in any case have her for wife, nor even have children by her, for after the slightest reflection he despises and fears her. Here, the sexual appetite represents the old atavistic animal instinct, attracted by libidinous looks, exuberant charms, in a word by the sensual aspect of woman.

On the contrary, in a higher domain of the human mind, the sentiments of sympathy of true love, deeply associated with fidelity, and with intellectual and moral intimacy, unite against the elementary power of the animal instinct. Here we see dwelling in the same breast (or, to speak more correctly, in the same central nervous system) two souls, which struggle with each other.

We are not dealing here with cases in which a new passion [92]arrives to turn the man from his old affection. No doubt the extreme cases of which we have spoken are not usual, but we see in most men more or less considerable mixtures of analogous sentiments in all possible degrees, especially when the woman loved loses her physical attractions from age or other causes.

The Procreative Instinct.—The sexual appetite of man does not consist exclusively in the desire for coitus. In many cases it is combined, more or less strongly and more or less consciously, with the desire to procreate children. Unfortunately, this desire is far from being always associated with higher sentiments and with love of children or the paternal instinct. In fact, conscious reasoning plays a smaller part than the animal instinct of self-expansion. We shall see later on that the procreative instinct often plays an important role in our present civilization.

The Sexual Appetite in Woman.—In the sexual act the role of the woman differs from that of the man not only by being passive, but also by the absence of seminal ejaculations. In spite of this the analogies are considerable. The erection of the clitoris and its voluptuous sensations, the secretion from the glands of Bartholin which resembles ejaculation in the male, the venereal orgasm itself which often exceeds in intensity that of man, are phenomena which establish harmony in sexual connection.

Although the organic phenomenon of the accumulation of semen in the seminal vesicles is absent in woman, there is produced in the nerve centers, after prolonged abstinence, an accumulation of sexual desire corresponding to that of man. A married woman confessed to me, when I reproached her for being unfaithful to her husband, that she desired coitus at least once a fortnight, and that when her husband was not there, she took the first comer. No doubt the sentiments of this woman were hardly feminine, but her sexual appetite was relatively normal.

Frequency of the Sexual Appetite in Woman.—As regards pure sexual appetite, extremes are much more common and more considerable in woman than in man. In her this appetite is developed much less often spontaneously than in him, and where it is so, it is generally later. Voluptuous sensations are usually only awakened by coitus.

[93]In a considerable number of women the sexual appetite is completely absent. For these, coitus is a disagreeable, often disgusting, or at any rate an indifferent act. What is more singular, at least for masculine comprehension, and what gives rise to the most frequent "quid pro quos," is the fact that such women, absolutely cold as regards sexual sensations, are often great coquettes, over-exciting the sexual appetites of man, and have often a great desire for love and caresses. This is more easy to understand if we reflect that the unsatiated desires of the normal woman are less inclined toward coitus than toward the assemblage of consequences of this act, which are so important for her whole life. When the sight of a certain man awakes in a young girl sympathetic desires and transports, she aspires to procreate children with this man only, to give herself to him as a slave, to receive his caresses, to be loved by him only, that he may become both the support and master of her whole life. It is a question of general sentiments of indefinite nature, of a powerful desire to become a mother and enjoy domestic comfort, to realize a poetic and chivalrous ideal in man, to gratify a general sensual need distributed over the whole body and in no way concentrated in the sexual organs or in the desire for coitus.

Nature of the Sexual Appetite in Woman.—The zone of sexual excitation is less specially limited to the sexual organs in woman than in man. The nipples constitute in her an entire zone and their friction excites voluptuousness. If we consider the importance in the life of woman, of pregnancy, suckling, and all the maternal functions, we can understand why the mixture of her sentiments and sensations is so different from that of man. Her smaller stature and strength, together with her passive role in coitus, explain why she aspires to a strong male support. This is simply a question of natural phylogenetic adaptation. This is why a young girl sighs for a courageous, strong and enterprising man, who is superior to her, whom she is obliged to respect, and in whose arms she feels secure. Strength and skill in man are the ideal of the young savage and uncultured girl, his intellectual and moral superiority that of the young cultivated girl.

[94]As a rule women are much more the slaves of their instincts and habits than men. In primitive peoples, hardiness and boldness in men were qualities which made for success. This explains why, even at the present day, the boldest and most audacious Don Juans excite most strongly the sexual desires of women, and succeed in turning the heads of most young girls, in spite of their worst faults in other respects. Nothing is more repugnant to the feminine instinct than timidity and awkwardness in man. In our time women become more and more enthusiastic over the intellectual superiority of man, which excites their desire. Without being indifferent to it, simple bodily beauty in man excites the appetite of women to a less extent. It is astonishing to see to what point women often become enamored of old, ugly or deformed men. We shall see later on that the normal woman is much more particular than man in giving her love. While the normal man is generally attracted to coitus by nearly every more-or-less young and healthy woman, this is by no means the case in the normal woman with regard to man. She is also much more constant than man from the sexual point of view. It is rarely possible for her to experience sexual desire for several men at once; her senses are nearly always attracted to one lover only.

The instinct of procreation is much stronger in woman than in man, and is combined with the desire to give herself passively, to play the part of one who devotes herself, who is conquered, mastered and subjugated. These negative aspirations form part of the normal sexual appetite of woman.

A peculiarity of the sexual sentiments of woman is an ill-defined pathological phenomenon with normal sensations, a phenomenon which in man, on the contrary, forms a very marked contrast with the latter; I refer to the homosexual appetite, in which the object is an individual of the same sex. Normally, the adult man produces on another man an absolutely repulsive effect from the sexual point of view; it is only pathological subjects, or those excited by sexual privation who are affected with sensual desires for other men. But in woman a certain sensual desire for caresses, connected more or less with unconscious and ill-defined sexual sensations, is not limited to [95]the male sex but extends to other women, to children, and even to animals, apart from pathologically inverted sexual appetites. Young normal girls often like to sleep together in the same bed, to caress and kiss each other, which is not the case with normal young men. In the male sex such sensual caresses are nearly always accompanied and provoked by sexual appetite, which is not the case in women. As we have already seen, man may separate true love from the sexual appetite to such an extent that two minds, each feeling in a different way, may inhabit the same brain. A man may be a loving and devoted husband and at the same time satisfy his animal appetites with prostitutes. In woman, such sexual dualism is much more rare and always unnatural, the normal woman being much less capable than man of separating love from sexual appetite.

These facts explain the singular caprices of the sexual appetite and orgasm in the normal woman, in whom these phenomena are not easily produced without love.

The same woman who loves one man and not another is susceptible to sexual appetite and voluptuous sensations when she cohabits with the first, while she is often absolutely cold and insensible to the most passionate embraces of the second. This fact explains the possibility of prostitution as it exists among women. The worst prostitutes, who have connection with innumerable paying clients without feeling the least pleasure, generally have a "protector" with whom they are enamored and to whom they devote all their love and sincere orgasms, all the time allowing themselves to be plundered and exploited by him.

What the normal woman requires from man is love, tenderness, a firm support for life, a certain chivalrous nature, and children. She can renounce the voluptuous sensations of coitus infinitely more easily than the exigencies I have just indicated, which are for her the principal things. Nothing makes a woman more indignant than the indifference of her husband, when, for instance, he treats her simply as a housekeeper. Some have maintained that the average woman is more sensual than man, others that she is less so. Both these statements are false: she is sensual in another manner.

[96]All the peculiarities of the sexual appetite in woman are thus the combined product of: (1) the profound influence of the sexual functions on her whole existence; (2) her passive sexual role; (3) her special mental faculties. By these, and more especially by her passive sexual role, are explained her instinctive coquettishness, her love of fiery and personal adornment, in a word her desire to please men by her external appearance, by her looks, movements and grace. These phenomena betray the instinctive sexual desires of the young girl, which as we have just seen, do not normally correspond to a direct desire for coitus.

While a virgin experiences in her youth the sensations we have just described, things change after marriage, and as a general rule after repeated sexual connections. If these do not provoke voluptuous sensations in some women, they do in the majority, and this is no doubt the normal state of affairs. Habit, then, produces an increasing desire for coitus and its sensations, and it is not rare, in the course of a long life in common, for the roles to be reversed and the woman become more libidinous than the man. This partly explains why so many widows are anxious to remarry. They easily attain their object, as men quickly succumb to the sexual desire of woman when it is expressed in an unequivocal manner.

In widows, two strong sentiments struggle against each other, with variable results in different individuals; on the one hand, feminine constancy in love, and the memory of the deceased; on the other hand, the acquired habit of sexual connection and its voluptuous sensations, which leaves a void and appeals for compensation. The sexual appetite being equal, the first sentiment prevails generally in religious women or those of a deeply moral or sentimental character, while the second prevails in women of more material or less-refined nature, or in those simply guided by their reason. In these internal struggles, the more delicate sentiments and the stronger will of the woman result from the fact that when she wishes she can overcome her appetites much better than man. But, in spite of this, the power of the sexual appetite plays an important part in the inward struggle we have just mentioned. When this appetite is absent [97]there is no struggle, and the widow's conduct is dictated either by her own convenience, or by the instinct which naturally leads a woman to yield to the amorous advances of a man.

At the critical age, that is the time when menstruation ceases, neither the sexual appetite nor voluptuous sensations disappear, although desire diminishes normally as age advances. In this respect it is curious to note that old women possess no sexual attraction for men, while they often feel libidinous desires almost as strongly as young women. This is a kind of natural anomaly.

As we have already stated, individual differences in the sexual appetite are much greater in woman than in man. Some women are extremely excitable, and from their first youth experience violent sexual desire, causing them to masturbate or to throw themselves onto men. Such women are usually polyandrous by nature, although the sexual appetite in woman is normally much more monogamous than that of man. Such excesses in woman take on a more pathological character than in man, and go under the name of nymphomania. The insatiability of these females, who may be met with in all classes of society, may become fabulous. Night and day, with short interruptions for sleeping and eating, they are, in extreme cases, anxious for coitus. They become less exhausted than men, because their orgasm is not accompanied by loss of semen.

Although in the normal state woman is naturally full of delicacy and sentiments of modesty, nothing is easier than to make these disappear completely by training her systematically to sexual immodesty or to prostitution. Here we observe the effects of the routine and suggestible character of feminine psychology, of the tendency of woman to become the slave of habit and custom, as well as of her perseverance when her determined will pursues a definite end. Prostitution gives us sad proofs of this fact.

The psychology of prostitutes is very peculiar. Attempts to restore them to a moral life nearly always fail hopelessly; it is rare to see them permanently successful. Most of these women have a heredity of bad quality and are of weak character, idle and libidinous. They find it much easier to gain their living by [98]prostitution, and forget their work, if they have ever learned any. The poverty, drunkenness and shame which follow seduction and illegitimate birth have no doubt driven more than one prostitute to her sad trade, but the naturally evil dispositions of these women constitute without any doubt the principal cause. Alcohol, venereal diseases and bad habits, combined with continually repeated sexual degradation, afterwards determine progressive decadence.

Some of these women, however, of better quality, only surrender themselves to prostitution by compulsion; they suffer from this existence and strive to escape from it. The grisettes and lorettes[2] form a group intermediate between prostitution and natural love; they are women who hire themselves for a time to one man in particular, and are maintained and paid by him in return for satisfying his sexual appetites. Here again, sexual desire only exceptionally plays the chief role. The conduct of these women results from their loose character and pecuniary interest.

If, therefore, we admit on the one hand that the sexual excesses of the female sex are especially grafted on hereditary disposition of character, or are primarily due to strong appetites, we are obliged on the other hand to recognize that the great role played by sexuality in the brain of woman renders it more difficult for her than for man to return to better ways when she has once prostituted herself, or when she has surrendered in any way to sexual licentiousness, even when her original quality was not bad.

In man the sexual appetite is much more easily separated than in woman from other instincts, sentiments and intellectual life in general, and possesses in him, however powerful it may be, a much more transient character, which prevents it dominating the whole mental life.

I have dwelt so much on this point because it is essential to know the differences which exist between man and woman in this respect, and to take them into account if we wish to give a [99]just and healthy judgment on the sexual question from the social point of view. The more it is our duty to give the same rights to both sexes, the more absurd it is to disregard the profoundness of their differences and to imagine that these can ever be effaced.

Flirtation.—If we look in an English dictionary for the meaning of the word flirt, we find it equivalent to coquetry. But this English term has become fixed and modernized in another sense which has become international, to express the old idea of a series of well-known phenomena which must be clearly distinguished from coquetry.

Coquetry, an especially feminine attribute, is not in itself dependent on the sexual appetite; it is an indirect irradiation, purely psychical, and we shall speak of it later on. Flirtation, as we now understand the term, is directly connected with the sexual appetite, and constitutes its external impression in all the wealth of its forms, as much in man as in woman. In a word, flirtation is a polymorphous language which clearly expresses the sexual desires of an individual to the one who awakens these desires, actual coitus alone excepted.

Flirtation may be practiced in a more or less unconscious manner. It is by itself neither a psychic attribute nor sexual appetite, for a human being may so hide and overcome his appetites that no one remarks them; and on the contrary, he may simulate sexual appetite without feeling it, or at any rate behave in such a way as to excite it in his partner. Flirtation thus consists in an activity calculated to disclose the eroticism of the subject as well as to excite that of others. It is needless to say that the nature of coquetry disposes to flirtation.

Flirtation comprises all the sport of love, kisses, caresses and all kinds of sexual excitation even to orgasm, without reaching the consummation of coitus. All degrees may be noted; and, according to temperament, flirtation may be limited to slight excitation of the sexual appetite or may extend to violent and rapidly increasing emissions. The considerable individual differences which exist in sexual sensibility result in the same perception or the same act having little effect on one individual, while it excites another to a high degree. In the latter case, especially [100]in man, flirtation may even lead to venereal orgasm without coitus, and even without any manipulations which resemble it. A woman of exuberant form, assuming sensual and voluptuous attitudes, may thus provoke an ejaculation by the slight and repeated friction of her dress against the penis of an excitable dancer.

The same thing often occurs when a passionate couple caress and embrace each other without the genital organs being touched or even exposed. In this respect the woman is better protected than the man, but when she is very excitable an orgasm may be produced in her during the caresses of a passionate flirtation by the pressure or friction of her legs against each other (a variety of masturbation in woman).

As a rule, however, things do not go so far as this in flirtation. The sight and touch are used alternately. The eyes play an important part, for they may express much and consequently act powerfully. A pressure of the hands, an apparently chance movement, touching the dress and the skin, etc., are the usual means of flirtation. In situations where people are close together or pressed against each other, as in railway carriages, or at table, the legs play a well-known part, by pressure of the knees and feet.

This dumb conversation of the sexual appetite begins at first in a prudent and apparently innocent manner, so that the acting party does not risk being taxed with impropriety; but as soon as he who began the flirtation perceives that his slight invitations are welcome he grows bolder, a tacit mutual agreement is established, and the game continues without a single word betraying the reciprocal sensations. Many who practice flirtation, both men and women, avoid betraying themselves by words, and they take pleasure in this mutual excitation of their genital sensibility, however incomplete it may be.

Flirtation may assume very different forms according to education and temperament. The action of alcohol on the brain develops the coarsest forms of flirtation. Every one knows the clumsy embraces of semi-intoxicated persons which can often be seen at night or on Sundays and holidays, in the street or in railway carriages, etc. I designate these by the [101]term "alcoholic flirtation." Even in the best and most refined society flirtation loses its delicacy even under the effect of the slightest degree of alcoholic intoxication.

Flirtation assumes a more delicate and more complicated character, rendering it gracious and full of charm, in persons of higher education, especially when they are highly intellectual or artistic.

We must also mention the intellectual variety of flirtation which is not expressed by sight or touch, but only by language. Delicate allusions to sexual matters and somewhat lascivious conversation excite eroticism as much as looks and touch. According to the education of the persons concerned, this talk may be coarse and vulgar, or on the contrary refined and full of wit, managed with more or less skill, or clumsily. Here the natural finesse of woman plays a considerable part. Men wanting in tact are clumsy and offensive in their attempts at flirtation, and thus extinguish instead of exciting the woman's eroticism. The manner in which alcoholic flirtation manifests itself in cynical, dull, obtrusive and stupid conversation, corresponds to its other forms of expression. Woman desires flirtation; but does not wish it to assume an unbecoming form.

One can say anything to a woman; all depends on the way in which it is said. I have seen lady doctors with whom one could discuss the most ticklish subjects, profoundly shocked by the misplaced pleasantries of a tactless professor. In themselves these pleasantries were quite innocent for medical ears, as my lady colleagues were finally obliged to admit, when I pointed out to them the specially feminine character of their psychic reaction, proving to them that they listened without a frown to things ten times worse, when the lecturer gave them a moral tone.

Men also generally feel disgusted with the dull, cynical or clumsy form of female eroticism, although they are not usually over-refined themselves in this respect.

This last phenomenon leads us to distinguish between flirtation in man and in woman. For woman it constitutes the only permissible way of expressing erotic sentiments, and even then much restraint is imposed on her. Circumstances develop in [102]her the art of flirtation and give it remarkable finesse. Unless she exposes herself to great danger, woman can only leave her sensuality to be guessed. Every audacious and tactless provocation fails in its object; it drives away the men and destroys a young girl's reputation. Even when possessed by the most violent erotic desire woman cannot ostensibly depart from her passive role without compromising herself. Nevertheless, she succeeds on the whole very easily in exciting the passions of man, by the aid of a few artifices. No doubt she does not entirely dominate him by this means. She must be very delicate and adroit, at any rate at first, in the provocative art of flirtation. These frivolities are greatly facilitated by her whole nature and by the character of her habitual eroticism. Man, on the other hand, may be more audacious in the expression of his passion. This brings us back to what has been said concerning the sexual differences.

A whole volume could be written on the forms of flirtation, which is the indispensable expression of all sexual desire. Among engaged couples it assumes a legal character and even a conventional form. The way in which barmaids flirt with their customers is also somewhat conventional, although in quite a different way. In society, flirtation is generally seasoned with more Attic salt, whether it is not allowed to exceed certain limits, or whether it leads to free liaisons after the manner of the Greek hetaira. In the country, among peasant girls and boys it takes a grosser form, if not more sensual, than among the cultivated classes; in the latter, language takes the principal part. Among rich idlers in watering places, large hotels, and even in some sanatoriums, flirtation takes a dominant place and constitutes, in all its degrees, the chief occupation of a great number of the visitors. It grows like a weed wherever man has a monotonous occupation or suffers from the ennui of idleness.

In certain individuals, flirtation takes the place of coitus from the sensual, and love from the sentimental point of view. There are modern crazy natures who spend their existence in all kinds of artificial excitation of the senses, creatures of both sexes incapable of a useful action.

[103]As a momentary and transient expression of all the necessities of love, flirtation has a right to existence; but, when cultivated on its own account and always remaining as flirtation, it becomes a symptom of degeneration or sexual depravity, among idle, crazy and vicious persons of all kinds.


[2] The terms grisette and lorette are now obsolete, and the names given to this class of women constantly varies. I shall, nevertheless, employ them in the course of this work because they clearly define certain special varieties of remunerated concubinage.




Generalities. Jealousy.—We have seen that the mechanism of the appetites consists in instincts inherited from our animal ancestors by mnemic engraphia and selection, and that it is situated in the primordial or lower cerebral centers (basal ganglia, spinal cord, etc.). In some of the lower animals we already find other instinctive nervous reactions which constitute the indirect effects or derivatives of the sexual appetite. The most evident of these is jealousy, or the feeling of grief and anger produced in an individual when the object of his sexual appetite is disputed by another individual of the same sex. Jealousy may also arise from other instincts, such as those of nutrition, ambition, etc.; but it forms one of the most typical complements of the sexual appetite, and leads, as we know, to furious combats, especially between males, sometimes also between females.

Owing to its profoundly hereditary origin, this passion has a very instinctive character, and might quite as well have been mentioned in the preceding chapter. I deal with it here because it is naturally associated with other irradiations of the sexual appetite, and because it has a peculiarly mental character.

Relation Between Love and Sexual Appetite. Sympathy.—Having entered the higher brain, or organ of mind, and become modified, complicated, and combined with the different branches of psychic activity, the sexual appetite takes the name of love, properly so-called. In order to better understand the relations of love to the sexual appetite we must refer to Chapter II. Let us begin with a short exposition of the phylogeny of the sentiments of sympathy, or the altruistic and social sentiments.

[105]In the lower animals with no separate sexes egoism reigns absolutely. Each individual eats as much as it wants, then divides, buds or conjugates, thus fulfilling the sole object of its existence. The same principle holds in the lower stages of reproduction by separate sexes. Spiders give us a good example. In these, copulation is a dangerous act for the male, for if he is not extremely careful he is devoured by the female, sometimes even before having attained his object, often soon afterward, in order that nothing may be lost. However, the female shows a certain consideration for her eggs, and sometimes even for the young after they are hatched.

In higher stages of the animal kingdom sentiments of sympathy may be observed, derived from the sexual union of individuals. These are sentiments of attachment of the male for the female, and especially of the female (sometimes the male also) for their progeny.

Such sentiments become developed and may be transformed into intense love between the sexes, of long duration. Birds, for instance, often remain faithful for many years, and even for life. From these simple facts is evolved the intimate relationship which exists between sexual love and other sentiments of sympathy, that is to say affection, or love in the more vague and more extended sense of the term.

To every sentiment of sympathy between two individuals (sympathy forms part of the sentiments of pleasure) there is a corresponding contrary correlative sentiment of grief, when the object of sympathy dies, becomes sick, takes flight or is carried off. This sentiment often takes the form of simple sadness, but it may attain a degree of incurable melancholy. Among certain monkeys and parrots, we often see the death of one of the conjoints lead to the refusal of all food and finally to death of the survivor, after increasing sadness and depression. Removal of the young produces a profound sadness in the female ape. But when an animal discovers the cause of the grief, when, for instance, a stranger attempts to take away his mate or his young, a mixed reaction of sentiment is produced, that is to say anger or even fury against the perpetrator of the deed.

Jealousy is only a special form of this anger. The sentiment [106]of anger and its violent and hostile expression constitute the natural reaction against one who disturbs a sentiment of pleasure, a reaction which tends to reëstablish the latter. The power of the sentiment of anger increases with the offensive and defensive faculties, while, in weak and peaceful beings, terror and sadness to a great extent take their place. On the other hand, the sight of defenseless prey suffices to provoke, in the rapacious who are strong and well armed, by simple reflex association, a cruel sentiment of voluptuous anger, which is also observed in man.

Sentiment of Duty.—Another derivative of the sentiment of sympathy is that of duty, that is the moral sense. All sentiment of love or sympathy urges the one who loves to certain acts destined to increase the welfare of the object loved. This is why the mother nourishes her young and plucks feathers and hairs to make them a soft bed; and why the father brings food to his wife and young, and defends them against their enemies. All these acts, which are not to the advantage of the individual but to the object or objects of his sympathy, exact more or less laborious efforts, courage in the face of danger, etc. They thus provoke an internal struggle between the sentiment of sympathy and egoism, or the unpleasantness of undertaking things which are troublesome and disagreeable for the individual himself. From this struggle between two opposed series of sentiments is derived a third group of complex or mixed sentiments, that of duty, or moral conscience. When the sentiment of sympathy prevails, when the animal does his duty toward his young and his conjoint, he feels a sentiment of pleasure, of duty accomplished. If, on the contrary, he has been negligent, the egoistic instincts having for the moment prevailed, the remorse of conscience results, that is the painful uneasiness which follows all disobedience to the instinctive sentiments of sympathy. This uneasiness accumulates in the brain in the form of self-discontent, and may lead to an accentuated sentiment of repentance.

These phenomena exist both in the male and in the female, and if it was not so, the accomplishment of duty would be impossible; the cat would run away instead of defending her young; would eat her prey instead of giving it to them, etc. We thus [107]see the elements of human social sentiment already very marked in many animals. Remorse and repentance can only be formed on the basis of preëxisting sentiments of sympathy.

Sentiment of Kinship.—A higher degree of the sentiments of sympathy is developed when these do not remain limited to a temporary union, but when the union of the sexes is transformed into durable or even life-long marriage, as we see in monkeys and in most birds. In another manner the sentiments of sympathy are developed by extension of the family community to a greater number of individuals, who are grouped together for the common defense, as we see in swallows, crows, and to a higher degree, in the large organized communities of social animals, as the beavers, bees, ants, etc. In the latter, the sentiment of sympathy and duty nearly always affects all the individuals of the community, while anger and jealousy are extended toward every being which does not form part of it.

We must be blinded by prejudice not to comprehend that these same general facts, revealed by the study of biology and animal psychology, are repeated in the human mind. Some animals are even superior to the majority of men in the intensity of their sentiments of sympathy and duty, as well as in love and conjugal fidelity—monkeys and parrots, for example. In the social insects, such as the ants and bees, with their communities so solidly organized and so finely coördinated on the basis of instinct, the sentiment of social duty has almost entirely replaced the individual sentiments of sympathy. An ant or a bee only loves, so to speak, the whole assemblage of his companions. It does not sacrifice itself for any one of them in particular, but only for the community. In these animals the individual is only regarded as a number in the community whose motto is—one for all, but never all for one.

In bees especially, the degree of sympathy extended to a member or a class of the hive is exactly proportional to the utility of this member to the community. The working bees will kill themselves or die of hunger in order to nourish their queen, while in the autumn they ruthlessly massacre all the males or drones which have become useless.

[108]Sentiments of Patriotism and Humanity.—The human brain, so powerful and so complicated, contains a little of all these things, with enormous individual variations. In man, the sentiments of sympathy and duty relate especially to the family, that is to say, they are to a great extent limited to individuals interested in a sexual community, viz., the conjoints and children, as occurs generally in mammals. It follows that sentiments of sympathy connected with larger communities such as remote relatives, the clan, the community, the country, those who speak the same language, etc., are relatively much weaker, and result from education and custom rather than from instinct. The weakest sentiment is certainly that of humanity, which regards each man as a brother and companion, and from which is evolved the general sentiment of solidarity or social duty. How can it be otherwise in a species which has lived for thousands or perhaps millions of years as small hostile tribes, separated from each other? Primitive men were so destitute of all humanitarian sentiment that they not only killed one another and practiced mutual slavery, but also martyred, tortured and even devoured one another.

In spite of all this, and as the result of custom and life in common, the individual sentiments of sympathy in man are easily extended to members of other races, especially as regards different sexes, so much so that enemies conquered and taken prisoners often became later on, owing to life in common, the friends or mates of their conquerors.

Antipathy.—Inversely, individual antipathies and enmity often occur not only between members of the same tribe but even between those of the same family. The latter may lead to parricide, fratricide, infanticide, or assassination of a conjoint.

Phylogeny of Love.—The social life of ants offers us some instructive analogies. In spite of the intense hostility of different colonies of ants among themselves, there may be obtained by habitude, often after many desperate combats, alliances between colonies which were hitherto enemies, even between colonies of different species. These alliances henceforth become permanent. This is very curious to observe at the time when the alliance begins to be formed. We then see certain individual [109]hatreds persist, to a varying extent, for several days. Certain individuals of the weaker party are maltreated by other individuals of the conquering party. They cut off their limbs and antennæ and often martyrize them to death with a rabidness that sadly resembles human sentiments! Hatred and dispute between individuals of the same colony of ants are, on the other hand, extremely rare. I can guarantee the correctness of all these observations, having often repeated them myself and having recorded them in my works on the habits of ants. Moreover, they have since been confirmed by other writers.

After what we have just said, and especially if we take into consideration the numerous observations which have been made in biology, we can hardly doubt that the sentiment of sexual attraction, or the sexual appetite, has been the primary source of nearly all, if not all, the sentiments of sympathy and duty which have been developed in animals and especially in man. Many of these sentiments are no doubt little by little completely differentiated and rendered entirely independent of sexual sentiment, forming a series of corresponding conceptions adapted to divers social objects in the form of sentiments of amity. The latter in their turn have often become the generators of social formations and of a more generalized altruism. Many others, however, have remained more or less consciously associated with the sexual appetite, as is certainly the case in man.

This short sketch which we have given of the phylogenetic history of love and its derivatives is sufficient to show the immense influence which sexual life has exercised on the whole development of the human mind.

On the other hand, we must avoid exaggerating the actual importance of this influence. Young children, who possess neither sexual appetite nor corresponding sensations, already give evidence not only of intense sentiments of sympathy and antipathy, anger and jealousy, but also of commiseration, when they see those whom they love suffer; they may even show that they already possess the sentiment of duty or disinterested devotion. All these phylogenetic derivatives of the sentiments of sexual attraction are thus developed in the individual long before the sexual instinct itself, from which they have become [110]absolutely independent. This does not prevent them being powerfully influenced by the sexual instinct when this awakes, or from being associated with its direct derivatives when the sexual appetite, properly so-called, is absent. Thus we see absolutely cold women become loving and devoted wives and mothers, and possessing a highly developed sense of kinship. Maternal love is a sentiment of sympathy derived from the sexual sentiment, adapted directly to children, who are the products of sexual life.

Constellations.—From all this results the immense complication of the peculiarities of the human mind which are connected with love. Individual variations of the disposition to sexual appetite are combined with individual dispositions to the higher qualities of mind—general sentiments, intelligence and will—to form the most diverse individual combinations, which we may call constellations. Moreover, inherited individual dispositions are combined in man with a great number of experiences and remembrances, acquired in all domains in the course of his life, accumulating them in his brain by what is called education or adaptation to environment. From the immense complexity of energies resulting from hereditary dispositions combined with acquired factors, the resolutions and acts of man are derived, without his being able to account for the infinite multiplicity of causes which determine them.

It is thus that a man may be a model of conduct or morality, simply from the fact that his sexual appetite is almost nil. Another, on the contrary, suffers from an exaggerated sexual appetite, but is devoted, conscientious, and even scrupulous; this results in violent internal struggles, from which he does not always emerge victorious. A third is moderate in his appetites; if his sentiment of duty is strong and he possesses a strong will, he will resist his desires, while if his will is weak or his moral sense defective, he will succumb to the first temptation.

Love and sexual appetite may be intimately connected or completely separated in the same individual. In the same way that a cold woman may be a good mother, a very sensual woman may be a bad one, but the inverse may also be met with.

[111]Love.—I speak here of the true love of a higher nature of one sex for the other, or sexual love, which is not simple friendship, but is combined with sexual appetite. To write on love is almost to pour water into the ocean, for literature is three parts composed of dissertations on love. There can be no doubt that the normal man feels a great desire for love. The irradiations of love in the mind constitute one of the fundamental conditions of human happiness and one of the principal objects of life. Unfortunately, the question is too often treated with exaggerated sentiment, or on the other hand, with sensual cynicism; it is examined from one side only, or else it is misunderstood.

First of all, love appears to be usually kindled by the sexual appetite. This is the celebrated story of Cupid's arrow. One falls in love with a face, a look, a smile, a white breast, a sweet and melodious voice, etc. However, the relations between love and sexual appetite are extremely delicate and complex. In man, the second may exist without the first and love may often persist without appetite, while in woman the two things are difficult to separate, and in any case, in her, the original appetite without love is much more rare. The two things are thus not identical; even the most materialistic and libidinous egoist will agree to this, if he is not too narrow-minded.

It may also happen that love precedes appetite, and this often leads to the most happy unions. Two characters may have extreme mutual sympathy, and this purely intellectual and sentimental sympathy may at first develop without a shadow of sensuality. This is nearly always the case when it exists from infancy. In modern society an enormous number of sexual unions, or marriages, are consummated without a trace of love, and are based on pure speculation, conventionality or fortune. Here it is tacitly assumed that the normal sexual appetite combined with custom will cement the marriage and render it durable. As the normal man has not, as a rule, extreme sentiments, such prevision is usually realized on the whole, the conjoints becoming gradually adapted to one another, more or less successfully according to the discoveries which are made after marriage.

Even when they are relatively true, love stories generally [112]deal with exceptional cases, often even pathological; for the average marriage does not appear to the novelist sufficiently piquant or interesting to captivate his readers. We are not concerned here with extremes, or with the tragic situations met with in novels, but with normal and ordinary love, as it most often occurs in reality.

After what we have just said, it is clear that love is derived from two factors: (1) momentary sexual passion; (2) the hereditary and instinctive sentiments of sympathy which are derived from the primordial sexual appetite of our animal ancestors, but which have become completely independent of this appetite. Between these two terms are placed the sentiments of sympathy experienced by the individual in his former life, which have most often been provoked by sexual desire for an individual of the opposite sex, and which may be evoked by the aid of remembrance, kindled afresh, and contribute strongly to maintain constancy of love. These different sentiments pass into each other in all possible shades, and continually react on each other. Sexual appetite, for example, awakens sympathy, and is awakened by the latter in its turn; on the contrary, it is cooled or extinguished under the influence of bad conduct on the part of the person loved.

Let us here recall a law of the sentiments of sympathy, a law which is well known, but generally forgotten in human calculations. Man loves best those to whom he devotes himself, and not those from whom he receives benefits.[3] It is easy to be convinced of the reality of this fact in the relations of parents to their children, as well as in marriage. When one of the conjoints in marriage adulates the other, the latter may easily find this adulation quite natural, and may love the other conjoint much less than a spoilt child, to which is devoted all the transports of an unreasonable affection. The spoilt child, the object of such blind affection, more often responds to it by indifference, or even by ingratitude, disdain and impertinence. We find everywhere this play of sentiments, which considerably impedes mutuality in love. It may even concern inanimate [113]objects. We like a garden, a house or a book over which we have taken much pains, and we remain indifferent to the most beautiful and precious gifts which come by themselves without our making any effort to obtain them. In the same way, the child becomes attached to some toy which he has made himself, and disdains the costly presents given by his parents. As a poet has said: "Man only enjoys for long and without remorse the goods dearly paid for by his efforts." (Sully-Prudhomme: "Le Bonheur.")

There is, therefore, a profound psychology in the old and wise saying that true love expresses itself as often by refusal as by compliance, and should always associate itself with reason. No doubt this is not primitive love; it is a love elevated and purified by its combination with the elements of intelligence.

In marriage, more than one husband thinks he ought to be separated from his wife and children so as not to spoil them. There is no need of a long explanation to show the fallacy of this idea. To be complete, love should be reciprocal, and to remain mutual it requires mutual education in marriage. Every husband should above all be separated from himself, and not from his wife. If each one did all in his power to promote the happiness of the other, this altruistic effort would strengthen his own sentiments of sympathy. This requires a constant and loyal effort on each side, but it avoids the illusion of a false love, provoked by the senses, vanishing like smoke or becoming changed to hatred. Without being blind to the weaknesses of his partner he must learn to like them as forming part of the person to whom he has devoted his heart, and employ all his skill in correcting them by affection, instead of increasing his own weakness by leaning on them. It is necessary, therefore, neither to admire nor to dislike the defects of the loved one, but to try and attenuate them by aid of integral love.

Love has been defined as "dual egoism." The reciprocal adulation of two human beings easily degenerates into egoistic enmity toward the rest of the human race, and this often reacts harmfully on the quality of love. Human solidarity is too great, especially at the present day, for such exclusivism in love not to suffer.

[114]I would define ideal love as follows: After mature consideration, a man and a woman are led by sexual attraction, combined with harmony of character, to form a union in which they stimulate each other to social work, commencing this work with their mutual education and that of their children.

Such a conception of love refines this sentiment and purifies it to such an extent that it loses all its pettiness, and it is pettiness which so often causes it to degenerate, even in its most loyal forms. The social work in common of a man and woman united by true affection, full of tenderness and devotion for one another, mutually encouraging each other to perseverance and to action, will easily triumph over petty jealousies and all other instinctive reactions of the phylogenetic exclusiveness of natural love. The sentiments of love will thus become ever more ideal, and will no longer provide egoism with the soil of idleness and comfort on which it grows like a weed.

Inconvenience of Abstinence from Sexual Connection Between Married Couples by Medical Orders.—It is a matter of common observation that in marriage, at least during mature life, sexual connection strengthens and maintains love, even when it only constitutes part of that which cements tenderness and affection. In many cases I have observed that medical orders, given no doubt with good intentions, and forbidding sexual connection, on account of certain morbid conditions, have had the effect of cooling the sentiments of love and sympathy and producing indifference which soon becomes incurable. Physicians should always bear this in mind in their prescriptions, of which they too often see the immediate object only. The medical prohibition of sexual connection in marriage should be reserved for cases of absolute necessity. For example: A virtuous and capable man marries for love an intelligent but somewhat ill-developed girl. The marriage is happy and they have several children. But after a time certain local disorders in the woman induce the medical man to forbid sexual connection with her husband. They begin to sleep in separate rooms, and little by little intimate love becomes so far cooled that the renewal of sexual relations later on becomes impossible. The husband's sentiments are so much affected as to render him unfaithful to his [115]moral principles, and to lead him occasionally to visit prostitutes. Although they have become essentially strangers to each other, the husband and wife continue to live together an apparently happy life; but this is far from always the case.

Durable Love.—It may be stated as a principle that true and elevated love is durable, and that the sudden passion which lets loose the sexual appetite toward an individual of the opposite sex, hitherto a stranger, in no way represents the measure of true love. Passion warps the judgment, conceals the most evident faults, colors everything in celestial purple, renders the lovers blind, and veils the true character of each from the other. We are only speaking here of cases where each is loyal and where the sexual appetite is not associated with the cold calculations of egoism. Reason only returns when the first tempest of a passion which seemed insatiable has subsided, when the honeymoon of marriage, or of a free union, has passed. Then only is it possible to see if what remains is true love, indifference, hatred or a mixture of these three sentiments, capable or not of becoming more or less adaptable and tolerable. This is why sudden amours are always dangerous, and why only long and profound mutual acquaintance before marriage can lead to a happy and lasting union.

Even in this case the unforseen is not absent, for it is very rarely that one knows a man and his ancestry; moreover, acquired diseases or mental anomalies may cause his character to degenerate later on.

Let us now examine some psychic phenomena more or less connected with love. For reasons which we have mentioned the irradiations of sexual love are on the whole less developed in man than in woman.


Masculine Audacity.—In the normal male the sentiment of sexual power favors self-exaltation, while the contrary sentiment of impotence, or even that of mediocre sexual power, depresses this sentiment of exaltation. Yet, in reality, the sexual power of man has not the capital importance for a normal and virgin woman that men imagine, influenced as they are by [116]self-exaltation; what imposes on women is especially masculine audacity, and in sexual matters this increases with experience and practice. The company of prostitutes often renders men incapable of understanding feminine psychology, for prostitutes are hardly more than automata trained for the use of male sensuality. When men look among these for the sexual psychology of woman they only find their own mirror.

Man's flirtation, and his art of paying court to women are naturally combined with his audacity, as we have already observed in birds and mammals, and some of the lower animals. The male seeks to please the female to gain her favors. The brilliant colors of butterflies and birds, song, skill and proof of strength, often come to the aid of the male sexual instinct. Even in certain animals supplicant and plaintive sounds assist the male after his repeated refusal, apparently or in reality, by the female. We shall see in Chapter VI that savage men have a much greater tendency to tattoo and adorn themselves than have the women.

The art which man employs to seduce and conquer woman has been described to satiety in romances and novels, as well as in ethnographic works; so that we shall not dwell on it here. On the contrary, we shall show that in higher civilizations man is in general more sought after than woman, so that the latter has surpassed him in the art of flirtation or sexual conquest.

It is also important to remark to what extent the increase of man's mental complexity transforms his sexual tactics. The simple, natural, and at the same time bashful, modest manner, in which a naïve young man seeks to conquer a heart, usually produces no effect on the fashionable young lady, experienced in all refined pleasures and saturated with unhealthy novels. These young women are much more easily seduced by the art of Don Juan and the old roués, who are more adequate to deal with them because they have studied practically the psychology of the modern woman.

Instinct of Procreation.—Another irradiation of the male sexual instinct, connected with the preceding, is the instinct of procreation. If there were no other difficulties or consequences, man would without the least doubt be instinctively inclined to [117]copulate with as many women as he could, and procreate as many children as possible. The more he is capable of satisfying his procreative instinct, the more he becomes self-exalted, as he thus sees himself multiplied and feels his power extended by the possession of a great number of wives and children. This is one of the principal causes which urge rich men and polygamous peoples to possess many women.

Coitus without object, like that of prostitution, can only assuage the sexual appetite and does not satisfy any of its higher irradiations. It is well known that a happy betrothal, reposing on true love, and not on pecuniary interests, often transforms a young man from pessimism to optimism, from misogyny to philogyny. Skeptics smile at this transformation and regard it as only the transient intoxication of love. This may be true in some cases, but, as we have seen above, when love is ennobled by deep understanding and mutual education, when each knows and respects the other, the transformation remains definite, and is strengthened so much that the honeymoon of the silver wedding is often happier and more exalted than that which followed marriage. We can then say that the optimism created by sexual union cemented by true love rests on the normal accomplishment of the object of life. I cannot too often repeat that work in common, especially social work, on the part of the conjoints, is necessary for their happiness to be complete, and to survive in the one who remains after the decease of the other.

Jealousy.—The worst irradiation, or rather the worst reaction of contrast of love, which we have inherited from our animal ancestors, and that which is the most deeply rooted, is jealousy. Jealousy is a heritage of animals and barbarism; that is what I would say to all those who, in the name of offended honor, would grant it rights and even place it on a pedestal. It is ten times better for a woman to marry an unfaithful than a jealous husband. From the phylogenetic point of view, jealousy originates in the struggle for the possession of woman, at a period when right depended only on brute force. Cunning and violence contended with each other, and when the conqueror was in possession of a female, he had to guard her jealously to prevent her being abducted. Furious combats ensued. [118]As soon as an unaccustomed approach, a look or anything else awakened the least suspicion of the presence of a rival, the male was tormented with a continual and instinctive feeling of defiance and distrust, often increased by the remembrance of the sadness of former defeats and the impotent rage which followed.

The results of male jealousy in the history of marriage are truly incredible. I may mention the iron girdles with locks—the so-called girdles of chastity—which we still see in certain museums, which the knights of the Middle Ages put on their wives when they set off to the wars, in order to appease their jealousy. Many savage peoples do not content themselves with severely punishing adultery in woman, even by death, but even simple conversations with a strange man. Jealousy transforms marriage into a hell. It is often exalted in man to the point of a mania for persecution, to which it is analogous. It is also a very common symptom of alcoholism. Then the life of the unfortunate woman who is the object of it becomes a continual martyrdom. Perpetual suspicion accompanied by insults, threats and violent words, and even homicide may be the result of this atrocious passion.

Even in its more moderate and normal form, jealousy is a torment, for distrust and suspicion poison love. We often hear of justified jealousy; I maintain, on the contrary, that jealousy is never justified, and that it is only the brutal stupidity of an atavistic heritage, or a pathological symptom. A reasonable man who has doubts as to the fidelity of his wife has certainly the right to assure himself of their correctness. But of what use is it to be jealous? If he finds his suspicions false he has, by his manner, made his wife unnecessarily unhappy and destroyed conjugal confidence and happiness. If, on the contrary, his suspicions are well founded he has only to choose between one of two ways. If it is a case of amorous intoxication suggested by another man to his wife, who is often very unhappy about it, she may then be restored to her husband and pardoned, for in this case affection only can cure her, never jealousy. If, however, love for her husband is entirely extinguished in her, or if she is only a false intriguer without [119]character, jealousy is even more absurd, for the game is not worth the candle, and immediate divorce is necessary.

Unfortunately, man only possesses very little control over his feelings when these are violent. The jealous person by nature, that is by heredity, is generally incurable and poisons his own existence at the same time as that of his wife. Such individuals should never marry.

In lunatic asylums, in law, and in novels jealousy plays an important part, for it is one of the most fruitful sources of tragedies and human unhappiness. The combined and persevering efforts of education and selection are necessary to gradually eliminate it from the human brain. We often hear it said of man and woman that they are not jealous enough, because they are too indulgent toward the extra-nuptial inclinations of their conjoint. When such indulgence rests on cynical indifference or on pecuniary interests, it is not the want of jealousy but the want of moral sense which is to blame. If it arises from real and reasoned love, it should on the contrary be highly respected and praised. I would wish all heroes of offended honor and all defenders of jealousy to reflect on the following case:

A man of high position, and the father of five children, lived in the most happy union. One day he made the acquaintance of a friend of his wife, a very intelligent and well-educated lady. Frequent visits and long conversations led to intimacy which developed into violent reciprocal love. However, the lady refused to abandon herself entirely. The husband confessed everything to his wife, even to the smallest details, and the lady did the same. Instead of becoming jealous, the wife had the good sense and the courage to treat the two lovers not only with indulgence, but a true and profound affection. The loyalty of each of the parties interested greatly facilitated the gradual dénouement of a difficult situation, without the family affections suffering. But the dénouement would have been quite as peaceful if the lady had yielded to sexual connection with the husband. In fact, the wife herself considered this question very seriously and calmly, in case the fire could not be otherwise extinguished.

[120]I ask in all sincerity, if such mild and humane treatment of an unfortunate love affair, in which the three interested parties each strove to avoid all scandal and everything which could damage their mutual reputation, I ask if this good and loyal treatment is not, from the moral standpoint, far superior to scenes of jealousy, duels, divorces and all their consequences, things which are all sanctioned and even sanctified by custom?

I also know many cases where the husbands of women who have fallen in love with other men have conducted themselves in an equally noble and reasonable manner, even when their wives had been completely unfaithful, and the results have always been good. It is needless to say that I do not wish to maintain that a husband should tolerate indefinitely the bad conduct of his wife, nor a woman that of her husband; but this is another thing.

Sexual Braggardism.—Let us pass on to another irradiation of the male sexual appetite—sexual braggardism. This arises from self-exaltation evolved from the sexual power of man. Like jealousy, this sentiment is no doubt inherited from our animal ancestors, and it finds its analogy, or rather its caricature, in the cock, the peacock, the turkey, and in general among the richly adorned males of polygamous species. Although on the whole more innocent, the results of this atavistic instinct are no more elevated than those of jealousy. The sentiment of sexual power induces men, especially those of lower mental caliber, to boast of their sexual conquests and exaggerate them. It is needless to say that success does not go to the unskillful boaster, but to the one who relates his audacious exploits in a casual way. The Don Juan experienced in the art of seduction approaches women with audacity and aplomb, and usually imposes on them considerably, whatever his ignorance of other things. He has instinctively learnt one thing: viz., the weakness of woman in the face of the male form, theatrical effect, uniforms, an audacious act, a fierce mustache, etc. He has learnt that these fireworks hypnotize her and silence her reason, and that she is then capable of enthusiasm for the most doubtful cavalier and delivers herself to him bound hand and foot, provided his self-assurance does not desert him.

[121]I may say here that it is most often men of low intellect, weak in judgment and principles, who think themselves most superior to the feminine sex, and who behave as tyrants to their wives.

Sexual braggardism has, moreover, grave consequences for the man himself, for it urges him to excesses which far exceed his appetites and especially his natural wants. In spite of other advantages, he wishes to shine by these excesses among his fellows and even among the grisettes whose minds are full of sexual matters.

Male sexual braggardism contributes with sexual appetite to entice reserved and high-minded young men toward prostitutes, against their better instincts, their reason and their moral sense. Alcohol especially facilitates the degeneration of sexual life.

The Pornographic Spirit.—The term eroticism is given to the state of excitation of the sexual appetite. When a person cultivates it artificially and abandons himself to purely animal sensuality, without combining it with higher intellectual or moral aspirations, there develop in the mind irradiations which may be designated by the term pornographic spirit. The entire circle of ideas of such individuals is so impregnated with eroticism that all their thoughts and sentiments are colored by it. They see everywhere, even in the most innocent objects, the most lewd allusions. Woman is only regarded by them as an object of sexual enjoyment, and her mind only appears to such satyrs as an ignoble erotic caricature, which is disgusting to every man capable of lofty sentiments.

Owing to its usually sensual and gross nature, male eroticism has succeeded in modeling a whole class of women in whom ideal character in their desires is wanting. Instead of recognizing his own work and the vile image of his own person in these unnatural women, the libertine, as we have already seen, imagines them as the normal type of woman. From the height of his presumption, he then despises woman and does not perceive that it is himself whom he despises; for on the whole, from the sexual point of view, the dependent woman of to-day conforms herself to man and becomes what he makes her. The number of coitus, their details, the size and form of the sexual organs, [122]the pleasure of having cut out other men, and especially the pathological perversions of the sexual appetite, form the chief object of the thoughts and conversations of pornographic minds. Each tries to outdo the others in sexual enormities, and the virtuosity of these gentlemen in this domain is only surpassed by their ignorance and incapacity in all others.

Prostitution and all the modern sexual degeneration which marches under the hypocritical flag of Christianity, civilization and monogamy, have so far developed the pornographic spirit that men living in centers of debauchery, centers which are unfortunately extending more and more from town to country, lose all conception of the noble qualities natural to the feminine sentiment and to true love, or only preserve a few shreds of it which they treat with ridicule. Many men have admitted this to me, after being much astonished when I was obliged to give them quite another conception of love and woman, without introducing the least trace of religion. No doubt certain better individuals, fallen by chance into debauchery, speak respectfully of a mother or a sister, for whom they profess an almost religious worship. They regard these as beings apart, as species of a lost race of demigods, and they do not perceive that they discredit them and drag them in the mud by their contempt and pornographic conception of woman in general, a conception which is moreover often altered to profound pessimism.

In the relatively moral circles of society, our description would no doubt be taxed with exaggeration, because natures a little more refined have the habit of acting like the ostrich who hides his head in the sand, that is to say of turning their eyes away from the pornographic swamp with disgust so as not to see it, and thus avoid it instinctively. But this maneuver serves no purpose: the facts remain as they are.

Eroticism is no more a vice than sexual anæsthesia is a virtue. Even when they are chaste, men of libidinous nature require a strong will to resist all the artificial seductions which excite their sensuality. This is why the bog of debauchery engulfs so many men of a naturally good nature. In this sense, cold natures are better off; they can cover themselves with the glory of a "virtue" the resplendent rays of which become lost in a penumbra of [123]defects and weaknesses from which these natures suffer in other domains.

Sexual Hypocrisy.—Hypocrisy is a peculiarity deeply rooted in the human mind. We can affirm that whoever pretends never to have been a hypocrite lies, quite as much as one who swears he has never lied. But nowhere, save perhaps in the domain of religion, does hypocrisy play a greater part than in the sexual domain. Nowhere is there so much falsehood, and men who are most honest on other points make no scruple of deceiving their wives in this respect. I do not speak here of the simulation of sentiments of love, for it is too banal, and there is no need to be too exacting over this point, for there are strong attenuating circumstances.

First of all, erotic feelings are capable of blinding man for the moment, as far as persuading him of the eternal duration of love and fidelity which he promises the object of his appetites, as well as of the reality of the celestial qualities under which this object appears to him, or with which it pleases him to adorn it. Two persons mutually excited by sexual passion are fascinated by the illusions of a mirage, which often vanishes soon afterward, so that it is not rare to see them on the following day hurling the most violent abuse at each other.

Those who have not been witnesses of such events may hardly believe them. It is sufficient, however, to be a magistrate or to read the reports of lawsuits between debased persons as the result of love quarrels, broken engagements or marriages, seductions, etc., to study the letters that the two parties have written before and after their quarrel, in order to be convinced of the correctness of what we have said above. In the first letters the lovers adulate each other and adorn each other with the most hyperbolic epithets, swearing eternal love and fidelity, and deluding each other in the most absurd manner. In letters written sometimes only a few days later we are astonished to see the same individuals grossly insulting each other and mutually covering themselves with ignoble calumnies. This is how passion without reason passes through the furnaces of love and hatred, dragging after it all the artificial scaffolding of what man imagines to be his right based on logic, but which is in reality only a [124]tissue of ridiculous contradictions, the automatic and inept product of his emotional state. Such contrasts are so frequent that we can easily recognize the expression of a psychological law, due to the mirages of the amorous passions on the one hand and the inverse reaction on the other.

Nevertheless hypocrisy has its good side. It has been said not without reason that "hypocrisy is a concession which vice makes to virtue." In their nakedness human thoughts are often so sadly vulgar and so offensive that a little varnish improves them. In this sense, and when it comes from a feeling of shame or good-will, hypocrisy deserves a good deal of the eulogy which Mark Twain has heaped on it in his charming satire, "The Decadence of the Art of Lying."

In the sexual question hypocrisy is directly provoked by the tyranny and barbarism of what are called good manners, often even by the law. In this sense it constitutes a response of human nature to the forms and customs derived from the right of the stronger or from religious superstitions, as well as from the dogmas resulting from them.

By the term sexual hypocrisy I do not mean the repugnant forms of hypocrisy pure and simple, in which man only exploits love indirectly for an interested end, for instance when he simulates love to obtain a rich wife. I only speak of the forms of hypocrisy which are directly evolved from the sexual appetite or from love.

It is from this point of view that we must judge sexual hypocrisy, and if I have laid special stress on its good points, it is in view of marriage, where it assists the education of noble and elevated sentiments even in the hypocrite. By praising the virtues of his helpmate with a little exaggeration, these are made to appear more noble. If the time is spent in saying disagreeable truths, love is soon stifled and killed. On the contrary, if each conjoint attributes to the other as fine qualities as possible, each is finally persuaded that the other really possesses them, and then realizes them himself, at any rate in part.

The worst of hypocrisies is that which is the product of base pecuniary interests, or of a gross sexual appetite without love, or lastly by the pressure of conventional or religious customs. [125]Good hypocrisy consists in the repression of all that is base in the sentiments, inclinations and passions; in the fact that one strives to hide it from others, even from one's self, and to suggest in its place as many amiable qualities as possible, so as to strengthen in a disinterested manner the object of one's love in noble sentiments. This kind of hypocrisy is in reality an indirect product of altruistic sentiments. One perceives with pain on reflecting, either the absence of spontaneous sentiments of sympathy, or the presence of disgust and bad temper, and one strives to hide the thing by sympathetic expressions for which one seeks an object, and to which one would wish to give a durable character. Loyal efforts made in this direction often succeed in correcting the egoistic humor with which one is affected, and in giving rise to the sentiments one desires to experience. One must not, however, by only looking at one side of the question, allow such efforts to degenerate into maladroit blindness, which will only have the effect of spoiling the person one loves.

Egoistic Love.—It is obvious that the psychic irradiations of the sexual sense are strongly influenced by the individuality of the one who loves. The egoist loves in a manner naively egoistic. He is not wanting in fine words, but in his opinion all sentiment and respect is due to his person, while he reduces to a minimum his duties toward the object of his love. He exacts much from the other and gives little. The good man with altruistic sentiments feels things in an inverse way; he exacts little from others, and much from himself.

Love differs in different natures, according as they are calm or lively, imbecile or intelligent, well educated or otherwise: the will plays a great part here. Weakness and impulsiveness are found in love, as well as energy and perseverance. In the last point woman is superior, owing to the greater constancy of her love. There is thus no domain of the mind which is not influenced by love, and which does not react on love in its turn.

Intellectual occupations are facilitated by a happy love, while they are usually hindered by the sorrows of love. Even men of science, so proud of their calmness, are often more influenced [126]than one would think in their scientific opinions by their emotional sentiments. Without a man being aware of it, his sentiments insinuate themselves into the opinions which he believes to be of a purely intellectual nature, and direct them unconsciously with much more power than he generally imagines. Such influences act chiefly on individuals disposed to sentimentality. In love, these individuals resemble two-edged swords; the intensity of their emotional reactions and sentiments drives them from one extreme to another, from foolish happiness to despair or fury. The situation becomes still more grave when such storms burst among impulsive persons of weak will and limited intelligence. Under such circumstances ill-assorted alliances are formed which lead to violent quarrels, and sometimes even to crime. When jealousy comes on the scene the man often kills the woman and commits suicide.

It would seem that such crime can only arise from egoism; this is often the case, but not always. Despair may often lead to such acts, without any motive of vengeance, or even of jealousy. The storm of passion drives weak-minded persons to impulsive actions, the motives of which are very difficult to analyze. After these tragedies of murder preceding suicide, when the murderer survives, he often expresses himself as follows: "I was in such a state of despair and excitement that I saw no other issue than death for both of us."

Prudery. Modesty.—The sentiment of modesty originates in the fear of everything which is novel and unusual, and is complicated by natural timidity. This sentiment is especially strong in children. The sentiment of sexual modesty in man thus rests on timidity and on the fear of not doing as others do. It betrays itself toward women by awkwardness and bashfulness behind which eroticism is often ill concealed. The timid and bashful man carefully endeavors to hide his sexual feelings from others. The object of modesty is in itself immaterial to the psychology of this sentiment, and shame is sometimes inspired not only by very different things but even by opposite things. One youth is ashamed of appearing erotic, another of appearing too little erotic, according to the opinion of his neighbors.

[127]Modesty depends on the custom of covering or exposing certain parts of the body, and people who live in a state of nature are as much ashamed of clothes as we are ashamed of nudity. Moreover, man soon becomes accustomed to fashion, and the same English girl who blushes at the sight of a few inches of bare skin in her own country, finds it quite natural to see naked negroes in the tropics.

The artificial and systematic cultivation of an exaggerated sentiment of modesty produces prudery, the bad results of which are, however, less than those of pornography. There are young people so modest that the simple thought of sexual matters overexcites them terribly. By associating their own erotic feelings, of which they feel ashamed, with sexual ideas, they invest these with terrifying attributes, and become quite unhappy; in this way they are often led to masturbation. They are, however, excessively frightened at this also and imagine its effects so terrible that they think themselves lost. Their exaggerated feelings of modesty often prevent them confiding in some charitable person. However, they rarely find reasonable consolers; some ridicule them, while others regard them as iniquitous, which only increases their terror and drives them to extremes.

The sexual sentiment of modesty very often becomes unhealthy, and is then easily combined with pathological sexual conditions.

Prudery is, so to speak, sexual modesty codified and dogmatized. It is indeterminate, because the object of modesty is purely conventional, and man has no valid reason to regard any part of his body as shameful. Normal man ought only to be ashamed of bad thoughts and actions, contrary to his moral conscience. The latter should be based on natural human altruism only, and not artificially misled by dogma.

The Old Bachelor.—The importance of the psychic irradiations of love is shown perhaps more clearly from the results of their presence in old bachelors than from any other consideration. In our time, no doubt, the state of the old bachelor rarely means the renunciation of the satisfaction of sexual appetite, although it generally entails the renunciation of love. There are, no doubt, two kinds of old bachelors, those who are [128]chaste and those who are not. The old bachelor no doubt leads a less empty existence than the old maid, but the void exists none the less. Man also needs compensation for the absence of love and family, but his brain is more capable than that of woman of finding this compensation in hard intellectual work or in some other employment.

The old bachelor is generally pessimistic and morose. He easily becomes the slave of his fads and hobbies, and the peculiarities of his character are proverbial. His egoism knows no bounds, and his altruistic impulses usually find too few objects or echoes.

The chastity of some old bachelors conceals sexual anomalies. But even apart from this, the old celibate easily becomes shy, affected, misanthropic or misogynistic, at least if some energetic friend does not induce him to utilize his power of work in some useful sphere. At other times he lavishes exaggerated admiration on women and worships them in a pompous manner.

In a separate category come those old bachelors who are chaste and celibate for high moral reasons, and whose life is spent in social work, although they are only men and cannot for this reason free themselves from all the peculiarities we have mentioned. In a word, the object of life is partly wanting in the best of old bachelors, and this void not only affects his sentiments but his whole mental being. His general tendency to pessimism and egoism would be sufficient alone to provoke an energetic protest against the abandonment of social power to celibates.

The old bachelor who is not chaste generally descends to pornography, only becoming acquainted with the worst side of woman. He becomes a misogynist because he wrongly attributes to all women the character of those only with whom he has intimate relations. We have already pointed out this phenomenon in speaking of male eroticism. The philosopher, Schopenhauer, was an example of this kind.


In speaking of love in man we have already touched on many points which differentiate it from that of woman. In the latter, [129]the most prominent peculiarity is the dominant role which it plays in the brain. Without love woman abjures her nature and ceases to be normal.

The Old Maid.—What we have said of old bachelors applies in a still more marked degree, to old maids. Still more than men they have need of compensation for sexual love, to avoid losing their natural qualities and becoming dried-up beings or useless egoists. But, if the void left by love is greater in her, woman possesses such natural energy and perseverance, combined with such great power of devotion, that on the whole she is more capable than man of accomplishing the work which the void in her existence requires. Unfortunately, many women do not understand this. On the other hand, those who devote themselves to social philanthropic works, to art or literature, to nursing the sick or to other useful occupations, instead of amusing themselves with futile things, may greatly distinguish themselves in such social pursuits, and thus obtain real compensation for the loss of love.

In this respect woman was formerly misunderstood. The modern movement of her emancipation shows more and more what she is capable of and promises much more in the future.

As to the old maid who lives alone with her egoism, her whims and fancies generally exceed those of the old bachelor. She has not the faculty of creating anything original by her own intellect, so that, having lost love, all her mental power shrinks up. Her cat, her little dog, and the daily care of her person and small household occupy her whole mind. It is not surprising that such persons generally create a pitiable and ridiculous impression.

Between these two extremes there exists a category of unmarried women whose sexual love finds compensation in the love they bear for a parent or a friend (male or female), which although not sexual is none the less ardent. Such occupation for their sentiments improves their state of mind and partially fills the void; however, it is not sufficient as a rule and only constitutes a last resource. This kind of devotion, by its exclusiveness, often produces bad results, for its horizon is too limited. If the object of love, which is generally too pampered, dies or [130]abandons her, she loses her head; grief, bitterness and pessimism never leave her, unless she finds consolation in religious exaltation, which is often observed in other women deprived of love. This last peculiarity is met with, moreover, in all classes of women, even among the married.

Passiveness of Woman. Sexual Appetite.—Ideal love should never be dual egoism. What happens when two persons live exclusively for each other, if one of them dies? The survivor sinks into inconsolable despair, all that his heart was attached to is dead, because his love did not extend to other human beings, nor to social works. Widows then become as pitiable as old maids, although in another way, when they have lost the object of their exclusive love. This is why we recommend social work, not only for celibates, but also for loving couples.

I again emphasize the fact that in normal women, especially young girls, the sexual appetite is subordinate to love. In the young girl love is a mixture of exalted admiration for masculine courage and grandeur, and an ardent desire for affection and maternity. She wishes to be outwardly dominated by a man, but to dominate him by her heart. This sentimentalism of the young girl, joined to the passive role of her sex, produces in her a state of exaltation which often borders on ecstasy and then overcomes all the resistance of will and reason. The woman surrenders herself to the man of whom she is enamored, or who has conquered or hypnotized her. She is vanquished by his embraces and follows him submissively, and in such a state of mind she is capable of any folly.

Although more violent and impetuous in his love, man loses his sang-froid on the whole much less than woman. We can therefore say that the relative power of sentiment is on the average greater in woman, in spite of her passive role.

I cannot protest too strongly against the way in which men of the day disparage women and misunderstand them. In the way in which a young girl abandons herself to their sexual appetites, in caresses, and in the ecstasy of her love, they think they see the proof of a purely sensual eroticism, identical to their libidinous desire for coitus, while in reality she usually does not [131]think of it, at any rate at first. The first coitus is usually painful to woman, often repugnant. Many are the cases where young girls, even when they knew the terrible social and individual dangers of their weakness, even when they have perhaps once already experienced the consequences, let the man abuse them without a word of complaint, without a trace of sexual pleasure or venereal orgasm, simply to please the one who desires them, because he is so good and amiable, and because refusal would give him so much pain. In his violent passion and in his egoism, man is generally incapable of understanding the power of this stoicism of a mind which surrenders itself in spite of all dangers and all its interests. He confounds his own appetites with the sentiments of the woman, and finds in this false interpretation of feminine psychology the excuses for the cowardice of which he gives proof when he yields to his passions. The psychology of the young girl who surrenders herself has been admirably depicted by Goethe in Gretchen ("Faust"), as well as by de Maupassant on several occasions.

It is necessary to know all these facts in order to estimate at its true value the ignominy of our social institutions and their bearing on woman's life. If men did not so misunderstand women, and especially if they were aware of the deep injustice of our customs and laws with regard to them, the better ones, at least, would think twice before seducing young girls, to abandon them afterward with their children. I am only speaking now of true love and not of the extortion so often practiced by women of low character, or those already educated in vice.

I shall say no more concerning eroticism, which really exists in many women, especially in those who are already experienced in sexual matters. On the other hand there are women who deceive their husbands and allow themselves to be seduced by any Don Juan, even when they have never had the least sexual appetite, or felt a single venereal orgasm. They allow themselves to be dragged in the mud and lose their reputation, their fortune and their family; they even let their seducer trample them under foot; they become defamed and treated as women without character, without honor and without any notion of duty. They are simply poor feeble creatures incapable of [132]resisting masculine proposals. With good psychological training they would often become better women, active, devoted and full of life. It seems hardly credible, but it is true, that one sometimes finds in this category women who are highly gifted. It is then said that they are wanting in moral sense, but this is not always correct. In other respects they may be faithful to their duty, devoted, sometimes even energetic and heroic; but they submit to masculine influence to such a degree that they cannot conceive how to resist it. They find it quite natural to give way to it and their mind does not understand that the complete abandonment of their body to the man they love should not necessarily follow immediately after the abandonment of their heart, or even after the first kiss. It is impossible for them to make distinctions or to trace limits.

Idealism in Woman.—The cases I have just described are extreme, although very common; they give the note of a general phenomenon of feminine love in its exaltation. It is needless to say that reasonable women of high character behave themselves in quite another manner, however profound their love. Nevertheless the trait which we have just described is nearly always found at the bottom of all true love in woman, however much it may be veiled, dissimulated or conquered.

It is not always audacity or heroic deeds like those of the bold cavaliers of former days which excite love in woman. The external qualities of man, such as beauty and elegance, etc., also play a part, although their effect may be less decisive than that of the bodily charms of woman in exciting love in man. Intellectual superiority, high moral actions, and mental qualities in general, easily affect the heart of woman, which becomes exalted under their influence. But every man who becomes famous either for good or evil, the fashionable actor, the celebrated tenor, etc., has the power of exciting love in women. Women without education or those of inferior mental quality are naturally more easily affected by the bodily strength of man, and by his external appearance in general. Many women are especially liable to succumb under the influence of all that is mystic. These become infatuated by preachers, and religious enthusiasts, to say nothing of hypocrites.

[133]Nothing is sadder than the contrast between the exalted love of a virtuous and chaste young girl, and the debauched life, with its traits of cynical pornography, of the majority of young men. Guy de Maupassant has described this contrast in a most striking manner in his romance entitled "Une Vie." I know a number of cases in which the complete ignorance of young married women with regard to sexual relations, combined with the cynical lewdness of their husbands, has transformed the exalted love of a young girl into profound disgust, and has sometimes even caused mental disorders. Although not very common, the psychoses resulting from the deception and shock of the nuptial night are not very rare. But what is much worse than this douche of cold water which suddenly substitutes the reality of coitus for the ideal exaltation of sentiment, are the subsequent discoveries made by the young wife, when the cynical mind of her husband on the subject of sexual connection and love is unveiled to her in all its grossness, resulting from his previous life of debauchery. Torn and sullied in its deepest fibers, the feminine mind then becomes the seat of a desperate struggle between reality full of deceptions and the illusions of a dream of happiness.

If it is only a question of bad habits, or want of tact in the husband, behind which there exists perhaps true love, the wounds in the woman's sentiment may heal and intimacy may develop; but when the cynicism is too marked, when the habits of sexual debauchery are too inveterate, the love of a virtuous woman is soon stifled, and is changed to resignation and disgust, often to martyrdom or hatred.

In other cases the woman is weak and ill-developed and allows herself to sink to the level of her husband's sentiments. Sometimes, the crisis is accentuated and leads to divorce. In de Maupassant's "Une Vie," he describes with profound insight the continuous deceptions of a young innocent and sentimental girl who marries an egoistic roué, and whose life is transformed into martyrdom and completely ruined. De Maupassant's romances contain such true psychology of sexual life and love in all their forms, often even in their exceptional aberrations, that they furnish an admirable illustration to the present chapter.

[134]Petticoat Government.—A series of most important irradiations of love in woman results from the need she feels of being, if not dominated, at least protected by her husband. To be happy, a woman must be able to respect her husband and even regard him with more or less veneration; she must see in him the realization of an ideal, either of bodily strength, courage, unselfishness or superior intellect. If this is not the case, the husband easily falls under the petticoat government, or indifference and antipathy may develop in the wife, at least if misfortune or illness in the husband does not excite her pity and transform her into a resigned nurse.

Petticoat government can hardly make a household truly happy, for here the positions are reversed and the wife rules because the husband is weak. But the normal instinct of woman is to rule over the heart of man, not over his intelligence or on his will. Ruling in these last domains may flatter a woman's vanity and render it dominating, but it never satisfies her heart, and this is why the woman who rules is so often unfaithful to her husband, if not in deed, at least in thought.

In such a union she has not found the true love which she sought, and for this reason, if her moral principles are weak, she looks for compensation in some Don Juan. If the woman in question has a strong character, or if she is sexually cold, she may easily become sour and bitter. These women, who are not rare, are to be dreaded; their plighted love is transformed into hatred, bad temper or jealousy, and only finds satisfaction in the torment of others.

The psychology of this kind of woman is interesting. They are not usually conscious of their malice. The chronic bitterness resulting from an unfortunate hereditary disposition in their character, as much as from their outraged feelings, makes them take a dislike to the world and renders them incapable of seeing anything but the worst side of people. They become accustomed to disparage everything automatically, to take offense at everything and to speak ill of everything on every occasion. They are unhappy, but they find a diabolical joy in all misfortune where they see the confirmation of their somber prophecies, the only satisfaction which is capable of exalting them.

[135]We have just said that a certain constitutional disposition is necessary for such a deplorable change in feminine sentiments to be produced; but this disposition is often only developed under the influence of circumstances which we have indicated or analogous ones.

It is impossible for the life in common of two conjoints not to reveal their reciprocal failings. But true love generally suffices to definitely cement a union, provided that the wife finds a support in the steadfast nature of her husband, which then serves as her ideal. It is also necessary that the husband, finding sentiments of devoted love in his wife, should reciprocate them. These conditions are sufficient, if both devote their efforts to the maintenance of their family and the social welfare.

Maternal Love.—The most profound and most natural irradiation of the sexual appetite in woman is maternal love. A mother who does not love her children is an unnatural being, and a man who does not understand the desires of maternity in his wife, and does not respect them, is not worthy of her love. Sometimes egoism renders a man jealous of the love which his wife bears to his children. At other times, the father may show more love for the children than their mother; such exceptions only prove the rule.

The most beautiful and most natural of the irradiations of love is the joy of parents at the birth of their children, a joy which is one of the strongest bonds of conjugal affection, and which helps the couple in triumphing over the conflicting elements in their characters, and in raising the moral level of their reciprocal sentiments, for it realizes the natural object of sexual union.

A true woman rejoices at the progress of her pregnancy. The last pains of childbirth have hardly ceased before she laughs with joy, and pride, at hearing the first cries of the newly born. The instinctive outburst of maternal love toward the new-born child corresponds to a natural imprescriptible right of the child, for it needs the continual care of its mother. Nothing is so beautiful in the world as the radiant joy of a young mother nursing her child, and no sign of degeneration is more painful than that of mothers who abandon their children without absolute necessity, to strange hands.

[136]On the other hand reason must intervene. The instructive transports of maternal love soon require a counterpoise. It is important to prevent them from degenerating into unreasonable spoiling, by scientific and medical education of the infants. Modern medical art has made great progress in this direction, but unfortunately, egoism, negligence, routine, the desire of enjoyment, or often the poverty of many mothers prevent them from benefiting from this progress and applying it as they should. Instead of looking after their children they leave them to nurses. The latter may be necessary to help and instruct young wives during their first childbirth; but a natural mother will profit by these instructions and will herself become an excellent nurse, because she will feel her natural ties and will consecrate herself to them with the devotion of a maternal love heightened and refined by reason and knowledge. Among the lower classes the poverty and ignorance of mothers, often also their thoughtlessness and indolence, are an obstacle to the rational education of infants.

"Monkey's Love."—Maternal love thus constitutes the most important irradiation of the sexual instincts in woman. It very easily degenerates into weakness, that is to say into unreasonable passion and blind compliance with all the faults of the child, which the mother excuses and transforms into virtues. The foibles of maternal love do much harm to the child and are often the origin of bitter deceptions. Hereditary weakness of character here plays a great, or even the principal part. Nevertheless, maternal foibles have other causes—riches, absence of culture, idleness, too few children, etc.

The best antidote for this unreasonable maternal love, which the Germans call "monkey's love" consists in active occupations for the mother, combined with a healthy education of her character. Work alone is not sufficient, if the mother has limited ideas, and if she is not freed from routine, ignorance, superstition and weakness of will.

Sentiments and Perseverance.—The power of love in woman does not rest alone on the varied harmony of her sentiments of sympathy for her husband and children, and on the extraordinary finesse and natural tact which she adds to it; such qualities [137]make her, no doubt, the ray of sunshine in the family life, but more powerful still are the tenacity and perseverance of her love.

In general, it is by will-power that woman is superior to man, and it is in the domain of love that this superiority shines in all its glory. As a general rule it is the wife who sustains the family. Among the common people, it is she who economizes, she who watches carefully over all and corrects the failings, the passionate and impulsive acts, the discouragements, so frequent with the husband. How often do we see the father abandon the children, waste his earnings and leave his situation under some futile pretext, while his courageous wife, although suffering from hunger and destitution, holds firm and manages to save the debris which has escaped the excesses and egoism of the husband.

The husband of a feeble or alcoholic wife sometimes becomes the sole support of the family, but such exceptions only prove the rule, that where the normal love and courage of woman are wanting, the family becomes broken up, for man very rarely possesses the necessary faculties for its preservation.

It follows from these facts that the modern tendency of women to become pleasure-seekers, and to take a dislike to maternity, leads to complete degeneration of society. This is a grave social evil, which rapidly changes the qualities and power of expansion of a race, and which must be cured in time, or the race affected by it will be supplanted by others.

If the feminine mind is generally wanting in intellectual imagination and power of combination, it is all the more powerful in the practical intuition of its judgment and in sentimental imagination. The finesse of its moral and æsthetic sentiments, its natural tact, its instructive desire to put some element of poetry into all the details of life, contribute to form true family happiness, a happiness which the husband and children too often enjoy without fully realizing the devoted labor, the love and the pains which the mother has given to create it.

Routine.—The reverse of the irradiations of love in woman is constituted by her failings, which we have already partly indicated. We may add that her intelligence is usually superficial, that she attributes an exaggerated importance to trifles, that she often does not understand the object of ideal conceptions, and [138]remains attached by routine to all her hobbies. This routine represents in feminine psychology the excess of a tenacious will applied only to the repetition of what has been taught. In the family, woman constitutes the conservative element because sentiment in her much more than in man, combined with persevering tenacity, predominates over intelligence; but sentiments represent everywhere and always the conservative element in the human mind.

This is why woman is the strongest supporter of dogmas, customs, fashions, prejudices and mysticism. It is not that she herself is more disposed than man to mystic beliefs, but these when once dogmatized dazzle the eyes of the suffering with visions of compensation in a better world. In this way a number of unhappy or disappointed women are affected with religious exaltation and thus cling to the hope of happiness after death which they believe will compensate them for the vicissitudes of their existence.

The other reverses of the feminine character, such as want of logic, obstinacy, love of trinkets, etc., result from the fundamental weakness of the feminine mind which we have just analyzed. Moreover, the social dependence in which man has placed woman, both from the legal and educational points of view, tend to increase her failings. Many people fear that women's suffrage would hinder progress, for the reasons we have just indicated, but they forget that the actual suffrage of men is to a great extent exercised by their wives, indirectly and unconsciously. This fact alone shows that the education, and legal emancipation of women can only be beneficial to progress, especially as they would contribute to the education of men, too prone to degenerate on account of their presumptuous and tyrannical autocracy.

Woman has an instinctive admiration for men of high intellect and lofty sentiments, and strives to imitate those who provoke her admiration, and carry out their ideas. Let us therefore give women their proper rights, equal to ours, at the same time giving them a higher education and the same free instruction as ourselves; we shall then see them abandon the obscure paths of mysticism, to devote themselves to social progress.

[139]Jealousy in Woman.—Other irradiations of love in woman are similar to those of man. Jealousy is perhaps not much less developed in woman than in man. It is less brutal and violent but more instinctive and persevering; it manifests itself by quarrels, needle pricks, chicanery, petty tyrannies and all kinds of tricks which poison existence as much as man's jealousy, and are quite as inefficient against infidelity. In the highest degree of passion the jealous man uses violence or resorts to firearms, while the woman scratches, poisons or stabs. Among savages, jealous women bite off their rivals' noses; in civilized countries they throw sulphuric acid in the face. The object is the same in both cases—to disfigure.

Amorous illusions produced in woman by the sexual appetite are analogous to those of man, but are modified by feminine attributes. It is the same with hypocrisy. The passive role of woman in sexual life obliges her only to betray her feelings to the object of her desires in a reserved and prudent manner. She cannot make advances toward man without contravening the conventions and risking her reputation. She therefore has to be more skillful in the art of dissimulation. This gives us no right to accuse her of falseness, for this art is natural, instinctive and imposed by custom. Her desire for love and maternity unconsciously urges her to make herself as desirable as possible to man by her grace and allurements. Her stolen glances and sighs, and the play of her expression serve to betray her ardor as through a veil. Behind this furtive play, especially calculated to excite the passions of man, are hidden, in the natural and good woman, a world of delicate feelings, ideal aspirations, energy and perseverance, which are much more loyal and honest than the motives revealed by the more brusque and daring manner in which man expresses his desires. The fine phrases by which man's love is expressed generally cover sentiments which are much less pure and calculations much more egoistic than the relatively innocent play of the young girl. No doubt there are false women whose amorous wiles are only a spider's web, but we are speaking here of the average, and not of exceptions.

Coquetry.—The sexual braggardism of man is only found in some prostitutes; it is replaced in woman by coquetry and the [140]desire to please. Vain women profit by the natural grace and beauty of their sex and person, not only to attract and please men, but also to shine among their fellows, to make other women pale before their brilliance and their elegance. Coquettes take infinite pains in this art. All their efforts and all their thoughts are directed only to increase their charm by the brilliancy of their toilette, the refinement of their attire, the arrangement of their hair, their perfumes, paint and powder, etc. It is here that the narrowness of the mind of woman is revealed in all its meanness.

To describe feminine coquetry would oblige me to descend to banality. If we go to a ball or a fashionable soirée, if we observe women at the theater, their toilettes, their looks and expressions, or if we read a novel by Guy de Maupassant, "Fort Comme la Mort," or "Nôtre Cœur," for example, we can study all the degrees and all the degeneration of this part of the sexual psychology of women. Many of them have such bad taste that they transform themselves into caricatures; dye their hair, paint their eyebrows and lips to give themselves the appearance of what they are not, or to make themselves appear young and beautiful.

These artifices of civilized countries resemble the tattooing, nose-rings, etc., with which savage women adorn themselves. The latter are represented by earrings, bracelets and necklaces. All these customs constitute irradiations of the sexual appetite or the desire to please men. Male sexual inverts (vide Chap. VIII) also practice them, and often also certain dandies with otherwise normal sexual instincts.

The Pornographic Spirit in Woman.—This is absolutely contrary to the normal feminine nature, which cannot be said of eroticism. Among prostitutes, as we have seen, the pornographic spirit is only the echo of their male companions, and in spite of this, we still find a vestige of modesty even in them. No doubt, in very erotic women, sexual excitations may lead to indecent acts and expressions, but these are rare exceptions and of a pathological nature.

Natural feminine eroticism, not artificially perverted, only shows itself openly in complete intimacy, and even here modesty [141]and the æsthetic sense of woman correct and attenuate it. Normally, all obscenity and cynicism disgusts women and only inspires them with contempt for the male sex. On the other hand, they are easily stimulated to eroticism by pictures or novels, if they are sufficiently æsthetic, or even moral. This is a great danger for both sexes, especially for woman—eroticism dissimulated under hypocritical forms, and intended to idealize dishonest intentions (vide de Maupassant: "Ce Cochon de Morin").

Modesty and Prudery in Woman.—In woman the sentiments of modesty and prudery have a peculiar character, which results from her natural disgust for pornography on the one hand, and also from her attachment to fashion and prejudice. Many women have a perfect terror of exposing certain parts of their body, even to a medical man. This fact depends on convention, and sometimes on the absence or perversion of sexual feelings. Brought up to prudery, sometimes to an absurd extent as in England, these women lose their natural feeling and often suffer from the excitation, indignation, and perpetual fright, which result from it. The exaggerations of prudery, moreover, easily lead to opposite excesses, or else degenerate into hypocrisy. The prude is ashamed of the most natural things, and undergoes continual torment.

Prudery can be created or cured by education in childhood. It may be created by isolation, by covering all parts of the body, and especially by making children regard nudity as shameful. On the other hand, it may be cured by mixed bathing, by accustoming the child to consider the human body, in all its parts and functions, as something natural of which one need not be ashamed, lastly by giving instruction on the relations of the sexes, in due time and in a serious manner, instead of replying to ingenuous questions by pious falsehoods, by equivocation, or by an air of mystery.

The chapter on love is infinite, and its relations to the sexual appetite make it still more complex. We shall confine ourselves to indicating two more of its irradiations, peculiar to each sex, but having for each a physionomy corresponding to its own mentality.



"We understand by fetiches, objects, portions of objects, or even simply the qualities of objects which, from their association with a certain person or with the idea of this person, produce a kind of charm or at least a profound impression, which in no way corresponds to the nature of the object itself."—(Krafft-Ebing.) The fetich thus symbolizes a person in whom we have such a profound interest that everything connected with her disturbs our feelings. It is we ourselves who place in the fetich the charm arising from the person whom it symbolizes for us.

In many religions fetichism plays an important part, so much so that fetiches such as amulets or relics produce ecstasy in the faithful.

Binet, Krafft-Ebing and others give the name erotic fetichism to the charm which certain objects or certain parts of the body exercise in a similar way on the sexual desires or even on love, in the sense that their simple representation is powerfully associated with the erotic image of a person of the other sex, or with a particular variety of sexual excitation. In both man and woman certain portions of the clothes or the body, the hair, the foot and hand, or certain odors of the person desired, may take the character of fetiches. It is the same with certain intellectual peculiarities and certain expressions of the features. In man, the woman's hair, her hands or feet, her handkerchief, perfumes, etc., often play the part of erotic fetiches.

We may call anti-fetiches certain objects or certain qualities which, on the contrary, destroy eroticism. Certain odors, the tone of a voice, an ugly nose, a garment in bad taste, an awkward manner, often suffice to destroy eroticism by causing disgust for a person, and their simple representation is enough to make her unbearable. Symbolizing disgust, the anti-fetich paralyzes the sexual appetite and love.

In normal love, it is especially by association of ideas in calling to mind the image of the person loved that the fetich plays the part of an exciting agent. It often, however, becomes itself the more special object of the sexual appetite, while the anti-fetich [143]produces the opposite effect. But, in degenerates (vide Chap. VIII) it is sometimes exclusively to the fetich itself that an irresistible sexual appetite is addressed, the irradiation of which becomes a ridiculous caricature of love.

We thus see that normal love is based on an extremely complex synthesis, on a symphony of harmonious sensations, sentiments and conceptions, combined in all kinds of tones and shades. The pathological aberrations of which we shall speak, demonstrate this by forcing one tone or another to the more or less marked exclusion of the rest.


Love and eroticism play a great part in religion, and many derivatives of religious sentiment are intimately associated with the sexual appetite. As Krafft-Ebing says, religious ecstasy is closely related to amorous ecstasy, and very often appears in the guise of consolation and compensation for an unhappy or disappointed love, or even in the absence of sexual love. In the insane, religion and eroticism are combined in a very characteristic manner. Among a number of peoples certain cruel religious customs are the result of transformed erotic conceptions.

As in religion, there is something mystical in love; the ineffable dream of eternal ecstasy. This is why the two kinds of mystic and erotic exaltation become blended in religions.

Krafft-Ebing attributes the cruelty found in many religions to sadism (sexual lust excited by the sufferings of others). (Vide Chap. VIII.)

"The relationship so often established between religion, lust and cruelty can be reduced almost to the following formula: at the acme of their development, the religious and sexual passions show a concordance in quality and in quantity of excitation, and may consequently replace each other, under certain circumstances. Under special pathological influences, both may be transformed into cruelty."—(Krafft-Ebing.)

We shall return to this subject in Chapters VIII and XII.


[3] This tendency of man has been analyzed with a very refined psychology by Labiche, in one of his most celebrated comedies: "Le voyage de M. Perichon."




In the study of the sexual question it is absolutely necessary to guard against subjectiveness and all preconceived theory, and to avoid sentimentalism as well as eroticism. These two dangers play a considerable part in the study of human sexual life. Presented in a conscientious and scientific way the history of marriage furnishes us the most trustworthy material for the study of the sexual relations of man in social life. It is from this material that we can learn the relative importance of the different psychological and psycho-pathological factors in social evolution. But, to furnish valid material, history must not only be based on trustworthy and veracious sources; it must also give a comparative study of the sexual relations which exist in most, if not all, of the peoples actually existing. The present savage tribes no doubt resemble more closely the primitive peoples than our hybrid agglomeration of the civilized world. Moreover, the modern study of ethnology gives us more certain information than the uncertain, incomplete and often fabulous statements of ancient documents. I am speaking here of primitive history, and not of the Greek and Roman civilizations. Unfortunately the correctness of ethnological observations, and especially their interpretation, still leave much to be desired.

Edward Westermark, professor at Helsingfors, in his "History of Human Marriage," has given us a monumental work, which is remarkable, not only for the richness and exactness of its material, but also for the clearness and good sense of its criticism. I shall give a résumé of Westermark's results, as the subject is beyond the domain of my special studies. The author has collected a great number of observations in order to avoid erroneous conclusions. He warns the reader against a hasty generalization, [145]which attributes without proof certain customs of living savage tribes to our primitive ancestors.


In the previous chapter we have considered the phylogeny of love in general. We have seen that some of the lower animals, such as the ants and bees, give evidence of an instinctive social altruism much greater than that of man, while other animals, such as birds, are superior to us as regards monogamous conjugal fidelity. But it is a question here of analogies due to phenomena of convergence, and these animals are of interest to us only as remote objects of comparison.

As regards marriage in primitive man, we can only compare ourselves with the living animals most closely allied to us, viz. the anthropoid apes.

In most mammals, marriage (if we may give this name to their sexual union) is only of very short duration, depending on the time necessary for the procreation of a single brood of young. After copulation the male generally pays little attention to the female, beyond protecting her for a certain time. In the anthropoid apes (orang-utan, chimpanzee, gorilla and gibbon) however, we find monogamous marriage and the institution of family life. The male protects the female and the young, and the latter are often of different ages, showing the existence of conjugal fidelity extending beyond one birth. While the female and the young remain in their nest, perched on a tree, the male takes his place at the foot of the tree and watches over the safety of the family.

According to Westermark this was probably the same in primitive man. Formed by the father, the mother and the children, the family was in primitive man a general institution, based on monogamy, polygamy or polyandry. The wife looked after the children, and the husband protected the family. No doubt, the husband was not particularly anxious for the welfare of his wife and children, but concerned himself chiefly in the satisfaction of his sexual appetite and his pride. He was useful, however, in building the nest, or hut, in procuring the necessary food, and in defending his family.

[146]Most legends relate that primitive man lived in promiscuity with women, without marriage, and that marriage was instituted by some god or by some law. But this opinion, which is still held by most modern authors, is quite erroneous, as Westermark has demonstrated in a masterly manner, by the aid of documents which are absolutely conclusive.

The duty of the husband to provide food for the family is a general law among savage peoples. A confirmation of this law is found in the fact that most often in polygamous races the man has only the right to as many wives as he can support. Every man must give proof that he is capable of feeding his family. Even after divorce the husband's duties continue, and may even be transmitted to his heirs. For example, among certain peoples, his brother is obliged to marry his widow. The husband's duties appear to be inherited from the higher apes, among whom conjugal fidelity lasts longer than the sexual appetite. This fidelity has therefore deep phylogenetic roots in our nature, and we shall see later on that we cannot neglect it without compromising our social state (Chap. XIII).

The following is the definition of marriage as given by Westermark: Marriage is a sexual union of variable duration between men and women, a union which is continued after copulation, at least till the birth of the child.

According to this definition, there may be monogamous, polygamous and polyandrous marriages, as well as marriage in groups and limited marriage. It is evident that permanent monogamous unions, such as occur in birds and the higher apes, are, according to this definition, true marriages, of better quality even than those of many men.

Among animals which have a definite rutting period, marriage cannot depend solely on the sexual appetite, or egoistic eroticism, without ceasing with the rut. It follows from this that natural selection and the mneme (engraphia) have derived from the sexual appetite certain social or altruistic instincts, with the object of preserving the species by protection of the young. Although not the only means of preserving the species, such instincts are certainly important.

The family is thus the root of marriage. This explains the [147]custom, among certain races, of marriage only becoming valid after the birth of a child. In many forms of marriage by purchase, the wife is even bound to return to her husband the sum paid for her if she remains sterile, and among many savages the marriage is only celebrated after the birth of the first child. In Borneo, relations between the sexes are free till pregnancy occurs, and it is this which determines the duties of marriage. In this respect, these savages are more just and wiser than us.

In man, a special reason in favor of marriage is the fact that he has no rutting period. In animals the rutting period is generally regulated so that the young are born exactly at the time of year when they will find food most abundant. For example, the muscardin copulates in July and brings forth young in August, at the time when nuts are ripe, while elephants, whales and certain monkeys, who find food at all seasons, do not copulate at any definite period.

The anthropoid apes, however, have a rutting period, and something analogous is found among certain human races (Californians, Hindus and certain Australians) in the spring, when sexual orgies are indulged in. In man there is no particular correlation between eroticism and the possibility of easily obtaining food for the children at the time of birth. Nevertheless, a recrudescence of the sexual appetite is generally observed in the spring and beginning of summer, with a corresponding increase in the number of conceptions. This is probably explained by the fact that infants born in the autumn or winter are more robust. Moreover, natural selection has almost entirely ceased in civilized peoples, owing to the artificial means used to rear children, and to the diminution which results from their mortality.

We thus see that the institution of marriage in man does not depend on the excitation of the sexual appetite, for this is, on the whole, continuous.


The fact that the anthropoid apes produce feeble and dependent young, whose infancy is long, has probably been the origin of marriage. Kautsky says that in primitive man the child [148]belongs to the clan; but this is an error. Originally, human societies were composed of families, or rather associations of families. In primitive man, these families play the fundamental role and constitute the nucleus of society. In the anthropoid ape we already find the family, but not the clan. This must also have been the case with the pithecanthropoids and other extinct transitory forms. In fact, the lowest savages still live as isolated families like the carnivorous mammals, rather than in clans or tribes. This is the case, for example, with the Weddas of Ceylon, the indigenes of Terra del Fuego, the aboriginal Australians, the Esquimaux and certain Indians of Brazil. In this way they have better conditions for subsistence.

In primitive times therefore, man lived in families, on the produce of the chase. Later on, the spirit of discovery, the more abundant food obtained by traps and by the cultivation of plants allowed men to live in tribes. Thus, intellectual development was the first cause of social life in man, and Lubbock is certainly wrong in considering that the establishment of clans dates further back than the first beginning of civilization. Westermark's conclusions are as follows:

(1). At no period of human existence has family life been replaced by clan life.

(2). Conjugal life is a heritage from ancestors who lived in a similar way to the anthropoid apes of the present day.

(3). Although less intimately and less constantly bound to the children than to the mother, the father has always been in man the protector of the family.


Most sociologists believe with Lubbock, Bachofen, MacLennan, Bastian, Giraud-Teulon, Wilkens, and others that primitive man lived in sexual promiscuity. If we agree with Westermark that the term marriage includes polygamy, polyandry and limited marriage, the opinion of these authors is wrong. What they have considered as promiscuity can always be included in one of these forms of marriage, even among the indigenes of Hayti, whose life is the most debauched. The author who has most confused the question is Fison, with his dogmatic theories [149]concerning the Australians. Obliged to admit that promiscuity does not exist among these people, he still maintains that it existed formerly. Curr, who was better acquainted than Fison with the Australians, has proved that they are normally monogamous.

Similar statements of Bastian, Wilkens and others concerning the Kustchins, the natives of Terra del Fuego, are also incorrect. In none of the African tribes is there communion of women, the men, on the other hand, are extremely jealous. Promiscuity is not observed among savage and primitive races, but among people already civilized, such as the Buddhist Butias, in whom man knows neither honor nor jealousy. The savage Weddas are monogamous, and one of their proverbs says: "Death alone can separate woman from man."

There is in reality only one true form of promiscuity—the prostitution of modern civilized races, who have introduced it among savages, subjecting them to gratify their own lust. Among many savage races there exists, on the contrary, a very severe monogamy, and they punish with death every seducer and illegitimate child, as well as the mother. Among others, however, considerable sexual freedom is allowed before or after marriage. It is impossible to lay down definite rules, but one thing may be regarded as universal, viz., that the sexual depravity of savage races most often arises from the influence of civilized people who immigrate among them and systematically introduce immorality and debauchery. It is the white colonists who appropriate the women of savage races and train them in the worst forms of prostitution. It is the white colonists who introduce alcoholic drink which disorganizes the most virtuous and loyal habits, and ends with ruin.

Certain Arab clans exploit European habits of prostitution by sending their young girls to brothels for purposes of gain. When they have accumulated a sufficient fortune they return home and marry one of their fellow countrymen. Similar customs are observed among other races.

In this connection Westermark points out that the more advanced is civilization, the greater is the number of illegitimate births, and the more widespread is prostitution. In [150]Europe, the proportion of natural children and of prostitutes is nearly double in the towns what it is in the country. This shows the absurdity of regarding promiscuity as a primitive state; on the contrary, it is a rotten fruit of civilization, and especially of semi-civilization. Primitive customs are generally chaste, and it is civilization which corrupts them. In Europe, prostitution is increasing, while marriage is becoming less frequent; it is the latter which constitutes the primitive and normal state.

Westermark admits, as we have mentioned above, that sexual liberty before or after marriage exists among certain tribes; but in spite of this the custom of careful choice always exists among these people, and this renders their unions comparatively lasting. He cites as an example the Tounghtas of India, who practice sexual connection before marriage, but among whom these connections nearly always lead to marriage; this race considers prostitution as dishonorable.

We must, however, make one objection to Westermark. Promiscuity in itself is not necessarily prostitution, for the latter signifies especially the sale of the body, which is not the case in promiscuity. The fundamental fact which prevents us admitting the existence of primitive promiscuity among savage races is the following: As soon as the two sexes are free, the monogamous instinct of the woman and jealousy of both sexes combine to reëstablish marriage. True promiscuity can only exist by means of a sort of legal obligation, such as exists in the colony of Oneidas in New York. In this colony the members formally agree to mutual and free sexual intercourse. We must not forget that prostitution is only kept up in women by the thirst for lucre, and ceases immediately this element disappears.

Before the Reformation there existed in Scotland a singular custom called "hand-fasting," by which young men had the right to choose a companion for a year, at the end of which time they could either separate or become married according to their inclination.

On the other hand, Lubbock mentions certain customs in Greece and India, the worship of phallus, for example, which obliged young girls to give themselves to all men. But these [151]customs were not among primitive races but resulted from the eroticism of highly civilized nations. Thus, Lubbock's argument concerning the existence of primitive promiscuity falls to the ground.

Certain savage nations offer their daughters or their servants, rarely their wives, to their guests. A jus primæ nocti (right to the first night) has also existed and will sometimes exist in some tribes, but this right is reserved for the chiefs, kings or priests, and allows them to have sexual intercourse before the husband with every newly married woman during the first night of the nuptials. This is a barbarous custom based on the right of the stronger, and analogous to the privileges claimed by the European nobles from their serfs or peasants. But such abuses do not constitute promiscuity, as Lubbock maintains.

In many countries the courtesans and concubines were held in high esteem, and are so even at the present day, more than is supposed; but this again is not a question of promiscuity.

Morgan has deduced his theories of promiscuity from terms employed in certain savage dialects to designate relationship. These conclusions are false and Morgan, like others, has been led into error by the obscurity of the language of these people. The simple fact that paternal parentage is recognised among them proves the absurdity of Morgan's reasoning, for promiscuity cannot recognize paternal parentage.

In 1860 Bachofen drew attention to the ancient custom of naming the children after the maternal side, and it is now certain that this custom has existed among many primitive races, while in others children were named after the paternal side. The term matriarchy is given to denomination after the maternal side. MacLennan maintains the existence of matriarchy in promiscuity, but this is inadmissible. Maternity is self-evident, while paternity can only be proved indirectly by the aid of reasoning. No doubt all nations appear to have recognized the real part which the father takes in every conception, and from this results the singular custom among certain tribes, in which the husband retires to his couch and fasts during the accouchement of his wife.

[152]Westermark explains matriarchy in a simpler and more natural way, by the intimate relations of the child to the mother. Children, especially when they are still young, follow the mother when she separates from the father. Matriarchy is quite natural in marriages of short duration, with change of wives, and in polygamy; while, in monogamous nations, it is patriarchy, or denomination after the paternal line, which dominates.

Among nations where the denomination of uncles exists, and where the married woman lives with her family till she has a child, matriarchy results quite naturally from this fact. In Japanese families who have only daughters, the husband of the eldest takes his wife's family name. Among savages in general, the name has a great importance. When rank and property are only inherited in the female line, the children are always named after this line. We are thus concerned here with very complex questions which have nothing to do with promiscuity.

Maine has proved that prostitution and promiscuity lead to sterility and decadence. Among the few tribes in which polyandry is the rule, especially in Thibet, several brothers generally have the same wife. But they usually alternate, and never dwell together. In the fifteenth century, in the Canary Islands, every woman had three husbands, each of whom lived with her for a month, and the one who was to possess her during the following month had to work both for her and for the other two husbands. Polyandry has always originated in scarcity of women.

The jealousy of men, which has never ceased to exist, gives the clearest proof of the impossibility of promiscuity. Polyandry is only possible among a few feeble and degenerate races who ignore jealousy. These tribes are diminishing and tend to disappear. The jealousy of savages is generally so terrible that among them a woman who commits adultery is usually put to death along with her seducer. Sometimes they are content with cutting off her nose or inflicting other chastisement. It is from jealousy that results the obligation of chastity in the woman.

Religious ideas on the future of man after death are often combined with these ideas; this is why chastity, death, or even [153]all kinds of torture are, in certain countries, imposed on the woman after death of the husband.

It must not be forgotten that among most savages the wife is regarded as the property of her husband. If the latter lends his wife to a guest, he offers her as part of a feast. This is not, however, promiscuity, and we must understand that these people have quite different sentiments to ours. In clans or tribes the most powerful men have always had the youngest and most beautiful wives.

To sum up, there is not the shadow of proof in support of the doctrine of primitive promiscuity, a doctrine which is based on purely hypothetical grounds.


Among animals the voluntary celibate exists only among the females of certain birds which have become widowed, and even then the case is rare. In savage man, nearly every individual marries, and the women look upon celibacy or widowhood almost in the same way as death. The savage despises celibates as thieves or sorcerers. In his opinion a man without a wife is not a man. He therefore marries at a much earlier age than civilized man, sometimes even (in Greenland) before fecundation is possible. Among certain Indians men sometimes marry at the age of nine or ten years, generally between fourteen and eighteen; the girls between nine and twelve. In some comparatively civilized nations the celibate is so much despised that they go as far as marrying the spirits of departed children! Among the Greeks, celibates were punished, and among the Romans they were taxed heavily. Celibacy becomes more rare the further we go back in the history of the human race; celibacy increases with the corruption of morals. It is civilization which does most harm to marriage, especially in the large towns, and the age at which people marry becomes more and more advanced, although in Europe there are more women than men. Want of money and insufficient salaries diminish more and more the number of marriages in the large centers, while among savages, and also among our peasants, the women and children are one of the principal sources of wealth, because they work and [154]have few needs. Among the middle classes, on the contrary, the wife is a source of expense, as well as the education of the children. For men, the length of intellectual and professional education (and military service in many countries) cause marriage to be postponed and celibacy is obligatory at the time when the sexual appetite is most powerful. Thus, the more civilization advances, the longer is marriage postponed. The refinement and the multiplicity of pleasures also diminish the attractions of marriage.

Lastly, intellectual culture exalts the desire for the ideal, so that men and women well suited to each other meet less frequently, as their mutual adaptation becomes more complicated.

Nevertheless, I must repeat here what I have already said concerning the way in which novelists present us with the extreme passions of ill-balanced people and describe them as types, the normal man being too prosaic to attract their readers. Rotten as it is with neurotic degenerates, our modern society is certainly not wanting in pathological models for the novelists, but it is nevertheless false to always put these into prominence. The cultured man of well-balanced mind, adapts himself to marriage on the whole very well, and is not always so difficult to please. However, it must be recognized that marriage becomes less easy if a too high ideal is expected from it. With characteristic prudence, Westermark does not answer the question whether marriage will progressively diminish in the future.

The Cult of Virgins. Sanctity of the Celibate.—Among many savages the singular idea obtains that there is something impure in sexual intercourse. The celibacy ordained by several religions originates from ideas of this kind.

Many nations have worshiped virgins, for instance the vestal virgins of the Romans. The mother of Buddha was declared to be holy and pure, Buddha having been conceived supernaturally, according to the legend. A Buddhist monk is forbidden to have sexual intercourse, even with animals! Celibacy among certain priests exists also in China.

Among the Hebrews, the idea of the impurity of marriage had got a footing, and this no doubt powerfully influenced Christianity. St. Paul thus places celibacy higher than [155]marriage, and this is how the idea became established among the fathers of the Church that the repression of all sensuality was a cardinal virtue, and that God had contemplated in paradise an asexual reproduction of the human species, which was annulled by the fall of Adam. Men who remained pure were to be immortal. "The earth is filled with marriage and the heavens with virginity," says Jeremiah. Such are the ideas which have given rise to the obligation of celibacy for priests.

Westermark thinks that the idea of impurity attached to sexual intercourse is possibly derived from the instinctive repugnance experienced by members of the same family to have sexual intercourse between themselves. Banished from the family circle this intercourse was tainted with a stigma which offended modesty, and by the association of ideas so common in man, this stigma was extended to legal marriage outside the family. Moreover, religious celibacy is complicated by ascetic conceptions, and the idea of the impurity of sexual intercourse is by no means general.

For my part, I think rather that the jealousy natural to both sexes has gradually compelled them to limit their sexual intercourse to intimacy and to conceal it. But man is ashamed of everything which he conceals, and we shall soon see that the sentiment of modesty concerns all parts of the body which are concealed. This simple fact is sufficient to give rise to the idea that coitus is impure, and I do not think it necessary to seek any further explanation.


A natural law compels the male germinal cell to move toward the egg; exceptions to this law are rare, the female germinal cells being larger and produced in less number. It follows that in copulation, or the union of individual sexual entities, man included, it is the male which is the active party and makes the advances. Among certain tribes (Paraguayans, Garos, Moquis), however, it is the female who makes the advances. Everyone knows the combats for the female which takes place between the male of animals, cocks and stags for example. [156]Among certain Indians similar struggles are also observed, after which the vanquished has to surrender his wife to the conqueror. The same custom obtained among the ancient Greeks, as we see in the suitors for Penelope. In Ireland similar customs prevailed up to the last few centuries.

On the other hand, we often see among savages and among birds the favors of the female obtained by assiduous courtship rather than by combat. In some savage tribes struggles take place between the females for possession of the male. However, it is usually coquetry in all its degrees which furnishes woman with the basis for her advances. In many nations, if not in most, women have the right to refuse a demand for marriage.


Adornment in the Two Sexes.—Vanity is older than man, for it is found in many animals. The lowest and most savage peoples adorn themselves. Tattooing, staining the skin, rings on the arms and feet, in the lips, nose and ears serve to attract one sex toward the other. A Santal woman may carry as much as fifteen kilogrammes of ornaments on her body. Vanity leads to incredible eccentricities, certain tribes, for example, pull out their teeth to increase their attractions. Absurdities of this kind are often associated with religious ideas, although the latter generally play a secondary part. The true origin of these customs lies in vanity, combined with the sexual desire to captivate. In hot climates, at any rate, the savages only commenced to cover their bodies with clothes with the object of pleasing by personal adornment. The religious observances attached to the custom of adornment are not primitive. The latter is derived from the sexual appetite and from vanity, and has only been incorporated in the dogmas of religious mysticism after being first established in the habits of the people.

Among savages the men are more inclined to personal adornment and to coquetry than the women. This is not due to the inferior social position of the women, for those who enjoy the greatest liberty are often less extensively tattooed than those who are reduced to slavery. The true reason is that the man risks much more than the woman by remaining celibate, and [157]this obliges him to take more pains than the women to make himself fascinating. As a rule the wives of savages attach less importance to their personal appearance than to that of their husbands, and the vanity of the latter is guided chiefly by the taste of their wives. The objects with which savages adorn themselves are generally trophies.

Among civilized people, on the contrary, the men have a much wider choice and many women remain celibate. This is one of the reasons which compel women to study their personal appearance and the art of flirtation. In Europe, earrings represent the last vestige of the savage methods of adornment.

Sentiment of Shame of the Genital Organs. Nudity.—What is the origin of the fact that man is ashamed of his genital organs? Nothing of the kind occurs in animals. The psychologist, Wundt, maintains that man has always had a sexual sentiment of modesty. This is not correct, for many races present no trace of it, and sometimes cover all parts of their body except the genital organs. In some, the men, and in others the women go absolutely naked. Originally, clothes were only worn for adornment or for protection against the cold. The Massais would be ashamed to hide their penis, and it is their custom to exhibit it. Other savages cover the glans penis only with a small cap; they retire to pass water, but regard themselves as fully dressed so long as the glans penis is covered. The girdles and other garments of savage women are intended for ornament, and as a means of attraction; they have nothing to do with modesty. In a society where every one goes naked, nudity seems quite natural, and provokes neither shame nor eroticism. The custom of adorning the sexual organs then serves as a means of attraction, both in men and women. The short transparent skirts of a ballet dancer are in reality much more immodest than the nudity of the female savages. A great naturalist has said that veiled forms provoke the sexual appetite more than nudity. Snow remarks that association with naked savages excites much less sensuality than the society of fashionably dressed women in our salons. Read also remarks "Nothing is more moral or less calculated to excite the passions than nudity." It is needless to say that this statement is only correct when nudity is a matter [158]of custom, for in sexual matters it is always novelty which attracts. Pious persons have tried to make savages modest by clothing them, but have only produced the contrary effect. Savage women regard it as shameful to cover their sexual organs. The naturalist, Wallace, found in one tribe a young girl who possessed a dress, but who was quite as much ashamed of clothing herself with it as one of our ladies would be of undressing before strangers.

It is only owing to the custom of wearing clothes that nudity provokes the sexual appetite. This custom develops artificially a sentiment of modesty with regard to nudity, which increases progressively in intensity and is especially marked in aged women. It is not so much habit, as to the feeling of progressive deterioration of their charms, which leads the latter to cover themselves as they grow older, and is part of the instinctive æsthetic sentiment of woman.

At the orgies and fêtes held among savages the women cover their sexual organs with certain objects, as a means to excite the men. Complete nudity is found more often in savage women than in the men.

Later on when it became the custom to wear clothes, nudity became attractive and was considered shameful. This is why the Chinese feel shame at exposing their feet, the Mahometans their faces, and some savages even the ends of their fingers.

Certain customs, like circumcision among the Jews, Polynesians and Australians; the artificial elongation of the lips of the vulva in Hottentots, Malays, and North American Indians, originated, according to Westermark, in the intention of exciting the sexual appetite, or of introducing variety into its satisfaction. Later on routine, which sanctions everything, transferred these customs into religious cult. It is possible, however, that among the Jews, who are a practical race, the hygienic advantage of circumcision took a part in its transformation into a rite.

To resume, everything derogatory to established custom excites the sentiment of shame or modesty, not only in sexual matters but in others. Most children are ashamed of not behaving exactly as their comrades or their brothers and sisters, and are [159]very uncomfortable if they are obliged to behave otherwise. All sentiments of morality and modesty rest on conventionalities. The savage women burst into laughter when the naked companions of Livingstone turned their backs from modesty. The sentiment of modesty or shame thus depends only on exceptional violation of an old custom. This is why unconventional ways in one of the sexes (especially in woman) tend to offend the sentiments of modesty, and usually excite the sexual appetite of the other sex.


Among savages, the women sometimes have the right of giving their hand in marriage, sometimes not. The latter case is not surprising in countries where women are considered as merchandise. Among the Esquimaux every girl is betrothed from birth. Among the Boschimans, Ashantis, etc., the unborn girl is even betrothed while she is in her mother's womb! These betrothals are generally arranged by the maternal parents together with the mother.

Very often, however, the consent of the woman is required; or, the marriage may be only valid after the birth of the first child on condition of the woman's consent.

Among the American Indians, if the woman is not a consenting party she elopes with her lover and thus escapes the would-be-husband. In this way elopement has gradually become a recognized institution among certain races. I was told by a Bulgarian that the peasants in his country buy their wives from the father, generally for two or three hundred francs, but if the father demands too much, the women are raped. After this marriage becomes indispensable and the father receives nothing, for, in Bulgaria, which is not yet spoiled by civilization, unions apart from marriage are considered as a terrible disgrace.

In certain races, the woman has a free choice among several men and her wish becomes law, so that the parents have no voice in the matter; this occurs among the natives of the Celebes. The bridegroom is nevertheless obliged to pay the dowry demanded. Similar customs prevail among other races.

Westermark comes to the conclusion that in the primitive [160]state of humanity the women had a much freer choice than afterward. Marriage by purchase developed later and constituted an intermediate stage. When the first civilizations became more complicated and recognized the value of woman's labor, the fathers began to sell their daughters, as we now see savage tribes abandon their women to prostitution with the white man. But in primitive times, when there was neither civilization, money, nor labor, properly so-called, each individual fought for his life and the father had no more possibility of selling his daughter as a slave than a gorilla or an orang-utan would have to-day.

Marriage by rape, which occurred after wars when the women were abducted and married against their will, must not be confounded with marriage by elopement which takes place with the woman's consent, and of which the latest fashion is elopement by automobile.

Among savages, the boys are also most often the property of the father, who has the right to sell them and even to put them to death. But they become free at the age of puberty and then have the right to marry according to their inclination without being forced by their parents.

There existed and still exist many patriarchal races (certain Indians and Asiatics, for example) among whom the father possesses unlimited power. The older he is the more he is honored, and the more his power is uncontested. All the children and grandchildren, with their wives and children, eat at his table; none of his descendants can marry without his consent, etc. The effects of patriarchism are deplorable and very immoral. The patriarch abuses his power—gives his old wives to his children and takes the young ones, for example. The purest and most virtuous Japanese girl is obliged to go to a brothel if her father orders it. The patriarch has the power of life and death over both sexes, and from this is derived the cult of ancestors. At the present day we see immorality of this kind in the Russian patriarchism among the peasants; the fathers have the custom of misusing their sons' wives. Patriarchism thus degenerates into atrocious tyranny on the part of the chief of the family, who becomes looked upon as a god.

[161]A law which is common in the Latin races, which forbids marriage before the age of thirty, without the consent of the father, is a vestige of patriarchism.

We see, therefore, that quite primitive savage races approached our most modern ideas in liberty of choice in marriage. Between these two periods humanity was under the yoke of a barbarous error—the intermediate stage of marriage by purchase and patriarchal autocracy. There has existed and still exists more than one aberration of this kind in the intermediate stages of civilization; for instance, torture, slavery and the use of narcotic substances, such as alcohol.


By sexual selection we mean union by choice among males and females. In the vertebrates, the female chooses much more commonly than the male, the latter being more disposed to pair with all the females than the females with all the males. We may certainly admit that this was also the case in primitive man, especially when there existed a rutting period, for then the sexual appetite was more violent. Moreover, even at the present day, women are on the average more difficult to please and more strict in their choice than men.

In the case of hybrids it is generally the male which violates the law of instinct. Female slaves often flee from their free husbands, but we never see male slaves abandon their free wives. Among savage races the woman is always more difficult to please than the man. Among half-breeds, it is nearly always the father who belongs to a higher race. The inverse rarely occurs; it is exceptional for a white woman to marry a negro. The same thing is reproduced among ourselves; we often see a cultured man marry an uneducated woman, but a cultured woman seldom marries a laborer.

It is especially among savages that the woman prefers the man who is strongest, most skillful, most ardent, and most audacious. Heroes always haunt the minds of women, who love to throw themselves at the head of conquerors. The ideal of certain women in Borneo is a husband who has killed many enemies and possesses their heads (head-hunters of Borneo). This [162]psychological trait responds to natural selection, for the women obtain by this custom better protectors and stronger children.

On the other hand, man looks instinctively for a young, healthy and well-developed woman. It is on this basis that Greek art formed Eros and Aphrodite, designating the latter as goddess of both love and beauty.

Conception of Beauty.—The conception of beauty is very relative. The Australians laugh at our long noses and the natives of Cochin-China at our white teeth and red cheeks. Certain savage women bind their legs below the knees to make them swell, this effect being part of their idea of beauty. The Chinese admire the deformed feet of their women and their prominent cheek bones. In each nation the conception of beauty generally corresponds to the ideal type of the race, for both sexes. As a general rule muscle is admired in man and fullness of figure in woman. The Hottentots like women's breasts to be so pendulous that they can throw them over shoulder, and suckle the infants carried on their backs; they also admire the elongated lips of the vulva.

There are, therefore, few general typical characters of sexual preference; these are especially the ideal type of the race and the health of both sexes, voluptuous forms and grace in women, muscular strength and dexterity in men. Everything else is relative and variable, and depends on the local point of view, customs, race, individual taste, etc.

Thus, according to the conception of æsthetics, tattooing, the arrangement of the hair and beard, deformations of the nose, cranium, or feet, are admired by different peoples. Each race extols its own peculiarities; the European compares a woman's breasts to snow, the Malay to gold, etc. The natives of Coromandel paint their gods black and their devils white, while in Europe it is the reverse.

The association of love with beauty is not based on æsthetic sentiments, for the latter are disinterested, while the original instinct of love is interested. The association of the two things depends on the instinctive necessity of health, combined with the sexual appetite, although custom has produced numerous aberrations. Everything which differs markedly from the type [163]of the race is more or less pathological. This is why instinct, determined by natural selection, repels it.

Fashion also rules among savages, but is less changeable among them than with us, and their taste for adornment only varies in the narrow circle of their customs.

Climate has a powerful action on the types of races, the latter being generally adapted to the climate in which they live. Thus, the European becomes darker in the tropics while negroes and Indians become paler in the north.


Every animal species has an instinctive repugnance to pair with another. Even where they are possible, natural hybrids are rare, and only become a little more frequent in domestic animals and plants. The fecundity of hybrids diminishes when they have connection among themselves, and this explains why the instinct for such connections tends to gradually disappear.

In his book on "The Mneme," Semon explains the infecundity of hybrids in a very plausible manner, by the disorder that a too large quantity of dissimilar hereditary engrams causes in the hereditary mneme of two conjugated cells. When the parents differ from each other only in a moderate degree homophony may still be reëstablished, and then the divergencies have a very favorable effect on the product, by the new combinations which they furnish in the course of its development.

Moral ideas follow the course of instincts, and this explains why sexual connection with animals is regarded as a horrible crime. This is especially produced by pathological aberration, or when one sex is completely isolated from the other. There is also a certain degree of aversion to copulation between different races, in animals as well as man; for example, between sheep and horses of different races, and between white men, negroes and Indians. There are, however, many hybrids or half-breeds in South America, and in Mexico they even constitute two-thirds of the population.

Broca maintained that human hybrids produced by the crossing of remote races, for example, between English and negroes or Australians, were usually sterile. Westermark disputes [164]this, but agrees that these hybrids become enfeebled in a few generations. It has also been established that mixed marriage between Jews and Aryans are generally less fecund; but this fact is not yet sufficiently explained. Mulattoes, or hybrids between negroes and whites, constitute a degenerate race and hardly viable, at any rate if their descendants do not return entirely to one of the original races. Half-breeds between whites and American Indians, also called Ladinos, seem on the contrary to form a viable race, but one of little valor.


Sexual union between near relations nearly always causes a feeling of repugnance in man, and has been stigmatized by the term incest. Coitus between mother and son especially excites disgust. Sexual connection between parents and children, as well as between brothers and sisters is, however, common among certain tribes. Many other races allow marriage between brothers and sisters, but this is elsewhere generally condemned.

Among the Weddas, marriage between an elder brother and his younger sister is considered normal, while that between a younger brother and his elder sister, or between a nephew and his aunt, is regarded as unnatural. The latter simply shows that unions between young men and old women are not natural. Unions between brothers and sisters, and especially between half-brothers and half-sisters were licit among the Persians, Egyptians, Syrians, Athenians and ancient Jews. Those between uncles and nieces (more rarely between aunts and nephews) are sometimes permitted, sometimes prohibited. With the exception of Spain and Russia marriages between first cousins are allowed in Europe.

Exogamy and Endogamy.—Among many savages the prohibition of consanguineous marriage may be extended to relationship of the third degree. Marriage may even be prohibited among all members of the same tribe or clan, even when they are not related. This is called exogamous marriage, and reaches its extreme development among the Australians, who are only allowed to marry into remote clans.

We thus see that the great majority of savages extend their [165]idea of incest much further than we do. The reason of this has been much discussed. It was formerly said that consanguineous marriage was contrary to the commandments of God; that it offended the natural sentiment of modesty; that it obscures relationship, etc. Nowadays, it is said to be injurious to posterity. Ethnography teaches us, however, that these statements are of little value.

Along with the exogamy of many tribes there is among other savages a system of endogamy, described by MacLennan; this is the prohibition of marriage between different clans. Spencer and MacLennan have different explanations of this custom which seem hardly natural. Westermark appears to be nearer the truth in remarking as follows: The sexual appetite, especially in man, is excited by new impressions and cooled by habit. It is not the fact of a man and woman being related, but intimate companionship since youth, which produces in them a repugnance to sexual union. We find the same repugnance between adopted brothers and sisters and between friends who have been intimate since childhood. When, on the contrary, brothers and sisters or near relatives have been separated from each other since an early age, they often fall in love with each other when they meet later on. There is, therefore, no innate or instinctive repugnance to incest in itself, but only against sexual union between individuals who have lived together since childhood. As it is parents and their children who are usually in this situation, everything is explained simply and clearly.

The causes of exogamy are explained in the same way, by the fact that members of the same clan often live together in close intimacy. It is the small clans, formed of thirty or fifty individuals of a few families living together, which have the most severe laws against incest or endogamy. Where the families live in separate homes, such prohibitions do not exist. The Maoris, who are endogamous, inhabit villages which are widely separated, and marriage between relations is allowed. Endogamy generally exists where the clan life is little developed, and where relatives know and see little of each other. The aversion to marriage between persons living together has thus created prohibition of marriage between relations as well as [166]that of marriage between members of the same clan. It is the same reason which has led to the prohibition of marriage between brothers-and sisters-in-law, between brothers and adopted sisters, etc. In people living in small communities, endogamy does not appear to have ever existed.

Incest between relatives living together appears to have everywhere the same natural cause—the scarcity of women in isolated families living in remote districts. There is also a psycho-pathological form of incest associated with morbid appetites in the families of degenerates. In animals living alone and whose families break up very rapidly (cats for example) incestuous unions, between parents and young, for instance, are quite common.

Let us now consider the scientific side of the question. We see everywhere that sexual union between quite distinct animal species gives no result. At the most, certain closely allied species, such as the ass and the horse, the rabbit and the hare, give progeny which are themselves sterile (mules, etc.). The feebleness and sterility of hybrids derived from widely separated races or nearly allied different species proves the deficiency in vital force of the offspring of fundamentally dissimilar procreators. But, on the other hand, the dangers of continuous consanguineous reproduction are no less evident. Perpetual unions between brothers and sisters for several generations, lead to degeneration of the race. For example, the still-births will be 25 per cent. instead of 8 per cent., which is the figure in ordinary crossings. The prejudice against consanguineous unions may, however, depend on the accumulation of certain pathological defects.

Westermark admits that it is difficult to show clearly that consanguineous marriages are prejudicial in man. The consanguinity which causes evil effects in animals concerns long-continued unions between parents and children or brothers and sisters. But this never occurs in man. Animals and plants may be perpetuated for many years in the closest consanguinity without degeneration resulting. Among the Persians and Egyptians, intimate unions have existed for a long time without producing degeneration.

[167]On the other hand, breeders of animals tell us that a single drop of new blood (or rather sperm) is enough to counteract all the evil effects of consanguinity. In man the most frequent incests are always interrupted by some other union. The Ptolemies, who nearly always married their sisters, nieces or cousins, lived long and were far from being sterile. In Ceylon, the Weddas perpetuate their consanguineous unions; insanity is rare among them, but they are small, unfruitful and tend to become extinct.

In Europe, the question of marriages between first cousins has been much discussed, and it has been constantly attempted to prove that they are injurious. Nevertheless, when we examine the question impartially, we always find that the prejudices against them do not arrive from consanguinity, but from certain pathological defects, such as insanity, hemophilia, etc., which are naturally perpetuated by consanguineous unions when they are accumulated in one family, as well as when two insane persons of different families marry. Therefore it is not consanguineous unions in themselves (which are always accidental in man and interrupted by others) but the hereditary reproduction of pathological defects, often of blastophthoric origin, which are the real cause of the evil. Statistics have clearly proved that marriage between first cousins plays no part in the causes of insanity.

Influenced, no doubt, by general opinion, Westermark tries to believe in some instinctive repulsion of man for consanguineous unions. If in modern society such unions, perpetuated between parents and children, brothers and sisters, were still produced as in animals I should agree that they might be injurious to the species; but, considering how cosmopolitan and mixed is our modern society, I cannot make the concession. On the contrary, I maintain that the isolated unions which still take place between relatives in civilized countries are so exceptional that they do not present the least danger, excepting among the families of degenerates. It is therefore only a question of superstition. What we have to guard against are unions between pathological individuals and blastophthoric influences. We must not forget that many degenerates and idiots have a [168]great pathological tendency to incest, and this is no doubt why the effect has been confounded with the cause.

Westermark himself gives us a striking example. Since the most remote times the inhabitants of the Commune of Bats, composed of 3,300 persons, have intermarried; yet this population is very healthy and vigorous and shows no sign of degeneration. On the other hand, we have seen that contrasts produce a mutual attraction in the domain of love, while strong resemblances rather repel. Bernardin de St. Pierre has said that love is created by contrasts; the greater the contrast the greater the love. Schopenhauer remarks as follows: "Every individual seeks in the opposite sex peculiarities which contrast with his own; the most masculine man seeks the most feminine woman, while small and feeble men love large and strong women; people with short noses prefer long ones, tall and thin men prefer short and stout women. All this increases fecundity." Thus instinct is sufficient to protect humanity against consanguinity, each sex instinctively seeking the contrasts which consanguinity diminishes.


Youth, beauty, health, finery and flirtation excite the sexual appetite. Many other sentiments are accessory, such as admiration, the pleasure of possession, respect, pity, etc. Inclination is an important element, but in no way necessary to sexual union.

In the lower stages of human development, tenderness toward children is much stronger than sexual love. Among many savage races the love of a man for his wife is completely wanting, as well as that of the wife for her husband. In this case marriage depends on reciprocal convenience, on the desire to have children, and profits by personal comfort and the satisfaction of a purely animal sexual appetite. However, among these people the parents have a tender regard for their children. The husband has the right to beat his wife, but the wife is considered as unnatural or even criminal if she beats her children. Among the North American Indians, for example, conjugal love is, so to speak, unknown. On the other hand, in other savage races, [169]such as the Touaregs, the Niam-Niams, the New Caledonians, the Tonganese and Australians, the conjoints have a deep affection for each other, and the husband often commits suicide on the death of his wife. On the whole, the sentiments of affection of the conjoints are the result of a long sexual life in common, and they are especially strengthened by the love of the parents for their children.

As a rule, the mutual attachment of conjoints for each other among cultivated races is developed along with altruism. The tenderness and refinement of love as they exist at the present day among highly civilized races were unknown to most savages and to the older civilizations. In China it is considered good manners to beat the wife, and when a poor Chinaman treats his wife with consideration, it is to avoid having to buy another. What the Arab understands by love is only sexual appetite, and among the ancient Greeks it was nearly the same.

In civilized Europe mental culture progresses in the direction of equality of rights between the two sexes, so that a man regards his wife more as a companion who is his equal and no longer a slave. Community of interests, opinions, sentiments and culture constitute a primary condition for sentiments of mutual sympathy and favors affection. No doubt, excitation of the sexual appetite by contrasts acts here as an antagonistic force. Contrast should not be so great as to exclude sympathy.

Too great difference in age is dangerous for attachment, for it causes too great a divergence in the aims and interests of life. Education and social equality also favors love, and this tends to preserve class distinction. It is rare for a well-educated man to fall in love with a peasant, or a laboring man with an educated woman, except in a sensual way. Men generally avoid marriage with individuals of another race, or of another religion.

Endogamy and exogamy do not form such an absolute contrast as at first sight might appear. Even among exogamous races, there is a limit which must not be passed. These races often prohibit marriage with individuals of another race. Among the Arabs, for example, the instinct of ethnical separation is so strong, that the same Bedouin wife who will prostitute herself for money with Turks or Europeans, would think it dishonorable [170]to marry one of them. In this way custom produces endogamy of caste and class among the same people. The same with the nobility; in ancient Rome it was forbidden for a patrician to marry a plebeian. Sometimes an endogamy of religious origin is met with, among the Jews for example.

Children are treasures for the man of low culture, while they become a burden to the cultivated man. In spite of this the natural man ardently desires children. In Switzerland, two-fifths of the divorces occur in sterile unions, although the latter only form one-fifth of all marriages.

Calculation often smothers sentiment when it becomes the basis of marriage. We live to-day under the sway of Mammon, with the result that the influence of love, strength, beauty, capacity for work, intelligence, skill, character and even health, count for little compared with money in the question of marriage. This sad sign is really a new form of marriage by purchase, hypocritically disguised.


The rape of women is an established custom in some regions. Certain marriage ceremonies prove that rape was formerly much more common than at the present day. Among certain Indian tribes the simulation of rape and abduction of the woman form part of the marriage ceremonies; custom requiring that the woman must feign to resist.

According to Spencer, marriage by rape originated in the prudery of woman, while MacLennan attributes it to the predominance of exogamy; but, in reality, marriage by rape exists in races which are absolutely endogamous. Westermark believes it arose from the repugnance to unions contracted in a narrow circle. The savage has difficulty in procuring a wife without giving the father compensation; besides, his own repugnance to the companions of his childhood and the prejudices against unions between relations, as well as the enmity of other clans, all increase the difficulties to be overcome. This is why he often decides on rape. Marriage by rape has not, however, been the rule at any period, and on the whole, unions concluded by mutual agreement have always predominated.

[171]Marriage by purchase has followed marriage by rape, and forms a slightly higher stage of civilization, developed by exchange of money or other symbols. It first appears, in Australia, for example, as marriage by exchange (exchange of a woman for a sister or a daughter). Afterward young men gain their wives by working as servants for the father. In marriage by purchase the price is based on the beauty, health and social position of the woman. A young girl is generally worth more than a widow or a rejected woman. Skill in female manual labor also increases the price. Among the Indians of British Columbia a wife will cost from twenty to forty pounds sterling, while in Oregon they are exchanged for bisons' skins or blankets. Among the Kaffirs from three to ten cows is a low price, twenty to thirty a high price for a wife. When a wife was given gratis, her parents had a right to the children. Marriage by purchase and by exchange still exists among the lower races as it formerly ruled among civilized peoples. We still possess the rudiments.

Marriage by rape or by purchase has, however, never been in general usage. Certain races in India and Africa considered it a disgrace to pay a price for a wife.

From the historical point of view it is interesting to note that, in the ceremonies of marriage by purchase, a simulated and symbolical rape of the betrothed still recalls the old form of marriage by rape; also, in races where a higher form has replaced marriage by purchase, traces of the latter are still preserved in certain nuptial symbols.


The position of woman has undergone steady improvement in higher civilization by the progress of altruism. This is why culture, in India, China, Greece, Rome and Germany, etc., has gradually discredited marriage by purchase. This was at first replaced by the custom of giving wedding presents to the bride; afterward the opposite custom was introduced of the bride bringing her dot to the bridegroom.

A singular transition between these two systems is constituted by simulated purchase, in which the bridegroom offers presents to the bride's parents, which are afterward returned to him. [172]Among certain savages the bride's parents return the purchase money of their daughter to the bridegroom in another form. Such restitution was often the origin of the dot.

Among the Romans the dot became the property of the husband, and from this is derived the modern custom which usually gives the husband the right to administer his wife's dot, which remains the property of the wife and her family.

Among the Mexicans, where divorce for conjugal discord is frequent, and among certain Mahometans, division of property exists in marriage, and the wife's property is returned to her when she is separated or divorced.

In Europe at the present time, especially under the influence of French customs, there is established a kind of marriage by inverse purchase (which already existed among the Greeks), in the sense that the parents of young girls obtain husbands for them by means of a large dot. Westermark concludes this subject with the following words: "If she does not possess special personal attractions, a young girl without a dot, at the present day, runs a great chance of not getting married. This state of things is quite naturally developed in a society where monogamy is legally enforced; where women are more numerous than men; where many men never marry, and where married women too often lead a life of idleness." If we add to this: "in a society where Mammon rules as absolute master," the picture will not be wanting in accuracy.


In primitive races where the wife is simply bought like merchandise, often after mutual agreement, nuptial ceremonies do not exist. They generally originate later from the symbols of a form of marriage since abandoned. The ceremony being concluded and the marriage recognized as legal, it is followed by feasting. Certain religious ceremonies are generally combined with marriage. The customs of our modern marriages arise from the same source. At the time of early Christianity there were no religious ceremonies and even up till the year 1563, the date of the end of the Council of Trent, religious benediction of marriage was not obligatory. Luther held that marriage should [173]be purely civil, but legal civil marriage was only introduced among us by the French Revolution, while it had existed in remote times among the Peruvians, Nicaraguans and others. Among certain races, marriages concluded without dot, without ceremony, or without purchase, and even those between different castes, are often regarded as concubinage.


Leaving aside hermaphrodites, such as the snails, in which each individual has both kinds of sexual organs and plays the part of both male and female, there are among animals with separate sexes five forms of conjugal union:

(1). Temporary or perpetual monogamy, or marriage between one individual of one sex and one of the other sex. This is the case with most birds and mammals and many races of man.

(2). Polygymy or polygamy, or the marriage of one male with several females. This occurs in ruminants, stags, fowls, and other animals, as well as in some human beings; for example, the Islamites, negroes, American Indians, Mormons, etc.

(3). Polyandry, or the marriage of one female with several males. This is met with chiefly in the ants, in which each female is generally fecundated successively by several males. In most of the higher animals, the jealousy of the males renders polyandry impossible. In man it is rare but exists among certain races.

(4). Marriage in groups, or marriage between several males and several females. This singular custom is rare but exists in the Togas, a tribe of savages. I am not aware of its existence among animals.

(5). Promiscuity, or free sexual intercourse between males and females. This occurs in many animals, especially in the lower animals in which the sexual instinct of the male is not associated with any regard for the female or the progeny. Promiscuity is still more natural when the female does not look after her young after she has laid her eggs. Nevertheless, in most animals the female limits herself to sexual intercourse before each brood, so that real promiscuity is not so frequent as [174]would at first appear. In man, on the contrary, it attains its apogee in prostitution, which is the only absolutely complete form of promiscuity. But the result of prostitution as regards the preservation of the species, which is the proper object of all sexual union, is absolutely destructive.

Polygamy or polygymy were licit among most ancient races, and is so still among most savages and among many civilized nations; but it has several varieties.

In Mexico, Peru, Japan and China a man only possesses one legitimate wife, but has several concubines whose children are considered as legitimate as those of his wife. Polygamy existed legally among the Jews up to the Middle Ages. King Solomon possessed seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. In Islamite countries the Jews are still polygamous. The Koran allows them four wives and as many concubines as they please. The latter do not enjoy the protection of their father, but apart from this they have the same rights as the legitimate wives. The Hindus and Persians are polygamous. The Romans were strictly monogamous, but they also had concubines.

In Christian Europe, polygamy has occasionally been allowed or tolerated: St. Augustus did not condemn it. Luther allowed Philip of Hesse to marry two wives; and after the treaty of Westphalia bigamy was allowed because of the depopulation of Germany. The mistresses of the present princes are a relic of polygamy. Jesus having said nothing concerning polygamy, Luther did not prohibit it.

The Mormons have introduced it into their religion. The negro king of Loango shows us what degree polygamy may reach among princes and chiefs, for he possesses seven thousand wives, while the chiefs of the Fiji Islands are content with twenty to one hundred.

Among savage races we find monogamy in the natives of the Andaman islands, among the Touaregs, the Weddas, the Iroquois, the Wyandottes, and even in some Australian tribes. With others, polygamy is only permitted to the chiefs. But most of the population are monogamous even among polygamous races, and there are very few peoples in which all the men possess several wives. In India, 95 per cent. of the Islamites [175]are monogamous, and in Persia even 98 per cent. Polygamy is nearly everywhere a privilege of princes, chiefs, and rich men.

The two following facts also show a tendency to monogamy among polygamous races:

(1). One of the wives, generally the first, has prerogatives over the others.

(2). In reality, the polygamous man nearly always gives sexual preference to one only, or to a few of his wives. There are, however, some polygamous races in which the husband has sexual intercourse with each of his wives according to a regular programme, taking each of them in turn for several days, weeks or months. With others, on the contrary, a number of married women remain in reality virgins, because the husband does not desire them, and they are nothing more than domestics. Among these people the husband as a rule only takes a second wife when the first has grown old, so that bigamy becomes the ordinary form of marriage.

The Cingalese were polyandrous before the English conquest, and so many as seven men had one wife in common. Polyandry is especially the custom in Thibet. Among polyandrous peoples the husbands are not all on the same footing of equality, some hold an inferior position, corresponding nearly to that of concubines, another sign of the tendency to monogamy.

Among the Togas marriage in groups is constituted as follows: All the brothers are husbands of the wife of the elder brother, and all the sisters of this wife are at the same time wives of their brothers-in-law. If we except prostitution, this is the only case in man which approaches promiscuity. Marriage in groups, however, is extremely restricted promiscuity.

To resume, monogamy is by far the most widespread form of marriage. This is explained by the relative number of men to women. It has often been stated that the number of individuals of the two sexes is nearly the same, and this has been used as an argument in favor of monogamy. But this statement is incorrect; sometimes it is the men, but more often the women, who predominate. Among the natives of Oregon there are seven hundred men to eleven hundred and eighty-five women. Among the Punkas and other races the number of women is two or three [176]times greater than that of the men. In Kotcha-Hamba there is only one man to five women. Among other races there are, on the contrary, more men than women, especially in Australia, Tasmania, and Hayti. In the latter island there is only one woman to five men. In Cashmere there are three men to one woman. Among the negroes, on the contrary, the women predominate, sometimes in the proportion of three to one, but more generally as three to two.

In Europe, more boys than girls are born on the average, but from the age of fifteen to twenty the numbers become equal, and after twenty the women predominate. This is due to the greater mortality among men, owing to war, the greater danger of masculine occupations, and also to alcoholism. In the fifteen largest towns in Switzerland alcoholism is the direct or indirect cause of death in 10.5 per cent. of men above the age of twenty.

Among savages the women often take part in war, for instance the Amazons of Dahomey. Drinking habits are also the same or absent in both sexes, which equalizes matters. When the men predominate in these people, this is often due to infanticide committed on young girls, and also to overwork of the women. With the Cingalese the natality of boys is greater than that of girls, while in Asia Minor two girls, in Arabia even four girls, are born to one boy. The Arab says, "Allah has given us more women than men; it is, therefore, clear that polygamy is a divine commandment."

Production of Sexes at Will.—I will say a few words on the question of the causes of production of the sexes. There is no want of hypotheses, assertions, nor even of experiments on this subject; but, we are obliged to admit that up to the present we know nothing certain. No one has yet succeeded in producing experimentally in animals males or females at will. According to one theory, which has created much impression, overfeeding produces females and underfeeding males. Although this appears to be true in certain cases among some animals, it is in no way proved in a positive manner.

It has also been suggested that selection produces the sex which is deficient in numbers; but here again proofs are wanting. It has been maintained that crossing tends to breed [177]females, while consanguineous marriages produce males; in other words, that mongrel races show an excess of female births, while races in which marriages are very consanguineous, and polyandrous tribes show an excess of males. It is much better to leave this question alone till science has furnished us with conclusive proofs. Certain results obtained with the lower animals give hope that the future may shed some light on this point.

Again, marriage customs are not always in relation to the excess of one of the sexes. Races in which men predominate are not always polyandrous, and those in which women are in excess are not always polygamous; sometimes even the contrary exists. Polygamy is thus not always due to a surplus of female births, or to the death of many men, but often to religious prescripts, as among the Islamites and Mormons. In polyandry, poverty often plays a greater part than consanguineous marriages or surplus of male births. Religious prescription of the husband's continence during his wife's menstrual periods, pregnancy, and even the period of nursing, a period which often lasts from two to four years in savages, is an important cause of polyandry. At Sierra Leone, coitus of the husband with his wife before the last-born child can walk is regarded as a crime.

Although very advantageous to the wife's health this custom is entirely based on religious ideas and superstitions. Many savages consider that every woman is impure and bewitched during her monthly periods, during pregnancy and suckling. If we add to this the fact that, being usually treated as beasts, the women soon grow old, we can easily understand that the men are inclined to polygamy. It is remarkable with what rapidity the savage woman grows old. She is only fresh from thirteen to twenty years; after twenty-five she is old and sterile, and a little later she has the aspect of an old sorceress. This premature senility is not so much due to early sexual intercourse as to the terribly hard work they undergo, and also to the prolonged period of suckling.

Another cause of polygamy is man's natural desire for change. The negroes of Angola exchange wives. The instinct of procreation, love of glory and riches coöperate with the sterility [178]of many women in propagating polygamy. Certain races only tolerate it when the woman is sterile, or has only daughters, which clearly proves that it is based on the fear of remaining without male descendants.

On the whole, savage women are less fecund than civilized, owing to their long continence during the two or four years nursing of each child. If we add to this the high infant mortality, we can understand how polygamy becomes among these people a means of reproduction in the struggle for existence, and even in African races a natural law. A native of Central Africa may have a hundred wives, who also act as servants and retainers. In this case polygamy is the expression of pomp and wealth. It is especially developed in agricultural peoples owing to the value of the woman's labor. On the other hand it is impossible among nomadic tribes. In Dahomey the king had thousands of wives, the nobility hundreds, the simple citizen a dozen and the soldier none at all.

Jealousy and rivalry among the wives is not always the rule in polygamous families. In equatorial Africa the wives themselves incline to polygamy and regard a rich man who restricts the number of his wives as miserly. Livingstone relates that the women of Makololo declared they would not live in monogamous England, for any respectable man should prove his wealth by the number of his wives. We must not forget that among most savages the moral conception of good and evil are confounded with that of riches and poverty. In reality, the supernumerary wives bought by a polygamist are simply slaves. His power and authority do not easily allow jealousy among them; nevertheless suicide sometimes occurs among the old wives who have been passed over in favor of younger ones. Sometimes they kill their children at the same time. Among the Indians of Terra del Fuego a hut containing three or four women often resembles a battlefield. We have already pointed out the way in which jealous Fiji women cut off the noses of their rivals. Among the Islamites and Hindus intrigue and jealousy are common with the women; the same in Abyssinia, among the Hovas of Madagascar and the Zulus. The Hova term for polygamy is rafy, which signifies adversary. To [179]prevent the jealousy of his wives the polygamous man often places them in separate houses; this is common among the South American Indians.

In Colombia I made the acquaintance of a French explorer, Le Comte de Brettes, who has studied closely the Goajires Indians by becoming himself a member of the tribe. The country of the Goajires is a peninsula of Colombia bordering on Venezuela. Polygamy among these people is very interesting. When a young Goajire wishes to marry he has to pay the bride's parents a number of cattle, but the consent of the bride is necessary. Besides this the husband has to clear a certain area of forest, plant vegetables and build a hut. He must then make a present of all this to his wife and add to it the necessary cattle. The wife thus becomes the legal proprietor of the house and land, and it is she who rules over the domain. The husband only has authority over the male children; but the wife is strictly enforced to be faithful. If he wishes to marry a second wife, he is obliged to buy her also and present her with similar property as the first, in another district. The two wives can never dwell together in the same house nor in the same district; each of them is thus a proprietor on her own account. In this manner the different wives of a Goajire are not only independent, but separated from each other and have no communication; this excludes all jealousy, especially as these women have a deep respect for the laws of their country. Under such conditions polygamy can hardly extend to more than two women without exhausting the forces a man requires to cultivate each of the domains. We thus see that certain forms of polygamy, combined with matriarchism, are compatible with high social position of the wife, for among the Goajires and other Indian tribes the man passes from one wife to the other, while it is the wife who is mistress of the house, the children and the domain.

However, we may say that on the whole monogamy reigns where there is more altruism, respect for women and sentiment for family life; for instance, in Nicaragua, among the Dyaks, the Andamanese, etc., in whom the wife is highly esteemed and possesses political influence. The wife is also proprietor of the house among the Santalese and Mounda-Kols.

[180]In the question we are considering the nature of the amorous passions also plays a great part. When they are purely sensual they do not last long as a rule; but when love arises from mental affinities it may be prolonged till old age. Bain remarks that other passions, such as maternal love, hatred, the desire of domination may be extended to many objects, while love has a tendency to concentrate itself on a single one which then takes preëminence over the others and tends to monogamy. We have seen that birds and monkeys generally love only one female. With some conjugal love is so strong that one of the conjoints cannot survive the other; this fact has been observed with certainty, even when the survivor was provided with another mate. Thus, the male of a certain species of monkey (Hapale jacchus) after the death of his mate, covers his eyes with his hands, ceases to eat and remains in the same position till he dies. Suicide for love is not rare among certain savage races; a point to which we shall return later.

Westermark is certainly right in considering this tendency of love to concentrate itself on a single object as one of the most powerful factors in monogamy. Jealousy is no doubt the reverse of such sentiment, but is the profound despair at seeing the sole object of love desert or become unfaithful. On the other hand, this concentration of love, which may be excellent for isolated families living alone after the manner of wild beasts, is in no way adapted to a society of which all the members are responsible. This is a point we must insist upon. There is certainly a real antinomy which is difficult to reconcile between this dual egoism of exclusive and concentrated love and social solidarity or human altruism. The problem is not insoluble, but we must admit that the solution is not easy.

To resume, we first of all observe an evolution from monogamy toward polygamy. The higher apes and the most primitive men are monogamous; among these there are no differences of rank, nor class distinctions, and they live in very small groups. Wealth, civilization, larger communities, agriculture and the domination of castes have gradually given rise to polygamy. Thus, the ancient Hindus were at first monogamous and later on became polygamous. The prerogative [181]of the first wife over the others is only a vestige of monogamy in polygamy.

A higher degree of culture then diminishes warfare, shortens the period of nursing, does away with the prejudices against coitus during pregnancy, and improves the social position of women. Ageing less quickly, and adding to her bodily charms those of her mental development woman restores man to monogamy. As the same time wives and children gradually cease to constitute riches, and this diminishes the instinct of procreation. Finally, machinery replaces the female labor of former times. In this way, with a higher degree of human culture, all the factors tend to restore monogamy.

The instinctive desires of woman are monogamous. The progress of civilization is continually extending her rights, and the more refined sentiments of sympathy among civilized people are less and less compatible with polygamy. As regards polyandry, Westermark shows that it has always been an exception and that it has only been established among phlegmatic races, having a certain degree of civilization and being unacquainted with jealousy.

Spencer believes that monogamy will prevail in the future, while Lubbock inclines to polygamy. Westermark thinks that if the progress of civilization continues as hitherto to become more altruistic, and that if love tends to become more refined, the conjoints having more and more regard for each other, monogamy will always become more strict.

For my part, I think it idle to prophesy. If mental culture ever succeeds in overcoming brutality and barbarism, and if it continues to make real progress, I do not think that any of the old systems of marriage will persist in their primary form. Primitive monogamy adapted to an unsocial savage condition, is incompatible with the social requirements which become more and more imposed upon humanity. Marriage by purchase and Islamite polygamy, which regard woman as merchandise and place her entirely under the dependence of man, are barbarous customs of semi-civilized people, which have already fallen into disuse. Polyandry is contrary to human nature and to the requirements of reproduction, and its [182]implantation is everywhere a sign of decadence. Our present religious monogamy, completed by the shameful promiscuity of prostitution, is both hypocritical and unhealthy. Till the contrary is proved, I consider the most advantageous form of marriage for the future a kind of free monogamy (eventually polygamy), accompanied by obligations relative to the procreation of children and to the children procreated. Polyandry should only have an accessory right to existence in certain pathological or exceptional cases. We shall return to this point later.


Among birds, marriage is generally concluded for life; among mammals rarely for more than a year, with the exception of the anthropoid apes and man.

The duration of marriage varies enormously in man. Among the Andamanese, the Weddas, certain Papous, marriage can only cease with death. Among the North American Indians, on the contrary, it is only concluded for a limited period. Among the Wyandottes the custom exists of trial marriages for several days. In Greenland, divorce often takes place at the end of six months. Among the Creeks marriage does not last more than a year. In this way is constituted a kind of polygamy by succession or limited monogamy, which results in the father not knowing his children.

Among the Botocudos, marriage is performed without ceremonies and only lasts a short time; it can be broken off on the slightest pretext, for the pleasure of changing; divorce then becomes as frequent as marriage. This is also the case in Queensland, Tasmania and the Samoan islands. Among the Dyaks and Cingalese, quite young men and women have already had several wives or husbands; a man often marries and deserts the same woman several times, to take others during the intervals. Among the Mantras there are men who have been married forty or fifty times.

In Persia a woman may marry for periods varying from one hour to ninety-nine years. In Egypt similar customs are met with; a monthly change is allowed, so that a man may marry twenty or thirty times in two years. Among the Maues of [183]Sahara the women consider it fashionable to marry as often as possible, and a long married life is considered by them as vulgar. The Abyssinians, negroes, etc., marry on trial or for limited periods. Among the Greeks, Romans and ancient Germans, divorce was very frequent.

In nearly all savage tribes, and in a number of civilized people the man possesses an unlimited right of rejection. The Hovas compare marriage to a loosely tied knot. Among the ancient Jews, Romans, Greeks and Germans, discontent of the husband was a sufficient reason for rejection. On the contrary, among a number of savage races (Westermark mentions about twenty-five) rejection and divorce are extremely rare and marriage lasts for life.

It is especially where there are children that divorce is rare. With most races, sterility of the wife and adultery constitute the principal causes of legal divorce.

Among civilized races marriage for life is much more common than with savages. This was the case with the Aztecs, etc. Among the Chinese there exist seven reasons for divorce: sterility, unchastity, negligence toward parents-in-law, talkativeness, desertion, ill-temper and chronic disease. In Japan the laws are similar, but in spite of this divorce is rare in China and Japan.

In Christian countries divorce was formerly permitted and was only prohibited by the Council of Trent. The modern Catholic says: "Man must not separate what God has united." Among many savages, on the contrary, divorce is left to the free will of the married couple. Elsewhere it is sometimes the man, sometimes both husband and wife who have the right to exact divorce for divers reasons, such as drunkenness, adultery, prodigality, etc. In Europe, as elsewhere, it is the desire for change which is the most common cause of divorce.

Children constitute the surest cement against conjugal separations. With most savages the rejected wife regains not only her dot, but also part of the common property, or even the whole of it. On the contrary, the purchase value of the wife is only as a rule returned to the husband when sterility, adultery or other grave reasons are the causes of divorce. It results from [184]this that divorce is always very rare among peoples where the women are very dear.

The right of the children after divorce varies a good deal in different races; sometimes they are adjudged to the husband, sometimes to the wife. Divorced women often become prostitutes, for example, among the Chinese and Arabs. As a rule, marriages for love are more lasting than others, especially when the couple were acquainted before marriage.

It is extremely probable that in primitive man marriage only lasted till the birth of a child, or at the most a few years. With civilization the duration of marriage has been prolonged, higher motives having become added to bodily charms, sexual appetite and the instinct of procreation, and tending toward more lasting unions.

Moral reasons have given rise to laws of protection in marriage, but the mania which man possesses of dogmatizing on everything has often caused these laws to degenerate into abuse or religious absurdities. In this way the modern form of our Christian monogamy has been imposed by a tyrannical dogma of the Roman Church; a dogma which no doubt started from an ideal point of view, but fell into disuse in practice, owing to the fact that it did not take sufficient account of the natural conditions and sexual requirements of the race. This explains the present tendency to greater legal liberty, even when the moral causes which tend to render monogamous unions durable multiply with the progress of civilization.


As monogamous marriage exists among the anthropoid apes, we have every reason to believe that it existed with primitive man. In neither case has it been the result of artificial laws, but the result of brute force and congenital instincts inherited by natural evolution. It often happened that one male vanquished another and took possession of the female, or wife, of the vanquished. Others abducted the female by surprise. Later on, marriage by exchange or by purchase, derived from marriage by rape, probably constituted the first stage toward a legal monogamous or polygamous union, as an element in the [185]most primitive human conventional organizations. In this way we can imagine the main points of the prehistoric evolution of marriage.

When the conception of marriage took on a legal character, either that of possession by the male, or that of a more or less equitable contract between the two sexes, we can easily imagine that sexual intercourse apart from marriage resulted as an inevitable complement. Every artificial barrier which the human mind opposes to natural instincts immediately gives rise to a movement of opposition on the part of the latter. The matrimonial laws of primitive or semi-civilized races punished adultery in the most barbarous manner by torture and death, but were unable to prevent the sexual passions pursuing their course in one way or another.

Certain abuses or exceptions had, therefore, to be tolerated, or certain complementary institutions had to be organized. However, these laws generally branded all forms of sexual intercourse apart from marriage, with the stigma of inferiority, or contempt, if not of crime. The woman, being the weaker, was naturally the one to suffer most from this stigma and its consequences.

The great diversity in the customs of different human tribes, makes it necessary, in order to avoid errors, to guard against generalizing without strong reasons. We cannot, however, here enter into details which would lead us too far. We can, however, affirm that among the lower or primitive races brute force played the principal role and was the fundamental support of marriage, while in higher civilizations legal regulation took the upper hand, however absurd or even immoral it might be.

Illegal or extra-conjugal forms of sexual intercourse have always formed two principal groups: prostitution and concubinage. No doubt, these two varieties are insensibly connected by numerous shades of transition, but as their development depends on different principles we must distinguish these two forms.

Prostitution is a trade in which a human being sells her body for money, while concubinage consists in more or less free sexual intercourse apart from marriage, the motive of which is simply [186]the sexual appetite, convenience or love, although sometimes violence plays a part in it. We therefore find in extra-marital sexual intercourse the same motives as in legal unions; legal or religious sanction only is wanting.

It is needless to say that the motives which lead to concubinage may be more or less tainted by interested calculation. In all civilizations concubinage and prostitution constitute the complement of legal marriage. Their regulation has ever produced the singular results of surrounding them with a moral nimbus.

In Babylon, every woman once in her life, had to prostitute herself for money to any stranger at the temple of Venus. Solon founded houses of prostitution for the people and furnished them with slaves, "in order to protect the sanctity of marriage against the passions of youth."

The Romans had also their houses of prostitution or lupanari, public or private, as well as free prostitutes. In the Middle Ages, prostitution developed especially after the Crusades. It is related that the Council of Constance attracted fifteen hundred prostitutes to this town. Prostitutes followed the armies everywhere.

In India, young girls give themselves to the priests, who are the representatives of God and enjoy great honors. Under the name of Temple girls, the girls of the flower boats of China are really prostitutes. It is the same with the puzes of Java, the girls in the Japanese tea-houses, etc. In some civilized states, certain refined and intelligent prostitutes have always obtained great honors and high favors, only charging high prices, and ending by substituting for prostitution the pecuniary exploitation of rich men whom they have seduced.

Concubinage may be more or less free. The concubines were formerly often slaves, possessed by men in high positions, in addition to their wives. At the present day the omnipotence of money produces almost analogous results. Free concubinage, in which sexual intercourse between the two contracting parties is absolutely free and more or less independent of pecuniary questions, is very different and of a higher moral character. It has also existed in antiquity in various forms. The Greek [187]hetairas were concubines of high position, no doubt prostitutes of a kind and giving themselves for money; but they became the friends or companions of great men. Living in luxury, especially at the time of Pericles and later, several of them became celebrated; statues were raised to them and they became the concubines of kings. Phryne served as the model for the statue of Venus, and offered to restore the halls of the Thebeans at her own expense. Thais was the mistress of Alexander and gave heirs to the throne. The neglected education of the Greek wives caused the intellectual accomplishments of the hetairas to shine by contrast.

The whole question regarding the Greek customs is summed up in a few words by Demosthenes: "We marry wives in order to have legitimate children and a faithful guardian for our household; we have concubines for our daily service, and hetairas for the enjoyment of love."

In some countries, such as Japan, the children of concubines are considered by the husbands as legitimate, and have the same rights as those of his wife; this gives concubinage the character of marriage of the second rank.

In modern times hetairas are not wanting. Under the title of courtesans and mistresses, we find them everywhere as the favorites of kings and nobles, as mistresses of men in high positions, and often playing the part of vampires in all classes of society.

On the other hand, women of high position or wealth have also their favorites, whom we may call male hetairas. Certain female members of royal families have at all times furnished examples of this kind.

At all periods in the history of civilized races, pathology has also led to extra-conjugal sexual intercourse. Here, homosexual love in general, and love of boys or pediastry, has always played the principal part. We shall speak of this in Chapter VIII. Among the Hebrews, Persians, Etruscans, and especially the Greeks, it was held in high esteem. The Greek philosophers regarded it as based on an ideal homosexual love, and not as a vile form of prostitution. Solon, Aristides, Sophocles, Phidias, and Socrates were strongly suspected of homosexual practices, [188]and they regarded this form of love as superior to the normal love of woman. Lesbian love, and other sexual aberrations, such as sadism, have also played a historical role, as we shall see.


Primitive human marriage was probably of short duration; when man later on became carnivorous, and had to obtain food for his children by hunting, sexual unions assumed a more constant character. It is not the class or the tribe, but the family which constituted the primitive social condition of man, a condition in which marriage was a heritage from "pithecomorphous" ancestors, i.e., related to monkeys.

Free sexual intercourse before marriage and frequent changes in the latter were then no doubt very common, but true promiscuity has never been the rule in primitive man.

Patriarchism with its disastrous consequences has been the result of the preponderance of male power. In a higher degree of civilization this preponderance has produced marriage by purchase and polygamy. The barbarous form of the latter is now decreasing.

A true higher culture leads gradually to durable love based on altruism and ethics, i.e., a relative and free monogamy.

The development of marriage in civilization has gradually increased the rights of woman, and marriage contracts tend more and more in their modern forms to stipulate for complete equality of rights for both sexes. As Westermark says: "The history of human marriage is the history of a union in which women have gradually triumphed over the passions, prejudices and egoism of men." The term reëmancipation of women is historically more correct than the simple term emancipation, for before the institution of marriage, woman was free. Invented by the stronger male when he began to reason, marriage was at first only the servitude of woman. To give her complete liberty, it must be transformed afresh from top to bottom.



Influence of the Race on Sexual Life.—If I were an ethnographer I should attempt to establish whether, and in what way, racial differences affect the sexual life of man; but the question is so delicate that it would require a skilled specialist to settle it. With the exception of the pages dealing with the history of extra-conjugal intercourse, the statements in this chapter are based on the work of Westermark. The chief difficulty consists in separating, in the customs of each race, that which arises from habit and historical tradition from that which depends on more or less specific hereditary peculiarities. It is here very easy to fall into error in formulating false conclusions.

A good deal has been said concerning the hot blood of warm climates, and on the whole it appears true that people who inhabit these climates have a more violent and more precocious sexual temperament than those who live in cold regions. But this is not a racial character. The Jews, who have preserved their race unaltered in all climates and under all possible conditions of existence, furnish an object lesson which is particularly appropriate to decide the question. The traits of their character are reflected in their sexual life. Their sexual appetites are generally strong and their love is distinguished by great family attachment. Their sexual life is also influenced by their mercantile spirit, and we find them everywhere connected with the traffic of women and prostitution. They are not very jealous and are much addicted to concubinage, at the same time remaining affectionate to their wife and family.

The Mongols also lead a very intense sexual life. Among the polyandrous people of Thibet jealousy appears to be completely absent: this may be the result of custom or may be due to phylogenetic instinct. The Mormons, who are descended from monogamous races, confirm the idea that polygamy is not a specific racial character. It would be interesting to study the mixed races of North America from this point of view. At first sight, it seems that the Americanization of customs in the mixture of races of the United States is also extended to sexual life, and that we cannot discover the fundamental differences [190]between the Irish, Scandinavians, French, Germans and Italians who constitute this mixture. But it is possible that this is only a superficial impression, and that a deeper study of the details would lead to another result. One thing appears to be unquestionable in the negro race; that is the violence of its sexual passion combined with its mental inferiority.

A striking trait is furnished by the French race which has remained pure in the eastern provinces of Canada, whose sexual customs are very different from those of the present population of France. The French Canadian is extremely pure and chaste, leads a regular life and has a numerous family. Families of fifteen or twenty are not rare among French Canadians. We can here, therefore, observe the effect of climate and custom on a single race. For reasons mentioned above, I shall content myself with a few remarks, but I am certain that a profound study of the question would discover, in the character of the individuals, specific peculiarities of their race which are only marked externally by customs. It is obvious that such characters will be all the more distinct, the more the race differs from its congeners, and the purer its ethnical separation. As among animals, it is necessary to distinguish between slight variations, and races or sub-species which are more constant and more divergent. Hereditary or phylogenetic individual differences must also be distinguished from those of races or varieties.

Weight of the Brain in Different Races and Sexes.—Bebel has stated that among savages the difference between the brain of the men and women is less than among civilized people. This statement is quite wrong. Prof. Rudolph Martin, of Zurich, has given me statistics of the cranial capacity of the two sexes in different races, drawn from reliable sources. According to Martin the weight of the brain represents about 87 per cent. of the cranial capacity. His table of statistics is given on the opposite page.

These figures show that the difference between the two sexes is always about the same, while the average absolute weight of the brain in the two sexes is lower in the lower races. Reckoning it 87 per cent. of the cranial capacity, it is in the Weddas 1111 grammes for males and 991 grammes for females, which [191]corresponds to the weight of the brains of idiots or general paralytics with us. Martin assures me that in the Malay peninsula he has found as much difference between the men and women as in Europeans.

According to Martin, men living at the present day may be divided into three classes according to their cranial capacity:

Aristencephalous (large brains) over 1450 gr. over 1300 gr.
Euencephalous (medium brains) 1300 to 1450. 1150 to 1300.
Oligencephalous (small brains) under 1300. under 1150.


            Men Women Difference
48 Craniums m.
1513 1330 183
26 Craniums f.
100 Craniums m.
1503 1335 168 (11.2 %)
100 Craniums f.
26 Craniums m.
1414 1223 191
2 Craniums f.
87 Craniums m.
1462 1308 154
64 Craniums f.
Lowest Race
22 Craniums m.
1277 1139 138 (10.8%)
10 Craniums m.




The evolution of every living being is twofold. We must distinguish: (1) its ontogeny, or the entire cycle of development of the individual from its conception till natural death at an advanced age; (2) its phylogeny, or the series of organic forms through which its ancestors passed, by successive transformations, from the primitive cells of the oldest and most obscure geological periods, up to its present organization.

In its chief outlines ontogeny is determined by phylogeny by means of the laws of heredity, even when it is only an abridged recapitulation.

Regarded from this point of view the sexual life of man is also based on phylogenetic conditions, determined by his ancestral lineage. Moreover, it presents an individual or ontogenetic evolution during the life of each person, which in its principal traits is predetermined in the germ, by the phylogenetic or hereditary energies of the species. The phenomena of the hereditary mneme show clearly how ontogeny is the result of engraphia combined with selection, in the series of ancestors. We have already mentioned these points on several occasions, but must now review the whole question.


In Chapter II we have briefly described phylogeny in general or metamorphosis, and in the first part of Chapter IV we have specially considered the phylogeny of the sexual appetite in the phenomenon of cell division and conjugation of nuclei in unicellular organisms, which we have described in Chapter I. In order for animals to reproduce themselves without degenerating, crossing, or the combination of different germs, is necessary, and such combinations are only possible by the mutual [193]attraction of two kinds of germinal cells. But, when the individual becomes multicellular and bears only one kind of germinal cells, the attractive energy which was originally limited to these cells is transmitted to the whole organism, and this necessitates the existence of sensory and motor nerve centers.

The attraction of one kind of germinal cell and its bearer for the other must also be more or less mutual. As a rule the bearer of one of the germinal cells becomes active and penetrating; that of the other passive and receptive. However, the latter, who after copulation (when this occurs) becomes the sole bearer of the future individual, is obliged to desire union with the active bearer of the other germinal cell, so that reproduction may become harmonious. This is the basis on which is founded sexual reproduction, and with it the sexual appetite, in plants (as regards cellular conjugation only) as well as in animals, but especially in the latter, in whom the germinal cells are carried by mobile and independent individuals. On the same basis is developed the difference between the sexual appetite in man and woman, as well as that between love and the other irradiations of this appetite in the mental life of both sexes. (Vide Chapters IV and V.)

The immense complication of human sexual life makes us regard animals with a certain degree of contempt, and flatter our vanity in qualifying the baser part of our sexual appetite by the term animal instinct. But we are really very unjust toward animals. This injustice is partly due to the fact that vocal and written language gives us a means of penetrating into the psychology of our fellow creatures. By the aid of the common symbolism of our thoughts it is easy for us to compare them. Language thus enables us to construct a general human psychology. The absence of language, even in the higher animals, renders it difficult for us to penetrate their mind. Our inductive reasoning in this matter is very uncertain, for we can only judge the mental power of animals by their acts. The brain, and consequently the mind, of the higher mammals being less highly organized than that of man, their sexual psychology is also more primitive, and differs from ours in proportion to the cerebral development of the species. Comparative anatomy confirms [194]this fact in the whole series of organisms which possess a central nervous system. The psychology of the higher apes is thus nearer our own than that of the dog; the psychology of the dog resembles ours more than that of the rabbit, etc.

On the other hand, the highly developed cerebral organization of man, although it has complicated the mental irradiations of his sexual appetite, has not always ennobled them; on the contrary, it has often directed them into pernicious paths. We have seen in Chapter VI numerous and striking proofs of the degeneration, brutality and cruelty of the manifestations of the human sexual appetite, and we shall study them further in Chapter VIII. Comparative biology shows us that the sexual appetite is transformed into love in very different ways. In order to avoid the immensity of detail of comparative biology I shall only give a few examples.

While the female spider often kills and eats the male, monkeys, and parrots give proof of such a great mutual attachment that when one of the conjoints dies the other sinks into complete despair, ceases to eat, and perishes in its turn.

In this domain we find singular adaptations to special conditions of existence. Among the bees and ants, a third class of individuals, or neuters, formed by differentiation of females, do not copulate, and lay at the most a few eggs which are not fecundated and which occasionally develop by parthenogenesis.

Among the termites, another species of social ants, a similar state of things exists, but the neuters, or workers, are derived from the male sex as well as the female and their sexual organs are quite rudimentary. The third sex, or worker, not only has a cerebral development superior to the sexual individuals, but also inherits the social sympathetic irradiations of the sexual appetite, which results in his devotion to a brood which is not his own. Among the social insects the males are little more than flying sexual organs, which after copulation are incapable of leading an independent existence and die of hunger and exhaustion in the case of ants or termites, or are massacred by the workers in the case of bees.

The fecundated females, on their part, become breeding machines whose activity is incessant. Among the ants, however, [195]the females are at first capable of nourishing a few larvæ by the aid of a portion of their eggs and their secretions, till the workers are hatched, who henceforth undertake all the work including the maternal care of the brood.

Whoever has observed the fidelity of a pair of swallows and the way in which the male and female nourish and rear their young, must be struck by the analogy to the conjugal and family love of the faithful type of human beings. This is especially remarkable when the same couple return every year to the old nest. This family life of the swallows does not prevent a certain social life, which manifests itself in organized attacks on birds of prey, and in combined emigration in the autumn and spring.

On the other hand, we are instinctively indignant at the want of fidelity in other animals, between conjoints, parents and offspring (dogs and rabbits, for instance), because we involuntarily expect to find in them our own moral sense, which is not at all just.

From the phylogenetic point of view we can only compare ourselves to the higher apes, by their analogies with primitive man. (Vide Chapter VI.) The question which concerns us here is as follows: If we consider the peculiarities of our sexual customs with those of our direct ancestors, what are those which are derived from ancient and profound phylogenetic instincts, those which are derived from less profound ancestral energies (i.e., relatively more recent) and lastly those which depend simply on old customs fixed by tradition, prejudice and habit? If we are careful we shall immediately recognize that it is not only the sexual appetite itself, but also a large part of its correlatives and irradiations, in which the phylogenetic roots are deep. Jealousy, coquetry, instinctive maternal love, fidelity and conjugal love, which are more or less developed in primitive man, are also present in monkeys and birds. We have even seen that the conjugal fidelity of these often exceeds our own. It is, therefore, not true that our animal ancestors are only allied to us by sexual appetite; on the contrary, we must admit that they have much more noble sentiments and instincts, derived it is true from this appetite, but belonging to the domain of a [196]higher social morality. All that we can say in a general way concerning the complex entanglement of our sentiments and instincts is that, the most deeply rooted characters in human nature are at the same time, phylogenetically speaking, the most ancient.

Among the most profound instincts of sexual life, we find moral and intellectual incongruities. Along with excitement of the sexual appetite in the male by the odor of the female genital organs, or by the sight of erotic pictures, we find the most touching conjugal love, and life-long devotion of one conjoint for the other and for the children. Prostitution, marriage by purchase, religious marriage, disgrace attached to illegitimate births, conjugal and family rights of one or the other sex, etc., are, on the contrary, things which do not depend on recent phylogeny, but only on the customs and traditions of certain races. They are partly outgrowths from egoism, the spirit of domination, mysticism and hypocrisy, and partly the shifts of an overheated social life which is becoming more and more complicated.

Westermark's studies are very instructive in this respect. All the absurdities and contradictions, brought to light by the historical and ethnographical study of the customs and matrimonial abuses in man, allow us to clearly distinguish that which is due to fashion or custom, from that which is deeply rooted in our heredity. To avoid repetition I refer my readers to Chapter VI, to examine the differences between heredity and custom.

Between these two extremes there is, however, one important domain, viz., that of recent phylogeny, or in other words variation. The fixed appetites and instincts of the species which are proper to every normal man, and are as we have seen fundamentally connected with many animal forms, belong to ancient and profound phylogeny. But there is another group of very variable peculiarities, strongly developed in some men and little in others, sometimes completely absent, which do not depend on custom but on what is called individual hereditary disposition, or individual character. While some men have monogamous instincts others are polygamous. Some men are by instinct and heredity very egoistic, others more altruistic. This [197]peculiarity is reflected in their sexual life and changes the character of their love (but not that of their sexual instinct). The egoist may love his wife, but this love is interested and very different from that of the altruist. Between the two extremes there is an infinite number of gradations according to the nature of the instincts and dispositions. The same man may be a good and generous father, and a social exploiter with neither shame nor pity. Another will pose as a social benefactor, while at home he is an egoist and a tyrant. The individual dispositions of recent phylogeny are combined in every way with education, customs, habit and social position to produce results which are often paradoxical, and the factors of which are ambition, vanity, temper, etc. Recent phylogeny is reflected also in many of the irradiations of the sexual appetite of which we have spoken in Chapter V. Audacity, jealousy, sexual braggardism, hypocrisy, prudery, pornography, coquetry, exaltation, etc., depend in each particular case, according to their degree of development, on a combination of individual sexual hereditary dispositions with individual dispositions in the other domains of sentiment, intelligence and will. In this way, the sexual individuality of one man is constituted in a very complex and very different way to that of other men, owing to the high development of the human brain, as well as to the infinite variability and adaptability of his aptitudes. It is impossible to give even an incomplete explanation of all the symphonic gradations (often cacophonic) which represent an individuality, or to fix clearly what distinguishes it from others. However, when the principle is understood, it is not difficult to estimate the sexual individuality of each person more or less correctly.

Strong hereditary dispositions of character may be recognized in early infancy. When the ancestry of a man is well known the roots of his recent phylogeny may be traced to his ancestors. Here we observe the effect of crossing between varieties or different races, or on the contrary that of consanguinity. This effect is observed in character and in sexual disposition, as much as in the shape of the nose, or the color of the skin and hair, etc. It is important that men should learn to know themselves, and also study each other from this point of view before marrying. [198]On the whole, we may say that the average civilized man of our race possesses as his "phylogenetic baggage" a strong sexual appetite, very variable sentiments of love, generally somewhat mediocre, (we have seen that conjugal love is more strongly developed in most monkeys than in man), lastly altruistic or social sentiments which are still deplorably weak. The latter, no doubt, form no part of the sexual life, but they must be taken into consideration for they are its most important derivatives, and it is indispensable for our modern social life to develop them in harmony with family and conjugal love.

Hereditary instincts can easily be observed in children. When one of them is good, it gives evidence at an early age of the sentiments of sympathy or altruism, such as pity and affection, as well as an instinctive sentiment of duty, the object of which is not yet social. All these sentiments are at first only applied to human individuals known to the child, domestic animals, or even inanimate objects. On the other hand, the ant, from the beginning of its existence, shows an inherited instinct or sentiment of complete social duty. In man, social sentiments properly so-called, have to be acquired by education, but they require for their expansion a considerable degree of inherited sentiments of sympathy and duty. A person without morals can easily acquire social phraseology but not social sentiment. A few more points require to be considered.

Monogamy is no doubt an old and well-established phylogenetic heritage, while polygamy is on the whole rather an aberration produced by individual power and wealth. But phylogenetic monogamy is by no means identical with the religious or other formality of our present legal monogamy. It assumes first of all an early marriage immediately after puberty, while our civilization has placed between this and marriage, which it only allows later as a rule, the unhealthy swamp of prostitution, which so often sows in the individual the destructive seed for his future legal union, before this has taken place. Again, phylogenetic monogamy imposes no legal constraint; on the contrary, it assumes a free, natural and instinctive inclination in each of the conjoints, when it is not the result of the brute force of the male. Lastly, it by no means excludes a change [199]after a certain time. We are speaking only of man, and not of birds and monkeys, who are more monogamous than ourselves.

Monogamy without children has little reason for its existence and must be considered simply as a means to satisfy the sexual appetite or as a union for convenience. It is the same with certain marriages between individuals of very different ages, especially the marriage of a young man with a woman already old and sterile.

As far as we can ascertain, the majority of sexual perversions, of which we shall speak in Chapter VIII, are a sad pathological acquisition of the human race. We observe, however, especially in the higher mammals, acts of pederasty between males when the female is wanting.

The sexual repulsion which normally exists between animals of different species rests on a selective basis, the hereditary mneme of their reciprocal germs being unable to place itself in homophony, and their blood also having a mutual toxic action. In speaking of sodomy we shall see that this instinctive repulsion may disappear in pathological cases, both in man and in animals, owing to bad habits or unsatisfied sexual appetite. We cannot absolutely demonstrate the phylogenetic existence of an instinctive disgust for consanguineous sexual intercourse.

The sexual advances made by women in civilized countries, show how easily we may be deceived in attributing to a phylogenetic or hereditary origin, certain details which are only due to external circumstances. In man, the bearer of the active germ, the instinct of sexual advance has deep phylogenetic roots. It is quite natural to him and is evident among savage races, where the man risks more by remaining single than the woman. Violent combats between rivals to obtain the woman, who remains passive like most animals, are evidence of this.

Civilization has changed all this, and has developed two castes of women, the old maids and the prostitutes. The latter satisfy the appetites of men in an artificial and unhealthy manner, while marriage and family cares only bring them labor and burdens instead of riches. Owing to the promiscuous polyandry of prostitution, man can always obtain enough women, while woman can with difficulty obtain a suitable husband. These [200]circumstances have more and more developed the art of flirtation, coquetry and advances on the part of girls, and we can now see, especially in the United States, that advances come more and more from the female side, if not in principle, at any rate in fact. This is not a question of a phylogenetic or hereditary transformation of the sexes among civilized peoples, but an unhealthy effect resulting from abnormal circumstances, that is the non-satisfaction of the sexual desires of woman, together with the satiety of those of men. Woman makes advances from the fear of remaining celibate; she will cease to do so when the unnatural causes which have produced this state of things have been done away with.

As a rule, a normal and adaptable man will conduct himself in sexual matters as in others according to the prevailing fashion. He will most often succeed in accommodating his sentiments to those of his conjoint. On the other hand, this average representative of normal mediocrity easily becomes the slave of routine and incapable of new ideas. However normal he may be, he has less faculty of adaptation or mental plasticity and less liberty, than a man of higher nature independent of prejudices.


The first striking fact in the ontogeny of sexual life is the following: All the sexual organs, both external and internal, remain in an embryonic and non-functional state, not only in the embryo but for a long time in the child. The organs and their elements exist, but they are still small, imperfectly developed, and in a state of rest. At the time of puberty, which varies in different individuals, the sexual glands and the other copulatory apparatus enlarge and begin to functionate. In the European races puberty occurs between the age of twelve and seventeen years in girls, and between fourteen and nineteen in boys; it is generally earlier in the South and later in the North. It is curious to note that the correlative irradiations of the sexual appetite in the human mind develop much earlier than the organs, or even the sexual appetite. Again, the sexual appetite often appears before the normal development of the genital organs. In other rare cases the sexual appetite is absent in the [201]adult, even when the corresponding organs are well-developed. (Vide Chapter VIII.) Such irregularities of the sexual appetite belong to the domain of pathology.

On the other hand, it is quite normal for young girls and boys to show early signs of mental differences corresponding to those we have described in Chapter V. In young girls we observe coquetry and jealousy and the desire for finery. Their love of dolls and the care they take of them, is very characteristic of the precocious instinct of their sex. This is an early sign of instinctive maternal love, before the development of any sexual sensation or function. Among boys we observe a tendency to brag and to boast of their strength before girls, to show their contempt for dolls and the coquetry of little girls, and also to pose as protectors, etc.

Sexual jealousy already exists in young children. We see little boys, seeking for the favors of little girls, show violent jealousy when another is preferred to them. All these phenomena depend either on subconscious instincts, or on vague sexual presentiments which play a large part in the infantile exaltation of sentiment. Portraits of pretty women, the sight of certain parts of the body or feminine clothing often provoke exalted sentiments in boys; girls rather admire boldness, an imposing presence and often beauty, in the other sex.

Puberty is produced by certain phenomena which occur in the sexual organs. In the boy erections occur at an early age when the penis is still very small. It is curious to note that certain pathological conditions and friction of the glans penis, especially in the case of phimosis and as a result of bad example, are often sufficient to produce sexual sensations and appetites in very young boys. The same thing is produced in little girls by excitation of the clitoris. All these phenomena lead to onanism or masturbation, of which we shall speak later on. As the testicles of young boys do not secrete semen, masturbation only provokes secretion from the accessory glands, but this is accompanied by orgasm.

More singular still are cases of coitus between little boys and girls whose sexual glands are still undeveloped and produce no germinal cells. Although they are pathological, these [202]phenomena are characteristic, because they clearly show that the brain has acquired by phylogeny a sexual appetite relatively independent of the development of the sexual glands. No doubt the sexual appetite does not develop, or disappears, in eunuchs when they are castrated quite young; but it is preserved together with the secretions and functions of the external genitals when castration is performed after puberty is established.

The important conclusion which results from these facts is that the existence of a sexual excitation or appetite of this nature is not sufficient to prove that they are normal. In Chapter VIII we shall prove that not only the anomalies of the hereditary sexual disposition, but artificial excitations and bad habits may also produce all kinds of misconduct and excesses which should be energetically combated.

We have described in Chapter IV the great individual variations of the sexual appetite in the two sexes, as well as that of the sexual power in man. The sexual power and appetite in man are strongest between the years of twenty and forty. We may even consider this period as the most advantageous for the procreation of strong and healthy offspring and that the procreator is at his best before the age of thirty.

The ontogenetic development of the sexual appetite and love generally produces in man a peculiar phenomenon. While habitual gratification and education of the sexual appetite tends to make it more and more calculating and cynical, love, on the contrary, becomes more elevated and refined with age and less egoistical than in youth. Owing to general mental development, the education of sentiments progresses and becomes refined, while the sexual appetite diminishes in intensity and becomes more imperious and more coarse. We are only speaking here of normal cases.

In youth, the intoxication of love combined with intense sexual appetite triumphs; when the appetite is once satisfied the unbridled and egoistic passions of this age come to the surface and are often antagonistic to love. At a more advanced age, on the contrary, love becomes more constant and more tranquil. The mistake that is so often made is the confusion [203]of love with sexual appetite. The novelists who speculate on the eroticism of the public are no doubt more interested in describing sexual passion and amorous intoxication, with all the catastrophes and conflicts which arise from them, than the tranquil and regular love of a couple more advanced in age, the greatest happiness of which consists in harmony of sentiment and thought, as well as the mutual regard and devotion of the couple for each other.

Sexual appetite and sexual power in man become extinguished between the ages of sixty and eighty; old men of eighty are sometimes still capable, but they are no longer fecund. As a rule sexual power diminishes before sexual appetite, and this sometimes leads old men to use artificial means to revive their power, or to satisfy their sexual desires. This explains why the egoists who have never known true love often become so base in their sexual manifestations when they grow old. Their experience of sexual life makes them experts in the art of seduction. If this fact appears to be antagonistic to the law that true love is refined with advancing age, we must bear in mind that the ontogenetic development of the sexual appetite is not the same as that of love; that in some respects it develops in a contrary direction; and that the result may consequently become inverted according as one or other predominates. It is needless to say that there are a number of intermediate gradations, and that inverse phenomena may be produced concurrently in the same individual.

According to Westermark elderly men generally fall more easily in love with middle-aged women than with young girls. No doubt this is often the case when reason and love predominate, but it is necessary to avoid generalization, and it is curious to observe how often very old men become enamored of quite young girls, as the latter may fall in love with old men. It is common knowledge that young girls do not marry old graybeards solely for their money or their name. No doubt this is not uncommon, but I have often seen girls of eighteen or twenty fall in love with old roués, when money, name and position were theirs and not the man's. However, in such cases it is most often the old man who is amorous. Westermark [204]maintains that this condition is not normal, and we shall see that very often it is a case of commencing senile dementia, a pathological cerebral condition in which the sexual appetite becomes suddenly revived.

The love of a young girl for an old man may be explained by the intellectual superiority of the old man or by the absence of another object for love. It is often also due to hysteria and consequently pathological.

In old age, when the sexual life of two conjoints is extinguished, there remains a purified love which colors the evening of their life with autumn tints. The modern detractors of marriage too often forget this phenomenon. No doubt the evening of conjugal life is often troubled with discord and sorrow, but then it is usually a question of "mariage de convenance," marriage for money or position, mutual misunderstanding, or irreflective amorous intoxication. Quarrels may also arise when pathological conditions become introduced into marriage.

In woman, sexual ontogeny is not the same as in man. She matures earlier and more rapidly. In our race, a woman at eighteen is sexually mature; between eighteen and twenty-five she is in the best condition for sexual life; toward fifty the menopause occurs, and with it cessation of fecundity. Hence the period during which a woman is fecund is much shorter than in man and terminates much earlier.

Owing to this, the development of the intellectual and sentimental irradiations of the sexual appetite in woman is more rapid than in man. A young girl is much more mature and full grown as regards her reproductive power than a young man. These phenomena extend to the whole mental life of woman, who is less capable of an ulterior development in old age than man, because she generally becomes settled and automatic much more rapidly than the latter. No doubt these phenomena are partly due to the defective mental education of women, but this explanation is insufficient. Here again we must distinguish the phylogenetic disposition of woman from the effects of education during her ontogenetic development.

The sexual appetite of woman manifests itself at first in vague desires, in a want of love, and does not as a rule develop locally [205]till after coitus. It often follows that in ontogenetic evolution the sexual appetite of women increases at a more advanced age (between thirty and forty). At this age women often become enamored with young boys, whom they seduce easily. Widows are especially disposed to form unions with men younger than themselves; these unions are rarely happy, for the woman who is older than her husband easily becomes jealous, and the husband soon becomes tired of a woman whose charms have faded. We can therefore affirm that, as a rule, in order to be both normal and lasting, a monogamous union requires that the husband should be from six to twelve years older than his wife, and that the latter should marry as young as possible.

In the sexual ontogeny of normal woman, pregnancies, childbirth, the nursing and education of children play an infinitely greater role than the sexual appetite. These important events in woman's life, together with affection for her husband occupy a great part of the cerebral activity of every woman, and are at the same time the conditions for her true happiness.

We should expect the sexual appetite in woman to diminish or cease at the menopause; but this is not usually the case, and elderly women are sometimes tormented by the sexual appetite, which is all the more painful because men are not attracted by them. Such hyperæsthesia cannot, however, be considered as normal; most often the sexual appetite diminishes with age and is replaced, as in man, by the tranquil love of old age, of which we have spoken.

Old women are often spoken of with contempt. No doubt, unsatisfied passions and wounded feelings of all kinds, want of intellectual culture and high ideals, and especially a pathological condition of the brain, make many old women anything but amiable. I am, however, convinced that the elevation of woman's social position, and greater care in her education, will considerably facilitate the development of her faculties. Education should not develop mundane qualities in women, but depth of sentiment. There are many aged women who can be cited as examples of activity and perseverance, for their sound and clear judgment, as well as for their affability and simplicity of manners. Although their intellectual productiveness ceases [206]earlier than that of man, this in no way excludes an excellent and persevering activity of mind, combined with much judgment and sentimental qualities. A woman who is growing old and has lost the members of her family, especially her husband, requires some object to replace them in her affection. To devote herself to social activity will be the best antidote against the peevish, querulous or sorrowful moods which so easily take possession of the aged woman. It appears that love, which is a phylogenetic derivative of the sexual appetite, and which in middle life is intimately associated with this appetite, becomes afterwards more and more independent of it and then requires more compensation. There is here a great adaptation of love to life, an adaptation which it is necessary to bear in mind.

In infancy the individual is naturally egoistic; his appetites all tend to self-preservation. There are even then, however, great individual differences, and we meet with children who are endowed with a remarkable sentiment of duty and a great sensibility to the troubles of others. After puberty man's sexual desire leads him to love, toward dual egoism, and this desire becomes the principal factor in the reproduction of the species. In old age the individual has no reproductive aims to fulfill; his life is only a burden on society, if it is not directed with a view to benefit others and society in general. By expansion and purification love, at first sexual, is gradually transformed into purely humanitarian love, i.e., altruistic or social. At least this is what it should be, and then the fundamental biogenetic law of Haeckel (ontogeny is an abridged repetition of phylogeny) will receive an ultimate confirmation. Our primitive unicellular animal ancestor lived for itself alone; later on sexual reproduction without love was established; then conjugal and family love appeared (birds, monkeys, mammals, etc.), finally social love or altruism was produced, i.e., the sense of social solidarity based on the sentiment of duty.

The last is still very weak in man, while some animal species, such as the bees and ants, have developed it in a more complete manner, on the basis of instinct. According to this natural law, all social organization naturally develops altruism or the sentiment of duty. The history of humanity proves that our [207]social union is only developed slowly and laboriously through innumerable contests, and that it is derived, directly or indirectly, from the family union of individuals. Extension of communication on the surface of the earth causes the artificial development of social organization to advance much more rapidly than the natural phylogenetic development by evolution of the sentiments or social instincts. The latter are, however, forced to follow the movement, resting first on the deep roots of family and friendly altruism, as well as on that of caste or clan (patriotism); i.e., on sentiments of sympathy and duty toward certain individuals who are more closely connected with us, sentiments which are hereditary in man. A vague general humanitarian sentiment, a hothouse flower which is still feeble, has already commenced to grow on this natural basis. Let us hope that it will live.

It would be a fundamental error to try and found social solidarity solely on our phylogenetic sentiments of sympathy, or on our ideal faculty of devotion and self-sacrifice; but to try and take egoism as a basis for this solidarity is a still greater error. We must not make an antinomy of egoism and altruism, but regard them as two elements inseparable from all human society, as well as the individuals who compose it. We cannot deny that the altruist, endowed with strong sentiments of sympathy and duty, is an excellent social worker, while the pure egoist constitutes an element of decomposition for society. It is, therefore, a social duty to proceed by the sexual route to a selection which will cause the first to multiply and eliminate the second as far as possible by sterilizing his germs.




On this subject we refer the reader to the well-known work of Krafft-Ebing, "Psychopathia Sexualis,"[4] in which will be found a number of observations, the details of which we cannot enter into here. We may first of all say that with the exception of venereal diseases the genital organs by themselves only play a very small part in sexual pathology. The brain is the true domain of nearly all sexual anomalies.

In the second place, we may remark that the disorders of sexual life only rarely belong to acute affections which the physician can treat with pharmaceutical or other common remedies. They almost exclusively originate in the mental constitution, i.e., in the hereditary dispositions of the brain of the individual. But the pathology of mental or cerebral conditions offers an extremely vast field, capable of so much extension that no definite limit can be fixed between the normal state and morbid states, which are themselves connected by numerous transitions. A great number of acts due to mental conditions which the public and even learned theologians, jurists and physicians not initiated in psychiatry, consider as criminal, sinful, or infamous, are only the product of pathological aberrations due to hereditary dispositions. I was recently consulted by a patient of this kind, otherwise possessed of noble sentiments, who told me that a physician in Germany to whom he related his troubles, turned on him furiously and said, "These things are filthy; you are a pig; hold your tongue and get away from here!" As a matter of fact this unfortunate patient was sustaining a heroic struggle against his perverted pathological sexual appetites. Knowing little or nothing of these matters human society, with few [209]exceptions, is of the same opinion as the ignorant doctor mentioned above. For this reason I think it necessary at least to give an outline of phenomena which, although very repulsive in themselves, throw much light on the sexual question.


Every deformity, disease or operation which destroys the sexual glands in the child, or prevents them from developing, gives rise to the phenomena which we have described when speaking of castration. This is the case, for instance, with cryptorchidism in which the testicles remain in the inguinal canal and become atrophied, instead of descending into the scrotum. The following case is an example, and is interesting in other respects:

A young man was affected with imbecility and congenital cryptorchidism with atrophy of the testicles. A eunuch from birth, he developed no sexual appetite and no correlative masculine character. To make a man of him, his too eager aunts married him to a strong girl, who was anything but innocent. She attempted by all kinds of manipulations to cure the sexual blindness of her husband; but this was a waste of labor, as the unhappy wretch only regarded the performance as disgusting and filthy. He was violently excited and became somnambulistic.

Soon afterwards the wife consoled herself with a lover of normal sexual power, and they both overwhelmed the poor eunuch with raillery. The latter, becoming furious, offered his wife a cake poisoned with arsenic on her birthday, but she saw through the stratagem. The poor wretch was sent for trial and condemned to a long term of imprisonment for attempted poisoning. I consider this judgment as a legal crime. In spite of my protests, imbecility was not admitted, and the somnambulism was looked upon as simulated.

On the other hand, the same lesions when they occur in the adult neither destroy the correlative sexual characters, nor the power of coitus, nor the voluptuous sensation of the orgasm.

In man, aspermia sometimes occurs; the testicles appear to be well formed, but the semen contains no spermatozoa. In spite of this the aspermatic individual generally has erections, a certain amount of sexual power and orgasm, and is capable of [210]amorous feelings, although his sexual functions are generally feeble. But he is incapable of fecundating a woman.

Some women who have never menstruated possess normal ovaries and may become pregnant.

Tuberculosis, tumors and inflammations of the testicles and ovaries may cause sterility.

The erection of the penis is often rendered impossible by certain deformities, such as hypospadias and epispadias, in which the urethral canal opens respectively below or above the penis.

Involuntary emissions of semen without erection, with or without voluptuous sensation, is called spermatorrhea. This is often a result of onanism, nervousness or constipation. Too much importance has been attached to it. In hypochondriacs spermatorrhea becomes a bugbear, which often makes them the dupes of charlatans. The less attention is paid to it the quicker it disappears; especially when it is of purely nervous origin, as is usually the case.

Phimosis, or narrowness of the opening of the prepuce is nearly always of embryonic origin. It prevents the glans penis from becoming exposed, at least during erection. It is a very common condition and very disagreeable. If the prepuce is forcibly drawn back behind the glans penis before erection, as is often the case in masturbation, the penis is gripped by the prepuce so that it cannot sometimes be drawn forward and inflammation with oedema results; this condition is called paraphimosis, and may become dangerous. Secretions, urine and semen accumulate and decompose in a phimosed prepuce, cause irritation and lead to masturbation. All cases of phimosis should be operated upon in infancy, by complete or partial circumcision.

In women, the number of diseases which prevent conception is much greater than in man. The ovary may undergo cystic degeneration or become the seat of a tumor; but affections of the uterus and vagina cause more sterility than ovarian affections. This results chiefly from catarrh and inflammation which destroy the spermatozoa before they can reach the egg during its descent. Disorders of menstruation have much less influence on fecundity. The womb sometimes remains in an infantile state, which may also cause sterility. Other diseases of [211]the female sexual organs have a more general pathological character and hardly influence sexual intercourse.

A method of rendering women sterile without castration (removal of the ovaries) consists in interrupting the communication between the ovaries and the womb by dislocation of the Fallopian tubes: this avoids all the evil effects of castration.

Certain inflammations and displacements of the uterus and ovaries are often the origin of pains, indispositions and nervous disorders in women. Irregularity and pain in menstruation are a frequent cause of neuroticism.

The hymen is seldom so strongly developed as to offer a serious obstacle to coitus; but when this occurs it may be removed by a slight operation. Young women often suffer from vaginismus, or painful spasms occurring when an object, such as the finger or penis, is introduced into the vagina.

Hermaphrodism in man is always pathological, extremely rare, and when it exists nearly always incomplete. These cases are generally incomplete mixtures concerning principally the correlative characters. A double function only exists in legends. I have myself seen a celebrated hermaphrodite named Catherine Hohmann who had a well-formed testicle on the left side enclosed in a fold of skin which resembled the larger lip of the vulva, while the penis was very short and resembled a clitoris. This individual, who was baptized as a woman, was certainly male on one side; on the other hand, the feminine nature was more than problematical. Menstruation was alleged to have occurred but was not established with certainty, any more than an ovary or uterus.

Much more frequent are inverted correlative sexual characters, such as bearded women, men with breasts; also mental sexual inversions, of which we shall speak later.


We cannot give here a complete description of the venereal diseases, which constitute a terrible evil for humanity, by [212]bringing a great deal of misfortunes and decadence into family and social life. Let us first point out the common error which attributes to sexual excess the evil effects which are really due to venereal disease. Although it may be uncommon, one may be infected by these diseases after an innocent kiss, a cut finger, by sitting on a privy contaminated by a person suffering from venereal disease, by the use of contaminated linen, etc., etc. A pachydermatous Don Juan, on the contrary, may abandon himself to the wildest sexual excess without being infected, if he is prudent and has good luck. On the other hand, young men may be infected after having been with a prostitute only once in their lives, and thus ruin their whole existence.

There are three kinds of venereal disease, which we will describe in a few words. To these may be added certain parasites, such as crab-lice and the itch, which are easily communicated by sexual intercourse with infected persons, but also in other ways.

Gonorrhea or Clap.—This disease consists in a purulent inflammation of the urethra caused by a microbe called the gonococcus. When treated properly it may be cured in a few weeks, but very often the inflammation becomes chronic and attacks the neighboring organs. Chronic clap, or "morning-drop," may lead in the male to permanent stricture of the urethra, which in turn may produce retention of urine, catarrh of the bladder and disease of the kidneys, which may be fatal. One attack of gonorrhea in no way protects against a second infection, but rather predisposes to it, and when this disease becomes chronic exacerbations or relapses of the acute stage often occur without fresh infection.

In women the results of gonorrhea are, if possible, still worse than in men, because it is more difficult to cure. A prostitute affected with gonorrhea may infect an enormous number of men, and in this case medical inspection of brothels is no guarantee. The gonococci are concealed in all the corners and folds of the internal genital organs of woman, where they set up inflammation of the womb, the Fallopian tubes and even the ovaries, which may lead to adhesions between the abdominal organs. Women affected with chronic gonorrhea generally become sterile. When the womb and the ovaries are affected [213]there is much suffering and the woman may be confined to bed for some years. Stricture of the urethra and inflammation of the bladder are more rare in women than in men, as the result of gonorrhea.

But gonorrhea is not confined to the adults of both sexes. The innocent child, who at birth has to pass through its mother's vulva, when this is affected with gonorrhea, undergoes a baptism of gonococci which attack the conjunctiva of the eyes and set up a severe purulent inflammation, called ophthalmia of the newly born (ophthalmia neonatorum). This is one of the chief causes of total blindness, and if the child is not entirely blind, there are often large white patches left on the cornea which considerably interfere with sight. Gonorrheal ophthalmia may also occur in adults by conveying pus from the urethra to the eyes by the fingers.

Syphilis.—This disease is still more formidable than gonorrhea. It is caused by a microbe which has been recently discovered (Spirochæta pallida). Syphilis is much more chronic than gonorrhea and commences with a small sore indurated at its base and called the hard chancre. This is situated on the genital organs or elsewhere; in the mouth, for instance, when this has been in contact with the buccal or genital organs of a person infected with syphilis. The syphilitic poison spreads through the body by means of the blood and lymph. At the end of a few weeks eruptions appear on the body and face, and then commences a series of disasters the cause of which may be suspended over the victim for his whole life, like the sword of Damocles, even when he believes himself cured; for the cure of syphilis is often uncertain. This disease may remain latent for months and years, to reappear later on in different organs and cause fresh lesions.

Syphilis causes ulcers of the skin and mucous membranes; it sometimes causes decay of the bones; it may cause disease of the internal organs, such as the liver and lungs; it affects the walls of the blood vessels, causing them to become hard and brittle (atheroma); it causes disease of the eyes, especially of the iris and retina, tumors (or gummata) in the brain, paralysis etc. In fact, it spares none of the organs of the body.

[214]Among the most terrible results of syphilis we must mention locomotor ataxy (sclerosis of the posterior columns of the spinal cord), with its lightning pains and paralysis of the legs and arms; also general paralysis of the insane, which by causing gradual atrophy of the brain, destroys one after the other, sensations, movements and all the mental faculties. These two diseases, which are so common at the present day, only occur in old syphilitics, five to twenty years, or more often ten to fifteen years after infection, and as a rule in persons who think they have been completely cured. Both these diseases are fatal. Before causing death, locomotor ataxy causes intolerable pain for several years. General paralysis first gives rise to grandiose ideas, and after disintegrating the human personality bit by bit, ends by transforming the individual into a being much inferior to animals, and of an aspect as miserable as it is repulsive. A general paralytic in his last stage is little more than a vegetating ruin, in whom the nervous activities are decomposed little by little, after the gradual disappearance of all the mental faculties. This is the result of slow atrophy of the brain and gradual destruction of its microscopic elements, or neurones.

The early stages of syphilis may easily pass unnoticed owing to their partly latent and completely painless character. Small eruptions may be mistaken for other affections, and mercurial treatment generally disperses the symptoms of primary and secondary syphilis. But syphilitics who are apparently cured are never safe from being attacked, after perhaps many years, with locomotor ataxy, general paralysis or the tertiary or quaternary manifestations of syphilis, such as disease of the bones, internal organs, eyes, brain, etc. The sores of the first two or three years of syphilis are contagious but painless, and hence do not prevent coitus when they occur in the genitals. After three years syphilis becomes less contagious, but there is no definite time limit and cases have been recorded in which contagious lesions occurred ten or fifteen years after the onset of the disease.

A syphilitic man may transmit the disease to his children without infecting his wife, and these children may die before birth or may be born with congenital syphilis. This is due to [215]the spermatozoa being infected with syphilis. However, this is fortunately not always the case, for many cured syphilitics have healthy children. A child affected with congenital syphilis (from the father) may infect the mother during pregnancy; this is called "syphilis by conception." Congenital syphilis may also cause locomotor ataxy and general paralysis.

It is difficult to enumerate all the infirmities which syphilis in the parents may transmit to the children. Syphilis often renders marriage sterile. It is more frequent in men than in women, because the number of prostitutes is small compared with the number of men who go with them; a single prostitute may contaminate a whole regiment. On their part, the clients of prostitutes convey gonorrhea and syphilis to their wives, thus spreading in society this abominable plague and all the evils resulting from it.

Soft Chancre.—The third kind of venereal disease is the soft chancre, thus called in distinction to hard chancre, which is the primary sore of syphilis. Soft chancre is the least dangerous and the least common of the three diseases. It consists of an ulcer which remains localized to the genital organs (unless it is complicated with syphilis, which is frequent). The ulcerated parts are destroyed, but the sore heals generally without trouble.

Venereal diseases constitute one of the worst satellites of the sexual appetite. If men were not so ignorant and careless, it would be on the whole easy to avoid them and cause their gradual disappearance. One of the most absurd and infamous organizations which can be imagined is that of the State regulation of prostitution which, under the pretext of hygiene, compels prostitutes to be registered by the police or to live in brothels. They then undergo regular medical examination, the object of which is to prevent those who are diseased from practicing their trade, and compel them to be treated in hospital. We shall see later on that this system absolutely fails in its object, for the simple reason that the treatment of venereal diseases is by no means the panacea which many people imagine.

The first attack of gonorrhea in man is very often spontaneously cured, while unskillful treatment often aggravates it. The relapses of this disease, on the other hand, especially in [216]their chronic form, often resist all kinds of treatment and sometimes become incurable. The gonococci become hidden in the folds of the deep parts of the mucous membrane, both in men and women, and cannot all be destroyed. With regard to syphilis, mercurial treatment, although remarkable in its immediate effect, requires prolonged administration. And it is by such means that it is proposed to make prostitutes clean! There is only one radical cure for venereal diseases; that is not to contract them! However, this does not prevent us from recommending all those who are affected with them to seek immediate treatment by a skilled specialist.

It is sad to see ladies of high position defending such barbarous institutions as proxenetism (the business of keeping brothels) and the regulation of prostitution, imagining that they thereby protect their daughters against seduction. Such aberration can only be explained by suggestive influence on the part of men. Among men, and especially among many physicians, the belief in the efficacy of regulation depends on a mixture of blind routine, faith in authority and want of judgment, combined perhaps with more or less unconscious eroticism. We shall consider this point in detail later on.

One of the most tragic effects of venereal disease is the contamination of an innocent wife, whose whole life, hitherto chaste and pure, becomes brutally deprived of its fruits, and whose dreams of the ideal and hopes of happiness become swamped in the mire with which prostitution has contaminated her. Is it surprising that love in such cases becomes replaced by bitterness and despair? Some modern authors, such as Brieux (Les Avariés) and André Couvreur (La Graine), have pictured in their dramas and novels the tragic effects of venereal disease and heredity in the family, as well as their social consequences. What is deplorable, is the enormous proportion of persons who are infected with venereal diseases.


With the exception of what is called sexual inversion and pathological love of the insane, sexual psychopathology (i.e., sexual pathology of mind) is chiefly limited to the domain of the [217]sexual appetite, and originates mainly in fetichism (see Chapter V), to which it is closely allied. Let us first examine certain anomalies which partly concern the lower nervous functions.

First of all a general question presents itself. Hereditary or congenital sexual anomalies have been distinguished from those which are said to result from vicious habits. Krafft-Ebing, in his celebrated book which we have already quoted, makes a capital difference between these two causes, and stigmatizes the acquired vices with great indignation. I do not deny that there is reason for the distinction, but we must take exception to two fundamental errors in the manner in which the facts are presented.

In the first place, the difference between hereditary and acquired sexual anomalies is only relative and gradual, so that it is necessary to avoid opposing one against the other. When an anomaly arrives spontaneously in the first sexual glimmer of the child's mind during its development, it is obvious that it is the expression of a profound hereditary taint, the result of blastophthoria or of unfortunate combinations of ancestral energies which have been associated by the conjugation of the two procreative germs. In such a case it is comparatively easy to prove that this is a pathological symptom independent of the will of the individual. But a continuous series of degrees in the intensity of a hereditary predisposition to a certain sexual anomaly, or to other anomalies or peculiarities apt to provoke this anomaly, insensibly connects the purely hereditary pathological appetite with that which is simply the effect of acquired vicious habits. In this way a strong hereditary predisposition may exaggerate a moderate normal sexual appetite, or may give it a pathological direction under influences which would have had no effect in a less predisposed individual. Again, a slightly marked tendency to homosexuality in a man may increase under the seductive influence of a passionate invert, when the same individual would have lost this tendency if he had fallen seriously in love with a woman. On the other hand, the invert would have no influence on an individual who was not predisposed.

If the hereditary disposition is very strong, it is developed spontaneously or under the influence of very slight circumstances. [218]If it is mediocre, it may remain latent and even become extinct when favorable circumstances do not awaken it. When it is entirely absent the most powerful seduction and the most evil influence cannot give rise to the corresponding anomaly. These facts are sufficient to show what abuse is made of the term acquired vice. Under this heading are designated a number of peculiarities the roots of which are to a great extent contained in the germ of heredity.

The power of words on the human mind produces antinomies which do not really exist; such is the case with the terms vice and disease. Vices depend on a hereditary mnemic disposition, of varying strength and more or less pathological, or at any rate unilateral (i.e., developed in one direction only, or connected with a single group of objects); according to the good or evil influence of the environment they may develop, become limited or even fail to appear. Inversely, we may say that many diseases, especially of the brain, are the source of vices.

In the second place, it follows from this fundamental principle, that the vicious and apparently acquired conduct of certain individuals should not be considered as the product of perverted free will, but rather as the unfortunate and destructive result of a bad hereditary disposition developed under the influence of the bad habits of a corrupt environment. This environment being itself composed of men, there is a vicious circle of cause and effect which will not escape the mind of the thoughtful reader. Bad habits are made by hereditary forces, and bad habits develop in their turn by custom, and may even create, by blastophthoria, vicious hereditary dispositions. The indignation of the moralists who condemn vicious persons are very like the temper of a child who strikes the fire which burnt him.


We have already mentioned vaginismus, which is often produced in women by the first coitus. Priapism in man is somewhat analogous to vaginismus. It is produced by an exaggerated reflex irritability of the nerve centers for erection, and results in continual and painful erections, which sometimes end in ejaculation without sensation. Another anomaly, more or [219]less reflex and very frequent, produces voluptuous sensations and premature ejaculation after short and incomplete erections. In some nervous women also, the venereal orgasm occurs very rapidly and briefly. These anomalies belong to the domain of medicine and are of little importance for our subject.


Psychic impotence is a symptom which occurs accidentally in the normal state and very frequently in psychopathological conditions.

A representation or idea of any kind, may suddenly paralyze by suggestive action the normal reflex mechanism of the center for erection. The blood ceases to accumulate in the corpora cavernosa and erection is either arrested or not produced at all. For example, a very excited lover, who has had strong erections at the moment when he prepared to copulate, may be suddenly overcome with the idea that he will fail, or by some other thought which paralyzes erection and renders coitus impossible. The remembrance of such a failure and the distress and shame attached to it, even efforts to produce erection indirectly for another attempt, constitute further causes of inhibition of the cerebro-spinal activity; they temporarily extinguish the sexual appetite, and prevent by their interference the automatic mechanism of erection which they strive to produce. The greater the fear of failure, the more the psychic impotence increases. This phenomenon may be limited to a certain woman, but it is more often general. Sometimes an incomplete erection is produced, which is insufficient.

This condition, which depends on auto-suggestion, is best treated by hypnotic suggestion. The sentiment of impotence powerfully depresses a man, and the depression increases his impotence. This condition often, however, disappears by itself.

A special variety of psychic impotence is that in which erection takes place, but the idea of ejaculation predominates so much that it paralyzes the voluptuous sensations, and causes ejaculation to occur without pleasure, or even erection to cease.

Impotence may occur at the first coitus, or may come on gradually. It is often produced suddenly at the time of [220]marriage in persons who have hitherto been very capable, even in Don Juans. Men may have normal erections and pollutions, but these may be stopped by counter-suggestions at each attempt at coitus. Habitual masturbation may in some cases contribute to produce impotence, but we must not generalize from such cases, nor construct a dogma from them, for continence may also be a cause of impotence.

All these details, which are combined in all kinds of ways with other sexual troubles, but which are also produced alone in men who are otherwise normal, throw much light on the relation of the momentary mental state of man to his sexual appetite and the accomplishment of coitus.

I do not know under what heading the following case should be placed:

A young man of steady habits, and normal sexual appetite, had always abstained from sexual connection and masturbation. He only had emissions during sleep. The latter were accompanied by erotic dreams, but never produced an orgasm, while disagreeable sensations occurred on waking. He married for love a woman in whom the hymen was resistant, and vaginismus occurred on each attempt at coitus. These attempts failed constantly in spite of the most intense love and the most ardent desire for children on both sides. The husband's erections were incomplete, and he never had an ejaculation except when asleep. By the aid of hypnotism I succeeded in strengthening his erections, and an operation on the hymen cured his wife's vaginismus. The first attempts at coitus were not immediately successful, but suggestion acted after a time; finally the attempts were crowned with success, and followed by a first and second pregnancy. The children were healthy.

In this case, the impotence, which had lasted about eighteen months, did not affect the mutual love and respect of the couple, because the husband's affection combined with his sexual appetite had sufficed for the happiness of a woman who was on the whole normal.

This case is very instructive in several ways, for it gives a good example of the nature of the sexual instinct in woman; it also shows how the auto-suggestion of emissions occurring only [221]during sleep may hinder copulation in the waking state. But such phenomena are extremely rare.

It is hardly necessary to say that there is no true impotence in woman; but the same mental paralysis may occur as in man, preventing orgasm and often causing disgust.


By this term is understood the appearance of the sexual appetite, or even of love, at an abnormal age. Infantile paradoxy is, however, very different to senile paradoxy.

Infantile paradoxy must not be confounded with certain forms of masturbation, to which we shall return. Some races, especially in the tropics, have a much earlier sexual development than others; depending more on race than climate. In some, sexual maturity occurs in boys between the age of twelve and fourteen, and in girls between nine and ten years, while in others the former are hardly mature at twenty and the latter before seventeen or eighteen. Again, individual variations may be very great in the same race. But, owing to hereditary satyriasis or nymphomania, we sometimes in our own country see sexual appetite appear in children of eight, seven, or even three or four years of age, in a spontaneous manner without any external excitation. Lombroso mentions the case of a girl three years old who had an irresistible tendency to onanism. I have myself observed the two following cases:

(1). A boy of seven years, the son of a brothel keeper, and a kind of satyr who committed great excesses, began spontaneously to attack little girls of his own age or even younger. He was so artful that all means failed in curing him of this habit, and he was sent to an asylum of which I was superintendent. He then tried to renew his exploits with a boy older than himself. He was also idle and disposed to all kinds of folly. He did not, however, attempt to copulate with adult women or men. His sexual organs were absolutely infantile, without any abnormal development. His paradoxy was thus of cerebral origin.

(2). A girl of nine years was brought to my office addicted to self-abuse. Upon examination, I found this child highly neurotic, the major part of her life had been under unhygienic atmosphere, case history, father psychopathic, had been in an [222]insane asylum, mother ænemic. The child was sent to a state institution for girls and improved remarkably.

In this case I was told that there was no hereditary taint, but such statements prove nothing. Individuals of this kind generally become criminals, or else give themselves up to masturbation or prostitution.

Occasionally, the sexual appetite may be preserved for a long time in old men, or reappear for a time, with or without sexual power, but as a rule, the paradoxy of old men is the initial symptom of senile dementia. As this disorder is only commencing when sexual excitation occurs, it is not noticed, and the patient is regarded as an immoral, vicious or criminal individual. I have seen a patient of this kind masturbate openly in an asylum, so great was his sexual excitation.

In most old men affected with senile sexual paradoxy, the sexual appetite is directed toward very young girls or even children, which aggravates their case from the legal point of view. Very often this appetite is perverted and assumes one of the forms we shall speak of later. Some of these old men are still capable, but others are not, and then their excitation only manifests itself in manipulations of the genital organs, etc. Such cases play a considerable part in law scandals. The patient (for so he must be called) often becomes the victim of blackmail on the part of vicious girls or children, incited by unnatural parents. One often sees also, at the onset of senile dementia, an old man become enamored of some prostitute or adventuress who makes him marry her and thus takes possession of his fortune. The law generally makes the matter valid, under the pretext that individual liberty must be respected. Such sanction consists in reality in sacrificing a patient for the profit of a female swindler.


Sexual sensations are so intimately connected with the sexual appetite that it is difficult to separate them. No doubt in the adult a certain degree of sexual appetite may exist without any voluptuous sensation, but this is a secondary phenomenon.

[223]Complete sexual anæsthesia is very rare in man; it is not a special form of anomaly, but the reduction to zero of a normal sensation and the appetite which corresponds to it. The characteristic feature of these cases is that, contrary to what occurs in eunuchs and cryptorchids, not only the testicles, but all the correlative sexual attributes (the beard, voice, character, etc.) are normally developed, and are in no way inverted as in homosexual individuals. Sexual anæsthesia causes no more suffering than color-blindness, but like the latter it occasions individual troubles resulting from misunderstanding. The sexual anæsthetic, having a more or less false idea of marriage, often marries in complete ignorance, and the results are then disastrous, thanks to our laws and customs.

In women, sexual anæsthesia is very common. Krafft-Ebing is wrong in maintaining that in all such cases the women are always neurotic. A number of absolutely normal and intelligent women remain all their life completely cold from the sexual point of view, apart from the normally passive character of the female sex in coitus. It is rather the very libidinous woman who is pathological.

We have seen that the normal sexual sentiment of woman is developed rather in the direction of love, and desire for children. Erotic men often complain of the sexual coldness of their wives, which is disagreeable to them; for pleasure in one sex excites and completes that of the other. Cold women submit to coitus as a duty, or at any rate only mentally enjoy their husband's caresses.

Sexual anæsthesia occurs normally in old age. It may occur at an earlier age, owing to destruction or atrophy of the sexual glands, great excesses, or on the contrary, extreme continence. Certain diseases and psychoses may also cause it.

The following are a few examples of sexual anæsthesia:

(1). A normally built man, of high culture and moral sense, was affected with complete sexual anæsthesia since birth. He occasionally had nocturnal emissions, and also matutinal erections, but no erotic images. When he arrived at mature age he had no idea of sexual intercourse, and was completely indifferent to everything concerning sexuality. He did not even [224]comprehend anything relating to sexual affairs, and his replies reminded me of conversations with color-blind persons on the distinction between red and green! According to his ideas, marriage was an intellectual and sentimental union in which children came by themselves!

He eventually married a young girl, well educated but extremely prudish. One can imagine the revelations which followed! The wife, who had a strong desire for children, soon perceived the sexual blindness of her husband. She became very unhappy and bitterly reproached him. The husband then became aware that there should be something in marriage which he had not taken into account; but the explanations of coitus by the medical man were useless, and hypnotic suggestion was incapable of producing the least sexual sensation.

In spite of all this, the husband was full of respect and affection for his wife, but was incapable of simulating the least sexual appetite. As regards the wife, what she required was not coitus, which was simply a means to an end, but children. However, her prudery made her prefer this state of things to a divorce, which would create scandal. We may notice that in such cases erections are only produced mechanically during sleep, which renders coitus impossible.

(2). A timid but vain young man of retiring habits, sexually cold, had occasional nocturnal emissions sometimes accompanied by slightly erotic dreams. Although better informed than the preceding case on sexual relations, his sexual appetite was almost entirely absent, and he regarded marriage as a purely intellectual alliance. He married an intelligent and passionate young girl whose sexual appetite was strongly developed, and at once began to treat her with great coldness, as a kind of domestic servant.

The wife's family were in favor of divorce, but having pity on the husband, sent him to me for advice. I explained the matter to him, made him understand that the fault was entirely on his side, and that his first duty was to show affection for his wife, or if not, to accept divorce. The effect was purely psychical, and from this moment he became amiable and affectionate toward his wife. This was sufficient to cause the wife to give up the idea of divorce. I then told her that, on account of her husband's timidity and anomaly, the only thing to do was to reverse their roles, and for her to make the sexual advances. I have not heard anything more from this singular couple.

[225](3). A young man who had never had sexual connection before marriage, in spite of a strong sexual appetite, made the acquaintance of an intelligent young girl of excellent character. Marriage followed, and the wife was loyal to her husband, but remained sexually cold. She was insensible to coitus and only regarded it as a disagreeable complement of love. In spite of this she was fond of caresses, devoted to her husband, and had several children.

(4). An intelligent and cultured man, normal from the sexual point of view, who had frequented prostitutes in his youth, but not excessively, married a rather nervous but apparently very amorous young woman. The marriage night produced on her the effect of a cold douche, and coitus offended and horrified her. The husband in his discomfiture took patience; but his love, which was never very strong, became shattered. To avoid all scandal each of the conjoints practiced dissimulation and adapted themselves more or less to each other. The wife allowed coitus, the husband tolerated her coldness. Several children were born, but the family was unhappy, and after a few years divorce put an end to it.


This anomaly may be congenital, for example, in the sexual paradoxy of children. Every one knows the Don Juans and Messalinas with their insatiable appetites. These types of sexual hyperæsthesia are certainly less frequent and more abnormal in women than in men, but the intensity is as great or greater.

Sexual hyperæsthesia manifests itself by desires excited by every sensorial perception relating to the opposite sex, or simply by objects which recall it to the imagination; so that fetichism plays a great part in this condition. The feeling of satiety is hardly experienced at all, or only for a short time after each orgasm. Nymphomaniacs and satyrs are possessed by an insatiable sexual desire, often associated with certain sensations of anguish. This hyperæsthesia, even when it is not hereditary, may be developed up to a certain point by continued or repeated artificial excitations.

In women it is during or after menstruation that the sexual appetite and consequently sexual hyperæsthesia are generally [226]strongest, but there are many individual variations in this respect, and sometimes the opposite occurs.

The effect of sexual hyperæsthesia is to direct the appetite toward any object capable of satisfying it. When the other sex is wanting, masturbation is generally resorted to. All mucous membranes (anus, mouth, etc.) and even inanimate objects may serve to satisfy the pathologically exalted appetite of such individuals. Men most distinguished in other respects may abandon themselves to the most foolish or abominable practices.

Animals are often used to satisfy the hyperæsthetic sexual appetite in both sexes. The healthy woman is not prone to such desires, unless of psychopathic taint. Men visit prostitutes, and become excited at the sight of every woman who is neither too old nor too repulsive. Some individuals of this kind are pursued night and day by erotic images, which may even become an obsession and a veritable torment.

A further degree of sexual hyperæsthesia is called Satyriasis in man, and nymphomania in woman. I have observed in women two very different varieties of sexual hyperæsthesia. In one, true nymphomania, the subjects are attracted toward man bodily and mentally with an elementary force; in these the whole brain follows the appetite in quite a feminine manner. Other women, on the contrary, are driven to masturbation by a purely peripheral excitation; they have erotic dreams with venereal orgasms which torment rather than please them; but they do not fall in love easily, and may have difficulty in the choice of a husband. Their mind alone remains feminine, full of tact and delicacy in its sentiments, while their lower nerve centers react in a more masculine and at the same time more pathological manner. There are many transitional forms between these two extremes.

Sexual hyperæsthetics are often unhappy, and consult the physician for relief from the perpetual excitation which torments them. They attempt to master themselves and check their appetite in all ways, and are sometimes affected with nervous or mental depression. It is important, however, to recognize the fact, that many sexual hyperæsthetics remain quite [227]fresh and active, and attain an advanced age, provided they escape alcohol and venereal disease.

When sexual hyperæsthesia results chiefly from artificially acquired habits it may often be cured by hypnotic suggestion, and establishing self-control; but when it is hereditary and very intense, and especially when it is connected with infantile paradoxy or other anomalies, castration may be the only efficient remedy. When it is chiefly acquired, any strong diversion which turns the mind from sexual preoccupation to other subjects may have an excellent curative effect. The most intense hereditary cases may constitute a plague for the individual and for society, and it is then that castration may become a blessing by calming the obsessed patient, by giving him the opportunity for useful occupation, and by preventing him from abusing his fellows and procreating beings similar to himself.

Nymphomaniacs often have polyandrous instincts, and they then become more insatiable than men. Several cases of this kind have been published in the press, and examples of such women are not rare in history. When a woman is possessed by passion she often loses all sense of shame, all moral sense and all discretion, as regards the object of her desires. She pays no attention to anything which is opposed to her passion, but may be full of reserve, tact and good-feeling in all other respects. Cases of this kind, however, have always a more or less marked pathological character.

In man, satyriasis is very frequent. It often happens that a husband continually forces his wife to coitus, even during menstruation. We have mentioned already the case of an old peasant of seventy who thus abused his poor old wife. In such cases conjugal infidelity very commonly occurs. The cynicism of such individuals may go so far that they have intercourse with prostitutes or servants in the presence of their wives, or even abuse their own children. The wife behaves in these cases in different ways according to her character. Many tolerate everything and do not complain, for the sake of their children; others leave the husband or divorce him; some commit suicide.

It would seem quite natural for nymphomaniacs to marry [228]satyrs, but we must bear in mind the evil results for posterity from such an accumulation of the sexual appetite.


The term onanism is derived from the name of Onan, son of Juda and Suah and grandson of Israel. According to the Old Testament, Onan's father wished him to marry his brother's widow and have children by her; but this did not please Onan, and he provoked ejaculation of semen by friction, in order to avoid having children by his sister-in-law. "This offended God who slew him."

We have already shown that in the child the sexual appetite manifests itself in a kind of obscure presentiment and vague sensations in the genital organs. If a young man cannot satisfy his sexual appetite naturally, the latter when it increases in strength provokes erotic dreams and nocturnal emissions; or artificial excitation of the penis may be practiced to produce orgasms: the latter phenomenon is called masturbation.

Masturbation in man is performed by friction of the penis with the hand or against some soft body. In the latter case especially erotic images of naked women or female sexual organs is associated with onanism. This kind of masturbation may be called compensatory, because it does not depend on an anomaly of the sexual appetite, but serves to satisfy a natural want by compensation. There are a whole series of manipulations employed for the same object, which constitute the psychic equivalent of compensating masturbation. In remote garrisons and in boys' schools the more libidinous individuals, usually those mentally tainted, often practice mutual masturbation or sodomy. This is the sex complex of the degenerate individual and in an effort to exterminate these pathological manifestations, they are being penalized by law, throughout the civilized world. It is unnecessary to prolong this enumeration. Those we have mentioned are the most common and it is agreed that men who are addicted to these practices are decidedly psychopathic, whether it may be caused by faulty heredity or anomaly in the psychology of the individual, this still remains to be proven. In reality they are often normal in other respects, but simply affected with [229]sexual hyperæsthesia. Sometimes they are feeble-minded individuals who have recourse to such practices because they are derided by women. Others are cynics, more or less vicious in other respects.

Compensatory masturbation is extremely widespread, but it is as a rule neither recognized nor admitted because it is easy to conceal. Although depressing for those whose will power is overcome by an excitation which they cannot conquer, it is relatively the least dangerous form of onanism. At the most it leads to a certain amount of nervous and mental exhaustion by abuse of the facility of thus procuring a venereal orgasm. The loss of substance from frequent seminal ejaculations is also more or less weakening, although the secretion from the prostate plays a much greater part than the semen. But what especially affects the nervous system, is the repeated loss of the will, and the failure of resolutions made many times to overcome the desire for orgasm.

Here, as elsewhere, effect is too often confounded with cause. Because men of feeble will power are addicted to onanism, it is imagined that the latter is the cause of the weakness of will. In itself, a seminal ejaculation provoked by masturbation is no more dangerous than a nocturnal emission; both are often accompanied by nervous sensations which are more disagreeable and exhausting than normal coitus. I must, however, point out that the effects of moderate masturbation in the adult have been greatly exaggerated, either by confounding the effect with its cause, or for mercenary objects, by driving timid persons to charlatans or to prostitutes.

The active sexual appetite of man, increased by the accumulation of semen, is absent in woman. She does not have nocturnal emissions accompanied by voluptuous sensations which spontaneously awaken sexual desire. For this reason a pathological sexual excitability is necessary to spontaneously provoke in woman voluptuous dreams or masturbation. For the same reason we cannot speak of compensatory masturbation in woman. Onanism, however, is not uncommon among women, although less frequent than in men. It results either from artificial and local excitations, from bad example, or from [230]pathological hyperæsthesia. When once the habit is acquired, repetition is produced by the difficulty of resisting voluptuous desires.

Women perform masturbation by friction of the clitoris with the finger, or by introducing various hard and rounded objects into the vagina and imitating the movements of coitus; often also by rubbing the crossed thighs against each other. In the insane, masturbation is sometimes practiced to an excessive extent. Some hysterical women introduce objects into the urethra during masturbation and cause severe inflammation of the bladder.

Another variety of sexual excitation which is often substituted for coitus among women, is the practice of mutual licking of the clitoris with the tongue (cunnilingus). Although not so dangerous as has been maintained, these habits are aberrations of the sexual appetite, and it is needless to say that every human being should abstain from them out of self-respect.

The man who, for some reason or another, cannot obtain normal coitus should content himself with nocturnal emissions, and the woman with voluptuous dreams, and should both abstain from active and voluntary excitations. For my part, I consider prostitution, or "love" which is bought, as a variety of compensatory masturbation, and not as normal copulation. Coitus with a prostitute, generally infected with venereal disease, who receives new clients continually, has as little affinity with love as with the normal object of the sexual appetite—reproduction; and its moral value is certainly inferior to that of onanism.

A second form of masturbation occurs in very young children from accidental irritation; in boys from phimosis; in girls from itching due to worms (oxyuris) about the anus and vulva. Innocent as regards its cause, this form of onanism may become dangerous by habit. Attention should therefore be paid to phimosis and worms, and the former treated by circumcision and the latter by the usual remedies.

A third kind of masturbation is caused by example and imitation. This often occurs in schools and among children in general; and in this way very precocious sexual excitation may [231]develop and become a habit difficult to suppress. The onanism of young children is certainly worse than that which begins after puberty; it not only renders the child idle and bashful, or increases these faults; but it also interferes with nutrition and digestion and develops a tendency to sexual perversion and to impotence. It often ceases, however, after careful supervision, combined with physical exercise and fresh air, and direction of the attention to other things. On the whole, the danger of this form of onanism has also been exaggerated. In most cases it is cured, when it is not based on abnormal predispositions or on an indolent and feeble character. Love and normal sexual intercourse are naturally the best remedies for masturbation due to seduction and habit, as soon as the subject has reached sexual maturity.

We may include as a fourth form of masturbation the cases of paradoxy which we have mentioned previously. In this case onanism is produced spontaneously as the result of psycho-sexual precocity or hereditary pathological satyriasis.

With the exception of the last paradoxical form which is based on incurable satyriasis, all the kinds of onanism which we have mentioned hitherto can only be successfully treated by kindness and confidence, combined with work and direction of the mind to wholesome and attractive subjects; not by threats or punishment. The new reformatory schools called Landerziehungsheime (Vide Chapter XVII) are an excellent remedy for onanism, for they keep the child occupied from morning to night and hardly leave him any time for bad habits; when he goes to bed he is too tired to do anything but sleep. However, great prudence and active supervision is required in these cases.

The fifth class is constituted by the onanism of sexual inverts, and may be called essential onanism. This concerns men whose sexual appetite is directed toward their own sex instead of the other. They are called homosexual, and mutual onanism is, so to speak, the normal satisfaction of their inverted appetite. We shall refer to this again later on. While normal sexual intercourse is the best and most rational remedy for compensatory masturbation, there is no question of it here. Marriage is the worst and most scandalous remedy in such cases. It is therefore [232]of the greatest importance in order to judge of the nature of the masturbation, to inquire into the kind of erotic images with which it is associated. If, in the case of a man, the images are those of women, it is simply a case of compensatory masturbation; but if the images are masculine, it is a case of sexual inversion. If masturbation is not accompanied by any images, the question remains doubtful. In young children this is explained by the fact that the psycho-sexual irradiations are not yet developed; but after puberty the absence of images as an object of eroticism suggests a certain anomaly and sometimes depends on a latent tendency to inversion.

Relation of Masturbation to Hypochondriasis.—Some onanists become much distressed, and reproach themselves for having spoilt their lives by their bad habit. They give way to lamentations before their doctor and their acquaintances, wring their hands with despair, and beg every one to come to their aid. They look upon themselves as poor sinners whose lives have been ruined, either by their own fault or by others. They have read Lamert's "Personal Preservation," or other sensational books which excite both the fear and the sexual desire of weak characters, whom they are intended to exploit. These poor devils believe themselves lost, and are truly pitiable objects. These form the types which are paraded as terrible examples in books on onanism which make timid persons' hair stand on end.

When these unfortunate onanists are questioned on all the circumstances of the act of which they accuse themselves, we generally arrive at the following results:

We recognize that we have to deal with psychopathic or neurotic subjects more or less tainted by heredity, timid and shunning their fellows, easily impressed by imagination, possessed of unhealthy sentiments and ideas; in fact, hypochondriacs, predisposed to look upon every sensation or slight indisposition as a grave disorder threatening their health or life. They thus live in perpetual anxiety. This mental anomaly has for a long time preceded the onanism, even if they have masturbated, which is often even not the case.

Among the numerous patients of this kind that I have treated, there were many who had simply had nocturnal emissions since [233]puberty, but they regarded themselves as lost men through masturbation! Many others no doubt practice compensatory masturbation, generally because their timid nature prevents them from frequenting prostitutes, or committing other sexual excesses, while the way in which they analyze their sensations easily leads them to onanism. On the other hand, they are generally so afraid that they do not give way to excessive masturbation, perhaps only once or twice a week or even less often, so that the normal frequency of coitus, according to Luther, is often not attained and seldom exceeded. Among these persons we find few precocious or excessive onanists. I admit, however, that a hypochondriacal constitution predisposes somewhat to onanism.

But, what I wish to lay stress upon, is that the onanists who are full of lamentation and self-reproach are neither the most numerous nor those who commit the greatest excess. The worst onanists, those who provoke several ejaculations daily, belong to the category of sexual hyperæsthetics. These have not the classical aspect attributed to them by tradition; they are not pale and terrified creatures, but rather lewd individuals who are early transformed into impudent Don Juans. They may be as courageous, as clever and as strong as others and yet be disposed to all kinds of evil tricks and follies. It is, therefore, not true, as is so often said, that it is possible to recognize a masturbator by his face or manner.

These excessive onanists no doubt do themselves harm in various ways, but the great error of taking sexual hypochondriasis for the type of onanists, is to confound cause with effect. Sexual hypochondriasis is in no way the effect of onanism, but precedes it, and onanism is rather its effect, or is simply associated with it. It is obvious that onanism, by its depressing effect, aggravates a mind beset with hypochondriacal anxieties.

It results from these facts, first, that a sexual hypochondriac should be treated as a hypochondriac and not as an onanist; secondly, that the worst slaves of masturbation are not to be looked for among pale and dejected individuals.

Among women, especially young girls, hypochondriasis is not common and cases of sexual hypochondriacs who accuse [234]themselves of masturbating are rare among them. Women who masturbate generally keep their secret and are apparently very little affected by it. However, onanism does them nearly as much harm as men; it is true they have no loss of semen, but the repetition and intensity of the nervous irritation are greater than in man, and it is this which causes most exhaustion. In spite of this, it is curious to observe that women who masturbate are generally less ashamed than men, and are apparently less depressed by it. We must bear in mind that the loss of semen by masturbation has in man a peculiarly depressing effect, for it lacks its object and represents an absolutely abnormal satisfaction of the sexual appetite.

It may be objected that this difference is due to another cause, that women who masturbate have less moral tone and are especially depraved individuals. I agree that this is often the case, but far from always. The intensity of the sexual excitability in women has nothing in common with their character; it may be associated with high intelligence, with high moral and æsthetic qualities, and even with a strong will. On the other hand, deficiency in moral sense and will may occur with sexual frigidity, and, as we have already seen, may lead to sexual excess without any voluptuous sensation, in accordance with the peculiarities of feminine sentiment. These facts show how complex are the causes of a given effect in the sexual domain.


We are here concerned with sexual appetite provoked by inadequate objects. Krafft-Ebing having made a profound study of this question we shall follow his subdivisions in the main.

Perverted Sexual Appetite Directed Toward the Opposite Sex.—(A.) Sadism (association of sexual desire with cruelty and violence). History shows us a number of celebrated persons who satisfied their sexual desire by making martyrs of their victims, up to complete butchery. The most atrocious types of this kind are perhaps assassins such as "Jack the Ripper," who lie in wait for their victims like cats, pounce on them, revel [235]in their terror, assassinate them by inches, and wallow voluptuously in their blood.

The term sadism is derived from the celebrated Marquis de Sade, a French author, whose obscene romances overflow with cruel voluptuousness. Certain reminiscences of sadism are common both in man and woman. At the moment of highest excitation in coitus it is not uncommon for one or other of the couple to bite or scratch in the ecstasy of their amorous embraces. Lombroso remarks on the brutal excesses of soldiers when excited after battle. This is so to speak an inversion of sadism as regards cause and effect. After the exaltation of combat, that of desire possesses the mind, as in the inverse direction exaltation of desire gives rise in certain cases to that of violence and thirst for blood.

Krafft-Ebing draws attention to the fact that love and anger are the two most violent effective conditions, and are at the same time the two powers which provoke the most motor discharges. This explains why they may be associated in the delirium of unbridled passions. To these facts is added an atavistic relic of the instinct of man's ancestors, the males of whom fought furiously to conquer the females by violence, which provoked desire in them, after the subjection of the object of their sexual appetite. True sadism can, however, only become effective by the combination of two causes: (1) by an exalted and absolutely pathological association of sexual desire with a sanguinary instinct, and with the desire to illtreat and overcome a victim; (2) by an almost absolute absence of moral sense and sympathy, combined with a violent and egoistic sexual passion. It is evident that the slight more or less sadic impulses which may involuntarily occur in the performance of normal coitus, are quite exempt from the second of these causes.

Krafft-Ebing maintains that sadism is usually, if not always, congenital and hereditary. Sadism is for a long time restrained by fear, education or moral sentiments. It is only gradually, when normal coitus cannot procure for the perverted sexual appetite the satisfaction it requires, that the sadist gives way to his passion; this gives the latter a false appearance of acquired vice.

[236]The highest degree of sadism leads to assassination. In this way human tigers entice young girls into a wood and cut them to pieces. Some begin by forcing them to coitus, after frightening them, or half strangling them; others masturbate in their ripped up entrails. But some others have no desire for coitus, nor anything resembling it, their desire being satisfied only by the sight of the terror, suffering and blood of their victim, whom they torture before killing. Others again associate desire with the rage of a wild beast to such a point that they swallow parts of their victim's body and drink the blood.

Sadists become experts in the art of assassination without discovery. The cynicism with which some of them have described their sensations shows their cold indifference toward the tragic and the horrible. Krafft-Ebing describes a series of atrocious types of this kind, and unfortunately the press and the criminal law courts continually give us fresh examples. Some sadists assassinate children, others men, when their perversion is complicated with pederasty or sexual inversion. (The story of Bluebeard is probably based on the successive crimes of a sadic.)

Sadists do not always confine their attacks to living people; some of them are necrophiles, who violate dead bodies and cut them in pieces: others again kill animals, whose sufferings and blood serve to satisfy their desires.

Some sadists satisfy themselves by flogging prostitutes or pricking them till they bleed, while others prefer to martyrize their victims slowly, and thus procure the maximum of pleasure. Others again are contented with scenes symbolical of servitude, in which women are compelled to adore and supplicate them, etc. The humiliation of women takes part in the sadist appetite of man and often degenerates into fetichism. Simple imagination in which he plays the part of a tyrant, and which are complicated with onanism or normal coitus, often suffice to satisfy the sadist. Some sadists soil themselves with the excrements of the woman they "love!" When sadism assumes the character of a symbol or a fetich, seminal ejaculation and sensation generally occur without contact with the woman's body.

Sadism is more common in men, but occurs also in women. Messalina and Catherine de Médici are historical examples. The [237]latter had her maids of honor flogged before her eyes, and said she was bathing in roses when she witnessed the massacre of the Huguenots. Women in whom sadism takes a milder form are contented with biting a man till he bleeds, during coitus.

Sadism appears to be most often an effect of hereditary alcoholic blastophthoria.

(B). Masochism (association of sexual desire with submission to cruelty and violence). The term masochism is applied by Krafft-Ebing to a form of sexual perversion described by Sacher-Masoch in several of his romances. Masochism is exactly the converse of sadism. The desire of the masochist is excited by humiliation, submission, and even blows; the pain he feels when he is flogged gives him intense pleasure. Like sadism, this perversion may be incomplete. When it is complete the masochist is affected with psychic impotence and is incapable of normal coitus. Ill-treatment and humiliation are alone capable of causing him erections, seminal ejaculations and pleasure. However, comedies representing his humiliation, or corresponding efforts of his imagination may succeed in replacing the reality and procure the desired effect.

Like sadism, masochism is hereditary and congenital. When the first sexual sensations are produced, the masochist child sighs for a dominating woman who will illtreat him and make him her slave. His imagination is transported by the idea of being on his knees, of being trodden under foot, or bound in chains by her, etc. The cruel heroine of his heart must ridicule and humiliate him as much as possible. Corporal punishment with a beneficial object does not satisfy the true masochist. Rousseau, in his "Confessions," reveals the sexual feelings of the masochist.

It is remarkable how far poetic conceptions are combined with the perversion of sexual sensations in masochists, leading them to dream of an imperious and cruel woman to whom they devote a love as humble as it is exalted, while normal coitus causes them no pleasure, and can sometimes only be accomplished with the aid of masochistic images. These images may also be accompanied by onanism. It is very common for masochists to become flagellants, and to be flogged or trampled on by prostitutes. [238]But it often happens that they only feel pain instead of pleasure, when the comedy which they have started appears revealed in all its absurdity, showing them a woman paid to illtreat them, and not doing it for her own enjoyment. Some masochists take pleasure in imagining themselves assassinated by a woman, or even cut in pieces. Others organize theatrical performances in which imperious women play the part of judges, before whom they appear naked and are flogged and condemned to death. Others again are contented with imagining these performances, combining them sometimes with coitus or masturbation.

Krafft-Ebing is no doubt right in considering the lucubrations of the poet Baudelaire, and his necrophile imagination of his own carrion hung on a gibbet and devoured by vultures, as a mixture of sadism and masochism. He sought out the most repulsive women of all races, Chinese, negresses, dwarfs, giants, or modern women as artificial as possible, to satisfy his pathological instinct. The following case quoted by Krafft-Ebing from Hammond, is typical:

A married man and father of several children was sometimes subject to attacks during which he visited a brothel, where he chose two or three of the fattest women. He stripped the upper part of his body, lay on the floor, crossed his hands, shut his eyes and ordered the women to tread with all their force on his chest, neck and face. Sometimes he required a still heavier woman or more cruel manipulations. After two or three hours he was satisfied, paid the women liberally and regaled them with wine, rubbed his bruises, dressed himself and returned to his office, to repeat this singular performance a week later.

Krafft-Ebing describes, as masked masochism, certain cases of fetichism in which the nature of the fetich which causes sexual excitation and the manner in which it is used prove a desire for maltreatment and humiliation by a woman. This is especially the case with shoe and foot fetichism. Among those who are affected with this pathological specialty, voluptuous sensations are produced when they are trodden on by a woman's shoes or feet. They even dream of women's shoes and feet. Some of them put nails in their shoes, the pain of which gives them voluptuous sensations. Lastly, the shoes alone, especially when they [239]touch the penis, are sufficient to excite their sexual desire. Other masked masochists are excited by the secretions or even excrements of women.

I have been consulted by a typical masochist, who, being very religious, was convinced that his perverted sexual appetite was a sin. He therefore married, thinking that God and repentance would change him. But when married he naturally found himself absolutely impotent and incapable of coitus.

If masochism is common in men, it is produced in women rather as an exaggeration in the domain of her normal sexual sensations, for it is to a great extent in harmony with her passive sexual role. Woman does not like the weak man who submits to her. She prefers a master on whom she can lean. In fact, normal women do not like their husbands to ask advice from them too often, nor to be wanting in decision and self-confidence. On the contrary they like them to be firm and even somewhat imperious, provided they are not unkind. It is notorious that many women like to be beaten by their husbands, and are not content unless this is done. This appears to be especially common in Russia. Accentuated forms of pathological masochism are, however, rare in women.

Masochism presents a certain analogy with the religious ecstasy of fakirs and flagellants who flog themselves. These individuals appear to become exalted in a kind of ecstatic convulsion with the idea of pleasing God or gaining Heaven by their martyrdom. We may add that, like sadism, masochism occurs in sexual inverts, but always having the same sex for its object. I know an old gentleman whose only pleasure consisted in receiving a shower of blows: as a boy, like Rousseau he tried by all kinds of ruses to obtain corporal punishment: when he grew up this became impossible and he devised tricks to urge schoolboys to fight each other, pretending to be angry and exciting their spirit of contradiction: the boys then pretended to fight him, and this sufficed for the rest of his life to excite erections and seminal ejaculations. This gentleman was a lawyer and told me his history, hoping that suggestion might cure him.

The eroticism produced by submission to pain and [240]humiliation is often blended with that produced by performing acts of cruelty. These mixtures of sadism and masochism have been investigated by Schrenk Notzing, who concludes that they are intimately related.

Fetichism (production of voluptuous sensations by contact with or by the sight of certain portions of the body or clothes of woman). We have already mentioned this symptom and have seen the part it plays in some forms of masochism. A masked form of fetichism forms part of the normal sexual appetite, in the sense that certain parts of the body or clothes, certain odors, etc., especially excite the sexual desire of many people by recalling the individual to whom they belong. Therefore, parts of the body which normally excite sexual desire—the breasts, sexual organs, or other parts of the body usually covered—cannot be regarded as pathological fetiches.

The true fetichist is a very pathological being, whose entire sexual appetite, often with all its irradiations in the higher sphere of love, if we can speak of love in such cases, is limited to certain objects connected with woman. The most common fetiches are women's handkerchiefs, gloves, velvet or shoes; or their hair, hands or feet, etc. In these cases the fetich plays the essential part, and is in no way associated with the image of a woman. The fetich is the sole object of "love." The sight or touch of the fetich, the pleasure of pressing it against the heart or the genital organs, are alone capable of producing erections and ejaculations. There are even fetichists whose sexual desire is only excited by the sight of certain feminine deformities, such as clubfoot, squint, etc. Hairdressers, who masturbate after dressing women's hair, are well-known examples of fetichism.

Certain feminine costumes may serve as fetiches, and these are kept in some brothels to satisfy certain customers. Shoe fetichism is more common than that of clothes or handkerchiefs. Krafft-Ebing mentions a typical case of the psychic irradiation of fetichism; the individual in question thought it immoral and scandalous that women's shoes should be exposed in shop windows. Others blush when they see such things in the windows. Fetichism is essentially a masculine perversion. I [241]have been consulted by a fetichist who all his life had only felt erotic at the sight of shoes; later on he married, and his sexual desire becoming more and more concentrated on pointed and fashionable shoes, especially women's, but also men's, he could only obtain pleasure with his wife when she put on the shoes he was in love with, or when he put them on himself. The sight of shoes in shop windows always made him blush, while the female body made no impression on him. He could not buy the shoes he desired most, owing to a sentiment of shame, and the sight of them was often sufficient to produce erection and ejaculation.

Exhibitionism. There is a class of individuals, especially men, whose sole sexual desire consists in masturbating in the presence of women. They lie in wait behind some wall or bush, and masturbate openly when women pass that way. In these subjects an orgasm is only produced when they are observed by women. As soon as ejaculation has occurred they fly to avoid the police. They never attempt to molest the women whose presence excites them to this performance.

These cases are not uncommon and naturally cause much scandal, so that the poor wretches seldom escape the police. These unfortunate persons who sometimes hold high social positions, have often been previously convicted, but cannot as a rule overcome their passion, which has much worse consequences for them than for the women and children whom they frighten or annoy.

Exhibitionism is not rare among insane women and I have myself treated two typical cases. I do not know whether it occurs in women of sound mind, but at all events they cannot be addicted to it without running great risk.

Sexual Inversion or Homosexual Love.—However shocking or absurd the aberrations of the sexual appetite and its irradiations may be, of which we have spoken hitherto, they are at any rate derived from originally normal intercourse with adults of the opposite sex. Those we have now to deal with are distinguished by the fact that, not only the appetite itself, but all its psychic irradiations are directed to the same sex as the perverted individual, the latter being horrified at the idea of genital contact with the opposite sex, quite as much as a normal man is horrified [242]at the idea of homosexual union. This horror is, however, confined to sexual matters, and in no way concerns those of social life. It is therefore a question of sexual desire of man for man, and woman for woman.

What we have to deal with here has no connection with compensation as in cases of compensatory masturbation or pederasty, which are practiced, for want of anything better, by individuals whose normal sexual appetite cannot be satisfied otherwise. When excitation and desire become too strong, the purely animal (spinal) irritation of the sexual appetite may drive a man or woman to satisfy themselves by means which would otherwise disgust them.

A. Homosexual love in man. It seems absurd that the whole sexual appetite and amorous ideals of a man can be directed all his life to persons of his own sex. This pathological phenomenon, however, is as common as it is certain, although its psychological and normal import has long been misapprehended, as much in judicial circles as by the general public. It is the inverts themselves, aided by psychiatrists, who have finally thrown light on the subject. An invert, named Ulrich, announced himself publicly as the apostle of homosexual love, describing inverts under the name of Urnings, a name which is still used in Germany. Ulrich and his disciples endeavored to prove an absurdity by maintaining that homosexuals are a special kind of normal men, and by attempting to obtain legal sanction for this kind of love. Ulrich gives the name Dionings to men whose sexual appetite is normal, i.e., directed toward women. Such a pretension appears necessarily ridiculous to every man whose sexual sense is normal, and it is obviously absurd to apply the term "normal" to a sexual appetite absolutely devoid of its natural object, procreation. But this is quite characteristic of the sentiments of inverts.

Hirschfeld, of Berlin, has recently attempted to show that homosexuals constitute a variety of normal man; but he plays with words and facts, invoking the names of celebrated inverts, and wrongly asserts that inversion is not hereditary.

From the first dawn of sexual feeling in youth, male inverts have the same feelings as girls toward other boys. They feel [243]the need for passive submission, they become easily enraptured over novels and dress, they like to occupy themselves with feminine pursuits, to dress like girls and to frequent women's societies. They regard women as friends, as persons with whom they have a fellow-feeling. They generally, but not always, have a banal sentimentalism, they are fond of religious forms and ceremonies, they admire fine clothes and luxurious apartments; they dress their hair and "fake" themselves with a coquetry which often exceeds that of women. They are not all like this, but one or other of these traits predominates in different individuals.

Their sexual appetite, usually very strong and precocious, begins with an exalted love for some male friend. I have treated a great number of inverts and have always been struck with the intensity of their passion. Among other cases, I may mention that of an invert hospital attendant, who fell madly in love with one of his comrades and covered ten meters of white tape with the name of his beloved. The most passionate love letters, vows of fidelity till death, the most ferocious jealousy toward other friends of their beloved, and even ceremonies symbolical of marriage, are daily events among the homosexuals.

The invert does not so easily become enamored of another invert as of normal men. These have a special attraction for him, but as they generally repulse him with disgust, or threaten to expose or exploit him, he is often obliged to content himself with his fellows. These gentlemen form among themselves a secret brotherhood, a kind of freemasonry which is recognized by signs.

The first appearance of the homosexual appetite with its youthful impulses, causes love and happiness to appear to the invert in a special aspect, determined by the inverted irradiation of his sexual appetite. It represents the aim of his life as an amorous union with his beloved, and shapes his idylls, his romance and his ideal to this end. But later on, when his sexual desire increases and when he discovers that the majority of men feel differently to him, that the human race is reproduced by the union of men and women, etc., he becomes unhappy. He perceives that it would be both ridiculous and dangerous to [244]reveal his inner feelings, and generally gives way to masturbation. But all social barriers which oppose his appetite only increase his desire, and he becomes less and less able to dominate his passion for certain young men. The disgust and indignation of the latter, when they discover that they are not the object of simple affection but of perverted sexual love, are expressed only too clearly, and the poor invert sees himself condemned to perpetual torment in trying to hide his most violent desires and his most intimate and ideal aspirations, and finally to live in continual dread of being betrayed and prosecuted. It is thus easy to understand that he is happy in the discovery that his fellows form a secret society, and he associates with them immediately, when his moral sense and will are not strong enough to be proof against it.

If the invert succeeds in finding a male to his liking and with a similar degenerative state of mind to his own, he will pay him the attention that the normal man would to a woman. It is therefore reasonable to believe that this mode of inversion is likewise an expression of pathological manifestation of the individual; usually accompanied by neurosis and a like corresponding deficiency in the physical makeup of the individual.

The invert's ideal would be to obtain a legal license for marriage between men; but they are not very constant in their love and are much inclined to polyandry. Sexual love for women inspires them with contempt; they regard it as low and disgusting, at the most only good for the production of young inverts!

Homosexual love has played a much greater part in the world's history than is generally believed. The Count de Platen and Sapho were inverts. The inverts themselves maintain that it was the same with Plato, Frederick the Great, Socrates, etc.; but this is not proved. In the East and in Brazil, homosexual love is very common.

My experience agrees with that of Krafft-Ebing, that homosexual love is pathological in nature, and that nearly all inverts are in a more or less marked degree psychopaths or neurotics, whose sexual appetite is not only abnormal but usually also exalted. Insane inverts, such as King Louis II of [245]Bavaria, a great number of the insane, affected, for example, with Pseudologia phantastica (pathological swindlers), and who are also homosexual, show the intimate relationship which exists between sexual inversion (also called "uranism") and the psychoses.

I agree with Rudin that the psycho-pathological phenomena presented by the majority of inverts are primitive and hereditary, and that they are hardly ever the effect of their tormented life, as Hirschfeld, Ulrich and their disciples maintain. The vexations, anxieties and other torments that they suffer may no doubt play a part in developing certain nervous conditions previously latent, but they can never create hereditary taints. We may admit that sexual inversion corresponds to a kind of partial hermaphrodism, in which the sexual glands and copulatory organs have the characters of one of the sexes, while the brain has, to a great extent, those of the other sex; but the phenomenon is none the less pathological.

The inverts with whom we have most to do, especially in public asylums and at the courts of justice, are cynics and debauchees in spite of the ideal which they parade; but we should be wrong in concluding that this is always the case. The cynics make themselves heard because they do not restrain themselves. In my private practice I have known many very well-conducted inverts, possessing the most delicate sentiments, who had become pessimists owing to the shame and grief of a state of mind which they hid from the world.

Inverts of this class often commit suicide, after having carried on in silence a desperate struggle against their morbid appetite, because they prefer death to defeat, which they consider a dishonor. The victims of these tragedies deserve all our pity, and sometimes our respect. Such individuals generally hold aloof from the brotherhood of inverts which they look upon with fear or disgust.

In the picture of homosexuals there are two lamentable shadows, which are largely due to the severity with which most legislations track and condemn these unfortunate beings.

(1). As soon as an invert realizes his abnormal and dangerous situation in society, in which he feels a pariah, he often makes up [246]his mind to follow the advice of ignorant friends, and even, alas, of ignorant doctors, and try and cure himself by marriage. Sometimes he begins by visiting a brothel to see if he is capable of normal coitus with a woman. In this he often succeeds, if he is able to picture to himself a man in the person of the prostitute. He tries to persuade himself that the disgust which he felt at this experimental coitus was due to the fact that the "love" was bought; and he then decides to enter into conjugal life. This is at the same time the greatest absurdity and the worst action possible for him to commit, for his wife becomes a martyr and soon feels herself deceived, abandoned and despised. The invert treats her as a servant; he rarely has sexual intercourse with her, sometimes not at all, and only performs it with repugnance with a view to the procreation of young inverts, who will rise to his ideal. He invites his male lovers to his house and they indulge in orgies, especially when the wife, despised and neglected, has separated from him. Such marriages, which are fortunately less common since this question has been better understood, generally end in divorce, preceded by bitter and mutual deceptions. It is really criminal to favor them when we know what they lead to. (It is against such unions, and against sexual indulgence of this nature, that the law ought to exert itself.)

(2). A second very grave result of homosexual love is the continual blackmail which is levied on inverts by all kinds of scamps. Public urinals are common meeting places for inverts. The blackmailers, who know this very well, follow them there and offer themselves for money; but as soon as they find out the name of their victim and his financial position, they begin to extort hush-money, threatening to prosecute him if he does not pay what they ask. If the invert is rich or of high position he has only to yield to the extortion, emigrate or commit suicide. In this way the life of most well-to-do inverts is ruined by perpetual anxieties, emotions and torments, because their morbid appetite instinctively urges them to abandon themselves to men who feel differently to themselves.

Moll, Krafft-Ebing and Hirschfeld have written at great length on sexual inversion. The law takes a just point of view [247]and is generally severe as regards this anomaly, especially in Germanic countries. Even homosexual love that does not affect minors nor insane persons, is a sign of degeneracy, but produces no offspring and consequently dies out by means of selection. We hope, therefore, that this type may be extinct some day, although it is still decidedly numerous, principally in the larger cities of the world. When a normal man is tormented by an invert, it is much easier to get rid of him than for a young girl to protect herself against the importunities of a man.

It is quite another thing when the invert pays his attentions to minors, or when his appetites are complicated with dangerous sexual paræsthesias, such as sadism. Not long ago the terrible case of a sadist invert, Dippold, startled civilized Europe. By the aid of cruelty and intimidation this wretch martyrized two young boys confided to him for their education to such a degree that one of them died. Legal protection of the two sexes against sexual abuses of all kinds should be extended at least to the age of seventeen or eighteen.

Sexual inversion has two curious results which have not received sufficient attention. Human society regards it as quite natural and without danger for individuals of the same sex to bathe, sleep and live together. In lunatic asylums, prisons, reformatories, etc., men are attended to by men, and women by women. The vow of chastity of Catholic priests and nuns leads in the same way to separation of the sexes. In all these customs sexual inversion has not been taken into consideration. It is not surprising, therefore, that homosexuals take advantage of this state of affairs and seek these situations which give them the opportunity for satisfying their perverted passions without running much danger. They willingly choose a career suitable for their degenerate purposes, and especially that of attendant in lunatic asylums. In the latter case they take advantage of the mental condition of the patients and their incapacity to make complaints. In public baths inverts can freely enjoy the sight of naked men.

So far we have only spoken of complete inversion; but there are transitional stages. Many individuals are neutral, animated by sensations floating between the two sexes. Krafft-Ebing [248]even speaks of psycho-sexual hermaphrodites, who are equally attracted by either sex, and cohabit sometimes with one, sometimes with the other. I knew a married man who was very capable with his wife but in spite of this was unfaithful to her, both with men and with other women. He was convicted several times for pederasty with men and young boys, and confessed to me that he had more pleasure from homosexual intercourse than from normal connection with women, but could satisfy himself either way. An incomplete invert declared to me that his ideal would be a man.

Along with these cases there is a series of homosexuals in whom it is assumed that inversion has been acquired, because they commenced with a normal sexual desire for women. After being seduced by homosexuals, who initiate them in mutual onanism or pederasty, they are suddenly or gradually disgusted with women and become inverts (vide Suggestion). In reality, these are only relatively cases of acquired inversion. If we except the cases which depend on pure suggestion of which we shall speak later, there is a latent hereditary disposition to inversion, which is awakened on the first occasion and then develops strongly. It is easy to prove that men with normal sexual instincts immediately abandon the habits of onanism or pederasty which they have contracted through bad example or seduction, or by compensation for the want of the normal object, as soon as they can obtain normal sexual intercourse with one or more women. It is, therefore, false to regard homosexual sensations as depending on vice and depravity: they are a pathological product of abnormal hereditary sexual dispositions. At any rate, this is a general rule which has few exceptions.

Sexual inversion is so widespread that in certain countries, for instance Brazil, and even in some European towns, there are brothels with men instead of women.

I will mention here a very curious case of purely psychical but complete inversion of the sexual personality, combined with complete sexual anæsthesia:

A man, aged 22, the son of an inebriate, with one imbecile sister. Of delicate constitution, but very intelligent, he was possessed since infancy with the idea that he was a girl, although [249]his genital organs were properly formed and were normally developed at puberty. He had a horror of the society of boys, and of all masculine work, while he was quite happy in performing all the household duties of a woman. An irresistible obsession urged him to dress himself as a woman, and neither contempt, ridicule, nor punishment could cure him of it. Attempts to give him employment as a boy in a small town failed completely. His girlish manners made him suspected by the police, who took him for a girl dressed in boy's clothes, and threatened to arrest him. When he was compelled to put on male attire he consoled himself with wearing a woman's chemise and corset underneath.

I carefully examined this individual and found him affected with complete sexual anæsthesia. He had a horror of everything connected with the sexual appetite, but the idea of sexual intercourse with men was still more repugnant than that of normal coitus with women. Although the testicles and penis appeared absolutely normal, he never had erections. His voice was high pitched and his whole manner suggested that of a eunuch.

This case is very instructive, for it clearly shows how the psycho-sexual personality may be predetermined by heredity in the brain alone, independently of the sexual organs, and even act without a trace of sexual sensation or appetite. This was undoubtedly a case of alcoholic blastophthoria and not ordinary heredity.

Krafft-Ebing describes the following scene, taken from a Berlin journal, dated February, 1894, which gives a good idea of the manners and customs of the homosexual fraternity:

"The misogynist's ball. Almost all the social elements of Berlin have their club or meeting place—the fat, the bald, the bachelors, the widowers—why not the misogynists? This variety of the human species, whose society is hardly edifying, but whose psychology is peculiar, held a fancy dress ball a few days ago. The sale, or rather the distribution of tickets was kept very private. Their meeting place is a well-known dancing hall. We enter the hall about midnight. Dancing is going on to the music of a good orchestra. A thick cloud of smoke obscures the lamps and prevents us at first from distinguishing the details of the scene. It is only during an interval that we [250]can make a closer examination. Most of the people are masked, dress coats and ball dresses are exceptional.

"But what do I see? This lady in rose tarlatan, who has just pirouetted before us has a cigar in her mouth and smokes like a trooper. She has also a small beard, half hidden by paint. And she is now talking to an "angel" in tights, very décolleté, with bare arms crossed behind her, also smoking. They have men's voices and the conversation is also masculine, for it turns on 'this cursed tobacco will not draw.' Two men dressed as women!

"A clown in conventional costume leaning against a pillar is speaking tender words to a ballet dancer, with his arm round her waist. She has a Titian head, a fine profile and good figure. Her brilliant earrings, her necklace, her shapely shoulders and arms seem to proclaim her sex, when suddenly disengaging herself from the embracing arm she turns away with a yawn, saying in a bass voice, 'Emile, why are you so tiresome to-day?' The novice hardly believes his eyes: the ballet dancer is also a man.

"Becoming suspicious, we continue our investigations, beginning to think that the world is here upside down. Here is a man who comes tripping along; but no, it cannot be a man, in spite of the small and carefully curled mustache. The dressing of the hair, the powder and paint on the face, the blackened eyebrows, the gold earrings, the bouquet of flowers on the breast and shoulder, the elegant black gown, the gold bracelets, the fan held in a white-gloved hand—none of these things suggest a man. And with what coquetry he fans himself; how he dances and skips about! Nevertheless, Nature has created this doll in the form of a man. He is a salesman in one of the large sweet shops, and the ballet dancer is his colleague!

"At the table in the corner there is a convivial meeting; several elderly gentlemen are gathered round a group of very décolleté 'ladies' sitting over a glass of wine and cracking jokes which are anything but delicate. 'Who are these three ladies?' 'Ladies! laughs my better-informed companion; well, the one on the right with the brown hair and short fancy dress is a hair-dresser; the second, the blonde with the pearl necklace is known [251]here by the name of Miss Ella, and he is a ladies' tailor; the third is the celebrated Lottie.'

"But this cannot be a man? The waist, the bust, the delicate arms, the whole appearance is feminine! I am told that Lottie was formerly an accountant. To-day she, or rather he, is simply 'Lottie,' and takes pleasure in deceiving men as to his sex as long as possible. At this moment Lottie is singing a song in a contralto voice acquired by prolonged practice, which a female singer might envy. Lottie has also taken female parts on the stage. Nowadays the former accountant is so imbued with his female role that he seldom appears in the street except in woman's attire, and even wears an embroidered nightdress.

"On closer examination of the persons present, I discovered to my astonishment several acquaintances. My bootmaker, whom I should never have taken for a misogynist, appears to-night as a troubador with sword and plumed cap; and his 'Leonora,' in the costume of a bride, generally serves me with Havanas in a cigar store. When Leonora removed her gloves I recognized her at once by her large chilblained hands. Here is my haberdasher promenading in an indelicate costume as Bacchus; also a Diana, dressed up atrociously, who is really a waiter at a café.

"It is impossible to describe the real 'ladies' who are at this ball. They only associate with each other and avoid the women-hating men; while the latter also keep to themselves and absolutely ignore the fair sex."

B. Feminine Sexual Inversion and Homosexual Love.—Sexual inversion is not rare in women, but manifests itself less publicly than the corresponding masculine inversion. It is called Lesbian love or saphism; and the women inverts are known as tribades. They are described in history, but may also be observed in modern towns. They satisfy their pathological appetite by degenerate practices heretofore mentioned in harmony with their inverted mentality. The feminine invert likes to dress as a man and feels like a man toward other women. She goes in for manly games, wears her hair short, and takes to men's occupations in general. Her sexual appetite is often much exalted and then she becomes a veritable feminine Don Juan. I have [252]known several women of this kind, who held veritable orgies and induced a whole series of young girls to become their lovers, in the way we have just indicated.

Here again, as in masculine inversion, there is a true irradiated love. Inverts want to marry and swear eternal fidelity; they celebrate their betrothals, even openly, the invert in male attire representing the bridegroom; or sometimes they have secret symbols, such as exchanging rings, etc. These sexual orgies are often seasoned with alcohol.

The excesses of female inverts exceed those of the male. This is their one thought, night and day, almost without interruption. Jealousy is also as strong as among male inverts. However, these nymphomaniac inverts are not very common.

A characteristic peculiarity of feminine inversion depends on the irradiation of the sexual appetite in woman (vide Chapters IV and V). We have seen that there is much less distinction in woman between love and local sensations of pleasure, and between friendship and love, than in man. When a woman invert wishes to seduce a normal girl, it is easy for her to do so. She first wins her affection by the aid of the caresses of an exalted platonic love, which is not uncommon among women; kisses, embraces, and sleeping in the same bed are much more common among girls than boys, and little by little the invert succeeds in causing voluptuous sensations in her victim. Very often the object of these caresses does not recognize that there is anything abnormal in all this, or gives way to her sensations without reflection, and then becomes amorous in her turn. I will give an example:

A female invert, dressed as a young man, succeeded in winning the love of a normal girl, and was formally betrothed to her. Soon afterwards the woman was unmasked, arrested and sent to an asylum, where she was made to put on woman's clothes. But the young girl who had been deceived continued to be amorous and visited her "lover," who embraced her before every one, in a state of voluptuous ecstasy, which I witnessed myself. When this scene was over, I took the young girl aside and expressed my astonishment at seeing her continue to have any regard for the sham "young man" who had [253]deceived her. Her reply was characteristic of a woman: "Ah! you see, doctor, I love him, and I cannot help it!"

What can one reply to such logic? A psychic love of this kind is hardly possible in man; but if we go to the bottom of the matter and study the nature of woman, we can understand how certain feminine exaltations may be unconsciously transformed into love, platonic at first, afterwards sexual. At first, "they understand each other so well," and have so much mutual sympathy; they give each other pet names, they kiss and embrace, and perform all kinds of tender actions. Finally, a graduated scale of caresses leads almost unconsciously to sexual excitation.

This is how it happens that a normal woman, systematically seduced by an invert, may become madly in love with her and commit sexual excesses with her for years, becoming herself essentially pathological. The case only becomes really pathological when it is definitely fixed by long habit; a thing which easily occurs in woman, owing to the constant and monogamous nature of her love.

Krafft-Ebing's cases show the same phenomena, (for instance the invert called "Count Sandor" and her victims). In these cases also young girls, seduced by inverts, fell into despair and even threatened to commit suicide when their seducers abandoned them. On the other hand, when a normal man, seduced by an invert, practices mutual masturbation the affair remains localized and limited to purely animal sensations of pleasure which do not irradiate to his psychic life; such irradiations only occur in the invert, so that his victims are always ready to abandon him without the least regret. If we except children, it therefore follows that the so-called male victims are nearly always blackmailers, or simply offer themselves for money.

In fact, the normal man entirely separates the sympathy, or even the exalted affection, which he feels for another man, from all sexual sensations, and has not the least desire to kiss or caress his best friend, still less to have sexual intercourse with him. All sensual caresses between men are, therefore, suggestive of inversion even in places where women are absent.

In the normal woman, on the contrary, as we have already [254]mentioned, sentiments of exalted sympathy easily provoke the desire for kisses and caresses, and these caresses often cause in women a certain amount of vague sensual pleasure. When this pleasure leads to progressive tenderness and ends in mutual onanism, etc., it nevertheless remains intimately connected with psychic exaltations and sentiments of sympathy, from which it cannot be separated as in man.

In a former chapter we have described the difference between the two sexes, but nowhere is it more distinctly shown than in the relations between a female invert and her victims.

It is therefore much more difficult in woman than in man to distinguish in particular cases between the hereditary disposition to inversion, and saphism acquired by seduction or habit. The latter is common in prostitutes and libidinous women.

As we have already said, the pure female invert feels like a man. The idea of coitus with men is repugnant to her. She apes the habits, manners and clothes of men. Female inverts have been known to wear men's uniforms and perform military service for years, and even behave as heroes; their sex sometimes only being discovered after their death.

Sexual Appetite for Children. (Pederosis.)—It may be questioned whether this is a special category, for many sexual assaults committed on children are simply the effect of senile dementia, or abuse of children to satisfy an otherwise normal sexual appetite. I have, however, observed cases where children were so specially, or even exclusively, the object of the sexual appetite, that I cannot doubt the existence of a special hereditary perversion in this direction.

No doubt, most of those who abuse children are also capable of coitus with women, or else they are inverts, sadists, etc.; but with many of them sexual passion for children is so marked from their youth upward, that it shows a special hereditary disposition. For this pathological disposition, thus defined, I propose the term pederosis; that of pederasty applying to degeneracy between man and man, whatever causes lead to it. Krafft-Ebing, who does not believe in the existence of a hereditary pederosis, gives the name erotic pedophilia to the abuse of children by depraved persons.

[255]The following are cases of exclusive and hereditary pederosis: A talented artist, possessing high moral sentiments, was affected from his youth with a sexual appetite exclusively directed toward little girls of five or six years. At the age of twelve they ceased to attract him. He was quite indifferent to adults of both sexes, and never accomplished coitus. Having recognized in good time the anomaly of his appetite, he succeeded in mastering it all his life, and through education on the subject as well as a general physical development, he neutralized these morbid desires, particularly through the training of his mind to cleaner and more wholesome topics. A great help in this type of condition is work therapy. His moral sentiments and principles were always strong enough to prevent him going any further, and he eventually obtained relief. But this condition gave rise to increasing nervous irritation and melancholic depression.

In another man, the sexual appetite, also perverted since its origin, was directed only toward boys of twelve or sixteen. At one time girls of the same age excited him, while he was quite indifferent toward adult women and men.

In rare cases the sexual appetite of certain women is directed toward little boys.

Sexual Appetite for Animals. (Sodomy or Bestiality.)[6]—A human sexual appetite exclusively directed toward animals is certainly not common. Coitus between man and animals usually takes place for want of the opportunity for normal satisfaction, or else as the result of satyriasis, nymphomania or desire for change. I have observed it especially in idiots and imbeciles who are ridiculed by girls. To console themselves, they give vent to their feelings with a patient cow or goat in the silence of the stable: for this act they get several years imprisonment, for the law on this point is severe. Certain degraded libertines satisfy their hyperæsthetic and perverted appetites with goats or even with large birds or rabbits.

There are, however, cases where a pathological sexual appetite is specially directed toward animals, and it is curious to [256]observe the frequent preference of certain individuals for small animals which they skin (fowls, geese, rabbits), and thus put to death.

Bestiality is not rare in women who are also subject to this filthy, obnoxious and degenerative practice. Even if we put aside cases of torture inflicted on small animals and if we avoid all prejudices, we can still, in all normality, consider bestiality as a crime, manifested by the depraved mind. In fact, considered from the point of view of law and humanity, bestiality is one of the most indecent of all the pathological aberrations of the sexual appetite. Human imagination only has marked it with the stigma of moral depravement and has made it a crime. But it is recognized scientifically that it is a state of mental inferiority and often a sign of idiotic tendency, usually accompanied by a case history, tainted heredity and highly neurotic constitution. Æstheticism has reason for complaint, and more than one painter or sculptor has represented the union of Leda with the Swan. It is certainly much better for society, for an idiot or an imbecile to be castrated than for him to make a girl pregnant and breed more idiots.

In cases of this kind which I have known and which were brought to justice, I consider that the real sinner, the sodomite, should be confined to an insane asylum under medical attention, and not, as at present, to be condemned to imprisonment, thus making a martyr of him for no reason, and putting the ban of society upon him. It is needless to say that cases of sodomy complicated by cruelty or sadism, should be judged differently.

There are also other hereditary or constitutional perversions, more or less characteristic, of the sexual appetite, but we cannot enumerate all of them. We may mention, however, the erotic excitement which some men feel at the sight of statues of women, which urges them to masturbate against these statues.


When one is familiar with the population of a lunatic asylum, one is struck by a singular phenomenon, from the sexual point of view. A great number of insane women give evidence of [257]intense sexual desire. This desire is manifested in some by incessant masturbation; in others by obscene conversation; in many others, by imaginary love, sometimes sensual, sometimes platonic; often by direct provocation to coitus addressed to the medical officers; but especially by perpetual scenes of jealousy, and often by reciprocal suspicions regarding their sexual life. In fact, a lunatic asylum reveals to us, in the form of repulsive caricatures, all gradations and variations of a more or less degenerate feminine sexual life, coquetry, wearing all kinds of ornaments, jealous anger, erotic excitement, etc.

The sexual excitation of the insane often makes them soil themselves with urine and excrements, and heap insults on persons whom their diseased imagination suspects of sexual assaults or immodest acts toward themselves or others. They have a tendency to believe themselves betrothed or married to kings, emperors, Jesus Christ or God. Pregnancy and childbirth play a large part in their delirium. Some patients imagine themselves pregnant and pretend that they were fecundated secretly. Afterwards they believe that some one has taken away their child while they were asleep.

One of my former patients once accused me of going to her bed at night and fecundating her every week. She also accused me of having hidden the hundreds of children which I was supposed to have procreated with her, and martyred them. Owing to these hallucinations she heard their cries day and night.

Another patient, affected with curable acute mania, was so erotic during her attacks that she made advances toward all the doctors who visited her. Her mind was full of such erotic images that after her cure she was frightened of being pregnant, although she had passed the whole of her time of detention under supervision by female attendants. Women who in their normal state are most modest or sexually cold may be most erotic when they become insane, and may even behave as prostitutes. This is especially observed in periodic hypomania. It is a well-known fact in the female divisions of lunatic asylums, that the doctors are always surrounded by erotic patients, who catch hold of their clothes and pinch them, and try and embrace or scratch them according as they are amorous or jealous, [258]so that they often have trouble in escaping from these signs of violent love or furious jealousy.

On the other hand, in the male divisions of asylums, one is astonished at the indifference and profound sexual apathy of nearly all insane men. Some practice masturbation and others attempt pederasty, but all with a philosophical calmness due to their dementia. Young women may even go among them without any fear of assaults or indecent language. It is only a few of the most violent who are exceptions to this rule.

A young lady doctor, assistant medical officer to the asylum at Zurich, made her visits alone among all the males, even the most violent, without any inconvenience; while, in the female divisions, she was approached by the erotic patients as much as were the male assistants. I mention this fact because some people wrongly imagine that the sexual excitation of insane women is due to the visits of male doctors. These facts are very striking and furnish perhaps the best proof that the feminine sexual appetite is especially situated in the higher brain, while the masculine appetite is situated more in the lower cerebral centers, as we have shown above. Mental alienation is due to irritations of the higher brain, and this explains why in women it lets loose such violent sexual passions and images, and why there is so little of this in men.

The sexual pathological symptoms of the insane are as follows:

(1). Erotomania (satyriasis and nymphomania), or abnormal exaltation of the sexual appetite. This is especially seen in acute mania, in the early stages of general paralysis and senile dementia, also temporarily or permanently in other psychoses. It is manifested by sexual excesses, obscene language or excessive masturbation. All these symptoms disappear after the attack of insanity.

(2). Sexual anæsthesia or hypoæsthesia or even impotence may occur in the later stages of general paralysis and senile dementia. At the commencement of general paralysis there is often violent sexual desire combined with more or less complete impotence. The same thing occurs, as we shall see, in alcoholism.

[259](3). Subjects affected with systematic delirium of persecution and grandeur (paranoia) sometimes commit atrocious sexual excesses, and often tyrannize and torment in a terrible way the women who are their victims. It is especially in the religious forms of this delirium, combined with fanatic ecstasy, that the most repulsive sexual orgies occur. I have treated a patient with paranoia who, full of pious sayings, regarded himself as a kind of prophet. He made a poor girl and her mother sleep in his room and had connection with them alternately. Finally, he mixed his semen in coffee with the girl's menstrual blood and made her drink the mixture, pretending that this was a religious ceremony intended to produce a strong race. In the end he set fire to the house of these poor women.

Subjects affected with partial paranoia often turn the heads of susceptible women by the aid of ascetic religious phraseology, to gratify afterwards their sexual passions. The worst cases are those who are able to hide from the public their delirious ideas, and pass for normal individuals, misunderstood victims, or even saints. I have examined a very orthodox clergyman, highly esteemed by his congregation on account of his ascetic and enthusiastic preaching. In his own home he illtreated his wife, half strangled her, and exacted all kinds of sexual depravity. Unfortunately, the nature of his delirium was not very evident, and he dissimulated so well that the jurists would not admit his irresponsibility, in spite of my medical certificate. His wife was obliged to run away to escape from her martyrdom. The community of property in force in this family completely ruined this unfortunate woman. The husband was not a hypocrite, but simply insane. Volumes could be written on sexual atrocities committed by such people.

I will mention briefly the systematic delirium directed toward pathological love. This is a very common symptom in insane women who combine their amorous sentiments for man with the maddest ideas and hallucinations. An insane woman suddenly discovers that the object of her love is a king or Jesus Christ, and that she is betrothed to him. In her delirium she imagines herself to be queen of the world. In her dreams and hallucinations her king or Christ is in bed with her and she [260]imagines she has connection with him. Still under the influence of hallucinations, she believes herself pregnant and carries an imaginary child for nine months in her womb. She may even imagine that she has given birth to a child, and that the child has been taken away from her by the aid of narcotics, as we have seen above. Although there is an infinite variety in the gradations, the pathological images of the cerebral sexual sphere of insane women always revolve round this eternal theme.

These pathological irradiations of the sexual sphere are associated voluntarily with jealous obsessions and ideas of persecution, which make the subjects furious, and which are confirmed by their paræsthesias and hallucinations. Illusions of memory play a great part in these cases, for the subjects have often never felt what they complain of, and it is then a question of veritable hallucinational memory. We may here observe by the way that, even among healthy people, the sexual passions, like the others, always tend to falsify memory, making things appear in the exclusive sense of the affective state. Once fixed in the memory, such conceptions, the false tendency of which was originally based on passion, gradually assume the subjective character of certainty. Cool-headed people, or those whose affective state directs them to contrary conceptions, then see in such individuals a deliberate intention to misrepresent the facts. This is the reason why people so often hurl mutual insults at each others heads, calling each other liars and calumniators, owing to the affective illusion of memory.

(4). One of the worst of the sexual anomalies in the insane is pathological jealousy, especially in men. Their wives then become martyrs, especially in cases of alcoholism and paranoia. It is not uncommon for assassination to put an end to their torments. Among insane women, jealousy is certainly not less, but they have less legal power and less muscular strength. The most violent jealousy is found in alcoholics.

Jealous delirium renders the subject furious; a word, a look, or some trivial circumstance are enough for him to prove the infidelity of his wife. The latter has to avoid the slightest thing which might arouse jealousy, but all in vain; reserve and even prudery are regarded by the jealous husband as hypocrisy. [261]The unfortunate man watches his wife, night and day, like a watchdog: he threatens and insults her with no reason, and calumniates her in all ways, even in the presence of a third party. He even lays elaborate traps for her. Cases of this kind are legion.

(5). It is necessary to say that the sexual paræsthesias, of which we have spoken, sadism, masochism, fetichism, inversion, etc., often occur in the insane.

(6). The most atrocious sexual crimes are very often the work of idiots or imbeciles, but especially moral idiots, i.e., persons whose idiocy is limited to the moral sense, who are also called simply amoral. This is due to hereditary taint, an innate absence of all sentiments of sympathy, pity and duty. Rape, violation of children, sexual assassination, etc., are usually due to the concomitant action of moral idiocy and violent or perverted sexual passions.

(7). Hypochondria also causes singular results in the sexual sphere. We have already dealt with the masturbation of certain hypochondriacs, which is often wholly or partly imaginary. Others believe they have committed terrible sexual excesses, when nothing of the kind has occurred. I have seen a hypochondriac married and strongly built, who believed his health was ruined because he cohabited with his wife once every two or three months. Other hypochondriacs become impotent simply because they think they are. Others again imagine they are affected with venereal disease, which they have never contracted.

(8). Hysterical men and women have a very peculiar sexuality. Hysteria depends on auto-suggestion or on an exalted and morbid dissociability of psychic activity. A single idea is sufficient in a hysterical subject, to produce the realization of what it represents. The passionate imagination may lead to opinions and actions which are absolutely contradictory. Love and hatred often alternate by transformation. According to the influences to which she is exposed, the same hysterical woman may become a good or evil genius.

In the sexual domain the same extremes are produced in a very striking manner. Inflamed by love, a hysterical woman may exhibit phenomenal eroticism and the most violent sexual [262]excesses, while indifference, disgust, or simply distraction by other ideas will render her absolutely frigid. Cold as ice toward other men, she may have insatiable sexual desire for the man she loves.

The question is often raised whether a woman can love more than once in her life. There is no doubt that many women are so monogamous by instinct that they cannot love more than once; but it is also certain that a hysterical woman is capable of loving several times, and very different persons at different periods of her life. The personality of certain erotic hysterical women is even so dissociable that they can love with all their strength several men at the same time. But the hysterical woman is also capable of hating a man with as much ardor as she formerly loved him; or, on the contrary, of loving the one she formerly hated, according to the suggestion of the moment. The same phenomena occur in hysterical men.

For the same reasons the quality of the sexual sensations and sentiments may vary in a hysterical subject according to the influences it is subjected to, and pass from the normal to the perverted state, or inversely. I have observed a case where a highly cultured hysterical subject, in her early youth, fell in love with another young girl. At this period her sentiments were purely homosexual; her love for the young girl was clearly inverted and accompanied by intense sexual desire, while she was absolutely indifferent to men. Later on, a man fell in love with her, and she yielded to him rather from pity and feminine passiveness than from love. Still later she fell passionately in love with another man, quite as much as she had been with the young girl of her early youth. Her latest love was both exalted and libidinous. Her sexual appetite had thus taken the normal direction under the influence of a hetero-sexual affection.

In hysterical men analogous changes occur less easily, on account of the nature of masculine sexuality which distinguishes more clearly between the mind and the appetite; but these changes are observed sometimes. In woman, the hysterical imagination and dissociation facilitate a polyandrous irradiation of the sexual appetite, which is otherwise rare in the female sex. In this respect the sexuality of hysterical women resembles that [263]of men and differs from that of normal women. Hysterical men, on the other hand, become more feminine, not by their appetite being less polygamous, but by the more dissociated form of their thoughts and sentiments.

(9). A variety of the pathological love of abnormal individuals is imaginary love, not founded on delirious ideas. Certain psychopaths of both sexes are convinced that they love some one, but they suddenly perceive during their betrothal, or even only after marriage, that they are mistaken and that they have never loved the person in question. Such illusions are the cause of numerous broken engagements, divorce and conjugal bitterness.

(10). Amorous tyranny constitutes another variety in the pathology of love. Lovers of this kind constantly tyrannize and torment the object of their passion, by their desires, their observations, their sensitive temper, their contradictions, their exigencies and their jealousy. This atrocious manner of loving is common in both sexes; perhaps more so in women than men.

(11). The love of psychopaths is a subject which has no end. If human society was better acquainted with psychopathology a great deal of conjugal misunderstanding and misery would be avoided.

I have known a woman who would not allow her husband to shut himself in the water-closet, for fear he would take the servant with him! Another became madly jealous if a woman sat opposite her husband and cast the least glance at him; the unfortunate husband not knowing where to look, in the street or in hotels, so as to escape his wife's jealousy. It is still worse when the husband is jealous.

Other psychopaths torment the object of their love by the perpetual care they take over imaginary dangers or the slightest indispositions. Others again are affected with hyperæsthesia, and the least noise, the slightest touch, or any sudden sensation, is enough to throw them into excitement and make them a nuisance both to themselves and to their surroundings.

The pathological exaltation of sentiments, which causes the most trifling things to appear as deliberate offenses, and malicious intentions, is still more to be feared. The disproportion [264]between love and sexual appetite also torments many psychopaths, either when a deep love is combined with sexual indifference or disgust at coitus, or even pain (vaginismus, in women, for example); or when an intense sexual appetite is combined with want of love or ferocious egoism (especially in men).

Certain psychopaths appear profoundly amorous but behave like brutes to the object of their love. These are the individuals who are always ready to strangle their sweetheart, to stab or shoot her, if she does not immediately yield to their desires; or else the feeble creatures who threaten to commit suicide if their love is not returned.

Others, tormented by a pathological eroticism are continually annoying young and virtuous girls with their obsessions and their pathological grossness. I have seen a psychopath of this kind write letters and even post cards to a young girl, on which he had drawn pictures of the female genitals, by way of gallantry. In women, hatred and vengeance, aroused by jealousy, are especially blind and tenacious when the chronic passions of psychopathia intervene; this being due to the perseverance natural to the sex. By the aid of their refined intrigues; by their misrepresented statements due to the illusions of a memory distorted by passion, but uttered with a consummate dramatic art, some women may play a truly diabolical role, and even deceive a whole tribunal. When we get to the bottom of the matter, we often find that the primary cause of the evil is a sexual passion embellished and idealized afterwards by all kinds of noble motives, but in reality more or less unconsciously hypocritical. While deceiving others, these psychopathic women also deceive themselves. There are also a number of male psychopaths quite analogous to the above and generally hysterical.

Other morbid symptoms, such as obsessions and pathological impulses, have a certain importance as regards sexual appetite and love. Love or rejection, as well as other sexual images, may become the objects of obsessions, and then cause the subjects much torment, but without harming their surroundings; for the obsessed generally remain passive. Pathological impulse to actions may, on the contrary, become dangerous and lead to violation, whether combined with perversion or not.

[265](12). We have seen that senile paradoxy often shows itself, as a symptom of senile dementia, by a sexual appetite for children. This is the initial symptom of the complaint, and may lead to the commission of assault. The holy indignation of the public, and often of ignorant judges, against these depraved old men often result in the public contempt or even the imprisonment of poor patients who have hitherto led a blameless life, and who have simply become victims of senile degeneration of the arteries of the brain.

(13). I will mention another case which I have observed, which shows how complex hereditary cerebral pathology may become, and lead in turn to crime, madness and sexual perversion; giving rise to the most tragic scenes of human life, and to the degeneration of families.

A very charming and intelligent, but deceitful man, an amoral person whose heredity was strongly tainted with mental disease, had strong sexual instincts partly inverted. He was attracted rather more by men than by women, but committed excesses with both sexes. He married a virtuous and intelligent midwife. At long intervals he had three attacks of acute mania, but was cured after each attack and procreated two boys and a girl. When he was sane he spent his time in deceitful occupations and speculation and never worked honestly to earn his living. He behaved well toward his wife, but this did not prevent him committing pederasty with men. He was often convicted for pederasty and swindling, and I treated him several times in an asylum. His poor wife complained bitterly, but found consolation in her husband's apparent love, but especially in the careful education of her children. But when the children grew up, her illusions disappeared one after another. The daughter became feeble-minded, and one of the sons became a bad character. The mother consoled herself with the second son who appeared honest and hard-working. The father was then in an asylum, his relapses having led the tribunal to institute an inquiry into his mental condition. One day the mother came to me in despair and showed me a letter written by the son of the father, which she had opened; the contents were as follows: "Miserable father, when you receive this letter I shall be no longer in this world; but before dying I wish to curse you. You have been the disgrace of the family. You have caused misery to our mother and her [266]children by your crimes. Why did you bring me into this world? For a long time I have felt evil instincts developing in me like a cursed heritage. I struggle in vain against them; but the more I struggle the more I feel I must succumb. I am incapable of resisting much longer; but I will not become a criminal like you, so I shall hang myself to-night, and I curse you again before doing it."

The unfortunate son did in fact commit suicide, and drove his mother to despair. I showed the father his son's letter, but he only smiled and shrugged his shoulders.

The following is another example:

A man of 50, married, and the father of six children, ranging from 6 to 24 years of age, violated them all, both girls and boys. The whole family were abnormal and perverse. A son of 18 had sexual intercourse with his mother and sister. The father also had intercourse with dogs and cats. The jury before whom I brought the case regarded the man as mad, but he was condemned to ten years' imprisonment. An asylum for dangerous and perverted lunatics is urgently required for such cases.


The functional cerebral paralyses produced by narcotics closely resemble in their psychopathological physiognomy the organic paralyses which result from slow atrophy of the cerebral cortex, as in general paralysis—exaltation of sentiment, tremor and slowness of movement up to total paralysis, disorders of orientation in time and space, profound mental dissociation affecting the subconscious automatic actions.

At the same time the individual loses the exact appreciation of his own personality and of the external world; he regards himself as very capable in body and mind while he is becoming more and more powerless; and everything appears rose-colored at the time when he is in a most critical state. He believes himself possessed of great muscular strength when paralysis makes him stagger, and so on.

At the commencement of narcosis the phenomena are somewhat different from what they become later; a certain amount of excitement predominates, as well as the spirit of enterprise and [267]exaltation of the appetites; while later on paralysis, relaxation and somnolence play the principal part.

Narcosis acts in a similar way on the genetic sense. It begins by exciting sexual desire, but diminishes the power. As Shakespere says: "Lechery it provokes and unprovokes; it provokes the desire but it takes away the performance." (Macbeth, Act II, Scene iii.) No doubt the narcotics are not all equal in action, and each has its specific peculiarities; but the words of Shakespere express the essential effect of all narcotics on the sexual appetite: First of all excitation of the appetite with the disappearance of moral and intellectual inhibitory representations, and reënforcement of the spirit of enterprise; afterwards, progressive paralysis of sexual power, and finally extinction of the initial appetite itself.

These phenomena are of capital importance in alcoholic narcosis, which plays the principal part in civilized countries. The initial excitation is here very accentuated. If we make a closer examination, however, we find from the first a relaxation of sexual activity and a weakening of all sensory irritations. In coitus, erections are produced more slowly; the voluptuous sensations, it is true, are of great subjective intensity, but they are developed more slowly and there is more difficulty in producing ejaculation. The subsequent relaxation is very great, and a man who is even only slightly intoxicated cannot perform coitus as rapidly, nor repeat it so often, as when he has taken no alcoholic liquor. When the narcosis increases the impotence becomes complete. Owing to the illusion produced by the narcosis, however, a drunken man generally imagines himself to be very capable.

The gross and clumsy form which flirtation assumes under the action of alcohol is only too well known. The gross and persistent obscenity of drunken persons in railway carriages and other places toward women is an example of alcoholic flirtation. (Vide Chapter IV.)

Another peculiarity of the sexual appetite in alcoholic narcosis is its bestiality. The higher irradiations of love are completely paralyzed and sensuality becomes unrestrained, even in men who, when sober, are full of refined sentiments.

[268]The depraving effect of alcohol on the sexual appetite is therefore unlimited. Alcohol does not limit itself to giving free play to a bestial appetite, by paralyzing reason and sentiments of sympathy and duty; it also has a strong tendency to pervert the appetite itself. In a considerable proportion of cases of exhibitionism, inversion, pederosis, sodomy, etc., the development of the perversion is greatly favored, or even directly produced, by the action of alcohol, especially when there is a latent predisposition. I have observed a whole series of perversions in persons whose sexual appetite was normal when they were sober, but became perverted on the slightest intoxication. I am convinced that if more attention was paid to the subject the number of cases in which alcohol increases the perversion, or is even necessary for its development, would be increased.

But what is of much greater importance is the fact that acute and chronic alcoholic intoxication deteriorates the germinal protoplasm of the procreators. I refer the reader to what I have said at the end of Chapter I on blastophthoria. The recent researches of Bezzola seem to prove that the old belief in the bad quality of children conceived during drunkenness is not without foundation. Relying on the Swiss census of 1900, in which there figure nine thousand idiots, and after careful examination of the bulletins concerning them, this author has proved that there are two acute annual maximum periods for the conception of idiots (calculated from nine months before birth): the periods of carnival and vintage, when the people drink most. In the wine-growing districts the maximum conception of idiots at the time of vintage is enormous, while it is almost nil at other periods. Moreover, these two maximum periods come at the time of year when conception is at a minimum among the rest of the population; the maximum of normal conceptions occurring at the beginning of summer.

If these facts are confirmed by further research, we may conclude that even acute alcoholism has a blastophthoric action. We may, therefore, assume that when a germinal cell leaves its gland at the moment when it is impregnated with alcohol, and achieves conjugation, it is unable to return to its normal condition, for want of opportunity to be completely and promptly [269]cleansed by nutrition and the circulation. This explains how it may transmit to the individual which develops from it all kinds of taints and defects.

After what we have said, we can tabulate the destructive effects of the narcotic poisons and alcohol in particular, in the sexual domain, both from the individual and social points of view, as follows:

(1). Irreflective sexual unions, resulting from exaltation of the sexual appetite and temporary paralysis of the sentiments which inhibit such unions in persons who are not under the influence of alcohol. These include the seduction of girls, orgies with prostitutes in brothels, and the procreation of children with low-class women, or under unfavorable conditions.

(2). Increase of venereal disease. I have made statistics which show that about 75 per cent. of venereal disease is contracted by men under the influence of alcohol, chiefly by persons who are slightly intoxicated and rendered enterprising thereby.

(3). All kinds of misfortunes and catastrophes, such as illegitimate pregnancies, despair, suicide, etc., resulting from irreflective sexual unions and venereal disease.

(4). The production of the majority of sexual crimes also resulting from the exasperation of eroticism combined with irreflection and general motor impulsiveness. Jealousy here plays a great part. The most important statistics (for example, those of Baer, in Germany), prove that from 50 to 75 per cent. of criminal assaults are committed under the influence of alcohol. Indecent exposure, etc., is due to alcohol in 75 or 80 per cent.

(5). Exaltation and sometimes development of sexual perversion.

(6). Creation of hereditary alcoholic blastophthoria, either as the result of a single drinking bout, or from habitual drunkenness. The offspring tainted with alcoholic blastophthoria suffer from various bodily and physical anomalies, among which are dwarfism, rickets, a predisposition to tuberculosis and epilepsy, moral idiocy and idiocy in general, a disposition to crime and [270]mental diseases, sexual perversions, loss of suckling in women, and many other misfortunes.

(7). The delirium of jealousy is a specific symptom of chronic alcoholism. Its effects are terrible and lead to all kinds of sorts of infamies, assaults and even assassination.

(8). Alcohol is also the almost indispensable vehicle of prostitution and proxenetism, which could not be maintained without it, at any rate in their present disgusting and brutal form.

(9). The coarseness and vulgarity of alcoholic eroticism produce in public places, as well as in private, an importunate and obscene form of flirtation, which is brutally and cynically opposed to all sentiments of propriety and modesty.

The above statements refer chiefly to men. Among women, alcoholism is less common, at least in continental Europe; in England, however, drunken women are often seen in the streets. Among prostitutes, however, alcoholism is almost universal. Proxenetism makes use of alcohol to compromise and seduce girls and thus lead them to prostitution. When they have once fallen they often drink to forget the horror of their situation.

The action of alcohol on the feminine sexual appetite is very peculiar. The appetite is generally exalted, while the power is not affected, owing to the passive role of woman in coitus. At first, paralysis of the psychic inhibitions and their higher irradiations (love, duty, modesty, etc.) by alcohol deprives the woman of nearly all power of resistance against the sexual desire of the man. It results from this that an intoxicated woman becomes the easy prey of a man whose sexual appetite is excited. The following case is instructive from this point of view:

A young girl of good position married a man of weak and vulgar character. Both were rather fond of drink. When she became pregnant the wife took large quantities of wine, by the doctor's orders, and this led her to inebriety. The friends and acquaintances of the husband found this amusing, and began to flirt with her to such an extent that she fell a victim to their sexual appetites, in her continual state of semi-intoxication. The husband at first had not the courage to put an end to this and did not wish to divorce her, for pecuniary reasons; for the wife had the money. [271]He finally decided to send her to an asylum which I superintended, to cure her alcoholism.

From the antecedents of the patient, I expected to see a cynical and erotic woman; but she was nothing of the kind. Although hardly sober, this woman was modest and well-behaved. What struck me most was her extreme of modesty, which at first made it difficult for me to investigate her psychological state. Her conduct was exemplary the whole time, and she eventually confided to me that it was not so much sexual desire as the profound indifference and feebleness developed by inebriety which had caused her to give way. Before leaving the asylum she joined a total abstinence society, returned to her husband and succeeded in converting him also to total abstinence. She kept to her pledge and lived afterwards in conjugal peace and happiness, without ever relapsing into her old infidelity. I saw her several years afterwards with her husband, happy and flourishing.

I have mentioned this case to show that, even in women, sexual excess does not necessarily destroy the character, the sentiments of modesty, nor the will. It all depends on their cause. If there is congenital weakness of character, the evil is irreparable; but if it is only due to external forces which can be eliminated in time, its effect may often be permanently suppressed. Some female inebriates are sexually cold and repulse men; but others are erotic and even nymphomaniacs.

Whosoever has the welfare of humanity at heart, and takes the trouble to reflect on the ravages caused by alcohol in human society, should have the courage to make a slight effort and renounce all alcoholic drink—say for six months at first, as an experiment—in order to combat the social alcoholic misery by force of example, instead of empty phrases. He will then discover, like all abstainers, that the usage of alcohol (including wine, cider and beer) however small the quantity consumed, only serves to maintain a habit which is vicious and disastrous to society, by giving the contagious example of so-called moderation, to which a great number of persons cannot restrict themselves. He will then abstain for the rest of his days, and it will become more and more incomprehensible to him how humanity has been led, first by the spirit of imitation, later by [272]the conservation of prejudices, to develop, maintain and defend such a social abuse by the aid of a legion of sophisms.


The role of the phenomena of suggestion in sexual life is much greater than is generally supposed. I shall return to this subject in a special chapter, but I may state here that there is a category of sexual perversions and anomalies of all kinds which are not hereditary but acquired, and which Krafft-Ebing, although he cites striking examples, wrongly attributes to the effect of sexual excess and depravity, or which he compares to ordinary psychopathia, while in reality they are only the direct effect of strong suggestion or auto-suggestion.

I place in this category the cases where a man, whose sexuality has hitherto been normal, suddenly becomes pathological as the result of some circumstance which produces on him a profound impression. For instance, the sexual appetite of an individual may be strongly excited, in a brothel or elsewhere, by an erotic woman whose feet or shoes are especially elegant. The sight of this well-fitted foot exalts his sexual desire to a high degree. From this moment feminine shoes, by subjective association, exercise on him an irresistible erotic power, which dominates everything else and transforms him into a fetichist; the female body no longer elicits his appetite, the latter having become the slave of the image of shoes only. (Shoe fetichism.)

Sexual inversion may also be acquired by suggestion, when a normal man becomes excited by acts of masturbation or pederasty, or simply by some psychic image with a strongly suggestive action. He may thus lose his normal sexual appetite for women and become homosexual.

These phenomena occur especially in individuals whose suggestibility is pathological or hysterical, or even simply exaggerated. But these individuals are numerous, and this fact gives us the explanation of a large proportion of acquired sexual anomalies, at the same time indicating the means of curing them. In such cases, it is not a question of moral depravity, [273]nor necessarily of a latent hereditary predisposition, but simply of a single sudden suggestive action, sometimes repeated.

Among other cases, I may mention that of a well-educated man of very refined sentiments, deeply in love with his wife, but very suggestible, who became suddenly impotent and homosexual as the result of a simple idea-image which became fixed in his mind and subjected it by suggestion. His strong character enabled him to resist intercourse with males, but he fell into despair and became very unhappy. I am convinced that a careful study would reveal an increasing number of cases of psychopathia acquired by suggestion or auto-suggestion.

Cases of this kind may be spontaneously cured. Treatment by suggestion is indicated and may act directly or indirectly. Everything which is of a functional psychic nature may occur by suggestion, or be, on the contrary, eradicated by suggestion. The important point is to emphasize the fact that whenever a man, hitherto normal, is affected, without apparent cause, with a more or less sudden sexual anomaly, and which is consequently not the effect of long habit, suggestion or auto-suggestion should be borne in mind.

These two conceptions can, moreover, be hardly distinguished, for the things which cause suggestion are usually the sensory perceptions of sight, smell, touch and hearing, associated with certain situations, or with an intense affective state which fixes them in the brain. Sometimes it is a question of simple imaginative ideas. The cases where a hypnotizer intentionally suggests sexual perversion probably exist only in theory. We are, therefore, concerned with fortuitous suggestions, acting through persons, situations, objects or ideas, which excite the mind by the impression they produce on the sentiments and the sexual appetite.


Without being congenital and without depending on a special predisposition, all the perversions of the sexual appetite that we have just described may be acquired, by means of the artificial and continued excitation of a sexual appetite which seeks satisfaction in change and unusual situations: Moreover, perverse [274]satisfaction of the sexual appetite is often resorted to—onanism, pederasty or oral coitus—either to avoid conception, or with the idea of escaping venereal disease, or in the case of onanism, to avoid publicity, trouble or expense. As we have seen above alcohol favors the development of sexual perversions.

It is evident that a commerce in women systematically tolerated by the state, as is the proxenetism of regulated prostitution, employs all means imaginable to attract and excite its clients. In this way prostitution becomes the high-school for all the refinements of sexual perversion. It not only offers special objects required by individuals tainted by heredity with various perversions, but it artificially develops perverse habits in the normal man. The manipulations of sadism or masochism are even utilized to revive a sexual appetite weakened by abuse. Individuals who have become impotent often try to excite themselves by observing the coitus of others. In fact a leaven of corruption and ignominy ferments on the dunghill of venal and artificial excitation of the sexual appetite.

The apostles of Mammon and Bacchus, the former by interest, the latter by the aid of a narcosis which paralyzes the higher sentiments and reflection, work in concert to maintain this foul swamp. The same individuals very commonly combine the two apostleships and become themselves the victims of their false gods, after sacrificing hundreds of their fellows.

To make matters more clear I will recapitulate as follows:

(1). We often meet with pederasty without a trace of inversion of the sexual appetite. It is also practiced on women by the psychopathic male. But the normal man hardly ever prefers it to normal coitus.

(2). Compensatory masturbation is very common and ceases with the opportunity for normal coitus.

(3). Sodomy is also often compensatory.

(4). It is the same with assaults on children, which seldom depend on a hereditary disposition.

(5). Lesbian love, a form of degeneracy, artificial excitation of the clitoris by the tongue or otherwise, may have quite a different origin than from sexual inversion or other perversions.

All these things take place chiefly in brothels or with [275]prostitutes, in barracks, boarding-schools, convents, and other isolated places where men and women live alone and separated from the other sex.

Sadism, masochism, fetichism and exhibitionism are much more rarely the result of habits, because their object and the images with which they are associated do not offer compensation for the normal excitation of the sexual appetite, or only do so insufficiently.

I am here obliged to contradict Krafft-Ebing, who regards exhibitionism as the effect of the impotence of certain individuals depraved by excesses, or as the unconscious act of certain epileptics. No doubt the two conditions which he mentions may present themselves, but the exhibitionists I have observed have all been psychopaths whose perversion was primordial and hereditary, with the exception of some females in whom perversion originated in suggestion or alcoholism, which had at any rate aroused the disposition.

Lesbian love merits special mention. Owing to the clitoris being more or less concealed, women are often not satisfied by coitus, especially when the ejaculation of the male takes place too quickly. Consequently a number of normal women prefer to procure an orgasm by means of lesbian love (cunnilingus.) There are clubs of female perverts, many of whom are not homosexual by heredity.

Although they differ from hereditary perversions, acquired perversions are connected with the former by a series of latent hereditary dispositions, more or less marked, and often difficult to distinguish in particular cases, especially when suggestion is blended with them.

Among the entirely hereditary and congenital sexual perversions, many occur in individuals who are well conducted and often possessed of delicate and altruistic sentiments. This point is not sufficiently recognized. Such persons are nearly always more or less neurotic in other respects. They are disheartened by their perversion and are so much ashamed of it that they often prefer to carry their secret to the grave rather than confide it to their doctor.

Others sometimes confess to a doctor, and the life of a martyr, [276]who is always contemplating suicide, is revealed to him. Individuals of feeble, cynical, egoistic or abnormal natures, whose number is legion in the corrupt centers of modern civilization, yield to their perversion and often come before the tribunals, or else become objects of public contempt. As it is this class which generally become known, it is assumed by too hasty generalization that sexual perverts are necessarily cynical, vicious or weak-minded individuals; but this induction is false. It is unfortunately impossible to estimate the number of sexual perversions dissimulated by a large number of pessimists of both sexes, generally celibate and usually males.

I do not pretend that, when sexual perversion is neither hereditary nor favored by a latent hereditary predisposition, nor developed or fixed by alcoholism, it is usually possible to cure it by suggestion. This often acts even in cases where alcohol has aroused a hereditary taint. The incorrigible recidivists among the sexual perverts are, I am convinced, either hereditary or strongly predisposed, or degenerated by alcoholism. The original will power of the pervert is also of great importance. Weak-willed perverts always tend to relapse.

The social sanitation of sexual intercourse would certainly reduce to a minimum the compensatory perversions of normal persons who abstain from alcohol. The prohibition of alcoholic drink would definitely eliminate not only the perversions directly due to alcohol, but gradually also those due to alcoholic blastophthoria in the descendants. Other hereditary perversions, not of alcoholic origin, can only be definitely eliminated by healthy selection.

Perversions acquired by suggestion or auto-suggestion should be combated by suppression of the depraved examples which cause them, as well as by treatment by suggestion. It is needless to say that sexual perverts should always abstain from alcoholic drinks.


[4] English translation by F.J. Rebman: Rebman Co., New York.

[5] For further information on this subject see Marshall's "Syphilology and Venereal Disease," (London, Balliere, Tindall & Co.); also Marshall's translation of Fournier's "Treatment and Prophylaxis of Syphilis," (New York: Rebman Co.)

[6] Krafft-Ebing describes bestiality (connection with animals) and pederasty under the general term of sodomy, but points out that the original meaning of sodomy used in Genesis (Chapter XIX) signified pederasty, i.e., anal coitus between men.




Suggestion. Cerebral Activity. Consciousness. Subconsciousness and Amnesia. Auto-suggestion.—The explanation of the phenomena of hypnotism and suggestion by Liébeault and Bernheim has been a veritable scientific revelation for human psychology. Unfortunately it has remained to a great extent unknown to the public and the majority of medical men and jurists. Even at the present day, this subject is regarded either in the light of magic and occult phenomena, or as being connected with imposture and charlatanism. This results from the incapacity of most men to think in a psychological and philosophical manner, to observe for themselves and to take into account the connection which exists between the mind and cerebral activity.

I must point out the common error of many physicians, who do not understand the psychological nature of hypnotism, and who place it, like Dubois, in antinomy with psychotherapy. Hypnotism and suggestion in the waking state are one and the same thing; but what the physicians I have mentioned understand by suggestion in the waking state—psychotherapy, action by will power, etc.—is only a chaos of misapplied terms and psychological phenomena, only half understood by them. Sleep by suggestion is only one of the phenomena of suggestion.

I must refer the reader to Bernheim's book on "La Suggestion et ses Applications à la Thérapeutique," and to my book on hypnotism ("Der Hypnotismus und die Suggestive Psychotherapie." Stuttgart, 1902), for I cannot enter into the details here. I will, however, attempt to make clear the action of suggestion in order to explain its connection with the sexual sensations and sentiments.

[278]Suggestion consists in the action of ideas or representations on the activity of the brain in general, and on some of its activities in particular. The terms idea-force and ideoplasty have been employed; but all ideas are at the same time forces and are more or less ideoplastic according to the nature and intensity of the cerebral activity which corresponds to them. Every representation which appears in our consciousness is at the same time a cerebral activity. I will explain by the aid of an example the relation which exists between the play of our conscious ideas and what is incorrectly called our unconscious cerebral activity.

For reasons which are too long to explain here, I call subconscious all which is usually called unconscious, because I maintain that there is probably nothing unconscious in our nervous activity, and that what appears to be so is in reality accompanied by an introspection, subordinated like its corresponding activity to the great and clear introspection of the higher brain, which accompanies the concentrated and mobile activity of what we call our attention in the waking state. No doubt, we do not as a rule perceive our subconscious activities, for want of sufficient intensity in their association with the series of aperceptions (states subsequent to attentional activity). But we possess a number of observations, due especially to hypnotism, which allow us to infer by analogy the existence of subordinated introspections corresponding to the cerebral activities which appear to us unconscious.

For example, I think of my wife. This idea immediately calls to mind that of a journey that I intend to take with her, and in its turn the idea of the journey recalls that of the trunk I shall use to pack my effects. Almost as rapidly as lightning, the three ideas: (1) my wife; (2) the journey; (3) the trunk, apparently succeed each other in my consciousness. But, according to the old scholasticism, the idea of the journey is awakened by that of my wife, and that of my trunk by that of the journey, which would, therefore, be its "cause." But a little observation soon shows that the succession of our conscious ideas is not so easily explained, for at every moment representations appear which have no logical relation to those [279]which precede them, and cannot be caused by them, nor by immediate sensory perceptions coming from without.

At a time when the activity of the brain was not understood, the existence of an essential mind and a free will were assumed, independent of the law of the conservation of energy and of the law of causality, independent therefore of the brain, the activity of which they commanded more or less at their pleasure. This conception is based on ignorance of the facts.

Let us return to our example: why does the idea of my wife call to mind that of the journey? It might quite as well suggest others. In reality, a number of ideas, or subconscious cerebral activities, act at the same time as that of my wife to give rise to the idea of the journey. This journey had already been decided on before thinking of it at the moment in question, and the resolution that I had taken to make it had left in my brain latent impressions (engrams) which slumbered there; such as those of the date of departure, the duration of the journey, its termination, precautions to be taken for the house during our absence, things to take with us, expenses, etc., etc. During the infinitely short time when the idea of journey appears in my consciousness, between that of my wife and that of my trunk, I have no consciousness of all these things. They are, however, closely associated with the idea of journey, and in connection with it by the thousand threads of a subconscious and latent cerebral force which takes place in my cerebral nerve-elements (neurones); and it is their hidden action which awakens the idea of journey and directs my attention to it, at the same time weakening by their divers interferences the intensity of other associated engrams; in particular that of the sentiment of traveling, and thereby preventing a series of ideo-motor sensations relating to departure from becoming predominant.

What suddenly appears in my consciousness is the verbal representation symbolized by the word journey; a general representation of synthetic nature, and consequently nebulous. It is the words of language only which allow me to synthetize a general idea in a short and definite form. Thus, the cerebral flash journey which follows the idea of my wife is not caused by the latter idea alone; it has been mainly drawn from its [280]obscurity and brought before the mobile conscious attention, by the action of the thousand subconscious threads, some of which we have just mentioned, and which have at the same time determined its quality.

Without my being aware of it, these dynamic threads, or latent engrams, have to a great extent determined the kind of idea which will follow that of journey, and which will seem to me to be caused by this last alone, namely the idea of trunk. The idea of journey might equally well have awakened other images, such as those of the acquaintances whom I should meet, or of the town I intended to visit. Why that of the trunk? This is simply because the care of the effects to be taken, the place they should occupy, etc., revolved unconsciously but strongly in my brain, and for the moment predominated over other subconscious associations.

This simple example shows us that in reality the three successive ideas, wife, journey, trunk, are more under the influence of sentiments, representations and former volitions in a latent and subconscious state, than dependent on each other. But these latter activities are themselves the product of other antecedent activities of my brain, extraordinarily diverse and complex. I will attempt to make things a little more complete and comprehensible by the aid of a comparison.

A man finds himself in the middle of a compact and moving crowd. He cries out to attract the attention of the crowd. His voice is heard by those immediately around him, but is lost on the moving mass. Against his will he is carried away by the crowd in the direction of the strongest movement. But if the crowd is immobile and tranquil the same man may make himself heard, and may even force his way through the crowd and impel it in his turn by the impression that his words have made on it.

Something analogous to this occurs in the action of an idea according as it is produced in a brain which is awake, active and strongly associated, or on the contrary in a brain which rests and sleeps. The brain which is active and strongly associated resembles the agitated crowd which carries away everything by its activity. In this case a single idea, like a single man, cries out in vain, i.e., is produced strongly; it will not impel, but will [281]be carried away or stifled, unless it already possesses, by the former remembrances (engrams) which it may revive, a particular power over the brain. It is the same with the agitated crowd; if the man who cries out is already known and has influence and power, he may arrest it and even bring it toward the center of his agitation. The brain which is at rest or sleeping, i.e., feebly associated and not active, resembles the immobile crowd. Even when it is new and has not yet become fixed in the memory, an idea may produce a deep impression, and awaken activities in its own direction. I repeat, if this idea has already acted more or less powerfully on the cerebral activity that it has often carried with it, it has accustomed this to follow it (i.e., fortified the engrams and facilitated their ecphoria), and then the powerful associated engrams which it has left in the organ of thought, will often be capable of carrying everything with them, even to the center of the agitation.

In this way I succeeded in suddenly calming by hypnotism a woman who was mad with despair over the tragic death of half her family in a fire, by the simple fact that I had often hypnotized her previously. Immediately after the hypnosis she went away quietly to the place of the disaster and was the only one to keep her presence of mind and put things in order.

I refer the reader to what has been said concerning the mneme (Chapter I). Semon's theory throws light on these questions.

The first thing necessary for suggestion or hypnotism is to put the brain of the subject in a state of relative repose, so as to prepare a soil ready to receive suggestions. These are then made so as to always increase the cerebral repose, in order to weaken the action of the threads of subconscious association of which we have spoken above. Lastly, the suggestion (or idea which symbolizes the effect it is desired to obtain) is accentuated as much as possible, and in a form which at once excludes all contradiction. For this purpose everything should be utilized—sentiments and associations which are easily introduced, agreeable or repulsive sensations, volitions, etc. Nothing paralyzes a suggestive effect so much as emotions, violent sentiments in general, inclinations, or repulsions which act in the opposite direction, whether they arise from fear, despair, hatred, sadness, [282]joy, love or any kind of affective conditions. The same brain, accessible to all kinds of suggestions, will repress some of them as soon as it feels a deep sympathy for their contrary. We may suggest in vain to an amorous woman, the hatred or disgust of her lover, for the sentiment of love is stronger than the effect of a strange suggestion, and every suggestion which opposes the strongest aspirations of sentiment provokes mistrust and repulsion, which in their turn destroy all suggestive power.

As we have indicated in our comparison, every suggestion which has succeeded leaves a strong trace, or engram, in the brain. It has opened a way by breaking down a barrier or a chasm, and its effect, which appeared hitherto difficult or impossible to realize, will henceforth be much more easy to obtain. This is why considerable cerebral repose is often necessary at first to open a way for a suggestion, while later on its effect can often be obtained even during the agitation of cerebral activity strongly associated with or even led by violent momentary sentiments.

The chief characteristic of suggestive action, is that it traverses the paths of subconscious activity, so that its effect occurs unexpectedly in our consciousness.

For example, I suggest to a man that his forehead itches. As soon as he feels it he is surprised, being unable to understand how my prophecy has been transformed into real itching. He then believes in my power over his nervous system, i.e., that his brain becomes more receptive to my words, and offers less resistance after having proved the value of my predictions. It matters little whether these are directed toward sensations or movements, or vaso-motor actions causing blushing and blanching, or suppression or bringing on of menstruation (in the case of a woman), etc. My influence over him by suggestion will increase; i.e., his brain will accustom itself to the suggestions which I give it by letting them dissociate its activity. This tendency to be influenced by suggestion is very contagious by example. When A influences B successfully, and C, D, E, F and G are witnesses of the fact, they will be much more easily influenced by A in the same direction; and so on. This explains suggestion affecting the masses.

[283]It is quite indifferent whether the subjective sentiment of sleep occurs more or less in the state of hypnosis or suggestion. This sentiment depends chiefly on the presence or absence of a variable degree of amnesia (want of memory to awaken). But amnesia only depends on the rupture, often fortuitous and unimportant, of the chain of remembrances in the series of super-conscious or attentional states of cerebral activity.

In somnambulists, who are the most suggestible people, we can produce or suppress amnesia at will by a single word, and make them forget or remember what has passed. I must dwell on this point, because of the current dogma which assumes an essential difference between hypnotism and suggestion in the waking state. Such an assumption is based on false conception of the psychology of suggestion. The only difference consists in the suggestion of amnesia, or the subjective sentiment of sleep; or, if one prefers it, the subjective remembrance of sleep opposed to the remembrance of having been awakened. But these two remembrances may be voluntarily connected with the same past state of the brain.

By auto-suggestion is meant the suggestive action of spontaneous ideas—that is to say, ideas which are not suggested to the subject by any other person, but the effect of which is identical to that of external suggestions. An idea, a sentiment, dominates the mind, overcomes all its antagonists and produces a strong suggestive effect on the whole nervous system in the direction which it symbolizes. The idea of being unable to sleep often produces insomnia; the idea of sexual impotence may at once inhibit erection and render coitus impossible. The idea of yawning makes one yawn; that of coitus provokes erections; the idea of shame causes blushing; that of fear blanching; that of pity weeping.

But it often happens unconsciously, in yawning for example, that one man suggests it to another who begins to yawn; or the sight of certain objects, the hearing of certain sounds, provokes suggestions. Thus the sight of an object belonging to a certain woman may cause an erection; the odor of some article of diet which has caused indigestion is sufficient to cause nausea, etc. We thus see that there is a series of transitions between [284]external intentional suggestion and auto-suggestion, in the form of suggestion of objects and unconscious or involuntary suggestion of persons. The conception of true or intentional suggestion infers the determined will of one man influencing another by suggestion; there is no other criterion.

It is quite another question whether the one who suggests wishes to benefit his subject, or wishes on the contrary to abuse him or make him ridiculous.

Sympathy. Love and Suggestion.—It is of great importance for us to know that sympathy and confidence are the fundamental elements of success in suggestive action. Even when deceived by the one who hypnotizes him, the subject may yield to him while he is not aware of it. But there is here a point to be noted. A man may very well see clearly with his reason and his logic, he may understand that harm is done to him, he may even curse a thing or a person when he reflects, and in spite of this be instinctively and subconsciously attracted toward this thing or this person, like a moth to a candle, when certain sentiments of sympathy or attraction urge him to it. The two following examples will make this more clear:

(1). An actor fell in love with a hysterical married woman. This woman was very polyandrous, and deceived not only her husband but the actor and many others. The actor tried with all the power of his reason to be delivered from the tyrannical charm of this siren; but the power of attraction of the woman was so strong that he could not succeed in resisting her. He came to me in despair and begged me to rid him of his passion by hypnotism. I realized the difficulty of the situation but did my best to help him. Although aided by his reason, all my suggestions were overcome by the violence of the passion that his hysterical seducer had inspired in him, and I obtained absolutely no result.

(2). A well-educated, unmarried woman became so enamored of a young man, that she was consumed with passion, grew thin, and lost her appetite and sleep. Having exchanged ideas with the young man for some time, she became convinced that their two characters were not suited to each other, and that incompatibility of temper and quarrels would necessarily follow marriage. She therefore resisted with all her power and came to me [285]to be cured of her passion by suggestion. My failure in the preceding case increased my skepticism, but I did my best to succeed; the result, however, was no better than with the actor in the preceding case. Time and separation alone gradually restored equilibrium in this lady's nervous system.

These two cases are very instructive. Suggestion can only successfully combat powerful sentiments by arousing other sentiments of sympathy which increase little by little and finally become substituted for the preceding ones. This brings us to a very difficult question.

In order to influence other persons by suggestion, it is above all things necessary to try and associate the ideas which we suggest to them with sentiments of sympathy, so as to arouse in them the impression that the object to be attained is desirable and agreeable, or at any rate that it constitutes a necessity. The woman who surrenders to the mercy of her conqueror often experiences a kind of pleasure which is associated with the passiveness of her sexual sentiments. It is the same in the male masochist.

The physician who hypnotizes is obliged to awaken sentiments of sympathy in his subject to combat with their assistance the sentiments associated with the morbid state which it is desired to suppress. This is usually free from danger when there is no natural sexual attraction between the hypnotizer and the hypnotized; when, for example, a normal man hypnotizes another man, a normal woman another woman, or an invert another invert. Otherwise there is a risk of exciting sexual sympathies difficult to eliminate afterwards, when necessary precautions have not been taken at first. These attractive sexual sensations or sentiments may affect both the hypnotizer and the hypnotized and provoke love scenes, which are fatal to success.

For example, a hysterical baroness, whose sexual desire had been excited by hypnotism, fell in love with a person named Czinsky, whose case was studied and published by Schrenck-Notzing. This baroness experienced a kind of suggested love against which her reason resisted to a certain extent, while her hypnotizer, himself amorous, lost his head. One might say in such a case that suggestion only reënforced the very human [286]sentiments which occur in all love stories of everyday life. Between normal love and suggested love there is such an infinite number of gradations that it is impossible to fix exactly the limits which separate them.

A hypnotizer may abuse his suggestive power to exploit the love of the hypnotized. I have been consulted in a case where an old woman had hypnotized a rich young man and had so powerfully influenced him that he abandoned his family and married her. As in the case of Czinsky, the abuse was obvious. The case was even more grave, for this old woman acted only from mercenary motives; in fact, she procured young girls for her husband, so as not to lose her suggestive influence after marriage: Czinsky, on the contrary, was truly amorous.

As a general rule we may say that, when amorous intoxication is the result of intentional suggestion, the subject obeys a certain sentiment of constraint, which he may describe later on when he has succeeded in recovering himself. He feels a kind of duplication of his personality, and perceives that the excitation of his sexual desire, as well as his love, have a somewhat forced nature, against which his reason attempts to defend him. This reaction often only appears afterwards, when the sympathetic action of suggestion begins to fade.

Here again the gradations are infinite, and no absolute rules can be formulated, for if the hypnotizer is very skillful and does not let his intentions appear, the subjective sentiment of constraint may be absolutely wanting; i.e., never become conscious. If, however, the hypnotizer is clumsy and the subject a hysterical woman, love is often transformed into hatred in the latter soon afterwards, as is so often the case in these subjects, and she may afterwards be convinced by auto-suggestion that she was the object of artificial constraint or even violence, and describe imaginary or unnatural events as if they were real; while she was simply amorous after the fashion of hysterical subjects.

It is quite otherwise with cases where a hypnotizer produces in a hypnotized woman a state of deep somnambulism and does harm to her without her knowledge. Here the victim is absolutely without will, and incapable of resisting. These last cases are much more easy to decide, especially from the legal point of [287]view; but, as far as we are now concerned, the first cases are the most important.

The amorous irradiations produced by the sexual appetite react on the latter and increase it. They awaken sentiments of reciprocal sympathy, from which results a mutual attraction similar to that of animals. Suggestive action depends on the mastery we obtain over the associated constellations of subconscious engrams, and we have already become acquainted with the phylogenetic and actual relationship which exists between sexual sensations and sensations of sympathy. The simple juxtaposition of these facts clearly shows that powerful affinities exist between suggestion and love. I use the word "affinity" advisedly, for we must not go further and regard the two things as identical. Fortunately, the majority of curable patients may be cured by the prudent awakening of a slight degree of sympathy, and by the common efforts made by the hypnotizer and the hypnotized to subdue the morbid symptoms, without anything but a certain sentiment of reciprocal friendship resulting. On the other hand two human beings may be united by sexual love, without either being able to hypnotize the other. This is especially the case when, for example, two conjoints have known each other for many years, or when two persons of higher intelligence, who are not too dependent on their sexual intercourse, meet each other.

I am obliged to dwell on these facts, so that my ideas may not be falsely interpreted, by premature generalization. On the other hand, when a strongly associated brain suggests to a weak brain of the opposite sex sentiments of sympathy and makes use of them to arouse the sexual appetite, it may produce a suggested love which closely resembles natural amorous intoxication. If the discovery of an imposture or abuse of power on the part of the hypnotizer weakens or destroys the effect of suggestion, the hypnotized subject recovers herself. Despite and repentance may then transform her love into hatred.

In other cases there is a struggle between sexual desire and the disillusion of a deceived love, which often serves as the tragic motive in romance and the drama. The following is a typical case of suggested love without formal hypnotic proceedings:

An old roué aged sixty, married and the father of a family,[288] persecuted a very suggestible young girl with his attentions, and systematically seduced her by means of erotic readings. He produced such an impression on this young girl that she became hypnotized and fell in love with the old roué She lost all conscience, became deceitful and untruthful by suggestion, and compromised herself and her family. Her seducer was poor, so that it was not his fortune that attracted her. She knew very well that this union could lead to nothing, but could not resist, and eloped with him. Later on she came to her senses and left him.

According to an old proverb, young girls laugh at old men and only marry them reluctantly or for their money; but in reality this is by no means always true.

Amorous Intoxication.—Let us now compare these phenomena with those of ordinary life called amorous intoxication. The affinities are at once apparent. A man and a woman meet and take a fancy for each other. The reciprocal action of looks, speech and touch, in fact all the apparatus of the senses and the mind, awakens in both of them sentiments of sympathy and sexual desire which mutually strengthens each other. Sexual desire invests every action and appearance of the loved object with an ever-increasing halo of charm and splendor, and this halo of sexual origin increases in its turn the sentiments of sympathy; and the sentiments of sympathy increase the sexual desire. In this way mutual suggestions grow like a snowball, and rapidly attain the culminating point of amorous intoxication, or what is called being madly in love.

All this depends only on reciprocal illusion. The more violent and foolish the amorous intoxication, without preparation or reflexion, and the less the individuals know each other, the more rapidly these illusions collapse, like a castle of cards, as soon as some douche of cold water sobers the two lovers. Thus indifference, disgust, and even hatred, follow "love."

The suggestive element in love is here apparent. Just as a hypnotized person will eagerly swallow a raw potato which he takes for an orange; so will a person madly in love regard an [289]ugly or wicked girl as a goddess, or an amorous girl find her ideal of chivalry and manliness in an egoistic Don Juan.

The affinity is still more evident when the amorous intoxication is only on one side, while the other plays the part of seducer. When motives of pecuniary interest are not the only cause of seduction, and even often when they are, the seducer generally brings into play his sexual appetite, but only as a collaborator in his work of seduction without allowing himself to be dominated by it. In this case one is the seducer and the other the seduced. The seducer plays the part of the hypnotizer who suggests, while the seduced plays the part of the hypnotized, unless the seduction is due to fear, weakness of mind or good nature. The seducer is no doubt more or less under erotic influence, but never completely. The seduced, on the contrary, falls completely under the power of the seducer. The thoughts, sentiments and will are all directed by the impulses of the seducer. The latter acquires his ascendancy by means of a kind of suggestive power, often assisted by the sexual appetite.

In many cases the seduced gives way by pure suggestion of love without sexual desire. These are precisely the cases that the law does not foresee, and jurists cannot usually understand. In ordinary life, the man most often plays the part of seducer or hypnotizer; but this is not always the case. Antony, who threw himself at the feet of Cleopatra and obeyed her least gesture, was evidently hypnotized. Antonys are not rare even at the present day; but they do not constitute the rule, nor the normal state.

As we have just described it, suggestion plays a great role in love, and explains to a great extent the phenomena of illusion produced by amorous intoxication. In spite of the act which deifies it and the ecstatic happiness that accompanies it, we must admit that amorous intoxication, with its illusory suggestions uncontrolled by reason, brings more poison than true happiness into human life. I will attempt to explain the matter more clearly. When two human beings with loyal instincts have learned to know each other sufficiently, honestly avowing their reciprocal feelings and their past life, at the same time subduing their sensual appetites and judging the latter with [290]calmness, so as to be convinced that they may reasonably hope to form a durable and happy union, then only may they abandon themselves to amorous intoxication, but not before. The fact that the latter makes each lover appear to the other in the most ideal light only serves to strengthen the feelings of sympathy and make them last for life.

On the other hand, two egoists calculating coldly, even if they have strong sexual appetites and trouble themselves very little with reflections on their intellect, may contract a comparatively happy marriage, based simply on reciprocal convenience and interest; a marriage in which amorous intoxication only plays a very small part, or none at all.

The latter case is of great frequency. The novel which delights in the description of admirable or ignoble sentiments, and which shows a special preference for bizarre and sensational situations, often of a pathological nature, makes us forget that the majority of mediocre and normal men are little susceptible to the suggestions of amorous intoxication, and that they give vent to their sexual desires in a more or less reflective and calculating frame of mind, like a gourmand. This is not poetical, I admit, but it is much more human. Many women also become gourmands in sexual matters.

In all this sexual commerce there are only vestiges or caricatures of the poetry of amorous intoxication. It is no longer a question of deep love, but of essentially commonplace sexual enjoyment, wisely and prudently adapted to other objects of concupiscence, such as money, social position, titles, business, etc.

If the poets and the preachers of morality apostrophize me with indignation saying that this is the prostitution of love, I shall be obliged to protest. So long as sexual enjoyment is not bought, there is no prostitution. Man has as much right to a certain agreeable satisfaction of his sexual appetite, even without exalted sentiments, as he has to satisfy his hunger and thirst, as long as he does no harm to anyone. But, I repeat, this question has nothing to do with amorous intoxication. The latter is a powerful shock to the whole mind, to the principal spheres of cerebral activity, by a suggestive effect, usually with the aid of the sexual appetite, but sometimes without it.

[291]Amorous intoxication naturally differs in quality and in intensity in different individuals. In a person with ideal tendencies it may awaken the finest harmonies of the symphony of human sentiments, while brutal and debased persons may wallow in the mud.

Suggestion in Art.—Suggestion does not act only in the sexual sphere, but on the whole mental life. In æsthetics and in art it has an immense and irresistible influence, which gives rise to all the capricious exaltations of fashion. The average artist is more or less the slave of the æsthetic suggestions which are in fashion, but the average members of the public are absolutely dominated by them. Originating in a correct idea of certain effects of light, the most absurd exaggerations may become accepted as beautiful and natural by an imitative public devoid of personal judgment, by the aid of suggestion. These deplorable effects of suggestion may last a long time till their nullity or their absurdity causes them gradually to disappear. But they are usually replaced by other absurdities.

Suggestive Action in Sexual Anomalies.—In very suggestible persons the sexual appetite may be easily led astray by sensory impressions created by perverse images. In this way the erotic imagination of a very suggestible boy, excited indirectly by another boy, may even make the latter the object of his sexual desire. This is how homosexual inclinations may be formed by suggestion and maintained by mutual masturbation, pederasty, etc. The duration of a perversion of this kind often depends on the power of the erotic image which suggested sexual desire. This is also the case with onanism, sodomy, etc.; and in the inverse direction with impotence.

These facts explain at the same time why and how suggestion may cure or ameliorate the anomalies of sexual life. Just as suggestion may excite or pervert the sexual appetite, so may it calm it and put it in the right direction, unless there is a deeply rooted hereditary perversion. We can nearly always considerably attenuate too-frequent emissions, masturbation and perversions by suggestion, and often entirely cure their acquired forms.

I must here point out that when we have succeeded in [292]removing by suggestion a perversion based in whole or in part on organic or hereditary causes, this result is always more or less precarious, and does not give the physician the right to give his sanction to marriage. The following case shows us what prudence on the part of the hypnotizer can do with patients of this kind:

A young girl, of good education, was troubled with intense sexual desire. She was incapable of resisting masturbation and dreamed at night that men and animals were in contact with her vulva. These dreams caused intense excitement and were accompanied by orgasms. The treatment of a patient of this kind by suggestion was no easy matter. However, with the aid of a local sedative, the action of which it is needless to say was purely suggestive and was combined with appropriate verbal suggestions, I succeeded not only in suppressing the onanism, but also in almost completely curing the nervous exhaustion of this young girl, so that she was afterwards able to resume work.

I may add that the patient was hypnotized in the presence of others, which can always be done in such cases with a little tact. This is a rule from which the physician should never depart.

I cannot enter into more details on this subject, but what I have said will suffice to draw the attention of my readers to the action of suggestion in the sexual appetite and in love.





In Chapter VI we have studied the historical development of human marriage as a continuation of the phylogeny of our species, and we have shown that marriage by purchase and different forms of polygamy constitute a kind of intermediate stage and at the same time an aberration of civilization, which has resulted from the association of men, combined with the birth of individual property.

When we consider a being of high mentality and deeply rooted individualism such as man, in whom the instinct of love and family are so strong, led by the inevitable force of circumstances to live in the society of his fellows, we can easily understand that certain individuals of a higher mentality than the others will endeavor to dominate the weaker and less intelligent, and exploit them for their own profit and that of their family.

Analogous tendencies are seen in certain animals. Among the bees the old workers appropriate the produce of the work of others. Certain ants practice a form of slavery, based, it is true on instinct, in stealing the pupæ of weaker species which, after hatching, become the servants of the idle robbers.

In incomplete animal societies, such as those of the ruminants, certain monkeys, etc., the old males, sometimes also the more courageous females (cows, for example) direct the herd and become recognized as chiefs by the others. But in these cases the personal property of objects or even living beings takes no part, because the animals have not yet learned its value.

Other animals living isolated show the first tendencies toward personal property; for example, the nest where they hoard their provisions, while others, such as the ants, bees, wasps, etc., have [294]the sentiment of collective property well developed. For instance, a swarm of ants regards plants with grubs as its property, and defends them in consequence.

As soon as he has attained a primitive degree of culture, man comprehends that the possession, not only of land and the produce of work, but also the persons of other men, may profit him; and this leads to slavery. The male being the stronger soon combines the satisfaction of his sexual appetite with the advantage of property, by placing the woman more and more under his dependence and exploiting her. In this way woman becomes an object for sale and exchange, which will procure the purchaser, besides satisfaction for his sexual appetite, a docile slave and worker and a procreator of children, a source of other workers.

This motive, so clearly revealed by ethnography and history, sufficiently explains the ignoble traffic that man has made of love, or rather of sexual appetite. We have seen in Chapter VI the profit made by polygamous barbarians by the possession of many wives and children, which led more and more to the buying and selling of the latter. These customs are instinctively related to the traffic of slaves. Our modern civilization has happily abolished these taints, but money still influences our sexual life by measures which are hardly any better. The complication and refinement of civilized life have made women and children objects of luxury, and not a source of wealth as in former times. This is due to two causes. On the one hand, a wider and more humane conception of the social position of women and children has extended their rights. Man cannot now exploit them to the same extent as in the time of patriarchism, while the father of the family has, on the contrary, the duty of maintaining his wife and family, and of giving the latter a proper education. Among the poor, the exploitation of the wife and children still exists; but in the case of the rich and cultured the inverse phenomenon is produced. With the intention of making his family happy and distinguished, the father brings it up in luxury and idleness, and this produces a very harmful result. The increasing refinement of modern life and its pleasures leads to effeminacy. It bears upon the whole of [295]society and degenerates into an artificial desire for brilliancy and show, which makes it increasingly difficult to obtain a simple and sober education for the family. Men and women, especially the latter, do their best to eclipse each other in their table, their toilet, the comfort and luxury of their apartments, their pleasures and distractions, their banquets and fêtes. An enormous mass of the produce of human labor is thus dissipated in futilities, for the benefit of unbridled frivolity and luxury. It is owing to this that a civilization which, thanks to science and progress, far surpasses all those which have preceded it in the richness of its means of production for the wants of humanity, not only shows more and more rich with superfluous wealth, but also more and more poor who vegetate from the want of it.

What is still more grave is that, for reasons of economy, the intelligent, educated and cultured marry less often and procreate fewer children. Again, our descendants degenerate more and more, owing to the consumption of alcohol or other narcotics, and the unhealthy life they lead. This degeneration is dissimulated by their well-nourished appearance, but is revealed in their increasing neuropathic tendency. They become accustomed to a number of artificial wants, which make them increasingly difficult to satisfy. This results in their exacting from society much more than they give to it by their work; whereas each ought to give to society more than he receives from it. As evil omens, I must mention the idleness of many women with regard to household and manual work. What are the effects of this state of things on the sexual life of modern society? They are of three kinds:

(1) Marriage for money; (2) prostitution, exploited by proxenetism, and between the two (3) venal concubinage.


Marriage for money is the modern form or derivative of marriage by purchase. Formerly one bought a wife and sold a daughter; to-day one is sold to a wife and buys a son-in-law. The improvement consists in the fact that the buyer and the bought are no longer in the positions of proprietor and object possessed, respectively. Nevertheless, marriage at the present [296]day gives rise to much traffic, speculation and exploitation of an evil nature.

These things are so well known that I need not dwell upon them. In place of love, force of character, capacity, harmony of sentiments, intellectual and bodily health, money is the alpha et omega of marriage. Money dazzles most men so that they are blind to everything else. They no longer understand that the health and the physical and moral worth of a woman constitute a capital which is far preferable to all the title-deeds deposited in the coffers of the future father-in-law, which are rapidly squandered by children tainted with bad physical or mental heredity. In this way ignorance of the laws of heredity and the rapacity of pecuniary interests perpetually tend toward the antisocial procreation of a degenerate posterity.

Inversely, a number of capable and healthy men and women remain celibate and sterile for want of money. Capital exploits them as workers and prevents them from reproducing their race; or else their own foresight induces them to avoid procreation.

A characteristic sign is observed in military circles, especially in the German army where officers who are not well-to-do are forbidden to marry a woman unless she has a certain income. The officer must bring up his family in accordance with his position. This system, which it is sought to justify by all kinds of reasons, shows how the worship of the golden calf and class prejudices may degenerate our manners and customs. Without fortune one cannot serve the country as an officer, or marry, except by selling oneself to a rich woman. In other terms, an officer cannot marry according to his own inclination unless he possesses a certain fortune. No doubt there are officers who marry for love; nevertheless, they are not only obliged to have a certain fortune, but the woman they marry must have a certain social position and have been well educated. The wife of an officer has to take part in balls and official gatherings. She is forbidden to carry on openly any business, and her parents must not even be shopkeepers! In a German town, one of my relatives heard a rich mother say to her daughter, who could not make up her mind to marry a gentleman who proposed to [297]her: "If you do not want him, let him go; we do not wish to persuade you. We have plenty of money, and if you want to marry later on we can easily buy you an officer!"

In the tyranny of class marriages, it is money which almost always decides the question. Formerly birth and nobility were everything, and it was these which brought power and fortune; nowadays money has replaced them, and has monopolized universal power. If an energetic and intelligent man revolts, by returning to modest and primitive customs, if he dresses simply, performs manual labor, takes his meals at the same table as his servants, etc., he is despised and is not received into what is called good society.

It is only up to a certain point, and with the exercise of great prudence, that any attempt can be made to react against the whirlwind of our unbridled luxury, and it is in marriage that this becomes most delicate and most difficult. A well-brought-up and well-educated man with no money, who wishes to marry while he is a student, so as to avoid prostitution or other evils; who is content to live in humble quarters with his wife, each doing their own work, will have great difficulty in finding a well-nurtured girl to consent to such an arrangement. Everything has to be regulated according to the fashion, customs and prejudices of the class in which he lives, and this usually renders marriage impossible, as long as he has not what is called a position. But no one will blame the same student for living in concubinage with a grisette. Why cannot the same means of existence which allow concubinage suffice for marriage? With this question I only touch on a problem to which we shall return, at the same time pointing out the canker which corrupts our modern sexual life.

By marriage for money we understand marriage which is based on interest and not on love. It is not always a question of money; for position, name, titles and convenience often complicate the question. Sometimes a ruined aristocrat marries a rich tradesman's daughter, in order to repair his fortune, while the vanity of his fiancée makes a title a desirable acquisition. Sometimes a coquette, by clever flirtation, will simulate a love which she does not feel, to catch a rich man in her net. But [298]more commonly there is calculation on both sides and both are duped.

Marriage for money is not confined to the rich but also occurs among peasants and working people. Everywhere it constitutes one of the principal corrupting elements of sexual intercourse and procreation. Hard-working servants who have succeeded in saving a few hundred dollars are often married for the sake of this small sum, and then abandoned as soon as the husband has squandered it. I do not pretend that a marriage for money can never be happy; it may happen that the contract is an honest one and that love follows it more or less haltingly, especially when the calculators have taken into account character and health, etc., as well as money.

There is no need for me to continue this theme any further, and I shall conclude by stating that this system opens the door to hypocrisy, deceit and abuse of all kinds. It is not without reason that marriage for money has been branded with the name of fashionable prostitution.


Prostitution is a very ancient institution and a sign of degeneration which is found more or less among all nations. When woman is an article for sale it is not surprising that those whose moral worth is weak take the traffic into their own hands when they can, and sell themselves to men to satisfy their sexual appetites, instead of allowing themselves to be passively exploited as articles of commerce. Man being the stronger finds it advantageous in the lower and barbarous states of civilization to monopolize this traffic for his own profit, and deliver the women under his domination to prostitution. We have seen that fathers give their daughters, and husbands their wives to prostitution.

For the same reason, the woman who prostitutes herself in our modern civilization, always runs the risk of being abused without payment; which is not to be wondered at considering the doubtful quality of the usual clients of the prostitute. It is therefore natural that she should seek for a means of protection. She thus takes a male protector, or "bully," whom she pays; [299]or else she joins the service of those who make a business of prostitution—or proxenetism. Proxenetism and protectors are thus the parasites of prostitution.

Prostitution flourished amongst the ancients and also in the Middle Ages, especially after the Crusades (Chapter VI). I do not propose to write the history of prostitution; it is sufficient to be acquainted with that of the present day. I may, however, remark that among a number of primitive races, and in young and progressive nations, whose sexual life is still comparatively pure, prostitution is only feebly developed. It is especially to Napoleon I that we owe the present form of regulation and organization of prostitutes. Like all his legislation on marriage and sexual intercourse, this regulation is the living expression of his sentiments toward woman; oppression of the female sex, contempt of its rights, and degradation of its individuals to the state of articles of pleasure for men, and machines for reproduction.

Organization and Regulation of Prostitution.—We have just seen the social conditions under which prostitution becomes quite naturally organized, with its protectors and its proxenetism. There is another factor to be added—that of venereal disease. The infectious germs of syphilis and gonorrhea are usually met with in the genital organs of man and woman; so that every coitus between a healthy and an infected individual may infect the former. Hence the danger of the spread of infection increases with the number of mutations in sexual intercourse. If a woman offers herself systematically to all the men who wish for her, the probability that she will be infected by one of them increases in proportion to the number of clients.

In the second place, as soon as she is infected, the danger is increased by the number of men who have connection with her, for she will probably infect a large proportion of them.

While paying much attention to venereal diseases and their consequences, medicine has shown itself inconceivably blind in not comprehending the bearing of this elementary arithmetic. We must take into account the fact that the complete cure of syphilis is very difficult, if not impossible, to prove; that this disease is extremely infectious, at least during the first two [300]years of its course; and that it extends to the blood and the whole organism, so that it may be communicated, not only by large visible sores, but by small excoriations hidden in the mucous membrane of the vagina or the mouth, etc.

We must also remember that gonorrhea is less painful in woman than in man, and that, even in the latter, it ceases to be painful when it becomes chronic. We may add that the microbes (the gonococci) are very difficult to reach in all the recesses of the mucous membrane of the sexual organs in which they are hidden, and that in women they penetrate as far as the womb, when a cure becomes almost impossible.

If we consider that the sexual organs of woman form deep and hidden cavities which it is very difficult to examine thoroughly, in spite of all the apparatus of modern surgery, and that the mouth in prostitutes is also frequently contaminated by unnatural manipulations; lastly, that no part of their body is absolutely indemnified, it is easy to understand the great danger of infection in public prostitution.

Recognizing the danger of venereal disease, the regulation of prostitution was instituted by medical men with the good intention of eliminating or of diminishing its danger, since they regarded its suppression as impossible. This system consists in the official supervision and inscription of every woman who prostitutes herself. She is given an official form which obliges her to submit to medical examination once a week or once a fortnight, under the penalty of being arrested and punished.

To facilitate medical control, regulation generally endeavors to lodge prostitutes in brothels or lupanars, under the direction of a proxenet. In theory, the brothel is not exactly considered as a State institution of public health; the word toleration being used in this connection, signifying that it is regarded as a tolerated evil. Nevertheless, this distinction only rests on uncertain and subtle characters. To tolerate, to license, to organize, to recognize and favor, to protect and recommend are notions which merge into one another insensibly. As soon as the State tolerates prostitution and brothels, it is obliged to enter into official contracts with prostitutes and proxenetism; therefore, it recognizes them. Moreover, the services which it renders [301]must be paid for. It is therefore necessary that prostitutes and proxenets should pay their tribute to the State and to the doctors: but "the one who pays commands."

No doubt this proverb must not be taken to the letter, nevertheless the one who pays always exerts a certain pressure on the one who receives, and for this reason proxenets and inscribed prostitutes have some idea that they form part of an official institution, which raises their position not only in their own eyes but in those of the irreflective masses. I will cite two examples which show how effectively the public organization of a vicious social anomaly confuses ideas in persons of limited intelligence.

One of my friends was engaged in combating the official regulation of prostitution. A woman, who misunderstood his object, came to him complaining bitterly of the loose life her daughter was leading, and asked him if he could not help her by placing her in a brothel licensed by the State; she would then be under the care of a paternal government!

An old proxenet in Paris requested the authorities to transfer the management of her brothel to her daughter, aged nineteen. Her house, she said, was honest and managed in a loyal and religious spirit; her daughter was capable and initiated into the business and would carry it on in the same irreproachable manner as hitherto.

These two examples of ingenuousness are sufficiently characteristic of the morality of the system. In La Maison Tellier Guy de Maupassant has depicted with his masterly pen the psychology of the prostitute, the proxenet, and their clients.

For reasons previously mentioned no real confidence can be placed in periodical medical examination of prostitutes; on the contrary it gives the male public a false security. The object of these medical visits is to eliminate diseased women from circulation and compel them to submit to hospital treatment. But any one acquainted with the facts knows that the treatment is illusory. In a short time every woman in a brothel is infected, with very few exceptions. But, on the one hand, the proxenets and the prostitutes have every interest in shortening the time in hospital; and, on the other hand, the visiting doctor, who [302]often lives partly by their fees, is obliged to treat them with respect. [In Paris, the doctors in charge of the inspection of prostitutes are paid by the State, and do not depend on fees from the women.] The treatment of venereal disease being of long duration and very uncertain in its effects, a vicious circle is formed.

A conscientious Dutch doctor, Chanfleury van Issjelstein, who attempted to eliminate all infected prostitutes from the brothels, succeeded in almost emptying them, by subjecting the infected women to prolonged treatment in hospital. This led to a revolt which endangered his life, and he had to abandon his scheme.

In ordinary hospital practice only visible sores are treated, and gonorrheal discharges as long as they are apparent; the prostitutes are then allowed to return to their brothels. Moreover, inspection is made too rapidly; for, if every woman was examined carefully from head to foot every week, neither the brothels, the prostitutes nor the doctors could exist.

Certain persons have made the proposition, as ridiculous as it is radical, of submitting every man who visits a prostitute to medical inspection! This would indeed be the only means of preventing the infection of prostitutes. But I ask my readers to imagine such a measure put in practice. Is it likely that the habitués of brothels, some of whom visit prostitutes nearly every day or oftener, would make this known to a doctor in their town, and submit, before each coitus, to a medical examination which would cost them more time and money than their pleasure! Can one imagine doctors examining whole queues of clients waiting their turn in brothels when business is brisk!

Whilst an independent prostitute still possesses some human sentiment and a vestige of modesty which cause her to choose as far as possible a limited number of clients, the police certificate of regulation officially places the woman who receives it in the class of the pariahs of society, and this leads to her losing the little that remains of her womanly nature. In brothels, the last vestige of her human nature is trampled under foot.

Degrees of Prostitution. Protectors.—Several degrees can be recognized in private prostitution. A variety of prostitute [303]rather less low than others, looks for clients at public balls, certain cafés and other doubtful localities, and hires herself to a certain number of temporary acquaintances. The lowest and most common form of private prostitution is that of the streets. Generally at night, but sometimes in the daytime, these prostitutes, dressed so as to attract attention, promenade in certain well-known and frequented streets, and solicit passers-by. This is the common method employed in nearly all towns. This solicitation is supervised by the police in countries where prostitution is regulated, and is only permitted to women who possess their certificate of inscription.

Here the "protector" (bully) intervenes, and keeps an eye on the clients at the prostitute's house, or sometimes in the street. If they do not pay up, or pay too little, or if they threaten or ill-treat the woman, the protector administers a drubbing, and sometimes relieves them of their purse or clothes.

At the same time the protector spies on the police for the benefit of the prostitute. Sometimes he assumes the position of legitimate husband, so as to facilitate taking rooms. A "husband" of this kind, with a citizen's rights, is very useful to foreign prostitutes, for without him they would risk expulsion. The protector is generally a scamp of the worst kind, an absolutely depraved and idle vagabond who is entirely maintained by his "wife."

Some protectors shine by their sexual power, and are at the same time the real lovers of the prostitutes, who keep them, and are plundered by them. While they submit to coitus with their clients without any pleasure, and only simulate voluptuous sensations, they abandon themselves to their protectors or lovers with ardor. It is needless to add that the protectors are often criminals, or of the criminal type. Those who are well acquainted with prostitution declare that it would be impossible without the protector, who is at the same time the friend, protector and exploiter of the prostitute, while the brothel keeper is only concerned with her wholesale systematic exploitation.

Brothels and Proxenets.—Under the pretext of avoiding the dangers of prostitution in the streets, brothels were organized. These are generally managed by an elderly female profligate, [304]often in partnership with a "husband," who is only a superior kind of protector. Officially, the prostitutes are free lodgers in the brothel, but in reality they are often prisoners or slaves. They are well fed and dressed in a way to attract the clients as much as possible. Clothes, food, etc., are placed to their account and the crafty brothel keeper generally manages to get them into debt so as to always remain their creditor. In this way these miserable outcasts of society, who are generally incapable of claiming their legal rights, are more or less reduced to slavery. Apparently they are free, but in reality they can hardly leave the house without paying their debts, and the brothel keeper who wishes to keep them arranges so that they cannot pay it.

It is not always easy to distinguish between the different classes of prostitutes: the prostitute of the brothel, the street prostitute under inscription or not, the private prostitute and lorette or grisette. Sometimes a woman may rise from one class to another; but more often she falls lower and lower.

We may mention here one of the dangers of brothels. Their good organization, their medical supervision, etc., are extolled; but the great danger of the arithmetical progression of mutations in sexual intercourse is ignored. While a private prostitute rarely receives more than one client in an evening, and is not absolutely obliged to receive more, every prostitute in a brothel is forced to receive as many as present themselves. A girl may thus have connection with men twenty or thirty times in the same night.

Under certain circumstances, for instance at the time of conscription for recruits at Brussels, the brothels are besieged to such a point that one man has hardly time to finish coitus before another comes to take his place. It is obvious that such "file firing" greatly increases the danger of venereal infection, since a single infected person is sufficient to contaminate innumerable clients (even without the woman herself becoming infected).

It is often denied that the brothel is a prison, yet this fact has been often demonstrated. When, as in France, the police can arrest a prostitute at pleasure—often a virtuous young girl who is taken for such—and put her on the inscription list, the thing [305]is obvious. I have treated a girl who became the mistress of a police agent in Paris under the threat of being inscribed as a prostitute.

Again, besides the debts we have spoken of, the proxenets have many other ways of keeping prostitutes under their dependence. It is very difficult for ignorant girls, placed under the ban of society, to return to a free and virtuous life. But if a girl shows signs of wishing to leave a brothel, heroic measures are adopted, in the form of international exchange. A girl who is unacquainted with the language of the country is naturally more incapable of gaining her freedom than one who does. This is one of the reasons why the brothels of different countries exchange their women.

This expedient, which also satisfies clients who desire a change, leads to the exportation of women from one country to another, under false pretenses, such as the promise of lucrative and easy situations. In this way young Swiss girls are exported to Hungary, Hungarians to Switzerland, Germans to France, French to England, Europeans to Buenos-Ayres, creoles to Europe, etc. For example, if a young French girl has been exported to Buda-Pest or Buenos-Ayres, we may be certain that she will lose all inclination to run away; for what can she do—a stranger without a cent, with her ignorance and want of character, alone in the streets, when she does not understand a word of the language?

White Slavery.—The modern commerce in female slaves of civilized Europe destined for prostitution is closely connected with the facts we have just described. The manner in which brothels exchange their merchandise only concerns one side of the question. The principal art consists in obtaining young girls, of twelve to seventeen years of age, for the brothels. This traffic is formally prohibited by most laws; but what are laws made for, if not to be broken? There are so many means of training children under some pretext or other, before they are independent enough to escape this life of infamy. There are so many depraved or hungry parents who are ready to sell their children if, in hypocritical but transparent language, a good situation is promised them with payment in advance.

[306]During a railway journey, I was myself a witness of the manner in which a young girl of twelve was sold in this way and sent to Pressburg. I was also simple enough to try and appeal for the intervention of a consul and an ambassador to prevent the perpetration of the crime. They only replied by shrugging their shoulders. How could I prove the matter before a tribunal? The child was accompanied by a woman who admitted to me that there could hardly be any other question than the sale of the child for prostitution. She had only been ordered to take the child to Vienna, where they would come and take her. This shows the impotence of any person who tries to prevent such infamies.

During the last few years an international organization has at last been formed to combat white slavery; but so far it has not obtained much result. By the aid of depraved parents and all their criminal system of seduction, the proxenets always find a way of attaining their object. Moreover, it is difficult to see how the State can prevent proxenetism from obtaining its merchandise, so long as it tolerates and licenses it. We must remember that very young girls, almost children, are the most easy to seduce and the most sought after.

The Training of Prostitutes.—The most repugnant aspect of proxenetism is the seduction and systematic training of the girls. The desire for money and fine dresses, the promise of good situations, and especially alcoholic intoxication, all play their part in the diabolical art of proxenetism. Many young girls, frivolous and fond of pleasure, but not wishing to go any further, are easily seduced under the influence of wine. As soon as some protector has succeeded in seducing a girl, he trades on her shame and fear of discovery, adding threats and blackmail. When she has become sufficiently accustomed to sexual intercourse, she is initiated into the high-school of vice, and systematically instructed in exciting the sexual appetites of men by all possible means, natural or otherwise. She is first of all taught how to simulate the venereal orgasm by her movements, breathing, etc.; to practice coitus ab ore, etc.; to conform to the pathological requirements of masochists, sadists, etc., (Chapter VIII). Girls who have been seduced and abandoned, and [307]those who have had illegitimate children, are the most suitable objects for exploitation by the jackals of proxenetism. If it is objected that the majority of prostitutes have a bad hereditary taint, and that their frivolity and idleness incline them from the first to their trade, I reply that frivolity and love of pleasure are not at all the same thing as the ignoble slavery and disgusting life of a prostitute in a brothel.

The part played by alcohol in prostitution has not been estimated at its true value. The coarser and more degraded forms of prostitution would not be possible without it. It is by the aid of alcoholic orgies that most girls are seduced, and by chronic drunkenness that they sustain themselves in their degradation.

Localized Prostitution.—In certain towns, Hamburg for instance, an attempt has been made to establish an organization intermediate between the brothel and private prostitution, by compelling all prostitutes to inhabit certain special streets which are reserved for them, at the same time being inscribed by the police. The result has been deplorable, and these streets have become uninhabitable. It must be borne in mind that the owners or managers of these houses become from this fact more or less analogous to proxenets. Whoever lets his house for such an object must possess very little sentiment of modesty and duty, for he lives indirectly on the produce of prostitution.

Clandestine Brothels.—Besides the official brothels, of which we have spoken, there are a number of secret organizations of all kinds, which the State is the less able to prevent as it organizes and tolerates prostitution and proxenetism on its own account. A number of taverns possess secret chambers which are only small brothels, in which the servants act at the same time as prostitutes.

It is the same with many small shops (gloves, perfumes, etc.), whose innocent appearance only serves as a blind. A number of cafés chantants are also connected with prostitution and proxenetism. Certain tobacco shops, etc., sell obscene objects such as pornographic pictures. All these things act especially on youth and become disseminated in colleges.

[308]The Number of Prostitutes.—The number of prostitutes has been estimated at 30,000 in Berlin, 40,000 in Paris, and 60,000 in London. It can hardly be assumed that all these women have a pathological heredity. As soon as the State recognizes the right of existence of this dung-heap, by its toleration and organization, corruption hitherto hidden and ashamed raises its head and becomes more and more bold, even dragging public organs into its sink. It is the public especially, but also the authorities and the doctors who become corrupted by contact with official proxenetism, which confuses the ideas of morality in every one's head (vide La Maison Tellier, de Maupassant). They shut their eyes to the haunts of vice. The proxenets feel that they are important personages, and the more enterprising of them very often enjoy secret favors and receive visits from State officials, and even married persons of high position. It is not difficult for any one who reflects a little to see what this state of things leads to.

Prostitution and the Police.—The police know very well that in certain brothels prostitution is not only associated with alcoholic excess, but that certain houses become the haunts of criminals. They even regard certain low-class brothels and taverns frequented by prostitutes as very useful for the discovery of criminals. Spies of all kinds are met with in these places, from the secret agent who tracks a criminal and flirts at the same time with the prostitutes, to the counter-spy employed by the proxenets to watch the secret agent. It is here that the criminal world acquires its rakish manners, but its weakness for women and alcohol cause it to fall early into the traps of the secret police. It is here also, as well as in the salons of high-class proxenetism, that we meet with those indefinable individuals who are to-day secret agents of the government, to-morrow false noblemen or criminals, and the day after proxenets, and whom a former minister of the German Empire designated by the euphemistic term of "non-gentleman."

The Psychology of Prostitutes and the Cause of Prostitution.—The psychology of prostitutes is a difficult and complicated subject. According to the point of view of those who judge them, they are considered as women of evil and incorrigible [309]instincts, or as the victims of our bad social organizations. These two assertions are by their exclusiveness equally false. Urged by Christian charity, many societies for the improvement of morality have attempted to rescue fallen women; but, as might be expected, the results have not been satisfactory. In fact, the mind of woman is quite differently dominated by sexual ideas and their irradiations than that of man. It is also less plastic, and becomes more easily the slave of habit and routine. If, therefore, a woman has been systematically trained in sexual aberrations from her youth upward, all her ideas are concentrated on debauch and sexual intercourse, so that it becomes impossible later on to restore her to a life of serious social duty. Rare exceptions confirm this rule. Moreover, sexual excitation in women awakens sexual desire, which becomes exalted by repetition and habit.

On the other hand, it is necessary to recognize that girls who are idle, of weak character, hysterical, easily suggestible, coquettes or nymphomaniacs, are subjects specially disposed to become seduced. Lastly, poverty is one of the most powerful auxiliaries of prostitution. I do not wish to be sentimental, nor to give too much weight to the well-known statement that a poor woman prostitutes herself to appease her children's hunger, or her own. No doubt this happens among the oriental Jews and among the proletariat of large towns, but it is, on the whole, exceptional.

Poverty acts indirectly in a much more intense and efficacious manner. First of all it compels the proletariat to live in the most disgusting promiscuity. Not only do the father, the mother and the children occupy the same room, but they sleep there, often in the same bed. The children are witnesses of their parents' coitus and become initiated in sexual intercourse, often in its most bestial form, under the influence of alcohol, for example. Neglected and herded together with other children, most of them as badly brought up as themselves, from their early youth they become acquainted not only with the most gross and filthy things, but also with the most pathological and deformed excrescences of the unhealthy life of towns. In the proletariat [310]of certain towns there are few girls of fourteen years of age who are still virgins.

Again, poverty urges parents to exploit their children, for it is easy to deliver them into the hands of proxenetism. But this is not confined to the poorest classes; among small tradespeople, poverty is also an indirect agent of prostitution. Here again the effect of pitiless exploitation is seen; in certain occupations which leave the girls free evenings, and also in certain shops, the proprietor only pays his employés an absurdly small salary, because they can add to it by prostitution. For this reason, many saleswomen, dressmakers, etc., are obliged to content themselves with a minimum wage. When they complain, and especially when they are good looking, they are often given to understand that with their attractive appearance it is very easy for them to increase their income, for many a young man would be glad to "befriend them," to say nothing of other insinuations of the same kind. I have already pointed out how waitresses are utilized as bait in certain taverns, etc. Let us cite a few figures:

About 80 per cent. of the prostitutes in Paris have some occupation besides prostitution.

In factories, shops, etc., the average wage of men is 4 francs 20. per day; that of women 2 francs 20.; but in domestic service it is only 2 francs 10. for men and 1 franc 10., or even 90 centimes for women, even where the latter do the same work! Is it to be wondered that they have recourse to prostitution?

High-class Brothels.—In these establishments the life of the prostitute is much more agreeable: the goods of superior quality demanded by rich and fastidious clients requires better treatment and special care. I will cite a case published in the annual report of the Société de Pestalozzi (for cruelty to children) at Vienna:

"In October, 1904, the Tyrolean Society for Abandoned Infancy sent us the papers of a young Tyrolean girl of eighteen, who was found at Venice under police control. Our attention was drawn to the youth of this girl and the incapacity of the father to induce her to reform. We were requested to restore her, if possible, to an honest life.

We made the usual inquiries. Having many brothers and [311]sisters, this girl, at the age of fourteen, obtained a situation at Innsbruck, where she was badly treated. She went away and gave herself gradually to prostitution, latterly at Vienna.

We had an interview with her at our office and ascertained that she had experienced ill-treatment at Innsbruck. She had a modest demeanor and made a good impression. She regarded her future with equanimity, admitting that she was excluded from society, but speaking of her trade as seriously as if it was licit and officially recognized.

She assured us that her parents, having great difficulty in gaining a livelihood, agreed with her in her choice of a "business." She was on very good terms with them and sent them money.

To obtain a certificate from the police, the consent of her parents was necessary. Her mother had told her that if she remained pious and honest no one could reproach her. She held "Madame" (the proprietress of the brothel) in high esteem, on account of her kind treatment of her "boarders." The house in which she was located was first-class, both as regards clients and treatment. There were about a dozen young girls there, most of them younger than herself, all with their parents' consent; and many of them sent home what they earned.

She said that her companions were very happy, being well fed and clothed, and earning from 120 to 240 crowns a month. With much ingenuousness she told us how Madame, whom she greatly respected, had looked after two old "boarders," who no longer had any clients. She also had a protector.

We tried to induce her to commence another life, promising her a situation, but she refused, saying that even if she wished to do so Madame would not let her go; besides, she would always be reproached for her past life, and she did not wish to live with people who would always despise her. She had already suffered enough trouble and did not wish to launch on the unknown. Moreover, she had lost her former habits and had never learnt anything seriously. In short, she did not wish to give up her pleasant and comfortable life!

This conversation led us to the conclusion that the case in question was not of a nature to justify any action on the part of our society for the rescue of young women.

In spite of her tender age, this girl gave us the impression of mature judgment. It appeared already much too late to attempt to recommence her education. She also showed signs of great anxiety when we spoke to her of leaving her brothel.

[312]This case requires no comment; it gives a good idea of our social condition. The religious piety of this girl, and her profound veneration for "Madame," are typical of the deviation of moral sense by the suggestion of environment.

Varieties in Prostitutes.—We thus see that prostitutes constitute a collection of very different individuals. Although it may be true that, on the average, their ranks are recruited from girls who are coarse, shameless, depraved and alcoholic, it is no less false to conclude that all are of bad heredity. A considerable number are pathological individuals, including hysterical subjects, nymphomaniacs and other psychopaths. Others again are naturally amoral, stupid, idle and deceitful, or have been accustomed to vicious surroundings from infancy; or else they are of an absolutely indifferent and apathetic nature, or very suggestible and yielding to every seduction and external impulse. The latter perhaps form the largest contingent, because they most easily become the prey of proxenetism.

Many of them have fallen by seduction. Ashamed of their first error, and not having the courage to bear the consequences, they gradually sink into the swamp of prostitution. Illegitimate births play a great part here.

A certain class of prostitutes ply their trade simply from poverty and want, being ashamed of it but profiting by it to maintain their family. But poverty acts chiefly in combination with other causes.

There still remains a very limited group formed by individuals who give themselves up to prostitution for love of it. These are generally women with a morbid and violent sexual appetite, joined to want of moral sense. Rich women, even countesses and princesses have been known to become prostitutes.

This diversity among prostitutes explains why there are different degrees in prostitution. Although its depravity is often more or less masked by fine clothes and good cheer, the lowest level is represented by the girl of the brothels, who is little more than an instrument for coitus in the hands of proxenetism (with the exception of certain high-class brothels). It is the prostitutes of low-class brothels for soldiers who lead the most miserable life. Such houses only keep refuse merchandise, [313]i.e., old prostitutes who are no good for anything else. There is no sadder sight than a soldiers' brothel.

The prostitution in cafés, scent shops, glove shops, etc., constitutes a slightly higher grade. As regards danger of venereal infection this is as great as anywhere, but the girls are rather more independent and lead a more natural life. It is precisely because these places are not under legal protection, that the patrons or protectors of prostitutes cannot employ the terrorism of licensed proxenets.

The free prostitutes of the streets are about on the same level. They are not dependent on proxenetism, but only on their protector and proprietor, which is a trifle less degrading. What degrades them most of all is police inscription, obligatory medical inspection, and the miserable system of solicitation on the pavement. It is necessary to have lost all feeling of modesty, and to possess a cynical audacity to become a street prostitute.

Prostitutes who only practice occasionally and have not the courage to solicit, nor to be inscribed by the police, belong to a higher level. But in countries where regulation is in force they always run the risk of being arrested by the police and put on the inscription list. These private prostitutes constitute the intermediate stage between prostitution properly so-called, and venal concubinage, which we shall speak of later.

The army of prostitutes is partly composed of pathological individuals. Alcohol and vicious habits increase their abnormal tendencies, so that their behavior leaves nothing wanting in the way of temper, impulsiveness, cynicism and insolence. This is seen every day in hospitals for venereal disease. As soon as a prostitute finds her physical condition improve after a few days in hospital, sexual abstinence arouses her appetite to such an extent that she indulges in lesbian love with her companions, or shows herself naked at the windows, etc. Some prostitutes of better quality suffer at first from the scandalous tone of the brothel, but they generally become used to it, and end with adopting it themselves. Honest women, infected accidentally or by their husbands, suffer martyrdom when they are sent to the venereal divisions of hospitals.

[314]The Fate of Prostitutes.—What becomes of prostitutes in the course of time? They cannot remain very long in the brothels for they only accept young and fine-looking girls. It would be interesting to follow the fate of all these women. At all events nothing is more absurd than the common saying that the suppression of brothels increases prostitution in the streets, and that their introduction suppresses it. It is obvious that, as the women in brothels have to be continually renewed, they must be continually thrown onto the streets. No doubt many prostitutes die at an early age from the results of alcohol and syphilis. The only resource left to many, when they are ejected from the brothels, is to solicit in the streets or to join clandestine brothels or taverns of the same nature.

The most profligate, those who look upon their profession from the artistic or the commercial points of view, know how to advance themselves and become "Madames"; but these are comparatively few in number. Some end in suicide or lunatic asylums.

As a last resource, when no man will have anything to do with them, many of them take to the lowest occupations, such as cleaning lavatories, etc. At Munich it used to be proverbial that the class of "Radiweiber" and "Nussweiber" (old women selling nuts etc., at the street corners) were mostly recruited from old prostitutes. Occasionally a better class prostitute succeeds in getting married.

If we consider without prejudice the miserable life of a prostitute, we cannot hear the term "fille de joie" without a feeling of sadness and indignation, for it conveys such bitter and tragic irony. If we could ourselves experience the true state of mind which is hidden behind the smiles and songs of so many miserable singers at café concerts, and behind the brazen artifices of many prostitutes; if we could learn their past life and the cause of their fall, no man with a spark of pity or sympathy for his fellows could relish with a light heart a "joy" bought at such a price. For those who read German, I recommend on this subject: Tagebuch einer Verlornen, by Marguerite Böhme. (Berlin: Fontane, 1905.)

Prostitution and Sexual Perversion.—If it is true that many prostitutes have a pathological heredity, it is still more sure that [315]they often have to submit to the fancies of pathological clients. The numerous sexual anomalies, of which we have spoken in Chapter VIII, are closely connected with prostitution. The refinement of modern civilization is so complete that it supplies localities and women for the special use of each pathological form of the sexual appetite.

So far we have only spoken of female prostitutes, and we have seen how they conform to the customs of sadists, masochists, etc. They allow themselves to be maltreated by the former, and maltreat the latter; or else they play at exhibitions symbolical of cruelty or humiliation.

For male inverts, on the other hand, there exist male brothels, in which young boys practice pederasty for money. For certain rich roués, or for those affected with pederosis, children are kept. This last class of goods is very dear, for there is always a risk of the law intervening. Young virgins also fetch a high price; and they even try to sew up the hymen after their defloration, so as to offer them several times as virgins!

With what we have said in Chapter VIII, these indications will suffice to show that modern prostitution and proxenetism constitute a public disgrace, intended to exploit the unbridled desires of men for profit. This system has been defended on the grounds of hygiene and the protection of virtuous women against the assaults of men, etc. In reality, it has resulted in corrupting and effeminating men; in restricting the normal sexual intercourse of youth in its natural association with an inconsiderate love; in degrading love itself; in debarring a great number of capable and virtuous women from marriage, from love, and from sexual intercourse in general; lastly, in causing complete aberration of the whole sexual life of modern society.

Contemporary literature has begun to consider the psychology of prostitution. We have already mentioned La Maison Tellier by de Maupassant; Zola's Nana is the history of a high-class prostitute related in the well-known realistic manner of the celebrated novelist, in which he describes the sexual depravity existing in certain Parisian circles of the Second Empire.

I will now make a few remarks concerning a social movement [316]organized against the regulation of prostitution, called abolitionism.

Abolitionism and Regulation.—An Englishwoman, Mrs. Josephine Butler, undertook, in the name of liberty, a campaign against proxenetism, white slavery and the State regulation of prostitution. She also attacked the injustice of the Code Napoleon toward women, especially the prohibition of inquiry into paternity, which throws girls who have been seduced into the arms of prostitution. The abolitionists contest the right of police inscription of prostitutes under the pretext of hygiene, of submitting them against their will to medical inspection, and of keeping them in brothels. They claim severe laws against proxenetism and oppose toleration.

In medical circles the system of regulation has generally been defended. It is urged that society has the right to protect itself against dangerous infection, and that, with this object, it has as much right to treat infected prostitutes compulsorily, as those affected with smallpox or cholera. Owing to their shameful trade, they maintain that these women have lost all claim to special consideration.

This argument appears very reasonable at first sight, but it takes quite a different aspect when the facts are examined more thoroughly.

First of all the comparison with smallpox and cholera is illogical, for these diseases endanger the innocent public, while the man who makes use of prostitution is quite aware of the danger he runs. Society is under no obligation to provide healthy prostitutes for the use of Don Juan.

Against this it is stated that innocent wives are often infected and made to suffer for the sins of their husbands. But such an extensive blending of the State with family life does not appear to be admissible, and would lead to crying abuses. Society has neither the right nor the duty to facilitate the dangerous or injurious acts of certain individuals at the expense of others, by rendering them less dangerous, so that certain third parties may be less liable to suffer. This is an absurd sophism. The duty of society is to make responsible the one who has committed the dangerous or injurious act, and to punish him if he has done [317]harm. Here, on the contrary, one only of the culprits (the prostitute) is compelled to keep to her vile trade, while the man who makes use of her, and often infects her, is free from any responsibility. Moreover, the State has no right to act against responsible persons under the pretext that their future sentiments or actions would have dangerous consequences for others; this would lead to arbitrary abuse of power. The insane, and habitual criminals make the only exceptions, for their abnormal and irresponsible cerebral organization is a perpetual danger to society.

There is one question, however, which arises: Can prostitution in itself be regarded as a misdemeanor punishable by law? If this were the case, the client would have to be punished as well as the prostitute; or both of them be sent to reformatories. This is the only logical consequence, for in such cases the two contractors are equally guilty, and also equally dangerous as regards infection.

How, therefore, can the system be justified which brands and inscribes the prostitute only; which is not content with tolerating her vile trade instead of punishing it, but gives it official sanction, causing her to fall lower and lower; which finally, to crown the work, licenses the proxenetism which exploits her vice? It is difficult to imagine more complete hypocrisy, or a more contradictory system.

In former times when slavery was allowed, men's will and pleasure were sufficient to justify such measures, which created for their profit a class of female pariahs; and this was frankly and openly admitted. Nowadays, the equal rights of women which are officially recognized in civilized countries no longer allow it, and hygienic arguments only can give such modern barbarity the hypocritical appearance of justification. Lunatics and criminals are only locked up as a measure of safety, and to attempt to improve them; but their bodies are not allowed to become an object of commerce for the pleasure of other members of society.

But the results of honestly interpreted statistics contradict the apparent justification of the regulation of prostitution, in the name of hygiene. It is intended to furnish men with a [318]means of coitus free from danger; but the facts prove that venereal disease has not been diminished by this means. The false security given to men officially by regulation makes them all the more careless. The multiplication of the sexual connections of each prostitute increases the danger of infection at least as much as the elimination of a few diseased persons diminishes it.

The corruption of the State and its officials, especially the police and the medical inspectors of brothels, the general depravity which results from official toleration, and the perversion of ideas of morality among the public, increase habits of prostitution, and with it the danger of infection. Assured of impunity the pimps and their acolytes become more and more audacious and extend their business, while the prostitutes, whose number is increased by this system, seek to escape the police and practice their trade clandestinely. It is no wonder that the swamp to be purified becomes more and more infectious. Can it be conscientiously said that hygiene has benefited? This is well seen in Geneva and in France. It is enough to compare the number of cases of venereal disease and of prostitutes in countries where regulation is in force, with those which do not employ it, to show the complete fiasco of the system from the hygienic point of view. On the average, the number of infectious cases is nearly the same with or without regulation and depends on many other causes. I cannot enter into the details here and must refer to the statistics and to the works published by the Abolitionist Federation (6 Rue St. Léger, Geneva).

Of all that has been published, nothing appears to me more conclusive than the masterly statistics of Mounier, for Holland, in 1889. Even among medical men, the originators of regulation, the abolitionist point of view is steadily gaining ground. It is beginning to be understood that the toleration of proxenetism, and even the inscription and medical inspection of prostitutes, are vicious methods of social sanitation against venereal infection.

But by the suppression of official toleration and regulation, the question of prostitution is in no way settled. This has only a negative action, important for the tactics of those who wish to [319]upset a scandalous abuse, but which does not respond to the higher task of extirpating the root of the evil. The positive work will only begin when the State is relieved of its shameful compact with proxenetism and prostitution.

In the following chapters we shall examine the remedies which must be applied to our sexual anarchy, the result of masculine autocracy, as Russian anarchy is the result of Tsarism. I will first make a few observations from the medical and hygienic point of view, to the partisans of regulation. They exclaim that the abolitionists are fanatics, who, from their absence of scientific spirit, will deluge society with venereal disease. This bogy has no sound foundation. The State regulation of prostitution applied to certain women has not diminished the amount of venereal disease, because it does not reach it. The State concession of an unnatural vice cannot be hygienic. Moreover, it is impossible to completely disinfect prostitutes, this disinfection is quite illusory, unless it is also applied to their clients, which is impracticable.

In France, where the system of regulation has existed for a long time in its strictest form, venereal diseases are extremely prevalent; while in Switzerland, where it only exists at Geneva, having been suppressed for some years in the Canton of Zurich, they are less frequent. Geneva is not less contaminated than other towns in Switzerland, in spite of its model brothels, and Zurich has lately, by popular vote, confirmed abolition by a crushing majority, in opposition to a few interested persons who wished to reëstablish the brothels under futile and fallacious pretexts. Some clandestine brothels still exist in towns where the authorities shut their eyes.

It has also been maintained that the number of sexual misdemeanors would increase with the suppression of brothels. This is another illusion. The majority of sexual misdemeanors are due to psychic anomalies (Chapter VIII) or to the effects of alcoholic intoxication. If they have any relation to prostitution, it is rather that of being favored by its orgies.

Remedies for the Evil.—What is wanted first of all are severe laws against proxenetism. It is indisputable that commerce made with the body of one's neighbor is illegal, even when the [320]latter gives consent. It is a crime or misdemeanor which should be prosecuted like negro slavery or usury. We should not wait for a complaint to be lodged, but prosecute proxenetism officially, for the victims are hindered by shame from coming forward. The pimps of proxenetism are recruited from the dregs of society. In this domain, as in the others, penal law should not be put in force; the object should be the protection of society and the improvement of the criminal.

As regards prostitution itself, it cannot be made a misdemeanor without opening the door too widely to complete arbitrariness. The State cannot prevent a responsible adult from disposing of his own body, without introducing religion and metaphysics into legislation; but the State can require those who practice prostitution not to molest the public. It has, therefore, the right to punish solicitation in the streets by fine or imprisonment, especially in often repeated offenses. It can also give persons of both sexes, who are victims of venereal disease, the right of claiming damages by civil law. The legality of this right of indemnity has been much contested. In my opinion it is legitimate when the State no longer tolerates or regulates prostitution; but so long as it does this, and submits prostitutes to obligatory medical treatment, the States takes the responsibility of their health. Under the régime of regulation, an infected person could logically claim damages from the State, or, at any rate from the pimps of licensed proxenetism.

The question of responsibility is quite different when prostitution is free. The sexual intercourse of a free prostitute with a man may be regarded as a private contract in which each party has the same rights and obligations. If one of the two contractors deceives the other by concealing venereal disease, the latter has the right to claim damages, if there is sufficient proof of infection from this source.

The right of indemnity does not, however, constitute the principal point. In order to successfully combat prostitution and venereal disease, fundamental social reforms are necessary.

(1). First of all the system of exploitation of the poor by the rich should be put an end to, the work of the poor being [321]remunerated at its true value. This requires a social transformation of the relations between capital and labor.

(2). The use of narcotics, and especially alcohol, should be suppressed.

(3). The false modesty concerning sexual intercourse should be done away with.

(4). The public should be instructed in the dangers of venereal disease and in the means of preventing contamination. The only certain means of curing them consists in not contracting them.

(5). Cleanliness should be universally encouraged, especially in sexual intercourse.

(6). Preventive measures should be employed in every coitus, the object of which is not procreation.

(7). The treatment of venereal diseases in hospitals should be carried out in a decent and humane manner, so as not to shock the modesty of either sex, especially women, and so that patients need not be ashamed of submitting to medical treatment. Nowadays the venereal divisions of hospitals often more resemble brothels. This state of things makes it impossible for any woman with a particle of modesty to stay in these places. It is evident that women who are more or less virtuous, and even the better class of prostitutes, will avoid such hospital treatment as much as possible, and will thereby become the worst sources of infection.

By treating venereal disease in hospital with more regard for decency and modesty, by abolishing the brand of shame, and by separating patients according to their behavior, we might succeed in improving a state of things which is often unbearable. Patients with venereal diseases would then more willingly submit to hospital treatment and would be more easily cured. In Italy much progress has already been made in this direction.

In conclusion, I am convinced that if we should be contented for the present with damming up prostitution and suppressing the causes which render prostitutes more and more abject, without yet being able to abolish the whole evil, a transformation of our social life, and especially the suppression of the reign of capital as a means of exploitation of the work of others, [322]and suppression of the use of alcoholic drinks, would eventually succeed in the gradual extinction of prostitution and the substitution of concubinage, which has much less evil results.


Venal concubinage occupies an intermediate position between prostitution and concubinage. It is distinguished from the latter by the fact that it is remunerated; but the distinction is very fine.

Lorettes.—This is an old term which may be applied to paid women who are not regular prostitutes. It is hardly possible to distinguish them from clandestine prostitutes (not on the police inscription). They are women who do not practice solicitation or sell themselves to the first comer, but generally keep to one man for a time.

Grisettes.—The Parisian grisette, whose type has become classic, is a higher class of woman who, at any rate in her primitive simplicity, was not wanting in romance. Relations with a grisette may be compared to limited and free marriage, in which there is comparative fidelity.

Like some of the free prostitutes, the grisette does not live only on the support of her lover. She is often a dressmaker or a shop-girl, and makes arrangements with a lover so as to live more comfortably.

When the grisette acts as her lover's housekeeper and lives with him on terms of the closest intimacy, the liaison takes a more serious character and there is a certain degree of affection or even love. However, all these concubinages are generally limited to a few weeks or months, so that the natural love of the woman becomes blunted by successive polyandry. It is always more or less a question of "an accessory business."

There are all kinds of lorettes and grisettes, but as a rule they are generally attached to small tradesmen, students, workingmen, etc., rather than to rich men. It is a kind of contract for a limited period. This system is very widespread in large towns, where the inhabitants do not interfere with each other's affairs; but is difficult to manage in small towns, where every one knows everybody.

[323]Mistresses.—These may be called the aristocrats of the species. Here we see more distinctly the transition from venal love to free concubinage based on mutual love. The hetaira of the ancient Greeks (vide Chapter VI) corresponded more or less to the modern mistresses, especially to the intelligent mistresses of men in high positions. In certain respects we may say that George Sand, for example, was a hetaira from pure love, while among the Greek hetaira money played a great part. Some mistresses are paid; others live on terms of equality with their lovers; others again maintain their lovers. We must also distinguish between mistresses who live with married men, and those who live with bachelors.

The most typical case is that where a bachelor who wishes to remain free takes a mistress, whom he also makes mistress of his house, and who thus becomes an illegitimate wife who may separate from him when it pleases her. Some women contract this kind of union without being actually paid, simply for their maintenance, in return for which they do the housework. Here there is no actual sale of the body. The contract may be indefinite or limited. In such cases the effect of money on the attitude of the man toward his mistress is evident; his tone is generally less respectful toward paid mistresses than toward those who are not paid. The love of the paid mistress is little more durable or more intense than that of the grisette, the situation being almost the same.

Zola's Nana prostituted herself regularly with rich men: secondly, she was the mistress of Fontan, who plays the part of a high-class protector; thirdly, she fell in love with Georges in quite an idyllic fashion. Bordenave, the manager, had good reason in wishing his theater to be called a brothel, as he was more of a pimp than a theatrical manager. This example, a little far-fetched, shows how ideas pass from one to another in this elastic domain.

There are also married mistresses. The position of mistress to a married man is, on the whole, more delicate than that of mistress to a bachelor. We are only concerned here with paid mistresses. They seldom give themselves to married men except when the home life of the latter is more or less disorganized; [324]when the husband is separated from the wife, or when he lives in open warfare with her. A married man, on the contrary, may secretly visit brothels or private prostitutes, often even with his wife's knowledge, because the prostitute can have no influence in family affairs. This reason has even been used for the defense of prostitution. It is true that married men often have connection with other women, and the term mistress has been applied to the women who take part in this intercourse, whether they or their lover, or both of them, are already married. But in this case money is usually only a secondary consideration, when the households concerned are not broken up. It is often only the maneuver of an intriguer who tries to separate a husband from his wife to marry him herself and monopolize his fortune. It is sufficient to show how difficult it often is to distinguish the paid mistress from the woman who does not give herself from interest but from passion, or from the intriguing adventuress who tries to make a good catch.

Lorettes, grisettes and paid mistresses seldom have children. These women are more rarely infected with venereal diseases than prostitutes, but they are better acquainted with the methods of preventing conception.

The fate of the children of venal concubines is generally very sad. They are not the fruits of love but of a sexual union based on idleness and lewdness. If conception occurs in spite of all precautions, artificial abortion is attempted, or if this fails the child is sent to the "baby farmer," who gets rid of it. The women who dispose of their children in this way are often of the better class; common prostitutes often love and take care of their children, while the young ladies of society generally try and get rid of their illegitimate children, because they are much more compromised. Some married women even do not hesitate to perform abortion when a child inconveniences them.

We have only mentioned the fourth group of women with which we are concerned, because of its mercantile nature. Every union in which a human being gives love for money is unnatural. Venal love is not true love, but an improper contract between man and woman, with the object of satisfying the sexual appetite, without any regard to the higher object intended by nature. [325]It sometimes happens that similar contracts are made in the inverse direction, when a nymphomaniacal woman purchases a fine young man, under some pretext or other. Inverts also pay boys to satisfy their perverted appetites.

However unsavory may be the contents of the present chapter, it was necessary to write it in order to give a clear idea of the subject. Under the pretense of virtue venal love has too long been covered with a veil of hypocrisy. Prostitution, marriage for money and venal concubinage are, each in its way, elements of corruption and decadence which, combined with alcohol, gambling, speculation, the greed for money and pleasure in general, threaten our modern culture with ruin. Among these anomalies, the State organization of prostitution being the most monstrous, it is necessary to begin with its suppression.

Among the ancients, the goddess Venus or Aphrodite was the symbol of beauty and love. Although somewhat sly, she was fecund, full of desire and charm, and embodied not only the natural aspirations of man, but also his artistic ideal. Nowadays, she is dragged in the mire by two false gods—Bacchus, who makes a gross and vulgar brute of her, and Mammon, who transforms her into a venal prostitute—while a hypocritical religious asceticism, endeavors in vain to confine her in a strait-waistcoat. May the progress of science and culture find the power to deliver her from the tyranny of her two infamous companions, deified by human ignorance and bestiality. Then only will the goddess of love appear in all her glory!




However strong may be the hereditary sexual instincts which an individual has inherited by phylogeny from his ancestors, and however violent their internal outbreaks in his ontogeny, it is necessary to recognize that an organism so complicated as that of man is capable of adapting itself to its environment to a remarkable and varied degree, and that consequently external influences react strongly on the sexual appetite. We will now examine these influences, so far as they are not dealt with in other chapters.

Influence of Climate.—Warm climates appear to excite the intensity of sexual life; man matures more quickly and is more disposed to sexual excess. I am not aware of other influences that can be attributed to climate. It is, moreover, possible that the direct influence of heat has been confounded with the indirect action it exerts in the conditions of human existence. In cold countries life is more laborious, and this diminishes the intensity of the sexual appetite. In warm countries man has not so much concern with dwellings, clothes and heating; life is greatly simplified, and this freedom from anxiety inclines him to greater sexual activity.

Town and Country. Isolation. Sociability. Life in Factories.—The social relations of man exert a great influence on sexual life. Hermits and those who live on isolated farms are interesting in this respect. Solitude generally leads man to chronic melancholia and to abnormal peculiarities, unless he has a library in his hermitage, when he may live in the spirit of the intellectual sociability derived from the study of books.

It is quite otherwise with one who has no intellectual occupation, or one who has lived in solitude from infancy. In this case the hermit becomes a kind of savage, without any intellectual [327]development, and reverts more or less to the state of primitive man.

An adult who establishes himself in solitude without providing himself with intellectual capital becomes strongly inclined to depressing psychoses. This is observed among the isolated farmers, according to Professor Seguin, of New York. The man who lives alone, or surrounded only by the members of his family becomes disposed to certain sexual anomalies, such as incest, sodomy and masturbation.

It is among the agricultural population that we meet with the most normal sexual relations and the best hygiene. The French Canadians form a good example, and it is the same generally where agriculture is practiced by independent peasants, not alcoholized, and having divided property. Agricultural families generally procreate more children and healthier ones than urban families. No doubt modern medical hygiene, both public and private, has made so much progress in towns that there may be, at a certain age, proportionally more living children than in the country; but the country children are of stronger constitution and more healthy in every way.

I had the opportunity of confirming this opinion while I was superintendent of a lunatic asylum for many years. I found it was impossible to recruit from the town a good staff of nurses of either sex.

The inhabitant of towns, it is true, learns his work more quickly, but he lacks patience, perseverance and character, and soon shows himself wanting in the accomplishment of his physical and moral duties. The countryman, on the contrary, is at first slow and clumsy, but soon becomes more capable and careful, and more amenable to education. This shows that, on the average, the hereditary dispositions of the country-bred child are better than those of the town-bred child. The latter develops more rapidly and more completely his natural dispositions, owing to social intercourse, while the country-bred child, although he appears at first sight less intelligent, is really better endowed on the average than the town child. The superficial observer is easily deceived, but country life accumulates more reserve force in the organism than urban life.

[328]Sexual excesses in the country are more conformable to nature. Apart from marriage, we meet with concubinage, infidelity, and sometimes prostitution, but these excesses are never widely spread in small places where every one knows each other. An extensive study of the alcohol question has shown me that hereditary degenerations and sexual evils in the country are principally due to alcoholism and its blastophthoria (vide Chapter I). But when factories, mining industries, etc., create unhealthy conditions in the country, the evil influences of urban life are implanted there, often in a still higher degree.

The society of large towns is made up of many different circles, who have little or no relations with each other, do not know each other, and seldom concern themselves about each other. The individual is only known in his own circle. This circumstance favors the increase of vice and depravity. In addition to this, the insanitary dwellings, the life of excitement and innumerable pleasures, all tend to produce a restless and unnatural existence. The best conditions of existence for man are contact with nature, air and light, sufficient physical exercise combined with steady work for the brain, which requires exercise as much as the other organs; this is just what is wanting among the poor, in the town and in the factory. Instead of this they are offered unhealthy nocturnal pleasures and a prostitution which spreads itself everywhere with all the dangerous effects we have described. The result is that they become incapable of nourishing and raising their children properly, often even of procreating them in healthy and natural love.

Such are the conditions of the lower classes in large towns. Along with prostitution, venereal disease and alcohol, the wretched dwellings in many places lead to infamous promiscuity. In factories and mines things are still worse. In these places there is a swarm of people continually engaged in most unhealthy occupations, and only leaving their work to indulge in the most repugnant sexual excesses. The rapacity, frivolity and luxury of society lead to alcoholism, poverty, promiscuity and prostitution among the lower classes and cause complete degeneration of entire industrial populations.

In the Canton of Zurich I have had the opportunity of closely [329]observing the physical and moral effects of this degeneration. The individuals most incapable as hospital attendants were always factory hands. These wretched beings were generally so atrophied in body and mind that they were no use for anything except the weaving of silk and cotton. In the large English towns, such as Liverpool, and among the population of certain mining districts in Belgium, I have met with even worse degeneration of the human species. Modesty, morality and health are destroyed in this swarming human mass—dirty, anæmic, tuberculous, rickety, imbecile, or hysterical—and there is no distinction between the factory girl and the prostitute. In certain Belgian districts which are a prey to alcoholism, one sometimes sees human beings copulating in the streets like animals, or like the drunken Kaffirs in South Africa. What can we expect from the descendants of a population so completely degenerate? Marriage and even concubinage among peasants is golden in comparison!

I will now draw attention to a contemporary phenomenon of the greatest interest. The immense development of means of transport, combined with progress in the sanitation of dwellings, favors the transportation of town to country and country to town. This brings together the two modes of human life, and in this I see the dawn of salvation in the future. The modern towns of North America, thanks to the great extension of their territory, already resemble the country to a great extent, each house being surrounded by a garden. The electric tramways shorten distances and facilitate this manner of building towns. As means of communication become still more simplified and cheapened, the advantages of country life will be joined to those of the town without suffering from the promiscuity of the latter. The disadvantages of country life consist in atrophy of the intellectual dispositions from want of contact; improvement in means of transport will bring this contact to the country. The result of such distribution of the territory of a civilized state, such as I have in view, might be called an Agropolis—an urbanized country or a countrified town. It would then be possible to live a life more ideal in human sentiments, and healthier as regards material and sexual matters.

[330]The state of the countryman or peasant is advantageous for marriage, not only because it does not offer such a suitable soil for prostitution, but because the danger of venereal disease is diminished, and the procreation of healthy offspring favors conjugal happiness and constancy in sexual union. From the religious point of view, the freedom in sexual intercourse which prevails among country people before marriage is looked upon as immoral; but this is a natural phenomenon similar to the "marriage by trial" of certain savage races, or the "hand-fasting" of the Scotch people, of which we have spoken in Chapter VI. People who tolerate and defend prostitution should be ashamed of their hypocrisy and of the manner in which they distort morality, when in the same breath they reproach peasants with their natural but illegitimate unions.

It is needless to say that other causes of degeneration may exist in the country as well as in towns; for instance, certain endemic diseases, such as myxœdema and malaria, the brutish life of certain tribes, perpetuation of degeneracy by consanguineous unions, etc.

The worst state is certainly that of the proletariat of large towns, which is generally associated with crime. In the community of pimps, criminals and decadents in general, is constituted a special social outlook, which regards the greatest scamp in the light of a hero. When a child shows a precocious criminal disposition it is looked upon in these circles as a child of much promise. Honest and virtuous children are considered in this society as imbeciles, or even as traitors and spies, and are consequently despised, hated and ill-treated. The deleterious influences we have mentioned do not act alone, but are often associated with other factors in causing degeneration of the sexual life. When other influences preponderate, we may sometimes observe depravity in the country, and on the contrary, healthy and normal conditions in certain towns. We must always avoid exaggerating the importance of a single factor in making generalizations. Certain country villages, the inhabitants of which have become alcoholized and degraded, may present a much more unhealthy sexual life than certain sober and well-governed towns.

[331]Vagabondage.—In the Archiv für Rassen und Gesellschafts biologie of 1905 (Archives of the biology of races and of society), Doctor Jörger relates the history of the descendants of a couple of vagabonds, which he carefully studied for several generations. Nearly all the members of this family became vagabonds, thieves, prostitutes, and other society pests. Vain attempts were made to give a good education to some of them, but they ran away from school to lead the lives of vagabonds or criminals. In a few of them only, education gave some results, but not at all brilliant. In this family, alcoholism and its blastophthoria played a considerable part.

We can hardly admit that the mnemic phenomena explained in Chapter I could have acted appreciably in two or three hundred years, a period much too short for the human species. No doubt the common ancestor of the above family of vagabonds descended from a family of vagabonds. I do not, however, think I am wrong in attributing to blastophthoria, superposed on the disastrous combinations of germs which is inevitable in the life of vagabonds, the principal cause of this typical degeneration of the family, a degeneration in which sexual degradation strongly predominates. I recommend Doctor Jörger's work to any one interested in this question. It would be useful to draw up genealogical tables, with the medical and psychological descriptions of the whole population of a small town.

Americanism.—By this term I designate an unhealthy feature of sexual life, common among the educated classes of the United States, and apparently originating in the greed for dollars, which is more prevalent in North America than anywhere else. I refer to the unnatural life which Americans lead, and more especially to its sexual aspect.

The true American citizen despises agricultural work and manual labor in general, especially for women. His aim is to centralize labor by means of machinery and commerce, so as to concern himself only with business, intellectual occupations and sport. American women consider muscular work and labor in the country as degrading to their sex. This is a relic of the days of slavery, when all manual labor was left to negroes, and is so to a great extent at the present day.

[332]Desirous of remaining young and fresh as long as possible, fearing the dangers and troubles of childbirth and the bringing-up of children, the American woman has an increasing aversion to pregnancy, childbirth, suckling and the rearing of large families.

Since the emancipation of negroes has caused domestic servants in the United States to become expensive luxuries, family life has been to a great extent replaced by life in hotels and boarding-houses, and this has furnished another reason for avoiding conception and large families.

It is evident that this form of emancipation of women is absolutely deleterious and that it leads to degeneration, if not to extinction of the race. The mixed Aryan (European) race of North America will diminish and become gradually extinguished, even without emigration, and will soon be replaced by Chinese or negroes. It is necessary for woman to labor as well as man, and she ought not to avoid the fulfillment of her natural position. Every race which does not understand this necessity ends in extinction. A woman's ideal ought not to consist in reading novels and lolling in rocking chairs, nor in working only in offices and shops, so as to preserve her delicate skin and graceful figure. She ought to develop herself strongly and healthily by working along with man in body and mind, and by procreating numerous children, when she is strong, robust and intelligent. But this does not nullify the advantage that may accrue from limiting the number of conceptions, when the bodily and mental qualities are wanting in the procreators.

Saloons and Alcohol.—I desire to draw attention once more to the evil influence of saloons and bars. The drink habit corrupts the whole of sexual life. It is the origin of the most hideous forms of prostitution and proxenetism, and leads to the seduction of girls. I must mention again the barmaids whose business it is to attract customers by exciting their sexual desire, at the same time exploiting themselves by prostitution. These saloons are dens of iniquity in which alcohol and prostitution are inextricably confounded. In Germany they have become a veritable social plague.

Drink makes men and women not only gross and sensual, but [333]also negligent, imprudent and irreflective. The saloon takes men from their homes, and drink directly diminishes the population. This is seen in Russia by comparing the abstainers with the drinkers, the former being much more fecund. The statistics of Doctor Bezzola show that a single drinking bout may have a blastophthoric effect. From this and from other causes result the deplorable consequences of coitus which takes place during drunkenness.[7]

Wealth and Poverty.—While in former civilizations the rich man regarded a multiplicity of wives and children as a condition or cause of his wealth and also as its result, in our modern civilization the number of children diminishes with the increase of prosperity. Children have ceased to be as formerly a source of wealth; on the contrary, they occasion much expense for their education. Again, the higher the social position of woman the more she fears pregnancy. Her life of ease makes her weaker and more delicate, so that she becomes less fit for the procreation of children. This phenomenon is an unhealthy product of culture and reaches a truly pathological degree in America.

We have mentioned marriage for money, which is the prostitution of the rich, and poverty, which is one of the causes of common prostitution, and we have seen how money influences sexual intercourse. We may now state the general principle that a mediocrity living in comfortable circumstances without immediate daily wants, under good hygienic conditions, but requiring a man to work for his living, constitutes the best condition both for a healthy sexual life and for health and happiness in general. This is the aurea mediocritas, or modest competence, the excellence of which was recognized by the ancients.

The sexuality of the rich man degenerates by luxury, comfort, excess and idleness, and by the fact that he is already satiated in his youth. That of the poor man is no less degenerate, owing to bad food, unhealthy dwellings, neglected education, and by vicious example which at the opposite extreme, resembles in many points that of the rich man; the exploiter and the exploited meeting in the dens of vice. Such is the case [334]with gambling hells, with dens for prostitution and sexual anomalies, where the poor blackmail the rich, while the latter in their capacity as social exploiters help to maintain poverty and prostitution.

Money makes sexual intercourse unnatural; in place of letting coitus take its natural course, it makes it an object of amusement and pleasure, and also of speculation, and it debases the bodies of wretched girls by making them objects of commerce.

Unfortunately, the increasing facility of obtaining money without working for it, due to civilization, not only corrupts the sexual life of the wealthy and the poverty stricken, but has the same effect on the middle classes. A healthy and normal sexual life must be associated with honest and arduous work. We have already remarked that the solution of the sexual question depends partly on the suppression of alcoholic drink. We may add that another side of the question depends on the extirpation of the greed for money. If human beings could work for the social welfare without private interest, sexual relations would soon take their natural course. But it must be admitted that it is difficult to find a practical solution for the problem of social economy.

Rank and Social Position.—Class distinction and social position have always played a part in sexual life. This is especially the case where certain class customs and prejudices prescribe a special code for marriage. The consanguinity of the nobility and of royal families, who can only marry among themselves, has resulted in obvious degeneration. Originally there was the desire to preserve the purity of noble blood, and rules formulated with this object at first had some success; but in the long run the exclusiveness of such selection produces degeneration of the group which puts it into practice.

On the other hand, the severe rules which govern marriages among the nobility have resulted in driving the latter to extra-nuptial sexual intercourse. In their sexual excesses, the nobility, and even crowned heads, seldom amuse themselves with honest and virtuous girls of the working classes, but more generally with actresses of loose morals, dancing girls, and hysterical sirens and adventuresses of all kinds, so long as they are pretty. [335]Since the time of the feudal system, the nobility, having lost its real reason for existence, only lives on its traditions. It remains in general in a state of idle depravity, faithful to its old traditions, except when it has succeeded in adapting itself to the work of modern life. It has, in fact, preserved the vices of its ancestors rather than their virtues.

The more than doubtful offspring of extra-nuptial intercourse among the nobility have often been adopted or raised to the nobility. Moreover, kings and princes have often ennobled unworthy persons who had succeeded in pandering to their follies or exciting their sexual passions. It is, therefore, not to be wondered at if in the offspring of such unions, the blood of the highest nobility is tainted with that of the worst kinds of heredity.

Another sign or effect of the degeneration of the nobility is found in the marriages they so often contract with wealthy heiresses, often of mediocre quality, in order to repair their escutcheon. In the Middle Ages, the nobility regarded it as degrading to work for their living, and this prejudice accelerated their degeneration; for nowadays the heroic and chivalrous deeds of the Middle Ages have little opportunity for their performance.

Other social classes present certain sexual peculiarities; for example the disastrous consequences of celibacy among the Catholic priests. This excludes an important and intelligent portion of the species from reproduction, and also favors clandestine debauchery.

The army and navy also exert a detrimental action on sexual life. First of all they foster one of the lowest forms of prostitution; soldiers' women are proverbial, and one of them alone may infect a whole regiment. In the second place, the absence of normal sexual intercourse favors all kinds of perversion, such as pederasty, masturbation, etc. The abominable sexual life of soldiers and sailors corrupts them to such an extent that when they marry later on they come to their wives with filthy habits, to say nothing of syphilis and gonorrhea. The result is the procreation of offspring who are more or less tainted in body and mind by the effects of venereal disease combined with [336]alcohol. We have already mentioned the rules which forbid German officers to marry a woman unless she possesses a certain fortune.

In the Norwegian mercantile marine the customs contrast happily with those we have just mentioned, and permit officers to live on board with their wives. In all respects the Norwegian serves as a model in the sexual question; does he not favor conjugal life by only charging half-price on the boats for women who travel with their husbands!

Other classes have a less obvious influence on sexual life. On the whole, however, all sexual isolation of castes has an unfavorable influence. Wherever the prejudices of a caste compel its members to intermarry, certain special degenerations are produced. Good quality in man is not derived from class or position, but from true innate or hereditary nobility of character, and this alone should be the object of positive selection, without any distinction of classes.

Individual Life.—There is no doubt that the mode of life of the individual exerts an influence on his sexual life. High living combined with little bodily exercise generally increases the sexual appetite, while insufficient food combined with severe muscular work diminishes it.

Intellectual work acts in a variable manner. A distinguished psychologist assured me that intense intellectual work excited his sexual appetite; others have said the opposite. As a rule, a sedentary life increases the sexual appetite; a life full of occupation and muscular activity diminishes it. But the question is complicated by other influences.

Alcohol diminishes sexual power, while exalting desire or even perverting it. The artificial excitants of the sexual appetite, cultivated by modern civilization by interested speculation, act in rather a different way. Erotic pictures, obscene novels and dramas, etc., constitute an unhealthy medium in our centers of civilization, which overexcites and corrupts the sexual appetite. The more delicate and poisonous the perfume of this atmosphere and the more æsthetic the refinement by which it titillates the senses, the greater is its destructive action.

The question of the reunion or separation of the sexes plays an [337]important part. Life in common among girls and boys from infancy usually diminishes sexual excitation, in the same way as among brothers and sisters. We find something analogous in different branches of human activity where the two sexes live together; for instance, at college, in the fields, and in general where work and play is common to both sexes.

There are, however, certain exceptions to this rule, which must not be taken too generally. Under certain circumstances, life in common of the two sexes leads to unfavorable and even perverted sexual excitation. This is especially the case when alcohol adds its influence; also among nervous or ill-balanced individuals. In my opinion it is absolutely unreasonable for the superintendent of a lunatic asylum to organize balls at which the insane of both sexes are provided with beer or wine. I have only seen bad results from this, while I have obtained excellent effects from a temporary reunion of the insane of both sexes, by avoiding all alcoholic drinks as well as everything which could excite the sexual appetite, such as dancing, or the bringing together of erotic or perverted individuals. A young female onanist who suffered from sexual excitement complicated with a nervous condition, complained to me of being obliged to work as a telegraphist among young men, as this continually excited her eroticism without the possibility of satisfying it.

This situation, which is a common one in both sexes, gives us a valuable indication. No doubt life in common for the two sexes is normal and natural, but only on the condition that it leads eventually to normal sexual intercourse as the result of love. It is neither healthy nor normal to excite an appetite continually without satisfying it. Any one who wishes to live a continent life, for religious or other reasons, ought not to expose himself to continual excitement by too great intimacy with the opposite sex; he should, on the contrary, avoid everything which tends to excite his sexual appetite and seek everything which tends to pacify it. I am not referring here to individuals of a naturally cold and indifferent nature, who run little or no risk under such circumstances.

Certain occupations, such as those of employees in stores, telegraph offices, etc., in which the two sexes are closely associated [338]in their work, constitute from this point of view a double-edged sword. Other unhealthy and monotonous occupations, combined with bad conditions of food and lodging, and with all kinds of seduction—factory hands for example—have a positively deleterious effect on sexual life, which becomes absolutely depraved when the two sexes work together. The situation is hardly any better when they are only separated during working hours.

Internats.—All internats, i.e., all establishments where individuals of the same sex live in the same dwelling for a long time, exert a peculiar influence on sexual life—schools and convents, for example.

The great inconvenience of all these establishments lies in the danger of contamination from habits of onanism or pederasty. Inverts are strongly attracted towards internats, where they find their heart's desire where they can easily indulge their perverted passions; the dormitory of such an institution having the same effect on them as that of a girl's school would have on a young man. (Vide Chapter VIII.)

This is a matter which has not received sufficient attention in organizing boarding-schools for boys and girls, because it was not known that homosexual instincts are hereditary and innate. Such cases were regarded only as acquired bad habits.

Lunatic asylums are especially attractive to sexual inverts, who apply for the positions of attendants or nurse so as to be able to indulge their passions on the insane patients, who are incapable of betraying them.

Without being homosexual, nor even seduced by inverts, many normal but erotic individuals try to satisfy their sexual appetite on their companions—boys by pederasty, girls by lesbian love, and both sexes by mutual onanism.

The chief danger is that of some sexually perverted individual gaining entry to a boarding-school and contaminating numbers of normal individuals, without anything being discovered; because it is much more difficult to supervise a school than a family. This could be remedied better by confidence between masters and pupils than by supervision.

Varia.—I should never finish if I attempted to describe all the influences of environment. The examples mentioned will [339]suffice to show that, in a natural appetite such as the sexual, the two extremes of asceticism and excess lead to evil and unnatural aberrations, and that the important point is to find or create a healthy environment for a healthy sexual life.

We hear a good deal about good or bad luck or chance in the matter of love. I do not deny that fortuitous circumstances often determine the happiness of an individual in his love affairs. But it is all the more deplorable that what is called the good manners of society make it so difficult to correct Cupid's blunders. There is room for improvement in this direction, and many spoilt lives and much unhappiness might be avoided. The unfavorable influence of environment might often be corrected by separation or change, if this could be done in time.


[7] Vide "Alkoholvergiftung und Degeneration" by Bunge: Leipzig 1904; and "Hygiene of the Nerves and Mind" by Forel: Stuttgart 1905.




Transformation of Profane Customs into Religious Dogmas.—Ethnography has taught us that in the course of time human tribes often unconsciously transform profane customs into integral parts of their religion, either by attributing them to a divine origin, or by elevating them to the rank of commandments of the gods, or by connecting them with other dogmas, combining them with worship, etc.

Sexual connection plays an important part in this matter. A great number of religious rites and customs are nothing else than the customs of sexual life (taken in its widest sense) which have been symbolized; inversely, a number of dogmas have for their only motive the application of a religious basis to sexual customs, which gives them more authority.

The religious rites react powerfully on the sexual life and on the way in which the members of the tribe or people understand it. We will give a few striking examples.

We have seen in Chapter VI that polygamy depends first on the idea of ownership, and secondly on marriage by purchase, to which it owes its historic origin. But the fact that Islamism and Mormonism, for example, have made polygamy an integral part of their religious dogmas, has given to the whole organization of the Mahometans and Mormons, as well as to their point of view of existence, a particular direction which cannot be ignored. In reality, we are just as polygamous as they are, but our theoretical and religious sexual morality is monogamous while theirs is polygamous, each based on contradictory "divine commandments."

Among certain Buddhists, the wife is compelled to follow her husband to the grave, which naturally influences sexual life profoundly.

[341]Among many savage races there exists matriarchism, which gives the woman a high social position. This has even been made a religious dogma, while it simply originates from the natural and just idea that the mother is much more intimately connected with the children than the father.

The duty imposed on men to marry the widow of their brother originated from a profane command intended to regulate unions; eventually this was made a religious dogma. In the same way circumcision among the Jews had its origin in a hygienic custom having no relation to religious faith. This did not prevent it becoming later on as important a custom as baptism in Christianity. For the Jewish people it has the advantage of protecting them to a great extent from venereal infection, and against one of the chief causes of masturbation.

Catholicism.—We have already spoken of the celibacy of the Catholic priests and of its lay origin. The Catholic religion also contains a series of detailed precepts concerning sexual connection in general and marriage in particular; precepts which were only gradually transformed into religious dogmas. As they determine to a great extent opinions and manners in the sexual domain, they exert a considerable social influence.

The absolute interdiction of divorce among the Catholics (man has not the right to separate those whom God has joined together) seals forever the most unfortunate unions and leads to misfortunes of all kinds, separation of the married couple, liaisons apart from marriage, etc. According to Liguori, the Catholic Church prescribes a number of details concerning sexual relations in marriage. The woman who, during coitus places herself upon the man instead of under him, commits a sin. The position and manner of performing coitus are prescribed in the most minute details, and the holy fathers make the woman play a part unworthy of her position as wife, while according the man the widest liberty.

In truly Catholic marriage it is prescribed to procreate as many children as possible, and all preventive measures in coitus are severely condemned. Hence, if the woman is very fruitful, the husband has only the choice between complete abstention from coitus (when both conjoints are in agreement) and [342]pregnancies following without interruption. The woman never has the right to refuse coitus to her husband, nor the latter to refuse it to his wife, so long as he is capable of accomplishing it.

It is easy to understand what powerful effects such precepts have had and still have on the conjugal life of the Catholics, particularly on the quantity and quality of their descendants.

Aural Confession.—Confession requires special mention. In his book, "Fifty Years in the Roman Church" (Jeheber, Geneva), on page 151, Father Chiniqui, the celebrated Canadian reformer, who later on became a Protestant, and for many years played an important part in the Canadian Catholic clergy, mentions the points on which the confessor interrogates the penitents of both sexes. One cannot reproach him with being incompetent.

No doubt the Church of to-day would reply that the confessor is not obliged to put all these questions and that the details are left to his tact. We will agree that there is a difference between the Canada of the last century, a new and primitive country, and the Europe of the present day. But I maintain: First, that the confessor does not content himself with listening to what the penitents of both sexes tell him, but that it is his duty to interrogate them; secondly, that a celibate Catholic person, extremely serious and virtuous, to whom I put the question unawares, informed me that not only are sexual matters dealt with at the confessional, but that they play the principal role. And, as it is a question of warning the penitents against so-called sins, mortal or not, or of absolving them, I fail to see how the priest can avoid speaking of them, when the detailed precepts of which we have spoken exist.

I reproduce here the original Latin text. It deals with questions which have been treated in Chapter VIII, so that I shall dispense with giving a translation.

The confessor puts the following questions to his penitents:

1. Peccant uxores, quae susceptum viri semen ejiciunt, vel ejicere conantur (Dens, vol. VII, p. 147).

2. Peccant conjuges mortaliter, si, copula incepta, prohibeant seminationem.

3. Si vir jam seminaverit, dubium fit an femina lethaliter [343]peccat, si se retrahat a seminando; aut peccat lethaliter vir non expectando seminationem uxoris (p. 153).

4. Peccant conjuges inter se circa actum conjugalem. Debet servari modus, sive situs; uno ut non servetur debitum vas, sed copula habeatur in vase praepostero, aliquoque non naturali. Si fiat accedendo a postero, a latere, stando, sedendo, vel si vir sit succumbus (p. 166).

5. Impotentia. Est incapacitas perficiendi copulam carnalem perfectam cum seminatione viri in vase se debito, seu, de se, aptam generationi. Vel, ut si mulier sit nimis arcta respectu unius non respectu alterius (p. 273).

6. Notatur quod pollutio, in mulieribus possit perfici, ita ut semen earum non effluat extra membrum genitale. Indicium istius allegat Billuart, si scilicet mulier sensiat seminis resolutionem cum magno voluptatis sensu, qua completa, passio satiatur (vol. IV, p. 168).

7. Uxor se accusans, in confessione, quod negaverit debitum, interrogatur an ex pleno rigore juris sui id petiverit (vol. VII, p. 168).

8. Confessarius poenitentem, qui confitetur se peccasse cum sacerdote, vel solicitatem ab eo ad turpia, potest interrogare utrum ille sacerdos sit ejus confessarius, an in confessione sollicitaverit (vol. VI, p. 297).

In volumes V and VII of Dens may be found many such precepts, impossible to reproduce, on which the pious casuist desires his penitents to be examined.

Let us now pass on to the celebrated Liguori. Among numerous other obscene questions of a refined erotic nature, every confessor is bound to put the two following to his penitents:

1. Quaerat an sit semper mortale, si vir immitat pudenda in os uxoris...?

Verius affirmo, quia in hoc actu, ob calorem oris, adest proximum periculum pollutionis, et videtur nova species luxuriae contra naturam, dicta irruminatio.

2. Eodem modo, Sanchez damnat virum de mortali qui, in actu copulae, immite ret digitum in vas praeposterum uxoris; quia, ut ait, in hoc actu, adest affectus ad-Sodomiam (Liguori, t. VI, p. 935).

[344]Let us now leave the celebrated Liguori and pass on to Burchard, the bishop of Worms. He has written a book on the questions which the priest should put at the confessional. Although this book no longer exists it has been for ages the guide of the Roman Catholic priests at the confessional. Dens, Liguori, Debreyne, etc., have taken from it their most savory passages, to recommend them as a study for our present confessors. We will give a few examples:

(a) To young men:

1. Fecisti solus tecum fornicationem ut quidam facere solent; ita dico ut ipse tuum membrum virile in manum tuam acciperes, et sic duceres praeputium tuum, et manu propria commoveres, ut sic per illam delectationem semen projiceres?

2. Fornicationem fecisti cum masculo intra coxas; ita dico ut tuum virile membrum intra coxas alterius mitteres, et sic agitando semen funderes?

3. Fecisti fornicationem, ut quidam facere solent, ut tuum virile membrum in lignum perforatum aut in aliquod hujus modi mitteres et sic per illam commotionem et delectationem semen projiceres?

4. Fecisti fornicationem contra naturam, id est, cum masculis vel animalibus coire, id est, cum equo, cum vacca vel asina, vel aliquo animali? (vol. I, p. 136).

(b) To young girls or women (same collection, p. 115):

1. Fecisti quod quaedam mulieres solent, quoddam molimen, aut machinamentum in modum virilis membri ad mensuram tuae voluptatis, et illud loco verendorum tuorum aut alterius cum aliquibus ligaturis ut fornicationem faceres cum aliis mulieribus, vel alio eodem instrumento, sive alio tecum?

2. Fecisti quod quaedam mulieres facere solent, ut jam supra dicto molimine vel alio aliquo machinamento, tu ipsa in te solam faceres fornicationem?

3. Fecisti quod quaedam mulieres facere solent, quando libidinem se vexantem extinguere volunt, quae se conjugunt quasi coire debeant et possint, et conjungunt invicem puerperio sua, et si fricando pruritum illarum extinguere desiderant?

4. Fecisti quod quaedam mulieres facere solent, ut cum filio tuo parvulo fornicationem faceres, ita dico ut filium tuum supra turpidinem tuam poneres ut sic imitaberis fornicationem?

[345]5. Fecisti quod quaedam mulieres facere solent, ut succumberes aliquo jumento et illud jumentum ad coitum qualicumque posses ingenio ut sic coiret tecum?

The celebrated Debreyne has written a whole book on the same subject for the instruction of young confessors, and in it he has enumerated all kinds of debauchery and sexual perversion which he could imagine, "Maechiology," or Treatise on all the Sins against the Sixth (seventh in the Decalogue) and the Ninth (tenth) Commandments, as well as on all questions of married life connected with them.

This book is very celebrated and is widely studied in the Roman Church. We only quote from it the two following questions:

To men:

Ad cognoscendum an usque ad pollutionem se tetigerint, quando tempore et quo fine se tetigerint; an tunc quoddam motus in corpore experti fuerint, et per quantum temporis spatium; an cessantibus tactibus nihil insolitum et turpe acciderit; ad non longe majorem in corpore voluptatem perciperint in fine inactum quam in eorum principio; an tum in fine quando magnam delectationem carnalem senserunt, omnes motus corporis cessaverint; an non malefacti fuerint? etc., etc.

To girls:

Quae sese tetigisse fatentur, an non aliquem pruritum extinguere tentaverit, et utrum pruritus ille cessaverit cum magnam senserint voluptatem; an tunc ipsimet tactus cessaverint?

Among a thousand other analogous precepts the reverend Kenrick, bishop of Boston, in the United States, gives the following to his confessors:

Uxor quae, in usu matrimonii, se vertit, ut non recipiat semen, vel statim post illud acceptum surgit, ut expellatur, lethaliter peccat; sed opus non est ut diu resuspina jaceat, quum matrix, brevi semen attrahat, et mox, arctissime claudatur.

Puellae patienti licet se vertere et conari ut non recipiat semen, quod injuria et emittitur; sed, acceptum non licet expellere, quia jam possessionem pacificam habet et haud absque injuria naturae ejiceretur.

Conjuges senes plerumque coeunt absque culpa, licet contingat [346]semen extra vas effundi; id enim per accidens fit ex infirmitati naturae.

Quod si vires adeo sint fractae ut nulla sit seminandi intra vas spes, jam nequeunt jure conjugi uti (vol. III, p. 317).

Such is the teaching of Chiniqui, the man whose courage and powerful individuality succeeded in introducing abstinence from alcohol in Canada. His long life was that of a pioneer and an inflexible champion of social and moral reform in that country, based on Christianity. He died at the age of ninety.

I have quoted the erotic precepts of the confessional from him, as I was anxious to quote from an absolutely reliable source. It was not with a light heart that Chiniqui abandoned the Catholic Church, but only after violent and bitter struggles with conscience, struggles of which he relates the tragic episodes, and which lasted for many years.

He commences the chapter from which we have quoted with the following words: "Let legislators, fathers and husbands read this chapter and ask themselves the question whether the respect which they owe to their mothers, their wives and their daughters does not impose upon them the duty of forbidding auricular confession. How is it possible for a young girl to remain pure in mind after such conversations with an unmarried man? Is she not more prepared for the depths of vice than for conjugal life?" The author of these lines is a man who was obliged for many years to be a confessor himself, and who understood to what extent confession corrupted the sexual life of women and priests. It is true that persons, priests or women, of strong character, and especially those with a cold nature from the sexual point of view, may resist such sexual excitation. But has confession been specially instituted for this type of character? Every one who is not a hypocrite will own that it is exactly the contrary.

Religious Prudery.—The results of such a combination of sexual life with religious prescriptions are a mixture of ridiculous prudery and continual eroticism. In certain convents (those of the nuns of Galicia, for example) the nuns forbid their pupils to wash the sexual organs, because it is improper! In Austria the nuns often cover the crucifix in their bedroom with a [347]handkerchief, "so that Christ cannot see their nakedness"! But the convents of nuns, in the Middle Ages, were often transformed into brothels; and it is not uncommon to see hypocrites or the subjects of erotic hysteria (both men and women) perform sexual orgies of the worst kind under the cloak of religious ecstasy.

Hottentots. Eunuchs.—Among the Hottentots, the lips of the vulva (labia minora) in women are artificially elongated, and among the Orientals eunuchs are made. In themselves these two operations have certainly nothing to do with religion and only originated in profane customs. In the course of time they were made religious precepts, which has deeply rooted them in the customs of the people.

Religious Eroticism.—The examples which we have cited show to what extent man is disposed to clothe his eroticism with the cloak of religion. He then attributes a divine origin to his desires and lays the precepts which he attaches to them on the commandments of his God or gods, so as to sanctify them. Hence, the unnatural influence of a mysticism, which is nothing else than the crystallized product of the fantastic imagination of men, raised to a dogma, imposes itself indirectly on natural sexual life, by entering at the back door under the cloak of religion. It is obvious that grave abuses or even vices often acquire the seal and power of religious precepts; while in the same domain a number of other customs or precepts are based on good hygienic or moral principles, for example, circumcision and conjugal fidelity.

It is perhaps in the domain of pathology that the relations of religion to sexual life are the most striking (see Chapter VIII). We must not forget that the facts of reproduction seem to ignorant people and especially to barbarians, to be of a very mysterious nature. These people have no idea of germinal cells or their conjugation. They see in conception, embryogeny, pregnancy and birth, the miraculous effects of a divine and occult higher power—of the divinity, often even of the devil.

The violent excitement which is associated with the sexual appetite and with love urges man to ecstasy; hence it is not to [348]be wondered at that eroticism is so often complicated by ecstatic religious sentiments.

In his book on Psychopathia sexualis, Krafft-Ebing remarks how easily religion, poetry and eroticism are combined and mingled in the obscure feelings and presentiments of maturing youth. In the life of saints there is always the question of sexual temptations, in which the most elevated and ideal sentiments are mixed with the most repugnant erotic images. On the same basis are developed the sexual orgies of different religious fêtes in the ancient world, as well as in certain modern sects.

Mysticism, religious ecstasy and sexual voluptuousness are often combined in a real trinity, and one often sees unsatisfied sensuality seek compensation in religious exaltation. Krafft-Ebing cites the following cases from Friedreich's "Legal Psychology" (p. 389):

In this way the nun Blaubekin was perpetually tormented by the thought of what happened to the part of Jesus' body removed by circumcision.

In order to make his devotions to the lamb of God, Véronique Juliani, who was canonized by Pope Pius II, took into his chamber a terrestrial lamb, embraced it and sucked its breasts.

Saint Catherine of Gênes often suffered from such internal heat, that, to cool herself, she laid on the ground, crying: "Love, love, I can do no more!" In doing this she felt a peculiar inclination for her confessor. One day, putting his hand to her nose, she perceived an odor which penetrated her heart, "a celestial odor the voluptuousness of which could wake the dead."

The Role of Mental Pathology in Religious Eroticism.—Among the insane, and especially in women, but also in men afflicted with paranoia (a mental disease) we often find a strange and repugnant mixture of eroticism and religious images. Such are the everlasting betrothals with Christ, the Virgin Mary, with God or with the Holy Spirit, betrothals in which the venereal orgasm is combined with imaginary coitus and masturbation, followed by imaginary pregnancy and childbirth. These symptoms give us a clear indication of the relation which exists between eroticism and religious exaltation. The French alienists [349]have even designated them by the characteristic term of "erotico-religious delirium." A single visit to the female division of a lunatic asylum is often sufficient to satisfy the visitor.

A point which has received less attention is the immense historical influence which certain psychopathological personalities, chiefly hysterical subjects, but also some crazy persons or hereditary visionaries, have exercised at all times on human destiny, usually by the aid of the suggestive effects of sexual and religious ideas (erotico-religious), the connections of which have not always been clear.

Every psychiatrist knows the insane whose delirium is combined with religious or mystic exaltation, and who by the mysticism of their delirium have exercised and continue to exercise a profound influence on the mass of humanity which surround them—"Panurge's Sheep," if I may use the expression. These people are themselves so dominated by the pathological influence of their auto-suggestions or their delirium that they behave with the fanaticism of fakirs, and exhibit an extraordinary energy and perseverance in the pursuit of the object of their morbid ideas. By their assurance, the sentiment of infallibility, and the fire of faith which is manifested in their prophetical manner, they fascinate the feeble brains of the people who surround them and attract them by their suggestive action.

A very human and often powerful eroticism is usually associated with their delirium; but it is covered by a cloak of religious ecstasy, which imposes on natures disposed to exaltation, and renders them blind to the ignominy which often lies under this ecstasy.

What makes these patients so persuasive is the fact that they are themselves persuaded. Even the normal man, we must admit, is guided less by reason than by sentiment, and the persons we have just described exert a powerful action on sentiment, and this more by their piercing glance, their prophetic and dominating tone, their manner and appearance, than by the extremely confused text of their discourses and doctrines.

In this way there are always arising small epidemics of attraction in which a group of individuals allows itself to be infatuated by so-called prophets, messiahs, holy virgins and other [350]visionaries, who are only lunatics or crazy persons. Under their influence are produced certain forms of insanity by contagion, which have been called double, triple or quadruple madness, and which may sometimes take the form of an epidemic.

When the "prophet" is more consistent in his words and actions, or when his environment is still very ignorant and superstitious, the crowd of believers increases still more rapidly, and thus one sees even at the present day in less-civilized countries new sects or religious guilds, more or less ephemeral, in which the spirit of the prophet sometimes stirs up grave sexual orgies.

Among more cultured people the prophet is generally exposed or sent to a lunatic asylum, much to the indignation of his disciples, who often consist of his wife and children and a few feeble-minded acquaintances.

Thanks to the cheapness of printing, these prophets often publish their new religious system and sell it among their dupes. I possess a small library of works of this kind which have been sent me by their authors; probably with the idea that they might one day be taken for fools, and to prove to me in advance that they were not.

According to them, God has personally revealed to them the new truth in which they believe, and has appointed them as prophets. Erotic images are generally associated with their system. One of them, whose system is astronomical, divides the planets into males and females. Another, a lunatic, describes the pathological sexual sensations by the term of "psycho-sexual contact by action at a distance." These are phenomena which we meet with at each step in psychiatry, and which give the clue to what follows.

The Historical Role of Mental Anomalies which are Not Very Apparent and Border on Genius. Their Influence on Religious Eroticism.—These persons are not always afflicted with paranoia or other grave psychoses, but often hereditary and constitutional psychopaths who are only half-crazy or simply hysterical, and who may, in spite of this defect, possess a certain degree of intellectual power, an energetic will and the fire of enthusiasm. Things then take an essentially different course, even when they rest on an analogous basis.

[351]The prophet combines with his exaltation a logic which is often very concise in its details, although applied on a morbid basis. Moreover, he clothes his utterances in fine and poetical language, and in this way succeeds in rallying round him, not a flock of Panurge's ignorant sheep, but more elevated people and even a considerable proportion of the surrounding society. In this case pathological exaltation may be united to a high moral and intellectual ideal, which is very apt to veil the bizarre fancies of the prophet. We thus meet with the astonishing but undeniable fact that certain great historical personalities who have exercised a powerful influence on humanity were of more or less pathological nature. We discover among them erotico-religious traits, more or less marked, often even as the leading threads of their arguments.

This important category of individuals constitutes a whole series of transitions between the insane prophets of whom we have spoken and well-balanced men of genius. It is often very difficult to understand and interpret the series of intermediate forms, so graduating and so variable, which exist between insanity and genius. It is necessary to guard against any exclusive generalization in one way or the other.

In any case, the fact that many men of genius are of pathological nature does not authorize us to regard every person of genius or originality as insane, whether he attacks the routine and prejudices of his contemporaries, or whether he opens up new horizons and goes out of the beaten track. Let me cite a few examples.

Joan of Arc was, in my opinion, a hysterical genius whose hallucinations were auto-suggestive. The distress of France had profoundly agitated her, and, fired with the desire to save her country, her brain was affected by auto-suggestion with hallucinations of the voices of saints and visions, which pointed out her mission and which she regarded as coming from real saints in heaven. At that period such things were common enough and need not surprise us. In spite of her good sense and modesty, Joan of Arc was urged by an exaltation unconscious of self. By a destiny as astonishing as providential, this young girl of genius, and at the same time pathological, exalted [352]by ecstatic hallucinations, led France to a victorious war of freedom. The most conscientious historical sources show that the morality of Joan of Arc was pure and above reproach. Her replies to the invidious questions of the Inquisition are admirable and bear witness both to her high intelligence and the moral elevation of her sentiments. It is evident that the sentiments of love were transformed in her into religious ecstasy and enthusiasm for the ideal of her mission, a frequent occurrence among women.

Another remarkable example is that of Thomas à Becket. The sudden transformation of this man of the world into an ascetic priest (it is true, on the occasion of his nomination as archbishop), from this devoted friend and servitor of the king of England into his most violent adversary, and into a champion of the Church against the State, evidently represents the auto-suggestive transformation of a hysterical subject, for this is the only way of explaining such a sudden and complete contradiction which caused him to change suddenly from one fanaticism to a contrary one.

The religious exaltation of the Mormon prophet, Smith, was no doubt combined with eroticism, which made him organize his sect on the basis of polygamy.

Mahomet also had visions, and sexual connection plays an important part in his teaching and prophesies. The apostle St. Paul was also a visionary who passed suddenly from one extreme to another as the result of hallucination. Pascal, Napoleon, and Rousseau presented very marked pathological traits.

Although some of these cases have no direct connection with the sexual question, I have mentioned them to show how such personalities exert their influence on the masses, and through them on history. As soon as they acquire authority, their peculiar ideas and sexual conceptions, however exclusive or even absurd they may be, react strongly on their contemporaries, as we see to-day the ascetic ideas of Tolstoi influence his numerous disciples.

Sudden conversions, whatever may be their nature, especially when the convert goes from one extreme to another, are not the fruit of reason, but depend on suggestion or auto-suggestion [353]and especially on pathological suggestibility. (Vide Chapter IX).

In other respects sexual anomalies often govern the acts of hysterical persons and other psychopaths. The Roman emperors, Nero, Tiberius and Caligula were almost certainly sadists and enjoyed sexual pleasure at the sight of the sufferings of their victims. Valerie, Messalina and Catherine de Médici were also female sadists. Under the hypocritical veil of religion, Catherine de Médici was the principal instigator of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew at Paris, and wallowed in pleasure at the sight of the massacre of the Huguenots.

On the other hand, masochism may give tone to the thoughts and sexual feelings of certain persons of great influence, such as Rousseau, and to sects of ascetics, such as the fakirs, etc.

Involuntarily, therefore, the sexual feelings of every prophet and founder of religion, even during a short period of his life only, influence more or less his religious system and consequently the laws of morality based on it, which remain after his death.

Hence it is that sentiments, as variable in different individuals as sexual sentiments, are obliged to submit to the constraint of fixed and tyrannical dogmas which martyrize for centuries, or even thousands of years, men who have other opinions than the founder of the religion or its interpreters who succeed him.

In religion we see everywhere idealized eroticism, and often idealism perfumed with eroticism. The Songs of Solomon, the original sense of which was very lay, like that of most religious matters, has been made allegorical and applied to the Christian Church, but it was and will always remain an erotic poem.

It is hardly necessary to add that natural eroticism very often leads the severe and ascetic preachers of morality to the grossest hypocrisy. Priests and other pious persons often preach an idealized asceticism, while in secret they commit the most disgusting sexual excesses.

We must not, however, judge such crying inconsistencies too severely; they are to a great extent unconscious and are the result of the shock of passion against the tyranny of dogma, prejudice, and public opinion. They are often also the result [354]of mental anomalies. When science is allowed to enlighten sexual life freely and openly, the hypocrisy of normal people will cease, and that of the abnormal will be recognized in time and prevented from doing harm.

Transformation of Eroticism into Religious Sentiment.—In ordinary life we find everywhere traces of the mixture of religion with sexual sensations and images. The religious ceremonies of marriage among all peoples constitute a significant remnant thereof.

When we look for the causes of sudden and progressive religious exaltation we often discover that it is nothing else than compensation for disappointed love. I refer here to true and fervid exaltation, identified with the whole inner consciousness, and not to the religion of habit which the average man scarcely remembers in his daily life, and only observes on Sunday in the form of a conventional promenade, or a contribution to the church. This religion of habit is only an empty form, which awakes no sentiment, and consequently is associated with no sensation, even erotic, in its followers.

In other individuals it may be otherwise, and certainly was so formerly. Everything goes to prove that the exalted sentiments of sympathy from which our religion is to a great extent derived, such as the holy fervor, the devotional ardor and the delights of ecstasy which it has so often procured for its followers and still procures for some of them, whether their object be God, Allah, Jehovah, Jesus Christ, Buddha, Vishnu, the Virgin Mary, or the Saints, that these sentiments have to a great extent their roots in primary erotic sensations and sentiments, or represent the direct transformation of them.

It is needless to say that all this may take place quite unconsciously and with the purest intentions. I hasten to add that the majority of true religious sentiments come from quite a different source.

When we study the religious sentiment profoundly, especially in the Christian religion, and Catholicism in particular, we find at each step its astonishing connection with eroticism. We find it in the exalted adoration of holy women, such as Mary Magdalene, Marie de Bethany, for Jesus, in the holy legends, [355]in the worship of the Virgin Mary in the Middle Ages, and especially in art. The ecstatic Madonnas in our art galleries cast their fervent regards on Jesus or on the heavens. The expression in Murillo's "Immaculate Conception" may be interpreted by the highest voluptuous exaltation of love as well as by holy transfiguration. The "Saints" of Correggio regard the Holy Virgin with an amorous ardor which may be celestial, but appears in reality extremely terrestrial and human.

Numerous sects, both ancient and modern, have entered on the scene in a hardly less libidinous manner; for example, the sexual excesses of the anabaptists in former times and the sexual ecstasies of certain modern sects in America.

If the objection is raised that these sects are the pathological excrescences of religion, I reply with their disciples as follows: "We have come into the world because your State religions are sunk in indifference, hypocrisy and hollow formality, offering nothing to the human heart but empty phrases. It behooves us to awaken from this sleep. We want enthusiasm and fervor to transform the inner life of man and convert him." These words, which we can see and hear everywhere by opening our eyes and ears, constitute a formal avowal of the suggestive factor in religion. (See Chapter IX.)

In the Canton of Zurich I have myself often had occasion to observe, especially among women, the followers of the singular sect of the Pastor Zeller, of Maennedorf. He is a kind of visionary prophet who heals people after the manner of Christ and John the Baptist, by placing his hands on them and anointing them with oil. The cures which he obtains are due naturally to suggestion, like those of Lourdes, but he attributes them to divine miracles. He even told me naively that he heard a grinding (crepitation) in a broken bone, which he regarded as a miraculous cure! A crowd of women, mostly hysterical, collected around this man with an ardor which was unconsciously directed much more to his person than to that of God or Christ whom he was supposed to symbolize. I have treated patients who had been to him, and who associated with his person both the mildest and the most carnal erotic images—of course, in the innocence of their hearts.

[356]It is far from me to reproach this sincere man and many others of the same kind, especially the priests who are surrounded by a halo of sanctity pushed to ecstasy. I only maintain that when a human being exalts himself in the search for pure-mindedness and sanctity, thus denying his true nature, he is always in danger of falling unconsciously into the most gross sensuality, and at the same time of sanctifying this sensuality.

Description of Religious Eroticism by the Poets.—The Swiss poet, Gottfried Keller, with his peculiar genius has described religious eroticism in an admirable way, especially in his seven legends. Read, for example, Dorothea's Blumenkörbchen (Dorothea's little flower-basket), in which the terrestial lover of Dorothea ends by becoming jealous of her celestial lover, of whom she always speaks in the most exalted sentiments. Wherever she went she spoke in the most tender terms and expressed the most ardent desire for a celestial lover that she had found, who waited in immortal beauty to press her against his shining breast. When the wicked prefect had bound Dorothea on the gridiron under which was placed a slow fire, this hurt her delicate body, and she uttered smothered cries. Then her terrestrial lover, Theophilus, forcing his way through the crowd, burst her bonds and said with a sad smile, "Does it hurt you, Dorothea?" But when suddenly freed from all pain she immediately replied: "How could it hurt me, Theophilus? I lay on the roses of the lover I adore! This is my wedding day!" Keller shows us here, along with eroticism, the suggestive effect of ecstasy, which among martyrs, may reach the most complete anæsthesia.

Goethe has also described erotico-religious ecstasy; for example, at the end of the second part of Faust, in the prayers addressed by certain anchorites to the queen of heaven.

Distinction Between Religion and the Ecstasy Derived from Eroticism.—It would be quite false to maintain that religion in itself arises from sexual sensations. The terror of death and the enigmas of existence, the sentiments of human weakness and insufficiency of life, the want of consolation for all miseries, the hope of a future life, all play an important part in the origin of religions. On the other hand, it is necessary to recognize the considerable role of the erotic sexual factor in religious [357]sentiments and dogmas, where on the one hand it leads to ardent fervor, while on the other hand it tyrannizes, especially by the exclusiveness of its residues transformed into dogmas, the natural expansion of the erotic sentiments which are so variable in individuals.

One of the most difficult and important future tasks of social science toward humanity is, therefore, to set free sexual relations from the tyranny of religious dogmas, by placing them in harmony with the true and purely human laws of natural ethics.

Compensations.—In the animal series we have seen that sentiments of sympathy are derived, in a general way, by phylogeny, from the sentiments of sexual attraction, and we often see in man a sexual love, deceived, despised or transfigured, seek compensation or idealization in the fervor or religious exaltation. The question naturally presents itself whether this compensation or this ideal is indispensable, and if other objects of a human and not mystical nature cannot take its place.

There are, in my opinion, purely human ideals, which are capable of transfiguring erotic love "religiously" quite as well as the mysticism of so-called divine revelations. Christianity is called the religion of love, and the apostle Paul even places charity higher than faith. But what is charity but the synthesis of the social sentiments of sympathy, devotion and self-denial, for the benefit of humanity? Cannot it, therefore, be established on another basis than that of cheques to be drawn on paradise? Cannot exaltation and fervor apply their powerful faith, the beauty of their form and the elevation of their sentiments to the social ideal and the future welfare of our children? Cannot we replace the cult of religious legends, the adoration of the works of Jehovah and Christ, as they are given in the Bible, by the religion of our descendants and their welfare?

In my opinion, the suggestion of religious ecstasy and love might well be directed toward the benefit of society. Its fanaticism is admirably adapted to shake the indifference and indolence of men; but this source of energy should not be wasted in the adoration of legendary mirages, but used for the efficacious culture of a true human religion of love on earth.




Rights and Liberty.—Human ideas of right are very curious. Every one appeals to right and liberty, and naturally thinks of himself first, without perceiving that in continually claiming his proper rights, he tramples under foot those of others. How beautiful are these words Rights and Liberty! But in everyday life in what an uncompromising way they oppose each other! To give satisfaction to my rights and liberty, the right of complete development, according to my natural sentiments, is a thing which is perfectly impossible; or, is only practicable by constantly infringing the right and liberty of my fellow beings.

Nevertheless people keep harping on this theme; with the exalted tone of intimate conviction they inveigh against our social organization, cursing the malice of others, but show themselves perfectly incapable of resolving the contradictions which gave rise to their thirst for liberty and justice.

The cry of despair addressed to right and liberty by modern society is nothing else than the expression of the instinctive sentiment of anger and revolt produced by the natural evolution of our phylogeny. The savage instincts, still considerable in the hereditary foundation of human nature (the mneme), revolt against the straight-jacket placed on them by social life, and against the want of liberty on the earth, which is already too small for humanity.

The natural man is eager for expansion and liberty, and accustoms himself with difficulty to the severe restrictions which social necessities impose upon him. His nature is still that of a semi-nomadic animal, living as an autocrat with his family, possessed of a number of egoistic wants, and, wherever he goes, opposing the rights, liberties and desires of other men, who generally compel him to subordinate his desires to theirs. [359]This is the true reason of this impotent cry of vexation and anger against the malice of others and the defectiveness of social organization. And yet this cry is absolutely necessary, in order that we may find and put in practice a social formula as tolerable as possible for the future. But, if we except the question of capital and labor, there is no domain in which social hindrance is so cruelly felt as in the sexual.

What is human right? Apart from formally admitted distinctions we shall divide what is called right from the psychological and human point of view into two categories of ideas; natural rights and conventional rights.

Natural Rights. Right of the Stronger.—Natural right is quite a relative idea: the right to life and its conditions. But, as in this world, which is said to be created by a personal and perfect God, things are so amicably arranged that living creatures can only exist by devouring one another, the oldest effective natural right of every living being is precisely that of devouring others weaker than itself. This is the right of the stronger. Therefore, the absolute natural right is the right of the stronger.

Rights of Groups. Ants.—These notions become altered, however, if we regard them from the point of view of relative natural right. This does not concern all living beings, but only certain groups. The rights of groups are relative from a double point of view. On the one hand they give the group of individuals concerned the right of interfering with the right to life of other groups, even to extinction. On the other hand—and this is the better aspect of the rights of groups—they are completed by what are called the duties of each individual toward others of the same group, that is to say, the obligation to have regard for and even protect their rights equally as his own. The rights of a group include the social rights and duties in the limits of that group.

It is among animals, especially the ants, that we find the most ideal organization of the rights of a group. Each individual of the ant colony acts in the interests of the community, which are the same as its own. It has the right to be nourished and housed and to satisfy all its immediate wants, but at the same time it is its duty to labor unceasingly in building and repairing [360]the common dwelling, to nourish its fellows, to aid in the reproduction and bringing-up of the brood, to defend the community and even to take the offensive against every living being who does not belong to the community, in order to increase its resources.

The rights and duties have here become completely instinctive by adaptation, that is to say, they are performed without commands or instruction. They result spontaneously from the natural organization of ants without the least external obligation intervening. Here, the cry of distress of the ferocious human beast, of whom we have just spoken, is completely absent, for duty is replaced by instinct or by appetite, and its accomplishment is accompanied by a natural sentiment of pleasure. Every ant could be idle without being punished by its comrades, if it were capable of wishing to be so, but this is impossible. Communities of ants can only exist on the basis of the social instinct of labor and mutual support, without which they would immediately disappear.

Egoism and the Rights of Groups in Man. Human Rights.—The notions of the rights of groups in man are infinitely more complicated and more difficult to understand. As we have already seen, the most primordial instinctive sentiment in man is limited to his family and his immediate surroundings. But here even it leaves much to be desired. Family disputes, quarrels between brothers and sisters are frequent enough; parricide, fratricide and infanticide are not rare. In addition to this, beyond the narrow circle of the family, disputes, hatred between individuals, deception, robbery and many worse things are always the order of the day. In struggles between parties and classes, in the abuse of privileges of caste and fortune, in war, in commerce, in a word in everything, private interests of egoism take precedence of the general interests of humanity.

These facts, and a thousand other pitiable phenomena of the same kind in human society, bear witness to the egoistic and rapacious nature of man, which proves how little the social instinct is developed in his brain. Human society is founded much more on custom and tradition, imposed by the force of circumstances, than on nature. Human infants resemble [361]kittens at first much more than young social beings. In primitive times, when the earth appeared large to man, the rights of groups were limited to small communities which looked upon other men, the same as animals and plants, as legitimate prey. Cannibalism and even the chase show clearly that man began by becoming more rapacious and more carnivorous than his pithecanthropoid ancestor, and his cousin the ape of the present day.

It is only later, after the progressive enlargement of stronger communities at the expense of weaker; still later, when man commenced to comprehend the sufferings for the community which result from the autocracy and passion for unlimited pleasure of a few persons; finally, when he discovered the narrow limits of the earth, that notions of humanity and humanitarianism, that is to say the sentiment of human solidarity, were able to develop in the general conscience. It was, however, one of the ancients who said "I am a man and nothing human can be strange to me." But in his time, as in that of Jesus Christ, civilization was already far advanced and influenced by the wide humanitarian ideas, more ancient still, of the Assyrians and the Buddhists.

Every one who reflects will understand that the relativity of the rights of groups in man and that of the duties which correspond to them, must in time expand and be applied, little by little, to all the human inhabitants of the earth. What is more difficult is the definition of what should be understood under the term of humanity, capable of being socialized and cultivated.

No doubt, the gap which exists between the lowest living human race and the highest ape is considerable and without direct transition. However, we gradually begin to recognize, on the one hand, that we have certain duties toward animals, at least toward those which serve us, and, on the other hand, we know that certain of the lower human races, such as the pigmies, the Veddas and even the Negroes, are inaccessible to a higher civilization, and especially incapable by themselves of maintaining what a number of their individuals learn by training when they live among us. We shall, therefore, have to choose finally between the gradual extinction of these races or that of our own.

[362]It is not my business to deal with this question here, to trace the limits of civilizable humanity, or to examine the rights and duties of civilized men to each other relatively to the rest of the living world; or, in other words, to what extent civilized man should have the relative right of subjecting other living beings, exploiting them in his own interests, nourishing them, or eventually exterminating them for the safety of his own existence.

As regards the animal and vegetable kingdoms, from the amoeba to the orang-utan, the question is simple enough and settled. It is much more difficult to decide for men and for peoples separated from us by great racial differences. I must emphasize the profoundness of this difference. It is evident that the higher cultivated races, or rather blends of races, which live to-day will do better to live in peace than to mutually exterminate each other.

It is necessary to discuss these questions at the risk of hurting the feelings of sentimental persons. But what is the use of being blind to such patent facts? It is not too soon to look closely into the future, and it is only thus that we can arrive at any useful result. The natural rights of man should evolve more and more from a complex of social rights and duties toward a single great group, which we may call civilized humanity, the relative limits of which can only be traced by repeated trials and by practical experience. The instincts of the wild beast are still so deeply rooted, even in civilized men, that they can only be adapted gradually and even painfully to a natural right thus understood and limited. We must honestly admit that such a right only merits very relatively the denomination of natural rights. In fact, social rights are necessarily artificial in man. A few elementary rights and duties only are quite natural, especially in the sexual domain. We are concerned here with adaptations in the form of instincts which serve for the support and development of the family, as well as for the protection of the individual. Among these we may mention the right to life, the duty of labor and the right to labor, the right of the infant to be nourished by its mother and to be cared for and protected by its parents, the duty of parents to nourish their children, the duty of the husband to protect his wife, the right to obtain [363]nourishment from the animal and vegetable kingdoms, the right to satisfy the sexual appetite, etc.

There exists, however, a series of other rights and duties, which are so necessary that they may be termed natural. Such are the right to possess a dwelling place; to defend one's life against attack; to think and believe what one wishes so long as one does not impose one's ideas and faith on others; the duty to respect the life and property of one's neighbor; the duty to give a healthy and sufficient education to youth, both in body and mind, etc.

If we regard the matter without prejudice, certain rights and duties which have been hitherto considered as natural and self-evident, become very doubtful. Such are ecclesiastical and religious rights and duties, patriotic and national duties, the rights and duties of war, the rights of privileged classes, the rights of property, etc. It is clear, from an unprejudiced examination of the development of humanity, that these so-called rights and duties are only the historic legacies of mysticism or of limited human groupings, and in great part artificial. The rights and duties of members of the groups in question consisted in mutually protecting their opinions and their national and religious interests, etc., and in subjecting or even trampling under foot those of other human groups. These lead us quite naturally to the second category of general notions of rights.

Conventional Rights.—To speak correctly, conventional rights are not rights. They are simply a dogmatic sanction applied to all kinds of customs and abuses that men have appropriated, according to local circumstances and their fortuitous conquests or acquisitions. Here, the consequences of the natural rights of the stronger, religious mysticisms and all sorts of human passions, the sexual appetite especially, play a very varied and complex role.

The absurdity and injustice of conventional rights is shown by the difference, often even the absolute contrast, of the corresponding conception of rights among different peoples. In one, polygamy is a right and even a divine institution; in another, it is a crime. Individual murder is generally considered as criminal, but in warfare the slaughter of masses becomes a [364]duty and even a virtue. Theft and rapine are regarded in times of peace as crimes, but in time of war, under the form of annexation and plunder they are the uncontested rights of the victor. In a kingdom, the monarch is looked upon as a holy person and offense to his majesty as a crime; in a democracy, it is individual domination which is regarded as criminal.

Falsehood and mental restriction are, in certain cases at least, the rights or even the duty of the Catholic, who is only forbidden to swear falsely in the name of God and religion, while others consider all falsehood more or less unjustifiable; others again regard every oath as sinful.

The contradictions, inconsistencies, unnatural prescripts and tyrannies of what is called conventional rights in different peoples are innumerable, and the notions of our rights which we have inherited from the Romans are not much better.

Retaliation.—In historical epochs, we see the rights of the stronger succeeded by certain notions of rights which may still be considered as primordial; such is the law of retaliation or lynch law, based on the natural sentiment of vengeance, which is itself derived from anger, jealousy and pride, and says "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." The law of retaliation is very natural and very human. Although of savage origin, it has at least the merit of recognizing in men an equal right in retaliation for injury caused in a brutal fashion, without considering inner motives.

Expiation.—We also find in the old law another notion derived partly from the preceding, but chiefly from religious mysticism—the notion of expiation. After constructing in his own image a divinity blinded by human passions, man attributed to him, from fear of vengeance, sentiments of anger and indignation regarding his baseness and malice toward his neighbor. He then conciliated the divinity and appeased his wrath by making sacrifices, human or otherwise.

At first, sacrifices were not made of criminals or guilty persons, but of innocent lambs, men or beasts, sometimes with all kinds of torture, to appease the supposed wrath of the gods. Gradually, however, these customs became more humane and were changed to the notions of expiation which we still have. [365]Whosoever has committed a crime should expiate it by some kind of pain, eventually by death. In our modern penal law, notions of expiation and retaliation are blended, and when we study its roots in ethnology we are not surprised to see the expiation and punishment of so-called crimes against God or religion. We find in this fact a singular mixture of religious and judicial notions. A curious way of appeasing the divinity is the sacrifice of animals and other offerings which ancient and savage peoples made and still make, in returning thanks for victory or some other good fortune, or to appease supposed wrath.

Themis.—In spite of all these errors, ancient civilization represented as the ideal of right a goddess of justice, Themis, with eyes blindfolded and holding scales in her hands. The scales signified that right and wrong should be carefully weighed against each other; the bandage, that the judge should pronounce his verdict without regard to persons, and be inaccessible to all outside influence. For the limited ideas of that period, little removed from retaliation and expiation, this blind woman with her scales was a sufficient representation of justice. She had no need to trouble about the psychology of human nature, mental disorders, diminished responsibility or ideal social improvement.

Themis Unblindfolded. Fallacy of Free-will.—Nowadays the task of our goddess is not so simple, for the progress of humanity and science, especially of psychology and psychiatry, oblige her whether she wishes or not, to completely remove her bandage, so as to see clearly into the human brain.

It is not simply a question of knowing whether an accused person has or has not committed the act which he is accused of, but also whether he knew what he was doing, what were the motives which urged him, and who is the real instigator of the misdeed. Alcohol, mental anomalies and diseases, suggestions, passions, etc., concur in influencing the human brain so that it is hardly responsible for its acts.

Again, on further examination, we find that the accepted and historical notion of free-will, that is to say the absolute liberty of man's will, which constitutes the very existence of our old penal law, becomes not only more problematical, but may even [366]be considered as a purely human illusion, resting on the fact that the indirect and remote motives of our actions are mainly subconscious.

The great philosopher, Spinoza, has already demonstrated this truth in a masterly manner, and modern science confirms it in all respects. Every effect has its cause, and all our resolutions are the result of the activities of our brain, in their turn determined or influenced by hereditary engrams (instincts and dispositions) or acquired (memories), which are their internal causes, and combine with causes acting from without. Let us admit freely the fallacy of the old axiom of human free-will and endeavor to understand that what we consider as free will is nothing else than the very variable faculty of our brain, more or less developed in different individuals, of adapting its activity to that of its environment, and especially to that of other men. Also let us endeavor to take into account that our will and all our actions are, consciously or unconsciously, determined by a complex of energies or hereditary engrams (character), combined with those which have acted upon us from without during our life, as well as with emotional or intellectual sensory impressions.

Our whole conception of rights, and especially of penal law, should then change. We should entirely do away with retaliation, a barbarous relic of a more or less animal sentiment of our ancestors, and expiation, the relic of a superannuated and superstitious mysticism. Modern and truly scientific reformers of penal law have already taken account of this necessity. But, in spite of the complete inefficacy of the old penal system as regards the diminution of crime, they have so far only put into practice few of their ideas.

Justification of Rights and Laws.—After what we have just said, there only remain, two reasons to justify the existence of rights and laws:

(1). To protect human society against criminals, and in general to institute ideas and laws with a view to regulate the mutual interests of men, in such a way as to result in natural conditions of existence as advantageous as possible, both for the individual and for society:

[367](2). To study the causes of crimes, social conflicts, imperfections and inequalities, so as to obtain, by contending against these causes, an improvement in men and their social condition. It is true that what we demand here means a complete transformation of the notions of conventional right, not only in our old penal law, but also to a great extent in civil law; but this transformation is inevitable and has even already commenced. Its object is to liberate right from the grasp of an old metaphysico-religious dogmatism, and from crystalized doctrines derived from superannuated custom and abuse, and to found itself on the applied and social natural history of man, who then only will merit the name of homo sapiens which was given to him by Linnaeus, the great nomenclator of living beings.

Jurists have already too long based metaphysics on old barbarous customs and superstitious mysticism, transformed into dogmas. It is time that Themis removed her bandage, studied psychology, psychopathology and science, and submitted the impartial handling of her scales to the influence of truer and juster human factors, even if her work thereby becomes more difficult and more complicated.

Sexual Rights.—While sexual sentiments form part of the most sacred and intimate conditions of individual happiness, they are also closely and indissolubly connected with the social welfare of humanity. In no domain is it more difficult to combine harmoniously the welfare of the community with that of the individual, and this is why questions of right in sexual matters are among the most difficult to solve.

The satisfaction of the sexual appetite in man is part of his natural rights. Natural science compels us to formulate this principle; yet it is a dogma the consequences of which may become very grave and even fatal; for the satisfaction of a man's sexual appetite implies, not only the direct participation of one or more human beings in a common act, but also that of a much greater number in its indirect effects; and it may occasion, according to circumstances, more harm than good.

If the question of reproduction did not exist, it would be more easy to put individualism in more or less harmonious accord [368]with socialism. It is thus the sexual relations which present the greatest difficulties in the social domain.

In spite of the considerable progress which has been accomplished, our modern law is still based to a great extent on the barbarous principle of the legal inequality of the sexes. The mind of man and that of woman are no doubt of different quality; nevertheless, in a society which does not possess asexual individuals like that of the ants and bees, and in which the two sexes are compelled to work together harmoniously for the social welfare, there is no reason to subordinate one sex to the other. Man may have 130 or 150 grammes more brain tissue than woman and be superior to her in his faculty of combination and invention, but this is no reason why we should only accord his wife and mother inferior social rights to his own. His bodily strength will always protect him against the possible encroachments of woman.

A first postulate is, therefore, the equality of the two sexes before the law. A second postulate consists in the emancipation of infancy, in the sense that it should never be considered as an object of possession or of exploitation, as was and is still so often the case.

These are the fundamental principles of a normal sexual law. In no animal do we find the abuses which man is permitted to practice toward his wife and children. Let us now pass on to special questions.


The object of civil law is to regulate the relations of men to each ether. Properly speaking it does not punish, that is to say, it requires no expiation and is not concerned with crime. It seeks to improve the social basis for mutual obligations and contracts. Nevertheless, it borders on penal law as regards the question of damages which one individual must pay another whom he has injured even involuntarily, as well as by the coercive measures, both administrative and operative, which it employs.

Although resting on a natural basis better adapted to the social welfare than penal law, civil law still contains the [369]traditions of religious mysticism and the abuse of conventional right.

I shall here analyze in a few words what concerns our subject in actual civil law, and shall point out the modifications which appear to me desirable. It is, however, impossible for me to enter into the details of codes, owing to absence of special knowledge. Moreover, this would lead us too far from our subject.

Marriage and Sexual Relations in General.—The coitus of two individuals, performed with mutual deliberation and causing no harm to a third person, should be considered as a private affair, and should have no connection with either civil or penal law.

However great may be the necessary restrictions of this general axiom, it must be recognized as valid in principle. Society has no right to restrict the liberty of individuals so long as it, or one of its members, is not injured by these individuals. So long as coitus is freely performed by adult and responsible persons, has no indirect consequences, and does not cause fecundation, neither society nor any one is injured.

In the practice of law this axiom is not yet generally accepted. Many laws, especially among the Germanic peoples, punish concubinage, or extra-nuptial coitus. Even when concubinage is tolerated, it is considered illegitimate, so that the woman who gives herself to it and the children who result from it, have much to suffer. Although they constitute simple religious precepts, the ordinances of Liguori and others concerning coitus influence in a high degree sexual relations in Catholic countries.

As a rule, coitus is only legally recognized as licit in marriage. But we have seen in Chapter VI how elastic is the term marriage, which varies from polygamy and monogamy to polyandry, and from marriage for short periods to indissoluble marriage, to say nothing of the cases where women are sacrificed on their husbands' tombs. We have seen that religious traditions, arising themselves from barbarous customs, play a great part in conjugal law. It is only by infinite trouble that the principle of civil marriage has made its way in modern civilized states. Even to-day, religious marriage is in some countries only form of union which is legally recognized. These [370]simple facts show to what extent we are still hidebound by tradition.

The idea that marriage is a divine institution and that man has the right to contract, but not to dissolve it, is still a widespread belief, however bizarre it may be. We shall not enter here into the detail of the religious forms of marriage, which is referred to in Chapters VI and XII.

It is evident, from our modern and scientific point of view, which is purely human and social, that civil law only can be recognized as valid. Religious forms and ceremonies must be considered as belonging to a private domain. For this reason they concern neither the State nor society, and should be refused all legal character; for it is our duty to strive and liberate humanity from the tyranny of all imposed creeds, as we should combat all so-called State religion.

Civil Marriage.—What then is civil marriage, and what ought it to be? Our actual civil marriage is the result of trials and compromises which require improvement. It is a contract between two persons of opposite sex whose mutual object is the reproduction of the human species. In this contract the law is unfortunately too much concerned with the personal relations of the two contracting parties, and too little with the interests of their eventual posterity, which necessitates care and attention on the part of the social legislator. Moreover, the traditional conception of the dependence of woman disturbs the purity and justice of civil marriage.

In my opinion, the first fundamental principles of civil marriage should be absolute legal equality of the two conjoints and complete separation of property. The momentary amorous intoxication of a woman should not allow a man to appropriate her property in whole or in part; only truly barbarous laws could permit such iniquity, and they should be banished from all the codes of civilized countries. Moreover, in countries where woman enjoys important rights, the community of property furnishes those who are unscrupulous with the means of completely despoiling their husbands.

Further, in common conjugal life, the domestic work of the wife should not be considered as obligatory and requiring no [371]special remuneration. Her work has as much right to be considered as that of the husband, and should be entered to the wife as an asset.

Community of property is so immoral that it should be considered invalid in case of ulterior dispute, when it has been instituted by private contract. It is the business of the conjoints to put it in practice if they wish, so long as they are of one mind. But when dissensions or divorce take place, it only injures the one who has remained honest, and at the same time the children.

This is why such contracts ought never be definitely binding to the conjoints. Even if the marriage is not unhappy, the extravagances or blunders of one of the conjoints may ruin the whole family, in the case of common property.

The duration of marriage is very important. If a marriage contract exacts sexual fidelity till death, divorce is nonsense. Yet, in practice, it is obvious cruelty to keep two individuals legally bound together who can no longer live with each other. Thus, the provision and license of divorce are necessities of civil law which are certainly not ideal, but which cannot be passed over without favoring family disturbance and without sanctioning illegality and evil.

Among the most frequent causes of divorce are desire for change in the husband, venereal diseases, disputes, incompatibility of temper, mental disorders, immorality, ill-treatment and crime. The sterility of one of the conjoints and incapacity for coitus may also be mentioned as reasons for divorce, although in certain circumstances, as we shall see, limited polyandry or polygyny may be much more humane than divorce.

As soon as divorce is admitted, important and complicated questions of law arise when there are children. We shall refer to these later. The legal license of complete divorce thus transforms marriage into a temporary contract, which is not so far removed as one would think from the ideal relations of free love.

We will examine the circumstances which, apart from the procreation of children, may attribute legal importance to the sexual relations of two persons. I must first of all observe that, if it wishes, civil legislation can very well create a state of things [372]which gives to children born outside marriage the same rights and the same social position as legitimate children, and I will even add that such social equality would respond to the most elementary sentiments of human rights, if these were not already influenced in advance by prejudice and mysticism.

Minors.—Civil law should stipulate that minors have not the right to marry. This may appear cruel in certain cases, but society has the right and the duty to intervene. Minors should be protected against all sexual abuse. A young girl under the age of seventeen and a boy under eighteen or twenty should be prevented from all sexual relations. This is a postulate of individual and social hygiene and consequently of all healthy matrimonial law.

Lunatics.—The same applies to lunatics, who are legally comparable to minors. Have we the right to forcibly separate a married couple, or a couple living in concubinage, because one of the conjoints has become insane, when the other does not wish for separation? In Germany the procedure of nullity of marriage has been invented for these cases, but without gaining much. I shall return to this point in connection with another subject, but I may remark here that it is not the continuation of marriage nor that of sexual connection which injures society, but only the procreation of children. Therefore it is only the procreation of children, which should be legally prohibited, and sexual connection only when the healthy conjoint agrees to its suppression, or when the interests of the afflicted one necessitate it.

In the future these particular cases may be regulated in the most convenient and humane way possible.

Certain bodily infirmities which one of the conjoints has concealed from the other, or of which he was not himself aware, should also impair the validity of the marriage contract. Such are chronic infectious diseases, especially venereal, impotence in the man and sterility in the woman, when the cause was previously known. But here again, the law should only intervene at the request of the person injured, and to take certain measures to prevent the procreation of abortions, without interfering with sexual connection.

[373]Adultery.—An important question is that of adultery. Here again, we are of opinion that the law has not performed its duty. Proved adultery, when fidelity has been promised by contract should give the injured party the right of immediate and absolute divorce.

Certain forms of adultery, which take place with the assent of the two conjoints, have in reality the character of bigamy and should neither be recognized by civil nor penal law. I will cite as an example, the case where two conjoints wish to live together for various reasons, while the impotence, disease or sterility of one of them induces him to concede to the other liberty of sexual connection with a third person, apart from marriage. In such a case neither society nor any one else is injured and all motive for legal intervention is wanting (vide André Couvreur: La Graine).

Divorce.—The question of divorce becomes extremely difficult when one of the conjoints wishes for it and the other does not, and when no other reason exists for determining the marriage. We are here concerned with the malicious caprices of the god of love, from which the world will never be free.

In my opinion, the law in such cases can only do one thing, and that is to protect the rights of the children, if there are any, and to compel the inconstant conjoint to provide for their nourishment.

The law should also protect the pecuniary and other civil rights of the conjoint who wishes to continue life in common. Here especially we can recognize the necessity for the separation of property. On the other hand, I am convinced that it is useless to maintain at any price a union which one party does not wish for. In practice no good results from it; it is rather a moral question than a question of law.

In such cases we may observe the despair of the conjoint who has remained faithful, both in the marital and legal relations of marriage. The law cannot do everything, and here it is powerless; all that it can do is to exact delay and attempt at reconciliation, which sometimes succeeds.

The Right to Satisfaction of the Sexual Appetite.—We now come to a delicate question. The right to satisfy the sexual [374]appetite must necessarily be restricted in more than one respect if injury to third parties is to be avoided. If we except certain pathological cases, the chief difficulty lies in the fact that the normal sexual appetite can only be satisfied by the cohabitation of two persons, and that what satisfies the one may often injure or deeply wound the other, and even the children. The matter may go so far as to concern penal law, and we shall refer to it again in this connection. But, even from the point of view of civil law, permission to satisfy the sexual appetite must necessarily depend on the consent of both parties. In my opinion no exception to this rule can be tolerated.

It is not enough to protect minors; it is also necessary to prevent the abuse of the persons of adults against their will. The institution of so-called Christian marriage still contains barbarous dispositions in this respect, the wife being generally obliged to surrender herself to her lord and master as often as he pleases. This is the dark side of the picture which exacts sexual fidelity in man.

Inversely, for physiological reasons, a very erotic and sexually exacting woman cannot obtain satisfaction, man being incapable of commanding erections voluntarily. She can only bring an action for divorce if she can prove that her husband is completely impotent.

It is sufficient to reflect on these facts to see how difficult is the regulation of sexual connection by law. The legislation of details in this domain becomes of necessity an injustice.

We have already considered the great individual variability of the sexual appetite. Attempts to regulate it by the rules of a monogamous matrimonial code are absurd and impracticable. With all the respect due to the moral sentiments of Tolstoi, we are obliged to declare that his ascetic opinions on sexual relations are only the dreams of an enthusiast.

When a libidinous man marries a young girl who is sexually frigid, and when coitus continues to be a horror to his wife, it is quite as cruel to demand continence in the husband as submission in his wife. In such cases, the conditions can only be made tolerable by divorce, consent to concubinage, or bigamy, when a relative adaptation cannot be obtained by mutual [375]concessions. At present our prejudices only allow divorce in such cases.

When a man and woman are already tied by pregnancy or by a child, and when, apart from the differences in their sexual appetites, love and concord reign between them, separation would be cruel.

I readily agree that such extreme circumstances should not be the rule, and that in many cases the one who is the more erotic can restrain himself, and the one who is cold become accustomed to coitus. Nevertheless, in the present chapter we are not concerned with morals but with rights, and we have only to reply to the question of knowing what should be done when, in sexual connection between two conjoints, one desires it and the other does not.

The concentration of sexual passion on a single individual, which is generally good from the social point of view, is fatal in these special cases. A man falls passionately in love with a woman, or a woman with a man, but instead of being reciprocal this love is despised by the other. Such a misfortune, which often leads to the most tragic consequences, not only in novels but also in real life, is only reparable by the renunciation of the one who loves. It is surely less cruel to renounce a proposed union than to become the sexual prey of a person one does not love. It is, therefore, inhuman and immoral, as much in religion as in poetry, to preach in any form, the exclusiveness of sentiments, the indissolubility of monogamous marriage, and the immutability of love.

It has often been stated that a woman can only love once in her life. Such a false and cruel generalization must be energetically opposed. It is the business of sentimental poets to delude themselves with such sentiments, but those who think it a duty to adhere to dogmas of this kind are to be pitied. It is not only death or illness of one of the conjoints, dissensions and infidelity, which may cause separation of a sexual union, but as is frequently the case, rejected love may transform into perpetual martyrdom the life of a person imbued with such ideas. The ascetic sentimentalism which results from this has a strong element of suggestion which is bad to cultivate.

[376]If we would give the one who does not love the absolute right of repelling the sexual advances of the other, not only the law but morality should in return allow the rejected lover to make another choice, where his desire for love will find an echo.

At the present day many people, especially women, prefer to endure their unhappiness and even that of their children to the opprobrium to which they are often exposed by public opinion in divorce or remarriage, or even in becoming engaged to another person, when their love has been rejected. It is, therefore, the duty of the legislator to banish from the law everything which may appear to sanction such opprobrium.

Most laws recognize not only impotence, but also assault, cruelty, venereal disease, adultery, etc., as grounds for divorce, but the pressure of public opinion causes the existing laws to be too little used. We must remember that such violations of conjugal duties give the injured party the right of claiming damages.

Nevertheless, we may say that the simplest civil action by one conjoint against the other is veritably monstrous when it is not accompanied by an action for divorce. When once the couple have come to legal disputes, their marriage is in reality dissolved and its continuation is an absurdity.

Venereal Diseases.—A very important question from the humanitarian and hygienic point of view is that of venereal disease. A man (or woman) who knows himself (or herself) to be affected with a venereal disease in an infectious state, and who in spite of this has connection with a woman, should be regarded as a criminal, at least if the woman with whom he has connection is not affected with the same disease.

Here the law should intervene by awarding heavy damages to the party who has been infected; eventually it may be treated as a criminal offense. In such cases claim should be made by the injured party, but unfortunately this is seldom done owing to feelings of shame. In the future, however, we may hope that the law may be improved for the benefit of humanity, for this would be one of the most efficacious means of combating venereal disease, and hence avoiding much misfortune for families and children.

[377]It would also be desirable to prevent the procreation of syphilitic infants, for instance, by the use of preventatives (vide Chapter XIV).

Prostitution.—Another difficult question is that of the relation of civil law to prostitution. All State regulation of prostitution is to be absolutely condemned; but what position should civil law take up with regard to free prostitution? We have already seen what an abominable social evil is this commerce in human bodies, as regards social morality. But it is absolutely useless to try and abolish this commerce without attacking its lord and master—money. The venality of man implies the commerce of his body, and as long as everything can be got for money, coitus can be bought. It is, therefore, this venality which must be attacked, not only by condemning it in words but by cutting its roots. If the State will not withdraw its protecting hand from prostitution, it might at least combat proxenetism and the public manifestations of prostitution, by all the legal and administrative measures at its disposal. It would thus reduce the matter to intimate personal relations.

Let us hope that, little by little, a social organization more just to labor and wages, combined with the prohibition of alcoholic drinks, will, in the future, annihilate the causes of commerce in human bodies.

Children as a Reason for Civil Marriage.—To resume; we find that civil marriage should, by progressive reforms, become a much more free contract than it is at present, having for its object a common sexual life. The law should abandon its useless and often harmful chicanery concerning the questions of sexual relations and love, and regulate more carefully the duties of parents toward their children, and thus protect future generations against the abuse of the present generation.

The difference which exists between marriage and free love should gradually disappear, by instituting natural intimate relations on the basis of sentiments of social morality, instead of maintaining the pretended divine origin of a social institution. It is difficult to avoid a smile when we hear the term "divine institution" applied to the marriage of a rich girl with a man who has been bought for her. (Vide Chapter X.)

[378]Various propositions have been made to give more dignity to the unions of free love, which now exist and which always have existed. Modern women have remarked that the absurd custom of naming the celibate woman differently to the married stigmatizes in society a number of poor women and innocent children, and that it would be quite as just to apply the term "damoiseau" to celibate men as "mademoiselle" to non-married girls. An unmarried woman who has a child, and who has only committed the sin of obeying nature, is branded with the stamp of shame.

It is the children who constitute the true bond of marriage and give it a legal character. When there are no children all legal and State interference with conjugal affairs loses its sense so long as no one is injured, and civil marriage can then be greatly simplified. I maintain that so long as a sterile union, of whatever kind, between responsible persons is voluntary, provokes no conflict between those who have contracted it, and causes no injury to a third party, the law has no right to meddle with it; because this union does not concern society nor any of its members, excepting the two parties interested, who are in accord.

At the present time, in many countries, the existing laws can be utilized to form marriage contracts stipulating separation of property, the right of each of the conjoints to the produce of his or her work, as well as certain reciprocal rights and duties between the parents and children. Matters can thus be arranged so as to correct more or less the defects of the law.

Marriage of Inverts.—A peculiar and characteristic phenomenon is the ardent desire of many sexual perverts, especially inverts, to become secretly engaged or married to the abnormal homosexual object of their love. It is needless to say that there can be no question of legal regulation of such pathological marriages. But the law may ignore them when they do no harm to any one, and regard them as private affairs, especially when they prevent much worse evils, such as the marriage of an invert to a normal individual.

Civil Rights of Children. Matriarchism.—As we have already said, it is the children who constitute the real phylogenetic and [379]psychological bonds in marriage and the family, bonds which are deeply rooted in human nature. This is so true that among many savage peoples, if not in most, marriage is not considered legal as long as it is sterile. Even among civilized people sterile women are generally regarded as of less value. We may, therefore, regard the article in the Code Napoleon which forbids inquiry into paternity as an unnatural measure, or as a monstrosity of civil law.

Two human beings who procreate others contract common duties and responsibility of the highest importance. They are, perhaps, the highest social duties that man can assume. Is it not then infamous and unnatural to legally liberate one only of the procreators, the man, from all his responsibilities, simply because certain religious or civil formalities were omitted before procreation?

Is the man less guilty than the woman in procreation apart from marriage, if we can use the term guilt in such cases? Is it not a ridiculous and cruel irony to call natural children those born apart from marriage? Perhaps legitimate children are supernatural, or unnatural! Is it not infamous to brand with the seal of shame, even before their birth, poor illegitimate children, and to confirm this indignity by making them bear their mother's name instead of their father's?

The most elementary natural law exacts that all children, whether "legitimate" or "illegitimate," should have the same social rights, and that they should bear either the name of their real father or that of their mother; the latter denomination would be the more natural and logical. Denomination by the maternal line corresponds to the system of matriarchism (Chapters VI and XIX), which is often met with among savage races, and which is more just and leads to less abuse than patriarchism. Moreover, when women shall have obtained their proper rights, there will be an end of the exclusive authority of one of the conjoints in marriage.

Equality in the rights of the two sexes will naturally lead to denomination in the maternal line, for reasons of simplicity, the mother being more closely related to the child than the father. Maternity may, no doubt, be sometimes uncertain, as [380]in the case of foundlings or changelings, but on the whole it is infinitely more easy to establish than paternity. It is sufficient for the mother to have sexual connection with two men at the time of conception to render paternity doubtful. Again, the mother has a number of pains, cares and dangers to undergo in the course of the procreation and education of children, which the father escapes. Nature thus gives the mother the right to give her name to the family. Our legislation is unfortunately far from recognizing such natural right. We may nevertheless form a primary proposition, because in my opinion its recognition would avoid much complicated litigation:

In nature, whenever the offspring of an animal have a protracted and dependent infancy, it is the duty of the parents to nourish them and bring them up. To allow human parents to dispense with this duty, on the grounds of badly constructed and unnatural social theories, is to encourage promiscuity, and consequently degeneration of society. It is easy to change social customs which are only based on artificial dogmas sanctioned by tradition, fashion and habit, whether they are of a religious nature or otherwise. But a social organization can never violate with impunity the true laws of human nature which are deeply rooted in our phylogenetic instincts, without disastrous effects.

In Chapters VI and VII we have given irrefutable proof that family life and the sentiments of sympathy between husband and wife, parents and children, constitute the phylogenetic basis of the sexual relations of humanity. Whatever may be the egoistic polygamous instincts of man, we can affirm that a natural and true monogamy constitutes the highest and best form of his sexual relations and of his love. No doubt there are many exceptions which must be taken into account. It is absurd to shut our eyes to the fact that our degenerate social customs have created unnatural circumstances in which parents behave shamefully toward their children, exploiting them, training them systematically to mendacity, prostitution and crime, or else ill-treating them. We even see unnatural parents, to save legal consequences, get rid of children who inconvenience them by the aid of slow and coldly calculated martyrdom, which leads them to certain death. It is, therefore, necessary to [381]establish special legal provision for all these exceptional cases, to protect children against the power of unworthy parents and all forms of abuse.

I must here draw attention to the impulse which has recently been given to Austrian legislation on the protection of children, by Lydia von Wolfring. The State brings up, in philanthropic institutions, children who have been maltreated, neglected or abandoned, after removal from their unworthy parents, but without relieving the latter of their duty in providing nourishment. According to Miss Wolfring's system, they are cared for by honest couples without children who wish for them, under the supervision of the aforesaid institutions. In this way the children enjoy family life.

For educational reasons, the natural family may be imitated in these artificial ones, by giving to each couple children of both sexes and different ages. The result is perfect: I have seen in Vienna artificial families of ten children formed in this way. This shows again the rule confirmed by the exception; it would be better for the good seed to be more fruitful and the bad sterile.

The normal condition must, however, always be for parents to bring up their own children. But here the State and the school should come to their aid, and even intervene with authority; for society is under the obligation of educating its children to a certain degree of culture, and maternal or paternal authority should not have the right to prevent or even attenuate this social work. Obligatory and gratuitous education is thus a duty of the State which is becoming more and more recognized everywhere, although it is still very incomplete and often badly carried out.

The State should, moreover, protect the children by restricting the power of parents more than is done at present. The child should not be allowed to become an object for exploitation by its parents. It has also the right to be protected against all unmerited punishment and ill-treatment. Corporal punishment, which is still practiced in some schools, is a relic of barbarism which ought to disappear.

The State should severely enforce the duty of the procreators [382]of children to nourish their offspring. Rich or poor, no father or mother should escape this duty, whether the child is legitimate or illegitimate. In our imperfect social condition, it is still much too easy for the man to escape and abandon his child to the mother, or to public charity. He should be compelled to provide for the life and education of his children, whether legitimate or illegitimate, if he does not bring them up himself. If unable to provide money, he should do the equivalent in labor. Such measures, strictly enforced, would be more efficacious than all the complicated laws on sexual relations, in maintaining monogamy and fidelity.

I repeat, that these measures should apply to all unworthy parents from whom we are obliged to remove the children. These parents are not always of the poorer class.

It may be objected that I am unjust in charging such duties to poor people who can often hardly keep themselves. I agree that in the present state of society it is quite impossible for many parents to undertake such important duties. But duty means right, and it is evident that we must place rights by the side of the duties which we impose on parents.

True justice in this question can only be attained by the essential progress of socialism. By socialism, I do not mean certain vague communistic doctrines, nor the Utopias of anarchists who imagine that "man was born good," but simply an essential social progress in the struggle against the domination of individual capital, that is to say, usury applied to the labor of others owing to the possession of means of production, which is now left to speculators. Men should be enabled to enjoy the product of their labor, so that they can lead a human life worthy of the name, in sexual matters as in others. But this is not all.

From the social point of view, it is absolutely unjust that men who procreate children should alone bear the burden of the future generation. We know the egoistic proverb of the celibates, who say: "I have the right to take life easily, to enjoy myself and be idle, if I renounce the happiness of having children, either of my own accord or from necessity." This proverb, which may be transposed into "after me the deluge," cannot be recognized by any healthy social legislation. It is [383]the duty of the State to relieve large families, to facilitate the procreation of healthy children, and to impose more work and taxes (for instance, artificial families) on sterile individuals. The old laws were better than ours in this respect.

I have mentioned above the excellent custom, which exists at the present day in Norway, of only charging half-price on the boats to married women and other female members of the same family. I cannot here enter into the details of this question, but if such reforms are some day realized, if universal compulsory education, pensions for old age, orphans and invalids, etc., are introduced, then no man will have valid motives for escaping the duty of feeding his children and bringing them up decently in family life. This will be left only to the idle and vicious.

Moreover, I can support my propositions by facts. If we compare the nature of delinquents, abandoned children, vagabonds, etc., in a country where little or nothing has been done for the people (Russia, Galicia, Vienna, etc.), with that of the same individuals in Switzerland, for example, where much has already been done for the poor, we find this result: In Switzerland, these individuals are nearly all tainted with alcoholism or pathological heredity; they consist of alcoholics, incorrigibles, and congenital decadents, and education can do little for them, because nearly all those who have a better hereditary foundation have been able to earn their living by honest work. In Russia, Galicia, and even in Vienna, we are, on the contrary, astonished to see how many honest natures there are among the disinherited, when they are provided with work and education.

This fact speaks more than the contradictory statements which the fanatics of party politics hurl at each other's heads.

Inquiry into Paternity.—It will be objected that inquiry into paternity is often very difficult and dangerous. I do not deny this; but, when women have obtained their natural rights, and when the education of young girls is guided by the principles which we have enunciated in Chapter XVII, the matter will become much easier. Moreover, even now, we can with energy and good will determine paternity in most cases. Although the great improvement in means of transport assists fugitives, it also [384]favors the discovery and arrest of individuals all over the world. International relations between all civilized states are improving from day to day. When the world is more completely conquered by civilization, we may hope that it will become increasingly difficult for evildoers to escape their duties.

Regarding this question from all points of view it is impossible for us to give up this primordial condition for the preservation of human society, which consists in making parents responsible for the nourishment and education of their children.

The famous ideas of phalanstery and promiscuity, so often advanced, originated in theoretical and dogmatic minds which had lost their instinctive sense of human nature, and ignored what natural science and ethnology have revealed to us.

But the responsibility of parents extends to another domain—the duty of not procreating children who are unhealthy in body and mind. We shall return to this question later on.

Guardianship.—An excellent institution of our present legislation is that of the guardianship of orphans, lunatics, etc. It requires to be developed extensively and with care. On the contrary, an evil custom is the right accorded by certain countries to parishes charged with poor and abandoned orphans, of delivering them by public tender to the man who offers the lowest pension—and only requires them for work. This system results in odious abuse, such as neglect, mendicity and ill-treatment.

The fate of illegitimate children who are "farmed out" is still worse. A tacit alliance is established between rapacity on the one hand and social sexual hypocrisy on the other. A number of infanticides and abortions result, either from poverty, or from sentiments of shame due to our moral customs. Here, civil law and penal law should combine and take energetic humanitarian measures to put a stop to this sad abuse. An excellent institution is that of homes in the country established for unmarried mothers and their children, and for abandoned mothers in general.

Free Love and Civil Marriage.—When all the propositions we have drawn up have been realized by social legislation, the difference which now exists between marriage and free love will be little more than a form. The consequences of these two [385]kinds of union will become the same, both for parents and children; the only distinction will consist in the existence or non-existence of official control. True monogamy will lose nothing, but will gain much.

We shall not then have obligatory monogamy as at present, absolute in form, artificially maintained by the aid of prostitution, that is by the most disgusting form of promiscuity which renders monogamy illusory; but we shall have in its place a relative monogamy much more solidly built on the natural rights of the two sexes, it is true more free in form, but fundamentally much stronger in the natural and instinctive duties dictated by a truly free and reasoned union, as well as by the duties by which parents will be bound to their children.

Form and Duration of Civil Marriage.—Although it may be true that monogamy constitutes the most normal and natural form of family union, and offers the best conditions for lasting happiness, both for parents and children, we must be blindly prejudiced not to admit that it is unnatural to consider it as the only sheet anchor in sexual relationship, the only admissible form of marriage, and to make it a straight-jacket. History and ethnography show us that polygamous races are strongly developed and are still developing; on the other hand, it is true that polyandrous races degenerate.

Again, impartial observation of our Christian monogamy shows us that it depends to a great extent on appearances, that it is full of trickery and hypocrisy, and that to legally enforce it for life must be considered as absolutely impossible.

In Catholic countries which prohibit divorce, the latter has been replaced by separation, and this becomes the most constant source of adultery. The more the laws of a country impede divorce, the more one must close one's eyes to promiscuity or prostitution, which has even been regulated by the State by the aid of proxenetism, all the while preaching monogamy in a loud voice.

These bitter lessons which practice has given to the partisan, of obligatory monogamy, prove the absurdity of attempting to restrain the natural appetites of man by force and by artificial obstacles. That which succeeds, not without difficulty, with [386]some strong characters, and more easily with naturally cold temperaments, is impossible to realize in the masses.

Polyandry is usually the result of poverty, and the polyandrous races are little fecund and tend to disappear. The normal man is instinctively more polygynous than the normal woman is polyandrous. There are, however, cases where polyandry is justifiable. There are women whose sexual appetite, more or less pathological, is so insatiable that a normal man is incapable of satisfying it.

If such women were served by several Don Juans by means of a free contract, this would be better than giving themselves in despair to prostitution (there are some prostitutes created by nymphomania). This system would also be better than the seduction of normal young girls by the Don Juans in question.

Polygyny is still more indicated when the sterility of the woman or her repugnance to sexual intercourse cause family disturbances.

In speaking of polygamy in Chapter VI, we have shown that it exists in several forms, and that these are not all so humiliating for the women as people think, who only know of the shameful abuses of the Mussulman's harem. What lowers the moral level of polygyny is especially the barbarous system of marriage by purchase, by which the women become slaves burdened with heavy labor, and are in a state of legal dependence. We have seen that polygyny has a higher moral character among certain Indian tribes where matriarchism rules, and where the wife is mistress of the house and family. The danger of degradation of the woman ceases when she is equal to the man as regards rights and property. In fact, in such a social state, polygyny can only constitute an exception. It is here entirely free and becomes all the more innocent because divorce is facilitated and strict laws on the feeding and education of the children limit the male sexual appetite.

I even venture to maintain that the stability of monogamous marriage, which should be based on mutual sentiments of respect and love, would be much better guaranteed than hitherto by legal liberty of conjugal ties, and by duty to children such as I have proposed. If this became recognized as conventional, [387]men and women fit to understand each other and love in a lasting manner, would find suitable mates more easily, and would become united more permanently when their chains were voluntary.

If marriages on trial became more frequent in the form of short unions, ending with separation, this would not be a great evil, for similar unions occur every day in a much baser form. Moreover, the effect of legislation with regard to children would put a curb on immorality and passion, which cause their worst effects.

If the objection is raised that this would lead immoral people to avoid the procreation of children so as to enjoy more varied sexual pleasures, I reply that this would be beneficial, for this anti-social class of individuals would be eliminated by sterility, by a kind of negative selection. We thus place two natural appetites in antagonism; that of procreation on the one hand, and sexual enjoyment on the other. Whoever inclines to the first, which is the higher and tends to preserve the species, is obliged to restrain himself in the second, without, however, falling into unnatural asceticism.

Consanguineous Marriages.—To avoid injurious consanguinity, it is sufficient, in my opinion, to prohibit the procreation of children between direct and collateral relations, especially between parents and children and between brothers and sisters. Anything more than this is only useless chicanery. Laws which prohibit marriage between relations by alliance are absurd, for instance those which forbid a widower to marry his sister-in-law (deceased wife's sister), etc. Among some peoples such unions are ordained by law!

There is also no valid reason to prohibit unions between first cousins or between uncles and aunts, with nephews and nieces. There is nothing to prove that such marriages are injurious to the offspring. What is harmful is the accumulation of hereditary taints, whether they occur in relations or persons who are strangers to each other. Nevertheless, the perpetuation of consanguineous unions in the same family is not as a rule advisable.

Restriction of Personal Liberty in Sexual Life Among Harmful or Dangerous Individuals.—The inability of men to distinguish, [388]among the motives of the acts of their fellows, what is abnormal, unhealthy, impulsive or obsessional, from what is healthy and normal is one of the most deplorable phenomena in social life, and greatly hinders the action of reformatory civil legislation and rational administrative measures.

The passionate, confused and unreasonable sentiments of the masses give expression, according to the impulse of the moment, to two contradictory absurdities and injustices. On the one hand, they cry out against arbitrary constraint of individual liberty, against illegal restriction or detention, when competent judges or experts try to limit the movements of dangerous individuals affected with mental disorders, but who appear sane to the incompetent public; or when, to insure social safety, they send these individuals to a lunatic asylum, or limit their dangerous liberty in some other way. On the other hand, when such an individual goes free, thanks to the intervention of incompetent meddlers, and commits assassination, violation, incendiarism, or all kinds of sadic atrocities, or even only terrorizes his own family, these same people, suddenly animated by contrary sentiments of vengeance, imperiously demand an exemplary expiation and all possible reprisals. This sometimes goes as far as torture of the culprit or burning at the stake, as with the lynchers in America.

It is very difficult for the psychiatrist, who is the competent expert in these matters, to make truth and impartiality prevail. He is nearly always suspected of seeing madness everywhere, and of being afflicted with a mania for sending sane persons to asylums! In reality, he desires to take measures which are at the same time humane for the insane and protective for society, so as to treat as equitably and reasonably as possible the unfortunates who are more or less irresponsible for their acts; he wishes to see established laws and organizations which will efficiently protect the insane against themselves and against the exploitation and abuse of others, at the same time preventing them from doing injury to society.

On the other hand, society and with it the old style of jurist, in their ignorant dread of psychopathological matters, endeavor to take all possible measures to protect the sane public against [389]the alienists, thus completely neglecting the true interests of the insane as well as those of society, while fighting against a phantom! The anxiety and mistrust of the public in this matter are continually kept up by "brigand stories" related by certain insane or semi-insane persons, which are spread by the press, always eager for scandal, or by pamphlets which the cheapness of printing places within the reach of the poorest!

These phenomena of public psychology greatly hinder the most urgent reforms. The public regard asylums with horror, and the path of the alienist is thorny, for he is exposed to continual accusations and threats whatever he may do, a situation which does not encourage him to suggest bold innovations.

Ignorant of psychology and especially of psychopathology, the public and with it the formal jurist, the slave of codes (I am only speaking of honest lawyers, and not of the number who abuse the situation to obtain oratorical and other success and crown themselves with laurels), regard themselves as the champions of individual liberty, and are unable to perceive that the net result of their efforts is, on the one hand, to condemn a considerable number of insane and crazy persons to prison, and on the other hand to assure liberty and impunity to the most dangerous individuals, always ready to commit the most atrocious crimes, or at any rate to make martyrs of a number of patient and innocent beings, hard-working and healthy in mind, especially women and children.

The alienists, who see clearly into all this misery, easily become pessimistic in their impotence against the want of sense, ignorance and unconscious passion of the masses, and even competent authorities. The natural cowardice of men often makes them shut their eyes to avoid nuisances, and causes them to take no action against the most dangerous monsters, and especially against those who are most mischievous by their pens. This is why the martyrdom of unfortunate women and children illtreated by chronic alcoholics, sadists and other neuropaths or psychopaths, never comes to an end, owing to the stupid outcry against so-called violation of individual liberty.

On this soil, sexual atrocities and crimes, largely increased by drink, play an important part. Without troubling myself about [390]prejudice and indignation I shall say in a few words what appears to me to be urgent:

So long as jurists and legislators will not study either psychology or psychiatry, and will not submit all habitual criminals and all dangerous men to an expert examination, all serious reform in this domain will remain impossible. To improve the present state of affairs a common understanding between jurists and alienists is urgent; but this can only be attained by jurists making a study of psychology, and a kind of practical clinic among imprisoned criminals. How can one judge and condemn one's neighbor without having the least idea of the state of mind of these pariahs of society? All the jurists who have the welfare of humanity at heart, should support the international union of penal law, and the efforts of men like Professor Franz von Liszt, Gaukler of Caen, and many other courageous reformers.[8]

It is needless to say that it is not sufficient to combat the excesses of criminal and dangerous individuals, such as sadists, for example, by placing them under supervision and preventing them doing harm. It is also necessary to attack the cause of the evil by preventing their germs from being reproduced, degenerated as they usually are by the blastophthoria of their alcoholic parents (vide Chapter I). The first question, which is purely legal and administrative, does not concern us here; but I may be allowed to say a few words on the second.

Zealous and advanced reformers have proposed castration in such cases, which has provoked a general cry of indignation. This has been discussed in certain American states. The hyperæsthetic sentiment of our modern civilization cannot tolerate such ideas, while ancient races such as the Islamites provided, and still provide eunuchs as servants, who are free from danger for their wives, and think little of hanging or decapitating men [391]who cause them any trouble. In the same way, we are dumb and impassive before the butcheries of war, because they are fashionable, especially when we do not come in contact with them. The Pope himself formerly procured eunuchs in order to have soprano voices in his church, and did not hesitate to castrate young boys for this purpose. The times change and we change with them!

For some years, however, castration has been employed as a remedy for certain disorders both in men and women, especially for hysteria in women. I admit here that, in an asylum which I superintend, I have castrated a veritable monster afflicted with constitutional mental disorders, taking advantage of the fact that he himself requested this operation to relieve him of pain in his seminal vesicles, but with the chief object of preventing the production of unfortunate children tainted with his hereditary complaint.

Many years ago I also castrated a young hysterical girl of fourteen, whose mother and grandmother were both prostitutes, and who had already begun to have intercourse with all the urchins in the street. Here again, I frankly admit that the hysterical troubles of the patient served me as an excuse to prevent this unfortunate girl from reproducing beings who would probably resemble her. I am of opinion that castration, or some more benign operation, such as dislocation of the Fallopian tubes in women (which renders them sterile without destroying the ovaries, or even attenuating the sexual appetite) should be performed in order to prevent the reproduction of the most deplorable and most dangerous beings.

Among certain individuals, such as sadists, whose sexual appetite is dangerous in itself, castration would be necessary. In my opinion, the more benign operations are indicated in all individuals whose psychopathological condition in this domain is such that they are absolutely incapable of resisting their impulses, or of understanding the dictates of reason. By this means they could go free instead of being incarcerated in asylums.

On the other hand, I must emphasize the fact that such measures, the personal consequences of which are so serious, [392]should only be taken in the case of absolutely dangerous, incurable individuals, concerning whose pathological state there can be no doubt. I also believe that these individuals, especially those with sexual abnormalities, would very often consent to the operation, as was the case with my two patients.

It would be a great advance if civil legislation would in such cases accord official recognition to castration or dislocation of the tubes, with the consent of the criminal or patient concerned. At present, our laws and regulations are such that a psychopathological monster cannot even be castrated when he wishes it, because medical men refuse to undertake such an operation without a positive medical indication of the usual kind, and because there is no legal protection; yet, when done in time, castration would often save sadists and other dangerous perverts from a criminal life, and society from their crimes and those of their offspring.

When it is only a question of avoiding the procreation of tainted children, it would be sufficient to instruct reasonable people in the methods of avoiding conception (vide Chapter XIV).

It is important to bear in mind that modern legislation on marriage often flavors the reproduction of criminals, lunatics and invalids, while it hinders the production of healthy children by men who are intelligent, honest and robust. When an abnormal or unhealthy man is married, his wife is obliged to submit to the conception of tainted children. On the other hand, when a strong, healthy and intelligent girl is in a situation, it often happens that everything is done to prevent her marrying, so as not to lose her services; the more conscientious she is and the more attached to her masters, the more often is this likely to occur.

Girls who have illegitimate children often lose their situations and their honor. The consideration of cases of everyday occurrence is sufficient to grasp the difficulty of the question. What we require is more personal liberty for healthy, normal and adaptable individuals, and more restrictions for the abnormal, unhealthy and dangerous. The civil law of the future will have to take these facts into consideration, if it wishes to keep level [393]with scientific progress, and prevent the instinct of the people having recourse to lynch law, or retaliation.

Meanwhile, attempts have been made to get out of the difficulty by prohibiting the marriage of insane persons or by declaring their marriage null when it has already been consummated; or again, by admitting insanity as a cause for divorce. Such measures are good as makeshifts in a period of transition. They assume that conceptions only occur in marriage, and that marriage necessarily means procreation. But these two suppositions are false, for it is only the pressure of custom and legislation which realizes them in part, especially in Catholic countries.

The civil code, in the present state of society, has at least the advantage of making possible the dissolution of monstrous unions, such as those of the absolutely insane or certain psychopaths of the worst kind. Unfortunately, divorce is as a rule only accorded in cases of well-marked mental disorders, while in reality the most atrocious unions are those which are contracted by crazy persons with only diminished responsibility, in whom the public and the law are unable to recognize or understand the existence of a definite mental anomaly. These people most often marry at a time when no one has yet recognized their true mental condition, or foreseen the consequences of their marriage. The unfortunate who finds herself (or himself) bound by such a union is then an object of endless martyrdom. The frequency of mental anomalies causes them to play an immense, and too often unrecognized role, in unhappy marriages.

At the request of the mother the tribunal of Bâle recently prohibited the marriage of a young man affected with a slight degree of mental weakness. This judgment was upheld by the Swiss tribunal for the following reasons: "Although capable of work, of earning his living, and of performing his military service, an individual may be an unsuitable subject for marriage. In the interests of family life and the future generation, it is the duty of the State to prevent the marriage of the feeble-minded, in order to avoid the perpetuation of a race of degenerates." I quote this from a journal. We can only congratulate tribunals which have the courage to consider the vital interests of the nation in their judgments.

[394]Right of Succession.—Although right of succession has no direct bearing on the sexual question, it is indirectly connected with it through its influence on the procreation of children.

At the present day the poor have more children than the well-to-do. This is because they have nothing to lose, because coitus is one of their few pleasures, because they are ignorant of the means of preventing conception, and because they hope to profit by their children's labor. People who have some property are, on the contrary, afraid of falling into poverty through the procreation of too many children, and those who possess more are afraid of poverty for their offspring. The latter only desire a few heirs, so that after their death they can leave each a fortune suitable to their social position.

In France, especially, well-to-do people often limit their families to two. The parents have the unhappy idea that a certain fortune must be assured to their children to enable them to live in comfort. They do not understand that the necessity for a man to earn his living by work is the chief condition for a healthy existence.

Again, among very rich people there is often the fear that a large fortune may lose its power when divided, and thus diminish the influence of the family.

It is obvious that great poverty and great wealth constitute two extreme social evils. It is deplorable for a child to grow up with the idea that he will inherit a large fortune, enjoy life without working, and regard poor people more or less as subordinates. But it is still worse for a man to remain all his life an object for exploitation, in spite of the most repugnant and most arduous work, unless his superior faculties and good luck give him the chance of rising. It is also discouraging for a man to be unable by arduous work to obtain anything for himself or his wife and children, and only to work for society, and especially for the interests of capitalists.

Human instinct is not sufficiently social to allow of assiduous and hearty work solely in the interests of the community. The egoistic sentiments and family instincts of man are still much too strong.

If we take all these facts into consideration, the right of [395]succession becomes very important. It has been attempted to deal with the question by progressive taxes on succession to large fortunes: but this is not enough. I have not the presumption to give a positive opinion on these matters which are not in my province, but I venture to suggest the possibility of greatly restricting the right of succession by postponing the right to the enjoyment of their heritage till the children are of an age when they could earn their own living; say, from twenty-five to twenty-six, so as not to interfere with their higher education. In this way a man would not be deprived of the pleasure of working for himself and his family; and every young man and young woman, being obliged to work at some special subject, would know that they could earn their living after twenty-five or twenty-six, without counting on their heritage.

I do not pretend to build a new social system on this idea, for many propositions of the kind have already been made. I only wish to draw attention to one element of the problem, which consists in diminishing the possibility of the exploitation of man by man, without destroying the pleasure for work, at the same time favoring the procreation and education of healthy and capable offspring. This naturally presupposes a new moral and social state, in which family right would be changed and good education organized for all. Even then intelligent men would have the desire to rise above the average and bring up their children with the same object. This is an instinct in mental development which should be carefully cultivated, and not extinguished, by every social organization.

In all social systems it must be recognized that certain branches of culture, such as scientific research and art, involve great expense and bring little or no material reward to the scientist or the artist. A richer State ought to provide for these important branches of civilization, which always tend to higher culture.

I have already mentioned separation of property and an equable division of the fruits of labor between conjoints as the only just basis in marriage contracts. I repeat here, that true justice can only be established by the recognition of equal legal rights for men and women.



Penal law is the right of punishment. It is based on the ideas of culpability and expiation, and these are based on the idea of free-will, which is itself founded on a pure illusion, as we have shown above.

This simple reflection is sufficient to show the precarious position of our present penal law. The science of penal law has too long ignored the progress of humanity and of the other sciences. It is affected with incurable marasmus, because its foundations are laid in error. The idea of expiation was naturally developed on the basis of mysticism combined with the right of the stronger, and associated with the sentiment of vengeance natural to the low mentality of our animal ancestors. Among the latter the weaker was punished because he was the weaker: "Væ victis!" and order was obtained by force. But the visions of human imagination having urged man to create a god or gods in his own image, he attributed to the divinity the sentiments of anger experienced by man, and pretended that expiation was required for offenses against this or that majesty or human idea, transformed into an offense to the divine majesty.

This offense to the divinity was therefore only the nebulous expression of a developing social conscience in man, an obscure mixture of sentiments of wounded sympathy, adulation of the strong and great, and desire for vengeance and expiation. Till then man was accustomed to judge other men according to the right of the stronger, more or less mitigated by sentiments of family and friendship. His terror of natural mysteries—the forest, night, thunder, hurricanes, stars, etc., led him to imagine the intervention of occult powers, and later on of higher powers capable of judging good and evil actions, the ideas of good and evil being formerly very different from what they are at present. The functions of advocates or executors of the divine will were always, however, reserved for privileged men, who gave judgment in His name, either as priests, kings, or later on as judges. We may also note by the way that judgment can be given without belief in free arbitration, as is shown by the Mahometan fatalists and the judgments of Haroun-al-Raschid, for example. [397]In fact, fatalism logically excludes the idea of free-will, for if everything is absolutely predetermined, the thoughts, resolutions and acts of man are also predetermined, which excludes all liberty.

Responsibility.—I have attempted to show in another work[9] that a rational penal law should in no way concern itself with the question of free arbitration. The fact that we feel free and responsible is not at all sufficient to justify the doctrine of Kant.

The question of knowing whether an absolute predestination (fatalism, regulating the universe in advance in all its details) exists or not, is a question of pure metaphysics, the solution of which is quite beyond human comprehension, and need not occupy us here. We must simply depend on the scientific postulate of determinism, i.e., on the law of causality applied to the motives of our actions, a law which is very much like that of the conservation of energy, and which admits of divers possibilities for the future, for it does not assume a knowledge of the first cause of the universe nor the will of a divinity.

We shall then understand that the complication of our cerebral activities, mnemic and actual, combined with the fact that a great part of them (and consequently of the motives for our actions) remain subconscious, must produce in us the illusion of free-will.

On the other hand, we shall find the measure of what we are to understand by relative liberty, in the plastic faculties of the activity of the human brain, which allow it to adapt itself as adequately as possible to the numerous and diverse complications of existence, and especially to social relations between mankind.

The most adaptable man is the most free, especially in the sense of active and conscious adaptation. There are also men who adapt themselves passively and are easily molded. This passive plasticity at any rate renders them capable of submitting to everything and only provoking conflict as a last resource. These individuals are no doubt less free, since they obey the impulses of others; nevertheless, their elasticity gives them a certain relative liberty, because they do not feel constraint and [398]easily adapt themselves to laws and other social requirements. But the highest form of liberty, the moral faculty of higher adaptation, is not that of the human fox who exploits others for his own profit, but that of true higher intellects, capable of adapting their activity to the social requirements of humanity. On the contrary, the man who is least free is the one who, dominated by his passions and baser appetites, or by insufficiency of intelligence or will power, is thereby incapable of conducting himself reasonably, gives way to all temptations and impulses, falls into all kinds of snares, cannot keep to any resolution, and is in perpetual conflict with society.

What is the use of the theoretical belief in free-will in this case? This man feels subjectively as free, or often more free, than one who is more reasonable and more master of himself, and yet he is a slave! When, dominated by his psychic bonds, he violates the law, he is punished, but he himself resents the punishment as an injustice. The judge who condemns him and imagines he holds the scales of justice in equilibrium, only carries out the principles of an unjust law, a kind of mild retaliation, exacting moderate expiation. Or again, by exercising a right derived from old traditions based on religious ideas, he plays the part of proxy for the Deity and judges in His place. We might even say that a mail is in reality all the more free the better he realizes that he is not so, i.e., that his actions depend on the activity of his brain! At any rate he will then be less often deceived and will react in a more plastic manner.

The True Task of Penal Law; Its Traditional Errors in the Sexual Question.—Penal law has only one thing to do, that is to cut itself free from its roots and transplant itself on a social and scientific soil. There would then be no longer a penal law, but a law protecting society against dangerous individuals, and a law of administration for persons incapable of conducting themselves. Its task would be the complement of that of civil law. Henceforth the judge would cease to pass judgment on his neighbor and his neighbor's motives, acting as a proxy for God. He would no longer punish, but would content himself with protecting, restraining and ameliorating.

The history of psychiatry and sorcery proves that we are [399]not exaggerating. It is not very long since the insane were regarded, not as persons suffering from disease, but as criminals and sorcerers, and were treated by punishment and exorcism. The ancients, on the contrary, especially certain Greek and Roman physicians (notably Caelius Aurelianus) had already recognized that insanity was a disease of the brain, and had distinguished its different forms.

Even at the present day, we find among the Catholics and among certain Protestant sects, as among savages, a belief in sorcery, and if this belief got the upper hand, prosecution for sorcery—exorcism and other forms of cruelty—would soon become the fashion.

Before the sixteenth century prosecutions for sorcery were universal, and remained very common for a long time afterwards. It is only since the time of the French Revolution that insanity has been recognized as a mental disease. Even in the nineteenth century a German alienist, Heinroth, punished the insane like criminals. The atrocious prejudice of the people against the insane dates from the time of prosecution for sorcery.

Even now we are the slaves of a prejudice which holds a legal conviction sufficient to dishonor the prisoner and stain his character for the rest of his days. Hans Leuss' book, Aus dem Zuchthause (From the prison), 1904, is very instructive on this point. Condemned to prison himself, the author makes some wise and dispassionate observations which give food for reflection. I may also quote the words of Doctor Guillaume, who was for a long time superintendent of the penitentiary at Neuchatel, and who is now director of the Swiss federal bureau of statistics at Berne. The question we are dealing with had been treated in a discussion in which I took part, and to which Doctor Guillaume had listened silently. At the conclusion, he said to us: "Gentlemen, in the course of my life I have become acquainted with a large number of convicts, but I have never been able to discover among them more than two classes of individuals; the one class were diseased, and the others ... ah! the others; the more I study their cases and their personality, I ask myself if I should not have done as they did under the same circumstances!" It is unnecessary to say that Doctor [400]Guillaume did not mean to establish two clearly marked classes, for most criminals represent a mixture of both; but his main idea gives a good idea of the question of penal law.

How sexual questions lead to conflicts with penal law, how penal law judges them, and how it ought to judge them after what we have just said, I can only refer to what I have said concerning civil law. Our present penal law is aware of singular sexual crimes and often punishes them from curious motives.

When a poor imbecile, ridiculed by women and overcome by his sexual appetite, copulates with a cow, the latter is not injured in any way; neither is the owner. Moreover, the question of property does not trouble the judge, for he punishes sodomy even when the culprit owns the animal. How does the law obtain the right to punish an act which does no harm to any one, nor to society, nor even to an animal? It is evidently a vestige of religious mysticism, something like punishment for sinning against the Holy Ghost. The sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, they say, caused the wrath of God, who destroyed these towns for this reason. According to the legend, sodomy was a vice of the inhabitants; is this why it is punished at the present day? But the masturbation of Onan, according to the Bible, also caused the wrath of God; why then do not our present laws institute punishment for those who practice it?

In many of the Swiss cantons and in Germany, sexual connection between men is prosecuted by law. The German legislators have even recently discussed the question whether punishment should be enforced only when the penis of one man is introduced into the anus of the other (pederasty), or whether indecent contact and mutual onanism are sufficient to justify punishment.

Our penal law is thus concerned with the question whether it should punish or not, according as this or that mucous membrane or part of the skin is used for the satisfaction of a morbid sexual appetite! These are truly singular points for a legislator to decide, compelled, in spite of his incompetence, to play the part of physiologist, anatomist and psychologist!

If I am correctly informed, the German legislation is inconsistent in punishing sexual intercourse between two men, but [401]not between two women. These examples suffice to show what blind-alleys a penal law leads to, the basis of which is vicious and which is guided by the traditions of mysticism.

Quite recently, in the Swiss journal of penal law, a jurist seriously upheld the necessity for the conception of a crime against religion! Ideas of this kind would lead us to punish suicide, like the English.

We will now proceed to analyze the facts from the point of view of their true social value.

Limits of Penal Law in the Sexual Domain.—If we would avoid injustice and ridiculous contradictions, we should keep to the principle that penal justice has only the right to intervene in cases where individuals or society are injured, or run the risk of being injured. It is also necessary to examine, in each case, whether the person who has committed the offense was not irresponsible and affected with mental disease at the time; or whether his responsibility was not diminished, i.e., whether he was not seriously abnormal without being quite insane. The conception of responsibility, necessarily relative, should be understood in the sense of relative liberty, which we have defined above.

According to the result of the inquiry (culpability being proved) the judge will have to decide how society can be best protected against the repetition of such acts, and how the culprit may be most easily improved, provided he is capable of improvement.

If, for example, the culprit is an inebriate, his detention in a home for inebriates will protect society and benefit the individual much better than all the fines and imprisonments at present in force.

If he is an incorrigible recidivist, incapable of resisting his criminal impulses, the law should keep him under observation in a safe place, or deprive him only of certain dangerous liberties. It is not so difficult to decide these questions as the public imagines. The antecedents of the criminal, his previous convictions, and a careful study of his psychology will nearly always lead to a clear diagnosis and prognosis. In this case a mutual understanding between psychiatrists and jurists will produce [402]excellent results. It is needless to say that if it is only a case of transient cerebral obnubilation, such as sunstroke or somnambulism, etc., the culprit should be acquitted.

Rape, etc.—Normal coitus may render a penal action legitimate when it is obtained by force or stratagem (rape, abuse of a feeble-minded or hypnotized person, etc.). It is evident that measures of protection against such acts are urgent, and that persons abused in this way should have the right to heavy indemnities. What we require is not so much extenuation of penalty for the culprit as greater protection for his victims.

In cases of rape, when the woman becomes pregnant against her will, I am of opinion that artificial abortion should be allowed by law as an exceptional measure. We cannot expect a woman to have a child imposed upon her by a man's violence, especially when she is unmarried, and oblige her to bring it up, from the simple fact that she conceived it. It should be the same in cases of abduction of female minors.

When, on the contrary, a male minor seduced by an adult woman, makes her pregnant, it is the woman only who is responsible for the maintenance of her child, and there are no reasons to accord her the right of abortion, for it is she who desired the sexual act. The close bonds which exist between the child and its mother justify such legal dispositions.

With regard to civil laws, we have mentioned the case of venereal infection after coitus. In this case civil indemnity would be most equitable. A penal action could only be based on prosecution by the injured party, unless it was a question of directly criminal intent—infection for vengeance, for example.

Incest.—Under the heading of consanguineous marriages, we have seen to what extent the conception of incest should be limited, in respect to civil law. The grave cases of incest are those between parents and children. Their normal causes are mental anomalies, alcoholism, proletarian promiscuity, or isolation of a family in some remote place. Incest is common, in Switzerland especially, among the inhabitants of isolated mountain chalets. I will give a few typical and genuine examples of incest giving rise to penal actions:

(1). A drunken and brutal husband persecuted his wife with [403]excessive coitus. The latter then gave him her own daughter to satisfy his violence.

(2). An inebriate woman induced her own son, aged seventeen, to have intercourse with her. Infuriated at the idea that his mother had made him her lover, he murdered her one day when he was drunk. Condemned as a parricide, this young man conducted himself in prison in a model manner. Alcohol, combined with his incestuous seduction, had made him the murderer of his mother.

(3). In a family composed exclusively of imbeciles and psychopaths, some of whom were put under my care for treatment, incest was practiced among nearly all of them; between father and daughters; between mother and sons; and between brothers and sisters.

The last case, and many others, show that incest is not the cause but the effect of mental disorders. This does not mean that the offspring of such unions are not slightly tainted by the mere fact of such concentrated incest, but these cases are comparatively so rare that they do not contribute to any appreciable extent, as incest, in causing degeneration of the race; the factor which causes degeneration is here mental disease, which arises from other hereditary causes, chiefly of blastophthoric origin.

From what we have said it results that a penal action for incest should only take place in the case of minors or insane persons, abuse of strength or power, or rape. The measures of civil law should suffice to reduce other cases of incest to a minimum.

The disgust which the generality of men feel for sexual union between brothers and sisters, and especially between parents and children, is the best protection against incest. The elimination of alcoholism, the superintendence of the insane, and the improvement of our social organization are much more likely than penal laws to lead to the gradual disappearance of incest.

Assaults on Minors.—All assaults on minors should naturally be prosecuted. But prosecution should take a different form according as the culprit is affected with a pathological perverse disposition, or whether it is simply a question of abuse of confidence committed by a normal man. A master who, having no sexual anomaly, commits assaults on young girls, his pupils, [404]should be deprived of the right of teaching in girls' schools, for it is only there that he is dangerous. If, on the other hand, he is affected with perversion (pederasty, etc.), further measures for protection should be taken against him; according to the circumstances.

Sexual Perversions.—When we pass, on to sexual perversions, the inconsequences and mysticism of our present penal law become still more apparent. This code often prosecutes and punishes sexual actions which do no harm to any one, or which two persons practice of their own accord. Such cases may be suitable for moral or medical treatment, but should never justify a penal prosecution. This applies to all the manipulations of onanism, pederasty, masochism, fetichism, etc., which take place between adults by mutual agreement.

What is the use of prosecuting inverts? It is a fortunate thing for society that these psyhcopaths are contented with their mutual sexual intercourse, the result of which is sterile and therefore does no harm to posterity. The real crime is the marriage of an invert to an individual of the opposite sex, and yet this crime is sanctioned by the law! It is a crime against the normal conjoint and against the children who may result from such an unhappy union. By severely punishing homosexual intercourse, the penal laws of many countries provoke the lowest form of blackmail, as Krafft-Ebing, Moll, Hirschfeld and others have proved by numerous examples, and as I have myself confirmed among many of my patients.

It is quite another thing with abnormal or perverse forms of the sexual appetite, which can only be satisfied against the will of their object, or by injuring it more or less severely. Here it is the duty of the law to organize energetic measures of protection; not with a view to punish the pervert, who is a diseased person, but to protect his victims in time.

We will first deal with sadism; secondly with the violation of children. Here a very delicate question arises. In the case of such terrible sexual appetites we should not wait for victims before taking action. On the other hand, we cannot punish a man, nor even take administrative measures against him, simply from the fact that he possesses a dangerous appetite, especially [405]if he is in other respects well-behaved and conscientious, and strives with all his might against his perversion. I have treated a patient who suffered from a terrible pathological appetite of this kind. He was a highly moral man who never harmed any one, but was in a state of despair over his affliction, which he resisted with all his power, seeking relief in masturbation when his passion became too violent.

In such cases, the moral sentiments of an individual offer sufficient social protection, and it is neither the right nor the duty of the physician to denounce him. But he should advise the patient to retire to an asylum to avoid committing a crime, if he feels that he cannot restrain his passions. It is very rare for such cases to come to the knowledge of the public, for these patients prefer to suffer in silence or to commit suicide; but they are none the less instructive and characteristic.

At other times dangerous perversions are discovered by chance, the pervert, instead of resisting his passion, seeking opportunities to satisfy it without discovery. In such cases strong measures should be enforced. Unfortunately, sadists are very well aware of the dangers they run, and know better than any other criminals how to commit their crimes without being discovered. As soon as the perpetrator of a sadic crime is discovered, or simply an attempt at sadism, he should be arrested and placed where he can do no harm. The question of castration arises here: but we do not know yet how far this protects the sadist and his victim against recurrence. If this operation proves efficacious it should never be neglected.

The exhibitionists present great difficulty. They are not dangerous, since they touch nobody. Their "victims," if they can be called so, are girls or women before whom they expose their genital organs and masturbate. No doubt modesty may be much offended by such acts, especially in young girls and children; disgust and fear may also harm them; but I think the law is too severe in these cases, for there is no question of an injury which is dangerous in itself. I have known little girls who have been frightened several times by exhibitionists, but I have never known them injured by the disgust which they experienced. The affair is too ridiculous and too ugly. It [406]would be sufficient to send exhibitionists to an asylum for short periods, unless extreme weakness on their part necessitated prolonged detention.

Simple necrophilia should be treated in the same way by penal law. But this perversion is more dangerous on account of its relationship with sadism. There are some sadists who are only necrophiliacs for fear of becoming assassins. Such individuals are very dangerous and should be kept in confinement.

The fetichists are, on the contrary, generally very innocent. At the most they might be prosecuted for theft when they take away their fetiches. One of their worst misdemeanors is that of cutting off the hair of young girls.

Concubinage. Prostitution. Proxenetism. White Slavery.—We have already seen that concubinage should never be punishable in itself, although it is so in some countries. We shall not again return to the question whether prostitution should be the object of judicial and penal actions. Proxenetism and white slavery, on the contrary, cause grave injury to the rights of many individuals and should be made criminal offenses; for they are crimes against society and the individual, and committed for lucre. It cannot be legal to do commerce with the body of one's neighbor: this is a crime which is closely related to slavery and similar abuses. (Vide Chapter X.)

The law should punish all public solicitation, obscenity or sexual brutality, but the punishment should take a milder form. The sexual act and everything connected with it should be absolutely free, but a man has no right to provoke or annoy his neighbor by indecent sexual invitations if the latter does not wish to respond to them.

It is, however, extremely difficult to fix the limits of what is licit, for prudery may also go too far and regard the most innocent allusions as provocations. It is absolutely necessary to leave a margin for normal sexual invitations. All that is required is that they should not overstep the limits of recognized propriety, so long as there is not mutual agreement between the two parties. (Vide Flirtation, Chapter IV.)

Lewdness. Pornography.—The question naturally presents itself of knowing how far it is permitted to proceed publicly with [407]a mutual agreement without causing offense or injury to other parties. On the whole, our customs are free enough in this respect, and a greater liberty in public flirtation would be inconvenient. For instance, lewd exhibitions, coitus, etc., could not be allowed in public places. Children especially should be protected against such excitations of the sexual appetite, and it is necessary to fix a legal distinction between what is offensive and what is not offensive to public propriety or modesty.

Simple police regulations are sufficient for this purpose, but they are very necessary to protect women and children, and occasionally young men, against importunities or sexual obsessions, against sexual solicitation, or even against assault or other offenses, such as incitement to masturbation, obscene words and gestures, etc.

It is, no doubt, very difficult to define the limits. Our modern customs have left a large margin for pornography, which they treat like a spoiled child. The most dangerous form, however, is not that which flaunts itself in shop windows, by advertisements and placards, in public kiosks and dancing rooms; but the refined and æsthetic pornography which appears in the form of elegant engravings, erotic novels and dramas, under the cloak of art and even under that of morality.

Unfortunately, the public is a very bad judge of these things. Certain books have openly and fearlessly described the sexual vices of our time—for example, Zola's novels and the dramas of Brieux—and these have been stigmatized as pornographic. As a matter of fact their authors in no way merit such a reproach. Such works in no way encourage immorality; on the contrary, they inspire disgust and a healthy and holy terror at the perversity of our sexual customs. No doubt such works may have an erotic action on ignorant and low-minded persons. The Tyrolean peasants, in their moral indignation, have been known to destroy the marble statues of women erected in public places. Such acts serve no purpose, for prudery will never rid the world of eroticism; it will only increase it by leading to hypocrisy. We have something better to do than persecute and insult true art and men of talent or genius who expose our social perversions.

Pornography is quite another thing. It is not contented with [408]representing the æsthetic, licit, and normal side of natural eroticism. It does not depict sexual vice so as to emphasize its ugliness and its tragic consequences, but to glorify it. Whether it is represented as brazen nudity unadorned, or enveloped in a transparent veil which reveals everything it pretends to hide; whether it reels in bacchanalian orgies; whether it appears in brilliant fancy dress illuminated by electric lights, or in the discreet light of a fashionable boudoir; whether it is clearly revealed or equivocal, perverted in one way or depraved in another; in all its forms its aim is to tickle, to excite, to seduce, to allure, by arousing lewdness and inflaming its lowest passions.

The pornographic dishes are often served up with a sentimental and moral sauce which naturally does not tend to hide the flavor of the meat—for then all its charm would be gone—on the contrary it increases its spicy quality by means of contrast, at the same time making the product more marketable; this hypocritical disguise giving it a certain varnish of propriety. The trick of clothing pornographic articles with the mantle of virtue may deceive the artless, and give the less artless excuse for buying them without putting themselves to any inconvenience. In such cases it is extremely difficult to act without injustice and without doing injury to art and science by vexatious measures. This requires much tact and rare perspicacity.

Other Sexual Misdemeanors.—Many sexual assaults are committed on the insane and feeble-minded, in the hope that they will not defend themselves and denounce the criminal. We have mentioned the case of inverts who become attendants in lunatic asylums in order to satisfy their appetites. Such crimes should be classed with those committed against minors. In the first place it is necessary to take into account the special dangers they present, and in the second place, the personality of the criminal, his capacity for repentance, improvement, and self-control.

Artificial Abortion.—It is a difficult question to decide whether a woman should have the right to dispose of the embryo she carries in her womb, and the duties of society with regard to this question. It is certainly the duty of society to protect the child [409]as soon as it is born. In this case the laws cannot be too severe in protecting the child from unnatural parents, or from the "baby farmers," whose business is to get rid of the infants by starving them or exposing them to disease.

It is the same with analogous abuses which we have mentioned with regard to civil law. These crimes or misdemeanors very often result as much from the economic organization of our society, as from want of protection for infancy and girl-mothers, as well as from the shame with which the latter are branded by our hypocritical customs.

The question becomes more difficult with regard to the embryo before birth. Should the law punish artificial abortion? Opinions on this question vary. I have already said that in cases of rape, and forced pregnancy in general, the right to artificial abortion should be conceded to the woman. On the other hand, I think it should be prohibited on principle when the fecundating coitus has been voluntary on both sides, and when there is no medical reason for such a measure. In principle, the human embryo, when once conceived, should have the right to live. Birth is only an episode in its life. This generally takes place at the end of the ninth lunar month of pregnancy, but a child born at the seventh month is often viable. It is, therefore, arbitrary not to recognize the right of the embryo to live. On the contrary, the right that a woman has to dispose of her body would seem to outweigh this, when conception has been imposed on her by stratagem or violence. In fact, the right of the embryo to life should depend on the wish of the bearers of each of the two germs by which it is formed, at the moment of conception.

On the other hand, numerous exceptions to the above rule should be allowed, and doctors should not be too severe, for it would be for them to decide in most cases whether artificial abortion was licit or not. Some pregnancies are a veritable misfortune for the parents and offspring, when the bodily and mental health of the mother or child, or both of them, is in danger. When a lunatic or an idiot, married or not, makes a woman pregnant, artificial abortion should be allowed; also in all cases when an insane or epileptic woman becomes pregnant.

[410]An analogous case is that where a drunkard renders his wife pregnant against her will, especially when he is intoxicated at the moment; for the offspring runs a great risk of blastophthoria.

It is needless to say that abortion should be permitted whenever pregnancy seriously endangers the life or health of the mother, or when a grave disease in the mother condemns the child to become an invalid. On the other hand, such indications should not be acted on too lightly; a rational limit is here a matter of practice and common sense, combined with medical science.

The Right to Live of Monsters, Idiots, or the Deformed.—The preceding remarks naturally lead us to the question whether children who are born invalids, deformed, or idiots, etc., should be necessarily condemned to live by the law, and whether special dispositions should not be made for such cases.

The obligation to preserve, often by means of all the resources of medical science, miserable creatures, born as cretins or idiots; children with hydrocephalus or microcephalus, without eyes or ears, or with atrophied genital organs, etc., is an atrocity sanctioned by the law. Would it not be better to allow these miserable beings to be suppressed by means of a painless narcosis, with the consent of the parents and after an expert medical opinion, instead of condemning them by law to a life of misery? Science has proved that every congenital malformation of the brain is as incurable as that of any other organ.

Here again our legislation is fettered by ignorance and religious dogma. On one hand, immense armies are organized to kill the most healthy men by thousands and tens of thousands, and many more thousands are abandoned to famine, prostitution, alcoholism and exploitation; on the other hand, medicine is expected to employ its whole art and efforts in prolonging life as long as possible and thus martyrizing miserable human wretches, degenerate in body and mind or both, often when they cry out for death!

Large asylums are built for idiots, and there is much joy when after many years of persevering effort some devoted person succeeds in teaching these beings, whose mentality is far inferior to that of a monkey, to repeat a few words like a parrot, to scribble [411]some words on paper, or to repeat a prayer mechanically with their eyes turned toward heaven!

It is difficult to compare these two facts without feeling the bitter irony of what are euphemistically called our hereditary customs. In truth, the nurses and teachers who devote themselves to the education of cretins and idiots would do better to occupy themselves in some manual work; or even leave the idiots to die, and themselves procreate healthy and capable children in their place! But this question does not properly belong to our subject.

The Rights of the Embryo.—A distinction is generally made between artificial abortion practiced in the first months of pregnancy and that induced in the later months. When the child is born viable, the term premature labor is used. When this is induced with the object of getting rid of the child the penalty is much more severe than for abortion, for it is regarded almost as infanticide.

For this reason, and owing to the difficulty of the whole question, a mother should never be given the right to destroy the embryo or child in her womb, excepting in cases where pregnancy has been forced upon her. Each case should be submitted to a medical examination, and a doctor's certificate should be required. This is all the more indicated since our present knowledge makes it easy to prevent pregnancy by anticonceptional measures. Society is, therefore, entitled to demand that a mother who has voluntarily conceived a child has no right to interrupt its development, i.e., to kill it. If, as we hope, we shall eventually obtain more extended rights for women and greater sexual liberty in general, even in marriage, the reasons justifying artificial abortion, apart from medical or hygienic measures, will become more and more rare.

The stigma of shame which is branded on illegitimate maternity unfortunately justifies many cases of abortion and even infanticide. Things ought to change in this respect, and in the future no pregnancy ought to be a source of shame for any healthy woman whatever, nor furnish the least motive for dissimulation.

If the objection is raised that I am inconsistent; that every [412]man, and consequently every woman, should have the power to dispose of their own body on every occasion, and that penal law should therefore take no cognizance of artificial abortion, I reply that this does not apply to the case in point; for it is here a question, not of one body, but of two or more (in the case of twins). From the moment of conception the embryo acquires a social right which merits all the more protection, the more its possessor is incapable of looking after it.

Adultery.—Adultery, which even at the present day is often considered as a crime or misdemeanor, should be simply regarded as a reason for divorce. We have already treated the question with regard to civil law, and have shown the futility of trying to obtain fidelity by law. In my opinion, the misdemeanor of adultery should be entirely abolished from penal law. When it is complicated by fraud or other crimes, it is the latter only which are concerned.

Human Selection.—The indirect danger to which children of bad heredity are exposed constitutes a grave social evil. At present, penal law is absolutely impotent in this matter. We have seen what civil law might perhaps effect, and what is already done in some countries. In another chapter we shall discuss much more appropriate measures for improvement in this domain.

We have already mentioned castration and certain cases in which it might be practiced. These cases will always be very limited, and it is on the basis of social morality and hygiene of the race that the question of conception should be regulated in a rational and voluntary manner. We shall obtain much more in this way than by legal measures, which are always lame because they interfere with individual liberty. We must never forget that the law is only a necessary evil, and often a superfluous one.

In conclusion, I may remark that penal law should be combined, like civil law, with administrative measures, to protect both the individual and society in sexual matters, at the same time watching over the interests of future generations. But it should only do this as far as the weakness and eroticism of men hinder a similar or better result from being obtained by moral education, combined with rational intellectual instruction.




The following case occurred in 1904 in the Canton of St. Gall, in Switzerland, and confirms my opinion:

Frieda Keller, born in 1879, was the daughter of honest parents. Her mother was mild-mannered and sensible, her father loyal, but harsh and sometimes violent. Frieda was the fifth of eleven brothers and sisters. She was a model scholar. At the age of four years she had meningitis which left her with frequent headaches. In 1896-97 she learnt dressmaking and helped at home in the household work. When she was free, she did embroidery to help her family. Afterwards she obtained a situation in a dressmaker's shop at St. Gall, where she got sixty francs a month.

To increase her income she worked on Sundays as a waitress at the Café de la Poste. The proprietor, a married man, began to persecute her with his affections, which she had great difficulty in avoiding. She then entered another shop where she got eighty francs a month. One day, in 1898, when she was then nineteen, the proprietor of the café succeeded in seducing her, and on May 27, 1899, she gave birth to a boy at the Maternity of St. Gall. She had confessed her misfortune to her parents, and her mother had pity on her. Her mother had also been seduced and rendered pregnant at the age of fifteen; abandoned by her seducer she committed infanticide, and was sentenced to six years' imprisonment; as she had always been well-behaved, the tribunal had recognized that she acted "less by moral depravity than by false sentiment of honor." Frieda, who was fond of her mother, knew nothing of this history. The father was very hard toward his daughter and refused her all help and pity. Twelve days after her confinement she took her child to the Foundling Hospital at St. Gall.

[414]Her seducer then promised to maintain the child, but never paid more than eighty francs. After a time he left the town and was seen no more. The circumstances under which Frieda became pregnant were not fully inquired into and her seducer was ignored. It was not absolutely a case of rape, but of taking a poor, weak and timid girl by surprise.

Frieda Keller felt nothing but disgust for her seducer. Later on the latter would no doubt deny the fact of his paternity; but he had tacitly admitted this by the payment of eighty francs.

Frieda had to pay five francs a week to the Foundling Hospital and also thirty-four francs to her married sister. In 1901 her father died, and in 1903 her mother. Frieda inherited 2,471 francs from her father, but this sum was tied up in her brother's business and he never sent her the interest. It is characteristic of her mentality that she never attempted to exact it.

Then began for this unfortunate young girl a life of struggle and despair. She was possessed of two ideas. On the one hand she could no longer maintain her child, and on the other hand would not admit anything from shame. They would not keep the child in the hospital after Easter, 1904, when it would reach the maximum age of five years. What was she to do?

Frieda Keller was then evidently in a pathological state of mind, which was upheld by her defender, Doctor Janggen. She wished to keep her secret and provide for the maintenance of the child; but she took no steps in this direction. She did not seek for cheap lodgings, not for a rise of salary, nor even for the money illegally detained by her brother for his own profit. She never spoke to her married sister, nor to any one, of her desperate position. The father of her child had disappeared and she never gave information against him for fear of divulging her secret. Moreover, the law at St. Gall only admitted the charge of paternity against unmarried men! She found no practical way of disposing of her child. After Easter, 1904, when the child was discharged from the hospital, she was haunted by a single idea—to get rid of the child. She struggled for a long time against this obsession, but in vain, and it finally became a resolution.

[415]Although she was fond of her sister's children, she did not love her own. She rarely visited her child and appeared to take no notice of it. This woman who was well-disposed toward every other creature, who was of exemplary conduct and would not hurt a fly, never even spoke of her own child. On April 9th she wrote to the hospital that she would come and fetch the child.

A few days before this she took a long walk in the woods; the next day she wept at home, while looking for some string. Alone with her despair, she had definitely made her terrible resolution. She said afterwards, at the assizes:

"I could not free myself from the feeling that I must get rid of the child."

She then went to the hospital, after having bought new clothes for the child, and told the authorities that an aunt of hers at Munich would take care of the child. She then took the child to the woods. Having found a lonely spot she sat down for a long time while the child played in the wood. For some time she had not the courage to do the deed, but at last an irresistible force, as she said, urged her to do it. With her hands and shoes she dug a grave, then strangled the child with string, with such force that it was difficult to untie the knot on the dead body afterwards. She knelt for some time by the child till it ceased to give any signs of life, then buried it, and returned home restraining her tears with difficulty.

On the 1st of June she wrote to the hospital that the child had arrived at Munich. On the 7th of June the body was exposed by rain and was discovered by some Italians. On the 14th of June she was arrested. During the trial she declared that her action had been the result of her inability to maintain the child, and the necessity of keeping her secret. This secret was the shame and dishonor of involuntary maternity and illegitimate birth.

All the witnesses spoke in favor of Frieda Keller and gave evidence that she was well-mannered, intelligent, hard-working, economical, of exemplary conduct and loving her sister's children. She did not deny the premeditation of her crime, and in no way sought to diminish her responsibility.

According to the law of St. Gall, such cases are punishable [416]with death; but Frieda Keller's sentence was commuted to penal servitude for life.

Such are the facts of this case taken from the official report, and from an extract published by M. de Morsier in the Signal de Genève.

We are compelled to exclaim with M. de Morsier that a legislation which, in such a case, condemns to death one who can justly be called a victim, while leaving unpunished the real culprit, is calculated to destroy all belief in justice in a democracy which calls itself Christian. It is a justice of barbarians, a disgrace to the twentieth century. The tribunal and the juries have enforced to the letter an article in the Code, and this is called justice! We may well say: Fiat justitia, pereat mundus.

Frieda Keller was no doubt in an abnormal condition of mind; she probably suffered from the influence of auto-suggestion which became an obsession. Such cases are not uncommon. This is clearly shown by the absurdity of her manner of acting, which was both useless and pernicious, while she might easily have got out of her difficulty in other ways. If our judges and juries had a little more knowledge of human psychology and a little less of the Code in their heads, they would have had some doubts on the mental integrity of the accused, and would have ordered an expert examination by a mental specialist. But, apart from this point, I put the question—can we expect from a woman, maternal sentiments for a child resulting from sexual surprise bordering on rape?

In the preceding chapter I have demanded the right of artificial abortion to women rendered pregnant by rape or against their will, and I think the case of Frieda Keller supports my contention. I do not intend to justify the assassination of a child already five years of age; but I wish to point out that the absence of maternal love is quite natural in such a case. It is precisely the instinctive aversion of Frieda Keller for her child, otherwise inexplicable, which shows most clearly that it was a case of imposed maternity, or sexual satisfaction on the part of the father alone.

The tragic case of this unfortunate woman well illustrates the brutality and hypocrisy of our customs regarding the sexual [417]question, and shows what terror, shame, torment and despair may be caused by the point of view of the so-called rules of morality. In the presence of these facts I do not think I can be accused of exaggeration: it is only parchment-hearted jurists and government officials who can remain indifferent in such cases.

Penal servitude for life for the poor victim of such cruelty is a kind of "mercy" which rather resembles bitter irony. The law of St. Gall can do only one thing to repair the evil; that is to change its laws and liberate the victim as soon as possible.

In ordinary infanticide the true assassin is not usually the mother who kills her child, but rather the father who abandons the woman he has made pregnant, and disowns the result of his temporary passion. In the case of Frieda Keller, maternal heredity, the results of meningitis, stupidity, irreflection, want, shame, fear, a pathological obsession, and finally the unworthy conduct of the father, all combined in making this unfortunate girl a victim rather than a criminal. Her child was not only a source of great anxiety but also an object of instinctive repulsion.

How is it that such a brave and industrious woman can feel repulsion toward her own child? If the judges had asked themselves this question and had replied to it without prejudice, forgetting for the moment their Code and prejudices, they would not have had the courage to condemn the woman to death, nor even to condemn her at all; for their conscience would have clearly shown them the true culprits—masculine brutality, our hypocritical sexual customs, and the unjust laws inspiring terror in a feeble brain.

When every pregnancy and every birth are looked upon by human society with honor and respect, when every mother is protected by law and assisted in the education of her children, then only will society have the right to judge severely of infanticide.


[8] Vide Delbrück, Gerichtliche Psychopathologie (Job. Ambr. Barth, Leipzig, 1897).—Delbrück, Die Pathologische Lüge und der pyschisch abnorme Schwindler (Ferdinand Enke, Stuttgart, 1891).—Forel, Crime et anomalies mentales constitutionnelles (Genève, 1902, H. Kündig,).—Kölle, Gerichtlich psychiatrische Gutachten (from the clinic of Professor Forel at Zurich), Stuttgart, 1894, Ferdinande Enke.—Von Liszt, Schutz der Gesellschaft gegen Gemeingefährliche (Monatsschrift für Kriminalpsychologie und Strafrechtsreform).—Forel, Die verminderte Zurechnungsfähigkeit (die Zukunft, 1899, no 15), etc.

[9] "Die Zwiechungsfähigkeit des normalen Menschen," Munich.




General Remarks.—Theology teaches belief in God and a future life; law represents the application of codified laws and customs, old and new; medicine is said to be an art—the art of curing sick people.

At the origin of each of these three branches of human activity we find an acquired idea. Man has been led to the religious idea and to the worship of one or more gods by his terror of certain unknown and occult powers superior to his own, and by the idea that his faculty of knowledge, his power, and the duration of his life were limited.

The origin of law is in moral conscience, a phylogenetic derivative of the sentiments of sympathy, i.e., sentiments of duty and justice, combined with the idea of the necessity for men to live in societies.

As regards medicine, this owes its existence to the fear of disease, pain and death, which is modified by the acquired experience that certain substances may sometimes ease suffering.

Theology, if separated from morality whose domain it has usurped, lives on mysticism, and endeavors to give it a natural and human appearance by adorning it with sonorous phraseology. Law, losing sight of its origin and object of existence, only concerns itself with comments on the text of laws, and in discussing the application of the articles of the Code. Medicine has concerned itself too much with the life of the patient, instead of the improvement of human life in general.

In order to cure a physical malady, to reëstablish abnormal or damaged functions as far as this is possible, the physician must be acquainted with the vital manifestations of the body in its normal state. For this reason the art of medicine depends on the accessory sciences, chiefly anatomy and physiology. [419]These accessory sciences have considerably developed in the evolution of medicine, and the art of medicine has become the chief motive power which urges men to research and discovery in the biological sciences, such as histology, embryology, comparative anatomy and physiology, anatomy and physiology of the brain, bacteriology, etc. Pure science now occupies such a position in medical studies that the "healing art" often remains in the background; although it must later on take the chief part, and is regarded by the public as of the greatest importance.

The value of the art of medicine is subject to great variations. It is only of real value when, free from all charlatanism, it rests on a sufficiently scientific basis; for the art of an ignoramus falls into error and employs inappropriate methods; on the other hand, the art of a charlatan has for its object the purse of the patient. It is common to meet with physicians who have a good practical experience of art without possessing scientific knowledge, others who have both practical experience and science but are charlatans, others again who are very scientific but incapable in practice. The ideal is a combination of art, science and disinterested honesty; but it is not very uncommon to meet with a combination of ignorance, incapacity and charlatanism. Lastly, too many doctors, otherwise capable and intelligent, are too much influenced by authority, text-books and prejudices, instead of observing and judging each case for themselves in the true scientific spirit. Many dogmas of medical education rest on hypotheses, theories or statements which have no solid foundation, and do not represent the fruits of a true personal experience of human life. Many doctors only see through other people's glasses, without reflecting for themselves; the worst of these are those with "systems," homœopaths, the disciples of natural medicine, etc. It is especially in the sexual question that these human weaknesses of medical practitioners often lead to the most pitiable results.

We must first of all take to heart the fundamental principle of hygiene, which is at the same time that of all honest and sound medicine—prevention is better than cure.

The modern opinions of medical men on the sexual question [420]are still unfortunately greatly obscured by prejudice, authority, and the indirect influence of the doctrines of religious morality. The same applies to the question of alcohol. However, it is to medicine and its accessory sciences that we owe the knowledge which now renders it possible to judge of the sexual relations of man from the true and healthy point of view of social and moral science.

We cannot describe here all the relations of medicine to sexual life. Chapters I, II, III, IV and VIII are entirely based on its results and on those of natural science. What we have still to consider relates especially to sexual hygiene, for we have already treated of pathology in Chapter VIII. I shall reserve the general and social part of hygiene for the last chapter of the book, and shall confine myself here to certain special points, and the criticism of current, but erroneous, medical opinions on the sexual question.

Prostitution. Sexual Hygiene. Sexual Connection Apart from Marriage.—All regulation and medical supervision of prostitution should be rejected, not only from the moral point of view, but also from that of hygiene, as a deplorable error, incapable even of fulfilling its avowed object—protection against venereal disease.

Faith in the dogmas and authority of an existing institution has led medical men to take a false view of the question. They demand from the adversaries of regulation proof of a diminution in venereal disease when regulation was not in force. This is both unjust and absurd. It is for the supporters of regulation to prove that State regulation of prostitution has led to any appreciable improvement of the social evil. Then only can it be asked if the maintenance of such vexatious measures is still justifiable. But medicine has not furnished the proof demanded from it; on the contrary, its attempts in this direction have entirely failed. After all, the system is kept up, not because it diminishes venereal infection, but because it gives satisfaction to the sexual appetite of men and their desire for change. Society, however, has no right to organize such a monstrosity as regulated prostitution and licensed proxenetism, for the special pleasure of debauchees.

[421]In virtue of the false dogma of regulation, many doctors, even at the present day, recommend young men to visit brothels, for alleged hygienic reasons. This deplorable custom perverts youth and gives it false ideas. It is a remedy much worse and much more dangerous than the evil it is supposed to cure, worse than masturbation, much worse than nocturnal emissions. Sexual anomalies and perversions are not cured in brothels; on the contrary they develop there.

Moreover, it is absurd to exaggerate the effects of onanism and sexual excesses in themselves, and thus increase the anxiety of a number of unfortunates. In Chapter IV, we have already spoken of great variations which the sexual appetite presents without ceasing to be normal, and we have mentioned the rule given by Luther. In my opinion the advice given by the doctor should be as follows:

As long as he does not wish to marry, a young man should remove as far as possible all sexual ideas from his thoughts. He should be contented with nocturnal emissions, which are produced spontaneously, and should avoid all the manipulations of onanism. A young girl should do the same all the more easily, because her sexual appetite is normally weaker, and is not accompanied by glandular secretions which more or less demand ejaculation.

Persons unable to resist their sexual appetite should be extremely prudent in their extra-nuptial intercourse. Moreover, there is no need for this to assume the character of prostitution.

Medical Advice.—It is the doctor's duty to give friendly advice to every one who consults him on sexual questions, without posing as a judge or a moralist. He should never frighten or reprimand the poor hypochondriac who blames himself for masturbation, nor sexual perverts of any kind, unless, of course, they are absolutely dangerous, such as sadists. He should, on the contrary, calm their fears and give them encouragement; and in this way he may do much good.

Hypnotic suggestion gives him a means of directly combating many cases of sexual excitation, or at least of attenuating them, by directing the cerebral activity of the patient to other [422]subjects. Each case should be judged by itself and attention should be paid to the different points we have studied in this book. Even between husband and wife, and especially as a consequence of monogamy, certain unfortunate or delicate circumstances may raise difficulties; for example, the periods during which conception should be avoided, a certain time after accouchement and during certain morbid conditions.

In this case unskillful medical advice may have unfortunate results. When a doctor forbids a husband to have sexual intercourse with his wife he exposes him to two dangers. If the husband remains continent and sleeps in a separate room for too long a time, conjugal love may become so cooled that a permanent barrier is established between man and wife; if, on the other hand, he abandons himself to prostitution, he may contract venereal disease and infect his wife. Again, the husband may become enamored of another woman and wreck the happiness of his family. The doctor who prohibits conjugal coitus thus takes a great responsibility. For this and other reasons we have now an important question to consider.

Opinions differ considerably as to the effects of sexual continence. All extreme assertions are erroneous. It is quite certain that the harmful effects of continence have been greatly exaggerated. Normal persons of both sexes may remain continent, although not without some trouble and discomfort. In a general way, we may accept the statement that many morbid conditions are known to result from sexual excess, but few from continence. This, however, goes a little too far, for certain psychopaths and sexual hyperæsthetics often lapse into a state of mental and nervous excitement from forced continence, so that their neurosis becomes accentuated and may even end in insanity. I have seen this occur both in men and women, but such cases are very rare.

Continence is not an easy matter for erotic individuals, and requires a heroic internal struggle, especially in men. The Canadian reformer, Chiniqui, whom we have previously quoted, relates the history of a monk who tore off his testicles in despair at being unable to conquer his violent sexual appetite.

The fine preachers of morality, endowed with a cold [423]temperament, or simply senile, who hold forth on the "immorality" of the consequences of the sexual appetite, would do well to take such facts to heart.

We must not forget that among our brutal, yet human ancestors the struggle for life demanded the cruel and wanton exposure or slaughter of all weak and decrepit individuals, and that epidemic diseases, plagues, and pests ravaged the peoples without mercy. Of course our present civilization has put up a barrier against all this. Yet, for that very reason the blind and thoughtless propagation of degenerate, tainted, and enfeebled individuals is another atrocious danger to society. But then the sexual appetite cannot be legislated out of existence or killed by repressive measures.

Quite recently it has been scientifically demonstrated that absolute sterilization can be produced by the application of the Roentgen Ray, but at what period of treatment this result may be obtained still remains an unsettled question, thus leaving the possibility of incurring the risk of effecting only a doubtful degeneration of the germs.

We can but consider all legislation and all police measures which are intended to regulate the sexual intercourse in the human family, as absolute failures, as inhuman, in fact as down-right detrimental to the race. Exacting laws have never improved the morals of any race or nation; hypocrisy and secret evasion are the only results obtained. It would be better by far if steps were taken to enlighten the masses on the questions of sexual heredity and degeneration. Wisdom of this kind does not corrupt. It is rather the unrestricted power of capital and wealth that brings the rot into the community. Healthy people should be made to know that a large number of sound, industrious children is a blessing, in fact, riches to the family, but on the one condition only, viz.: that they are not relegated to detestable slavery through the overbearing suppression of capital.

When the dignity of labor shall once have been raised on the pedestal of worship now occupied by Mammon, there will no longer be need for complaint about small families and decreasing birth-rates, such as we hear so much at the present day in France and in the United States.

[424]A few examples might throw some light on this subject.

(1) Dr. Pelman of Bonn, assisted by the local authorities, made an inquiry into the progeny of a certain Ada Jurke (born in 1740, died in the beginning of the nineteenth century), who was hereditarily tainted, a drunkard and a degenerate. Her descendants down to the present time number 834 persons. The lives of 709 of these individuals have been officially recorded as follows: 106 were illegitimate children; 142 were mendicants and tramps; 64 were unable to perform any kind of work towards their own support and became a charge to the community; 181 of the women were prostitutes; 7 persons were convicted of murder and 69 of other crimes. All this within a period of 75 years at a cost to the state, according to the public records, of five millions of marks (about $1,250,000) in the shape of monetary support, jail and law expenses, claims for damages, etc., etc.

(2) Dr. Jörger, Director of the Insane Asylum at Waldhaus, by Chur, in Switzerland, followed up in a similar fashion the history of a family of vagrants. The full report may be found under the title of "The Zero Family," in the Archiv für Gesellschaft's-u. Rassenbiologie, 1905, Heft 4, page 494 et seq. It is sad to read of the untold misery, profligacy, and distress spread broadcast by this family, not to speak of the many crimes committed by its members.

It is depressing to witness how sheer ignorance and callousness to the interests of the human race at large allow such people to multiply without let or hindrance. The unfortunate part about it all is that this species of humanity is on the steady increase. They really form the principal hearths whence emanate our criminal classes, that fill our jails, our Charity Homes, our Hospitals, our Sanatoria, our Insane Asylums. They breed and multiply not because it affords them a special pleasure to procreate crime, insanity, and degeneracy, but because no one takes the trouble to instruct them in the perniciousness of bringing into this world offspring that can only find and themselves again disseminate misery, want, and wretchedness; or to teach them how to prevent this calamity.

(3) Still another category of dangerous elements is becoming [425]more numerous every day. I refer to the neurasthenics. Heredity is an important factor here, too, as every neurologist is able to attest from his own daily observations. The worst feature about this peril is the fact that neurotics as a rule suffer from excess of sexual appetite, whilst they are sorely lacking the power of self-control, circumstances which often enough lead to crime, insanity, and suicide. Untold thousands of them, unaware of the fearful consequences of hereditary impairment, go on bringing into this world children destined to unhappiness and suffering. It is noteworthy too that these nervous wrecks generally intermarry. Does not this account to a large extent for the great number of unhappy marriages recorded nowadays?

Of course, it is quite evident that under such pitiable conditions, the hereditary taints become increasingly aggravated. If the patients have money, which is very often the case, they prove profitable customers of the "nerve-specialist," and likewise of the endless chain of private sanatoria for nervous diseases. It is a sad spectacle indeed. My own experience has taught me that nine out of ten of these unfortunate beings have families, because they are ignorant of the dangers of heredity, and unfamiliar with the safe and proper means for preventing conception. Why not teach them? A few cases may suffice.

(a) An hysterical woman, whose father was a lascivious, egotistical crank, married a man absolutely devoid of will power and energy. She was gifted; the marriage a failure. Of the two children, one was an indolent, thoroughly useless, good-for-nothing boy, whose only thought was of wasting money on pretty neckties and the like and of flirting with the girls, of which art he was a past-master. The other one, a girl, betrayed the same characteristics and disposition. The mother was in despair and inconsolable, cursing her offspring and the marriage alike. Too late, alas!

(b) The son of a neurasthenic father and an hysterical mother, although of a good-natured disposition, had the vilest, uncontrolable temper, which would suddenly carry him away to acts of violence only to be bitterly regretted immediately afterwards. Whilst drunk he became excited and drawing a revolver wounded several innocent bystanders. As an officer in the army he was [426]insulted by a tipsy student, whom he shot down on the spot, although he was sober himself at the time. On another occasion he shot himself in the breast, but recovered. Presently he fell in love most desperately with an hysterical woman and married her. The mother-in-law, who was an eccentric, mischievous person, started a bitter feud between the two families. He became greatly wrought up over the affair and demanded of his wife to stop the quarrel at once. As she demurred, he ended her life with a bullet from a pistol. Of course, he was arrested and languished in jail in utter agony and despair. What a future for those two unfortunate children that sprang from this union! I may point out here that at the time when he killed his wife, whom he loved passionately, he was not under the influence of strong drink, for he had given up the use of alcohol altogether for quite a number of years.

(c) A very religious lady had married a man who became insane. He, too, was a devout churchman. There were 8 children. Under treatment the father improved and was dismissed from the asylum. I urged them both to prevent further conception, having in view the dangers of hereditary taint in the possible offspring. The wife indignantly told me that her church demanded of her to bear as many children as she could. They had several more, all of them candidates for the insane asylum or the institute for nervous patients. And that is called religion and morality!

(d) A heavily tainted couple, desperately enamored of each other, came to me in great distress to ask: "May we get married?" I answered: "It does not strike me as being the wisest thing for you to do. But if you cannot exist without each other, by all means get married; but think what a calamity it would be, if two beings tainted as you both are, were to beget offspring." "But we are so fond of children." "Well, that is easily mended. There are plenty of healthy orphans whose parents were strong and sound both in body and in mind, but who are strangers to a father's and mother's love, and are craving for a good education. Make your own choice, but take only the very best. Then you will have a family and enjoy all the pleasures of parenthood. As for the rest, heed my advice. Avoid pregnancy."

[427]The law of heredity winds like a red thread through the family history of every criminal, of every epileptic, eccentric and insane person. And we should sit still and witness our civilization go into decay and fall to pieces without raising the cry of warning and applying the remedy?

However, this is by no means all. Tuberculosis is the white plague of to-day. It is considered an established fact that every living human being inhales and swallows tubercle bacilli by the millions every day, and it is even claimed that every one of us harbors somewhere in the economy this dreadful poison to a larger or smaller degree. Whilst the pure, immune blood in a sound, robust constitution is able to resist the inroads of, and even to kill, sterilize, and eliminate these bacilli, the weaker and hereditarily tainted individual falls a prey to the attacks of this dire disease by the thousands. True, serum therapy and open-air treatment are accomplishing many cures, but the hereditary disposition remains in the system all the same, and may be transmitted to the coming generation, or at any rate may impair the power of resistance in the offspring.

Moreover, the sexual appetite is very pronounced in phthisical patients. They marry and beget children in the most wanton fashion. The law cannot and does not prevent them, and the carnal instinct is not to be killed. What is to be done when law and religion forbid the application of preventive measures and even prosecute the person that recommends them?

Local disease and pathological conditions in the woman (at times in man also), within wedlock, may render parturition an immediate danger to the life of the mother or of the child or of both together, for instance, cancer of the womb or other affections of the uterus, kidney disease, a deformed pelvis. Surely in such cases it is the bounden duty of the physician to intervene and council against, nay, absolutely forbid impregnation. Well, how is it to be done? Must husband and wife, who love and esteem each other, be separated? It would be unnatural, in fact it is quite impossible. Or should they abandon sexual intercourse all together and live like brother and sister? Well, a few exceptionally cold natures may have will power enough to carry into effect such a pact. But in 99 out of 100 cases the interdict of the sexual act sends the husband to satisfy [427a]his cravings elsewhere and contract disease, or he falls in love with another woman and wrecks home and family.

Similar conditions may be brought about by other causes as well. Take, for instance, the poor workingman or mechanic who has already six or seven children and whose wife is unusually fertile, giving birth to children year after year. The wages of the father do not suffice to properly support them all. The food that can be purchased with the slender means is not at all adequate. Rent and other bills fall behind and the man gets in debt. They are both young yet. What is to be done? If they follow the natural law there will be an increase in the family every year. Moreover, these ever-recurring labors weaken the constitution of the woman and sap away her strength. Starvation? Sexual continence in wedlock? It is strange, indeed, to hear rich men, well-fed clergymen, pious zealots and reformers, leaning back in their comfortable chairs after a sumptuous meal and smoking an expensive Havana cigar, discuss this burning question and bewail the immorality of the common people.

Statistics prove that these very people, who extol to the poor all the blessing of a big family, never live up to their teachings either in theory or in practice. The majority of these apostles of morality have no children at all, or at the utmost two or three. Why should that be so? What interesting reading it would make if the sexual history of these persons were followed up and printed.

Money, hygiene, reason, and the most elementary laws of humanity demand that the wife, who is fertile above the average, should have a rest of at least 18 months between each succeeding pregnancy. But this cannot be achieved in the natural course of events, except in very rare cases, without wrecking the marriage.

If we crystallize this sexual, social question, we arrive at the following conclusions:

There are a great many cases, especially of a pathological character, but none the less also in normal and sound individuals, in which procreation, within wedlock or without, is dangerous either definitely or temporarily, either for the mother or the child, or for both, and for that reason should be interdicted. Very few men and a very small proportion of women—no [427b]matter how firmly they may be resolved—are capable of effectually suppressing their sexual needs. And even if they succeed, the consequences are generally of a disastrous nature, loss of marital love, secret illicit relations with others and subsequent infidelity, nervous disorders, impotence, etc.

In all these cases we are confronted with the following dilemma:

(1) In the unmarried person: onanism or prostitution, or both. Is that morality? Such people must either forever forego love, marriage, and normal, lawful sexual intercourse, or face sterility in wedded life. (I do not recognize prostitution—see chapter X—as normal intercourse.)

(2) Within marriage: onanism, prostitution, and infidelity, or the adoption of rational preventive measures.

I leave it to the reader and to the lawmakers to pick out the correct alternative and to arrive at the one possible, decent, and ethical solution of these conflicting questions.

I do not admit that constitutionally frigid natures or those who find it easy to control their sexual appetite, have any right whatsoever to pose as normal samples of the human race and to simply ignore the existence of temperaments, characters, and constitutions so widely differing from their own. This world's history teaches us that nothing good has ever come from such vain assumptions, unless it be empty phrases and dead letters. These righteous, frigid, and strong natures ought, indeed, to be grateful to their ancestors for having handed down to them that happy disposition, and to prove their gratitude by making particular efforts to help those that are yet to come, in obtaining and sharing the same benign blessing.

It seems almost incredible that in some countries medical men who are not ashamed to throw young men into the arms of prostitution, blush when mention is made of anticonceptional methods. This false modesty, created by custom and prejudice, waxes indignant at innocent things, whilst it encourages the greatest infamies.

Hygiene of Marriage.—When marriage is consummated on the basis of free reciprocal consent, when both parties know exactly to what they have pledged themselves, when the corrupting influence of money is eliminated, when all unnatural regulation is suppressed, when the superfluous blending of religion and [428]legislation have been abolished from the bonds of matrimony, when woman has finally obtained equal rights with man—then love and mutual respect, combined with the sexual appetite, will constitute the intimate and personal ties of marriage. At the same time, instinctive sentiments and legal duties toward the offspring will furnish it with a complementary and lasting cement. Among men whose nature is true, the instructive sentiment of altruism or conscience urges them to the performance of social duties without the necessity of any legal obligation.

A few medical points now require our attention. The husband should be older than the wife, on the average from six to twelve years. This point is very important if a monogamous union is to be lasting. Woman matures earlier than man, both mentally and sexually; her personality becomes more rapidly adult than his; she ages more quickly and loses her faculty of procreation sooner than man. Certain savage races solve the problem by marrying as boys and girls, casting off their wives when they grow old, to marry younger ones. Among civilized races, man manages his affairs by making use of prostitution. From his youth he succumbs to physical and moral corruption, often complicated with venereal infection, and then often regards marriage as a kind of hospital for incurables, where the wife plays the parts of housekeeper and nurse combined!

It is not easy to steer clear of these rocks, nor to formulate a rule for lasting monogamy. The old style of polygamy is brutal, and prostitution is still more disgusting. The sentiments of the egoist are summed up in the maxim, "After me the deluge!" To this the preacher of morals replies that "man should curb his passions." But this eternal dialogue does not help us in the least.

I propose a middle course, as follows: The young man who possesses sufficient strength to overcome his sexual appetite, or whose sexual appetite is so moderate that he can remain continent till the age of about twenty-five years, so as to enable him to avoid prostitution, promiscuous sexual intercourse or masturbation—this young man, I maintain, has the best chance of gaining the first prize in life. If he is free from prejudice [429]and is not afraid of using anticonceptional measures for a certain time, he may then marry a young girl, to whom he may become permanently attached, if their two characters suit each other.

A young girl may very well marry at seventeen or eighteen, or at any rate between eighteen and nineteen. She is then sexually mature and her mentality is sufficiently developed, so that the difference in age we have required may be obtained. Young people thus united may continue their studies before procreating children, and their marriage will stimulate them to work.

When the intoxication of the honeymoon is over, the continuance of conjugal happiness depends on an intimate adaptation of the two conjoints in sentiments, intelligence and sexual appetite; an adaptation which purifies love on both sides. Work in common, a common ideal, mutual respect full of affection but free from flattery, and a reciprocal education which does not degenerate into pedantry nor tyranny, are the principal conditions for conjugal happiness.

It is absolutely necessary to avoid everything which causes reparation or exclusion, even in appearance. At the risk of appearing ridiculous in the eyes of certain superior persons, I repeat that separation of beds and bedrooms is a dangerous experiment to make in marriage, and that it may easily lead to estrangement, even when based on the highest motives.

It is the same, in a still higher degree, with sexual continence in marriage, even when it does not last for years, excepting in cases of grave disease or senile impotence.

It is often stated that a woman should avoid coitus for long periods, because among certain savage races the husband does not cohabit with her during pregnancy and the two years of nursing which follow it; the woman being considered by religion as "impure" during this period. But this proves nothing, for this custom only concerns polygamists, who make up for it with other women. If our monogamous marriage is to be natural, and not satisfied with words and illusions, it is necessary for sexual intercourse to be intimate and constant, and it should only be interrupted for short intervals, corresponding to the [430]natural wants of the two conjoints, adapted to each other by mutual concessions.

Apart from this, menstruation and accouchement constitute the only exceptions based on physiology. According to Grüber (Hygiene des Geschlechtslebens) accouchement requires an interruption of at least four weeks; I should say at least six weeks. Every husband, with the possible exception of the most horrible satyrs, can submit to this without much discomfort. Pregnancy, on the contrary, does not require continence, provided the husband takes account of his wife's condition and treats her with care.

During the last months of pregnancy all violent movements and pressure on the abdomen should be avoided during coitus, so as not to injure the embryo. This may be effected by coitus in the lateral position.

Professor Pinard of Paris advises the prohibition of coitus during the latter part of pregnancy, because it may lead to premature birth. As regards accouchement at the seventh, eighth or even at the beginning of the ninth month, this might, it is true, be proved by figures, but at this time the embryo is sufficiently protected, and with the precautions indicated above, I consider the danger as nil. As regards the end of the ninth month, the margin of errors as to the movement of conception and the signs of birth at term hardly allow of statistics which exclude subjectivism, and the danger becomes less and less. In any case a conscientious husband would run no risks under these circumstances if he was aware of the danger.

What is more important for the wife is that she should have sufficient rest between her pregnancies. A year at least should elapse between parturition and the next conception; this gives approximately two years between the confinements. This is easily managed by the aid of the preventive animal membranes we have mentioned. In this way the wife keeps in good health and can bear healthy children at pleasure. It is certainly better to procreate seven healthy children, than to procreate fourteen of which seven die, to say nothing of the mother who rapidly becomes exhausted by uninterrupted confinements.

No rule can be given for the frequency of sexual connection [431]in marriage; this is a matter for reciprocal arrangement. Luther's rule of two or three times a week may be considered a normal average for virile persons of good constitution.

Women who are sexually cold and fond of children, but who have a horror of coitus, cannot, in my opinion, be regarded as types of the normal wife, nor can they expect their husbands to abstain from all coitus except that intended for procreation. On the other hand, the wife should certainly be made acquainted with the nature of sexual intercourse and its consequences before marriage. Further, before engaging in a life-long union, a man and woman ought to explain to each other their sexual feelings so as to avoid deception and incompatibility later on.

Without having ever experienced a sexual orgasm, either by coitus or by masturbation, a normal young girl, when she is sufficiently instructed in sexual matters, may easily decide whether the idea of coitus with a man for whom she feels affection is repugnant or attractive to her. In the case of young men it is still easier.

A woman who had received a complete medical education and had remained a virgin, but who was well-informed on sexual life, gave me very precise information on this subject. For a long time the idea of coitus with men was repugnant to her, till she made the acquaintance of the one who gained her affections. Repugnance was then replaced by desire. This case also gives a good example of the monogamous sexual feeling of the normal woman.

In Chapter XVII we shall discuss the manner in which youth should be initiated into the sexual question. Our present formality, combined with general ignorance of girls on sexual matters, renders a mutual understanding prior to definite betrothal generally impossible. Moreover, there is a sort of hysterical and pathological love, the product of the imagination, which is associated with sentimental words and sighs as well as coquetry, but transformed into disgust or hatred by the first coitus. Although more common in women this false love is met with in hysterical men. Sometimes the illusion disappears while there is yet time to break off the betrothal. Marriage by [432]trial and has been attempted by some, but with varied success.

For a number of reasons, both parties should be medically examined before marriage. This precaution may reveal the presence of a narrow pelvis or vaginismus in the woman, or aspermia, venereal disease, etc., in the man.

When a woman will only support coitus with a view to procreation, she would do well if she informed her fiancé, who can then consider whether he can submit to such restriction. If the wife will not allow her husband a concubine it generally results in clandestine extra-nuptial relations and subsequent divorce proceedings.

My opinion on this subject will no doubt appear very immoral to many people, but it is natural and rational. It is needless to say that I do not intend that a man has the right to compel his wife to have intercourse whenever he pleases. The question is a very delicate one; but, by the aid of goodwill a satisfactory solution of the problem can be obtained in most cases, in the manner indicated above. Love and mutual respect will always find a way out of the difficulty. It is necessary to avoid extreme asceticism and unnatural idealism on the one hand and excessive sexual indulgence on the other hand. In the sexual question above all others it is the wisest course to strike a happy medium.

An extremely important question is that of the procreation of children. We have just explained how this can be regulated at will; we have now to consider how children of the best quality can be procreated.

The first condition is the good quality of the parents. Their heredity or the intellectual and physical value of their ancestry is of paramount importance. We must take into consideration, not only the intelligence and physical health, but also good sentiments, a conscientious character and energy of will. What is the use of procreating healthy and robust children if they are vain, egoistic, impulsive, crafty, wanting in will power, or perhaps criminal? Such individuals constitute a social plague.

At the time of conception the parents should not