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NEUROSIS, by Dr. William Steckel, 
Authorized Translation by James 8. 
Van Teslaar 

DREAMS, by Dr. William Steckel, Avr 
thorized Translation by Jamet 8. 
Van Teslaar 

SEX AND THE SENSES, by Jam** S. Van, 

GIDITY, by James S. Van Teslaar 

THE LAWS OF SEX, by Edith H. Hooker 

MOTHERHOOD, by H. W. Long, M.D. 

William Hawley Smith 

renczi, M.D. 

SIS, by Poul Bjerre, M.D. 


SEX AND SOCIETY, by W. I. Thomas 











All Rights Reserved 


Made in the United States of America 

The Gorham Press, Boston, U. S. A. 


D. R. H. 


Some seventeen years ago when I was a student in the 
Johns Hopkins University Medical School, I became greatly 
interested in the problem of the Social Evil. Individual 
cases in the gynaecological clinic aroused my sympathy and 
indignation, and I resolved to study the problem later 
and to do what I could toward ameliorating conditions. 
By a fortunate circumstance, Dr. Hooker was also vitally 
interested in the problem. After our marriage we lived 
abroad for some time, and with the generous help of Dr. 
A. Blaschko and Dr. Max Marcuse carried on some in- 
teresting investigations in Berlin, which later led to our 
founding in Baltimore a home for unmarried mothers and 
their children called the Guild of St. George. We learned 
much from this venture, particularly that the solution of 
the problem depended intrinsically, not upon the reform of 
women, but upon the reform of men. So convinced did we 
become of this fact that we soon turned our efforts toward 
the emancipation of women, and temporarily gave over the 
more direct attack upon the problem of the social evil. 

Case after case proved beyond a doubt that until women 
had direct political power within their hands the double 
standard of morals upon which the whole problem rested 
would be unassailable. Now that this first step toward 
progress has been achieved we turn back to our original 
interest, for we believe that the enfranchisement of women 
has released the power essential to a successful, constructive 
campaign against sexual promiscuity and its attendant 
infections. The material presented in this book represents 
the accumulated results of about seventeen years' labor on 


8 Preface 

the part of both Dr. Hooker and myself. We have thought 
the thing through together, and his name should properly 
appear upon the title page. 

We present the book at this time chiefly for the in- 
formation of the large group of American women who 
desire to improve moral conditions, but who do not know 
how to turn their newly won political power to this end. 
Our hope is that it may arouse an optimistic interest in 
the immediate solubility of the problem, and help to bring 
fiome to women a realization of their deep responsibility 
as the natural protectors of the racial life. 

Much appreciation is due to Mr. George E. Worthington 
of the American Social Hygiene Association for assistance 
in preparing the chapter on the present statutes; to Dr. 
J. T. Geraghty for his criticism of the chapter on the 
venereal diseases, and to Dr. Frank E. Lillie for the use 
of his valuable paper regarding the fertilization problem. 

Upland, May, 1921. 




















INDEX 371 






As one glances backward over the history of the human 
race, the fact appears that the development of the social 
order has been accomplished, seemingly regardless of the 
purposeful will of man, by a process very similar to evolu- 
tion. At various epochs mankind has been brought face 
to face with certain definite problems upon whose solution 
further racial progress was essentially dependent. Seen 
in retrospect the forces leading to these epochal changes 
are in many instances singularly clear, but seen in prospect 
they have usually been but dimly comprehended. 

This failure to grasp the significance of essential socio- 
logical changes has led to the method of progress through 
chaos, as for example in the French Revolution or the Civil 
War in America. Action has grappled with reaction with 
the result that the survival of the fittest has been achieved. 
In the twentieth century looking backward it is not difficult 
to discern the trend of events which made Democracy the 
inevitable culmination of the eighteenth century. Yet at 
that time men of balanced intellect regarded the revolution- 
ists as mad and dangerous fanatics, and looked upon popu- 
lar government as an impracticable and visionary scheme. 
Fettered by prejudice and custom, these men refused to 
see the obvious lines of racial development which led irre- 
sistably to one conclusion. Thus on the continent the 


14 The Laws of Sex 

revolution was deprived of the quality of leadership which 
might have averted much bloodshed and suffering. 

The danger of permitting prejudice and custom to take 
the place of reason in times of fundamental change is well 
indicated by the contrast between Great Britain's and 
America's treatment of the problem of negro slavery. In 
Great Britain in the nineteenth century, men realized that 
the time had come when the institution of slavery was no 
longer essential to, nor compatible with, civilization. In the 
days of Plato, even in the ideal republic, slavery was taken 
for granted, for at that time human hands were required to 
do the work which machines now do. The arts and sciences 
could not be developed by men degraded by abject toil, 
hence the sacrifice of the slave class to the progress of 
civilization, was, in the absence of machinery, inevitable. 

The clear recognition by the people of England of the 
forces leading to the liberation of the slaves made it prac- 
tically possible for this momentous change to be accom- 
plished in the British Empire by methods others than those 
employed in America during the Civil War. Over and over 
again, human experience has proven that reason may be an 
efficient substitute for the sword and that where compre- 
hension takes the place of prejudice, progress may be pur- 
chased at a comparativey small price. 

In the treatment of the Social Evil which appears to be 
dawning on the horizon as one of the central problems of 
the twentieth century, a thorough understanding of the 
complex factors involved in human sexual life is basic to 
rational progress. Since in all development the future 
grows out of the past, a comprehension of the underlying 
forces which have brought the sexual life of the race thus 
far forward is of vast importance in outlining a program 
for further action. Certain instincts and ideals with regard 
to sex have already been developed in the human race, and 
these must be given due consideration. Customs such as 

The Present Anarchy 15 

marriage, premarital chastity for women and promiscuity 
for men, have been accepted over such a long period of 
time that they have become part of the conscience of the 
race, and conduct is at this epoch directed in accordance 
with these inherited criteria. The distinction that is made 
by the mass of mankind between unchastity on the part of 
a daughter, and unchastity on the part of a son, indicates 
with a rare degree of vividness the extent to which custom 
controls the average mind. The unchaste son and the un- 
chaste daughter are obviously guilty of precisely the same 
act, yet the parent and the public intuitively discriminate 
with regard to the moral obliquity of their conduct. The 
man who with no qualms of conscience indulges in extra 
marital relationships, feels himself morally degraded if he 
is forced to marry an unchaste girl, yet the average woman, 
despite her virtue, feels singularly little chagrin at her 
mate's premarital infidelity. This curiously irrational cir- 
cumstance is summed up in the law which makes pre- 
marital unchastity on the part of a woman ground for 
annulment of the marriage if the husband was in ignorance 
of the fact, but which does not operate in the reverse 
direction. Since the term "Social Evil" is used to define 
the condition of disordered sexual relationships that exists 
outside of marriage, and since the epidemiology of venereal 
disease shows that the breeding ground of the spirochete and 
the gonococcus lies in sexual promiscuity, it is clear that 
the solution, both of the problem of the Social Evil, and 
of Venereal Disease, is intimately associated with the reor- 
ganization of the sexual life of the race. This cannot be 
accomplished independently of the past, for the forces which 
have been at work for centuries are not to be peremptorily 
set aside by verbal theories. The ideals which have grown 
up and which have justified themselves by natural selection 
are presumably ideals that will continue to contribute to- 
ward the development of the sexual life of the race. If 

16 The Laws of Sex 

reason is to assist in this process, it must be through 
the strengthening of the customs and prejudices found to 
lead to the most complete development of the sex life of 
man, and through the elimination of base standards which 
tend to degrade and thwart the sexual instincts of humanity. 

At the present time a condition of anarchy obtains in the 
realm of sex. No comprehensive system of law exists even 
on the statute books for the maintenance of sexual order. 
This fact is perhaps best indicated by the "Unwritten 
Law" which is frequently invoked to cover cases where the 
public conscience feels that justice cannot be achieved 
through the enforcement of any existing statute. It is also 
exemplified by the anomalous condition which permits 
monogamy and promiscuity to exist side by side in the 
same state. While the public realizes that human nature 
has not yet reached a stage of perfection that would insure 
justice under an anarchistic regime in any other province 
of life, it still fails even to write down on its statute books 
a system of sexual law designed to insure right living in 
this realm. The result is that the ordinary concepts of 
justice and of mutual responsibility which govern the social 
order under civilization may be safely abrogated by the 
individual in his sex life without his even being conscious 
that he has violated a social or moral law. The average 
boy who sees his comrades indulging their sex instincts 
through promiscuity is thus robbed of any social standard 
whereby he can measure the effects of their conduct on the 
racial life, and is left wholly without adequate direction 
for his own sexual existence. The experience of the race 
is of no practical advantage to him in ordering his own 
sex life, for it is not written down in terms that he can 

It may legitimately be assumed that the same general 
principles of law and order that operate throughout the 
various phases of communal life are appropriate as well in 
the realm of sex. It is not reasonable to suppose that 

The Present Anarchy 17 

there is one kind of justice in regard to property or 
contracts, and another kind of justice in regard to sex. 

Law and order, in the broad sense, predicates a condi- 
tion of mutual responsibility and understanding among 
the various social units, and acts to insure equal justice to 
every individual. In the realm of sex, at the present time, 
law and order is conspicuously absent, for mutual responsi- 
bility in sex relationships is not required by the state, and 
the standard of conduct upheld for various individuals is 
widely divergent. Before material progress can be antici- 
pated in this difficult field, the human race must as a group 
decide along what lines the sexual life of the race is to be 
ordered. It is idle for one faction to present measures for 
the control of venereal disease based upon the premise that 
promiscuity is inevitable, while another faction proposes a 
program designed to limit sexual relationships to mon- 
ogamy. Such a conflict in objectives results in grave in- 
justice and defeats the very purpose which both groups 
have in view. If promiscuity is to be accepted as a funda- 
mental fact in human sexual life, as the adherents of 
medical prophylaxis would seem to believe, certain read- 
justments in sexual ethics are indispensable in order to 
minimize venereal disease, and to achieve justice. If the 
sexual demand of the male is so potent as to necessitate 
intercourse regardless of marriage, society must learn to 
respect the woman who participates in the consummation of 
this supposed law. It is obviously out of line with justice 
to condemn a woman to the severest censure of which 
society is capable merely for lending herself to the abso- 
lute need of the opposite sex. There is no other human 
relationship in which both parties are so clearly on a par 
as in sexual intercourse. Whether the individuals be male 
or female, it is plain that ethically they cannot be other 
than equal in the sexual act. It is inconceivable that since 
sexual intercourse involves two individuals of opposite sexes, 
the act which is permissible on the part of one should by ra- 

18 The Laws of Sex 

tional beings be regarded as gravely anti-social on the part 
of the other. Such an opinion indicates a complete abroga- 
tion of both justice and common sense. 

If promiscuity for men is to be accepted, promiscuity for 
a considerable number of women must be accepted as well, 
for men cannot have sexual intercourse alone. Moreover, 
in justice to the offspring, the stigma attaching to illegiti- 
macy must be removed, for it is clearly unethical for the 
community to penalize a guiltless child for his participation 
in a sequence of natural law. 

With regard to the treatment of venereal disease as well, 
this revision of human sexual ethics is indispensable, for 
while promiscuity is regarded as criminal on the part of 
women, the man who associates intimately with these women 
feels shame at the contact, and does not approach the medi- 
cal problem with the matter of fact candor that the situation 

In addition, the economic status of women and children 
under a system of sexual promiscuity must, for the further- 
ance of racial competence, be adjusted in a manner very 
different from that which obtains under monogamy. Dur- 
ing the child-bearing period women cannot in the main 
compete successfully with men for their livelihood. Either 
they must refuse to bear children, in which case the race 
will suffer, or a system of maternity benefits and pensions 
must be devised to meet their actual needs. Unless civiliza- 
tion is permanently to discard its ethical ideals in the realm 
of sex, it is plain that sexual promiscuity must be accepted, 
or rejected for both sexes alike. To continue to demand 
one standard of conduct for women and another for men, 
is merely to perpetuate a system which is unjust and im- 

Upon this basis it is seen that the problem of the social 
evil resolves itself into a very simple question. Is the sexual 
life of the race to develop in the direction of promiscuity, 
when both sexes shall be free to exercise their instincts with- 


out regard to any form of marriage law, as is the case with* 
men at the present time, or may a definite standardization 
of sexual conduct be anticipated which will apply equally 
to both men and women? Since justice demands that in- 
dividuals, whether they be male or female, shall he beld 
equally responsible for any given act, and since it is plain 
that men and women participate equally in sexual inter- 
course, it follows necessarily that justice can never be 
achieved while society condones promiscuity on the part 
of men, and penalizes it by social ostracism, and even jail 
sentences when practised by women. 

The choice between promiscuity and some sort of sexual 
standardization such as is entailed in polygamy, polyandry, 
or monogamy, must be made before the primary principle 
of justice can come into operation in the sexual life of the 
race. It is in this connection that the experience of the 
race must be invoked to determine first what manner of 
sexual conduct promises the best results for the race, and 
second whether the social forces that focus on sex life but 
which are independent of it will permit of its ordering in 
any given direction. Just as it would be idle to devise a 
theoretical physical world based upon the premise that 
gravitation was inoperative, or the world flat, or 'that water 
ran uphill, so in the province of morals, it is vain to devise 
a system based upon unreal suppositions. The drama has 
already been played to the end in the conflict between science 
and religion. The early fathers of the church resented 
the inroads of science upon dogma, and attempted by coer- 
cion to maintain a physical universe out of accord with 
reality. But they failed, as all other moralists will continue 
to do as long as the world they construct is out of harmony 
with natural laws. 

Sex is the axis of the life of man. Around it turn all 
of the other incidents of his existence. Sex determines the 
actual germ plasm of which he is made, the color of his 
skin, his eyes, his hair, his physique, his race, the inherent 

20 The Lawt of Sex 

quality of his mind and heart. The adult man in any 
generation is but the consummation of the sexual choice 
made by an endless chain of male and female progenitors. 
Environment and apparent chance have their part in his 
molding, but just as environment cannot change wheat to 
corn, or iris to roses, so external circumstances cannot 
make a negro white or a defective mind normal. What sex 
has bound together in the form of germ plasm, nothing but 
death can put asunder. 

Even after birth the validity of the sexual tie which 
has brought his parents together is of great moment to the 
child, for upon it depends the kind of home in which he 
grows to adult years. The marked divergence between the 
death rate among legitimate and illegitimate children is 
in itself evidence of the present importance of the home. 
As the youth approaches maturity, and his sexual impulses 
expand, he himself faces the selection of a mate. Upon the 
wisdom that he exercises in his choice depends much of his 
happiness and comfort during adult life. An unhappy 
marriage may crush his development and stultify his ideals, 
while promiscuous relationships may break his health, and 
rob him of the children who would otherwise bring interest 
and security to his declining years. Thus, from birth to 
death, sex is seen to be of paramount importance in the life 
of man. 

Sex is of all problems the most affirmative, and yet, in 
the days that happily are gone, it has been approached by 
the virtuous as something to be negated, to be denied. 
Chastity and celibacy have been regarded as the highest 
virtues in sex, and the lack of a constructive ethical system 
for the right use of sex has led and now leads to the abuse 
of this supreme function. Fortunately, young people come 
into this world imbued with the idea that there is joy in 
sex, and when their elders counsel repression instead of 
right direction, they sense the counterfeit and follow where 
their natures lead them. This results in each generation 

The Present Anarchy 21 

living over the errors of the past, for since the experience 
of the race has not been synchronized into law, there are 
no sign posts to warn the young of pitfalls. 

In addition, discussion has been taboo, and education even 
in the normal physiology of sex has been supposed to be 
too dangerous to be attempted. Instinct, prejudice and 
ignorance have been the sole guardians of sex, and it should 
cause no wonder that under their guidance chaos has been 
the result. The value of law as an instrument toward 
education, has been consistently overlooked, and promiscuity 
and monogamy, unequally yoked together, have made a 
mockery of sexual ethics. The ancient and untrue dogma 
that "men cannot be legislated into virtue" has placed sex 
beyond the pale, and has permitted men and women a range 
of irresponsibility in matters of sex that would not be 
tolerated in any other branch of human affairs. The fact 
that the true function of law under civilization is deter- 
rence, not revenge, has been forgotten, with the result that 
no rational examination of the natural laws governing sex 
has even been attempted. 

People have been content with instinct in sex as the 
arbiter of virtue, and, regardless of justice, they have 
lynched the alleged rapist with the utmost ferocity while 
they have permitted married men to seduce young girls 
without exacting any penalty. The state has enacted cer- 
tain statutes with regard to monogamous marriage, and has 
then irrationally failed to set up adequate defenses for this 
institution. Adultery and promiscuity have been connived 
at, but divorce has been made so difficult as to be in many 
cases impossible. Venereal persons are, without any re- 
strictions, given licenses to marry even though their names 
are on record in the archives of the Board of Health. Since 
it is known that the marriage of an individual infected with 
venereal disease may entail the death, mutilation or steri- 
lization of his mate, and since the evil effect of venereal 
disease on rising generations in the form of blindness, de- 

22 The Lamt of Sex 

generacy and still-birth is recognized, this license to con- 
taminate wedlock is clearly an official crime of untold mag- 
nitude. Abortion has been made a penitentiary offense, 
but on the other hand the state has failed to exact paternal 
responsibility for the illegitimate child, or to make other 
adequate provision for his welfare, with the result that 
thousands upon thousands of these children have died soon 
after birth, yielding no asset to the state except their own 
and their mother's suffering. Giving information with re- 
gard to birth control has been made a felony, and yet 
many married people employ contraceptive measures, and 
most physicians give such information willingly. It is well 
known that most of the young girls who are sent to reform 
schools are committed for sexual offenses, and yet the re- 
form and penal institutions of the state show no record 
of the men and boys who must of necessity have participated 
in these sames offenses. A single day in any juvenile court 
will show instances of girls brought in and convicted of 
some sexual offense with the boy or man held merely as the 
state's witness. The male co-partner is immediately freed, 
despite the likelihood that he will involve still other girls. 
The court and the public, relying on their instincts, feel 
that the offense of immorality on the part of a girl is very 
different from the same offense on the part of a man or boy, 
and justice is rendered accordingly. 

The same situation obtains with regard to prostitution. 
The man pays his dollar or so to a prostitute, indulges in 
illicit intercourse, and goes on his way without regret. The 
community feels little if any resentment at his conduct. 
But the woman whom he utilized has thereby become an 
offender against the law, and if apprehended may be sum- 
marily sent to jail. Reason has been so far abrogated in 
the realm of sex, that men of good intellect cannot sense 
the anomaly of their conduct when they recommend the use 
of the prophylactic packet or the prophylactic station. 
They cannot see that the state's connivance at vice predi- 

The Present Anarchy 23 

cates its continuance, for they have become accustomed, to 
think in terms of the double standard and habit is stronger 
than reason. 

The consequence of this instinctive treatment of the prob- 
lem of sex is the existence of an unrelated code of sexual 
laws and customs, designed from the outset to secure in- 
justice to the virtuous, and penalization to the innocent. 
The guilty are insured comparative immunity under the 
law, and a process is devised to foster, with the aid of the 
science of medicine, a system of sexual ethics which is known 
to be subversive of health and antagonistic to racial 

The marriage relation is practically the only use of 
sex which is heavily penalized in the case of men, for only 
in legal marriage is the man required to live up to his 
sexual obligations. He may have a dozen children outside 
of wedlock and not even know of the existence of any of 
them, but if he has one child in wedlock he is rigidly required 
to provide for its support. He may have sexual relations 
with a score or more of girls ranging upward in age from 
sixteen years or even younger, but if he does not marry 
them he is not called upon to insure their maintenance. If 
he marries one woman and then makes the same legal con- 
cession to another, he is pronounced guilty of bigamy, and 
is sent to the penitentiary, but if he omits the ceremony 
he is usually not interfered with by the state. If he takes 
unto himself a wife and later finds that he cannot live hap- 
pily with her, he is denied the right to break his bonds ex- 
cept under great duress and scathing publicity, but if he 
can persuade the same woman to live with him independently 
of marriage vows, he may depart at any moment his dis- 
position dictates. Moreover, he is required to provide 
alimony only if his previous conduct has been so virtuous 
as to involve compliance with the marriage law. 

This reversal of the usual mode of standardizing conduct 
is due to the fact that under civilization the laws regarding 

4 Tlie Laws of Sex 

sex have heretofore been dictated solely by desire and by 
the right of the stronger, and have been but fragmentary 
related to the natural laws inherent in the sex relationship. 
Men have desired chaste wives that their paternity might 
be indubitable and their homes be insured against the ad- 
vances of other men. They have also for financial or other 
reasons wished to secure protection for their daughters or 
other dependent female relatives. At the same time they 
have desired complete license for themselves in the enjoy- 
ment of passion. Since until recently practically all of 
the political and economic power has lain within their hands, 
men have been able to enforce their pronouncements upon 
the opposite sex without question. The advance of women 
toward political and economic independence has shifted the 
balance of power in their direction, and now for the first 
time since the dawn of organized society women find them- 
selves capable of reassuming their natural position in the 
realm of sex. 

As with the slave, the shackles dropped from his wrists 
when civilization no longer needed a subject class, so with 
woman emancipation followed the organization of the work 
of the home to a point where the sacrifice of her personal 
abilities and ambitions was no longer vitally needed by the 
race. Throughout the development of the social order, it 
appears that each group that has achieved liberty has 
brought a special gift of knowledge to the commonwealth. 
Ideal Democracy itself is nothing more nor less than the 
sum of human knowledge embodied in such form as to make 
articulate the needs and wishes of the people. Cast out one 
group and all the others lack the intimate knowledge of the 
special needs this one group represented. 

The body politic is like the human organism, an entity 
composed of myriad units, individuals or cells, all mutually 
dependent and all united through a common mechanism which 
in the individual is the central nervous system, and which in 
the body politic is government. The isolation of any large 

The Present Anarchy 25 

group of unit factors from the cooperative mechanism 
predicates a corresponding reduction of efficiency in the 
organism itself. Similarly the addition of any new group 
means a proportionate increase in the power and sensibility 
of the whole. 

The special gift of knowledge which through their emanci- 
pation women as a class bring to the commonwealth, is 
their peculiar experience in matters of sex. Heretofore 
men have attempted to solve the problem of sex strictly from 
their own point of view, and since owing to the physiology 
of reproduction sex is to men and to women a singularly 
different thing, the treatment of the problem has in the past 
lacked balance and true direction. To men sex is largely 
a matter of mating, to women it is preeminently a matter 
of life. From men sex demands little if any physical sacri- 
fice, from women it may demand the supreme sacrifice 

Romantic literature, as it has come from the hands of 
men, pictures love in conflict with the laws of society; ro- 
mantic literature, as it will one day be written, will show 
that love is synonymous with the highest social law. Love 
in the past, male love, has been a matter of youth, of the 
springtime; in the future love will include all of the ages 
of man. Passionate youth, fecund maturity, the ripe 
harvest of achieved desires, and finally the sweet promise of 
another spring bringing revivifying hope amid the snows of 

The problem of sex is the problem of life, enduring, 
chaiiging, varying with the years as they pass by. The 
sun in the firmament of youth illumining the heavens and 
the earth and the far reaches of the human soul, creator 
of art, handmaiden of the muses, proof of the divine order 
prevailing in the universe. Glad comfort of maturity 
warming the soul to effort and ambition, changing despair 
to hope, failure to victory, touching the sordid common- 
places of life with golden fingers, making blind eyes see the 

26 The Laws of Sex 

splendid vision of a conscious realized humanity. In later 
years a star to guide by, leading the voyager true over the 
long and difficult way, drawing the eyes heavenward from 
life's pain and disillusionment, finally bringing him home 
to peace, tranquillity and well-earned comfort. 

Sex in its affirmative aspects may readily be seen to 
achieve full fruition only in response to certain natural 
laws. Negative precepts while of value in warning the young 
of transitory danger, are insufficient guides towards com- 
plete development. Negative virtues in sex are like nega- 
tive virtues in the rest of life, useful only in proportion as 
they result in positive benefits for the individual or the race. 
The ascetic ideal of repression for the sake of repression 
appears in all its vanity in the realm of sex, for the consistent 
repression of the sexual instincts would lead inevitably to the 
destruction of coming generations, and the solution of the 
problem of living would be lost in racial death. 

The lack of any firm consensus of opinion with regard to 
the right use of sex, compatible with accepted ethics, is funda- 
mentally responsible for the wrong direction that has here- 
tofore prevailed in this sphere of life. Freedom in matters 
of sex has meant license, not liberty, and license here as 
elsewhere has led to abuse and irresponsibility, with the 
result that mankind has taken refuge in the most arbitrary 
restrictions, elevated celibacy to the pinnacle of sexual 
virtue, denied legal divorce to persons who were incompatible, 
regarded children as a sort of expiation for the carnal sin 
of lust. Synchronously each rising generation, coming 
clean from the hands of time, has recognized the inherent 
value of sex and has broken the loose bonds imposed upon 
it by a dying order only in its turn to become disillusioned 
by abortive sex experiences. With silent lips and with 
the dark light of thwarted hope in their own eyes, parents 
have watched their children embark on the wild waters of 
adolescence without compass and without helm, and think- 
ing of sex as sin have held their peace, regarding ignorance 

The Present Anarchy 27 

alone as innocence. Sensing shame in their own lives, 
parents have not dared to speak the truth fearing lest 
knowledge of the underlying facts of nature should lead 
their children to lose respect for parenthood. Thus the 
youth of the world has been denied recourse to the sexual 
experience of the race, and each generation has been forced 
to pay again the tragic price of knowledge. In the spiritual 
world, as in the physical world, the explorations of mankind 
must be properly recorded if ever a map is to be constructed 
to guide the vessel of the future. 

The rocks and shoals beneath the smiling waters where 
men have lost their lives, must be marked down, and the 
good rivers and protecting bays must be charted on a per- 
manent record, or much of the peril and the pain of past 
explorations will be lost to future mariners. As in earlier 
days men made a theoretical map of the universe showing 
the world flat and apportioning the space above to heaven 
and that beneath to hell, so today they plot out the moral 
universe in total disregard of science and experience. And 
then they bid the young to sail according to their fictitious 
chart, and find amazement in the fact that they so seldom 
come to port in safety. 

The great need of the present is to analyze the past ex- 
perience of the race in sexual matters, and to derive from 
actual, not theoretical data, the moral boundaries of human 
sexual conduct. Then to put down in current language, such 
as law, the information thus secured, so that rising genera- 
tions ifcay embark upon their quest with a full knowledge 
of the waters and ways already traversed by humanity. 

By this means and by no other the experience of the 
race can be conserved, and the pain and disillusionment of 
generations past be adequately utilized to guide the foot- 
steps of the future. Error is a corollary of experience, but 
the repetition of error, can by the right use of reason, be 



The first essential toward the constructive analysis of 
the sexual experience of the race is an unbiased and scientific 
attitude of mind toward the relation between the sexes. 
Preconceived ideas of right and wrong prejudice the judg- 
ment and lead to hypotheses which may be out of line with 
the facts determined. 

Current custom differentiates sex relations into two gen- 
eral groups, those which take place in wedlock, which it 
calls moral, and those which take place outside wedlock, 
which it calls immoral. Since morality is defined as "the 
quality of an action which renders it good," society must 
first ascertain whether the present marriage code accords 
with this definition before it will be justified in making 
wedlock the sole criterion for sexual virtue. The deriva- 
tion of the word moral from the Latin noun mos, moris, 
meaning custom, indicates that in some instances habitual 
conduct may be confused with moral conduct. It is an 
outstanding fact that morals are always in a state of flux; 
they change as society changes, for that which was good 
for the race under a certain social order may become detri- 
mental when the order changes. For example, among the 
early Hebrews, polygamy was regarded as a wholly moral 
institution. David and Solomon and the other great Biblical 
characters had many wives and concubines, yet to-day the 
Jews uphold monogamy and regard polygamy and concu- 
binage as highly immoral customs. The association of the 
word moral with any kind of human conduct merely implies 


The History of Marriage 29 

that at a not too distant epoch such conduct was found 
to bear good fruits in racial happiness. 

In order to understand the relation of marriage to the 
sexual life of the race it is essential to comprehend both 
its practical significance and its derivation. 

Until recently most ethnologists have maintained that 
man lived originally in a state of promiscuity and that 
marriage was superimposed upon the race as a result of 
the development of moral ideas. Chief among the exponents 
of this hypothesis are Lubbock, Morgan, Bachofen, McLen- 
nan, Bastian, Giraud-Toulon, Lippert, Post, Wilken and 

These men base their opinion upon the assumption that 
prehistoric man lived in a group or horde in which the 
sexes mingled freely without respect to marriage. They 
believe that the horde preceded the family in racial develop- 
ment, and that the children originally belonged to the clan 
and not to the parents. 

They bring forward the custom of tracing lineage through 
the maternal strain as proof that even definite knowledge 
of paternity was wanting. 

In Das Mutterrecht, by Bachofen, which appeared in 
1861, an effort is made to adduce two types of evidence in 
support of the hypothesis of promiscuity. First, notices in 
ancient and modern writings of savage races supposed to 
live in a state of promiscuity, and second, survival customs 
which a^e alleged to revert to an era when marriage was 
not observed. The main basis of the argument is the casual 
observations of voyagers, ancient and modern, as to the 
habits of peoples with whose language, even, they were unac- 
quainted, and customs such as the "jus primae noctis," which 
probably represents merely an abuse of power on the part 
of a priest or overlord. At most the evidence adduced could 
but lead to the theory of group marriage, which is itself 
far removed from actual promiscuity. 

Bachofen maintains that marriage was instituted by 

30 The Laws of Sex 

women, who came by degrees to resent promiscuity and 
who set up matriarchates, in which the power of women 
was supreme. In these communities he asserts the relation 
between the sexes was elevated to a religious plane and 
marriage was enforced under stringent regulations. 

Bachofen's argument is practically invalidated by the ab- 
sence of reliable evidence of communities in which women 
exercised final authority. While such communities may 
have existed in isolated instances, Bachofen fails to produce 
convincing proof that they formed any general stage in 
human development. 

Much of the difference of opinion with regard to mar- 
riage and promiscuity centers in the lack of any clean-cut 
understanding of what marriage really signifies. 

Lord Avebury says scornfully, "Westermarck tells us the 
first traces of marriage 'are found among the Chelonia' 
(reptiles). He might have gone further and included in- 
sects (white ants, etc.)." 1 

Lord Avebury's definition of marriage is that of "an ex- 
clusive relation of one or more men to one or more women, 
based on custom, recognized and supported by public opin- 
ion, and where law exists, by law." 

Westermarck defines marriage as "a more or less durable 
connection between male and female lasting beyond the mere 
act of propagation till after the birth of the offspring." 2 

Kant introduces the idea of life-long association between 
the sexes as being fundamental to the concept of human 
marriage. 3 

McLennan says: "My hypothesis is in outline as fol- 
lows: The primitive groups were, or were by their mem- 
bers, when consanguinity was first thought of, assumed to 
be all of one stock. Marriage was at first unknown." 4 

1 Lord Avebury, 1911. Marriage, Totemum and Religion. 
1 Edward Westermarck. History of Hitman Carriage. 

* Kant. Lie Netaphysic der Sit ten. 

* McLennan. Studies in Ancient History. 

The History of Marriage 31 

Thus he virtually supports Lord Avebury's hypothesis of 
"communal marriage," though without granting the name. 

The proponents of the hypothesis of promiscuity differ 
considerably among themselves as to the origin of marriage 
some attributing it, as does Lord Avebury, to exogamy, 
when marriage by capture first introduced the idea of the 
husband's property rights in the wife, and others believing 
that marriage developed as a moral idea originally sup- 
ported by the matriarchate and later superimposed upon 
the group through the mandate of some great ruler. 

Edward von Mayer points to man as the true creator 
of the family and asserts that rape, marriage by capture and 
marriage by purchase marked the first limitations of sexual 
promiscuity. 5 

From this point of view marriage appears to be a purely 
artificial institution, having no biological base other than 
the predatory instinct of man which led him to value the 
woman he captured as his chattel. Regarded at first vir- 
tually as a slave, the altruism of man is supposed by this 
school to have gradually invested the wife with some digni- 
ties and prerogatives of her own. 

In support of this theory ancient legends are adduced 
attributing the introduction of marriage to some great 
king or rule,r. In Mahabharata, the Indian poem, it says 
that formerly "women were unconfined, and moved about 
at their pleasure, independent. Though, in their youthful 
innocence, they went astray from their husbands, they were 
guilty of no offense, for such was the rule in early times." 6 

The great ruler Swetaketu is supposed to have put an 
end to this license by the institution of marriage. In China 
Emperor Fou-hi performed a similar function, as did 
Kekrops in Greece and Menes among the ancient Egyp- 

5 Edward von Mayer. Die Liebensgesetze der Kultur. 
9 Muir. Original Sanskrit Textt. 

32 The Laws of Sex 

tians. 7 Njavvis and Attjis are hailed in song by the Lap- 
landers and to them are ascribed the institution of the rites 
of matrimony. 8 

When the Sun God and the God of War and the other 
mythological deities and kings are recalled, who were sup- 
posed to have assumed unto their majesty the powers of 
nature, it can come as no surprise that in primitive times 
the institution of marriage was ascribed to some superman. 
Childish minds always tend to invoke the supernatural in 
explanation of vital phenomena, as even today man regards 
marriage as of sacramental nature, owing its origin to a 
mandate of God; it is not a thing to be reasoned about, 
to be regarded coldly as fit matter for reform or legisla- 
tion, for it has been handed down, ready made, by divinity 
and cannot be questioned without sacrilege. The timidity of 
politicians and churchmen evinced at the mere suggestion 
of tampering with the marriage code, and the professional 
and political ostracism involved even in righteous divorce 
actions indicate the supernatural trend of public opinion 
in this realm. A man may remain in his profession or be 
elected to public office readily enough if he is known by 
other men to be immoral, but woe unto him if he has been 
divorced or trapped in bigamy. 

Seriously to suppose that the association of marriage 
with some remote or mythical personage constitutes proof 
that marriage was invoked by artificial means is to dis- 
count all of the teachings of ethnology. As well believe 
that Prometheus stole the sacred fire as to give credence 
to the legends of Fou-hi or Menes or Swetaketu. 

As Westermarck points out, the existence of these fables 
is good evidence of the natural rather than the artificial 
origin of matrimony, for, as fire, storm, war and pestilence 
being natural phenomena are explained by their respective 

T Goguet. The Origin of Laws, Arts and Sciences. 
*v. Diiben. Om Lappland och Lcvpporne. 

The History of Marriage 38 

legends, so marriage, being vital to the race, is surrounded 
by a wealth of superstition. 

The variance in the concept of marriage between the 
proponents and opponents of primitive promiscuity is engen- 
dered in some measure by confusion of the rites of matrimony 
with the facts of sexual union. 

Lord Avebury's scorn of Prof. Westermarck's definition 
of marriage is but the corollary of his British respect for the 
formalities associated with the relationship between the sexes. 
To trace marriage to the reptiles or the birds would in 
the nature of the case appear grotesque to one imbued 
with the importance of the essential rites and ceremonies. 

Public opinion today follows the same bias, though with 
less rigidity than formerly, and overlooks the facts of sexual 
life as a result of fixation upon the ceremony. 

Treated at first only as a probable hypothesis, many 
writers came by degrees to regard primitive promiscuity as 
a demonstrated fact, although as Westermarck says : "There 
is not a shred of genuine evidence for the notion that pro- 
miscuity ever formed a general stage in the social history 
of mankind." 

As a result of their positive assertions unsubstantiated 
by adequate evidence, a number of investigators came for- 
ward toward the end of the last century with criticisms 
of the hypothesis of promiscuity. Building upon the re- 
searches of Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer, these men 
have shown that the great balance of ethnological evidence 
lends itself to the theory that among primitive peoples mar- 
riage and not promiscuity was the established order for sex 

The more modern school of ethnologists represented by 
Edward Westermarck, Sir Henry Maine, and G. E. Howard 
of the University of Chicago, claim a definite biological 
base for the institution of marriage. Howard in the History 
of Matrimonial Institutions, which appeared in 1904, sub- 

84> The Laws of Sex 

divides the argument against sexual promiscuity into three 
parts: (1) The Zoological; (2) the Physiological, and (3) 
the Psychological. 

In a very convincing manner he shows that the measure 
of sex differentiation conforms generally throughout the 
animal kingdom to the degree of development of any given 
species. In the lowest orders little differentiation exists, 
and here promiscuity obtains. Among the higher orders as 
a result of the struggle for existence, the system of a divi- 
sion of labor appears, and the provinces of the two sexes 
become more sharply defined. Coincidently pairing occurs 
as in the birds, the tortoise or the higher apes bringing to 
light the first vestiges of monogamy. Howard stresses the 
point that pairing is not exclusively dependent upon the 
desire for sexual union, for the expression of this impulse 
is too transitory in character to serve as a basis for long 
association, especially among the mammals and prehistoric 
man where a short mating season may be presupposed. 
Among gorillas, for example, families consisting of the male 
and female and two offspring are not unusual, which predi- 
cates continued association between the adults long past 
the brief mating time. Howard's concept of marriage is 
broad but tenable, and conforms more or less to the proverb 
of the Middle Ages, "Boire, manger, coucher, ensemble est 
marriage ce me semble." 

In connection with the physiological argument, Howard 
is ably supported by Sir Henry Maine, 9 who has brought 
forward a vast amount of evidence indicating that promis- 
cuous intercourse between the sexes results in infecundity, 
and "infecundity amid perpetually belligerent savages im- 
plies weakness and ultimate destruction." Doubtless the 
germ plasm of those individuals who tended toward sexual 
promiscuity and in whom the pairing instinct was weak, 
became eliminated from the racial stock through their infer- 
Sir Henry Maine. Dissertations on Early Law and Custom. 

The History of Marriage 35 

tility, which for example among the negroes in America has 
been found to result from sexual promiscuity. 

In this connection reference may be made to the efforts 
of Southern planters to bring their slaves to live together in 
families in order to increase their fertility after the importa- 
tion of slaves from Africa had been made illegal. 

In his third subdivision, Howard presents what is doubt- 
less the strongest argument against promiscuity, namely, 
the psychical nature of man and the other mammals. Sexual 
jealousy is an observable fact among all males of the higher 
orders, many of the birds and the male quadrupeds being 
equipped by nature to battle against their rivals, thus lead- 
ing to the inference that sexual promiscuity is wholly un- 
likely to persist in a state of nature. 

As Mr. Darwin says, "Looking far enough back in the 
stream of time, and judging from the social habits of man 
as he now exists, the most probable view is that he aborigi- 
nally lived in small communities, each with a single wife, 
or if powerful, with several, whom he jealously guarded 
against other men." 10 

In his epoch-making treatise on The History of Human 
Marriage, Edward SVestermarck, Professor of Sociology in 
the University of London, has conclusively shown that "it 
is most unlikely that promiscuity ever prevailed at any stage 
of human development." Westermarck traces the relation 
between the sexes back through the savage and barbarous 
races of man to the lower orders and finds that marriage 
arose not as a result of an artificial morality but as the 
fulfillment of a fundamental racial need, surviving the test 
of time in accordance with the law of natural selection. 
"Marriage," he says, "is derived from the family, not the 
family from marriage." 

Among the invertebrata where the preservation of the prog- 
eny depends mainly upon chance, both the male and the 

11 Darwin. The Descent of Mem. 

36 The Laws of Sex 

female are exempted from the care of the young. The 
mother may provide for the protection of the eggs by de- 
positing them in a sunny spot or covering them up or attach- 
ing them to some suitable object, but in most cases she 
never even sees her young. The male fulfills his parental 
function through the act of propagation. 11 

"In the lowest classes of vertebrata," says Westermarck, 
"parental care is likewise almost unheard of." Among the 
fishes, for example, the selection of a suitable place for the 
deposit of the eggs fulfills the parental duty. Many Teleo- 
stei, however, form an exception and in these cases it is 
generally the male who recognizes the parental obligation. 
In certain species of Avius he carries the eggs about in his 
pharynx. 12 

The reptiles sometimes form themselves into a curious 
cone about the eggs and the female crocodiles and certain 
aquatic snakes have been observed to carry their young 
about with them. 18 

No durable relation between the sexes exists among the 
lower vertebrata, for it rarely happens that both parents 
jointly take care of their offspring. 

The first vestiges of marriage are observed among the 
Chelonia, which form from a zoological and an embryological 
point of view a transition to the birds. 

It is estimated that 90 per cent of the birds are strictly 
monogamous and Dr. Brehm says in his Thierleben, "real 
genuine marriage can be found only among the birds." The 
making of the nest and the subsequent care necessary to 
the survival of the young devolves upon both parents, and 
while the principal duty in connection with the incubation 
of the eggs rests upon the mother, the father fulfills his 
duty toward the family as protector and provider. The 

11 Brehm. Thierleben. 

"Gunther. Introduction to the Study of Fishet. 

a Espinas. Des Societal anhnalet. 

The History of Marriage 37 

operation of the law of natural selection is clearly enough 
apparent in the relation between male and female birds, for 
a delinquent parent would quickly eradicate his strain 
through the diminution of the chances of the survival of 
his offspring. 

Even among the lower mammals, where the care of the 
young is ordinarily left wholly to the female, there are 
some cases where the male assists in the protection of the 
young, as among the whales, seals, gazelles and other small 
antelopes, squirrels, moles and some carniverous animals. 14 

"What among the lower mammals is an exception," says 
Westermarck, "is among the quadrumana the rule." Espe- 
cially among the man-like apes the joint care of the off- 
spring is commonly observed. Westermarck quotes a de- 
scription of the orang-utan, given by Lieutenant C. de 
Crispigny who was wandering in the northern part of Bor- 
neo in 1870: "They live in families the male, the female 
and a young one. On one occasion I found a family in 
which there were two young ones, one of them much larger 
than the other, and I took this as a proof that the family 
tie had existed for at least two seasons. They build com- 
modious nests in the trees which form their feeding ground, 
and so far as I could observe, the nests, which are well lined 
with dry leaves, are occupied only by the female and the 
young, the male passing the night at the foot of the same 
or another tree in the vicinity. The nests are very numer- 
ous all over the forests, for they are not occupied above 
a few nights, the mias (or orang-utan) leading a roving 
life." 15 

Other observers differ somewhat in their testimony as to 
the habits of the orang-utan, Dr. Mohnike stating that 
the old males generally live with the females only during 
the rutting season, 16 while Wallace has found not only fe- 

14 Brehm. Thierleben. 

"Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society. 

"Mohnike. Die Affen auf den indischen Inseln. 

38 The Loews of Sex 

males but males as well followed about by half-grown 
young. 17 

The evidence with regard to the gorilla is far more con- 
clusive. Dr. Savage states that they live in bands and 
that but one adult male is seen in each group. "It is 
said that when the male is first seen he gives a terrific 
yell that resounds far and wide through the forest. The 
females and young quickly disappear; he then approaches 
the enemy in great fury pouring out his horrid cries in 
quick succession." 18 

Mr. Du Chaillu found "almost always one male with one 
female, though sometimes the old male wanders companion- 
less." 19 

Mr. Winwood Reade agrees that the gorilla goes "some- 
times alone, sometimes accompanied by his female and young 

Herr von Koppenfels in Meine Jagden auf Gorillas, de- 
scribes the family very exactly. The male commonly spends 
the night crouching at the foot of the tree and thus pro- 
tects the female and the young in the nest above from 
the nocturnal attacks of leopards. He reports one gorilla 
family consisting of a male and a female with two young 
of different ages, the elder being perhaps six years old, 
the younger about one. 

"When all these statements are compared," says Wester- 
marck, "it is impossible to doubt that the gorilla lives in 
families, the male parent being in the habit of building 
the nest and protecting the family. And the same is the 
case with the chimpanzee." 

According to Dr. Savage, "it is not unusual to see 'The 
Old Folks' sitting under a tree regaling themselves with 
fruit and friendly chat, while 'their children' are leaping 
around them and swinging from branch to branch in boister- 

tt Wallace. The Malay Archipelago. 

18 Savage. Description of Troglodytes Gorilla. 

19 Du Chaillu. Explorations and Adventures in Equatorial Africa. 

The History of Marriage 39 

ous merriment." 20 Herr von Koppenfels agrees that the 
chimpanzee, like the gorilla, builds a nest for the female 
and the young arid acts as their protector. 

The same phenomena are observed in savage and barbar- 
ous races of man. 

"With the exception of a few cases in which certain tribes 
are asserted to live together promiscuously almost all of 
which assertions," says Westermarck, "I shall prove fur- 
ther on to be groundless travellers unanimously agree that 
in the human race the relations of the sexes are as a rule 
of a more or less durable character. The family consisting 
of a father, mother and offspring is a universal institution, 
whether founded on a monogamous, polygamous or polyan- 
drous marriage. And, as among the lower animals having 
the same habit, it is to the mother that the immediate care 
of the children chiefly belongs, while the father is the pro- 
tector and guardian of the family. Man in the savage 
state is generally supposed to be rather indifferent to the 
welfare of his wife and children, and this is really often 
the case if he be compared with civilized man. But the sim- 
plest paternal duties are nevertheless universally recognized. 
If he does nothing else, the father builds the habitation and 
employs himself in j<he chase and in war." 

Westermarck presents a mass of ethnological evidence in 
support of the hypothesis of primitive marriage, but it is 
impossible here to give more than a few excerpts from his 
monumental work. 

Among the Indians of North and South America, the Pat- 
win, the Iroquois and the Charruas, it was held that a man 
must support his wife. 21 Among the Fuegians according 
to Admiral Fitzroy, "as soon as a youth is able to maintain 

"Savage. On Troglodytes niger. 
**Wait/. Anthropohffie der Naturvolfar. 

Powers. Tribes of California. 

Azara. Voyages dam I'Amerique meridional*. 

40 The Laws of Sex 

a wife by his exertions in fishing or bird-catching he ob- 
tains the consent of her relations.'* 22 

Mr. Hewitt states with reference to the Kurnai in South 
Australia, "the man has to provide for the family with the 
assistance of his wife. His share is to hunt for their sup- 
port and to fight for their protection." 

Certain customs regarding the birth of children indicate 
the recognition of paternal responsibility. In the Encounter 
Bay tribe if the father dies before the child is born it is 
frequently put to death, as there is no longer anyone to 
care for it. Rev. D. Macdonald states that in some African 
tribes "a father has to fast after the birth of his child, or 
to take some method of showing that he as well as the mother 
should take care of the young stranger." The South Ameri- 
can Guaranies do not risk their lives in hunting or fighting 
while their wives are pregnant and the same is true of certain 
African tribes. 23 

According to Sir J. Emerson Tennent, the Rock Veddahs 
in Ceylon "acknowledge the marital obligation and the duty 
of supporting their families." Among the Nagus, the 
Nairs and the Maldivians, the man is allowed to marry only 
on condition that he can support a wife, and the same is 
true of the tribes of the Barito district in Borneo. 

In order to establish his right to marry, the youth is 
required by many tribes to perform deeds of prowess, to 
kill an enemy as among the Karmanians, or a rhinoceros as 
among the tribes of Zambesi. Mr. William Thurn relates 
that among the wild Indians of British Guiana before a man 
is permitted to choose a wife he must prove that he can do 
a man's work and is able to support himself and his family. 

Among the Chukchi of Asia, 24 the Basutos in Southern 

M King and Fitzroy. Voyages of the Adventure and the Beagle. 
"Macdonald. Africana. 
Letourneau. Sociology. 
* Hooper. Ten Months among the Tents of Tufki. 

The History of Marriage 41 

Africa 25 and the Munda Kols in Chota Nagpore M even 
repudiated wives with their children have claims on the 
former husband. He is bound to protect them and provide 
for them after the manner of modern alimony even though 
he has set up a new family. In certain tribes the widow has 
claims upon the descendants of her husband which are some- 
times fulfilled by marriage with a brother-in-law. 

The responsibility of the father is almost universally 
recognized even among the lowest tribes and his duty to the 
family as supporter and protector is ordinarily fulfilled with 
naive fidelity. 

In view of this evidence it is impossible to doubt the 
validity of Westermarck's hypothesis of primitive marriage. 
First seen among the lower orders as a response to the 
need of protection for the young, marriage has survived as 
an institution for the protection of the race. 

Under civilization that which in an earlier era had been 
merely the natural expression of a fundamental racial need, 
became gradually crystallized into inelastic law and custom. 

Marriage by capture and marriage by purchase were ap- 
parently widely current in earlier times. Certain marriage 
ceremonials which still persist, in which the capture is simu- 
lated by the wedding party, indicate the survival of a more 
remote custom. Among certain peoples, however, as among 
the Chinese, marriage by capture was probably unknown. 27 

Even to-day marriage by purchase is the established order 
among certain semi-civilized races and in substance it is not 
infrequent in the highest social stratum. The wedding ring 
is said to represent the bridepiece of earlier days. 

Among the Kafirs from three to ten cows is a low price 
and from twenty to thirty cows a high price for a wife. In 
Mangoni country two skins of a buck are considered a fair 

**Endeman. Mittheilungen iiber die Sotho-Neger. 
* Jellinghaus. Sagen, Bitten und Gebrduche der Munda-Kolht in 
Chota Nagpore. 
"Jamieson in The China Review. 

42 The Laws of Sex 

price for a bride and Mr. Wilson relates that in Uganda he 
was offered a wife for a coat or a pair of shoes. 28 The 
purchase of wives has from the beginning apparently been 
considered disgraceful by certain peoples and as civilization 
has advanced it has become discarded or at least concealed. 

The significance of the dot is more or less debatable. It 
may represent the purchase-price of the husband or be merely 
a recognition of the duty of the wife to contribute toward 
the household. In highly organized societies the dot often 
marks the distinction between the wife and the concubine. 

Among primitive man, as among the quadrumena, no 
ceremony whatsover was associated with marriage. Even 
today among uncivilized people, as in certain Eskimo tribes, 
"there is no ceremony at all, nor are there any rejoicings or 
festivities. The parties simply come together and live in 
their own tupee or igloo." 29 Among the Comanches, the 
Outanatas of New Guinea, the Solomon Islanders and the 
Tasmanians marriage is consummated with no ceremony, 
and the same is true of certain Australian and African 

As the importance of marriage came to be recognized 
rites symbolic of the new union came to be instituted. These 
sometimes consisted merely in eating together as among the 
Navajos or Santals or in joining hands as among the 
Indo-Europeans, and frequently the ceremony represents 
merely an earlier mode of contracting marriage as by cap- 
ture or purchase. The permanency of the union is some- 
times symbolized, as for example among the Hindus where 
the bride and bridegroom have their hands bound together 
by grass, and often the subjection of the wife to the husband 
is indicated in the ceremonials. 

At the beginning of the Christian era there were no re- 
ligious ceremonies associated with marriage and until the 

* Wilson and Felkin. Uganda and the Egyptian Soudan. 
"Hall. Arctic Researches and Life among the Esquimaux. 

The History of Marriage 48 

Council of Trent, in 1563, religious benediction of marriage 
was not obligatory among Christian peoples. 

The history of modern marriage may be said to begin 
with the later days of the Roman Empire when the founda- 
tion of Roman law was being laid which has exercised so 
wide an influence in Christendom. In ancient Rome there 
were three ways of contracting marriage: by the religious 
form or confarreation, by the higher form of civil marriage 
called coemption and by the lower form termed usus. Under 
these ancient forms the woman passed in manum viri, all 
of her property became absolutely her husband's and she 
was retained in tutelage after his death to the guardian 
whom he had appointed by will. By degrees these ancient 
forms of marriage fell into disuse and at the most splendid 
period of Roman greatness they had given way "to a fashion 
of wedlock old apparently but not hitherto considered 
reputable which was founded on the lower form of civil 
marriage." 30 

The right of guardianship was no longer transferred to 
the husband but was retained by the wife's family and her 
property also remained in her own hands. "The consequence 
was," says Sir Henry Maine, "that the situation of the 
Roman female, whether married or unmarried, became one 
of great personal and proprietary independence, for the 
tendency of the later law was to reduce the power of the 
guardian to a nullity, while the form of marriage in fashion 
conferred on the husband no compensating superiority." 
Divorce was a private transaction between husband and wife, 
though under Augustus a public declaration was necessary. 

It is interesting to note the freedom associated with the 
marriage tie at the height of power of the greatest Empire 
that has ever dominated the world. 

From the first, partly as a result of asceticism, and partly 
as a relic of the Jewish marriage system, Christianity tended 

Sir Henry Maine. Primitive Society and Ancient Law. 

44 The Laws of Sea: 

to restrict the freedom of the marriage tie, especially as it 
involved women. Under the Christian Emperors freedom of 
divorce was alternately maintained and abolished. 

Following the dissolution of the Empire the German in- 
fluence, which was still more primitive than that of the Jews 
and which held the wife to be merely the chattel of her 
husband, was strongly felt and marriage became degraded 
to the level of a barbaric institution. The wife was little 
more than a domestic slave and all rights in her person, her 
property and her children became vested in her husband. 

The Christian Church in the beginning permitted her 
priests to marry and accepted the existent forms of mar- 
riage in those countries in which it found itself, the Roman 
form in the lands of Latin traditions and the German form 
in Teutonic countries. It merely ordained that marriage 
should be blessed by the church, but this benediction was 
not required for the recognition of legal marriage. Before 
the sixth century it was the custom for the married couple 
after completion of the secular ceremonies to attend the 
ordinary service at the church and take the sacrament. 

The development of the marriage ceremony may be traced 
to the bride-mass which appeared in the tenth century and 
which was later supplanted by an imposing ritual which 
began outside the church and ended with the bride-mass 
inside. It was not until the thirteenth century that the 
priest superseded the guardians of the young couple and 
himself officiated throughout the whole ceremony. 31 

The present method of celebrating marriage is based on 
the rites of the Catholic Church in the twelfth century, 
formulated in Canon Law. Until the sixteenth century the 
fundamental truth, that marriage depends in its essence 
upon the mutual consent of the persons involved, was not 
lost sight of, and even when the Council of Trent made 
ecclesiastical rites essential to binding marriage fifty-six 
prelates voted against this decision. 
n Howard. History of Matrimonial Institution*. 

The History of Marriage 45 

With the Reformation marriage came to be regarded as 
a secular matter, not as a sacrament, although curiously 
enough it was still solemnized in the church. The reformers 
differed widely among themselves as to divorce, some main- 
taining as did Luther, Calvin and Beza that it should only 
be granted for adultery or malicious desertion, and others, 
including Zwingli and Bucer, believing that divorce should 
be permitted for various causes, including incompatibility. 
Luther held that the cause for divorce automatically con- 
stituted freedom from the matrimonial tie irrespective of 
legal proceedings. 

In the later Puritan movement efforts were made to 
establish secular marriage and in 1653 an act permitting 
marriage to be performed by a Justice of the Peace was 
passed in England but was later abolished by the Restora- 

It was at about this time that Milton published his Doc- 
trine and Discipline of Divorce (1643), a work characterized 
by wholly modern thought and upholding the right of 
the individual to withdraw from marriage upon volition. 
Howard, writing in 1904, says this book is "the boldest 
defense of the liberty of divorce that has yet appeared. If 
taken in the abstract and applied to both sexes alike, it is 
perhaps the strongest defense which can be made by an 
appeal to mere authority." The book made absolutely no 
impression on the age in which it was published, although 
many critics now hold that it is the most important of 
Milton's works. 

In the new world legal secular marriage was to some 
extent instituted, but even today it is not universally recog- 
nized in America as, for example, in Maryland, where mar- 
riage must still be solemnized by a priest or a clergyman. 

With the French Revolution civil marriage obtained recog- 
nition in France and now in most countries marriage can be 
performed without the intervention of the Church. 

The forms which marriage has taken follow in the main 

46 The Laws of Sex 

the condition of life of any given people and the numerical 
proportion of males to females. Among warlike nations 
where the number of young men was reduced through war 
polygamy has been practiced and even in Christan Europe 
polygamy has occasionally been allowed or tolerated. 
Luther allowed Philip of Hesse to marry two wives and St. 
Augustus did not condemn it. After the treaty of West- 
phalia bigamy was permitted in Germany because of de- 

On the whole, however, even among savage nations 
monogamy has been the rule and polygamy has been enjoyed 
only by kings or very wealthy persons. 

In the polygamous family there is ordinarily a tendency 
to give preference to one wife indicating the natural trend 
of the monogamous instinct. The numerical relation of the 
sexes has very probably contributed to the institution of 
monogamy, although this is not in itself sufficient to explain 
the idealization of this form of the marriage tie. 

It is generally supposed that in polygamous countries 
most men have several wives and that promiscuous relations 
are less frowned upon than in monogamous lands. This 
is by no means true : in India 95 per cent of the Islamites are 
monogamous and in Persia even 98 per cent. Extra marital 
relations are regarded with great severity and a father is 
permitted to kill the seducer of his daughter. 

There are but few instances of polyandrous races. Be- 
fore the English conquest the Cingalese were polyandrous, 
one wife having sometimes as many as seven husbands. In 
Thibet polyandry is still recognized. 

Here again the tendency toward monogamy is evidenced 
in the preference of one husband over the others. 

Concubinage has been recognized in almost all civilized 
countries as a sort of lesser form of marriage, the concubine 
occupying a place midway between that of the wife and the 
domestic servant. In earlier days, even in Europe, the con- 
cubine was respected, although she enjoyed few of the pre- 

The History of Marriage 47 

rogatives of the wife. Morganatic marriage, which has only 
very recently fallen into disrepute, represents a form of 
concubinage. The rise of Democracy has everywhere wit- 
nessed the disappearance of recognized concubinage, it being 
ordinarily a prerequisite of the aristocratic orders. Concu- 
binage was apparently instituted to meet the emotional needs 
of man which were denied by the stringent marriage laws 
and by the adaptation of marriage to political ends. 

From this brief survey it will be seen that "marriage is 
an inheritance from some ape like progenitors," that it 
was originally consummated with no forms and ceremonies 
and that it arose in response to a definite racial need. The 
long infancy of the young and the perils of childbirth made 
paternal care essential to procreation, and from this need 
the family took its source. Paternal love and pride in off- 
spring developed from family life and served to bind father, 
mother and child into the social unit of the home. 

Throughaut the long development of marriage, monogamy 
has apparently been constantly the norm about which 
polygamy, polyandry and concubinage have oscillated. Es- 
pecially among highly developed people monagamy, of more 
or less permanent character, is found to be the ideal, and 
the position of woman in wedlock signifies among modern 
races the order of civilization that obtains. 

The transition from barbarism to civilization is marked 
by the subjection of women to the position of domestic 
slaves whence they have only within recent times begun to 
extricate themselves. 32 During this period marriage has 
changed from a more or less natural relationship into an 
institution surrounded by arbitrary religious and legal re- 
strictions. The monogamous ideal has become firmly en- 
trenched, but with the rise of democracy a reaction has set 
in denying the sacramental nature of marriage and demand- 
ing a relaxation of the laws governing divorce. While 
monogamy is still the recognized ideal, most modern thought 

82 Annie Besant. Marriage as it Was, at it Is, and at it Should Be. 

48 The Laws of Sex 

tends to give supremacy to the facts rather than the forms 
of sexual union. The later the civilization the easier is 
divorce as exemplified in the western parts of the United 
States ; moreover, where divorce is facilitated monogamy still 
remains the accepted code, a legal relation merely supplant- 
ing what would otherwise be concubinage. Havelock Ellis, 
Iwan Bloch, Edward Carpenter, August Forel, Ellen Key, 
and the whole group of psychoanalysts led by Freud and 
Jung, and almost all the other modern writers on the sexual 
question, hold that the foundation of marriage must be 
sought in natural emotions and not in arbitrary law. From 
their studies it is clear that the trend of the times is in the 
direction of the reform of the marriage code to the end that 
nature may find fuller expression of her potentialities 
through the sex life of man. 



Despite current opinion to the contrary, prostitution is 
not a primitive institution but has arisen coincidently with 
civilization. It is practically unknown among savage races, 
and appears to have developed as an economic corollary to 
artificial marriage customs. 1 

The importance of prostitution to the race lies first in 
its tendency to degrade and thwart the sexual instincts of 
humanity, and second in its function as purveyor of venereal 
disease. By prostitution is understood venal sex relation- 
ships outside marriage. To many this definition may appear 
too narrow, as the sale of wives or even of husbands is so 
frequently observed, and prostitution in wedlock is alas ! 
so often the lot of married women. It is essential, however, 
for purposes of analysis to differentiate between venal re- 
lationships of transitory character and those in which a 
more permanent union obtains, for although both are equally 
repugnant to a well-developed ethical sense, they stand in 
a different relation to the racial life, especially so far as 
venereal disease is concerned. The woman who sells herself 
once for all to a man as his wife is without doubt as morally 
degraded as her sister on the streets, but as she does not 
serve many men she is isolated as a medium for the spread 
of venereal infection. 

Again extra-marital relationships based not upon money 
but upon love do not fall within the definition, for persons 
who are bound together by love may enjoy a more permanent 

1 Havelock Ellis. Sex in Relation to Society. 


50 The Laws of Sex 

and faithful union than those over whom the rites of matri- 
mony have been pronounced. 

In this sense the Bacchanalian orgy of earlier times, 
which has in some places been preserved as the Christian 
festival of Mardi-gras, or the Medieval Feast of Fools, 
vestiges of which remain in the New Year's Revel, cannot 
be said to represent an early phase of prostitution, for 
the relations that were entered upon in those orgies were 
not tainted with venality, neither were they promiscuous 
in the ordinary meaning of this term. In Munich and other 
parts of Southern Europe it is said that nine months after 
Mardi-gras an extraordinarily large number of illegitimate 
children are always born, conception apparently being asso- 
ciated with the celebration of the great annual festival. 
The relations which give rise to these children cannot, how- 
ever, be said to resemble prostitution, for they are not based 
upon venality. 

The earliest form of prostitution that is known is that 
associated with the worship of various deities. Herodotus, 2 
in the fifth century before Christ, records that every woman 
once in her life had to come to the temple of Mylitta, the 
Babylonian Venus, and give herself to the first stranger 
who threw a coin in her lap. The offering was given to 
the temple of the goddess, and the woman returned to her 
home and lived chastely afterwards. Similar customs ex- 
isted in Western Asia, in North Africa, in Cyprus, and the 
Mediterranean Islands, and also in Greece. 3 Even today 
in some parts of Southern India and the Deccan this sort 
of religious prostitution is still practised. 4 By degrees, 
especially in sea coast towns, religious prostitution is said 
to have degenerated into the more secular form, but it is 
doubtful if the origin of prostitution can be traced to this 
source. Religious prostitution probably developed as a 

' Herodotus. Book 1. 

* Farnell. Cults of Greek States. 

4 S. Van Geunep. Rites de Passage. 

The Origin and Causes of Prostitution 51 

result of the association of fertility with the different gods 
and goddesses. 

The punishment that is meted out by many uncivilized 
races for the offense of unchastity is sufficient evidence of 
the absence of prostitution among these tribes. Munzinger 
reports that among the East African Takue a seducer may 
have to pay the same penalty as if he had killed a girl. 5 
Among the Beni Amer the seducer is punished with death, 
together with the girl and the child. In Tessaua the father 
of an illegitimate child may be find 100,000 kurdi. 6 In 
Uganda, Cunningham reports that after the birth of an 
illegitimate child "the man and the woman are bound hand 
and foot and thrown into Lake Victoria." 

Among the Australian Maroura tribe before the advent 
of the white man "it- -was almost death to a lad or man 
who had sexual intercourse till marriage." 7 

In telling of the Bakwains, Livingstone says : "No one 
ever gains much influence in this country without purity 
and uprightness. The acts of a stranger are keenly scruti- 
nized by both young and old, and seldom is the judgment 
pronounced, even by the heathen, unfair or uncharitable. I 
have heard women speaking in admiration of a white man 
because he was pure and never guilty of any sexual immor- 
ality. Had he been they would have known it, and untutored 
heathen though they be, would have despised him in conse- 
quence." 8 The penalty of death is frequently inflicted by 
savage races, both upon the seducer and the girl, as in Nias ; 
and among some of the Alaskan tribes the man is regarded 
with even more contempt than his victim. 9 

The reports that are brought back by travellers of semi- 
civilized races that are supposed to tolerate promiscuity 
between the sexes, are in the main not reliable, for they 

8 Munzinger. Ostafrikanische Studien. 
"Earth. Reisen in Nord und Central Afrika. 

7 Holden, in Taplin, Folklore of the South Australian Aborigines. 

8 Livingstone. Missionary Travels. 
"Petroff. Report on Alaska. 

58 The Laws of Sex 

concern the unnatural conditions that result when civiliza- 
tion and alcohol come in contact with primitive peoples. The 
comparative freedom of sexual choice that is permitted 
among uncivilized races is also often confused with pro- 

Upon consideration of the conditions that obtain among 
savage and barbarous races, it is clear that the basic causes 
of prostitution are lacking in these groups. Early mar- 
riage is permitted. The great chasm between wealth and 
poverty does not exist, and ordinarily the group is so 
small that secret liaisons would be quickly detected. Pros- 
titution is peculiarly the outgrowth of urban life, and the 
large city is always associated with at least some degree 
of civilization. 

It is enlightening to note that among savage races the 
punishment for seduction is meted out by the relatives of 
the girl or by the clan, and that the offense is regarded 
in relation to the family or tribe, and not in relation to 
the girl or her offspring. 

An interesting custom among the Basutos which is related 
by Casalis indicates the supernatural dread in which mascu- 
line unchastity is held. Immediately after the birth of a 
child the fire of the dwelling was freshly kindled. "For 
this purpose it was necessary that a young man of chaste 
habits should rub two pieces of wood quickly, one against 
another, until a flame sprang up, pure as himself. It was 
firmly believed that a premature death awaited him who 
should dare to take upon himself this office after having 
lost his innocence. As soon, therefore, as a birth was 
proclaimed in the village the fathers took their sons to 
undergo the ordeal. Those who felt themselves guilty con- 
fessed their crime, and submitted to be scourged, rather 
than expose themselves to a fatal temerity." 10 

10 Casalis. Bcuutos. 

The Origin and Causes of Prostitution 53 

In more advanced races a differentiation is made between 
the standard of conduct required among unmarried men 
and unmarried women. Adultery also appears to be a more 
serious offense in a woman than a man. "Confucianism," 
says Mr. Griffis, "virtually admits two standards of moral- 
ity, one for man, another for woman. Chastity is a female 
virtue. It is part of a womanly duty, it has little or no 
relation to man personally." 11 Yet chastity is still upheld 
as an ideal for men and according to a Chinese proverb 
"of the myriad vices, lust is the worst." The Chinese penal 
code provides that "criminal intercourse by mutual consent 
with an unmarried woman shall be punished with seventy 

Among the ancient Hebrews the harlot was held in great 
contempt, but the man who associated with her did not 
necessarily demean himself thereby. The Mohammedans re- 
gard chastity as an essential feminine virtue, but consider 
it to be almost beyond masculine attainment. The Hindus 
consider fornication rarely a sin among men, but "in females 
nothing is held more execrable or abominable. The unhappy 
inhabitants of houses of ill fame are looked upon as the 
most degraded of the human species." 12 

Down to the days of St. Boniface the Saxons forced an 
unmarried girl who had dishonored her family to hang her- 
self, after which her body was burned and her seducer was 
hanged over the fire. The early Teutons also punished 
fornication by scourging or mutilation, often inflicting severe 
penalties upon the seducer. 

In ancient Greece prostitution was permitted, but with 
the exception of the hetairse, who occupied a comparatively 
high place on account of their beauty and intellectuality, 
the individual prostitute was looked upon with contempt. 

"Griffis. Religion* of Japan, 

** Dubois. Description of the character, etc., of the People of India. 

54 The Laws of Sex 

The Athenian father was permitted by law to kill the seducer 
of his daughter. 

Modern prostitution may be said to begin in Rome, where 
it must be recalled an order of civilization existed compara- 
ble in luxury and extravagance to that of the present day. 
Brothels were encouraged but were secretly visited by the 
Roman, who entered them with covered head and face con- 
cealed in his cloak. Prostitutes were permitted to ply their 
trade openly enough, but were divested of many of he 
privileges of ordinary citizens, and were not allowed to 
wear the stola or vitta, or to assume the emblems of the 
Roman matron. 

The early Church connived at prostitution and the Chris- 
tian emperors derived a tax from this source. 

The younger Theodosius and Valentinian proscribed 
brothels and ordained that anyone giving shelter to a prosti- 
tute should be severely punished. Under Justinian offenders 
were condemned to exile on penalty of death, and brothels 
were outlawed. In various parts of Europe these enact- 
ments were repeated with varying degrees of severity. Re- 
cared, a Catholic King of the Visigoths, ordained that pros- 
titutes should be flogged and exiled, and Charlemagne and 
Frederick Barbarossa had them driven out of the cities with 
scourges, and condemned some of them to death. 13 None 
of these measures proved efficacious in checking prostitution. 

In France, many crusades were launched against this evil. 
St. Louis in 1254 ordained that prostitutes should be exiled 
and that their goods should be seized, and before setting 
out for the Holy Land he ordered that all places of pros- 
titution should be razed to the ground. Even among his 
own soldiers, however, prostitution flourished. 

In an edict of 1560 Charles IX abolished brothels, but 
to no avail. Similar efforts were made in Venice, and espe- 
cially in Vienna, when under Maria Theresa fines, imprison- 
ment and torture were resorted to in order to eliminate 
M Rabutaux. Historic de la Prostitution en Europe. 

The Origvn and Causes of Prostitution 55 

prostitution. A Chastity Commission was instituted in 1751 
to investigate and suppress the supposed causes of forni- 
cation, such as short dresses and the public employment 
of women. But the effort was in vain, and Joseph II in 
the early part of his reign abolished the Commission and 
repealed the most severe measures against prostitution. 

At the same time, much as in recent days, the patron- 
age of prostitution was more or less openly sanctioned. 
Royal commissions included the cost of visiting prostitutes 
in their legitimate travelling expenses, and national festivi- 
ties were often marked by a special influx of prostitutes. 
It is reported that when Emperor Sigismund visited Ulm 
in 1434 the streets leading to the brothels were illuminated 
for the convenience of his suite. 

In the papal court of Alexander Borgia many courtesans 
were in attendance, and Burchard, the careful historian of 
this court, records in his diary that in October, 1501, the 
Pope had 50 courtesans brought to his chamber. After 
supper, in the presence of Caesar Borgia and his young 
sister Lucrezia they danced, at first dressed but afterwards 
naked. Candlesticks with lighted candles were then placed 
upon the floor and chestnuts were thrown in among them; 
these the women sought creeping on their hands and knees. 
Prizes were finally awarded in the judgment of the onlookers 
to the men "qui pluries dictos meretrices carnaliter 
agnoscerent." 14 

The na'ive record of this episode in the Apostolic palace 
throws light on the actual attitude toward prostitution dur- 
ing the renaissance. 

At the time of the Stuarts in England the Church reaped 
part of her revenue from houses of prostitution, as has 
been more recently the case in New York City. 

The first advocate of the state regulation of vice was 
Bernard Mandeville, who in 1724 published his Modest De- 
fense of Publick Stews. He advocated the passage of special 

" Burchard. Dwrium. 

56 The Laws of Sex 

acts by Parliament limiting prostitution to certain parts 
of the city and providing for its supervision by physicians 
and special deputies. "The encouraging of public whoring," 
he wrote, "will not only prevent the most mischievous effects 
of this vice, but will even lessen the quantity of whoring 
in general and reduce it to the narrowest bounds which it 
can possibly be contained in." His plan did not meet with 
approval, and it remained for the great Napoleon to institute 
regulation. In 1802 Napoleon I, recognizing the military 
danger involved in venereal disease, and the importance of 
an increased birth rate for France, inaugurated his famous 

Under these provisions the Police des Moeurs was created 
with power to inscribe regular prostitutes and to 
compel their physical examination and treatment. Dis- 
eased prostitutes were incarcerated in lock hospitals and 
health cards were given to those who were permitted to 
ply their trade. Any woman who was suspected by the 
police of being a prostitute was subject to examination 
as under our present Board of Health regulations. In 
addition the Code provided "la recherbe de la paternite est 
interdite," 15 so that the mother of a bastard child had no 
redress so far as the father of her child was concerned. 
This provision was made in order to facilitate promiscuous 
relations for men, with the point in view of increasing 
the birth rate, and providing future soldiers. 

Following the example of France most of the continental 
countries inaugurated regulation, and under the Contagious 
Diseases Acts the system was introduced into England. Many 
American cities also instituted a sort of unofficial regula- 
tion and set apart segregated districts for prostitution. 

It was believed that by confining prostitution to certain 
areas the harmful effects of the evil would be diminished 
and that the periodic examination of public women which 
could thereby be effected would greatly reduce venereal 

u Code Napoleon. 

The Origin and Causes of Prostitution 57 

infection. It was, however, found to be impossible in prac- 
tise to restrict prostitution to the segregated district, for 
the women plied their trade clandestinely and the police could 
apprehend only a small proportion of their number. In 
some cities, such as Berlin, the inscription and periodic ex- 
amination of prostitutes was provided for under reglementa- 
tion, but the law ordained penalties for housing prostitutes 
and made no provision for bordelles. Thus the law per- 
mitted a prostitute to ply her trade but denied her any 
domicile in which to do so. The result was that landlords 
charged exorbitant rentals for rooms used by prostitutes, 
as is the case at present where prostitution is illegal but 
is tolerated by public opinion. 

After a short experience it was found that the Police 
des Mceurs abused its powers greatly, drawing a revenue 
from prostitution and even forcing innocent girls to submit 
to their demands or to become publicly degraded as inscribed 
prostitutes. The white slave trade developed as a by-prod- 
uct of segregation, for the necessity of having an adequate 
number of inmates in the brothels created a lucrative oppor- 
tunity for the organization of this business. An exten- 
sive literature indicates that this commerce reached large 
proportions. It appears that girls were shipped from rural 
districts, particularly from Eastern Europe, to various cen- 
tres where they were sold like cattle. 16 Especially in the 
Argentine this method of recruiting prostitutes became no- 
torious. It was estimated by Felix Baumann that the num- 
ber of traders in girls in New York City approached 20,000. 
To combat this commerce numerous organizations were 
formed, both on the Continent and in America, and the 
unanimous opinion developed that the only way to suppress 
the white slave traffic lay through the abolition of the brothel. 

16 Alfred S. Dyer. The Trade in English Girls. 
Alexis Splingard. Clarissa from the Dark Houses of Belgium. 
Otto Henne am Rhyn. Prostitution and the Traffic in Oirls. 
Julius Kem6ny. Revelations Regarding the International Traffic in 

58 The Laws of Sex 

In regard to the control of venereal disease the method 
of regulation proved most disappointing. In the first place 
so small a proportion of public women could be brought 
under inscription that their examination hardly affected the 
general mass of infection, and in the second place the diffi- 
culty of making a negative diagnosis of venereal disease, 
especially in women, nullified the efficacy of the procedure. 

In 1905 Blaschko estimated that not more than 15 per 
cent of the public prostitutes in Berlin were inscribed, and 
similar figures have been advanced by students of the prob- 
lem elsewhere. In addition the fear of inscription drove 
many women to conceal their disease and refuse treatment, 
and those with flagrant infection usually disappeared from 
the police, going to other towns to practise their profes- 

In the Scandinavian countries voluntary treatment has 
been substituted for regulation, because it was found that 
inscription prevented women from applying at the clinics 
for treatment. 

When regulation was first instituted there was compara- 
tively little scientific knowledge at hand with regard to 
the nature of the venereal diseases. The infective organ- 
isms had not been isolated and no clinical methods had 
been developed for detecting other than flagrant cases of 
syphilis and gonorrhoea. The examinations were cursory 
and superficial and were more apt to disseminate than to 
expose infection. Even to-day where this procedure is in 
vogue the technique of the examinations is usually lacking 
in aseptic precautions. Dr. George Walker reports that 
at one clinic in France during the recent war he saw twenty 
women exposed upon the examining tables while the physi- 
cian in charge passed rapidly from one to another, making 
the examinations without once disinfecting his hands or his 
instruments throughout the whole series. In his masterly 
work, Prostitution m Europe, Mr. Abraham Flexner reports 
many similar instances, and derives the opinion that the 

The Origin and Causes of Prostitution 59 

periodic examination of public women is worse than use- 
less so far as the control of venereal disease is concerned. 
In addition to the medical inefficiency of regulation, which 
has only been adequately illuminated by the modern scientific 
knowledge of venereal disease in its more subtle forms, the 
cruelty and injustice of the method has served to bring it 
into disrepute. 

In England, Mrs. Josephine Butler, leading the Aboli- 
tionists, succeeded in 1886, after many years of ardent 
effort, in bringing about the repeal of the Contagious Dis- 
eases Acts. In her Personal Reminiscences of a Great Cru- 
sade, she tells with graphic forcefulness of the dangers and 
difficulties which the Abolitionists endured before they 
achieved victory. Their meetings were assailed by mobs, 
their leaders were stoned and threatened with death. The 
forces even of the Church were arrayed against them. After 
the repeal of the Acts the incidence of venereal disease 
was found to fall, which has since been a telling argument 
against regulation. 

In America most of the larger cities have had their seg- 
regated districts, but regulation has not been systematically 
written into the law. Statutes prohibiting prostitution have 
existed coincidentally with segregation. The examination 
of the inmates of brothels has usually been unofficially car- 
ried through. Acting under orders, the police have per- 
mitted prostitutes to ply their trade within certain restricted 
districts, and unless crimes were committed in the brothels 
they were until recently unmolested. The usual method fol- 
lowed has been to hail the madams to court one day in 
the year and to impose fines ranging from $50 to $200, 
which were virtually licenses. The proceeds from these fines 
have usually been apportioned by law to some department 
of the city government. In Baltimore, for instance, one- 
half was paid to the Sheriff's office and one-half to the free 
public dispensaries. 

Upon payment of her fine the madam was permitted to 

60 The Laws of Sea: 

return to her brothel and unless complaints were subse- 
quently lodged against her establishment, such as theft 
or gambling, she usually conducted her business without 
interference for the course of another year. In Baltimore 
May Day was the occasion for the yearly summonsing of 
the madams, and it was interesting to hear their comments 
on the Judge's sentences. Many of the women were well 
known to the Judge, and he addressed them by their first 
names. They gave their addresses and the number of inmates, 
and sometimes were asked the price that they charged. 
Some of the women were gratified at escaping with light 
fines, but the majority appeared to resent the procedure, 
and paid over their money unwillingly, protesting that they 
could not afford to pay so much. The estimate of the 
policeman usually fixed the amount of the fine. The num- 
ber of madams appearing in court on May Day in Balti- 
more was usually about 200, and the number of inmates 
they reported in their establishments varied from three to 
fifteen. In addition some of them had "sitters," girls who 
worked as nursemaids, domestic servants, salesladies, or 
what not, and who occasionally spent a night at the brothel 
to earn a little extra money. The prices charged ranged 
from 50 cents to $10, the average being about $2. Some of 
the madams were colored, but they served white as well as 
colored men in their brothels. The procedure followed in 
Baltimore was more or less typical of that pursued in other 

Many of the red light districts in America have enjoyed 
a national fame, the most widely known perhaps being in 
New Orleans, Chicago, San Francisco and New York. They 
have been places for the sightseer to visit, and the police 
and cab-drivers have served to inform strangers as to their 
whereabouts. Most boys have felt it to be part of their 
necessary experience to look into the red light districts in 
their own towns if from no other motive than that of curi- 
osity. Alcoholic drinks were dispensed at high prices in 

The Origin and Causes of Prostitution 61 

the brothels, often only under a federal license. Under the 
influence of these intoxicants boys who had come to the 
brothel merely to see the sights were frequently led to patron- 
ize the prostitutes. Most of the brothels in American cities 
had no especial ear-marks of their trade. They were ordi- 
nary dwellings, usually situated in the poorer quarter of 
the towns, often on the outskirts of the wealthy section 
for purposes of convenience for their patrons. 

Unlike the continental brothels the furniture was usually 
cheap and simple and the decorations almost prudish. Oc- 
casionally a graphophone or a small dancing floor formed 
part of the equipment. The patron who came alone was 
admitted by the maid or one of the girls and was ushered 
into a room where ordinarily no other men were present. 
Secrecy for the patron was regarded as highly essential. 
If he asked for no especial girl all of the inmates who 
were not busy would come in and chat with him, and at 
his convenience he would select one of the girls and ask 
her to go upstairs with him. The money was always paid 
either to the girl or the madam in advance of the sexual 
act, the patron sometimes paying at the door and receiving 
a brass check which he subsequently turned over to the 
prostitute. In addition it was customary for the patron 
to give the girl a small gratuity if her services had pleased 

In China, where the business has been still more systema- 
tized, a number of tickets can be bought in advance at a 
slightly reduced rate, and men with good credit are some- 
times permitted to run a charge account for "American 
girls," as prostitutes are called in the sections visited by 

The costumes worn by prostitutes in brothels were usually 
decollete evening gowns and often they had no other out- 
side clothes but kimonos. Many of the prostitutes were 
drug habitues and as they became obviously diseased or 
otherwise lost their attractiveness they would descend to 

62 The Laws of Sex 

brothels of less eminence, finally being turned out in the 
street by the madams to carry on their trade among ingenu- 
ous boys and men under the influence of alcohol. Prosti- 
tutes on the streets are sometimes purchasable for twenty- 
five cents or a cup of coffee and a sandwich. 

In addition to the regular brothels, houses of assigna- 
tion sometimes not far removed from the good residential 
district .were operated. A regular scale of prices, 50 cents 
for a half hour, $1 an hour, and so on, was often nailed 
up in the entry. The linen on the bed was usually changed 
only at infrequent intervals. These houses were conducted 
with the connivance of the police, and were listed at police 
headquarters. Many hotels also permitted the use of their 
rooms for assignation purposes and sometimes the desk 
clerks had professional prostitutes on call for the conven- 
ience of their patrons. 

Until the beginning of the present century, with the ex- 
ception of some few sporadic crusades, no effort was made 
to check the open operation of the brothel and the house 
of assignation. Many, even among the "reformers," be- 
lieved that to break up the red light districts would merely 
result in scattering prostitution broadcast, thereby making 
it more dangerous than ever. At the first International 
Conference for the Prophylaxis of Venereal Disease held in 
Brussels in 1899, the argument centered around the question 
of regulation and segregation. All were agreed that the 
prostitution of minor girls should be suppressed, and that 
the forms of regulation then in vogue were inadequate, but 
the sentiment was so strongly for some kind of regulation 
that it was impossible for the abolitionists to get through 
a resolution calling for the suppression of the brothel. At 
the second conference in 1902 the argument was resumed, 
but no consensus of opinion with regard to regulation was 
reached. Dr. Pileur, a supporter of regulation, stated 
that the diversity of opinion on this point was so great that 
it amounted to practical anarchy. All sorts of fantastic 

The Origin and Causes of Prostitution 63 

forms of regulation were advanced, some holding that the 
state should own and operate the brothels, while others 
maintained that forcible examination should be done away 
with in order to encourage voluntary treatment. 

While no agreement was reached with regard to regula- 
tion, the conference was unanimous in its educational and 
treatment program. The conference held that knowledge 
with regard to the infectious nature and gravity of venereal 
disease should be widely disseminated, and that facilities for 
free, voluntary treatment should be instituted at public 

Following the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts 
dissatisfaction with the procedures followed in enforcing 
regulation was increasingly voiced. The development of 
the white slave trade with its startling tragedies had come 
more or less to public knowledge, and the sympathies, par- 
ticularly of the English women, had been aroused. In addi- 
tion, the scientific knowledge of venereal disease had been 
greatly enlarged, and the true infectiousness of prostitu- 
tion was beginning to be recognized. Practical men who 
were not interested in the problem from the point of view 
of morals were being gradually forced to regard prosti- 
tution as a menace to the public health. Even in France 
and Germany, the strongholds of regulation, the system 
was beginning to be deprecated because of its ineffective- 
ness. Blaschko, Neisser and most of the members of the 
Deutsche Gesellschaft fiir Bekampfung der Geschlechts- 
krankheiten were of the opinion that regulation had misera- 
bly failed, but as they were incapable of imagining a chaste 
male population they advocated a reform of regulation 
rather than the repression of prostitution. In 1905 Dr. A. 
Blaschko, of Berlin, an eminent genito-urinary specialist, 
stated to the writer that he did not believe that a single 
normal man in Germany retained his chastity until he reached 
maturity, and further that most mothers would be unwilling 
to permit their daughters to marry chaste men as they 

64> The Laws of Sex 

would fear impotency. At that time it was reported on a 
basis of excellent statistics that of all unmarried men of 
30 years and upwards in Germany 100 per cent had had 
gonorrhoea, and 25 per cent had had syphilis. Blaschko's 
figures showed that the incidence of venereal disease in the 
male population was highest in the cultivated classes, the 
university students standing next in rate to the prostitutes. 

The two factors that have conspired to bring legalized 
prostitution into disrepute are, first, the rise of women, and 
second, the increase of scientific knowledge with regard to 
venereal disease. Women have approached the problem 
largely from a moral viewpoint, but their efforts have coin- 
cided with those of the more enlightened medical men who 
have recognized in prostitution the breeding ground of syphi- 
lis and gonorrhoea. 

With the organization of the American Society of Sani- 
tary and Moral Prophylaxis in 1905, the modern American 
movement for the repression of prostitution and the control 
of venereal disease may fairly be said to have begun. Dr. 
Prince A. Morrow of New York, a prominent genito-urinary 
specialist, inaugurated the work and stressed especially the 
importance of a thorough-going campaign of education with 
regard to the racial significance of the venereal diseases. 
His book, Social Diseases and Marriage, aroused the lay 
public to a realization of the racial menace of venereal dis- 
ease and brought a gratifying response from the members 
of the medical profession. 

Before this time the W. C. T. U., the various suffrage 
societies, and the American Vigilance Association had done 
much good work for the repression of prostitution and the 
establishment of a single standard of morals; but their 
efforts had been directed mainly toward the moral aspects 
of the problem, and they had failed to secure the coopera- 
tion of the public. 

In rapid succession various states took up Dr. Morrow's 
work, forming the American Federation for Sex Hygiene, 

The Origin and Causes of Prostitution 65 

and the enlightenment of the public with regard to the inci- 
dence and gravity of syphilis and gonorrhoea followed and 
began to bear fruit. Numerous state and municipal commis- 
sions were appointed to study the problem of the social 
evil, and their reports were almost unanimous in recom- 
mending the closure of the red light districts. 

In 1914 a merger of the American Vigilance Association 
and the American Federation for Sex Hygiene was effected 
in the American Social Hygiene Association, 17 which under 
the able leadership of its General Secretary, Col. William 
F. Snow, has since done excellent educational work along 
these lines. 

At the beginning of the recent war the interest of the 
government in the abatement of venereal disease was enlisted, 
for science had shown that syphilis and gonorrhoea consti- 
tuted a very real menace to military efficiency, and that 
the old methods of control were ineffective. The Commis- 
sion on Training Camp Activities and the Inter-depart- 
mental Social Hygiene Board were created. The Army and 
Navy Departments called for the closure of red light dis- 
tricts in the vicinity of the encampments and naval stations. 
A vigorous educational and law enforcement campaign was 
entered upon, and many of the red light districts were closed 
in face of open opposition. One of the fundamental results 
of the Government's campaign was the establishment of pro- 
hibition, the importance of which in the repression of prosti- 
tution cannot be over-estimated. 

Unfortunately the authorities failed to carry through the 
principle of a single standard of morals in their law enforce- 
ment program, and a sort of Neo-Napoleonic regulation de- 
veloped. The police court examination and lock hospital 
treatment of diseased prostitutes, which had previously been 
declared to be unconstitutional in connection with Clause 
79 of the Page Bill in New York, reappeared and large num- 
bers of women were imprisoned for having a venereal disease. 

11 The name Social Hygiene was first used by a Chicago Society. 

66 The Lawi of Sex 

To complete the program prophylaxis was instituted for the 
soldiers, thereby placing the government in the position of 
tolerating masculine incontinence. 

It is impossible to estimate the effect of the government's 
social hygiene war program in its relation to the general 
mass of prostitution. The police and the magistrates in 
the minor courts, who are perhaps more closely in touch 
with the situation than any other groups, vary greatly in 
their opinion, some maintaining that there is more prosti- 
tution today than ever before, while others believe that 
conditions have been ameliorated. The statistics with regard 
to venereal disease are so hopelessly inadequate that they 
offer no basis of comparison for past and present promis- 
cuity. The closure of the red light districts, which with 
the emancipation of women promises a fair degree of per- 
manency, would appear to mark a distinct gain, at least 
from an educational point of view, but the widespread intro- 
duction of prophylaxis with its tolerative features may 
more than offset this advance. Prohibition is certainly an 
asset, as intoxicants are known to stimulate desire, while 
at the same time depressing individual resistance. 

The new phases of prostitution associated with the use 
of the automobile offer complications so far as law enforce- 
ment is concerned. The pimp who formerly operated in 
connection with the brothel, has transferred his activities 
to the taxi-cab and markets his girls to his fares. The 
road house just outside of the city limits beyond reach of 
the municipal police has also assumed a new importance. 
Since before the closure of the red light districts clandestine 
prostitution formed the great bulk of the trade, and since 
no new and effective methods have been devised for com- 
bating this phase of the evil, it may reasonably be assumed 
that clandestine prostitution is unabated. An analysis of 
the causes of prostitution, however, indicates that the sub- 
structure of this institution in the social order is gradually 
approaching dissolution. The growing demand for economic 

The Origin and Causes- of Prostitution 67 

justice, the rise of women to spiritual and temporal power, 
and the relaxation of the prejudice against legitimate divorce 
and birth control, bespeak the dawn of a new day in the 
relation between the sexes. 

Until the twentieth century the responsibility for prosti- 
tution was supposed by the public and the police to rest 
mainly with dissolute women. They were assumed to act 
the part of temptress and the brutal repressive measures 
that were invoked against them were held to be justified 
on the grounds of their brazen wantonness. The dogma of 
the sexual necessity exonerated men from public resentment, 
but served, of course, to perpetuate the social evil by pre- 
venting the operation of the law against those who financed 
prostitution. By a curious lapse of reason men were ex- 
cused for indulging in illicit sexual relations on the ground 
of their naturally promiscuous instincts, but the necessary 
association of women with such congress was overlooked 
and the individual prostitute came under the ban of public 
opinion. Within the past decade the unreasonableness of 
this attitude has been permeating the public conscience, with 
the result that society is no longer as ready as formerly 
to grant men an opportunity for the indulgence of their 
sexual passions at the expense of women. By degrees the 
prostitute is coming to be regarded more as the victim 
than as the source of masculine profligacy. Credence in 
the sexual necessity is gradully being replaced by the demand 
. that men as well as women shall recognize their sexual re- 
"sponsibilities to the race through the institution of marriage. 

The barbarous doctrine that prostitution is necessary to 
protect good women from the promiscuous instincts of men 
is slowly giving way to the belief that monogamy represents 
the natural expression of the sexual life of both men and 
women. The relation of the economic situation to the prob- 
lem of prostitution is still, however, but dimly understood. 

Under a social order where early marriage is a financial 
impossibility the choice for the young man lies not between 

68 The Lew* of Sex 

monogamy and promiscuity, but between celibacy and pros- 
titution. He cannot even afford to think of marriage, with 
the result that his thoughts turn to other relationships 
which do not involve such serious financial responsibility. 
Moreover, the young man in urban life occupies a singularly 
isolated position so far as respectable feminine society is 
concerned. There are few opportunities for him to meet 
girls of his own class, except under the most artificial con- 
ditions, and he must frequently either abjure feminine com- 
panionship altogether or make his acquaintances among 
girls who defy the conventions. The loneliness of young 
people who are seeking their fortunes in the large cities is 
but little understood by those who enjoy the geniality of 
the family circle. From the hall bedroom in the sordid 
boarding house they go to work, and after work there is 
no place to enjoy life except the streets or commercialized 
places of amusement. The daughters of the poor are simi- 
larly placed. Their homes offer no opportunities for the 
development of their budding interests and ambitions, and 
they must either wither forlornly between the factory and 
the tenement, or brave the dangers of the public highway. 
Youth demands adventure, amusement and companionship, 
and when legitimate satisfaction is denied it takes the reins 
into its own hands regardless. 

It is in this connection that poverty acts as so great an 
incentive to prostitution. The utter barrenness of life, the 
dreary, hopeless outlook, the sharp contrast between poverty 
and wealth, and all the while the door barred just by vir- 
tue. At every street corner pleasure and ease, and at least 
simulated love, are beckoning, and the lust to live is strong. 

The figures gathered with respect to the sources of pros- 
titution are very illuminating. Parent-Duchatelet reported 
that among a series of Parisian prostitutes 1441 were 
brought into the life through poverty, 1425 by the seduc- 
tion of lovers who abandoned them, and 1255 by the loss 

The Origm and Causes of Prostitution 69 

of parents by death or other causes. 18 The enormous pro- 
portion of ex-maidservants in the ranks of prostitution indi- 
cates the relation of isolation and the lack of a full personal 
life to the problem. Parent-Duchatelet found that in Paris 
domestic servants furnished the largest contingent to prosti- 
tution and his findings were confirmed by Gross-Hoffinger 
and Baumgarten in Vienna. Blaschko reported that in 
Berlin 51 per cent of the prostitute class was derived from 
girls in domestic service, and Merrick in his work in Mil- 
bank Prison showed that 53 per cent of the prostitutes had 
formerly been engaged in domestic service. 19 Sawyer found 
that among 2000 prostitutes 43 per cent had been servants. 
The age at which seduction occurs also throws light on 
the problem. 

From a series of 582 girls Dr. Pileur derived the follow- 
ing table: 

6 were seduced when from 10-11 years old 

(( .. H-12 " " 

8 " " " " 12-13 " " 

24 " " " " 13-14 " " 

50 " " " " 14-15 " " 

142 " " " " 15-16 " " 

106 " " " " 16-17 " " 

86 " " " " 17-18 " " 

67 " " " " 18-19 " " 

38 " " " " 19-20 " " 

24 " " " " 20-21 " 

11 " " " 21-22 " " 

11 " " " " 22-23 " " 

3 " 23-24 " " 

1 was " " " 24-25 " " 
3 were " " " 25-26 " " 

14 Parent-DuchAtelet. De la, Prostitution. 
"G. P. Merrick. Work among the Fallen. 

70 The Laws of Sea: 

Another table compiled by Rev. G. P. Merrick is of inter- 


11 were seduced before 11 years of age 

36 " " between 11-12 years of age 

104. " " " 12-13 years of age 

358 " " " 14-15 years of age 

1192 " " " 15-16 years of age 

1425 " " " 16-17 years of age 

1369 " " " 17-18 years of age 

1158 " " " 18-20 years of age 

947 " " " 20-21 years of age 

703 " " " 21-22 years of age 

The evidence comprised in these tables indicates that 
the maximum number of seductions occur between the ages 
of 15 and 20, at an age period when the perspective on life 
is immature and the desire for adventure and amusement is 
most compelling. Statistics compiled by other students 
agree closely with these findings. 

From a study of human nature it is clear that the sex- 
ual impulse in the young is not only concerned with the 
gratification of the sexual appetites, but that it appears as 
the desire for companionship, beauty and opportunity. As 
the maturing young of any species tend to wander and 
seek their mates in response to the growing sexual urge, so 
among mankind youth tends to break its bonds in adoles- 
cence, and at this time especially needs adequate protection. 

Social and economic customs which predicate the exist- 
ence of large numbers of young unmarried persons of both 
sexes predicate the existence of prostitution as well, for 
monogamy, not celibacy, appears to be the natural order 
of human sexual life. A man who cannot afford to sup- 
port a wife and children can at least contribute a share 
toward prostitution, and this he will do as long as society 
deprives him of the natural outlet for his sexual impulses. 

The Origin and Causes of Prostitution 71 

Prostitution is but the inevitable counterpart of preju- 
dices and customs which render monogamy impracticable as \ 
an enduring institution. After marriage, when the family 
has reached larger dimensions than the father can support, 
or when the wife's health had been wrecked as a result of 
over-abundant fecundity, the tendency is again for the man 
to resort to prostitution for the satisfaction of his emo-' 
tional needs. Prostitutes everywhere report that their trade 
is in large measure financed by married men, who, weary 
of the indifference or antagonism of their wives, turn to 
public women for sympathy and gratification. 

Thus they break the dull monotony of a life that is lack- 
ing in intellectual and emotional stimulus. Having been 
forced into the position of being merely wage-slaves for the 
family, they fulfill this duty, but substitute fictitious ro- 
mance for what under happier conditions might have been 
a genuine relationship. Here again the demand is not neces- 
sarily for variety in sexual partners: it is rather for a 
sympathetic and stimulating sex partner who is not so 
overwhelmed with the duties of motherhood that wifehood 
is rendered impossible. Present economic conditions, par- / 
ticularly in the absence of effective methods of birth control, ( 
place monogamy practically beyond the reach of a large \ 
proportion of the population. Yet ever increasingly the / 
human race drifts toward monogamy as the ideal, and in- \ 
justice and prejudice which a generation ago seemed ada- 
mant, crumble to make way for the coming order. Every- 
where the lines are being more tightly drawn around com- 
mercialized vice; regulation and segregation are no longer 
compatible with public opinion. The male as well as the 
female factor in the spread of venereal disease is becoming 
recognized, and women with political power in their hands 
are beginning to demand the substitution of a single stand- 
ard of morals for prostitution. The economic revolution 
which is in process today bids fair to bridge the gap be- 
tween extreme wealth and poverty, thereby laying the finan- 

72 The Laws of Sex 

cial basis for monogamous marriage in place of prostitu- 

The protection of minors against seduction is also mak- 
ing constant progress, and measures such as the Mann 
Act, which a generation ago would have been unthinkable, 
are being daily put in operation. In literature, in the drama, 
in legislative halls, and in the police court, a new attitude 
toward prostitution is becoming apparent. Even public 
health officials, who at one time were unanimous in support- 
ing regulated prostitution, are coming to realize that the 
problem of venereal disease is intimately associated with 
the repression of the social evil. 

The rise and fall of prostitution represents but one phase 
in sexual evolution. It is the intermediate step between 
marriage as an institution for the preservation of the racial 
life and marriage as an instrument for sexual selection. 
As a necessary relief for economic slavery and as an inevita- 
ble concomitant to the subjection and isolation of women, 
prostitution has served its purpose; the unjust vengeance 
wreaked upon the scarlet women has inscribed chastity 
among the 'essential sexual virtues. Before the end of 
another century it may be predicted that prostitution will 
appear as grotesque and impossible a relation between the 
sexes, as the earlier customs of marriage by capture or 
marriage by purchase now seem to civilized human beings. 



In the realm of sex as well as elsewhere, natural selection 
has played and is playing a very important role. It has 
been a determining influence in the development of marriage 
and the future will see its modifying effects upon this in- 
stitution. Under Civilization the sex impulse has undergone 
a fundamental transformation. 

From an animal instinct toward reproduction based upon 
physical appetites alone, the mysterious living thing called 
Love has arisen, characterized by its extreme power of 
individualization. Passion has changed from the carnal to 
the spiritual level, and here must be sought the natural 
power that has forced mankind through the ages ever in- 
creasingly to revolt against promiscuity in sex. 

In Love, as in Marriage, a true function may be recog- 
nized which makes it of fundamental value to the race. 
Sexual selection at the present day is epitomized in spiritual 
love; it is of untold moment to the race, for when it is 
freed from the unnatural shackles of gold and ambition i 
will be of supreme power in molding the actual germ plasm 
of the race. 

Even in the dark ages of sex, in the close of which we 
still are living, mankind has mystically realized that the 
only right basis of sex is love ; that sexual relations founded 
upon crude physical appetites, greed or social aspirations 
are antagonistic to a spiritual law. It is for this reason 
that prostitution, while tolerated, has never been respected, 
for when men buy the body of a woman for their lust, they 


74 Tlie Laws of Sex 

darkly realize that she barters something that they have 
no right to buy, and she no right to sell. 

The struggle of the centuries just past represents the 
evolution of the blind instinct of reproduction toward the 
conscious creative instinct of an aroused and responsible 
humanity. During this epoch we have seen the love between 
man and woman regarded as essentially vile, reacted against 
by the institution of celibacy, degraded by the practices of 
prostitution and now at last guarded by a voluntary 
chastity on the part of more than one-half the race. 
Chastity is to sex love what reason is to the mind; it 
predicates balance, power, usefulness, as opposed to aberra- 
tion, futility and waste. Sex, like words, is a means to 
expression, it is sane or it is mad; it is beautiful or it is 
ugly in proportion as it expresses genuine love or shameful 

Since the whole future of the race and the ultimate 
development of man is absolutely dependent upon the right 
use of the sex function, it is of supreme importance that all 
effort in molding human laws and customs should be 
directed in accordance with the intrinsic laws of sex. The 
time is past when the Gordian knot could be cut by vows 
of celibacy. Sex is affirmative, not negative, so far as the 
future is concerned. The object of mankind must be not to 
deny the obligations of sex, but so to direct sex life as to 
insure to each member of the race the highest benefit and 
happiness that can be derived from this supreme function. 

As the sexes tend to approach numerical equality, mo- 
nogamy would seem to be the most just relationship between 
the sexes. Moreover, only under monogamy is it possible 
for sexual selection to approach perfection. The man who 
chooses many women as the mothers of his children ob- 
viously does not use his best discrimination in selecting the 
co-parent for his child, for among many there must of 
necessity be some who are less worthy than the others. 
The restriction which monogamy entails in the selection 

The Dual Nature of Sex 75 

of a single mate, predicates a more discreet and careful 
choice of the co-parent of a child than would be the case 
under polygamy, polyandry or promiscuity. Doubtless 
this is one of the functional values of monogamy that has 
contributed to its survival in the process of natural selec- 

Man is by nature a nest-building creature, the home 
with its comforts and consolation offers him a background 
which he vitally needs. Both for parents and children the 
monogamous home offers the best medium for ethical and 
cultural development. In maturity children afford an in- 
comparable interest and stimulus toward effort, and the 
life of the individual is incomplete unless he knows the joy 
of his own and his children's children. 

The duties and obligations of sex in regard to children 
have in the past frequently come in conflict with the desire 
of the individual in selecting a mate. Marriage has been 
entered upon at an early age before either the youth or 
the maiden was sufficiently developed to make a wise choice 
of a life partner, and considerations such as social stand- 
ing and money have taken precedence over natural selec- 
tion. In addition, parents have unduly influenced the de- 
cision of their children, as, for example, in Japan, where at 
the present time among the upper classes the bride and the 
bridegroom often meet for the first time on their wedding 
morning. Caste also has operated to defeat sexual selec- 
tion, for the upbringing of the upper and the lower classes 
has been so markedly different as to make marriage between 
persons of different rank a practical impossibility. 

Many a prince has loved a peasant maiden with true 
integrity, but the difference in their habits inherent in their 
caste has resulted in a lack of congeniality in their tastes 
sufficient to render life together intolerable. To a con- 
siderable extent, democracy has eliminated the class bar- 
riers to sexual selection, permitting the individual a range 
of choice that was denied under the old aristocratic order, 

76 The Laws of Sex 

and many tragedies that form the theme of old romances 
are now done away with. 

The chief impediments to free sexual selection to-day 
are, first the educational and social systems which decree a 
separation of the sexes during their adolescent years, and 
second, the economic dependence of women. Genuine friend- 
ship and congenial tastes are at the basis of all happy, 
human relationships, and an educational and social system 
which affords no opportunities for the mingling of the 
sexes while they are at work denies the very framework 
of friendship. People must be educated in a similar manner 
if they are to find one another's companionship agreeable, 
for a sympathetic insight into one's interests is indis- 
pensable to compatibility. The argument that is fre- 
quently advanced against coeducation, that it furthers 
the interest of young people in one another as potential 
life partners, is in reality a strong argument to the con- 
trary. Marriage is so important a step in the life of the 
individual that it justifies the expenditure of any amount 
of time and thought that is necessary toward a wise de- 
cision. The wide range of choice under natural conditions 
that is indispensable to true sexual selection, cannot be 
achieved if the sexes are arbitrarily separated during most 
of the years preceding matrimony. Boys and girls must 
be trained to live decently together. It is a fact worthy 
of observation that marriages between nurses and doctors, 
and between men and women students at professional schools 
are conspicuously happy marriages. 

The medium of the ball room, the dance hall and the social 
whirl is wholly undesirable as the field for x choice, for it 
presents young people to one another under unnatural con- 
ditions, and obscures rather than discloses their genuine 
worth,. The most popular girl at a dance is usually the 
one who knows best how to display her sex charms to ad- 
vantage, and who is not ashamed to cater to the lower 
impulses in men, and the most popular man is often the 

The Dual Nature of Sex 77 

one who, through his unsavory connection with many women, 
has learned how to play upon the feminine sexual instincts. 
Polish and grace and the other accompaniments to light 
and idle living win out over the more solid and wholesome 
virtues, and the girl frequently selects her life mate be- 
cause he is the best dancing partner and wears socks and 
ties to match, and is oblivious to the qualities that are of 
permanent worth. A fine complexion, naturally curly hair, 
or an astute dressmaker, frequently determines the young 
man's choice, and he is later chagrined to find that none 
of these things necessarily predicates a devoted wife or 
a good housekeeper. Marriage based upon the instinct 
of sex alone, undisciplined and untutored by long acquaint- 
ance under disillusioning circumstances, is perilous in 
the extreme, for the beloved is too often merely a lay 
model draped with the day dreams of autoerotism. An 
intimate handclasp, or a flash of bright eyes, awakens the 
slumbering senses, and of a sudden because the racial life 
has been pricked, the awakener becomes invested with all the 
virtues. Deep within the breast of everyone, hidden but 
constant, is the passion for creation that has brought the 
race forward out of primeval darkness. When sex first 
answers sex, it is not the communion of two human beings, 
it is the cry of the race for life, the cry that echoes down 
the ages. Mate answers mate, and all the golden memory 
of love past, and all the hope of love to come whispers 
that this is reality. Sexual love is strangely distinct from 
judgment and perspective, for the hand that unlocks the 
heart touches a divine spring and its owner is forthwith 
clothed in divinity. The subtle links that bind one genera- 
tion to another are but too often the chains of matrimony. 
Imaginary people marry one another, and it is only in 
the lees of the cup of life that their true lineaments be- 
come apparent. The combination of the racial and the 
personal life which is embodied in every individual, is at 
the basis of both the happiness and the unhappiness in 

78 The Laws of Sex 

sexual relationships. If the individual who gains grace 
as the racial partner is also endowed with the personal 
characteristics that are essential to friendship and com- 
panionability, happiness results and a human relationship 
far more significant and binding than Platonism permits, 
is realized. But if the individual falls too far short of 
the ideal or differs too radically from it, repulsion ensues 
and actual hatred and disgust take the place of the initial 
attraction. This is nature's way of dissolving unions that 
are based upon unreal premises, and for forcing human 
beings to continue their search for the best co-parent for 
their children. The revulsion that takes place in love 
when it finds itself disillusioned is almost as strong as the 
power of love that brings human beings together. Friends 
who develop uncongenialities or who differ widely in their 
opinions can part peaceably and still retain a comfortable 
modicum of mutual respect and affection, but those in 
whose hearts love has died find existence together like liv- 
ing in a sepulchre where the foul breath of corruption and 
decay sickens the very atmosphere. 

The custom, reinforced by law, which demands that men 
and women shall remain mates when they no longer love 
one another, is not only cruel, but is contrary to a deep 
and subtle ordinance of nature. For society to condone 
and even encourage sexual relations when love has perished, 
is to reduce marriage to a kind of prostitution for which 
the price offered is public opinion. 

This degradation of marriage through inelastic law, has 
contributed in no small measure to the toleration of illicit 
relationships outside marriage, for though custom may be 
as firm as adamant, human sympathy is not so hard, and 
Love is his own best vindicator. The man and the woman 
who cast discretion to the winds and who defy the poisoned 
darts of smug hypocrisy and prim asceticism, find in many 
faces an answering look of understanding, and feel in many 
presences a corroboration of their courage. 

The Dual Nature of Sex 79 

For centuries among the very great, even in the case 
of women, love has been recognized as being a law unto 
itself, and while humanity has caviled to some extent and 
wreaked its spiteful vengeance, it has recognized that a 
supreme passion is not to be brooked by man-made laws, 
and it has looked askance and wondered and secretly wor- 
shipped- None but a Puritan can question the validity of 
the tie that brought George Eliot and Lewes together, and 
Romeo and Juliet, brazenly displayed upon the stage in 
flagrante dilectu, have been the romantic idols of a dozen 
generations and promise to retain their popularity. Shel- 
ley, Goethe, Wagner, and a whole host of other great 
men including geniuses and kings and princes, have main- 
tained by their own lives that the claims of love exceed 
the claims of an arbitrary human law, and people have 
believed them. While harsh judgments are passed upon 
those who violate the marriage custom, there is still a good 
modicum of sympathetic insight when it appears that the 
interlopers are activated by a true spirit of love. All the 
world loves a lover more or less, in spite of wedlock. 

Whence then the tragedies that fill yellow-backed French 
novels to the bursting, and form the central theme for 
most romantic literature? Fiction, to secure an audience, 
must play upon chords that are fairly superficial, for emo- 
tions that are not understood are always uninteresting. 
The root of these tragedies in real life or in literature is 
twofold, and lies, first, in the conflict between the social and 
the personal obligations inherent in the sexual relation, 
and second, in the fact that love is essentially a creative 
spirit, and grows pale and wan when removed from the 
medium of action. It has been seen that "marriage was 
derived from the family, not the family from marriage"; 
that it has survived the test of time as an institution for 
the protection of children, and for the insurance of the 
fulfillment of mutual sex responsibilities. It is preeminently 
a social, not a personal relationship, and its benefits accrue, 

80 The Laws of Sex 

not to the individual, but to the race. He who violates 
wedlock commits an anti-social act of no small consequence, 
for he thereby repudiates the claim of generations yet un- 
born for protection by the social order, and casts the race 
adrift from paternal responsibility. If love lasted, if it 
could be relied upon without reinforcement to live up to 
its social obligations, marriage would doubtless never have 
evolved, as it would not have been necessary; but love is 
frail, and is too often merely a counterfeit for sensuality, 
and the lives and happiness of little children cannot in 
mercy be entrusted to such a whimsical emotion. Chil- 
dren live on though love has died, and the responsibility 
for their welfare is vested by nature in their progenitors. 
Love without bonds is quick to act and slow to reckon, 
and mating has results which outlive the sexual act by 
meany aeons. 

The world is full of women old before their time, foul 
with the stain of sin upon them, broken with disease, child- 
less, or with a little child dead in its grave, poor, miserable, 
friendless, without a home. These are the women who have 
believed men when they promised them love without mar- 
riage, and their lives give ground for the just resentment 
of society at the violation of wedlock. He who defies the 
marriage custom defies as well the welfare of the race and 
earns his ostracism. 

While marriage is not designed to set the limits of 
sexual love between human beings, it is admirably adapted 
to fixing the boundaries of male responsibility in sexual 
relations. Nature herself at the outset, in her striving for 
immortality, has indicated the proper persons to care for 
the child by instituting parenthood. By giving the child 
a father as well as a mother, she has endeavored to secure 
its safety, but she has omitted one vital point in her 
scheme of creation, and this the community has endeavored 
to fill in by the institution of marriage. Nature has or- 
dained no practical means for detecting the putative father, 

The Dual Nature of Sex 81 

and men do not desire either to support the results of 
other men's sexual adventures or to see young children 
die pitifully for lack of care and nutriment. Motherhood 
is obvious enough, but fatherhood is another matter, and 
all experience goes to prove that fatherhood, unsupple- 
mented by marriage laws, is almost wholly irresponsible. 
The man who voluntarily cares for his illegitimate children 
is in this day almost unknown, though in the time of mor- 
ganatic marriages he often willingly fulfilled his obliga- 
tions. When marriage was ruled out between persons of 
different classes, society recognized the claims of love and 
accepted mutual responsibility as a sufficient substitute 
for formal marriage. Democracy has invalidated this ex- 
cuse for pseudo-relationships, and morganatic marriage has 
been thrown into the discard along with polygamy. Kings 
and their mistresses have to some extent gone out of 
fashion, but their influence is still felt as justifying illicit 
relationships. The example of the King of Spain and the 
little kings who disport themselves in Greenwich Village 
and elsewhere, is taken by the young as giving precedent to 
light and sensuous sexual conduct. In their inexperience 
they do not understand the meaning of love, with the result 
that lust and irresponsibility parade as freedom in love, 
transforming liberty overnight into unhallowed license. 
The man, and more especially the woman, who, at the dic- 
tates of true love, lives in disregard of marriage, contributes 
in some measure to break down the preposterous prejudice 
against freedom in sexual affairs, which is responsible for 
much disorder; but, and here lies the danger, they also 
lend the light of their genuine passion to abortive and 
sickly flames which scorch not only the race but their un- 
disciplined possessors. Freedom in love, to fulfill its racial 
function, must operate to insure a minimum of error in 
sexual choice and the improvement of the racial stock 
through sexual selection, but neither of these objectives is 
achieved when shallow sensuality, counterfeiting love, takes 

82 The Laws of Sea: 

the law into its own hands and despoils sex of its usefulness. 
He who lives above the law must prove his right to in- 
dependence by the good fruits of his conduct. The philan- 
derer who sows venereal disease, and drinks his pleasure out 
of another's cup, would have trouble in establishing his as- 
sumed prerogative on such a basis. 

The touchstone of love, the proof of its actuality, is in 
the test of its creative power. In the Symposium, Plato 
says that the lover because he wishes to appear well in the 
eyes of the beloved surpasses himself in his exertions and 
brings all his abilities to light for admiration. In the 
earlier days, before ever the arts and sciences were even 
dreamed of, the only acts of creation in which men and 
women could participate were those which involved off- 
spring and the arts of war and domesticity. To-day men 
and women have spiritual as well as physical children, 
and love can give birth to both. The artist who with colors 
and a brush transforms a barren canvas into a treasure 
for the ages finds much of his inspiration in sex. The 
great sculptor, the great musician, the great actor or 
actress, have almost always been the great lovers as well. 
Discreet biographers have not always told the full story, 
but even so the fact is clear that sex has played a con- 
spicuous part in the lives of those who have given the 
world its most precious possessions. 

It is in this respect that the ostracism usually attendant 
upon violation of the marriage laws has contributed to the 
sexual tragedies so often rehearsed in real b'fe and in fic- 
tion. Men and women, in the first bloom of love, have 
supposed that they could live together regardless of their 
work-a-day medium for self-expression, and love, the creator, 
has transformed their paradise into a desert. "Nee sine 
te nee teum vivere possum." This is the ultimate dictum of 
love when it becomes an end unto itself and not a means 
to creative effort. 

It is an interesting commentary that a large proportion 

The Dual Nature of Sex 88 

of the applications for divorce are made by childless 
couples, for it leads to the inference that where there is 
no ground for mutual interest and effort, disharmony is 
apt to develop. The tragedy of the yellow-backed French 
novel and its prototype in real life is inevitable as long 
as human beings assume that sex can give satisfaction in 
itself alone, and not through its stimulus to self-expression, 
for love is the cup of life and life is action. 

The twofold significance of sex, first in the life of the 
individual and second in the life of the race, makes it in- 
cumbent upon society to differentiate in its moral rulings 
between the purely individual obligations in sex, involved 
in the relationship between two human beings, and the social 
obligations which result from their union. Despite assump- 
tions to the contrary, love and marriage as they at present 
exist are two very different realities. To classify all 
sexual relationships in wedlock as moral, and all those 
outside wedlock as immoral, is to regard sex purely from 
the racial point of view and necessitates a repudiation of 
love as the essential basis for the relation between the sexes. 
On the other hand, to accept "free love," which is but an- 
other name for sexual license, is to disregard the social 
obligations in sex, and to imperil the continued development 
of the species. The very existence of the social evil indi- 
cates conclusively that mankind has not yet reached a 
stage in evolution where anarchy in sex is productive of 
good results, for most people live below not above the law 
when they are freed from the restraints which it imposes. 
Men and women are neither wise enough nor strong enough 
to live their lives successfully in the absence of human law. 
Their instincts lead them into ways that are fraught with 
danger and disaster for themselves and others. This being 
so, it is but fair to give to rising generations the benefit 
of the past experience of the race, and to mark the roads 
that have been found to lead to death and disillusionment 
in such fashion that they will not tempt the youth to follow 

84 The Laws of Sea: 

them. Law is neither cruel nor coercive when it states a 
known and constant fact regarding conduct, and even 
penalization is fruitful in happiness if it serves as a de- 
terrent to unjust and subversive action. It would be no 
inconvenience to humanity to have a law defining gravita- 
tion placed upon the statute books. It would cause no 
trouble if death itself were set as the penalty for gross 
infringement of this law, for nature herself exacts this 
punishment independently of human decisions. 

Under a just system only the ignorant and the vicious 
come in conflict with the pronouncements of the state, for 
the virtuous desire to live in harmony with true principles 
of ethics. The law against larceny or murder, for example, 
is no inconvenience to the virtuous man, for his desire 
conforms to the law. It is only against the thief or the 
murderer that the law becomes operative. Similarly in 
the realm of sex under a system based upon practical ethics 
the man who desired to live his sex life honorably, would 
find the law an aid rather than a hindrance toward the 
achievement of his purpose. Only those who wished to 
accomplish their own satisfaction at the expense of others 
would come in conflict with the laws of society. 

As Nora, in The Doll's House, innocently forged a note 
with the best of intentions, ignorant of the social results 
which such conduct entailed, so many men today in the 
absence of the statutized experience of the race in the 
realm of sex indulge their sexual impulses without the least 
idea that they are committing anti-social acts involving 
grave consequences. The function of law is to define the 
limits of personal liberty in the relations of human beings 
to one another. All must be insured equally the right to 
the pursuit of happiness, and those who would infringe the 
rights of others must be restrained from their unworthy con- 
duct by the operation of the law. 

In the campaign of sex education which is now being 
conducted by the government and by privately organized 

The Dual Nature of Sex 85 

societies, it is repeatedly stated that the maximum happi- 
ness in sex can be achieved by both men and women 
through pre-marital chastity and monogamous marriage. 
This is undoubtedly true in the case of women, for society 
heavily penalizes the woman who trangresses and demands 
proportionate payment for her offense against the family, 
but it is not by any means equally true in the case of the 
individual man in the present state of law and public 
opinion. Between the ages of 17 and 25, when marriage 
is ordinarily out of the question, the sexual impulse is 
very strong and is undoubtedly a potential source of intense 
gratification. Sexual adventures involving light loves are 
of great interest and stimulus and may even give the in- 
dividual boy a vast amount of real experience and in- 
formation. If he escapes venereal disease, and if his vic- 
tim is too young or too helpless to invoke outside aid 
when his fancy wearies of her, it is highly probable that, 
barring the intervention of the Almighty, he may secure 
for himself far more sexual pleasure than does the chaste 
lad who respects the rights of women and children. In the 
war, when death waited for young men just a step ahead, 
many of them took their fun where they found it, and it 
is extremely doubtful if those who did not become infected 
with venereal disease or entangled with legal difficulties, 
such as forced marriage, ever sincerely regretted their con- 
duct. If in the face of death men feel so little moral 
chagrin at indulging their promiscuous sexual impulses, it 
is scarcely to be supposed that on the broad level of life, 
when retribution would appear to be even less imminent, 
conscience alone should be able to inflict pain in any degree 
consonant with the abandoned joy of moonlit love ad- 

Society has given men license to steal their sexual 
pleasures out of the lives of women, and at the expense of 
racial welfare. If men were permitted to steal money as 
freely as they are love without regard for the rights of 

86 The Laws of Sex 

others, if they could sign false checks with as little fear as 
they sign false love letters, if they could secure loans with- 
out interest and without giving any security whatever, it 
is questionable whether the thief would not get more 
pleasure than the honest man in practical living. It is cer- 
tain that he would get more of this world's goods at a 
less expense of effort, for he would take what he pleased 
and let his honest brother pay the price of production. 
The community which permits the violation of the rights 
of one to the unjust advantage of another puts a premium 
on base conduct and vindicates the individual in immoral 
or anti-social relationships. The only real impediment that 
stands between men and their enjoyment of licentiousness 
at the expense of women and children is venereal disease, 
and it is noteworthy that in the realm of sex much of the 
legal machinery that has been employed in the past in the 
realm of sex has been directed toward removing this ob- 
stacle and not toward insuring the equal right of sexual 
happiness for men and women. 

In the passage of legislation regarding sex or any other 
kind of human conduct, it must always be remembered that 
under a democracy, the law cannot differ too greatly from 
established standards of living if it is to be respected. 
When the law varies widely from accepted principles of 
conduct, it becomes an administrative impossibility to en- 
force its pronouncements. The blue laws in many states 
which at one time voiced popular sentiment, and which at 
that time were enforceable, are a case in point. Their 
presence on the statute books today is immaterial except 
that they tend to bring the law into disrepute as being 

While it is clear that the general principles of conduct 
such as liberty, equality, justice and mutual responsibility 
apply to sex as well as to commerce, or to any other branch 
of human affairs, still until the present time it would have 
been idle to write these principles down as statutes in the 

The Dual Nature of Sex 87 

realm of sex, for it would have been impossible to secure 
their enforcement. 

It is obviously the business of the state to define the 
limits of personal liberty in the realm of sex as well as 
elsewhere, but while one sex alone had complete control 
over the courts, the police and the legislative assemblies, 
it was inconceivable that regulations designed to limit the 
unjust prerogatives of this sex should be written into law 
or enforced even if hypothetically statutized. The sub- 
jection of women has made rational legislation in this field 
unthinkable, and has facilitated discriminatory procedures 
such as regulation, segregation, and the present venereal 
disease quarantine regulations. 

The citizens of any free country have the right to de- 
mand from their government liberty, justice, equality be- 
fore the law, and the protection of their constitutional 
rights from violation by other citizens. When these prin- 
ciples are embodied in law defining the right limits of sexual 
conduct, it will be seen that the present marriage custom 
in no wise conforms to true sexual morality. In the first 
place it does not recognize the dual nature of sex, and unnec- 
essarily sacrifices the personal to the racial obligations in- 
herent in the sex function, and in the second place it acts as 
an impediment to the natural law of sexual selection, for it 
denies to the individual adequate opportunity to rectify an 
error in choice when he has once come under the yoke of 

Marriage as it at present exists, supplemented by prosti- 
tution, is solely the result of an effete morality associated 
with the licentiousness of men and the subjection of women. 
Since monogamous religious marriage was formalized by 
the Council of Trent in the year 1563, great changes have 
come over the world, especially in the relations of men and 
women. The quality of an action which rendered it good 
in those distant times, cannot be safely predicated to mark 
the boundaries of morality in any range of life in the 

88 Tlie Laws of Sex 

twentieth century. The absolute duty of the state to define 
the right limits of sexual conduct and to enforce its regula- 
tions is too obvious to admit of serious question, but the 
law must apply to the epoch in which it is written and not 
to an order of civilization representing the culture of the 
dead age of Feudalism. 



The statistics which have been compiled by the pro- 
ponents of birth control in the various countries where the 
education of the masses in the matter of contraceptive 
methods is not interfered with by the state indicate beyond 
question that the apprehensions of those who are opposed 
to birth control have no basis in practical fact. The popu- 
lation has not automatically dwindled to the danger point, 
neither has immorality increased so far as can be ascer- 
tained and monogamous marriage still continues to be the 
recognized relationship between the sexes. All that appears 
to have happened is that somewhat fewer children have 
been born, but this occurrence has been more than com- 
pensated by the greater proportionate diminution in in- 
fantile mortality. In Holland, for example, where educa- 
tion in birth control methods has been carried on openly 
since 1881 and where it is fully sanctioned by the govern- 
ment, there has been a diminution of approximately 25 per 
cent in the birth rate with a coincident increase of 66 per 
cent in the number of persons living until adult years. In 
other words the number of persons who attain their majority 
in Holland to-day is actually greater than it was before 
instruction in contraceptive methods was commenced. In 
America, where the transmission of knowledge of birth 
control methods has been made a felony, of all the children 
born only one child out of fifteen lives to reach his twenty- 
first year. All of the agony of parturition, all of the 
prenatal inconvenience and distress of the mother, all of 
the endless time and money and care that has been poured 


90 The Lams of Sea; 

out to make these little lives possible is utterly wasted so 
far as the adult and productive population is concerned. 
Only one child out of five lives even until his first birthday, 
so it is clear that in this country the problem of popula- 
tion is more acutely dependent upon diminishing the rate 
of infantile mortality than upon increasing the number of 
children born. When it is considered that a child is actually 
a burden to the state in point of production until he reaches 
at least his fifteenth year, it may be seen that the method 
at present pursued for keeping up the population is neither 
economical nor humane. The vital statistics offered by the 
Neo-Malthusianists are very convincing on two important 
points: first, public knowledge of birth control methods 
does not result in an alarming diminution of population; 
and second, a decrease in the mortality rate appears to 
coincide with the adoption of contraceptive methods. 

An intimate knowledge of family life in the lower classes 
predisposes to credence in these figures, for it is every- 
where evident that where there are more children in a 
family than the father can afford to support, some of the 
children die from lack of care or from actual malnutrition. 
Many women are also physically unable to bear as many 
living children as their fertility would presuppose, with the 
result that miscarriages and still births are often the only 
fruit of conception. Here again unnecessary and useless 
wastage of the human resources of the nation is involved, 
for it avails nothing so far as the race is concerned for 
a woman to produce non-viable children, and her own 
energies are exhausted and her strength depleted in the 
course of the process. Reproduction is a positive asset to 
the state only in so far as it eventuates in adult human 
beings of normal race stock who are equipped by nature 
and training to contribute toward the welfare of the com- 
monwealth. Degenerates, defectives and children who 
perish before they reach a productive age are a hindrance 
to racial development and a handicap to normal members 

The Ethical Aspects of Birth Control 91 

of the community in their pursuit of happiness. At the 
present time the defective, insane and criminal classes form 
an alarming proportion of the population. 

Of all children in America of school-going age it is 
estimated that over 15 per cent are sub-normal, mentally, 
and that about 31/2 P er cen t are markedly feeble-minded. 1 
These children can never, no matter how elaborate or how 
expensive their education may be, develop to full normal 
productivity. 2 The state would be richer and better equipped 
to sustain its normal members if these children had never 
come into existence. The latest statistics of the U. S. Cen- 
sus Bureau show that the United States is at present sup- 
porting in institutions an insane population of about 
239,820 at an annual cost of approximately $45,000,000, 
and that the inmates of the penal and reform institutions 
number approximately 150,000. It is estimated that about 
250,000 abortions are performed annually in America, and 
that probably 50,000 women lose their lives as a result of the 
operation, while the number of miscarriages and still births is 
only matter for hazard. 3 Clinical experience would indicate 
that of the products of conception not more than three- 
fourths develop into viable children. In addition a large 
number of married people who desire to have children have 
become sterile or have had their reproductive power seriously 
impaired as a result of gonorrhoeal or syphilitic infection. F. 
Kehrer has shown that a considerable proportion of marital 
sterility is due to venereal infection in the husband con- 
tracted before marriage, and the large number of one child 
marriages due to gonorrhoeal contamination of the wife 
also contributes largely to a diminution of the birth rate. 4 

The importance of venereal disease as a substantial 
factor in race suicide has been consistently overlooked for 

1 Reports published by The National Committee for Mental Hygiene, 
50 Union Square, New York City. 

* U. U. Anderson. Mental Defect in a Southern State. 

* Fielding. Sanity in Sex. 

4 Ernest Finger. Blenorrhoea of the Sexual Organs. 


the absence of reliable vital statistics with regard to the 
incidence of syphilis and gonorrhoea has obscured the rela- 
tion of these infections to the diminishing birth rate. 

In considering the problem of population it is clear that 
a reduction in the infantile mortality rate is quite as effi- 
cient a method of sustaining the population as an increase 
in the birth rate unaccompanied by a proportionate de- 
crease in the number of deaths. 

If the objective is merely to increase the number of adult 
citizens of the United States it would be far more expeditious 
and humane for the government to bend its efforts toward 
improving the economic and hygienic condition of its people 
rather than to demand that its women should continue to 
bear a larger number of children than either the family 
or the state can successfully bring up to normal adulthood. 

In point of fact, the problem of population is rapidly 
becoming not so much a matter of underpopulation as of 
overpopulation. Some interesting statistical researches 
which have recently been published by Dr. Raymond Pearl 
of the School of Hygiene of the Johns Hopkins University 
show that within the brief space of another hundred years 
at the present rate of reproduction the world will contain 
as many individuals as the surface of the earth is capable 
of providing with the actual necessities of subsistence. 5 If 
after that reproduction were to continue at {he present 
rate famine would intervene .and the population would either 
be seriously undernourished, as it is .now in China and India, 
or death itself would be called upon to settle the problem. 
Dr. Pearl has constructed a curve based upon data secured 
from the U. S. Census Bureau showing that population 
tends to proceed in accordance with definite mathematical 
law. This curve is the same as that followed by the body 
weight and also occurs in auto-catalytic chemical reactions. 
It is characterized by a relatively slow initial rise followed 

B Raymond Pearl. On the Rate of Growth of the Population of the 
U. 8. Since 1790 and Its Mathematical Representation. 

The Ethical Aspects of Birth Control 93 

by an abrupt increase which subsides again at the crest 
into a straight line reaching to infinity. The asymtote 
represents the maximum population which the resources of 
the earth are capable of maintaining under bare living 
conditions. By placing two flies of different sex in a 
circumscribed area, as in a glass jar or bottle, and permit- 
ting them to reproduce indefinitely, the same characteristic 
curve of reproduction automatically appears. There is 
at first a slow increase, then an abrupt rise and finally the 
crest of the curve beyond which an increase in number is 
impossible. The year 1914 represents the point in the 
ascending curve when inclination toward the asymtote is 
first apparent. In other words, the population of the earth 
has now nearly reached its maximum practical propor- 
tions and war, pestilence, famine, or birth control will soon 
be called upon to reduce the number of the world's citizens. 
Either fewer people must in the next century be born or 
death must use his scythe more freely in clearing the field 
for future generations. 

Among the lower orders nature herself acts to restrict 
the overproduction of any given species. By cold and 
heat, by drought and flood, by pitting one species against 
another in the bitter struggle for existence, nature arranges 
her plan so that no one group shall find it a practical pos- 
sibility to overrun the surface of the earth at the expense 
of others. But man in his abundant wisdom has subdued 
the forces of nature, making the wind and the waterfall his 
slaves, transforming the destroying power of the torrent 
into his docile servant and driving his former enemies of the 
jungle far into hiding or domesticating them into meek, help- 
less cattle doing his bidding or yielding provender for his ta- 
ble. The natural checks to his preponderant breeding have 
more and more under civilization been set aside until in the 
twentieth century only his own will and the invisible enemies 
of mankind, social injustice and disease, act to restrain his 
excessive fertility. In addition, the altruistic impulses 

94 The Laws of Sex 

dictate that even the weak, the degenerate and the diseased 
shall enjoy tenure of life, with the result that the efficient 
members of the race drag constantly after them a dead 
weight of human wreckage which breeds and breeds again, 
polluting the racial life and stemming the onward march 
of human progress. 

In face of these facts the antagonists of birth control 
can scarcely maintain successfully that indiscriminate re- 
production can be continued at the present rate without 
plunging the human race into inevitable destruction. Cer- 
tainly war, pestilence, famine and fratricide are less de- 
sirable measures than birth control among civilized people. 

It is a strange and remarkable thing to observe in the 
history of humanity how fully germ plasm appears to con- 
tain the elements essential to progress and racial develop- 
ment. Its psychical manifestation in the mind of man 
presents invariably the solution to vital problems when 
they have become so acute that further progress is de- 
pendent upon their solution. Until the present era the 
racial demand was quite obviously in behalf of a greater 
population. Birth control would have diminished not in- 
creased the chances for racial prosperity until the twentieth 
century. Now the tide appears to have set in the opposite 
direction and the need is for more efficient, better bred 
individuals and not merely for a more numerous popula- 
tion. The time has come when the eugenic principle of ex- 
ercising care and judgment in the selection of the race 
stock can to advantage be put into operation and syn- 
chronously the demand for birth control is coming more 
and more to be heard for all manner and classes of people. 
As always the forces of religion and prejudice are ranged 
on the conservative side and the Catholic Church particu- 
larly, which decrees celibacy for its priests, preaches that 
contraceptive methods are anathema. Women must bear 
children and continue to bear them, especially in the true 

The Ethical Aspects of Birth Control 95 

faith ; whether they die in the process or whether the world 
reaps any good from it is a secondary consideration. 

The main difficulty in the way of birth control, mo- 
mentarily omitting the artificial legal impediments in 
America from the argument, is the absence of reliable and 
aesthetic contraceptive methods which do not impede the 
spiritual enjoyment of the sex emotion. The ordinary 
methods of the condom, the tampon, the douche or with- 
drawal, are all more or less offensive to persons of refined 
disposition and are by no means certain to achieve their 
objective. Many persons who have consistently practiced 
birth control by one or another of these methods have 
produced large families without the slightest desire or 
intention. Moreover, after the children have been born, 
their parents have in an astonishing number of instances 
rejoiced at the new members of their household and have 
found that they could support additional offspring con- 
trary to their expectation. Which indicates that conso- 
nantly with propaganda for birth control, and especially 
with the methods perfected, adequate teaching in the natural 
desirability of parenthood should be instituted, supple- 
mented by maternity benefits. 

It is of absolute importance that the method of birth 
control to be devised, whether it be through the use of the 
X-ray, the local application of a specific chemical, or what 
not, should render the individual sterile only for a com- 
paratively short space of time a few months or a year, and 
that it should not be permanent, for with a change in 
economic status children might become greatly desired and 
the happiness of the individual be dependent upon his power 
of reproduction. 

It appears probable that the use of the X-ray may prove 
to be a reliable and aesthetic method of preventing con- 
ception, for the casual experiments that have been unin- 
tentionally performed by physicians and others on them- 

96 The Laws of Sex 

selves have shown the remarkable efficiency of the X-ray 
in producing temporary sterility. Experiments on white 
rats indicate that the mature sex cells in the female are 
more easily affected than the immature and that in the 
male the reverse is the case. It is possible therefore that 
this method may offer excellent results in women especially, 
if the proper dosage is determined. Since the X-ray has 
been found to produce malformations in the developing eggs 
of the lower orders it is important that it be tried out ex- 
perimentally with great thoroughness before being used on 
human beings. 

In the sterilization of defectives, criminals and the insane 
the X-ray would, if justified experimentally, be a more 
humane and less troublesome method than the operative 
procedure at present in vogue. 

The use of chemicals in birth control would, even if a 
reliable drug were discovered, be less desirable than the 
X-ray because of aesthetic considerations. 

In the practical teaching of birth control the present 
methods offer unpleasant subject matter, for the intimate 
description of the sex act, and the detailed directions for 
local application affect the non-medical mind as porno- 
graphic. Modesty and fine feeling are always offended at 
the cold application of the facts of physiology to the in- 
timate relationship of sex, especially when the individual 
is sufficiently developed to regard the relation largely in 
its spiritual aspects. The same natural and commendatory 
reticence that brings self-respecting people to restrain their 
embraces to the privacy of their own homes and to conceal 
the manifestations of their mutual affection from the public 
view leads them to resent even medical directions associated 
with their own sexual acts. 

It is probable that a considerable proportion of the 
present objection to birth control arises from a native 
repugnance to the methods that are of necessity prescribed. 
So great a number of people feel that any mention of sex, 

The Ethical Aspects of Birth Control 97 

whether it be in accord or discord with facts, is in itself 
essentially wrong and disgusting, that they naturally con- 
demn the plain speaking involved in teaching birth control. 
It is probable that the instinctive antagonism of this group 
would be considerably softened if a more aesthetic method 
could be devised. 

The great bulk of the objection to birth control, how- 
ever, arises from two antithetical groups first, the men 
who by the viciousness of their own lives have come to 
associate enjoyment of sex with prostitution and perver- 
sions, and who have themselves in many instances been 
rendered sterile by venereal diseases and second, the 
women who have in their virtue so repressed their sexual 
instincts that passion has become to a large degree in- 
hibited or diverted into other than sexual channels. Both 
these groups agree, as do almost all rational beings, that 
defectives, criminals and the insane should not be encour- 
aged to reproduce, and that the number of children in any 
family should not be greatly disproportionate to the family 
income. They recommend, however, self-control instead of 
birth control, and claim that the sexual function is abused 
and degraded when it is divorced from reproduction. 

The psychology of these people is not difficult to analyze. 
The man who has indulged himself in prostitution looks 
upon marriage as an institution for the procreation of 
children and does not associate it with the enjoyment of 
sexual passions. The use of sex for pleasure in his case 
has been so intimately connected with its abuse in illicit 
and shameful intercourse that to associate the enjoyment 
of sex, not directed toward reproduction, with a virtuous 
woman such as his wife, would be to degrade her to the 
level of his former sexual partners. The woman, on the 
contrary, has received her inhibition as a result of her 
horror at the thought of sexual intercourse. From her 
earliest youth she has been trained to the belief that sex 
is essentially shameful and vile and she regards reproduc- 

98 The Laws ojf Sex 

tion as a necessary evil which from time to time vindicates 
the indignity and prurience of sex relations. In behalf of 
the race she feels that reproduction must go on despite 
its dependence upon conduct unbecoming adult and self- 
respecting human beings, but she would prefer that children 
should grow on trees or rosebushes, for the thought of sexual 
union revolts and embarrasses her. It is not uncommon 
to come across virtuous married women who fully believe 
that the pains of child birth were instituted by an all-know- 
ing Providence as a penance for sex relations. Indeed, the 
teachings of the church have not always varied greatly 
from this extraordinary supposition. 

There are two mental complexes that frequently differen- 
tiate the antagonists from the protagonists of birth control. 
One combines the ideas that medical prophylaxis is in- 
dispensable and that diseased prostitutes should be quar- 
antined; that immorality is unavoidable; that men "can- 
not be legislated into virtue," and that sex is thoroughly 
honorable only when it is used for reproduction. The other 
holds that prophylaxis constitutes the open toleration of 
vice and should be made illegal; that prostitution should be 
repressed and not regulated; that the double standard of 
morals will not always prevail and that sex is of a dual na- 
ture and should not be directed exclusively toward procre- 

In addition to these two principal groups there are, of 
course, many other combinations of opinions, represented, 
for example, by Dr. William G. Robinson and his followers, 
who believe as he himself has publicly stated that sexual 
promiscuity is not only justifiable but desirable; that it is 
destined to increase and that medical prophylaxis can be 
relied upon to check its venereal consequences. 

A very significant number of the opponents to birth con- 
trol are themselves childless, and it is doubtless the fact that 
they are denied the joy of parenthood that makes the re- 
productive side of the sex function seem so exclusively im- 

The Ethical Aspects of Birth Control 99 

portant to them. What a person desires poignantly for 
himself always seems a natural desire in other people. 

Moreover, there is a certain very reasonable basis for the 
insistence that procreation should not be too widely removed 
from the sex function. When an act is divorced from &ny 
of its natural consequences misinterpretation of the act is 
apt to ensue with the result that unhappiness often follows 
and the individual finds himself incapable of achieving his 
desires when it is too late for him to readjust his conduct. 
For instance, a certain number of married people who have 
practiced birth control for a long period of time and who 
later find themselves unable to have children often repent 
of their conduct most bitterly and inveigh against their 
earlier practices with exaggerated intensity. They would 
force all people to use sex for the exclusive purpose of pro- 
creation, for in their own case they have found the opposite 
procedure to lead to such disappointing consequences. 
Alcohol furnishes another example of the perversion of a 
natural instinct from its functional usefulness. When a 
person drinks not because he is thirsty but for an ulterior 
purpose, health is jeopardized and happiness is placed more 
and more beyond the range of accessibility. 

One of the lessons that has obviously been set by the 
Almighty for human beings to learn is the right use of the 
sex function and the miracle of the birth of a child is an 
essential factor toward comprehension. It is precisely be- 
cause parenthood is so clearly worth while, because the 
child is the physical embodiment of the spiritual love of 
two human beings that apprehension with regard to the 
repudiation of the power of procreation under birth con- 
trol need not be entertained among civilized people. Con- 
trary to the opinion of the antagonists of birth control 
children are commonly recognized as being desirable by the 
great majority of normal men and women and there are few 
married couples who do not desire to have at least one or 
two offspring if their economic condition is not too op- 

100 The Laws of Sex 

pressive. The natural egotism of human beings and their 
native desire not to be outdone by their fellows supplements 
the sexual instinct, and brings thousands of married women 
to the consulting room when they have been rendered sterile 
by venereal infection. 

The confusion of the terms reproductive instinct and 
sexual instinct has done much to place the whole question of 
birth control in a prejudiced light before the public. The 
instinct to mate, that is the sexual instinct, is a fact ob- 
servable throughout the animal world. It has nothing to do, 
however, with the conscious desire for reproduction, for 
it is inconceivable that the lower orders such as the lion or 
the birds should realize that mating even results in procrea- 
tion. It is only a short space of time since man discovered 
the true relation of the sex act to inheritance. 5 Aristotle 
says: "The male is the efficient agent and by the motion 
of his generative virtue (geniture) creates what is intended 
from the matter contained in the female; for the female 
always supplies the matter, the male the power of creation 
and this is what constitutes one male and the other female. 
The body then proceeds from the female, the vital principle 
(anima) from the male; for the essence of every body is its 
vital principle." 6 

Harvey imagined that conception in the uterus was 
analogous to conception in the brain and wrote: "And 
just as desire arises from a conception of the brain, and 
this conception springs from some external object of de- 
sire, so also from the male, as being the more perfect animal, 
and, as it were the natural object of desire, does the natural 
(organic) conception arise in the uterus, even as the animal 
conception does in the brain." 7 

The discovery at the hands of Leeuwenhoek of the 
spermatozoa in 1677, following the improvement and use 
of the microscope in the study of reproductive substances 

Frank E. Lillie. The Fertilization Problem. 

* Aristotle. De Generations Animaliwn. 

T Wm. Harvey. Exercitationeg de Gen. Anim., 1651. 

The Ethical Aspects of Birth Control 101 

gave rise to great interest and the most extravagant theories 
in connection with the male and female power of procrea- 
tion. "I put this down as a certain truth," wrote Leeuwen- 
hoek in 1699, "that the shape of the human body is in- 
cluded in an animal of the masculine seed.'* 8 

Nicholas Hartsolker, in 1694, who claimed priority in 
the discovery of the spermatozoa, although his work did 
not appear until a year later than Leeuwenhoek's, put for- 
ward the theory that the ovum merely furnished a source 
of nourishment for the sperm and that a complete male 
or female animal was contained in each spermatozoon. This 
theory of course excluded the possibility of maternal in- 

In the eighteenth century two theories of reproduction 
were brought forward phrased as follows by Spallanzani: 
"The one explains the development of organisms mechani- 
cally, the other supposes them to preexist, and waiting only 
for fertilization to develop them. The second system has 
given birth to two different parties, one believing that the 
organism is preformed in the ovum, the other that it is pre- 
formed in the spermatozoon." 

In the early part of the nineteenth century following a 
long series of experiments on the fertilization of frogs Pre- 
vost and Dumas concluded that a spermatozoon penetrates 
each egg and becomes the rudiment of the nervous system, 
and that "the membrane (germ disc) in which it is implanted, 
furnishes, by the diverse modification which it undergoes 
all the other organs of the embryo." 

It was not until 1841 when Lallemand expressed the 
opinion of those who believed in the union of the ovum and 
the spermatozoon that the importance of the maternal 
factor in inheritance came to be recognized. 

"Each of the sexes furnishes material already organized 

Phil. Trans., Vol. 31. 

* Abb6 Spallanzani. Experiences pour servir it VJiistoire de la 
tion des Anirruwx, 1785. 
M Provost and Dumas. New Theory of Reproduction, 1824. 

102 The Laws of Sex 

and living," he wrote. "Fertilization is the union of two 
living parts which mutually complete each other and de- 
velop in common." 

Before this time the mother had been regarded merel} r 
as a passive factor in reproduction, as a sort of natural in- 
cubator for the male germ cell which alone was supposed 
to transmit the life of the species. 

Modern investigation initiated by Hertwig and Fol, 
and carried on by Fleming, Mark, Van Beneden, Loeb, 
Morgan and others, resulted in the nuclear theory, recog- 
nizing the duality of all life in which nucleus and cytoplasm 
play specific roles, and later developing into the doctrine 
of chromosome individuality, which establishes on scientific 
grounds common inheritance from both the male and female 

It has now been discovered that one additional chromo- 
some receptor comes from the female parent which may 
presuppose an accentuated maternal inheritance. Mean- 
while mankind has been regarding the mother more as a 
vehicle for the perpetuation of man's life in this sphere 
than as an active participant in generation. To presuppose 
an instinct in woman to reproduce when it was imagined 
that the very avenue of reproduction was closed to her is 
typical of the reasoning that has been applied to sex 
throughout the ages. 

The existence of the maternal and to some extent the 
paternal instinct cannot be questioned, for after the birth 
of the young it automatically appears, at least among the 
birds and the mammals, but this is as far removed from the 
so-called reproductive instinct as mating is from the birth 
of a child. 

The reason why nature has made the passion to mate 
so strong, the reason why sexual desire has been made the 
instrument toward the physical union of the two sexes may 
very possibly be because the pain and sacrifice incident to 
the bearing and rearing of children would not in the opinion 

The Ethical Aspects of Birth Control 103 

of savage and undeveloped people be worth while, if pas- 
sion could be satisfied independently. Instincts to be de- 
serving of the name must be universal like hunger or thirst 
and not appear merely sporadically, and even then subject 
to the conscious will of the individual. 

If the reproductive instinct really exists does it entail 
the generation of one or twenty children? The man who 
desires sexual union with a woman does not necessarily by 
that same token wish through that specific act to have a 
child by her. Indeed the contrary is often the case as 
both the antagonists and proponents of birth control agree. 
When, then, does the sexual instinct, the instinct to mate, 
become the alleged instinct toward reproduction? Certainly 
only when the conscious will of the individual specifically 
recommends procreation which effectively differentiates the 
sexual instinct from its supposed counterpart in repro- 

Those who most vehemently contend that the sexual in- 
stinct is the instinct toward reproduction and who inveigh 
against contraceptive methods as being counter to a law 
of nature belie their own assertions absolutely when they 
are unwilling to rely upon it for the continuance of the 
species. The instincts of hunger and thirst or of self- 
preservation cause no such nervousness as to their con- 
tinued existence that legal methods for their support have 
to be instituted in order to insure their constant operation. 
If there is an instinct toward reproduction why should they 
think it necessary to make birth control a felony? Normal 
people eat and drink, although they have to work for their 
provender, and there is no law that they shall be sent to 
the penitentiary if they fast even unreasonably. The 
truth is that the sexual instinct is nothing more nor less 
than an instinct to mate, and that it acts independently 
of the desire for reproduction. The desire for a child is 
not an instinct, for it is not by any means present in all 
normal human beings even under conditions favorable to 

104 The Laws of Sex 

reproduction; moreover, it has no intrinsic connection with 
the sexual act for some people desire no children at all 
and others desire many children. The wish for a child is 
analogous to the wish for a home, it is a possession which 
is recognized by normal human beings as desirable and 
when once it has come maternal and paternal love give it 
an extraordinary but very real value. 

There is no doubt but that children are an immense asset 
to the efficiency and happiness of adult men and women; 
they provide an incomparable stimulus to interest and 
effort and they unite husband and wife in a common bond 
of hope and responsibility. For the antagonists of birth 
control to suppose that men and women would no longer 
have children if the sex relation were artificially separated 
from its power of generation is to imagine a degree of selfish- 
ness and stupidity inherent in humanity that is fortunately 
non-existent. It would doubtless be dangerous to put birth 
control measures into the power of cattle or swine, but 
it is another matter in the case of humanity. Children 
are the crown of life, the greatest of all joys, barring none, 
that fall to the lot of a man and woman who love one 
another, and for a purient and narrow-minded group of 
individuals to presume to dictate that the human race shall 
breed as do the lower animals without respect to judgment, 
economics, or free will is to take into their unworthy hands 
the prerogative of the Almighty. Man has been given 
judgment that he may use it, not that he may act contrary 
to its dictates, and it is obviously the part of unreason 
for a woman to continue to waste her energies on producing 
miscarriages or on bearing more children than she can 
rear in decency when measures are at hand which can save 
such useless suffering. Disease itself involves a series of 
natural consequences but that does not eliminate the value 
or righteousness of preventive medicine. 

In the past the need for manual laborers was so great 
that abundant procreation on the part of the working 

The Ethical Aspects of Birth Control 105 

classes was more or less essential to the evolution of civiliza- 
tion. The development of machinery has to some extent 
eliminated this necessity but the exploiting classes still 
recognize the relation of a large group of workers to their 
material interests. Strikes, high wages, better working 
conditions, are more apt to ensue if the number of workers 
is proportionately small, hence it is to the advantage of 
those who profit from the exploitation of labor to en- 
courage reproduction on as large a scale as possible. A 
diminution in the size of working men's families automati- 
cally reduces the pressure which the capitalist can bring 
to bear on this stratum of society; moreover, with fewer 
offspring the workingman can afford to provide better 
educational opportunities for the children he has with the 
result that they are more able to throw off the yoke of an 
oppressive economic system. The organized church repre- 
senting a past age and responding to the dictates of its finan- 
cial supporters tends to encourage procreation and lends 
religious influence to the preservation of the status quo. 
No consciously invidious purpose directs the action of the 
church or the capitalist in this respect; classes, like indi- 
viduals, often sense their fundamental interests without the 
direct intervention of the rational mind. Acts which result 
in the furtherance of their interests appear to them good 
and such behavior is in consequence defined by them as moral. 

The economic system which condemns a great part of 
the intelligent female population to eternal celibacy and 
which penalizes procreation unnecessarily, represents a 
transitory arrangement of human affairs which can eventu- 
ally be readjusted in consonance with the higher welfare of 
humanity. Yet even under a more equable economic system 
it is not to be supposed that men and women can reproduce 
without restriction for the earth's surface is neither suffi- 
ciently vast nor sufficiently equipped with natural resources 
to permit of the complete utilization of human fertility. 

But, the opponents of contraceptive measures will inter- 

106 The Laws of Sex 

vene, self-control is a more effective method than birth 
control in regulating reproduction. This is the crux of 
the whole matter; whether humanity is to turn to sexual 
abstinence or contraceptive measures for bringing procrea- 
tion within the bounds of economic possibility. So far as 
the child is concerned it matters not whether its potential 
parents remain unmarried, whether they practice birth con- 
trol or abortion, whether they marry and then restrain 
themselves from intercourse, or whether they use the method 
of male continence recommended by the Oneida Colony 
for the avoidance of conception. 

In all of these events living issue is effectively prevented, 
so the question resolves itself into the ethical values of birth 
control in relation to sexual conduct. In connection with 
abortion the violation of the life of another human being 
is involved, for when conception has taken place the fertil- 
ized ovum comes into possession of its own intrinsic life 
and humanity has learned through long experience that 
murder is an unwarrantable procedure. To destroy the 
fertilized ovum is parallel to destroying the child immedi- 
ately after birth for the two are but one and the same 
thing in different stages of development. Any act which 
tends to defame the sacredness of human life is clearly 
unethical and abortion falls into this category. Only when 
the life of the mother is at stake so that the state has to 
choose between preserving the child or the mother is it 
ethical for medicine to intervene and destroy the product 
of conception. Moreover, the production of abortion im- 
pairs to a greater or less degree the procreative power of 
the mother which renders it as a method of birth control 
comparatively disadvantageous. 

In the prevention of conception, however, the violation 
of human life is not involved for self-control and birth 
control act equally to eliminate the possibility of fertiliza- 

The ethical values involved in birth control can onlv be 

The Ethical Aspects of Birth Control 107 

comprehended by those who understand clearly the function 
of sex in human life. Among the lower orders the primary 
purpose of sex is obviously reproduction. The gratification 
of the sexual instinct is a means to an end, and when the 
sexual act is divorced from procreation neither the in- 
dividual nor the species gains in proportionate benefits. 
Among human beings, on the contrary, the individualization 
of the sexual impulse has become so profound, that the use 
of the sex act apart from love inevitably appears as un- 
ethical conduct. The idea of breeding human beings to- 
gether purely for the purpose of reproduction, as is done 
in the case of cattle, is obnoxious to the highly evolution- 
ized man or woman even though eugenic principles be strictly 
regarded in the mating. When it was reported that this 
procedure was being followed in Germany for the purpose 
of increasing the population, civilization revolted at the 
idea and recognized beyond question the intrinsic moral 
degradation involved in this attitude toward the relation 
between the sexes. 

Reproduction alone cannot therefore be regarded among 
human beings as offering a sufficient justification for sexual 
relations. Sensuous pleasure, on the other hand, the mere 
gratification of the sexual instinct, without regard to the 
personality of the sex partner, is equally under the ban 
of civilized idealism. Love as the human expression of the 
principle of sexual selection is recognized as the essential 
basis for sex relations between men and women. It is this 
fact which determines the moral value of monogamous unions 
and which proscribes polygamy or polyandry among highly 
evolutionized human beings. 

The importance of birth control in monogamous mar- 
riage can hardly be overestimated. Sexual desire always 
awakens at least in the male before full economic produc- 
tivity has been accomplished. The young man cannot afford 
to marry if by so doing he straightway becomes responsible 
for the financial support of a wife and children. The pop- 

108 The Laws of Sex 

ular dictum that the man who desires to succeed in the 
arts and sciences must abjure marriage has a very prac- 
tical basis in experience. The man who is driven too hard 
by the actual needs of his family is forced to forgo his 
higher aspirations and to turn his attention instead to 
commercial considerations. Thus love, which should be an 
incentive to the creative impulses of the individual, becomes 
a sort of millstone which drags him down to a debasing 
materialism. It is this disillusioning experience of his fel- 
lows which leads many young men to choose, and which 
tends to give public sanction to, illicit relationships in 
place of early marriage. A man can secure sexual gratifica- 
tion at a comparatively small price through the patronage 
of prostitutes or by temporarily keeping some woman, ancl 
while the expense of maintaining a family in comfort is 
financially out of the question, it is to be anticipated that 
he will follow the example of other men and reduce his 
morals to the proportion of his financial resources. 

If on the other hand it were possible for him to marry 
an economically independent woman and for them both 
to look forward to having children when they could afford 
to do so, the impulse to indulge in purely sensuous sex 
affairs would be greatly diminished. Men ordinarily accept 
loveless mating merely as the lesser of two evils and where 
they are not forced to choose between sexual abstinence 
and prostitution their better instincts can normally be de- 
pended upon to prevent their degradation of the sexual 

It is doubtless this economic factor that has furthered 
the development of prostitution under civilization for among 
more primitive peoples the demand for illicit relationships 
is to a great extent eliminated by early marriage. Past 
experience has clearly proven that where birth control 
methods are not understood the violation of wedlock fre- 
quently follows. Married women whose health has been 
ruined through the overproduction of children revolt against 

The Ethical Aspects of Birth Control 109 

sexual intercourse with the result that their husbands, 
sometimes even with the wife's sanction, seek satisfaction 
from outside sources. 

As a factor in amalgamating the family unit voluntary 
parenthood is of great significance. When the function 
of sex is considered simply in its racial aspects and the 
personal element is disregarded, estrangements between 
husband and wife are apt to ensue. The expression of affec- 
tional impulses conduces to a continuance of the emotion 
and inhibition often leads to perversion. In case of the de- 
nial of marital relations either the husband or wife is liable 
to seek a more sympathetic sex partner elsewhere. Adulter- 
ous thoughts result from the stimulation of sexual desire 
unless it is satisfied and adulterous action frequently fol- 
lows. The intimacy of family life predisposes to sexual 
hunger and even though a man truly loves his wife he may 
be led to marital infidelity if she consistently refuses to meet 
his advances. 

The complete satisfaction of sexual desire, the mutual 
enjoyment of passion, is an indispensable element in suc- 
cessful monogamous marriage. The mate is really not a 
mate at all in the deepest sense if he or she fails to com- 
prehend the natural yearning for physical union. The 
emotion of love is embodied in physical passion and love 
itself is repudiated when it is denied full expression. 

Moreover, love itself is dependent upon the continual de- 
velopment of its possessors, and when marriage acts to 
stultify and inhibit the creative impulses of husband and 
wife it defeats its primary objective. 

There is absolutely no doubt but that birth control is 
essential to the economic independence of women and upon 
this factor equality in the sex relationship is ultimately 
dependent. The woman who is self-supporting can with 
no inconvenience continue at her occupation after marriage 
unless she has children. Wedlock itself takes no more time 
for a woman than for a man, but with reproduction she 

110 The Lews of Sea: 

finds herself temporarily set aside from her chosen occupa- 
tion. In the professions, such as teaching, voluntary 
parenthood would greatly facilitate the woman's retaining 
her position for she could select a convenient time for pro- 
creation when the birth of her child would not unnecessarily 
prejudice her usefulness. Surely it would be better for 
the race for the great group of teachers to marry and 
produce even a few children of good inheritance, than for 
them to remain as they are, condemned by economic con- 
siderations to endure continual celibacy. Heretofore 
women have been forced to choose between marriage and a 
career proportionate to their natural endowments, but 
under a regime of voluntary parenthood no such hard 
choice would be their portion. Many of the most splendid 
women the world has ever known have left no children to 
carry their inheritance forward for marriage precluded 
their activity in the world's work, and they felt that they 
were not justified in making the sacrifice. Florence Nightin- 
gale herself relates that she refused the happiness of mar- 
riage because the call of her profession was so strong that 
she dared not repudiate it. 

For a woman to remain as an inspiring and congenial 
companion to a man throughout life she needs other means 
to development than are afforded today in the trivialities 
associated with the ordering of the individual household. 
Congenial work is essential to the development of intelli- 
gence whether it be compassed in male or female form. 
Moreover, motherhood itself as a determinant in the en- 
vironment of the children should especially be endowed witli 
a maximum of intellectual understanding. 

While voluntary parenthood would increase the chances 
for improvement in the race stock through the release of 
desirable maternal inheritance, this is not the only way 
in which it would operate beneficially upon the germ plasm 
of future generations. With birth control measures freely 
placed in possession of all classes of society it may fairly 

The Ethical Aspects of Birth Control 111 

be assumed that selfish and vicious people would avail them- 
selves more proportionately of this method of avoiding re- 
sponsibility than would altruistic and intelligent men and 
women. The defective and degenerate seeking sexual 
gratification without regard to the racial welfare or making 
sex a means of barter would beyond doubt, especially in 
the case of women, practice birth control consistently, if 
the method were adapted to their mentality. Only the 
more intelligent who desired to express themselves through 
altruistic effort would take the burden of voluntary 
parental responsibility upon their shoulders. At the pres- 
ent time with knowledge of birth control restricted to the 
upper classes, the reverse is the case, for those of low in- 
telligence procreate proportionately more than those of 
higher native endowment. The criminal, the feeble minded, 
and the victims of constitutional disease or recurrent 
mental derangement would doubtless almost without excep- 
tion prefer to divorce sexual gratification from procreation 
if with no discomfort to themselves they were permitted 
to do so. If the X-ray, for example, were found to be a 
practical method for inducing permanent sterility these 
classes could within a reasonably short space of time be 
relied upon to reduce their number greatly in every com- 
munity. As a means of solving the colored problem also, 
birth control would operate very effectively. Since it ap- 
pears that in the near future a reduction of the birth rate 
will be an economic necessity, the opportunity which the 
institution of voluntary parenthood affords for improving 
and purifying the race stock should clearly without delay 
be utilized. Before birth control can, however, be turned 
to this practical end fundamental improvements in contra- 
ceptive methods must be devised, for the measures at present 
available demand intelligence and a certain amount of re- 
straint in their use and are therefore ineffective among 
the lowest classes. 

To advocate sexual abstinence as a means of reducing 

112 The Laws of Sea: 

the birth rate to the range of economic feasibility, and to 
retard teaching in contraceptive measures, is to presuppose 
a degeneration of the race stock, for it would leave pro- 
creation in the power of those who were merely the slaves 
of their animal passions, and would diminish the number of 
children chiefly among such people as were of uncommon 
mental and moral fibre. 

Those who oppose the substitution of contraceptive 
measures for sexual abstinence in marriage clearly do not 
consider love to be a sufficient basis for sex relationships. 
Even though a man and a woman truly love one another 
and are united in monogamous marriage the antagonists 
of birth control would deny them sexual union, except for 
the direct purpose of reproduction. In other words, the 
child and not love is regarded by them as the essential 
justification of the sexual act. 

An examination of the institution of prostitution indi- 
cates that they cannot support their position on moral 

The intrinsic degradation of prostitution is associated 
with two definite ethical concepts in the mind of man ; 
first, the purpose of sex is to enrich the racial life, and 
second, sex is not a commodity that can rightfully be 
used for any kind of barter. 

The man who uses a prostitute is condemned because he 
uses his power of sex for a purely selfish and unproductive 
purpose. Sex represents the racial life and is 'abused when 
it is turned solely to the transitory enjoyment of the in- 
dividual. It is a means to expression, to creation and is 
transformed to a debasing and anti-social factor when it 
fails to express love and to stimulate creative effort. 

The prostitute who sells her body, or indeed the woman 
who marries for economic considerations, is judged, not on 
the ground that she has denied the purpose of sex in re- 
production, but because humanity recognizes that love is 

The Ethical Aspects of Birth Control 113 

a free gift between human beings and that sex relations are 
only justifiable where love exists. 

Money, social station, ambition of any sort, as an ulterior 
basis for sex relations is recognized from the outset as an 
unworthy motive, for love cannot be bought and sold even 
though its counterfeit is on sale at any street corner. 

The antagonists of birth control who demand reproduc- 
tion as the sole justification for sex relationships would 
place sex permanently on a basis of prostitution, making 
the child the price for which men and women might pur- 
chase for themselves the pleasures of sexual companionship. 
The unreality of their position is clearly seen in the case 
of the man and the woman who are by nature sterile but 
whose lives are enriched and made socially more productive 
for the race through the happiness and stimulus resulting 
from their congenial marriage. 

Sex among human beings is a creative power but the 
children of love appear not in the flesh alone, but in art, 
music, science and altruistic effort. 

Beautiful as they are, mortal children fail to embody 
the immortality of the spirit, and true sexual union is 
only achieved when the spiritual as well as the physical 
natures unite in the expression of God's will in the universe. 

The opponents of birth control would rob Love of his 
wings and reduce him to a carnal level; but Eros, though 
a blind deity, will escape their hands and lead humanity on 
to its complete creative accomplishment. 

Sex is the language of love and when used to express 
man's supreme emotion it speaks a fundamental truth and 
needs no ulterior justification. 



During the past three years, as a direct result of the Gov- 
ernment's venereal disease campaign, a considerable amount 
of legislation designed to restrict the commercialized aspects 
of prostitution has been placed upon the statute books. 1 
Previously to 1917, forty-two states had enacted laws 
against setting up or maintaining houses of prostitution. 
Forty-four states had made compulsory prostitution a crime, 
forty-five states had forbidden pandering, and 36 pimp- 
ing and living off the earnings of a prostitute. The Red 
Light Injunction and Abatement law had been passed by 
twenty-seven states prior to 1917, and twelve additional 
states have since that time included this law among their 
statutes. In one stale, New Jersey, the Injunction and 
Abatement law has been declared unconstitutional. The 
legislation that has been enacted since 1917 is especially 
interesting in that it tends to hold both parties to prosti- 
tution equally guilty before the law. Prior to 1919 there 
was no statutory definition of prostitution except in the 
Indiana Code. Prostitution was not an offense at com- 
mon law, but was regarded merely as a spiritual trans- 
gression not punishable in the secular courts. In twenty* 
eight states, before 1917, prostitutes had been classed as 
vagrants or disorderly persons, and were held either under 
this or under the discriminatory solicitation laws. The 
patronage of prostitutes was nowhere regarded as an of- 
fense against the law, except in Indiana, where the law 

* George E. Worthington. Developments in Social Hygiene Legislation 
from 1917 to Sept. 1, 1920. 


The Present Statutes 115 

provided that "a male who frequents or visits a house or 
houses of ill fame or assignation, except as a physician, 
or associates with women known or reputed as prostitutes, 
shall be fined $10 to $100, and imprisoned in the county jail 
from ten to sixty days." 

In New York, South Dakota and Wisconsin, somewhat 
similar legislation had been passed, but in 1917 the Supreme 
Court of South Dakota held the law to be unconstitutional 
as a denial of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 
Such an ordinance, the Court declared, "would prevent per- 
sonal effort on the part of male citizens to uplift and amelio- 
rate the condition of fallen women." 

With the inception of the Government's campaign for 
the protection of the soldiers during the war, and doubt- 
less as a by-product of the increasing emancipation of 
women, the responsibility of the male in the commerce of 
prostitution came to be recognized. 

Form Law No. 1, which was prepared by the law enforce- 
ment division of the Commission on Training Camp Activi- 
ties, and which has in large part been enacted into law 
in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hamp- 
shire, North Dakota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island 
and Wisconsin, provides: "Sec. 2. That the term 'pros- 
titution' shall be construed to include the giving or receiv- 
ing of the body for sexual intercourse for hire, and shall 
also be construed to include the giving or receiving of the 
body for indiscriminate sexual intercourse without hire." 

While this law would appear to mark a distinct gain by 
placing the two parties to prostitution upon an equal basis, 
in reality it is frequently either a dead letter or is directed 
only against the woman, the man being ordinarily held 
merely as the state's witness. 2 

*In Maryland the courts have repeatedly held that when a man and 
a woman are both held on a charge of immorality neither can be forced 
to testify against the other, as such testimony would be self-incrim- 
inatory. Under the Constitution no person can be forced to testify 
against himself. 

116 The Laws of Sex 

In Iowa and Illinois, before Form Law No. 1 was drawn 
up, the Court had already ruled that a man could not be 
guilty of prostitution, only females coming within the defi- 

Form Law No. 1 also provides penalization for the inter- 
mediaries in prostitution, the taxi driver, the pimp, the 
madam, etc. 

In twenty-six states solicitation for prostitution on the 
part of women is an offense against the law, and in thirteen 
states both men and women are equally liable. 

In most of the states the laws for the repression of prosti- 
tution are still more or less haphazard and incomplete, and 
need rational revision in order to be adapted in practice to 
their objective. 

On the constructive side the situation is even more difficult 
and discouraging. In 1873, at the instigation of Anthony 
Comstock, the Federal Obscenity Act was passed, providing 
a penalty of not more than five years in prison or $5,000 
fine, or both, for using the United States mails to distribute 
information or "articles" for preventing conception. All 
but five states now have similar obscenity statutes. In 
eighteen states the law makes it a crime to give informa- 
tion in any way whatever, written or verbally, with regard 
to birth control. In New York and in many of the other 
states the penalty is imprisonment from ten days to one 
year or a fine of from $50 to $1,000, or both, for each 
offense. While public opinion in no wise supports these 
statutes, it is difficult to secure their repeal, for politicians 
hesitate to involve themselves in this sort of legislation. 

A review of the laws in the various states governing the 
sex relation discloses with startling clarity the fact that 
in America no firm consensus of opinion exists on the stat- 
ute books with regard to the standardization of sexual con- 
duct. Acts which in one state are classified as felonies, 
in another state may not be penalized at all, and offenses 
which in some states involve hanging as a penalty, in 

The Present Statutes 117 

other states are not even recognized as a violation of the 
law. The divergence in the degree of punishment meted 
out for sexual crime is so great as to constitute practical 
anarchy, for punishment depends not upon the character 
of the act committed, but upon the place in which the of- 
fender happens to reside. 

For example, in Arkansas, Delaware, Louisiana, Nevada 
and Tennessee, there is no adequate law against adultery, 
whereas in California the same offense may be penalised by 
imprisonment for five years in the penitentiary. In Arizona 
the adulterer may upon conviction be imprisoned for three 
years, but in the state next door no penalty whatsoever 
attaches to the violation of wedlock. 

The unreasonableness of this lack of conformity in the 
statutes is well evidenced in the town of Cardiff, which lies 
partly in Maryland and partly in Pennsylvania. If a per- 
son commits adultery on one side of the street he may 
be punished only by a maximum fine of $10, whereas if 
he commits the same act with the same person on the other 
side of the same highway he may be fined $500 or be ina- 
prisoned for one year in jail. 

An interesting commentary on the public attitude toward 
adultery is found in the Arizona code, which specifically 
provides that no prosecution can be commenced except on 
the complaint of the husband or wife. In this and in sev- 
eral other states the Government has apparently no concern 
in the protection of the basic institution of matrimony. 

The situation is even more palpably irrational with re- 
gard to the offense of fornication. In twelve states of 
the Union no law whatsoever against fornication appears 
upon the statute books. In the other thirty-six the pen- 
alty varies from a fine of $500 and imprisonment for 
one year in jail to the trifling fine of not more than $10. 

In Pennsylvania the law provides that "a single woman 
having a child born of her body, the same shall be sufficient 
to convict such single woman of fornication." Thus mother- 

118 The Laws of Sex 

hood itself is brought under the ban of the law and may 
be penalized by a fine of $100. 

With regard to the age of consent the statutes are still 
more anomalous, for heavy penalties are involved in the 
offense of rape, and yet the character of this crime shows 
a marked regional difference. In Georgia, for example, 
the age of consent is fourteen years, whereas in Tennessee 
"unlawful intercourse with a female child between the ages 
of twelve and twenty-one constitutes a felony, if the female 
is not a bawd, lewd or kept female." In South Carolina 
the age of consent is fourteen years, in Rhode Island fifteen 
years, in the District of Columbia sixteen years, and in most 
of the Western states eighteen years. In Alaska and Hawaii 
girls are protected only until they are twelve years old, 
whereas in Colorado and Washington both boys and girls 
are protected until their eighteenth year. 

It is not to be supposed that these divergent statutes are 
based upon any real consensus of opinion existent in the 
various states; they represent rather the archaic remains 
of a forgotten era, when mankind had not yet learned the 
importance of sexual conduct to the racial life. The scat- 
tered instances where the statutes have been revised indi- 
cate the first awakenings of the racial conscience, and show 
in what direction modern thought tends. 

The laws regarding marriage and divorce, and ultimately 
fixing the boundaries of recognized sex relationships are 
somewhat more uniform, but still differ so widely from state 
to state that it is impossible to believe that they are the 
result of rational foresight. 

Marriage licenses are required in all of the states and 
territories except Alaska. In California and New York 
both of the applicants are required to appear in person 
and to be examined under oath or to submit affidavits. 
Marriages between whites and persons of negro descent are 
prohibited and punishable in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, 

TKe Present Statutes 

California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, 
Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, 
Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, 
North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South 
Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Vir- 
ginia. Marriages between whites and Indians are void in 
Arizona, North Carolina, Oregon and South Carolina, and 
between whites and Chinese in Arizona, California, Missis- 
sippi, Oregon and Utah. The marriage of first cousins 
is forbidden in most of the states, as is also the marriage 
of an epileptic or imbecile. The marriage of step-relatives 
is outlawed in all but nineteen states of the Union. 

In thirteen states, Alabama, Michigan, New York, Penn- 
sylvania, Vermont, Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, North 
Dakota, New Jersey, Oregon, Oklahoma and Washington, 
the venereal diseases are specifically mentioned as a bar 
to marriage. In North Dakota, Oregon and Washington 
the restriction applies only to males, and in Alabama and 
Wisconsin females are exempted from examination; in the 
others both sexes are included. In Maine it is a misde- 
meanor for persons suffering with syphilis to marry. A 
physician's certificate is required only in Alabama, North 
Dakota, Oregon and Wisconsin. In Indiana the marriage 
of a person suffering from any transmissible disease is for- 
bidden, but a physician's certificate is not requisite. Utah 
provides that marriages between persons afflicted with vene- 
real diseases shall be void. 2 

The effect of these "eugenic" or "sanitary" marriage 
laws is conceded to be largely moral and educational. 3 

The age at which marriage is valid varies greatly in 
the different states, especially as it affects females. The 
age at which males may marry without their parents' con- 

1 Social Hygiene Legislation Manual, 1921, A. S. H. A. 
Fred S. Hall and Elizabeth W. Brooke. American Marriage Law 
in Their Social Aspects. 

120 The Laws of Sex 

sent is twenty-one in every state except Idaho, Illinois, 
Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, North 
Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia, where it is 
eighteen years. 

With the parents' consent males may marry at fourteen 
years in Kentucky, Louisiana, New Hampshire and Virginia ; 
at sixteen years in Iowa, Texas and Utah; at seventeen 
years in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Kansas ; at eigh- 
teen years in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, 
Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, 
New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Okla- 
homa, Oregon, Porto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, 
Tennessee, Wisconsin and Wyoming. There is no definite 
provision in Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Colum- 
bia, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, 
Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Vermont. 

The age at which females may marry without the parents' 
consent is sixteen years in Maryland and New Hampshire; 
twenty-one years in Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Pennsyl- 
vania, Porto Rico, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia 
and Wyoming; and eighteen years in all of the other states. 

With the parents' consent females may marry at twelve 
years in Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi and 
Virginia; at thirteen years in New Hampshire; at fourteen 
years in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, North 
Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Utah ; 
at fifteen years in California, Hawaii, Kansas, Minnesota, 
Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Okla- 
homa, South Dakota and Wisconsin; at sixteen years in 
Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, 
Ohio, Oregon, Porto Rico and West Virginia; at eighteen 
years in Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, New York, Tennessee 
and Vermont. 

The lowest age at which an unmarried female can make 
a valid contract except marriage is eighteen years in Arkan- 

The Present Statutes 121 

sas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, 
Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, 
Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont and Washington; and 
twenty-one years in all of the other states. Thus it is 
seen that marriage, which is without doubt the most im- 
portant relationship into which a girl can enter, becomes 
valid from the age of twelve years and upward, whereas 
all other contractual rights are invalid until she reaches at 
least the age of eighteen years. 

In all of the states of the Union, with one exception, adul- 
tery is a primary cause for the dissolution of marriage. 
No person can obtain a divorce on any grounds in South 
Carolina. The term of residence required by the various 
states for applicants for divorce varies from six months 
in Nevada to three to five years in Massachusetts. The causes 
for absolute divorce differ greatly, ranging from desertion 
for one year to extreme cruelty, adultery or insanity. 

In most states marriage may be annuled for want of 
age, former existing marriage, insanity, physical incapac- 
ity, force or fraud inducing marriage, or premarital un- 
chastity on the part of the woman. Collusion on the part 
of the applicants usually renders the action for divorce 
null and void. 

In general, divorce is so difficult and expensive to secure, 
unless adultery can be readily established, that it is practi- 
cally beyond the reach of the average man and woman of 
the poorer classes. The usual grounds on which divorce 
is granted are desertion, cruelty or non-support. , 

In order to enable the reader to see for himself the 
chaotic condition of the statutes governing the sex rela- 
tionship the laws in the various states regarding divorce, 
adultery, fornication and the age of consent, are herewith 
presented in tabular form. The laws include those passed 
by the regular sessions of 1920 unless otherwise stated. 

122 Tlie Laws of Sex 


In All of the States Except South Carolina Adultery Is a 
Primary Cause for Divorce 

Alabama residence required, one to three yean 

Adultery, abandonment two years, crime against nature, 
habitual drunkenness, violence, pregnancy of wife by other 
than husband at marriage, physical incapacity, imprison- 
ment for two years for felony, confinement in insane asylum 
for twenty years, if husband becomes addicted to cocaine, 
morphine or similar drugs. New ground for divorce: To 
the wife, when the wife without support from the husband 
has lived separate and apart from the bed and board of the 
husband for five years next preceding the filing of the 
bill, and she has actually resided in this state during all 
of said period. Acts 1915, held to authorize granting of 
divorce to wife only upon lapse of five years from and after 
date of its enactment. 

Alaska residence required, two years 
Adultery, felony, physical incapacity, desertion two 
years, cruelty, habitual drunkenness. 

Arizona residence required, one year 
Adultery, felony, physical incapacity, desertion one year, 
excesses, cruelty, neglect to provide one year, pregnancy 
of wife by other than husband at marriage, conviction of 
felony prior to marriage unknown to other party, habitual 

Arkansas residence required, one year 
Adultery, desertion one year, felony, habitual drunken- 
ness one year, cruelty, former marriage existing, physical 

California residence required, one year 
Adultery, cruelty, desertion one year, neglect one year, 
habitual drunkenness one year, felony. 

The Present Statutes 123 

Colorado residence required, one year 

Adultery, desertion one year, physical incapacity, cruelty, 
failure to provide one year, habitual drunkenness or drug 
fiend one year, felony, former marriage existing. 

Connecticut residence required, three years 

Adultery, fraudulent contract, wilful desertion three 
years, with total neglect of duty, habitual drunkenness, 
cruelty, imprisonment for life, infamous crime involving 
violation of conjugal duty and punishable by imprisonment 
in state prison, seven years' absence without being heard 

Delaware residence required, one year 

Adultery, desertion two years, habitual drunkenness for 
two years, cruelty, bigamy, felony followed by a continuous 
imprisonment for at least two years and at the discretion 
of the Court, fraud, want of age, neglect to provide three 
years. "When at the time the cause of action arose, either 
party was a bona fide resident of the state, and has con- 
tinued so to be down to the time of the commencement of 
the action; except that no action for absolute divorce 
shall be commenced for any cause other than adultery, or 
bigamy, unless one of the parties has been for the two 
years next preceding the commencement of the action, a 
bona fide resident of the state." 

District of Columbia residence required, three years 

Adultery, marriages may be annulled for former exist- 
ing marriages, lunacy, fraud, coercion, physical incapacity 
and want of age at time of marriage. 

Florida residence required, two years 

Adultery, cruelty, violent temper, habitual drunkenness, 
physical incapacity, desertion one year, former marriage 
existing, relationship within prohibited degrees. 

124 The Laws of Sex 

Georgia residence required, one ytar 
Adultery, mental and physical incapacity, desertion three 
years, felony, cruelty, force, duress or fraud in obtaining 
marriage, pregnancy of wife by other than husband at mar- 
riage, relationship within prohibited degrees. 

Hawaii residence required, two years 
Adultery, desertion one year, felony, leper, cruelty, hab- 
itual drunkenness. 

Idaho residence required, six months 
Adultery, cruelty, desertion one year, neglect one year, 
habitual drunkenness one year, felony, insanity. 

Illinois residence required, one year 
Adultery, desertion two years, habitual drunkenness two 
years, former existing marriage, cruelty, felony, physical 
incapacity, attempt on life of other party; divorced party 
cannot marry for one year. 

Indiana residence required, two years 
Adultery, abandonment two years, cruelty, habitual 
drunkenness, failure to provide two years, felony, physical 

Iowa residence required, one year 

Adultery, desertion two years, felony, habitual drunken- 
ness, cruelty, pregnancy of wife by other than husband 
at marriage, unless husband has illegitimate child or chil- 
dren living, of which wife did not know at time of mar- 
riage. The marriage may be annulled for the following 
causes existing at the time of the marriage : insanity, physi- 
cal incapacity, former existing marriage. 

Kansas residence required, one year 
Adultery, abandonment one year, cruelty, fraud, habit- 
ual drunkenness, gross neglect of duty, felony, physical 
incapacity, pregnancy of wife by other than husband at 
marriage, former existing marriage. 

The Present Statutes 125 

Kentucky residence required, one year 
Adultery, separation five years, desertion one year, fel- 
ony, physical incapacity, loathsome disease, habitual drunk- 
enness one year, cruelty, force, fraud or duress in obtain- 
ing marriage, joining religious sect believing marriage un- 
lawful, pregnancy of wife by other than husband at mar- 
riage or subsequent unchaste behavior, ungovernable temper. 

Louisia/na residence required, one year 
Adultery, felony, habitual drunkenness, excesses, cruelty, 
public defamation of other party, abandonment, attempt 
on life of other party, fugitive from justice. 

Maine residence required, one year 

Adultery, cruelty, desertion three years, physical inca- 
pacity, habits of intoxication by liquors, opium or other 
drugs, neglect to provide, insanity under certain limita- 

Maryland residence required, two years 
Adultery, abandonment three years, unchastity of wife 
before marriage, physical incapacity, any cause which ren- 
ders the marriage null and void ab initio, exceedingly vi- 
cious conduct. 

Massachusetts residence required, three to five years 
Adultery, cruelty, desertion three years, habits of intoxi- 
cation by liquors, opium or other drugs, neglect to pro- 
vide, physical incapacity, imprisonment for felony, uniting 
for three years with religious sect believing marriage un- 

Michigan residence required, one year 
Adultery, felony, desertion two years, habitual drunken- 
ness, physical incapacity, and in the discretion of the Court 
for cruelty or neglect to provide. 

Minnesota residence required, one year 
Adultery, desertion one year, habitual drunkenness one 
year, cruelty, physical incapacity, imprisonment for felony. 

126 The Laws of Sex 

Mississippi residence required, one year 
Adultery, felony, desertion two years, consanguinity, 
physical incapacity, habitual drunkenness by liquor, opium 
or other drugs, cruelty, insanity at time of marriage, former 
existing marriage, pregnancy of wife by other than hus- 
band at marriage. 

Missouri residence required, one year 
Adultery, felony, absence one year, habitual drunkenness 
one year, cruelty, indignities, vagrancy, former existing 
marriage, physical incapacity, conviction of felony prior 
to marriage unknown to other party, wife pregnant by 
other than husband at marriage. 

Montana residence required, one year 
Adultery, cruelty, desertion, neglect one year, habitual 
drunkenness one year, felony, innocent party may not re- 
marry within two years and guilty party within three years 
of the divorce. 

Nebraska residence required, one year 
Adultery, abandonment two years, habitual drunkenness, 
physical incapacity, felony, failure to support two years, 
cruelty, imprisonment for more than three years. 

Nevada residence required, six months 
Adultery, desertion one year, felony, habitual drunken- 
ness, physical incapacity, cruelty, neglect to provide one 

New Hampshire residence required, one year 
Adultery, cruelty, felony, physical incapacity, absence 
three years, habitual drunkenness three years, failure to 
provide three years, treatment endangering health or rea- 
son, union with sect regarding marriage unlawful, wife 
separate without the state ten years, not claiming marital 
rights, husband absent from United States three years, in- 
tending to become citizen of another country without making 
any provision for wife's support. 

The Present Statutes 127 

New Jersey residence required, two years 
Adultery, desertion two years, cruelty. No divorce may 
be obtained on grounds arising in another state unless they 
constituted ground for divorce in the state where they arose. 
The marriage may be annulled for the following causes ex- 
isting at the time of the marriage: Want of legal age, 
former existing marriage, consanguinity, physical incapac- 
ity, idiocy. In other cases, an action may be begun if 
the overt act was committed here. 

New Mexico residence required, one year 
Adultery, abandonment, cruelty, neglect to provide, hab- 
itual drunkenness, felony, physical incapacity, pregnancy 
of wife by other than husband at marriage. 

New York residence required, two years 
Adultery only. The marriage may be annulled for such 
causes as rendered the relationship void at its inception. 

North Carolina residence required, two years 
Adultery, pregnancy of wife by other than husband at 
marriage, physical incapacity, husband and wife living 
apart for ten years and having no issue. 

North Dakota residence required, one year 
Adultery, cruelty, desertion one year, neglect one year, 
habitual drunkenness one year, felony. The marriage may 
be annulled for the following causes existing at the time 
of the marriage : Former existing marriage, insanity, physi- 
cal incapacity, force or fraud inducing the marriage, or 
want of age. 

Ohio residence required, one year 

That either party had a husband or wife living at the 
time of the marriage from which the divorce is sought, wil- 
ful absence of either party from the other for three years, 
adultery, impotency, extreme cruelty, fraudulent contracty 
any gross neglect of duty, habitual drunkenness for three 

128 The Laics of Sex 

years, the imprisonment of either party in a penitentiary 
under sentence thereto. The petition for divorce under this 
clause must be filed during the imprisonment of the adverse 
party. The procurement of a divorce without this state, 
by a husband or wife, by virtue of which the party who 
procured it is released from the obligations of the mar- 
riage, while they remain binding upon the other party. 

Oklahoma residence required, one year 
Adultery, abandonment one year, cruelty, fraud, habitual 
drunkenness, felony, gross neglect of duty, physical inca- 
pacity, former existing marriage, pregnancy of wife by 
other than husband at marriage. 

Oregon residence required, one year 
Adultery, felony, habitual drunkenness one year, physi- 
cal incapacity, desertion one year, cruelty or personal in- 
dignities rendering life burdensome. 

Pennsylvania residence required, one year 
Adultery, former existing marriage, desertion two years, 
personal abuse or conduct rendering life burdensome, fel- 
ony, fraud, relationship within prohibited degrees, physical 

Porto Rico residence required, one year 
Adultery, felony, habitual drunkenness, abandonment one 

Rhode Island residence required, two years 
Adultery, cruelty, desertion five years, habitual drunken- 
ness, excessive use of morphine, opium or chloral, neglect to 
provide one year, gross misbehavior, living separate ten 
years, physical incapacity, cruel treatment of husband by 
wife, making it unsafe for him to live with her. Either 
party civilly dead for crime or prolonged absence. The 
marriage may be annulled for causes rendering the rela- 
tionship originally void or voidable. 

The Present Statutes 129 

South Carolina 
No divorces granted. 

South Dakota residence required, one year 
Adultery, cruelty, desertion one year, neglect one year, 
habitual drunkenness one year, felony. The marriage may 
be annulled for the following causes existing at the time 
of the marriage : Want of age, former existing marriage, in- 
sanity, physical incapacity, force or fraud inducing mar- 

Tennessee residence required, two years 
Adultery, former existing marriage, desertion two years, 
felony, physical incapacity, attempt on life of other party, 
refusal of wife to live with husband in the state and absent- 
ing herself two years, pregnancy of wife by other than 
husband at marriage; at the discretion of the Court for 
cruelty, indignities, abandonment or neglect to provide, hab- 
itual drunkenness. 

Texas residence required, one year 

Adultery, abandonment three years, physical incapacity, 
cruelty, excess or outrages rendering life together insup- 
portable, felony. 

Utah residence required, one year 

Adultery, desertion one year, physical incapacity, hab- 
itual drunkenness, felony, cruelty, permanent insanity, ve- 
nereal disease. 

Vermont residence required, two years 
Adultery, imprisonment three years, intolerable severity, 
desertion three years, neglect to provide, absence seven 
years without being heard from. 

Virginia residence required, one year 
Adultery, insanity at marriage, felony, desertion three 
years, fugitive from justice two years, pregnancy of wife 
by other than husband at marriage, wife a prostitute, or 

130 The Laws of Sex 

either party convicted of felony before marriage unknown 
to other, physical incapacity. 

Washington residence required, one year 
Adultery, abandonment one year, fraud, habitual drunk- 
enness, refusal to provide, felony, physical incapacity, in- 
curable insanity, cruelty or indignities rendering life bur- 
densome, other cause deemed sufficient by the Court. 

West Virginia residence required, one year 

Adultery, desertion three years, felony, physical inca- 
pacity, pregnancy of wife by other than husband at mar- 
riage, husband a licentious character or wife a prostitute 
unknown to other party, either party convicted of felony 
before marriage unknown to other. The marriage may be 
annulled for the following causes existing at the time of 
the marriage: Former existing marriage, consanguinity, 
insanity, physical incapacity, miscegenation, want of age. 

Wisconsin residence required, two years 

Adultery, felony (imprisonment three years), desertion 
one year, cruelty, physical incapacity, habitual drunken- 
ness one year, separation five years. In the discretion of 
the Court for cruelty or neglect to provide. The mar- 
riage may be annulled for the following causes existing 
at the time of the marriage: Want of age or understand- 
ing, consanguinity, force or fraud inducing marriage. 

Wyoming residence required, one year 

Adultery, felony, desertion one year, habitual drunken- 
ness, cruelty, neglect to provide one year, husband a va- 
grant, physical incapacity, indignities rendering condition 
intolerable, pregnancy of wife by other than husband at 
marriage, either party convicted of felony before marriage 
unknown to other. The marriage may be annulled for the 
following causes existing at the time of the marriage: Want 
of age, force or fraud. 

The Present Statutes 181 


Sec. 6221, Crim Code 1907: 

If anj man and woman live together in adultery or forni- 
cation, each of them must on first conviction be fined not 
less than $100, and may also be imprisoned in county jail, 
or sentenced to hard labor for not more than six months ; 
on second conviction with the same person, fine not less than 
$300, and may also be imprisoned in county jail or sen- 
tenced to hard labor for not more than twelve months; 
and on third conviction or any subsequent convictions with 
same person, must be imprisoned in penitentiary for two 

Adultery is illicit connection where either is married, and 
includes fornication. Hinton's Case; 6 Alabama, 864. 

If neither married, it is fornication; if one married it 
is fornication for one and adultery for other. Buchanan's 
Case; 55 Alabama, 154. 

One act of illicit intercourse, and an agreement or con- 
sent that it will be repeated if opportunity offers, is suf- 
ficient. Bodiford's Case; 86 Alabama, 67. 

Sec. 240, Penal Code 1913 (R. S.): 

Every person who commits adultery shall be imprisoned 
in the state prison not more than three years, and when 
the crime is committed between parties only one of whom 
is married, both shall be punished. No prosecution can 
be commenced except on complaint of husband or wife. 
Sec. 241 : 

Every person who lives in a state of open and notorious 
cohabitation or adultery is guilty of a misdemeanor. 

Sec. 1933: 

"Illegal cohabitation." K. & C. Stats., 1916. 

132 The Laws of Sex 

Sec. 269-a, Penal Code 1915: 

Every person who lives in a state of cohabitation and 
adultery is guilty of a misdemeanor and punishable by a 
fine not exceeding $1,000, or by imprisonment in county 
jail not exceeding one year, or both. "Voluntary sexual 
intercourse of married person with person other than of- 
fender's husband or wife in re Cooper; 162 Calif., 81 
unmarried person not guilty." S. C. 

Sec. 269-b: 

If two persons, each being married to another, live to- 
gether in a state of cohabitation and adultery, each is 
guilty of a felony and punishable by imprisonment in state 
prison not exceeding five years. 

Sec. 1896 R. S. 1912 (Mills): 

Any man and woman who shall live together in an open 
state of adultery or fornication or adultery and fornication 
shall on conviction be fined any sum not exceeding $200 
each, or imprisoned in county jail not exceeding six months 
for second offense double punishment ; third offense, treble, 
and thus increasing punishment for each succeeding offense. 


Every man and every married woman who shall commit 
adultery with each other shall be imprisoned in penitentiary 
not more than five years. 
Chap. 264, Laws 1917. 

Sec. 874, Code 1919: 

District of Columbia 

Whoever commits adultery in Dist. shall, on convic- 
tion, be punished by fine not exceeding $500, or by impris- 

The Present Statutes 188 

onment not exceeding one year, or both; when act between 
married woman and unmarried man, both parties guilty; 
when between married man and unmarried woman, man only, 

If an unmarried man or woman commit fornication, each 
of them shall be punished by imprisonment not exceeding 
six months or by a fine not exceeding $100. 

Sec. 3518, R. S. 1914: 

Whoever lives in open state of adultery shall be punished 
by imprisonment in penitentiary not exceeding two years, 
or county jail not exceeding one year, or by fine not 
exceeding $500. Where either party is married, both are 
guilty of the offense. 


Sec. 872, Park's Code 1914: 

Any man and woman who shall live together in a state 
of adultery or fornication, or of adultery and fornication, 
or who shall otherwise commit adultery or fornication, shall 
be severely indicted, and shall be severely punished as for 
a misdemeanor. Suspension if they marry. 

"If man and woman were in bed together, that would be 
circumstance that would authorize jury to convict." 7 
App. 600. 

"If both parties who participated in illicit intercourse 
were married, each is guilty of adultery ; if both parties are 
single, each is guilty of fornication ; if one is married, and 
the other single, each is guilty of adultery and fornica- 
tion." 100 Ga. 360. 

Sec. 4144, R. S. 1915: 

Sexual intercourse between a man married or unmarried, 
and a married woman not his wife, is adultery by each; 
and between a married man and an unmarried woman, is 
adultery by each. Penalty: 

134 The Laws of Sex 

Mem fine not exceeing $100 nor less than $30, or by 
imprisonment at hard labor not less than three months nor 
more than twelve months, or both. 

Woman fine not exceeding $30 nor less than $10, or 
imprisonment at hard labor not less than two months nor 
more than four months. 

Sec. 6807, Code 1908: 

A married man who has sexual intercourse with a woman 
not his wife, an unmarried man who has sexual intercourse 
with a married woman, a married woman who has sexual 
intercourse with a man not her husband, and an unmarried 
woman who has sexual intercourse with a married man, 
guilty of adultery, penalty: Fine not less than $100 or 
by imprisonment in county jail not less than three months, 
or by imprisonment in penitentiary not exceeding three 
years or in county jail not exceeding one year, or by fine 
not exceeding $1,000. 

Sec. 3493, R. S. 1913: 

If any man and woman shall live together in an open 
state of adultery or fornication, or adultery and fornica- 
tion, they shall be fined not exceeding $500, or imprisoned 
in county jail not exceeding one year. Second offense, 
double former; third offense, treble, and thus increasing 
punishment for each succeeding offense; suspended on 
marriage. "Adultery the voluntary sexual intercourse of 
a married person with a person other than offender's hus- 
band or wife, whether such persons be married or single." 
Miner v. People; 58 111. 59. Offense complete if parties 
live together but single day, if there is intention to con- 
tinue. Lyman v. People, 198 111. 544. 

Sec. 2353, Burns R. S., 1914: 

Whoever cohabits with another in a state of adultery 

The Present Statutes 135 

or fornication shall be fined not exceeding $500 or impris- 
oned in county jail not exceeding six monlhs, or both. 
"Adultery consists in man having unlawful carnal inter- 
course with a married woman." Hood v. State, 56 Indiana 
263. Cohabitation by man with unmarried woman is fornica- 
tion. S. C. 

"To cohabit in state of adultery or fornication means 
a living together of the parties." Jackson v. State, 116 
Ind. 464. 

Sec. 4932, Code 1897: 

Every person who commits adultery shall be imprisoned 
in the penitentiary not more than three years or fined not 
exceeding $300 and imprisoned in county jail not exceed- 
ing one year, and when crime is committed between parties 
only one of whom is married, both shall be punished. "Sex- 
ual connection between man and woman, one of whom is 
married to third person." State vs. Hasty, 121 Iowa, 

Sec. 3615, R.S. Adultery: 

Every person who shall be guilty of adultery, and every 
man and woman (one or both of whom are married and not 
to each other) who shall lewdly and lasciviously abide and 
cohabit with each other, and every person unmarried or 
married, who shall be guilty of open gross lewdness, or 
lascivious behavior or of any open and notorious act of 
public indecency, grossly scandalous, shall on conviction 
be adjudged guilty of a misdemeanor and punished by 
imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months or 
by a fine not exceeding $500 or both. 

"Sexual intercourse by married man with any woman is 
adultery." Bachford v. Wells, 78 K. 295 ; "Adultery can- 
not be committed by an unmarried person." State v. Chafin, 
80 K. 653. 

136 The Laws of Sex 

Kentucky (To January 1919.) 
Sec. 1320, Carrol S. 1915 : 

Every person who shall commit fornication or adultery 
shall for every offense be fined not less than $20 and not 
more than $50. 

Louisiana (To and including 1918.) 
No Law. 

Sec. 14811 R.S. 1916: 

Whoever commits adultery shall be punished by imprison- 
ment for not more than five years, or by fine not exceeding 
$1,000; when only one of the parties is married, or when 
they have been legally divorced from the bonds of matri- 
mony, and afterwards cohabit, each shall be deemed guilty 
of adultery. 

Bagby Code 1914; Vol. 3, p. 310, Sec. 5: 

Any person who shall commit adultery shall upon con- 
viction thereof be fined $10. 

Sec. 10, p. 1786, R.S. 1902: 

A married man who has sexual intercourse with a woman 
not his wife, an unmarried man who has sexual intercourse 
with a married woman, and a married woman who has sexual 
intercourse with a man not her husband shall be guilty of 
adultery and shall be punished by imprisonment in the 
state prison for not more than three years or in the jail 
for not more than two years, or by a fine of not more than 

Comp. Laws 1915 Par. 15462, Sec. 1: 

Every person who shall commit adultery shall be pun- 
ished by imprisonment in the state prison not more than 
three years or by fine not exceeding $500, or imprisonment 

The Present Statutes 137 

in county jail not more than one year, and when crime is 
committed between a married woman and a man who is 
unmarried, the man shall be deemed guilty of adultery and 
liable to same punishment. 

Sec. 3 : 

No prosecution commenced except on complaint of hus- 
band or wife, or after one year. 

Sec. 8702, G.S. 1913: 

Whenever any married woman shall have sexual inter- 
course with a man, other than her husband, whether mar- 
ried or not, both shall be guilty of adultery, and punished 
by imprisonment in penitentiary for not more than two 
years, or by fine of not more than $300, but no prosecution 
shall be commenced except on complaint of husband or wife, 
except when either shall be insane, or after one year. 

Mississippi (To 1919) 
Sec. 754, Hemingway Code 1917: 

If any man and woman shall unlawfully cohabit, whether 
in adultery or fornication, they shall be fined not to exceed 
$500 each, and imprisonment in county jail not more than 
six months. May be proved by circumstances showing 
habitual sexual intercourse. 

Sec. 755: 

Sexual intercourse between male teacher and female pupil, 
or male guardian and female ward, not being married to 
each other, an offense punished same as 754. 

Sec. 4729, R.S. 909: 

Every person who shall live in a state of open and notori- 
ous adultery, shall on conviction be guilty of a misde- 
meanor. "Occasional intercourse indulged in private, no 
offense." State v. Chandler, 132 Mo. 155. 

188 The Laws of Sex 

Mont cma 
Sec. 8343, R.C. 1907: 

Every person who lives in open and notorious cohabita- 
tion in a state of adultery or fornication is punishable by a 
fine not exceeding $500 or by imprisonment in county jail 
not exceeding six months or both. Subsequent marriage 
bar to prosecution. 

Sec. 8767, R.S. 1913: 

If any married woman shall hereafter commit adultery 
or if any married man shall hereafter commit adultery, or 
if any unmarried man shall live and cohabit or have sexual 
intercourse with a married woman, every person so offending 
shall upon conviction thereof be imprisoned in the county 
jail not exceeding one year. "Single act constitutes crime." 
State v. Byrum, 60 Neb. 384. 

Sec. 6460, Rev. Laws 1912: 

Lewdly and viciously cohabiting. 

New Hampshire 
Chap. 272, Sec. 1, P.S. 1901: 

If any person shall commit adultery, such person shall 
be imprisoned not exceeding one year and be fined not 
exceeding $500, or be imprisoned not exceeding three years. 

Sec. 2 : 

If any married person shall commit an act, or have a 
connection with an unmarried person, which would con- 
stitute adultery if both were married, such person shall be 
guilty of adultery and shall be punished accordingly. 

Neva Jersey 
P. 1760, Sec. 47, C.L. 1910: 

Any person who shall commit adultery shall be guilty of 
a misdemeanor. "A married man is not guilty of adultery 

The Present Statutes 139 

in having carnal connection with an unmarried woman." 
State v. Lost, 16 N.J.L. 380. 

New Mexico 

Concubinage unlawful, Sec. 1776, Stats. 1915. 
Model law passed 1921. 

New York 
Art. 8 Parker's Penal Code 1919. 

Sec. 100: 

Adultery is the sexual intercourse of two persons, either 
of whom is married to a third person. 

Sec. 101: 

A person who commits adultery is guilty of a misdemeanor. 

Sec. 102: 

A person convicted of a violation of this article is pun- 
ishable by imprisonment in a penitentiary or county jail, 
for not more than six months or by a fine of not more than 
$250, or both. 

Sec. 103: 

. A conviction under this article cannot be had on the 
uncorroborated testimony of the person with whom the 
offense is charged to have been committed. 

North Carolina 
Sec. 401, Jerome's Crim. Code, 4th Ed., 1916: 

If any man and woman, not being married to each other, 
shall lewdly and lasciviously associate, bed and cohabit 
together, they shall be guilty of misdemeanor; provided, 
that the admission or confession of one shall not be received 
in evidence against the other. 

Sec. 3350 (a), Par. 2, Gregory's revisal, 1917: 

Any man and woman found occupying the same bedroom 
in any hotel, public inn, or boarding house for any im- 
moral purpose, or any man and woman registering or other- 

140 The Laws of Sex 

wise representing themselves to be husband and wife in any 
hotel, public inn, or boarding house, shall be deemed guilty 
of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be punished in 
the discretion of the court. 

North Dakota 
Sec. 9579, Comp. L 1913 : 

Adultery is the voluntary sexual intercourse of a mar- 
ried person with a person other than offender's husband or 
wife; and when the intercourse is between a married woman 
and a man that is unmarried the man is also guilty of 
adultery. No prosecution except on complaint of husband 
or wife. Penalty imprisonment in penitentiary not less 
than one nor more than three years, or imprisonment in 
county jail not exceeding one year, or by fine not exceeding 
$500 or both. 

Ohio (To 1918 only) 
Sec. 13024, Page & Adams Gen. C. : 

Whoever cohabits in a state of adultery or fornication 
shall be fined not more than $200 and imprisoned not more 
than three months. 

"A single act of sexual intercourse is not a violation of 
this section." State v. Brown, 47 O. S. 102. 

Sec. 2431, R.L. 1910: 

The unlawful voluntary sexual intercourse of a married 
person with one of the opposite sex; when crime is between 
persons, only one of whom is married, both guilty of 

Sec. 2432: 

Adultery is punishable by not more than five years in the 
penitentiary or by fine not exceeding $500 or both. 

Sec. 2071, Lord's Oregon Laws, 1910: 

If any person shall commit the crime of adultery, such 

The Present Statute* 

person, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by im- 
prisonment in the penitentiary not less than six months nor 
more than two years, or by imprisonment in the county jail 
not less than three months nor more than one year or 
by fine not less than $200 nor more than $1000. "Positive 
evidence of the commission of adultery is rarely possible, 
and a resort must be had to circumstantial evidence from 
which the overt act may be inferred." State v. La More, 
53 Ore. 261. 

Sec. 2072: 

Prosecution not to be commenced except upon complaint 
of husband or wife or guardian of unmarried female under 
twenty years. When adultery is committed between a mar- 
ried woman and an unmarried man, both guilty of adultery. 


Sec. 18, Par. 903, Stewart's Pardon's Digest, 1905 : 

If any married man shall have carnal connection with any 
woman not his lawful wife, or any married woman have 
carnal connection with any man not her lawful husband, he 
or she so offending shall be deemed guilty of adultery and 
on conviction be sentenced to pay a fine, not exceeding $500, 
and undergo an imprisonment not exceeding one year, or 
both, or either, at the discretion of the court. "The fact 
of adultery may be inferred from circumstances ; when a 
married man is found in a room at a hotel at night with 
a woman not his wife, both undressed, and there are indica- 
tions that the bed had been occupied by two people." Com. 
v. Mosier, 135 Pa. 221. 

Porto Rico 
Sec. 5711, R.S.&C. 1911: 

Whoever, being married, shall voluntarily have sexual 
intercourse with a person other than the offender's husband 
or wife, is guilty of adultery and shall be fined not more 

142 The Laws of Sex 

than $2,000, or be imprisoned in jail not less than one year 
nor more than five years. 
Sec. 5712: 

When adultery is committed between a married woman 
and an unmarried man, or a married man and an unmarried 
woman, the unmarried man or the unmarried woman shall 
be deemed guilty of adultery. 

Rhode Island 
Sec. 2, Par. 1276, G.L. 1909: 

Every person who shall commit adultery shall be im- 
prisoned not exceeding one year or be fined not exceeding 
$500; and illicit sexual intercourse between two persons, 
when either of them is married, shall be deemed adultery in 

South Carolina 
Sec. 382, Code 1912, Vol. 2: 

Any man and woman who shall be guilty of the crime 
of adultery or fornication shall be liable to indictment, and, 
on conviction, shall be severely punished by a fine of not 
less than $100 nor more than $500, or imprisonment for not 
less than six months, nor more than one year or both. 

Sec. 383 : 

Adultery is the living together and carnal intercourse 
with each other; or habitual carnal intercourse with each 
other without living together, of a man and woman, both 
being unmarried. 

South Dakota 
Sec. 4105, R.C. 1919: 

Adultery is the unlawful voluntary sexual intercourse of 
a married person, with one of the opposite sex, other than 
husband or wife of offender, and when crime is committed 
between persons only one of whom is married, both are 
guilty of adultery. 

The Present Statutes 143 

Sec. 4106: 

Penalty imprisonment in penitentiary not exceeding five 
years or fine not exceeding $500 or both. 

No Law. 


Vernon's Crim. S. 1918 Art. 490, Penal Code: 

Adultery is the living together and carnal intercourse 
with each other, or habitual carnal intercourse with each 
other without living together, of a man and woman when 
either is lawfully married to some other person. 

Article 491 : 

Proof of marriage may be certified copy of certificate or 
marriage license and return thereon, by person present at 
ceremony, or who has known the husband and wife to live 
together as married persons. 

Art. 492 : 

When the offense of adultery has been committed, both 
parties guilty, though only one of them may be married. 

Art. 493: 

Every person guilty of adultery shall be punished by fine 
not less than $100 nor more than $1,000. 

Sec. 8088, C.L. 1917: 

Whoever commits adultery shall be punished by imprison- 
ment in state prison not exceeding three years; and when 
the act is committed between a married woman and a man 
who is unmarried, both are guilty, and when act is com- 
mitted between a married man and unmarried woman, the 
man shall be deemed guilty of adultery. 

144 The Laws of Sex 

Sec. T005, G.L. 1917: 

A person who commits adultery shall be imprisoned in 
the state prison not more than five years or fined not more 
than $1,000 or both. 

Sec. 7006: 

A married man and unmarried woman who commit the 
act are each guilty. 

Sec. 7007: 

A man with another man's wife, or a woman with another 
woman's husband, found in bed together, under circum- 
stances affording presumption of an illicit intention, shall 
be imprisoned in the state prison not more than three years 
or fined not more than $1,000. 

Sec. 3785, Code 1904: 

If any person commits adultery or fornication, he shall 
be fined not less than $20. And if he commits adultery or 
fornication with any person whom he is forbidden to marry 
by Sees. 2224 or 2225, he shall be confined in jail not 
exceeding six months, or fined not exceeding $500 in discre- 
tion of jury. "Illicit intercourse between an unmarried 
man and a married woman is fornication in the man." Laf- 
ferty's Case, 6 Grat. 672. 

Chap. 98, Par. 841, Laws 1917: 

Whenever any married person shall have sexual inter- 
course with any person other than his or her lawful spouse, 
both persons shall be guilty of adultery and upon convic- 
tion thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in peniten- 
tiary not more than two years or by a fine of not more than 
$1,000. Complaint must be made by husband or wife. 

The Present Statutes 145 

West Virginia 
Sec. 5309, Code 1913: 

If any person commits adultery or fornication, he shall 
be guilty of a misdemeanor, and fined not less than $20. 
"Illicit intercourse between an unmarried man and a mar- 
ried woman is fornication in the man." Commonwealth v. 
Lafferty, 6 Grat. 672. 

Sec. 4576, S. 1917: 

Any person who shall commit the crime of adultery shall 
be punished by imprisonment in the state prison not more 
than three years, nor less than one year, or by fine not 
exceeding $1,000, nor less than $200, and when crime com- 
mitted between married woman and unmarried man, both 
guilty of adultery. 

Sec. 5056, R.S. 1899: 

Whoever cohabits with another in a state of adultery 
or fornication or adultery and fornication, shall be fined 
in any sum not exceeding $100, and be imprisoned in the 
county jail not more than three months. 


Alabama (1919 Sess. laws not yet available) 
Sec. 6221, Criminal Code, 1907: 

If any man and woman live together in adultery or 
fornication, each of them must on first conviction be fined 
not less than $100, and may also be imprisoned in county 
jail, or sentenced to hard labor for not more than six 
months; on second conviction with same person, fine not 
less than $300 and may also be imprisoned in county jail 
or sentenced to hard labor for not more than twelve 
months ; and on third conviction or any subsequent con- 
victions with same person, must be imprisoned in peniten- 
tiary for two years. 

146 The Laws of Sex 

Adultery is illicit connection where either is married and 
includes fornication. Hinton's Case, 6 Alabama 864. 

If neither married, it is fornication; if one married it 
is fornication for one and adultery for other. Buchanan's 
Case, 55 Alabama 154. 

One act of illicit intercourse, and an agreement or consent 
that it will be repeated if opportunity offers, is sufficient. 
Bodiford's Case, 86 Alabama 67. 

No Law. 


Illegal cohabitation. Must be habitual. K. & C. Stats., 

No Law. 

Sec. 1896, R.S. 1912 (Mills): 

Any man and woman who shall live together in an open 
state of adultery or fornication, or adultery and fornication 
shall on conviction be fined any sum not exceeding $200 
each, or imprisoned in county jail not exceeding six months ; 
for second offense double punishment; third offense treble 
and thus increasing punishment for each succeding offense. 

Sec. 6383, R.S. 1918: 

Every person who shall be guilty of fornication or lascivi- 
ous carriage or behavior, shall be fined not more than $100 
or imprisonment not more than six months, or both. 

Delaware (To 1917.) 
No Law. 

District of Coliimbia 

If an unmarried man or woman commit fornication, each 
of them shall be punished by imprisonment not exceeding 
six months or by a fine not exceeding $100. 

The Present Statutes 147 

Sec. 3520, R.S. 1914: 

If any man commits fornication with a woman, each shall 
be punished by imprisonment not exceeding three months, 
or fine not exceeding $30. 

Sec. 372, Park's Code, 1914: 

Any man and woman who shall live together in a state 
of adultery or fornication, or of adultery and fornication, 
or who shall otherwise commit adultery or fornication, shall 
be severely indicted, and shall be severely punished as for a 
misdemeanor. Suspension if they marry. 

"If man and woman were in bed together, that would be 
circumstance that would authorize jury to convict." 7 App. 

"If both parties who participated in illicit intercourse 
were married, each is guilty of adultery; if both are single, 
each is guilty of fornication; if one is married, and the 
other single, each is guilty of adultery and fornication." 
100 Ga. 360. 

Sec. 4148, R.S. 1915: 

Fornication is sexual intercourse between an unmarried 
man and an unmarried woman. Punishable by fine not less 
than $15 nor more than $50, or by imprisonment at hard 
labor not less than one month nor more than three months. 
Suspended if they marry. 


Must be habitual. Sec. 8289, Comp. Laws, 1919. 

Sec. 3493, Ann. Stats. 1913. 

Sec. 2353, Burns R. S. 1914: 

Whoever cohabits with another in a state of adultery or 

148 The Laws of Sex 

fornication shall be fined not exceeding $500 or imprison- 
ment in county jail not exceeding six months, or both. 

"Adultery consists in man having unlawful carnal in- 
tercourse with a married woman." Hood v. State, 56 In- 
diana, 263. 

Cohabitation by man with unmarried woman is fornica- 
tion S. O. 

"To cohabit in state of adultery or fornication means a 
living together of the parties." Jackson v. State, 116 Ind. 

Sec. 4938, Code 1897: 

Lewdly cohabiting. Must be habitual. 

No Law. 

Kentucky (To Jan. 1919.) 
Sec. 1520, Carrol S. 1915: 

Every person who shall commit fornication or adultery 
shall, for every offense, be fined not less than $20 and not 
more than $50. 

Louisiana (To and Including 1918) 
No Law. 

Sec. 7, P. 1482, R.S. 1916: 

If an unmarried man commits fornication with an un- 
married woman, they shall be punished by imprisonment for 
not more than sixty days, and by a fine not exceeding $100. 

No Law. 

Sec. 14, P. 1767, R.S. 1902: 

Whoever commits fornication shall be punished by im- 
prisonment for not more than three months or by a fine of 
not more than $30. 

The Present Statutes 149 

Comp. Law 1915 Sec. 15467, Sub. 6: 

If any man and woman not being married to each other 
shall lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together 
every such person shall be punished by imprisonment in the 
county jail not more than one year or by fine not exceed- 
ing $500. 

No straight fornication law. 

Chap. 193, Sec. 1, Laws 1919 : 

Whenever any man and single woman have sexual in- 
tercourse with each other, each is guilty of fornication and 
shall be punished by imprisonment in county jail for not 
more than ninety days, or by a fine of not more than $100. 
Sec. 8703-a, Laws 1917: 

If issue is conceived of fornication and within the period 
of gestation or within sixty days after birth of living child 
the father absconds from state with intent to evade proceed- 
ings to establish paternity, he is guilty of felony and shall be 
punished by imprisonment in penitentiary for not more than 
two years. 

Mississippi (To 1919) 

Sec. 754, Hemingway Code, 1917: 

If any man and woman shall unlawfully cohabit, whether 
in adultery or fornication, they shall be fined not to exceed 
$500 each, and imprisonment in county jail not more than 
six months may be proved by circumstances showing 
habitual sexual intercourse. 

Sec. 755: 

Sexual intercourse between male teacher and female pupil, 
or male guard and female ward, not being married to each 
other, an offense punished same as Sec. 754. 

150 The Laws of Sex 

No Law. 

Sec. 8343, R.C. 1907: 

Every person who lives in open and notorious cohabita- 
tion in a state of adultery or fornication is punishable by 
a fine not exceeding $500, or by imprisonment in county 
jail not exceeding six months or both. Subsequent marriage 
bar to prosecution. 

Sec. 8794, R.S. 1913: 

If any unmarried persons shall live and cohabit together 
in a state of fornication, such persons so offending shall 
each be fined in any sum not exceeding $100 and be im- 
prisoned in county jail not exceeding six months. "Not 
required that cohabitation be open and notorious." Mor- 
feet vs. State, 64 Neb. 445. 

Sec. 6460, Rev. Laws 1912: 

Lewdly and viciously cohabiting. Must be habitual. 

New Hampshire 
Chap. 272, Sec. 4, P.S. 1901: 

If any person shall be guilty of fornication such person 
shall be fined not exceeding $50, or be imprisoned not ex- 
ceeding six months, but no person shall be convicted solely 
upon the testimony of a partner in guilt. 

New Jersey 
P. 1761, Sec. 48, C.L. 1910, as amended by Chap. 140, 

Laws 1919: 

Any person who shall commit fornication shall be guilty 
of a misdemeanor, and punished by fine not exceeding $50, 
or imprisonment not exceeding six months, or both; pro- 
vided in case of conviction for crime of any person between 

The Present Statutes 151 

ages of 16 and 25 years, who has not previously been 
sentenced to imprisonment in a penitentiary or reformatory, 
in this or other state, such person may be sentenced to 
New Jersey State Reformatory for Men or New Jersey 
State Reformatory for Women for an indeterminate period 
the maximum not to exceed three years, and such person 
may be dealt with, released or paroled from said institu- 
tion at any time before expiration of three years in accord- 
ance with rules and regulations of such institutions. 

New Mexico 
Sec. 1776, Stats. 1915 : 

Concubinage unlawful if habitual. 

New York 
No Law. 

North Carolina 
Sec. 401, Jerome's Crim. Code, 4th Ed., 1916: 

If any man and woman, not being married to each other, 
shall lewdly and lasciviously associate, bed and cohabit to- 
gether, they shall be guilty of a misdemeanor ; provided, that 
the admission or confession of one shall not be received 
in evidence against the other. 

Sec. 3350 (a), Par. 2, Gregory's revisal, 1917: 

Any man and woman found occupying the same bedroom 
in any hotel, public inn, or boarding house for any im- 
moral purpose, or any man and woman registering or 
otherwise representing themselves to be husband and wife 
in any hotel, public inn, or boarding house, shall be deemed 
guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be pun- 
ished in the discretion of the court. 

North Dakota 
Chap. 159, Laws 1915 Sec. 1 : 

Every male and female person who are not married to 
each other who shall have voluntary sexual intercourse are 

152 The Laws of Sea: 

separately guilty of the crime of fornication. A female 
under eighteen years of age and under age of consent fixed 
in Sec. 9563, which defines the crime of rape, is nevertheless 
by her voluntary intercourse guilty of fornication as herein 
defined. Any person over eighteen years of age violating 
any of the provisions of this act shall be punished by a fine 
of not more than $100 or by imprisonment in the county 
jail not to exceed thirty days or by both. Juveniles to be 
proceeded against under juvenile code. 

Prosecution to be dismissed upon marriage of guilty 

Ohio (To 1918 only) 

Sec. 13024, Page and Adams Gen. C. : 

Whoever cohabits in a state of adultery or fornication 
shall be fined not more than $200 and imprisoned not more 
than three months. "A single act of sexual intercourse is 
not a violation of this section." State vs. Brown, 47 O.S. 

No Law. 


Sec. 2075, Lord's Laws, 1910: 
Lewd cohabitation. Habitual. 

Sec. 247, P. 955, Stewart's Pardon's Digest, 1905 : 

If any person shall commit fornication and be thereof 
convicted, he or she shall be sentenced to pay a fine, not 
exceeding $100, to the guardians, directors, or overseers 
of the poor of the city, county or township where the offense 
was committed, for the use of the poor, and any single 
woman having a child born of her body, the same shall be 
sufficient to convict such single woman of fornication. 
Laws 1685. 

The Present Statutes 153 

Porto Rico 
No Law. 

Rhode Island 
Sec. 8, P. 1277, G.L. 1909: 

Every person who shall commit fornication shall be fined 
not exceeding $10. 

South Carolina 
Sec. 382, Code 1912, Vol. 2 : 

Any man and woman who shall be guilty of the crime of 
adultery or fornication shall be liable to indictment, and 
on conviction, shall be severely punished by a fine of not 
less than $100 or more than $500, or imprisonment for not 
less than six months, nor more than one year or both. 
Sec. 384: 

Fornication is the living together and carnal intercourse 
with each other, or habitual carnal intercourse with each 
other without living together, of a man and woman, both 
being unmarried. 

South Dakota 

No Law. 


No Law. 

Art. 494, Penal Code, Vernon's Crim. S., 1918: 

Fornication is the living together and carnal intercourse 
with each other, or habitual carnal intercourse with each 
other without living together, of a man and woman, both 
being unmarried. 

Art. 495 : 

Every person guilty of fornication shall be punished by 
fine of not less than $50 nor more than $500. 

Sec. 8090, C.L. 1917: 

If an unmarried man or woman commits fornication, each 

154 The Laws of Sea: 

of them shall be punished by imprisonment in the county 
jail not exceeding six months or by fine not exceeding $100. 


No Law. 

Sec. 3786, Code 1904: 

If any person commits adultery or fornication, he shall 
be fined not less than $20. And if he commits adultery or 
fornication with any person whom he is forbidden to marry 
by Sections 2224 or 2225, he shall be confined in jail not 
exceeding six months, or fined not exceeding $500 in dis- 
cretion of jury. "Illicit intercourse between an unmarried 
man and a married woman is fornication in the man." 
Lafferty's Case, 6 Grat. 672. 

Sec. 2458, Rev. Code, 1915 : 

Lewdly and viciously cohabiting habitual. 

West Virginia 
Sec. 5309, Code 1913: 

If any person commits adultery or fornication he shall 
be guilty of a misdemeanor, and fined not less than $20. 
"Illicit intercourse between an unmarried man and a mar- 
ried woman is fornication in the man." "Commonwealth vs. 
Lafferty, 6 Grat. 672. 

Sec. 4580, S. 1917: 

Any man who commits fornication with a sane single 
female over the age of sixteen years, each of them shall 
be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not more 
than six months or by fine not exceeding $100, or both. 
Any man who commits fornication with a sane female of 
previous chaste character under 21 shall be punished by 
imprisonment in the state prison not more than four years, 
or by fine not exceeding $200, or both. 

The Present Statutes 155 

Sec. 5056, R. S. 1899 : 

Whoever cohabits with another in a state of adultery or 
fornication, or adultery and fornication, shall be fined in 
any sum not exceeding $100, and be imprisoned in the county 
jail not more than three months. 



(Includes regular sessions of 1919, unless otherwise stated) 


Carnal knowledge of girl under 12 is punishable by death 
or imprisonment for not less than 10 years. 

Carnal knowledge of a girl between 12 and 16 is punish- 
able by imprisonment for from 2 to 10 years (not applica- 
ble to boys under 16). 

(Code 1907 s 7699 and 7700, latter amended by 1915, No. 
97, p. 137.) 


Carnal knowledge of female under 16 (with her consent) 
is deemed rape. Rape of female under 12 is punishable by 
imprisonment for life; other female, imprisonment for from 
3 to 20 years. 

(Compiled Laws, 1913 s 1894-1895.) 

A rizona 

Carnal knowledge of female under 18 (not the wife of 
perpetrator) constitutes rape; punishable by imprisonment 
for life or for a term of years not less than 5. No con- 
viction may be had against male who was under 14 at 
time of act unless physical ability is proven. 

(Revised Statutes 1913 s 231 and 234.) 

A rkansas 

Carnal knowledge of female under 16 is punishable by 
imprisonment in the penitentiary from 1 to 21 years. 
(Kirby's Digest, 1904 s 2008.) 

156 The Laws of Sex 


Sexual intercourse with female under 18 (not the wife of 
perpetrator) constitutes rape, which is punishable by im- 
prisonment for not more than 50 years, except that in 
case the female is from 16 to 18, the punishment shall be 
imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 1 year 
or in the state prison for not more than 50 years, as 
determined by the jury. No conviction shall be had against 
male who was under 14 at time of act unless physical ability 
is proven. 

(Penal Code 1906 s 261 amended 1913 S 122: s 264 
amended 1913 C 123.) 


For any male over 14 to have carnal knowledge of female 
wider 18 (either with or without her consent) constitutes 
the crime of rape, punishable by imprisonment in peniten- 
tiary for from 1 to 20 years. 

If the male is over 18 the crime constitutes rape in the 
1st degree; if both are under 18 and it is not rape in the 1st 
degree (i.e., without consent), it constitutes rape in the 
3rd degree. 

Subd. 10. By the female person of whatever age, not 
being an accessory, where the male person is under the age 
of 18, where such sexual intercourse is had at the solicita- 
tion, inducement, importuning or connivance of such female 
person, or where such female was at time of commission of 
offense, a free, common, public or clandestine prostitute and 
the male was, prior and up to time of commission of offense, 
of good moral character; this is rape in 3rd degree. 

First degree rape is punishable by imprisonment for life 
or for a period not less than 3 years; 3rd degree rape is 
punishable by fine of from $200 to $1000 or imprison- 
ment from 1 to 5 years, or both fine and imprisonment, 

The Present Statutes 157 

or by commitment to the State Industrial School for boys or 
girls, accessories to be punished the same as principals. 
(Mills Revised Statutes, 1912 s 1777-1780.) 


Carnal knowledge or abuse of female under 16 is subject 
to imprisonment for not more than 30 years. (G. S. 1918 
S. 6392.) 


Carnal knowledge of female under 7 is punishable by 
death; may be reduced to life imprisonment. 

Assault with intent to commit rape is subject to fine of 
from $200 to $500, 30 lashes, and imprisonment not ex- 
ceeding 10 years. 

Lewdly playing with female child under 16 constitutes 
a misdemeanor punishable by fine of $500 or imprisonment 
for not more than 3 years. Harboring male or female 
under 18 for purpose of sexual intercourse is subject to fine 
of not more than $1000 or imprisonment for not more than 
7 years (Code 1915 s 4706-4709). 

District of Columbia 

Carnal knowledge of a female child under 16 is punish- 
able by imprisonment of from 5 to 30 years; may in dis- 
cretion of jury be death by hanging. 
(S. 808 Code 1919.) 


Carnal knowledge of female under 10 is punishable by 
death or imprisonment for life. 

Carnal intercourse with unmarried female, of previous 
chaste character, under 18 years of age is punishable by 
imprisonment in state penitentiary for not more than 10 
years, or fine not exceeding $2000. 

Capacity of person to commit crime is to be determined 
by jury. 

158 TJie Laws of Sex 

(Gen. Statutes 1906 s 3221; 3521 amended by 1918 Ch. 


Age of consent 14 years. Penalty for violation same 
as for rape which is death, unless jury recommends de- 
fendant be punished as for misdemeanor. 

(1918 No. 291, p. 259; Code 1910 s 93 and 94.) 


Carnal knowledge of a female child under 1% shall be 
punished by death or imprisonment for life. 
(Revised Laws 1915 s 3895.) 


Sexual intercourse with female (not wife of perpetrator) 
under 18 years of age constitutes rape, punishable by im- 
prisonment for 5 years or may be imprisonment for life. 

Conviction may not be had against person who was under 
14 at time of act unless physical ability is established. 

(Comp. S. 1919. Sees. 8262-65.) 


Any male person 17 years of age or more, having carnal 
knowledge of any female person under 16 (not his wife), 
either with or without her consent, is guilty of rape, punish- 
able by imprisonment in the penitentiary for not less than 
1 year; may be extended to life imprisonment. 

(Kurd's Revised Statutes 1917 C 38 s 237.) 


Carnal knowledge of female child under 16 constitutes 
rape and is punishable by fine of $1000 or imprisonment 
for from 2 to 21 years. If the female child is under 12 at 
the time of the act imprisonment shall be for life. 

(Burn's Ann. Statutes 1914 s 2250.) 

The Present Statutes 159 


Carnal knowledge of female under 15 is subject to im- 
prisonment for life or for any term of years. 
(Code 1897, section 4756.) 


Carnal knowledge of female under 18 constitutes rape, 
punishable by imprisonment of from 5 to 21 years. 

(Gen. Statutes 1915 s 3392.) 

"Evidence of character of witness confined to truth and 
veracity," State v. Eberline, 47 K. 155. 


Rape of child under 12 is punishable by death or life 
imprisonment; carnal knowledge of female of and above 12 
against her consent constitutes rape, punishable by im- 
prisonment of from 10 to 20 years, or by death. Carnal 
knowledge of female under 16 is subject to imprisonment 
of from 10 to 20 years. 

(Statutes 1915 s 1152-1155.) 


Persons over 17 having carnal knowledge of unmarried 
female between 12 and 18 (with her consent) is subject to 
imprisonment not exceeding 5 years. 

The penalty for rape is death ; attempt to commit rape 
is punishable by imprisonment of from 5 to 20 years. 

(Marr's R. S. 1915, Sees. 1610, 1633.) 


Whoever, being more than 18 years of age, has carnal 
knowledge of female child between 14 and 16 years of age, 
is punishable by fine not exceeding $500, or by imprison- 
ment for not more than 2 years. P. 82, Chap. 106, Laws 


Carnal knowledge of female child under 14 or imbecile, 
non compos mentis, or insane, constitutes a felony punish- 

160 The Laws of Sex 

able by death or imprisonment for life or for a definite time 
not less than 18 months nor more than 21 years. 

Carnal knowledge of female between ages of 14 and 16, 
a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment not more than 
2 years, or fine not exceeding $500, or both ; not applicable 
to males under 18 years. Bagby Code 1914, Vol. 3, Art. 
27, Sees. 421-22. 


Carnal knowledge of female child under 16 is punishable 
by imprisonment for life or for a term of years. 

(Revised Statutes 1902, vol. 2, p. 1745 C 207 s 23, as 
amended by Chap. 469, Acts 1913.) 


Any person who shall ravish and carnally know a female 
wnder the age of 16 is punishable by imprisonment for life, 
or for such period as court shall direct. 

(Compiled Laws 1915 s 15211.) 


Sexual intercourse with a female 10 years of age or more, 
not the wife of the perpetrator and without her consent, 
constitutes rape, punishable by imprisonment for from 7 
to 30 years. Carnal knowledge of a female child under 18 
years of age is punishable as follows: 

1. If the child is under 10 years of age, imprisonment 
for life ; 

2. Child 10 to 14, imprisonment for from 7 to 30 years ; 

3. Child 14 to 18, imprisonment in state prison or in 
county jail for not more than one year. 

No conviction may be had against male who was under 
14 at time of act unless physical ability is established. 
(Gen. Statutes 1913 s 8656.) 


Carnal knowledge of female child under 1 is subject to 
death or imprisonment for life. 

The Present Statutes 161 

For any male person to have carnal knowledge of un- 
married female of previously chaste character, younger 
than himself, and over 12 and under 18, he is punishable 
by fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment in jail not 
longer than 6 months, or both, or by imprisonment in peni- 
tentiary not exceeding 5 years, punishment to be fixed by 
jury. Assault to commit rape punishable by same penalty. 

(Hemingway's Code 1917, Sees. 1092-1096.) 


Carnal knowledge of a female child under 15 is punish- 
able by death or imprisonment for not less than 5 years. 

A person over 17 having carnal knowledge of any un- 
married female of previous chaste character between 15 
cmd 18 years of age is guilty of a felony punishable by 
imprisonment in the penitentiary for 5 years, or fine of 
from $100 to $500, or imprisonment in jail from 1 to 6 
months, or both fine and imprisonment. 

(Revised Statutes 1909 s 4471 and 4472 amended by 
1913, p. 218.) 


Person having sexual intercourse with female (not the 
wife of perpetrator) under 18 years of age is deemed guilty 
of rape, the penalty for which is imprisonment for not less 
than 5 years. 

No conviction can be had against person under 16 at 
time of act, unless physical ability is established. 

(Revised Statutes 1907, Penal Code, s 8336 amended by 
1913, p. 15 C 16; s 8337 and 8339.) 


Carnal knowledge of female child under 18 (with her 
consent), unless such female child is over 15 and previously 
unchaste, constitutes rape punishable by imprisonment in 
penitentiary for from 3 to 20 years. 

(Revised Statutes 1913 s 8588.) 

162 The Laws of Sex 


Any person 16 years of age and upward having carnal 
knowledge of female wider 16 (with or without her con- 
sent) is guilty of rape, punishable by imprisonment for not 
less than 5 years; may be extended to imprisonment for 
life, or death penalty if extreme violence used. 

(Chap. 234, p. 439, Laws 1919.) 

New Hampshire 

Carnal knowledge of female child under 16 is subject 
to penalty of imprisonment not exceeding 30 years. 
(Public Statutes 1901 C 278, p. 832 s 15.) 

New Jersey 

Any person 16 or over carnally abusing a female child 
under 12, with or without her consent, is guilty of a high 
misdemeanor, punishable by fine of not more than $5000 
or imprisonment not exceeding 30 years, or both fine and 
imprisonment. If the female child is between 12 and 16, 
and the act is either with or without her consent, the offense 
is also deemed a high misdemeanor and punishable by fine 
not exceeding $2000 or imprisonment at hard labor not 
exceeding 15 years, or both. 

Compiled Statutes 1910, vol. 2, p. 1783 (Crimes s 115.) 

New Mexico 

Sexual intercourse with female umder 16 is punishable 
by imprisonment for from 5 to 20 years. 

Conviction may not be had against one under 14 at time 
of act unless physical capacity is established. 

Carnal knowledge of female under 10 is punishable by 
imprisonment for life. 

(Statutes 1915 s 1493-1495 amended by 1915 C 51.) 

New York 

Sexual intercourse with female (not the wife of the per- 
petrator) under 18 years of age, without consent of victim, 
constitutes rape in the 1st degree and is punishable by 

The Present Statutes 163 

imprisonment for not more than 20 years ; if with her con- 
sent, it constitutes rape in the 2nd degree and is punishable 
by imprisonment for not more than 10 years. 

No conviction can be had against one under 14 at time 
of act, unless physical ability is proven. 

(Compiled Laws 1909, vol. 4 (penal), s 2010 and 2012.) 

North Carolina 

Person convicted of carnally knowing female under the 
age of 1% shall suffer death. 

(Pell's Revisal of 1905 C 81 s 3637 amended by 1917 C 

In 1921 age of consent raised to 16. 

North Dakota 

Sexual intercourse with female under 18 (not the wife 
of the perpetrator) is deemed rape; if the person com- 
mitting the offense is 24 years of age or more, rape in the 
1st degree is committed; if he is between 20 and 24, rape 
in the 3rd degree; the offense is also deemed rape in the 
3rd degree when the male is under W and the female is 
under 18 and apparently gives her consent. 

Rape in the 1st degree is punishable by imprisonment in 
penitentiary for not less than 1 year; 2nd degree rape is 
punishable as follows: If the defendant is a minor, by 
imprisonment in the state penitentiary for not less than 
1 year; 3rd degree rape is punishable by commitment to 
Reform School for not less than 1 nor more than 3 years. 

(Comp. L. 1913 s 9563-9569 amended by 1915 C 201 
and 1917 Ch. 193.) 

Ohio (To July 10, 1919 

Whoever has carnal knowledge of female under 12, 
forcibly and against her will, shall be punished by imprison- 
ment in the penitentiary during life. 

A person being 18 years of age to carnally know a female 
under 16 (with her consent), shall be imprisoned in the 

164 The Laws of Sex 

penitentiary for from 1 to 20 years, or in the county jail 
for 6 months. 

Whoever being 18 years of age attempts to carnally 
know a female voider 16 (with her consent), shall be im- 
prisoned in the penitentiary for not less than 1, nor more 
than 15 years, or for 6 months in the county jail. 

The Court is authorized to hear testimony in mitigation 
or aggravation of such sentence. 

(General Code 1910 s 12413, 12414, 12415, amended 
by 1915, p. 243.) 


1. Sexual intercourse with a female (not the wife of the 
perpetrator) under 16 years of age, or lunatic or person 
of unsound mind, is deemed rape in the 1st degree. 

2. Where female is over 16 and under 18, and of previous 
dhaste and virtuous character is deemed rape in the 2nd 
degree. Conviction may not be had against one who was 
voider 14 at the time of act, unless physical ability is proven. 

Penalty. If the male was over 18 and the female under 14 
(or if over 14 and the act was accomplished by means of 
force, etc.), the offense constitutes rape in the 1st degree, 
and is punishable by death or imprisonment in the peniten- 
tiary for not less than 15 years. Rape in the 2nd degree 
(which is all other offenses), is punishable by imprisonment 
in the penitentiary from 1 to 15 years. 

(Revised Laws 1910, vol. 1, s 2414-2419.) 


Any person over 16 who shall carnally know a female 
child under 16 is guilty of rape, punishable by imprison- 
ment in the penitentiary from 3 to 20 years. 

(Lord's Oregon Laws 1910, s 1912.) 


For any person to carnally know a female child under 16 
(with or without her consent), he is guilty of felonious rape 
and subject to fine not exceeding $1000 and imprisonment 

The Present Statutes 165 

not exceeding 15 years. If jury finds such child was not 
of good repute and that the act was with her consent de- 
fendant may be convicted of fornication only (which is 
punishable by fine of not more than $100). 

(Stewart's Pardon's Digest 1905, vol. 1, p. 1005, Art. 

Any person who takes a female child under 16 for the 
purpose of prostitution or sexual intercourse, or inveigles 
or entices any such minor female child into a house of ill- 
fame or elsewhere for the purpose of prostitution or sexual 
intercourse, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and 
subject to imprisonment for not more than 5 years or fine 
not exceeding $1000, or both. 

(May 28, 1885, P. L. 27.) 

Porto Rico 

Sexual intercourse with a female under 14 (not the wife 
of the perpetrator) is deemed rape and punishable by im- 
prisonment in the penitentiary for not less than 5 years. 

No conviction can be had against a person who was 
under 14 at the time the act was committed unless physical 
ability is proven. 

(Revised Statutes and Codes 1911 s 5697 and 5698.) 

Rhode Island 

A person unlawfully and carnally knowing and abusing a 
girl under 15 shall be imprisoned not exceeding 16 years. 

The penalty for rape is imprisonment for life or for any 
term not less than 10 years. 

(General Laws 1909, C 347, p. 1276, s 3; C 343, p. 1251, 
s 5.) 

South Carolina 

Any person who shall unlawfully and carnally know and 
abuse a female child under 14 shall be punished for rape 
(the penalty for which is death by hanging or imprison- 
ment for not more than 40 years nor less than 5 years). 

166 The Laws of Sex 

Provided, however, that if the child is over 10 years of age 
the penalty may be reduced to imprisonment in the peni- 
tentiary for not more than 14 years. 

(Code 1912, vol. 2 [Criminal] s 143; s 141-142.) 

South Dakota 

Sexual intercourse with a female child wnder 18 (not 
the wife of the perpetrator) constitutes rape. If the child 
was tinder 10 the offense is rape in the 1st degree and 
punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for not less 
than 10 years; otherwise the offense constitutes rape in 
the 2nd degree and is punishable by imprisonment for not 
more than 20 years. 

Conviction may not be had against one under 14 at time 
of act, unless physical ability is established. 

(R. C. 1919, Sees. 4092-4098.) 


Any person carnally knowing and abusing a female under 
12 shall on conviction be punished as for rape (death by 
hanging, which may be commuted to imprisonment for life 
or for a term of years not less than 10 years). 

Unlawful sexual intercourse with a female child between 
12 and 21 constitutes a felony, and if not under circum- 
stances constituting rape is punishable by imprisonment 
for from 3 to 10 years; not applicable when the female is 
over 12 and a bawd, lewd or kept female. 

(Shannon's Code 1918, s 6451, 6455, 6456.) 

Assault on female under age of 12 years, with intent to 
unlawfully know her shall be punished as rape. (Chap. 36, 
p. 85, Laws 1919.) 


Sec. 1. Carnal knowledge of female under age of eigh- 
teen other than wife of person, provided if woman is be- 
tween 15 and 18, defendant may show she was not of previ- 
ous chaste character as a defense. Punishable by imprison- 

The Present Statutet 167 

ment in penitentiary for life or not less than 5 years. 
Person under 14 may not be convicted. 

(P. 123, Laws 1918.) 


Sexual intercourse with a female wnder 13 (not the 
wife of the perpetrator) constitutes rape punishable by im- 
prisonment for not less than 5 years. Conviction may 
not be had if the defendant was under 14 at time of act, 
unless physical ability is established. 

Carnal knowledge of a female between 13 and 18 con- 
stitutes a felony. The penalty for a felony when not 
specifically provided is imprisonment not exceeding 5 years. 

(Compiled Laws 1917, Sees. 8105-8109.) 


Any person over 16 who shall ravish or carnally know 
a female under 16 (with or without her consent) is deemed 
guilty of rape, punishable by imprisonment for not more 
than 20 years or fine of not more than $2000, or both. 

If a person under 16 has unlawful carnal knowledge of 
a female under 16, with her consent, both are guilty of 
a misdemeanor and may be committed to the State In- 
dustrial School; if without her consent and by force, the 
punishment is as in case of rape. 

(Gen. Laws 1917, Sees. 6822, 6825.) 


Carnal knowledge of a female child under 15 is punish- 
able by death or imprisonment for from 5 to 20 years; if 
child is between ages of 14 and 15 subsequent marriage of 
parties is bar. 

(Code 1904, vol. 2, s 3680; amended by 1916, C 478 
and Chap. 82, Laws 1918.) 


Every male person who shall carnally know and abuse any 
female child under the age of 18 years, not his wife, and 

168 The Laws of Sex 

every female person who shall have sexual intercourse with 
any male child under the age of 18 years, not her husband, 
shall be punished as follows: 

(1) When such child is under the age of 10 years, by 
imprisonment in the state penitentiary for life. 

(2) When such child is 10 and under 15 years of age, 
by imprisonment in the state penitentiary for not less than 
5 years. 

(3) When such child is 15 and under 18 years of age 
by imprisonment in the state penitentiary for not more 
than 10 years, or by imprisonment in the county jail for 
not more than 1 year. 

(Sec. 2436, Rem. Code 1916.) 
(As amended by Laws 1919.) 

West Virginia 

Carnal knowledge of a female under 14 i punishable by 
death or imprisonment in the penitentiary for from 7 to 
20 years. Not applicable to one who was wnder 14 if the 
female was over 12 and gave her consent. 

(Hogg's Code 1913, vol. 3, s 5166.) 


Any person over 18 who ravishes or carnally knows a 
female under 16 is punishable by imprisonment for not 
more than 35 nor less than 1 year, or by fine not exceeding 

And person 18 or under who shall unlawfully and carnally 
know and abuse a female under 18 shall be punished by 
imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 10 nor 
less than 1 years, or fined not exceeding $200. 

(Statutes 1917, s 4382.) 

Any man who commits fornication with a sane female 
of previous chaste character under age of 21, shall be 
punished by imprisonment in state prison not more than 
4 years or by fine not exceeding $200, or both. 

(Statutes 1917, s 4580.) 

The Present Statutes 169 


Unlawful carnal knowledge of a female child under 18 
(with or without her consent) constitutes rape, which is 
punishable by imprisonment in the penitentiary for not less 
than 1 year; may be for life. 

(Compiled Statutes 1910, s 5803.) 



In attempting to determine the province of the state in 
regard to the relation between the sexes, two fundamental 
facts relating to human conduct should be borne clearly in 
mind. First, the individual is a complex of instincts and 
emotions, many of which act in independence of the will, 
and second, behavior is regulated by public opinion super- 
imposed upon conscience and desire. The primitive sensa- 
tions, such as hunger, thirst, sleep, love and pain cannot 
beyond narrow limits be affected by the normal mind, al- 
though their translation into directive action can to a large 
extent be controlled by the will. For example, a prisoner 
on hunger strike may refuse food until he perishes from 
inanition, but the physiological sensations incident to star- 
vation operate in his case as well as in another. Or again, 
a man marooned in an open boat at sea with insufficient 
water aboard may of his ortra volition permit a comrade to 
drink while he himself goes thirsty, yet he suffers the physi- 
cal torment of thirst with all the intensity of his sentient 
being. The power of the mind in the normal individual does 
not extend very far into the province of the basic physiologi- 
cal sensations, and statutes which adjudicate hunger, thirst, 
pain or love are therefore anachronisms in legislation. While 
it is entirely reasonable for any community to enact laws 
designed to direct these impulses along lines which are not 
detrimental to the commonwealth, still it is overstepping 
the mark to an illogical degree when it pretends to dictate 
as to the intimate sensations of the individual. To demand 
that two human beings shall at any period of their lives 


The Standardization of Sexual Conduct 171 

promise to love one another until death do them part, and 
to offer legal concessions to exact this agreement, is as 
anomalous as it would be to require them to assert their con- 
trol over taste or smell or any other bodily sensation. Genu- 
ine love is no more a matter of the voluntary control of 
the individual than are the olfactory or gustatory nerves, 
although its outward expression may to a very considera- 
ble extent be regulated by the private or public conscience. 

Much of the difficulty associated with the regulation of 
the relation between the sexes is due to the lack of a clean- 
cut differentiation between the voluntary and the involun- 
tary spheres of sexual action. While a man can obviously 
restrain himself from having sexual relations with his be- 
loved, still, all experience goes to prove that he cannot even 
by a supreme act of the will control his affectional emotions 
in her direction. Even if she is the wife of another man 
or beyond his reach for any other reason, his passion is 
none the less strong and none the less imperative. While 
it is true that love and all the other physiological emotions 
can to some extent be inhibited or magnified by the will 
and by environment, yet in their essence they are beyond hu- 
man might under normal conditions of mentality. The de- 
ranged intellect or local disorders of the central nervous 
system may free the individual from his ordinary physio- 
logical reactions, but the normal mind registers emotions 
even though they be precisely at variance with desire or 

It is not to be supposed that Lancelot or Guinevere 
desired to love one another, for they both felt it to be a 
mortal stain on their honor that the emotion awakened in 
their hearts, yet they were utterly incapable of subduing 
their passion. It is a matter of everyday experience chroni- 
cled time without end, both in real life and in fiction, that 
love is an entirely independent arbiter of the emotions. To 
arouse love when it does not exist is as impossible as to 
deny love once it is aflame, for it is like the spirit which 

172 The Laws of Sex 

animates the human body, an ethereal, inexplicable thing 
rooted in the flesh, but seemingly independent of it. 

For men to attempt to legislate about Love, to hammer 
him out shackles in the form of law or custom, is to em- 
bark upon an enterprise bound from the outset to meet 
misfortune. Men know too little about Love in their own 
lives to venture to prescribe his limitations. Strange, mys- 
tical, all-consuming power, it envelops the life of man in 
its glow and brings to him some premonition of his divine 
office as creator. Born again at the crest of his mental 
and physical vigor, man senses in love the wellspring of 
the fountain of life and he drinks with the same instinctive 
abandon that he first suckled the breast of his mother. Re- 
freshed, reinvigorated, inspired anew, his spiritual rebirth is 
a valid token of the strength and purity of his emotion. 
Love is not amenable to human law, for it is not a force 
comprehended by human beings. Even true lovers do not 
know what the indomitable force is that brings them to- 
gether. Like the attraction of the North to the magnetized 
needle, it is an observable but as yet inexplicable phenomenon. 
As a reality in human life it is clearly recognizable, but 
whence it comes and whither it goes man is as yet incom- 
petent to tell. 

Precisely why two adult human beings, self-sufficient, self- 
contained, with various personal and social interests, should 
of a sudden be delivered to this incomprehensible and all- 
consuming passion for one another, which makes or mars 
their lives, for which they will undergo any amount of in- 
convenience and suffering, is matter for deep thought, but 
certainly not for legislation. It would be as idle for men 
to make laws that lightning should strike constantly in the 
same places as for them to enact legislation designed to 
limit the sphere of man's supreme emotion. 

If it were possible to analyze the attraction that binds 
men and women together through life in a perfect spiritual 
and physical union, it would be of untold benefit to the race 

The Standardization of Sexual Conduct 173 

to write this knowledge down in the form of statutes. Since, 
however, this information is not at hand, the present ob- 
ject of the state should be to direct its attention to the 
more practical aspects of the relation between the sexes 
and not to interfere in matters of which it is palpably 

Love is but another name for sexual selection, and nature 
is replete with evidence that the operation of this law is 
beneficial to the deyelopment of any species. Inbreeding, 
as among members of the same family, the crossing of dis- 
tant races, as between the Negro and the Caucasian, the 
choice of inferior or deficient members of the same group, 
all are antagonized by sexual selection. The emancipation 
of women, their economic and political independence, as 
well as the development of a greater degree of industrial 
democracy throughout the whole social order is essential to 
the proper adjustment of the relation between the sexes. 
Both men and women must be spiritually and economically 
free before they will be in a position to exercise a wise choice 
in the selection of their mates. Any social or political 
reform which tends to facilitate the wholesome and natural 
development of the human race furthers by that same incre- 
ment the solution of the problem of the social evil. 

In the past, the subjection of women has been especially 
an obstacle to racial progress, for it is well known that 
under a natural order the ultimate power of sexual selection 
is vested in the female. An old Maori proverb says: "Let 
a man be ever so good looking, he will not be much sought 
after ; but let a woman be ever so plain, men will still eagerly 
seek after her." In the crossing between unequal races the 
man almost always belongs to the superior race. 

While the association of the problem of sex with the whole 
economic problem is clearly apparent, still the two are by 
no means one and the same thing. Even under an ideal eco- 
nomic system, some standardization of the sexual life of the 
race would still be necessary if the rights of the individuals 

174 The Laws of Sex 

involved were to be properly safeguarded. Doubtless in 
an Utopian group, composed of perfect human beings, stat- 
utes of all kinds could be done away with and instinct sub- 
stituted for law, but humanity has not yet achieved a state 
of evolution consonant with such procedure. 

The conduct of the individual is deeply influenced by the 
estimation of his fellows, and the conscience of the race 
phrased in public opinion is a valuable directive force in" 
human affairs. People will often behave secretly in a man- 
ner very different from that which they would follow in 
the public view, and the individual conscience is frequently 
a feeble agency when unsupported by the knowledge that 
detection and penalization may result from the indulgence 
of conduct which is known to be wrong. Moreover, the racial 
standards exercise a subtle and extremely powerful influence 
on the individual point of view, for the average person is 
too intellectually slothful and too timid to carve out an 
ethical code of his own. That which is accepted as right 
or wrong by the community under ordinary circumstances 
is accepted as right or wrong by the individual as well. 
However, before personal conduct can come under the judg- 
ment of the group as a whole, some practical mechanism for 
bringing it out into the open has to be devised. If there 
were no laws regulating contracts, and no facilities for 
enforcing such laws, the conduct of the individual in rela- 
tion to making contracts could scarcely be brought before 
the public view. A man could make a contract and then 
at will break it, and except for the clamor of his victim, 
which could usually be explained away, the community would 
know nothing of the whole procedure. 

In the absence of definite standards concretely framed 
in the form of law, both the individual and the public are 
at a disadvantage in passing judgment upon any given act. 
The disrepute in which personal loans without security are 
held, and the painful situations which often develop in con- 
nection with such informal transactions indicate the utili- 

The Standardization of Sexual Conduct 175 

tarian value of legal procedures. Personal relations are 
clarified and placed upon a concrete and mutually compre- 
hensible basis when due attention is paid to legal require- 
ments. The convenience and efficiency of the whole social 
order is to a great degree dependent upon the complex 
system of law which has grown up under civilization. The 
difference in individual points of view is so extreme that 
even thoroughly honorable people could scarcely live hap- 
pily together in community life were it not for the definition 
with which the law has marked out property rights and has 
otherwise fixed the limits of personal liberty. 

Heretofore in the realm of sex, there has been no ra- 
tional effort to define the rights of the individuals involved 
in terms consonant with modern civilization. Custom has 
decreed that monogamous marriage should constitute the 
recognized relation between the sexes, but alongside of this 
institution illicit relationships have been permitted over 
which the state has had no adequate power of supervision. 
While the state has called marriage the legal relation be- 
tween the sexes, it has failed to make sexual intercourse 
outside marriage in a practical sense illegal, for even in 
those states where there is a statute against fornication, 
no adequate effort has been made to put this law into opera- 
tion. Public opinion has consistently overlooked sexual re- 
lationships outside marriage, provided the girl was over the 
age of consent, and provided further that she was supposed 
to give her consent to the relationship. 

The study of existing statutes as actually enforced brings 
to light the fact that the modern state has built up no 
definite standard for sex relations between adult men and 
women. They may marry if they like, in which case a super- 
abundance of laws become operative, or they may live to- 
gether in disregard of marriage, in which event the state 
washes its hands of the whole transaction. If either of the 
partners to fornication happens to be married, he or she 
may be held for adultery, but action must in practice be 

176 The Laws of Sex 

brought by the injured wife or husband, for the state does 
not feel any degree of responsibility in such matters. 

Moreover, the consensus of opinion with regard to the 
gravity of the offense of adultery is in a very fluid condi- 
tion, for, as has been seen in some states, it is technically 
punishable by imprisonment in the penitentiary, while in 
others, such as Maryland, the maximum penalty is a fine 
of ten dollars. 

As was shown in a previous chapter, a similar condition 
exists with regard to the age at which a minor is considered 
to be capable of giving consent to the sexual act. The man- 
ual of the United States Army provides that any man who 
seduces a girl under the age of ten years is guilty of rape, 
and may be court-martialed. In Colorado and in many of 
the other Western states, 18 is the age fixed upon, and in 
Maryland and some other states the statute provides that 
seduction of a girl under the age of 14 constitutes rape, 
while carnal knowledge of a girl between 14 and 16 merely 
amounts to a misdemeanor. 

In actual practice, the responsibility for the prosecu- 
tion of these cases is almost invariably left to the girl or 
her family, for the state takes little interest in these affairs, 
and is not sufficiently equipped with detective service and 
the like to handle them efficiently. It is only when the man 
is a Negro or when rape has been conspicuously accom- 
plished by physical force that the community awakens to 
a sense of its responsibility. Then there is a great hue 
and cry and even a hanging may be in order. If a girl 
of 16 in Maryland is persuaded by a man to have inter- 
course with him he is guiltless under the law, but if he uses 
physical force to bring her to submit to him, he may pay 
the penalty of his act by being hanged. 

In the enforcement of the statutes, willingness on the 
part of the woman to accede to sex relations outside mar- 
riage, appears to be the sole criterion of the state in regard 
to the virtue or vice of sex relations. This one point being 

The Standardization of Sexual Conduct 177 

settled, and the woman having agreed, the state then fails 
to make adequate provision for the offspring and leaves 
the woman without redress in the event that the man sees 
fit to desert her and her child. 

The general public does not realize what an enormous 
number of cases of the seduction of young children actually 
occurs, for most of these cases never come before the courts, 
and of the few that are brought to trial the majority are 
dismissed for lack of evidence. One Baltimore physician 
who was called upon to examine the children connected with 
these cases, reports that in the course of one year in Bal- 
timore City more than one thousand little girls under the 
age of 12 years were found to be the victims of unscrupu- 
lous men. It is of interest to note that of the insignificant 
number of men convicted of assaults upon children, the 
average punishment inflicted was less than three months in 

Since it is well known that the ranks of prostitution are 
recruited from girls who have been seduced at a tender age, 
it would appear that willingness on the part of a girl to 
accede to her seduction was perhaps hardly a sufficient cri- 
terion for interference on the part of the state. In the 
matter of property the state does not hesitate to decree 
21 years as the age at which a girl may handle her property 
independently, yet in a matter which concerns both the 
girl and the state far more significantly than mere pe- 
cuniary values, the state permits a girl to accede to her 
physical and moral ruin from the age of 12 years upward. 

The question of illegitimacy also enters in, for even if a 
girl is willing to participate in illicit relations, the child 
has certain rights which ought to be respected. There is 
no act which is so terrible in its consequences upon children 
as irresponsible sex relations, irrespective of whether the 
parents agreed to the relationship or not. Precisely why 
this fact has not permeated the public conscience it is dif- 
ficult to tell, for the half-breed, the degenerate and the fee- 

178 The Laws of Sex 

ble-minded are present in every community to tell the story. 
There is no more unspeakable offense that a father can per- 
petrate against his child than to give it a mother who is 
too low in scale for him to recognize openly as his mate; 
yet throughout America the mulatto bears silent testimony 
to the fact that thousands upon thousands of children have 
been cursed by their fathers in this way. 

The white man who anathematizes the colored woman and 
who refuses her the legal right of marriage with his own 
race, is not too proud to have sex relations with her and 
to give his son the dark skin which he so scorns. Moreover, 
having given him a Negro inheritance the father promptly 
deserts him altogether, denies him his rightful name and 
leaves him to be reared as an outcast even in the inferior 
group. No child could have more righteous or more dread- 
ful cause for just complaint against his parent than the 
illegitimate half-breed colored child, and it is doubtful if 
one human being could be more grievously outraged by 
another than in this case. Yet well thinking, high bred 
white men feel no chagrin at having intercourse with col- 
ored girls, and the state stands aloof, refusing to assume 

Similarly men feel no especial prick of conscience if fee- 
ble-minded girls submit to their embraces even though they 
know that through the sexual act they may be giving a 
half-witted inheritance to their children. In cases such as 
these the responsibility of the state to its future citizens 
is clearly apparent, and is not vindicated merely by deter- 
mining whether or not the woman willingly accedes to the 

Every year in America thousands upon thousands of ille- 
gitimate children are born, many of them are of inferior 
inheritance, many of them are not; all of them come into 
the world under a disadvantage. They have no legal name 
or status; they do not enjoy the property rights of other 

The Standardization of Sexual Conduct 179 

children; their right of maintenance and education is insuf- 
ficiently assured. Myriads of them die within their first 
year, suffering from neglect and malnutrition. Their moth- 
ers are incompetent to care for them alone, and if they 
grow up the knowledge of their origin is a constant re- 
proach to them. The state passes them by in its virtuous 
hypocrisy, providing perhaps a foundling asylum or a mis- 
erable pittance extorted with difficulty from an unwilling 
father. That their mothers were willing to have sexual 
intercourse with their fathers has satisfied the state; the 
protection of the race stock and the assurance of the rights 
of the most helpless of all citizens are matters of indiffer- 

The attitude of the state toward the problem of sex is 
an exact mirror picture of the attitude of the average man 
on the same problem, which is but natural, since in these 
affairs men have had supreme power in framing and enforc- 
ing the statutes. Men have regarded rape as a serious of- 
fense for it might affect the women in their own families, 
their wives or their daughters ; they have also regarded the 
seduction of young children as a more or less objectional 
practice, although the little girl under the paternal roof 
was in a comparatively safe position. At the same time, 
they have desired a free rein for themselves in the pursuit 
of sexual enjoyment, which has predicated the availability 
of a considerable number of women. The thought of illigiti- 
macy has scarcely entered their minds, for by the time a 
girl becomes pregnant they have usually lost their interest 
in her, or are prepared to do so. Moreover, men have a 
happy way of thinking that if a girl submits to one man 
she is doubtless available to many others, so that paternity 
is more or less dubitable. Being held in no wise responsible 
by the state in their relations with compliant women, they 
have assumed that it was only necessary for them to per- 
suade the women to yield to them in order to make their 

180 The Laws of Sex 

act acceptable. A little specious love making or a small 
financial gift being successful, they have proceeded to the 
indulgence of desire with few compunctions. 

When to their chagrin it was discovered that venereal 
disease resulted from their promiscuous habits, they imme- 
diately called upon the state to detect and eliminate the in- 
fectious woman. Restraint on their part from exposure to 
the sources of infection being contrary to their wishes, they 
discounted justice and hygiene in regard to illicit relations 
and wrote down statutes relating to promiscuity directed 
exclusively toward their partners in prostitution. They also 
set up lock hospitals for women only, retaining to themselves 
the sole right to disseminate venereal infection. Relying 
upon their own instinctive virtue, they failed to protect 
wedlock against venereal contamination, with the result that 
countless innocent women and children have paid with their 
lives for men's sexual license. 

From a consideration of the existing statutes, it is clear 
that the first step toward bringing order out of chaos is 
for the state to define what it considers the proper rela- 
tion between the sexes, and then with all its power and 
prestige to outlaw all relationships which do not fall within 
this definition. Men and women must be brought to ac- 
knowledge their sex relations publicly as they do in mar- 
riage, for where secrecy is permitted degradation of the 
sex life of the individual has been found to ensue. If a 
man were forced openly to recognize the colored woman or 
the deficient girl with whom he now consorts as his mate, 
which in practical fact she temporarily is, he would soon 
learn of the public's disapproval of such relationships. It 
is only the fact that he is able to conceal his conduct with 
these women from the respectable members of his acquaint- 
ance that makes it possible for him to indulge his base de- 
sires with no qualms of conscience. The racial conscience 
would quickly intervene and inhibit his desires if the facts 
of his conduct were presented to the public view. In the 

The Standardization of Sexual Conduct 181 

absence of any legal standard for the relation between 
the sexes, public opinion is impotent to judge the conduct 
of the individual, for it has no adequate means of ascer- 
taining in what kind of sexual conduct the members of the 
community are indulging. With the standard defined, and 
with all other relationships placed under the ban of the 
law men would be made answerable for their sexual acts, 
and they would promptly order their lives in a manner 
more or less consonant with public approval. 

The points of importance to be considered in framing a 
standard for the relations between the sexes are, first, that 
all men and women shall be required by the law to acknowl- 
edge their sexual mates publicly and openly. Clandestine 
or unregistered relationships cannot be connived at by the 
law, for it is impossible for the state to regulate relation- 
ships of which it is ignorant. Second, the standard adopted 
by the state should insure liberty in sexual selection. It 
should not operate to deny freedom in love, for if it does 
it will neither command nor deserve obedience. Third, it 
should act to insure a father as well as a mother to all 
offspring and should recognize the equal rights of all chil- 
dren under the law. It will be seen that these three essential 
factors would be included in the present custom of monoga- 
mous marriage if sex relationships outside of wedlock were 
made illegal, if divorce were freely permitted on grounds of 
incompatibility and if the common parentage of a chifd 
constituted marriage. 

There appears to be no doubt but that the mating of 
one man with one woman insures a better opportunity for 
the complete development of the sex life of all the members 
of the community than is afforded either by polygamy or 
polyandry. Moreover, modern experiments in polygamy 
and group marriage as among the Mormons or in the Oneida 
colony have been admittedly signal failures. The trend of 
civilization has set so strongly in the direction of the one 
man and the one woman union that it would be impossible 

182 The Laws of Sex 

in practice to secure public recognition for polygamy, poly- 
andry or promiscuity in sex relationships. Easy divorce on 
the other hand has been constantly gaining in favor, as is 
indicated by the U. S. Census figures which show that one 
marriage out of every nine in America ends in the divorce 
courts. While the amount of marital unhappiness which 
these statistics predicate is on humanitarian grounds highly 
deplorable, still it cannot reasonably be argued that it would 
be more wholesome for the men and women involved or for 
their offspring if these people were forced to continue to 
live together under conditions favorable to reproduction, 
than if they were permitted to separate and to try their 
fortunes again in the lists of matrimony. When people are 
under duress to live together they are far less apt to en- 
deavor to make themselves agreeable to one another than 
when they are permitted free choice in their companionship. 
Monogamy with its common interests in the home and in 
the children appears to be so inherent a desire among civ- 
ilized peoples that it is scarcely conceivable that it should 
be necessary to chain men and women to one another to 
insure permanence in the union. Moreover, if it were es- 
sential to link them together against their will, if it were 
to be supposed that monogamy would cease to exist if it 
were not forced upon people as unwilling slaves, it would bo 
open to question if it would not be wiser to give over the 
institution altogether and set up some other standard in 
its stead. The basis for the relation between the sexes 
must be sought in nature, as it is among the birds, and 
not be merely an idle form superimposed through arbitrary 
law upon the conscience and will of adult human beings. It 
is the fact that highly developed men and women prefer 
to live together in the monogamous state that unquestiona- 
bly makes this standard of the relation between the sexes 
more desirable than any other. 

Instead of the present inelastic form of marriage which 
may be so easily entered upon and from which people have 

The Standardization of Sexual Conduct 185 

such great difficulty in extricating themselves, the state 
should institute a definite form of marriage contract, not 
binding the individuals to eternal love, for of that contin- 
gency they can at no time speak positively, but merely re- 
quiring that they recognize one another publicly as mates 
in advance of the sexual act, and that they subscribe to 
the various parental and property obligations that may 
become involved in the relationship. It should also be in- 
cluded in the contract that either of the parties to the 
agreement could withdraw at will, provided that he or she 
made adequate provision for dependent children and ad- 
justed property considerations in accordance with defined 
law. Where the wife and mother fulfills her duty to the 
household, she has a moral lien on the earnings of her hus- 
band, which is already in some degree recognized by the 
state, and in the preparation of the marriage contract this 
right to some material fruits of her labors should be recog- 
nized in concrete and unmistakable form. Mutual consent 
in withdrawing from the contract should not be required, 
for this would hamper the individual unduly and to no good 
purpose, in his freedom in sexual selection, and would tend 
to give moral and biological grounds for illicit relationships, 
as has been the case in the past. 

It would undoubtedly be well to require that either party 
who desired to cancel the contract should give due notice 
to the state of his or her intention so to do, and that a 
certain number of months should elapse between notification 
and cancellation. This would tend to preclude hasty action 
resulting from transitory disagreements, and would enable 
the state to assure proper provisions being made in behalf 
of the children. 

There may be those who would anticipate a complete 
dissolution of the home and the state if marriage were 
placed upon this practical and dissoluble basis, but those 
who believe in the moral and biological foundation of the 
monogamous tie will entertain no such apprehension. The 

184* The Laws of Sex 

very reason why the state would be justified in defining 
the relation between the sexes as a monogamous union, is 
that men and women tend to pair together monogamously 
when their conduct is not so contrary to their own best 
interests as to demand concealment. Doubtless with the de- 
velopment of a more humane economic system, and the fur- 
therance of opportunities for natural association between 
the sexes before marriage, a wiser choice in mating will 
eventuate, and the facilities for cancelling the marriage 
contract be less and less made use of. 

Those who fear that men would change their mates with 
undue frequency if divorce were permitted on the simple 
request of either partner, do not consider the fact. that, 
the majority of men now live in clandestine promiscuity, 
nor do they realize that the financial obligations involved 
in matrimonial ventures would prohibit many marriages for 
the average man. 

Under this standard the ideal of the life-long monoga- 
mous union would be realized by those capable of compre- 
hending its benefits. Love would be granted the utmost 
freedom compatible with the welfare of the children and 
the state, sexual selection would be given rightful recogni- 
tion, and marriage would be changed from a coercive bond- 
age into an institution based upon genuine affection The 
dual nature of sex would be recognized in its entirety, mu- 
tual responsibility in the sex relationship could to a maxi- 
mum degree be assured by the state, and justice would at 
last find its way at least into the relations of men and 
women as the progenitors of the race. 

Since the child is the natural fruit of mating, the co- 
parentage of offspring should constitute legal marriage. 
The man who then consorted with a deficient girl or with 
a woman of inferior race would come to understand the sig- 
nificance of his conduct, and would automaticlly be re- 
strained by public opinion and his own self-respect from per- 

The Standardization of Sexual Conduct 185 

petrating the most heinous of all crimes against posterity. 
In case the father of a child born out of wedlock were 
already married the man should be held guilty of bigamy 
and be prosecuted accordingly by the state, and the same 
law should operate in the case of the woman. Under such 
a law illegitimacy would be reduced to a minimum and the 
state would be held responsible, as it should be, for securing 
the registration of both male and female progenitors. 

Procedure of this sort would be less of an innovation than 
might at first appear, for in many countries customs similar 
to this are already in operation, and during the recent 
war large numbers of men were forced by the government 
to marry girls whom they had rendered pregnant. More- 
over, it would not operate unjustly toward the man, for 
he would merely be held responsible by the state for the 
results of his own conduct, and he would be free to extricate 
himself through divorce from an uncongenial relationship 
by making adequate provision for his child. 

The chief purpose of thus standardizing sexual con- 
duct is to provide the state with some practical means 
for differentiating between the use and the abuse of the 
sexual function, so far as the race is concerned. So long 
as the state presumes to adjudicate love its behests cannot 
by rational human beings be respected or obeyed. The 
power of sexual choice must be left to the individual and 
to him alone. It is not, however, officious for the state to 
require that the relationship should be registered, that the 
responsibilities which it entails should be assumed, nor would 
any man who truly loved a woman resent publicly admit- 
ting that she was his mate. With this standard formally 
enacted into law, the state could logically proceed against 
all those who indulged in prostitution or who otherwise 
sought to gratify their base sexual impulses at the cost 
of racial progress. Fornication would be recognized in its 
true proportions as an offense against the racial life, and 

186 The Laws of Sex 

the heretofore valid excuse that marriage denied freedom 
for true love could no longer be offered by those guilty of 

In order to make manifest the magnitude of the offense 
of fornication, penalization proportionate to the racial re- 
sults of such conduct must be instituted. The individual 
must understand in terms of his own comfort and conve- 
nience the significance of clandestine sex adventures. The 
fact that illegitimacy, prostitution and venereal disease flow 
from promiscuous sexual relationships must be epitomized 
in the form of law before the inexperienced and young will 
learn in time that the true road to sexual happiness lies 
through love and chastity, and not through sensuous and 
transitory relations between the sexes. 



While no reliable statistics with regard to the incidence 
of venereal disease in America are available, it is estimated 
by genito-urinary specialists of wide experience that of 
young unmarried men fully 60 per cent have or have had 
gonorrhoea, and that from 10 to 15 per cent contract 
syphilis. Morrow estimates that 60 per cent and For- 
scheimer that 51 per cent of the adult male population of 
the United States have gonorrhoea. 1 

Statistics compiled by Dr. George Walker, Colonel in 
the United States Army, show that in the American Ex- 
peditionary Forces the percentage of venereal disease 
among the troops was about 12 to 13 per cent syphilis, 37 
per cent chancroid and 51 per cent gonorrhoea. A table pre- 
pared by Col. P. M. Ashburn and published in the Journal 
of the American Medical Association, May 8, 1920, shows 
that among the United States troops from 1903 to 1915 the 
percentages of the three diseases in the totals of venereal 
disease reported were approximately gonorrhoea 60 per cent, 
chancroid 18 per cent, and syphilis 20 per cent. 

Among 2000 case histories in the public and private 
wards of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr. Hooker found 
that 49.9 per cent of the male patients gave a past history of 
gonorrhoea and that 10.9 per cent gave a past history of 
syphilis. The patients were not connected with the genito- 
urinary department, but were admitted to the general medi- 
cal and surgical service. The incidence of venereal disease 
as shown by the past histories was higher in the private 

1 Cabot's Modern Urology. 


188 The Laws of Sex 

than in the public wards, confirming Dr. Blaschko's findings 
that venereal disease is more frequent among the higher than 
among the lower classes of men. 

When it is realized that a large majority of these men 
subsequently marry, many of them with an uncured disease, 
that they contaminate their wives and even transmit their 
malady to their offspring, the enormity of the results be- 
comes apparent. 

It is the association of these diseases with marriage that 
gives them their paramount social significance, for they 
attack life at its root, and contribute largely to sterility 
and racial deterioration. In women, gonorrhoea is the 
common cause of sterility, while syphilis leads to miscar- 
riage, still-born and defective children. Gonorrhoea is re- 
sponsible for at least 80 per cent of the cases of sterility, and 
many fruitless marriages which were formerly supposed to 
be attributable to sterility in the wife, are now explained 
by induced sterility in the husband. 2 

According to Noeggerath and Neisser, about 50 per cent 
of sterility in women is caused by gonorrhoea, while Williams 
states that 73 per cent of all abortions are caused by endo- 
metritis and cervicitis. Pregnancy offers a signal opportu- 
nity for the growth of the gonococcus, with the result that 
after parturition or abortion, the disease which had formerly 
maintained a benign course then acquires a new virulence, 
leading in some cases to the death of the patient and more 
frequently to her permanent sterility. The "one child 
sterility" which is so often encountered is in most instances 
due to gonorrhoea. In addition to its fatal effect upon the 
offspring the social significance of the gonococcus is still 
further enhanced by its capacity for conferring blindness 
upon the newly born. During the act of parturition, the 
gonococci which are present in the maternal discharges, 
invade the eyes of the infant and by setting up a purulent 
conjunctivitis lead to permanent blindness in one or both 
'Ernest Finger. Blennorrhcea of the Sexual Organs. 

The Venereal Diseases 189 

eyes. It is estimated that approximately 30 per cent of all 
blindness is gonorrhoeic in origin. 

The figures of Dr. Keyes, cited in his treatise on 
syphilis, indicate the importance of this disease in the prob- 
lem of race culture. "Among 43 women innocently infected 
with syphilis in matrimony, and who bore children after 
said infection, only 2, think of it ! only 2 escaped bearing 
at least one syphilitic child, and this exception is fully com- 
pensated for by 3 who, before realizing that they had 
this disease themselves, infected a child whom they had 
previously brought into the world healthy. 3 Of the in- 
fecting 41 

23 bore 1 syphilitic child (or fetus) of whom 5 bore healthy children 

8 " <2 " children " " 6 " " 

4 " 3 " " M " 2 * " 

2 " 4 " " u a M 

3 " 5 " " and no others 

1 " 8 " " and 6 healthy ones 

Total 41 bore 86." 

The heartbreaking tragedies that are mutely attested by 
these statistics indicate to how large a degree the innocent 
pay the price for venereal infection. This point should 
be clearly borne in mind by any student of venereal pro- 
phylaxis, for the venereal diseases themselves are not neces- 
sarily in any given case evidence of licentious conduct. 
Dr. Morrow has said that there is more venereal disease 
among virtuous married women than among the women of 
the streets, and it is beyond question true that unborn in- 
fants pay the highest death toll of all as a result of venereal 
infection. Before the true nature of the venereal diseases 
was understood it was popularly supposed that immorality 
in itself sufficed to produce these maladies. Science, how- 
ever, has proven that syphilis can arise only from syphilis, 

Edward L. Keyes. Syphilit. 

190 The Laws of Sex 

gonorrhoea from gonorrhoea, and chancroid from contact 
with the Ducrey bacillus. The guilt or innocence of the in- 
dividual concerned bears no relation to the infecting or- 

The history of the venereal diseases is still more or less 
debatable ground. It is generally admitted that gonorrhoea 
and chancroid existed in Europe in the earliest days of 
antiquity, but while some authors maintain that syphilis 
originated in prehistoric times in the Eastern Hemisphere, 
the weight of testimony seems to be with those who look 
upon syphilis as a disease of comparatively modern times. 

Bloch insists that the first syphilitic bones date from 
after the time of the discovery of America, and he believes 
that syphilis was first introduced into Spain in the years 
1493-94 by the crew of Columbus, who brought it from 
Central America, especially from the Island of Hayti. 4 
Almost all authorities agree that modern syphilis was first 
recognized in the last decade of the fifteenth century, be- 
ginning among the soldiers of Charles VIII, King of France, 
in his campaign against Naples. At this time it assumed 
the form of a veritable epidemic, and after the army was 
disbanded it was carried by the soldiers to the other coun- 
tries of Europe, and was soon transported, presumably by 
the Portuguese, to the Far East. 

Until the time of Philipp Ricord (1800-1899) the three 
venereal diseases, syphilis, gonorrhoea and chancroid, were 
regarded as essentially one disease. During the years 
1830-1850, Ricord established the diversity of syphilis and 
gonorrhoea, and later proved that chancroid was not of 
syphilitic origin. With Albert Neisser's discovery of the 
gonococcus in 1879, the truly scientific study of venereal 
disease was begun, and in 1889 to 1892 this was followed 
by the discovery of the bacillus of chancroid by Ducrey and 
Unna. In 1903, Elie Metschnikoff succeeded in transmitting 
syphilis from man to the higher apes, and in 1905, Fritz 
4 Iwan Bloch. The Sexual Life of Our Time. 

The Venereal Diseases 191 

Schaudinn demonstrated the Spirochceta pallida in the secre- 
tions from syphilitic sores. Following his memorable find- 
ings, confirmatory evidence was supplied from all parts of 
the world, and today it may safely be said that the 
spirochete of Schaudinn bears a directly causal relation to 
the disease known as syphilis. The great names associated 
with the scientific study of venereal disease are Ricord, 
Neisser, Metschnikoff and Schaudinn. 

The recognition of the diversity of the three venereal 
diseases stimulated investigation as to the specific nature, 
consequences and treatment of each infection. 


Syphilis, the most dreaded of the triad, has long been 
known as a disease capable of the most insidious and en- 
during results. In the early half of the nineteenth century, 
Ricord established the doctrine of the three stages of 
syphilis, primary, secondary and tertiary. This doctrine is 
still roughly adhered to, though it is now known that the 
secondary and tertiary stages of the disease are often not 
clearly delimited. In describing the progress of the infec- 
tion, it is convenient to follow this classification. 

The Mode of Infection 

It is generally admitted that in American and European 
countries from 90 to 93 per cent of syphilitic infections, ex- 
clusive of hereditary syphilis, are of genital origin. The dis- 
ease may also be transmitted by contacts of other sorts, as, 
for example, by kissing, using a glass, pipe, handkerchief or 
other article used by a syphilitic person, or through suck- 
ling when the disease is present, either in the infant or the 
nurse. In some parts of Russia and Turkey on the con- 
trary, it is stated that as many as 50 to 60 per cent of all in- 
fections occur independently of sexual intercourse. Syphilis 
is not contagious except through surface lesions, and dur- 
ing the later stages of the disease is usually not contagious 

192 The Lams of Sex 

at all. The mucous membranes of the mouth and genitalia 
are the most ardent sources of infection, and these lesions 
in early untreated cases are always found to be swarming 
with spirochetes. The mucous patches which appear upon 
the lining of the mouth and tongue are particularly viru- 
lent and occasion the great majority of extra genital in- 
fections. It is commonly conceded that syphilitic secretions 
cease to be infectious after 12 to 24 hours and much sooner, 
probably within six hours, when dry. 

One of the great merits of prompt treatment by Salvarsan 
is that it renders the superficial lesions sterile and thereby 
checks the spread of the disease. 

Primary Symptoms 

The onset of syphilis in men and in women is in most in- 
stances markedly different. In the man from two to five 
weeks after exposure, the disease usually first evidences 
itself as a small pimple upon the glans penis or the fore- 
skin. This grows rapidly, is usually ulcerated on the 
surface, and becomes continually harder at the base. The 
pus which it secretes is extremely infectious. This sore is 
called the "hard chancre" or "primary lesion," and since it 
causes very little discomfort the patient may neglect con- 
sulting a physician. Within one or two weeks the virus 
spreads to the inguinal lymph glands and these appear as 
painless indurated nodes. After three or four weeks the 
ulceration gradually heals over, leaving a hard, character- 
istic lump, but the glands do not disappear. Two or three 
months from the time of infection the first systemic 
symptoms appear. Lymph glands in other parts of the 
body become swollen, the patient complains of fever and 
a general feeling of malaise, his bones ache and he begins 
to lose in weight. He may suffer from pains in the joints 
and muscles and from severe headaches. 

In women the initial stage of the disease may be prac- 
tically absent. The primary sore is frequently so slight 

The Venereal Diseases 193 

as to escape notice, and until two or three months after 
infection, the patient considers herself entirely well. Then 
she may suffer from excrutiating pains in her bones or in 
her head and exhibit a low fever. Following this, general 
toxemia, characteristic skin lesions and mucous patches 
may appear, but in many cases these are absent. Repeated 
miscarriages or the birth of syphilitic children may be the 
only evidence of the disease. It was doubtless these atypical 
cases, that gave rise to the erroneous belief embodied in 
Colics' law that a non-syphilitic mother could give birth to 
a syphilitic child to whose infection she alone was immune. 

Secondary Lesions 

If treatment has been instituted early in the course of 
the disease, secondary symptoms may never appear, al- 
though in many cases both the primary and secondary 
symptoms are wholly overlooked. Acute toxemia and cer- 
tain local lesions which are not destructive in character 
and which tend to spontaneous healing mark this stage of 
the disease. The skin eruptions are peculiarly character- 
istic, especially the "roseola syphilitica" which appears first 
on the trunk in the form of rose-colored spots and which 
spreads thence over the whole body. Nodules may appear 
in the skin and thickened patches in the mucous membranes. 
The hair may fall out in a characteristic patchy way, and 
the palms of the hand and the soles of the feet may exhibit 
peculiar thickenings, "syphilitic psoriasis." The mouth 
and throat are filled with mucous papules and erosions which 
are extremely infectious. 

In addition to the superficial lesions, the deeper organs 
of the body are affected, and a wide variety of symptoms 
may appear. Jaundice marks involvement of the liver, and 
excruciating headaches may result from the toxemia. The 
nails may become the seat of inflammatory processes, and 
in a large proportion of the cases a superficial inflamma- 
tion of the bones, causing severe pain, sets in. Deafness 

194 The Laws of Sex 

may occur and laryngitis, and in rare cases epididymitis. 
Iritis, which frequently causes permanent impairment of 
vision, is sometimes seen. It is said that 60 per cent of all 
cases of inflammation of the iris are syphilitic in origin. 
Nephritis occasionally occurs. 

In well treated cases, relapses are often avoided, espe- 
cially after the first year. As time passes from the date 
of the infection, the danger of recrudescence becomes con- 
tinually less. 

The duration of the secondary symptoms is more a 
matter of text books than of facts, for they are sometimes 
met with as long as five or even ten years after the chancre. 
In the great majority of cases, however, secondary symp- 
toms cease to recur after the third year. The infectious- 
ness of the secondary lesions is indubitable, though the 
danger is chiefly restricted to lesions of the mucous mem- 
branes. In late infections the disease is often transmitted 
through a kiss. A case cited by Dr. Keyes illustrates this 

Case XV III. "Chancre in 1871 followed by secondary 
symptoms of skin and mouth. Treatment for four years. 
He marries in 1876. The first child is born and remains 
clean to his twenty-sixth year. Shortly after the birth of 
their child the father becomes an inveterate smoker, and 
soon his tongue shows syphilitic erosions. Warned on 
several occasions of the danger to which these lesions ex- 
posed his wife, he nevertheless continues to smoke and the 
erosions multiply. At last in 1880 the expected happens: 
the wife develops chancre of the lower lip, followed by 
secondary lesions. Being pregnant sh aborts and later 
bears two syphilitic children." 

The comparatively slight infectiousness of these later 
lesions is here well indicated, for it is not until the ninth 

The Venereal Diseases 195 

year of the disease, after innumerable exposures, that the 
wife contracts the disease. 

Tertiary Lesions 

From the third to the tenth year of the disease in untreated 
cases, new morbid symptoms begin to appear. These are 
differentiated from the secondary lesions by their tendency 
to spread and become diffused and by their disinclination to 
spontaneous healing. They often form large masses of 
scar tissue with a central tendency to caseation which are 
known as "gummata" and which are absolutely character- 
istic of the disease. These may appear in the brain, the 
liver, the lungs or, indeed, in any organ. They frequently 
cause extreme disfigurement for example, perforation of 
the hard palate or sinking of the bridge of the nose 
(syphilitic "saddle nose") and they may cause death. 

Cirrhosis of the liver may occur, as well as involvement 
of the intestines, lungs, testicles and blood vessels. Arterio- 
sclerosis is often associated with syphilis. Apoplectic 
strokes in the young, paralysis, deafness and blindness are 
often referable to syphilitic disease. 

Sir William Osier has said that syphilis may counter- 
feit almost any known disease, and this is more peculiarly 
true in the tertiary stage of the malady. 

Late Manifestations 

Long after the cessation of active symptoms, evidences 
of disease of the central nervous system may appear. These 
constitute the so-called "quaternary stage of syphilis," 
locomotor ataxia and general paresis being the conditions 
most frequently encountered. 

The chronic syphilitic infection gives rise to degenerative 
changes in the essential nervous tissues, and permanent un- 
alterable changes set it. Treatment in these cases is at best 
palliative, as the symptoms depend upon the actual destruc- 

196 The Laws of Sex 

tion of the tissues. The parasyphilids are peculiarly char- 
acterized by their incurability. 

The case of a young man who contracted syphilis some 
five years ago, illustrates the nature of these lesions. The 
patient had an uncommon horror of the disease, and in- 
sisted upon being treated long after all symptoms had dis- 
appeared. He was thoroughly treated according to the 
most approved methods, and conscientiously obeyed the 
restrictions which his physician put upon him. After al- 
most four years of constant treatment, he was finally per- 
suaded to consider himself cured, and he unwillingly left 
the hands of his adviser. He had showed a negative Wasser- 
mann a very long time before he was discharged. Some six 
months later he noticed difficulty in vision and upon ex- 
amination atrophy of the optic nerve was discovered. He 
is now rapidly going blind, still shows a systemic Wasser- 
mann, but a positive Wassermann with the spinal fluid. 

The parasyphilids are legion. They may affect the nails, 
the skin, the hair or the general health of the patient. 
Fournier would also include certain cases of glycosuria and 
epilepsy, as well as arterio-sclerosis with its matchless power 
of causing changes in any organ. The chief parasyphilids, 
however, are tabes dorsalis or locomotor ataxia, paresis, 
or general paralysis of the insane ; and Erb's spastic spinal 
paralysis. These affections are characterized by their fre- 
quency, their fatality, their incurability, and their almost 
constant association with syphilis. 

They are among the most terrible and overwhelming dis- 
eases that afflict mankind, and through their incurable char- 
acter have doubtless contributed much to the deep horror 
in which syphilis is popularly held. Occurring long years 
after the patient had supposed himself cured, occasioning 
almost unthinkable pain, as in the gastric or laryngeal 
crises of tabes, culminating in paralysis or in a revolting 
form of dementia and finally leading to death, they epitomize 
with cruel distinctness the truth that Nature never forgets. 

The Venereal Diseases 197 

In the statistics presented by Dr. Keyes, tabes occurred 
in about four per cent of the cases of syphilis ; paresis about 
one-third as often. 

Hereditary Syphilis 

Syphilis is the only disease known to humanity as being 
definitely hereditary. The transmission of syphilis to the 
child by inheritance may be effected either by the father 
or the mother. According to Fournier, paternal heredity 
gives rise to 67 per cent syphilitic children, of whom 28 
per cent die ; maternal heredity causes 84 per cent syphilitic 
children, of whom 68 per cent die; while mixed heredity 
(both parents syphilitic) produces 92 per cent syphilitic 
children, of whom 68.5 per cent die. Later researches in- 
dicate that a syphilitic child has probably never been born 
of a non-syphilitic mother, for through the placenta the 
spirochetes have ready access to the maternal circulation, 
and it is impossible to believe that under such circumstances 
the mother should not become contaminated. The danger 
of transmitting syphilis to the offspring is at its maximum 
during the first year of the disease, and subsequently dimin- 
ishes until after the third year, when the danger is compara- 
tively slight. Cases are on record, however, where the dis- 
ease has appeared in the offspring ten, fifteen and even 
twenty years after the original infection in the parents. 
Hochsinger classifies hereditary syphilis as follows: 

1. Foetal Syphilis, which is fatal in about one-half the 

2. Infantile Syphilis (from three to six months), which 
destroys about one-third of the infected children. 

3. Relapses in Infancy (until the fifth year), which are 
less frequent and less severe than in the early months. 

4. Late Hereditary Syphilis, which occurs after the fifth 
year and differs in no respect from tertiary syphilis in 
the adult. This probably never occurs after the twenty- 
fifth year. 

198 The Laws of Sex 

5. Stigmata of Hereditary Syphilis. Foetal syphilis dif- 
fers from syphilis in the adult chiefly in the extreme acute- 
ness of the disease, and in the comparatively wide diffusion 
of the morbid processes in the various organs ; the lungs, 
liver, kidney, spleen and bones are the organs most fre- 
quently involved, the skin remaining immune until shortly 
before or after birth. The syphilitic or "anaemic" placenta 
is extremely characteristic, and shows wide infiltration with 
connective tissue. It is heavier than normal and more 
voluminous. Abortion usually takes place during the later 
months of pregnancy, from the fourth to the seventh month, 
and the death of the foetus is usually due to impaired nutri- 
tion resultant from degenerative changes in the viscera. 

When the child is born alive, it may at first present no 
superficial evidences of the disease, but in a certain pro- 
portion of cases the picture is unmistakable. The typical 
syphilitic infant sums up within its wizened, prematurely 
aged body all the horrors of the disease. Its eyes are sunken 
and inflamed, its skin is loose and wrinkled and may show 
repulsive sores, its hands and feet are claw-like. It is piti- 
fully thin and feeble, and constantly utters a peculiarly 
hoarse cry. It is restless and shows great difficulty in 
breathing and can hardly nurse at all. These children usu- 
ally die soon after birth, and, strange as it may seem, the 
mother mourns them with normal grief. In the great ma- 
jority of cases, no such striking picture is seen. The 
child may be of average weight with no skin lesions and 
no evidence of visceral disease. After a few days snuf- 
fles develops, followed by characteristic skin eruptions, of 
which pemphigus is the most ominous. Great purulent vesi- 
cles appear, which break down forming green scabs, and 
though usually located upon the palms of the hands and 
soles of the feet, they may spread to other regions of 
the body. The diffuse muculo-papular syphilid may involve 
very extensive areas. In the genital creases and on the 

The Venereal Diseases 199 

flexor surfaces of the joints, the skin may become almost 
completely eroded. 

Lesions of the mucous membranes occur about the lips 
and in the anal and genital regions. Small mucous papules 
appear, especially at the angles of the mouth; they become 
eroded and fissured, forming deep, red, oozing cracks, which 
are extremely painful and interfere with suckling. The 
radiating scars which result are among the most reliable 

The nails are claw-like and are often undermined by an 
inflammatory process, so that they can be readily detached. 

The bone lesions are characteristic, resulting in late years 
in the "sabre blade" tibia, which is most frequently asso- 
ciated with rickets. In early syphilis, lesions of the skull, 
sometimes resulting in hydrocephalus, are most frequent. 

Enlargement of the liver and spleen are seen in about 
40 per cent of the cases, and in still-born children sclerosis 
of the testicle is extremely common. 

After infancy, relapses are most liable to occur in the 
first and second year, the sixth to the eighth year, and 
from the time of puberty until the early twenties. Epi- 
lepsy, hemiplegia and optic neuritis are common at this 
time. Among the later cases the lesions are practically 
identical with those of tertiary syphilis. Interstitial kera- 
titis, resulting in a corneal scar which frequently destroys 
or impairs vision, is especially characteristic. 

Among the stigmata of congenital syphilis, Hutchinson's 
triad is important. This consists of (1) notched or pegged 
upper permanent incisors; (2) corneal scars, iritic adhe- 
sions or ocular palsies, and (3) "nerve" deafness, which 
occurs in young persons with great suddenness, rendering 
them totally deaf within a few hours in one or very rarely 
in both ears. 

Permanent debility, arrest of development, various mal- 
formations of the nose, ear and palate, deaf mutism, "in- 

200 The Laws of Sex 

fantilism" or idiocy, and epilepsy are some of the other 
disastrous results of congenital syphilis. 

Treatment of Syphilis 

In the very great majority of cases, syphilis, if treated 
early, is an absolutely curable disease. The gravest dan- 
ger to the patient lies in his neglect of treatment after 
the subsidence of the early symptoms. Treatment to be 
effective should be continued systematically for two, and 
in some cases, for three or more years, and any relapse 
should be very promptly reported to the physician. Ow- 
ing to the extreme danger of hereditary syphilis, procrea- 
tion should be strictly prohibited for both men and women 
for at least two years from the onset of the disease. 

The routine treatment of syphilis consists of repeated 
doses of Salvarsan or iodids, alternating with the adminis- 
tration of mercury by mouth, by inunction or intra-mus- 
cularly. This intensive treatment is continued for one year, 
after which it is somewhat relaxed, and by the end of the 
second year the patient is usually free of the disease. One 
great advantage of the prompt treatment by Salvarsan is 
that it destroys the spirochetes in the superficial lesions 
and obviates the danger of infection. 

The treatment in congenital syphilis is precisely similar 
to that in the acquired form. Keyes and Morrow both ad- 
vise against the marriage of syphilitic persons within five 
years of the onset of the disease, during which period all 
symptoms shall have been absent for at least two years. 

The Wassermann blood serum test is of considerable value 
in assuring the absence of the disease, although it is not 
by any means always reliable. 

Upon the general hygiene of the patient depends much 
of the success of treatment. Addiction to alcohol predis- 
poses to relapses of varying intensity. By insistence upon 
these factors, the nurse can do much to fortify the efforts 
of the physician, and she can do even more by urging the 

The Venereal Diseaset 201 

patient to continue treatment until he is dismissed by the 
physician. The disappearance of early symptoms too often 
leads the patient to suppose himself cured, and by insisting 
upon the necessity of thorough treatment the nurse may 
in a certain number of cases save the man and his family 
the overwhelming tragedy of locomotor ataxia, paresis or 
of relapses in later years. 


Despite the similarity of name, chancroid is in no way 
related to the chancre of syphilis. The misleading termi- 
nology dates back to the time when the diversity of the 
venereal diseases was not understood. Chancroid, or "soft 
chancre," is a purely local lesion and never gives rise to 
a general infection. It is extremely contagious and is 
especially characterized by its tendency to autoinoculation. 
The specific character of chancroid was established in 
1889 when Ducrey demonstrated the causative micro-organ- 
ism. The strepto-bacillus of Ducrey is dumb-bell shaped, 
constricted in the centre and with square or rounded ends. 
It is invariably present in every case of chancroid. 

This disease is especially a disease of filth, and is met with 
much more frequently in dispensary than in private prac- 
tice. It is preeminently a disease of men, and may be 
conveyed from one man to another by a woman who tempo- 
rarily harbors the strepto-bacillus in her vagina, but who 
is not herself infected. It is in almost every case trans- 
mitted through the sexual act, but it may be conveyed by 
the hands or by any other means of contact. It is proba- 
ble that inoculation does not take place unless the skin 
is eroded. Chancroid confers no immunity upon the pa- 
tient and lends itself readily to auto-inoculation. 


From one to five days after exposure a small pustule 
forms at the site of inoculation. This soon bursts and 

202 The Laws of Sex 

breaks down, forming a deeply hollowed ulcer with under- 
mined or inverted edges. The limits of the ulcer are very 
sharp, giving the appearance of its having been cut out 
by a sharp punch. It is surrounded by an inflammatory 
area which is non-indurated in contradistinction to the hard 
indurated border of the syphilitic chancre. 

In the male it commonly appears in the coronary sulcus, 
especially in the little pocket on each side of the frenum. 
In women the sores generally occur on the external gene- 
talia. The base of the ulcer is greenish yellow, and from 
it exudes an abundant purulent secretion which is extremely 
infectious and which soon gives rise to multiple sores. These 
may heal spontaneously within from four to six weeks, but 
in most cases the patient is forced to report for treat- 

The complications in chancroid are usually due to a 
mixed infection with pyogenic bacteria. Destruction of the 
frenum with consequent preputial scar is the most frequent 
and perhaps the most characteristic of these. 

Inflammatory phimosis occasionally results and may set 
up a virulent inflammation leading to abscess or gangrene, 
Phagedenic or gangrenous chancroid is now much less fre- 
quent than in the days preceding the era of antisepsis, but 
even now occasional infections are so severe that parts of 
the penis may slough within from 36 to 48 hours, and 
chancroidal bubo may form a very obstinate ulcer involv- 
ing extensive areas. The serpiginous ulcer which creeps 
obdurately forward sometimes taxes the skill of the physi- 

"Bubo" occurs in about one-third of the cases. This 
constitutes an invasion of the inguinal lymph glands, com- 
monly on the side upon which the sore lies, but sometimes 
bilaterally. The glands become inflamed and markedly swol- 
len, and may be extremely painful. Within a week or so 
the glands may gradually be resolved, or they may become 
matted together and go on to suppuration. The so-called 

The Venereal Diseases 

"virulent bubo" is marked by the formation of a chancroidal 
ulcer at the point of incision, the pus from which is auto- 


The chief point to be borne in mind in treating chancroid 
is its possible association with an additional syphilitic in- 
fection. The same exposure that caused chancroid may 
have sufficed to inoculate the patient with syphilis as well, 
and it is to the highest degree important not to overlook 
the graver disease in treating the comparatively benign 
malady. Chancroid may conceal the original chancre and 
so mislead the physician. 

If chancroid is seen within three days of its inception, 
the ulcer or ulcers should be thoroughly cauterized. Ar- 
gyrol crystals are an effective measure. Extreme cleanliness 
is of absolute importance, and the ulcers should be covered 
with bichloride dressings, or dusted with calomel. For the 
prevention of bubo, rest in bed with cold compresses is 
often effective. 

In the case of the complications of chancroid, surgical 
interference is frequently necessary. The use of the actual 
cautery, under a general anaesthetic, is the best method 
of checking the course of gangrenous chancroid. The dan- 
ger of infection to the physician or the nurse is practically 
nil, as soap and water afford a sufficient prophylaxis. 


With the discovery of the gonococcus by Albert Neisser 
,ID 1879, a veritable revolution took place in the opinion in 
which gonorrhoea was held. Previous to that time gonor- 
rhoea had been considered a relatively unimportant disease, 
often causing no more concern than a cold in the head, 
but the demonstration of the gonococcus quickly led to a 
reversal of this idea, and it is now known that gonorrhoea 
is one of the most serious diseases that afflict mankind. Prior 

204 The Laws of Sex 

to the discovery of the specific organism, gonorrhoea had 
been regarded as a disease of significance chiefly in the 
male, for its more obscure manifestations in the female 
were unrecognized as being associated with the disease. To- 
day, however, it is common knowledge that gonorrhoea en- 
tails far graver consequences to women than to men, that 
it is,. indeed, as Sir William Osier has said, the most seri- 
ous of all diseases so far as women are concerned. Its 
extreme prevalence among young unmarried men, and its 
long period of infectivity, render it of paramount impor- 
tance as a menace to marriage, and its matchless power of 
causing sterility places it far above all other human mala- 
dies in racial significance. It is estimated that of every 
1000 young unmarried men, fully 600 have contracted 
gonorrhoea, and since a large proportion of these men 
marry before their disease is cured, the contamination of 
the wife in wedlock is of extremely common occurrence. The 
pessimistic Noegerath states that 80 per cent of married 
women are affected with latent gonorrhoea, while Sanger 
found that of all women, married and single, coming to his 
clinic, 12 per cent had this disease. In the absence of 
reliable statistics, it is impossible to tell the percentage of 
marital infection, but gynecologists are almost unanimous 
in declaring that fully 75 per cent of the major operations 
performed upon the generative organs of married women 
are occasioned by gonorrhoea, contracted from their hus- 
bands. When it is realized that a large proportion of 
these operations result in the complete sterility of the 
woman, the racial significance of gonorrhoea becomes appar- 
ent. The effect of gonorrhoea upon domestic happiness is 
also of untold moment, for it insidiously undermines the 
general health of the wife, and transforms her from a 
natively happy, healthy human being into a querulous in- 
valid. Many of the feminine ailments that were formerly 
supposed to be intrinsic in sex, are now known to be due 
to gonorrhoea. Without doubt the lives of these women 

The Venereal Diseases 205 

present the most bitter tragedies of modern days, broken 
in health -and spirit, bereft of children, finally, in many 
instances, robbed even of the love of their husbands, they 
drag out their days in misery of mind and body, and 
find solace only in death. Gonorrhoea is perhaps of all the 
venereal diseases the one most truly deserving of the name, 
for it is transmitted in the great preponderance of cases 
through sexual intercourse. The eye infections and the 
vulvo-vaginitis of infants and young girls contribute prac- 
tically the only cases of non-venereal transmission. 

Extra Genital Infections 

Ophthalmia neonatorum, or blindness of the newly born, 
is in practically all cases of gonorrhoeal origin. It is esti- 
mated that about 30 per cent of the cases of total blind- 
ness result from gonorrhoeal infection of the eyes at the 
time of birth. Gonorrhoeal conjunctivitis is extremely rare 
among adults, in contrast to the widespread prevalance of 
acute urethritis, and since the average patient has little 
respect for asepsis, it must be inferred that the adult con- 
junctiva is in the main amply resistant to the gonococcus, 
as otherwise the patient would succeed far more frequently 
than he does in transferring the infection by his hands to 
his eyes. Too many cases are on record, however, where 
nurses or physicians have lost their vision in the course 
of treating a gonorrhoeal case. The patient and his family 
should always be warned of the danger, and the hands should 
be scrupulously cleansed after attending a patient suffering 
with the disease. When only one eye is involved, the great- 
est care should be used in preventing the contamination of 
the other. 

Gonorrhoeal conjunctivitis or purulent conjunctivitis, 
either in the infant or the adult, begins as a violent inflam- 
mation of the conjunctiva, characterized by great swelling 
of the lids, serous infiltration of the bulbar conjunctiva 
and the free secretion of contagious pus. The symptoms 

206 The Laws of Sex 

appear within from twelve to forty-eight hours after inocu- 
lation, progress with startling rapidity and soon threaten 
the vitality of the cornea. Unless the disease can be checked, 
ulcers form, and these may perforate, forming an adherent 
scar. In some cases the entire cornea is involved and the 
scar bulges forward, forming a protruding cicatrix. In 
virulent cases, all the tissues of the eyeball may be in- 
volved, resulting in atrophy of the bulb. 

After about ten days the process reaches its height, and 
then gradually subsides during the following six or eight 
weeks. It may, however, pass on to chronic inflammation. 
Partial or total blindness and a ghastly disfiguration mark 
the path of the disease. 

Since Crede's discovery of the effect of silver nitrate 
solution introduced into the eyes of the newly born, gonor- 
rhffial conjunctivitis has diminished greatly in frequency. 
Nitrate of silver is also used in treating the disease in 
the adult. Cold is a most useful agent, and the conjunctival 
sac may be irrigated with weak solutions of bichloride or 

Even with the most assiduous care, blindness or serious 
impairment of vision frequently results. 


Within recent years an epidemic form of gonorrhoeal vagi- 
nitis among infant girls has been observed in hospitals and 
foundling asylums. The method of contagion is unknown; 
it spreads with great celerity from one little patient to an- 
other, and it is sometimes necessary to close the institution 
before the epidemic can be checked. Infant girls may also 
acquire the disease from the mother at birth or shortly 
afterwards, and among older children it can often be traced 
to criminal practices. Unsanitary toilet facilities in schools 
or elsewhere occasionally serve to transmit the disease to 
young girls. The symptoms are pronounced and severe. A 
free purulent discharge, which is often blood stained, comes 

The Venereal Diseases 207 

from the urethra, the vagina and vulva. The mucous sur- 
faces are greatly swollen and bleed readily, and there is 
often great pain in passing water and a marked and per- 
sistent fever. Severe abdominal pain is frequently present. 
Gonorrhoeal joints and meningitis occasionally form compli- 
cations, and cases of general septicaemia with a fatal termi- 
nation have been reported. The local conditions do not 
respond readily to treatment, and sterility and chronic 
invalidism in later life sometimes result. The prognosis 
is, however, relatively good. The danger to the eyes in 
these cases is very significant and every precaution should 
be used to prevent the child from transferring the infec- 
tion by her hands. The little patient should be put to 
bed and the vagina irrigated, first by a hot solution of 
bichloride or protargol. Ultimate recovery may, to a great 
extent, depend upon the general health of the child. 

Gonorrhoea vn Adults 

Gonorrhaa is a specific contagious disease caused by the 
gonococcus of Neisser and characterized by inflammation 
of the mucous membranes of the genito-urinary tract. The 
normal shape of the gonococcus is that of the double coffee 
bean. The gonococci are arranged in pairs or groups of 
four, and in the acute stage are seen enclosed in leucocytes. 
In the chronic cases they are frequently extra-cellular. 

The symptoms of gonorrhoea may be divided into three 
groups, accordingly as they owe their origin: (1) To the 
local infection; () to the extension of the disease from 
the local lesion to the adjacent parts, and (3) to the 
development of a systemic intoxication; of the symptoms 
those belonging to the third group are most rare. 

The difference in the manifestations of the disease in 
men and in women is due to the dissimilarity of anatomical 
structure in the male and female generative organs. This 
is further enhanced by the fact that inoculation in the 
male usually takes place in the arterior urethra, while in 

208 The Laws of Sea: 

the female the virus is commonly deposited in the region 
of the cervix uteri. 

Gonorrhoea in the Male 

In the male gonorrhoea usually begins from two to five 
days after exposure, as an acute inflammation of the an- 
terior urethra. In exceptional cases there may be an imme- 
diate involvement of the posterior urethra or even of the 
epididymis. Pain is experienced on micturition, redness of 
the urethral orifice is observed, and this is soon followed 
by the discharge of a thick fluid which is at first mucous, 
but which later becomes purulent. In addition to the local 
symptoms, some cases show a slight fever, lassitude and 
mental depression. 

Violent, painful erections, especially at night, may tor- 
ment the patient. Within three weeks the symptoms usu- 
ally become less severe, and from the fourth to the sixth 
week the discharge may cease, and all gross evidence of 
the disease disappear. In the great majority of cases, 
however, the subsidence of the symptoms does not indicate 
recovery; instead, it merely marks the commencement of 
the chronic stage of the disease. The gonococci begin to 
proliferate in the deeper tissues, and to ascend toward the 
posterior urethra, and inflammation of the bladder, the 
prostate or the epididymis may follow. In about 50 per 
cent of the cases of bilateral epididymitis, complete sterility 
results. Relative impotence and severe sexual neursesthenia 
sometimes result from chronic gonorrhoea. One of the most 
distressing sequelae of gonorrhoeal urethritis is stricture of 
the urethra. In pronounced cases, retention of the urine 
may result, leading to severe cystitis and later to a purulent 
infection of the kidneys. Occasionally rupture of the ure- 
thra occurs with entravasation of urine, which may termi- 
nate fatally if radical surgical measures are not carried 

A marked characteristic of this chronic gonorrhoea is 

The Venereal Diseases 209 

the length of duration of infectivity. Cases are on record 
where the infection was transmitted from ten to twelve years 
after the patient had supposed himself cured. The disease 
may become walled off in small submucous abscesses and in 
typical "gonococcus carriers," even upon urethroscopy, no 
pathological picture is presented. It is these cases that 
constitute the gravest menace to marriage, for the absence 
of all symptoms convinces the patient and frequently the 
physician that all danger is past. The important class 
of latent gonorrhoea due to prostatic lesions is also of great 
importance in marital contamination. 


It is of the greatest importance that patients suffering 
with gonorrhoea should come under proper treatment as 
early as possible in the course of the disease. While many 
of the cases yield readily to treatment, some show an ex- 
traordinary obstinacy and proceed to complications, not- 
withstanding the most painstaking efforts on the part of 
the physician. This is more especially the case with viru- 
lent gonorrhoea, which is often observed in alcoholics or 
in young men who have used irritating injections in the 
hope of avoiding the disease. In acute urethritis the treat- 
ment consists first of the injection of weak solutions of 
the silver salts in the urethra at frequent intervals. Salol 
and balsams may be given to render the urine bland. Under 
proper instruction the patient may conduct part of the 
treatment for himself, but he should report to the physician 
at least twice a week or oftener if he is so advised. Later, 
irrigation with a weak solution of permanganate is usually 

Localized lesions may be treated by the direct application 
of silver nitrate. Posterior urethritis is also treated by 
irrigation, and in long standing cases massage of the pros- 
tate is frequently beneficial. Acute epididymitis calls for 
rest in bed and the administration of cold compresses. If 

210 The Laws of Sex 

abscesses form, recourse must be had to the knife. Pros- 
tatic lesions also frequently demand surgical aid. The ma- 
jority of strictures may be corrected by gradual dilatation, 
though in occasional cases prompt surgical intervention is 

As in syphilis, the general hygiene of the patient is of 
great moment in effecting a cure, and sexual relations and 
the use of alcohol are absolutely contraindicated. Relapses 
frequently result from infringement of a strict regimen. 
Protection of the affected part from undue irritation is 
essential, and for this purpose a suspensory bandage is 
usually worn. The patient should be cautioned to cleanse 
his hands thoroughly after exposure to the virus, partly 
for the protection of his own eyes, and partly for the pro- 
tection of his associates. He should, of course, sleep alone, 
use his own towel, etc., and in the family little girls espe- 
cially should be guarded against contamination. If the 
ordinary rules of cleanliness are carefully regarded, there 
is comparatively little danger that the infection will spread. 
The clothes of the patient, particularly those bearing any 
evidence of the discharge, should be disinfected and washed 
apart from the household laundry. 

In the Army and Navy prophylactic measures are re- 
quired. The men in the service are ordered to report for 
treatment at the prophylactic station within a few hours 
of exposure and a urethral injection of 5 per cent argyrol 
is administered. The proportion of cases in which this 
measure affords protection is not accurately known, and it 
is open to the same objection that obtains in the case of 
prophylaxis for syphilis, in that it places the government 
in the anomalous position of sanctioning illicit sex rela- 

Gonorrhaa in Women 

In the preliminary stages of the disease, gonorriwea in 
women often excites such slight symptoms that the patient 

The Venereal Disease* 

fails to consult a physician until some of the more seri- 
ous complications set in. Owing to the physiology of 
coitus, the point of inoculation is usually different in the 
two sexes. As has been seen the anterior urethra in the 
male is commonly first involved, whereas in the female the 
disease is generally first localized in the mucosa of the 
cervix uteri. 

From this point the infection may spread, either in a 
descending or, what is more generally the case, in an ascend- 
ing direction. Except in young children, vaginitis is com- 
paratively rare, but auto-infection of the urethra from the 
vaginal discharge is not infrequent. When the mucosa of 
the urethra is involved the patient notices pain on urina- 
tion and the presence of a thick, purulent discharge. Cysti- 
tis and an ascending infection of the kidneys may also 
intervene. Since endometritis is usually coexistant with the 
urethritis, the patient often explains her symptoms for a 
time as being merely associated with some irregularity in 
the menses. Meanwhile, the infection ascends through the 
uterus to the tubes, and marked constitutional symptoms, 
such as mental depression and fever appear. There are, 
in addition, severe pains in the uterine region, which are 
aggravated at the menstrual periods, and a bloody, puru- 
lent, vaginal discharge may be almost constantly present. 
The pus may accumulate in the tubes, causing pyosalpinx, 
and a local or general peritonitis may result. Perimetritis 
and ovaritis are frequent complications. 

In the great majority of cases in married women, when 
the disease has been contracted from a chronic gonorrhea 
in the husband, the course of the disease is typically torpid 
and slow. The mucosa of the cervix does not afford so 
ready a cultural field for the gonococcus as does that of 
the urethra, and until pregnancy takes place the infec- 
tion may remain more or less localized. At the menstrual 
periods, however, the infection is usually accelerated, and 
it has been observed that the contagiousness of the dis- 

212 The Laws of Sex 

ease in women bears a direct relation to the menses. Pa- 
tients who fail to show gonococci at ordinary times, may 
do so shortly before or immediately after the monthly 

The effect of conception in these subacute cases is very 
profound, especially if the patient goes to term. In the 
course of the pregnancy the disease, hitherto passive, takes 
on a more virulent character, the gonococci proliferate 
abundantly in the more profuse secretions, and after deliv- 
ery the maternal organs afford an incomparable cultural 
field. The result is that after the birth of the first child 
the disease assumes such proportions that the life of the 
patient may be endangered or her health permanently under- 
mined. Extension of the disease to the tubes and ovaries 
is exceedingly frequent, and usually calls for operative in- 
terference which may lead to complete sterility. Abor- 
tion, which, in contradistinction to syphilis, usually takes 
place during the first two or three months of pregnancy, 
also exerts a disastrous effect upon the health of the pa- 
tient. Frequently the first clinical signs of gonorrhrea make 
their appearance shortly after conception. Recent work 
indicates that abortion in these cases is usually due to 
malimplantation of the ovum, resultant from the inflam- 
mat6ry condition of the mucosa, the uterus and the tubes. 
Human monsters, which embryological investigation has 
shown to be associated with malnutrition, probably owe 
their origin to the same cause. Tubal pregnancy is also 
very commonly associated with gonorrhoea. 

The effect of this chronic infection upon the general health 
and character of the patient is exceedingly profound. She 
becomes unfit for work of any kind, nervous hysterical and 
subject to periods of great mental depression. She ac- 
quires a horror of sexual relations, although she may fre- 
quently yearn for the children she can never have. Often 
after operation these symptoms clear up to a considerable 

The Venereal Diseases 


Gonorrhoea in women, even more than in men, is char- 
acterized by its extreme obstinacy to cure. It has been 
well said that when a patient contracts gonorrhoea, human 
knowledge is insufficient to tell whether she ever will be 

Acute urethritis in the female is treated in much the 
same manner as in the male, by the administration of salol 
and balsams, and by local irrigations. The prognosis is 
much more favorable in women than in men. The treat- 
ment of ascending infections is unsatisfactory and the prog- 
nosis must be guarded, as after the subsidence of the acute 
symptoms the disease tends to linger indefinitely. In cervi- 
cal endometritis, the vagina should first be cleansed by irri- 
gation with a hot 1 to 2,000 bichloride solution. The 
cervix is then exposed and the mucous secretions removed 
by means of cotton tampons ; after this the diseased sur- 
face is touched with silver nitrate or iodine. Finally, curet- 
ting and packing with iodoform gauze may be resorted to 
if the inflammation does not subside. 

In acute endometritis, the patient should be put to bed 
and should receive no direct treatment until the acute symp- 
toms have disappeared. When the chronic stage is reached, 
the uterine cavity should be thoroughly irrigated with a hot 
bichloride solution every two days. If the disease still 
persists, the uterus may be thoroughly curetted, swabbed 
with a 10 per cent solution of zinc chloride and packed 
with iodoform gauze. If the disease has extended to the 
tubes, ovaries, peritoneum or parametrium, hot vaginal 
douches or sitz baths may afford relief. When the purulent 
secretions have become sufficiently localized, operative inter- 
ference is indicated. 

Systemic Gonorrhceal Infections 

In a small proportion of the cases of gonorrhoea in 
both men and women, the gonococci gain access to the blood 

214 . The Laws of Sex 

stream and become lodged in the joints, tendons, bursse, en- 
docardium, pericardium or meninges. Cases of general septi- 
caemia with fatal termination have been reported in adults. 
Gonorrhceal rheumatism is the most common of these com- 
plications, and usually appears a considerable time after 
the initial infection. Its onset is usually sudden and is 
characterized by swelling, pain, tenderness and redness of 
the affected joint. The knee, elbow, ankle, wrist and sterno- 
clavicular joints are those most commonly involved. The 
pain in these cases is severe, and there is moderate fever. 
After a few days the acute symptoms sometimes subside 
and complete resolution may follow; ordinarily, however, 
the swelling, tenderness and pain continue for weeks or 
even months, and partial or complete stiffness of the joint 
results. Suppuration is rare, but if it occurs the joint 
almost invariably becomes ankylosed. A diagnosis in these 
cases is sometimes exceedingly difficult, owing to the close 
resemblance} to ordinary rheumatism. 

Success in the treatment of these cases depends in large 
measure upon the cure of the local lesion. In the acute 
stage, rest in bed with the application of cold packs to 
fhe affected joint is the best therapeutic measure. As the 
symptoms subside, a pressure bandage may be applied and 
massage is beneficial. Persistent large effusions must be 
drained and irrigated, and in suppurative cases, surgical 
intervention is imperative. 



Of all the present problems of preventive medicine that 
involving the venereal diseases would to the unprejudiced 
mind appear to be the simplest of solution. In the first 
place, their etiology is definitely known, and in the second 
place they are commonly spread by direct contact through 
voluntary acts. The objectives of the preventive medici- 
nist in all other classes of communicable disease are already 
fulfilled in venereal disease; their causative organisms and 
their mode of transmission are known, and the means of 
preventing contacts between infected and non-infected per- 
sons is obvious., and is especially adapted to a good system 
of quarantine. If like circumstances obtained in regard 
to scarlet fever, influenza or any other communicable dis- 
ease, the hygienist would consider the problem practically 
solved, yet the medical profession today stands impotent 
to check the spread of syphilis and gonorrhoea. 

Why is this so? The reason is not far to seek. In in- 
fluenza, scarlet fever or any other communicable disease, 
the hygienist avails himself of the information at hand, 
and adapts his program of prevention to simple hygienic 
principles, but in venereal disease he is confused by the 
relation of morals to the problem, and he adapts his pro- 
gram to men's convenience rather than to rational princi- 
ples of hygiene. If the causative organism of scarlet fever 
had been isolated, and if it were known to be transmitted 
through the medium of an intimate voluntary contact, as 
by a kiss, the medical profession could reasonably anticipate 


216 The Laws of Sex 

eradicating this disease from the race within a very brief 
period of time. The procedure followed would be simple 
in the extreme. Patients sick of scarlet fever would be iso- 
lated and non-infected persons would be ordered not under 
any circumstances to kiss them ; meanwhile the patient would 
be placed under curative treatment. In a few years scarlet 
fever would obviously disappear. 

The situation in regard to venereal disease is precisely 
parallel. Its causative organisms have been isolated, it is 
known to be transmitted through the medium of an intimate 
voluntary contact, sexual intercourse, yet the medical pro- 
fession holds up its hands and shakes its head. It can 
do nothing. Why? For three reasons. First, because its 
mind is fettered by dead tradition, which accepts exposure 
to venereal disease carriers as inevitable; second, because it 
is a commercialized profession, and the self-interest of the 
practitioner is opposed to a sane system of venereal disease 
quarantine; and third, because doctors are in the main 
mere men after all, and their own personal experience leads 
them to favor or at least tolerate male sexual promiscuity. 
The medical student, whose morals are notorious, is not far 
removed from his more adult sire. 

The program which is now advanced by the medical pro- 
fession for the control of venereal disease appears in all 
its true absurdity when translated to the suppositious case 
of scarlet fever. Suppose instead of quarantining all cases 
of the disease and denying non-infected persons the right 
to kiss infectious patients, only such persons as were ar- 
rested for or convicted of illicit kissing were to be exam- 
ined and isolated if found to be diseased. Suppose, further, 
that of the two partners, the males were the ones more 
addicted to osculation, so much so that ordinarily they 
paid in money or goods for the privilege of embracing an 
infected female. To follow the plan now put forward by 
the medical profession for the control of venereal disease, 
these males woujd ordinarily merely be held as the state's 

Fallacies of the Present Methods of Control 217 

witnesses against the female, and would be released with full 
permission to continue their campaign of bribery as soon 
as the case had been tried in the police court. To com- 
plete the present program facilities for curative treatment 
would have to be offered, but the patients reporting for 
treatment would not be quarantined, nor would their inti- 
mate associates, their wives or children, be in any way 
warned, unless the patient refused to report regularly to 
his physician. 

What in the supposititious case would be the result? If 
kissing were a sufficiently popular pastime, the knowledge of 
the causative organism of scarlet fever and its mode of 
transmission would be thrown away, and scarlet fever would 
continue to spread, in spite of the "control'* measures of 
the "hygienists," just as syphilis and gonorrhoea are now 

The truth is that quarantine means nothing when it is 
applied in this fatuous way, and the false "control" meas- 
ures which are now advanced by the United States Public 
Health Service, the State Boards of Health and the Ameri- 
can Social Hygiene Association serve only to conceal from 
public resentment the unthinkable neglect of the medical 
profession in refusing to protect the public health from this 
most devastating of all plagues. There is absolutely no 
excuse, in face of the knowledge that is now available, for the 
medical profession's delaying longer in instituting a rational 
program of quarantine against venereal disease. The diffi- 
culty is that medical men refuse to regard the problem from 
an hygienic viewpoint. They will not, without great ex- 
ternal compulsion, place the campaign on the basis of the 
control of communicable disease where it belongs. They 
think in terms of morals, instead of preventive medicine, and 
while they disregard secrecy when necessary in connection 
with all other communicable diseases, in venereal disease, 
habit and their own base self-interest leads them to utilize 
every subterfuge in protecting the "good name*' of their 

218 The Laws of Sex 

well-paying, high-class male patients, in total disregard of 
the public health. 

But the price of their silence is too terrible for the public 
to endure. Little children born blind, doomed from their 
birth never to see the blessed light of day, innocent brides 
in the full flower of their young womanhood maimed for 
life or committed to their graves, young minds tainted with 
the hideous blight of syphilis, the idiot, the epileptic; these 
all stand as a tragic monument to the knowledge that was 
never used. Desolate homes, where little children have only 
been born but to die, broken-hearted mothers who have 
gone to the edge of the pit and have brought back death 
instead of life, families whose name has perished in the 
womb; all of these tragedies will one day be placed where 
they belong. 

The medical profession may shrug its shoulders and at- 
tempt to transfer its responsibility to the public or the 
police; the fact remains that the contamination of wedlock 
by the most terrible of all racial diseases rests as a direct 
responsibility upon the shoulders of medical men and can- 
not be dislodged. Medical men have now within their own 
hands all the power and knowledge necessary to protect 
marriage against venereal disease. That they refuse to do 
so is a sin beyond measure, a crime that in its clear con- 
sequences is unequalled in the annals of the race. 

For thirty pieces of silver, Judas Iscariot sold his master 
to the cross. Today his counterpart in the medical pro- 
fession secretly sells little children to be crucified. He will 
not report his cases of venereal disease, lest forsooth they 
reach the knowledge of those who might become contami- 
nated. He will not violate the professional secret, though 
he willingly enough does so in measles or chicken pox, for 
fear he should break up a home. Let him regard a home 
broken by syphilis or gonorrhoea, let him stand by and see 
the bloody agony of the woman giving birth to a still-born, 
syphilitic child, let him look into the purulent eyes of the 

Fallacies of the Present Methods of Control 219 

infant victim of ophthalmia neonatorum, and then let him 
ask himself whether his base self-interest is not daily break- 
ing up homes. Let him follow the hearse of the bride who 
with his sanction but lately stood before the altar of God 
and whom his knowledge might have spared, and let him 
ask the desolate husband how he views his conduct. Today, 
yesterday, tomorrow, years without end the silent train of 
women and children, each bearing a cross, has passed and 
now passes with noiseless tread by the physician's door, and 
he heeds them not at all. A little fictitious verbiage, a few 
printed solecisms, a make-believe quarantine, these are suf- 
ficient sops to his conscience. He takes his thirty pieces 
of silver and builds up a remunerative practice on "lues" 
and "tripper," drawing close the shutters of his mind. Oh, 
Hippocrates, what has thy calling come to, that thy disci- 
ples should thus traffic in the mortal agony of their fellow- 
men ! 

Yet perhaps after all there are some few extenuating 
circumstances. Medical men have themselves grown up 
under a double standard of sex hygiene. They cannot find 
it in their consciences to demand a better standard of liv- 
ing from their fellows than they have themselves lived up 
to in the past, and according to their own estimates most 
of them have, at least before marriage, exposed themselves 
to venereal disease carriers. It used even to be taught in 
a certain Baltimore medical school by one of the professors 
that a man was not fitted to practice medicine until he 
had had gonorrhoea. Under such tutelage a man could 
scarcely be blamed for tolerating the contact of infected 
with uninfected venereal persons. 

Even within recent years so excellent a gentleman and 
so eminent a clinician as the late Sir William Osier taught 
his classes that syphilis and gonorrhoea should never be 
referred to among the laity by their proper names. "Lues" 
and "tripper" were the preferred synonyms. It is an intrin- 
sic part of medical ethics today that wives who have been 

220 The Laws of Sex 

venereally contaminated by their husbands shall not be 
told the true nature of their malady. If such a pernicious 
and unhygienic system of medical secrecy existed in con- 
nection with smallpox or measles, the results to the com- 
munity may be readily imagined, and yet syphilis and gonor- 
rhea are equally dangerous communicable diseases. Sir 
William Osier said, and he spoke out of a wide experience, 
that gonorrhrea is the most serious of all diseases so far as 
women are concerned, and yet no rational effort has been 
made by the medical profession to protect innocent women 
in wedlock from this insidious disease. 

Strangely enough, too, doctors are precisely those who 
see most clearly the ravages of venereal disease among the 
innocent, yet they continue to excuse themselves from their 
responsibility on the untrue grounds that they are powerless 
to prevent marital contamination. 

Doubtless one of the factors that has tended to exonerate 
medical men in their own eyes is the outworn dogma of 
the "sexual necessity." Until within comparatively recent 
years it was actually believed by large numbers of men 
that chastity might entail impotence or other disasters. 
Doctors frequently prescribed the use of prostitutes in nerv- 
ous disorders or in obstinate cases of masturbation, and 
the legend is still current that a man may rid himself of 
syphilis by intercourse with a virgin. Quacks today play 
upon the belief in the sexual necessity and endanger the 
health of their victims by foul advice. There is, however, 
no longer any valid argument on this score. Reputable 
medical men are practically at one in their stated belief 
that chastity for both men and women is wholly compati- 
ble with health. 

On May 7, 1917, after careful consideration, the Gen- 
eral Medical Board of the Council of National Defense 
declared that "continence is not incompatible with health 
and is the best preventive of venereal disease." The prin- 

Fallacies of the Present Methods of Control 221 

ciple thus laid down was approved by the American Medi- 
cal Association on June 7, 1917. 

In its war program the United States Government repeat- 
edly stressed the fact that continence is not only feasible for 
men but is wholesome and desirable. "Keeping Fit to Fight," 
a pamphlet issued for the soldiers by the Commission on 
Training Camp Activities, and endorsed by the Surgeon 
General, says: 

"It used to be thought that these sex organs had to be 
used if they were to be kept healthy. This is a lie. If it 
were true, the boy who exercises them regularly from child- 
hood on should have the greatest sex power but he is 
more likely to be sexually dead before he fully matures. 
Sex power is not lost by laying off. The testicles are 
not muscles but are glands, small bodies producing a liquid, 
just as the tear glands of the eyes produce tears. Real 
lost manhood is usually due to disease or long abuse of 
the sex organs. 

"The mere fact that famous boxers and wrestlers, ex 
plorers and athletes who want their bodies in perfect con- 
dition for a great struggle keep away from women during 
the long period of training proves that the use of the sex 
organs is not necessary to health. Even the ancients knew 
this in training their gladiators and athletes. 

"It is no more necessary to exercise the sex organs than 
it is to exercise the tear glands in the eye. Nature takes 
care of them until the right time for their use." 

Today few reputable medical men in public support the 
dogma of the sexual necessity, yet public health officials 
still refuse to recommend the enforcement of premarital 
chastity as a necessary measure for the prevention of 
venereal disease. 

They cannot, somehow, bring themselves to disavow men's 
age-long prerogative of sexual promiscuity, and all of the 
measures that they offer for the control of venereal dis- 

222 The Laws of Sex 

ease come back substantially to tfce vain hope of the sani- 
tation of vice and the repression of prostitution through 
the useless hounding of the unfortunate victims of a well- 
financed demand. They cannot somatically believe that 
men's promiscuous sexual demands can ever to any degree 
be brought under control, so they do their best under the 
circumstances and suggest a program based upon that un- 
thinkable concept, a double standard of sex hygiene. Ow- 
ing to the increasing power of women in public life they 
have recently become very discreet in their verbiage, and 
when they know that in practice their recommendations will 
discriminate against the feminine sex, they employ the word 
"person," instead of speaking honestly and saying "woman." 

As part of its war program, the United States Govern- 
ment recommended certain laws designed for the control of 
venereal diseases. These were embodied in a pamphlet 
"Standard Forms of Laws for the Repression of Prostitu- 
tion, the Control of Venereal Diseases, the Establishment 
and Management of Reformatories for Women and Girls 
(not for men), and Suggestions for a Law Relating to 
Feeble-minded Persons (presumably females)." 

There are seven of these laws, and they are worthy of 
careful consideration, as within the past two years forty- 
four states in the Union have adopted a large part of the 
program. As Mr. Fosdick, Chairman of the Commission on 
Training Camp Activities, charmingly points out in the 
preface, they are none of them designed "to protect the 
marriage relation," for, says he, "this class (of sex rela- 
tions) is quite removed from what is commonly regarded 
as prostitution and is very generally covered by existing 
statutes in most states." He kindly adds, "though not as 
well in some as in others." 

The countless women who are daily infected with venereal 
disease in wedlock might, perhaps, if they were informed, 
not share Mr. Fosdick's optimism. Among these seven laws, 

Fallacies of the Present Methods of Control 223 

inconspicuously, is included a form law against fornication, 
but as it was not included in the working social hygiene 
program of the United States Public Health Service nor in 
those of any of the local State Boards of Health, it may be 
inferred that it was merely added as a sort of decoration. 
As has been seen from the summary of statutes, but few 
states are equipped with a fornication law, and in none of 
them does it receive any practical consideration, least of 
all from the medical fraternity. 

Without any other exception the laws are clearly directed 
toward those who profit from the exploitation of vice and 
those "persons," save the mark, who are the victims of 
this exploitation. No word of suggestion is made of re- 
pressing the demand that alone makes prostitution pos- 

Standard Form Number 4 has been enacted into law, or 
where it has been considered in part unconstitutional, has 
been rewritten into Board of Health Regulations in forty- 
four states of the Union, and it is herewith reprinted in 
full, as it represents the sole protection that the public now 
enjoys against venereal infection: 


Standard Form of Law for the Control of Venereal Diseases 

Section I. That syphilis, gonorrhoea and chancroid, 
hereinafter designated as venereal diseases are hereby de- 
clared to be contagious, infectious, communicable and dan- 
gerous to the public health. It shall be unlawful for any- 
one infected with these diseases or any of them to expose 
another person to infection. 

Section II. Any physician or other person who makes a 
diagnosis in or treats a case of venereal disease, and any 
superintendent or manager of a hospital, dispensary, or 
charitable or penal institution in which there is a case of 

224 The Laws of Sex 

venereal disease, shall make a report of such case to the 
health authorities according to such form and manner 
as the State Board of Health shall direct. 

Section III. State, county and municipal health officers, 
or their authorized deputies, within their respective juris- 
dictions are hereby directed and empowered, when in their 
judgment it is necessary to protect the public health, to 
make examinations of persons reasonably suspected of be- 
ing infected with venereal disease, and to detain such per- 
sons until the results of such examinations are known, to 
require persons infected with venereal disease to report for 
treatment to a reputable physician and continue treatment 
until cured or to submit to treatment provided at public 
expense until cured, and, also, when in their judgment it 
is necessary to protect the public health, to isolate or quar- 
antine persons infected with venereal disease. It shall be 
the duty of all local and state health officers to investigate 
sources of infection of venereal disease, to cooperate with 
the proper officials whose duty it is to enforce laws directed 
against prostitution, and otherwise to use every proper 
means for the repression of prostitution. 

Section IV. All persons who shall be confined or impris- 
oned in any state, county, or city prison in the state shall 
be examined for and, if infected, treated for venereal dis- 
eases by the health authorities or their deputies. The prison 
authorities of any state, county, or city prison are directed 
to make available to the health authorities such portion of 
any state, county, or city prison as may be necessary for 
a clinic or hospital wherein all persons who may be con- 
fined or imprisoned in any such prison and who are infected 
with venereal disease, and all such persons who are suffer- 
ing with venereal disease at the time of the expiration of 
their terms of imprisonment, and, in case no other suitable 
place for isolation or quarantine is available, such other 
persons as may be isolated or quarantined under the provi- 

Fallacies of the Present Methods of Control 225 

sions of Section 8, shall be isolated and treated at public 
expense until cured, or, in lieu of such isolation any of 
such persons may, in the discretion of the Board of Health, 
be required to report for treatment to a licensed physician, 
or submit to treatment provided at public expense, as pro- 
vided in Section 3. Nothing herein contained shall be con- 
strued to interfere with the service of any sentence imposed 
by a court as a punishment for the commission of crime/ 

Section V. The State Board of Health is hereby empow- 
ered and directed to make such rules and regulations as 
shall in its judgment be necessary for the carrying out of 
the provisions of this Act, including rules and regulations 
providing for the control and treatment of persons isolated 
or quarantined under the provisions of Section 3, and such 
other rules and regulations, not in conflict with provisions 
of this Act, concerning the control of venereal diseases, and 
concerning the care, treatment and quarantine of persons 
infected therewith, as it may from time to time deem advisa- 
ble. All such rules and regulations so made shall be of 
force and binding upon all county and municipal health 
officers and other persons affected by this Act, and shall 
have the force and effect of law. 

Section VI. Any person who shall violate any of the 
provisions of this Act or any lawful rule or regulation made 
by the State Board of Health, pursuant to the authority 
herein granted, or who shall fail or refuse to obey any 
lawful order issued by any state, county, or municipal 
health officer, pursuant to the authority granted in this Act, 
shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be pun- 
ished by a fine of not more than $1000 or by imprisonment 
for not more than a year or by both such fine and imprison- 

Section VII. All laws or parts of laws in conflict with 
the provisions of this Act shall be and the same are hereby 

226 The Laws of Sex 

Approved by: 

Merritt W. Ireland, Major General, Surgeon General of 
the Army. 

William C. Braisted, Rear Admiral, Surgeon General of 
the Navy. 

Rupert Blue, Surgeon General, U. S. Public Health Serv- 

To the uninitiated this law would appear to cover the case, 
for it reaffirms the almost boundless power which the State 
Boards of Health had, without exception, in connection with 
communicable disease, before this law was ever conceived of. 
The very fact that it was thought necessary to define this 
power so specifically in regard to venereal disease indicates 
at the outset the peculiar attitude of the medical pro- 
fession toward this one class of infections. No special 
form law is needed in connection with measles or influenza 
or smallpox. Under the very laws that called them into 
existence, the State Boards of Health were vested with suf- 
ficient power to protect the public health against communi- 
cable disease, if they desired to do so. This is the crux 
of the matter, and herein lies the weakness of Form Law 
No. 4, for after defining Section 1 the venereal diseases as 
"contagious, infectious, communicable and dangerous to the 
public health," it weakly commits the handling of these 
cases to the "judgment" of the state, county and municipal 
health officers, where it was before the law was written. 

Even in the matter of reporting cases of venereal dis- 
ease, which is obviously fundamental to any system of 
quarantine, it says (Section 2), cases shall be reported 
"according to such form and manner as the State Board 
of Health shall direct." The uselessness of this recommen- 
dation becomes clear when it is learned that only eight out 
of the forty-eight states require venereal disease cases to 
be reported by name and address. All of the others which 
require the reporting of cases at all merely demand that 

Fallacies of tlie Present Methods of Control 

they be reported by number. Of what earthly value re- 
porting the cases by number could be it is difficult to under- 
stand, for even statistics gleaned from this information 
would be worthless, as venereal cases are especially prone 
to change from one doctor to another, thus making it 
probable that one case would be reported several times, 
thereby invalidating the record. No sane physician would 
suggest reporting cases of scarlet fever or chicken pox or 
typhoid fever by number for the very reason that the re- 
ports are called for in order to permit the State Boards 
of Health to take over from private physicians the con- 
trol of "contagious, infectious, communicable and danger- 
ous infections." The public has long since realized that 
the private physician has neither the time, the facilities 
nor the disposition to carry through an adequate system 
of quarantine in connection with communicable disease. 

Is it because he has proven so much more conscientious 
and efficient in handling cases of venereal disease than in 
handling other forms of communicable disease that the pub- 
lic health is to be left entirely in his hands in connection 
with venereal infections? Reporting by number or other 
like fantastic and useless devices is nothing more nor less 
than a blind to conceal from the public the neglect of 
the medical profession in this most dangerous class of in- 
fections. It serves also to appease the conscience of cer- 
tain medical men and others who enjoy a pretense of 
non-existent progress. Before there can be any thought 
of controlling venereal disease or preventing the venereal 
contamination of wedlock, all cases of venereal disease must 
be required to be reported by name and address as is 
done in the case of all other communicable diseases. The 
sole argument advanced by those who favor reporting by 
number is that doctors "will not report" if they are 
required to give the name and address of their patients. 
It may be submitted that this plea would scarcely be 
countenanced in connection with smallpox, whooping cough 

228 The Laws of Sex 

or any other dangerous, infectious malady. Clearly doc- 
tors should be required to report by name and address, 
even if they lose money by so doing, and when they realize 
their true responsibility, they may perhaps not prove so 
recalcitrant as was at first anticipated. 

To be understood, Section 3, which reads innocently 
enough, must be interpreted by the use made of it by the 
public health officials. In all of the states where it has 
been put in force, it operates merely as a sort of Neo- 
Napoleonic regulation. The "persons" who are consid- 
ered as being "reasonably" suspected of being infected 
with venereal disease are, in spite of the careful phrase- 
ology, almost always women, and when this coincidence 
is brought out, almost all public health officials defend their 
action on the ground that women are "more dangerous 
as venereal disease carriers" than are their male copart- 
ners. No less authorities than Col. C. C. Pierce, who 
is at the head of the United States Public Health Service; 
Dr. Hugh H. Young, who was in charge of the Urological 
Department of the American Expeditionary Forces, and Dr. 
William H. Welch, President of the School of Hygiene 
of the Johns Hopkins University, maintain that it is 
more important to hold the infectious woman than the 
infectious man, for they maintain "one woman can in a 
single night infect many men whereas one man can infect 
only a very small number of women." 

Granting that the available funds are limited, as they 
most certainly are, these gentlemen and their confreres con- 
tend that they should be expended in the most effective 
manner, but then unhappily what do they do? They pro- 
ceed to lay out a large part of their inadequate budget 
on paying for the board and lodging, for long periods of 
time, of a handful of girls, many of them of subnormal 
mentality, who, they admit, will almost certainly become 
reinfected within a day or so after their half year's im- 
prisonment or "quarantine" is ended. It is like pouring 

Fallacies of the Present Methods of Control 289 

water through a sieve, and has absolutely no bearing upon 
the problem. In all probability it is money worse than 
wasted, for while these few girls are withdrawn from the 
trade the demand remains at the same level and the induc- 
tion of new girls into the ranks of prostitution or the 
increased abuse of those already initiated is beyond ques- 
tion predicated. 

It all comes back to the ultra-masculine point of view 
on the social evil wherein the woman is always considered 
the chief offender. Dr. Young has even gone so far as 
to say that women are always the prime instigators to 
illicit sex relationships. "Women cause the spread of 
syphilis and gonorrhoea," he said not long since to the 
writer. "A young man goes out on the street with no 
evil thoughts in his head. He is met by a vicious woman. 
She caresses him and entices him until he falls, and then 
she infects him with syphilis or gonorrhoea. If the infec- 
tious woman can be locked up it stands to reason that 
our boys will be safer by that increment." 

Dr. Young and many of his confreres frankly support 
Section 3 on the ground that it gives an additional "pre- 
text" for arresting and detaining dissolute women. "Lock 
up as many of them as you can," Dr. Young said, "the 
streets will be just that much safer." Over a hundred 
years ago when the lock hospital treatment of diseased 
prostitutes was first instituted this was the philosophy that 
guided the plans of the medical profession. During an 
entire century it has been found to be of not the slightest 
avail in controlling venereal infection, yet round and round 
the shut cages of their minds the reason of medical men 
still dashes, like squirrels in a wheel, bent upon some mo- 
mentous enterprise. In 1921, they are repeating the dem- 
onstrated errors of 1802, and they do not even know it. 

The difficulty is that they will not and cannot mentally 
face the problem. They are attempting to reconcile two 
irreconcilables, to facilitate sexual promiscuity for men 

230 The Laws of Sex 

while denying it to women ; to repress prostitution while 
permitting men to pay sufficiently to insure its continued 
unabated existence. At one moment they preach chastity 
and monogamy and at another they lay careful plans for 
the sanitation of vice through lock hospitals and the use 
of prophylaxis. Apparently they believe in both marriage 
and promiscuity, one for women and the other for men, 
and they overlook the trifling fact that sexual intercourse 
is a relation which necessarily involves equally a man and 
a woman. In this connection it is enlightening to consider 
what is the fundamental basis of prostitution. 

It is a trade which like any other responds to certain 
laws, and which is ultimately dependent for its very exist- 
ence upon its being adequately financed by those who call 
it into being. Those who exploit the prostitute, the pimp, 
the procurer, the taxi-cab driver, the real estate shark, 
the madam and even the girl herself would not find prosti- 
tution profitable enough to afford a livelihood if men were 
not willing to pay enormous sums for the purpose of illicit 
sexual gratification. It is estimated by the American So- 
cial Hygiene Association that $164,000,000, and probably 
three or four times that amount is paid annually by men 
in the United States for prostitution. If this sum were 
for any reason withdrawn, if men suddenly became un- 
willing to pay for prostitution, it is clear that the whole 
business would fall asunder and that pimps, procurers, 
madams, prostitutes and the rest would have to look to 
other means for gaining a living. 

No similar institution exists for the opposite sex, for 
women are ordinarily unwilling to pay men for sexual 
gratification outside marriage. This is not necessarily due 
to any lack of genuine passion in the female, it merely 
means that such a procedure would bring women out on 
the wrong side of the ledger. The concept is exaggerated, 
but it indicates beyond question that where no financial 

Fallacies of the Present Methods of Control 231 

demand exists for the prostitution of the opposite sex, no 
such institution is even imaginable. 

The relation of men and women to the problem can be 
very clearly and conclusively shown by a simple example 
in arithmetic. To bring the concept within range, suppose 
there are five men and five women on the street on a given 
night. If each of the men desires sexual intercourse and is 
able and willing to pay $1, all of the five women being 
available, the net result is five illicit relationships, and $5 
paid into the treasury of prostitution. If only four women 
or only three or only two, or indeed but one are availa- 
ble, the net result is the same, for one woman has been 
known to gratify as many as thirty men in twenty-four 
hours, so five illicit relationships and $5 paid to the income 
of prostitution is the constant result throughout the series. 

It is only when the last of the five women has been 
eliminated that the number of illicit relationships falls, 
and then pending the advent of new women it necessarily 
drops to zero. 

Now consider the problem in relation to the men. Sup- 
pose the five women are constantly available, but for some 
reason one of the five men declines the opportunity for 
illicit intercourse, the other four being still desirous. The 
net result is four illicit relationships and $4 paid into 
the treasury of prostitution. Similarly, if but three of 
the five men desire illicit relations, all of the five women 
being still available, only three illicit relationships result, 
and but $3 is paid into the treasury of prostitution. If 
but two of the men are desirous, the woman factor re- 
maining constant, only two illicit relationships result, and 
only $2 is thrown to the income of prostitution. Finally, if 
only one man desires gratification, only one illicit inter- 
course results and $1 is paid into the treasury of prosti- 
tution. Meanwhile a certain proportion of the women who 
were living in venery are forced to turn elsewhere for a 

232 The Laws of Sex 

means to a livelihood. This example demonstrates suffi- 
ciently the clear fact that the number of illicit relation- 
ships, in other words the number of exposures to venereal 
disease, depends upon the male, not the female factor in 
the enterprise. Unless the medical profession anticipates 
achieving the impossible, it can scarcely expect to reduce 
the number of available prostitutes to zero, especially in 
view of the fact that men are openly permitted by the 
government to bribe women adequately to give them grati- 

Another suppositious case may add definition to the prob- 
lem. Suppose, for a moment, that a man ardently desires- 
that the home of a neighbor be burned to the ground. He 
pays a woman to commit arson, and after the house is 
burned she is arrested and locked up by the police. The 
house is rebuilt, and he immediately engages another woman 
for the same task; the house is again burned, and she 
is taken up, and so on ad infinitum. As long as the man's 
desire and money hold out arson will be inevitable, for 
there is no occupation so dangerous that people cannot 
be found to engage in it if the financial reward is set suffi- 
ciently high. The obvious procedure in a case of this sort 
would be for the government to penalize the man offering 
the bribes sufficiently heavily to undercut his desire. Arson 
would then cease and not before. 

Now a precisely analogous situation exists with regard 
to prostitution. A girl who can make only ten or twelve 
dollars a week in a legitimate occupation can make two or 
three hundred dollars a week through prostitution. From 
a financial point of view it is worth running some risks to 
secure the greater wage. 

A police captain in Baltimore City said recently, in speak- 
ing of the difficulty of keeping disorderly houses closed 
down: "If we set a gallows just outside the door and said 
to the Madam and her girls, 'You will be hanged there 
in the morning if you don't behave yourselves,' they'd go 

Fallacies of the Present Methods of Control 233 

on just the same and take the men and the money and 
trust to luck to get away before we caught 'em." 

In earlier days prostitutes were really hanged, or their 
noses or ears were cut off, or other mutilations were in- 
flicted, but the trade was not affected. In some cases they 
were publicly ducked in a cage until they were almost 
drowned, or were forced to wear a certain garb, or a scarlet 
letter, but these cruelties did not result in the repression 
of prostitution. 

On the contrary, the trade has flourished and promises 
to continue to do so until the real source of the evil is 
brought under the ban of the public conscience. Until 
within comparatively recent time, the facts with regard to 
the percentile infectiousness of public women were not 
known. Now as a result of various investigations it is 
recognized that from 95 to 100 per cent of all prostitutes 
are venereal disease carriers. This makes the hope of the 
sanitation of vice still more clearly visionary than it was in 
the days of Napoleon when it was supposed that only an oc- 
casional prostitute harbored venereal infection. The general 
infectiousness of prostitutes is recognized by the Public 
Health Service and the various State Boards of Health in 
their interpretation of Section 3. In "Venereal Disease 
Ordinances," issued by the Public Health Service under the 
direction of the Surgeon General, it says: "Sec. 9. It is 
hereby made the duty of the City Health Officer (a) to make 
examinations of persons reasonably suspected of having 
syphilis in the infectious stages, or chancroid or gono- 
coccus infection (owing to the prevalence of such diseases 
among prostitutes, pimps, procurers, persons guilty of lewd 
and lascivious conduct and persons who associate with 
prostitutes, all such persons shall be considered within the 
above class), (b) To quarantine or isolate persons in- 
fected with any of said diseases whenever quarantine or 
isolation is necessary to protect the public health." 

These sections, it will be seen, are the same in substance 

234 The Laws of Sex 

as Section 3 of Form Law No. 4, wherein health officers or 
their authorized deputies are directed and empowered when 
m their judgment it is necessary to protect the public 
health to make examination of "persons" reasonably sus- 
pected of having a venereal disease; to detain such persons 
until the results of the examination are known and to 
isolate persons infected with venereal disease. In order to 
see precisely how the provisions of Section 3 work out in 
actual practice, it may be well to review the experience of 
one state, Maryland. 

In January 1918, certain members of the Commission on 
Training Camp Activities had prepared for introduction 
into the City Council of Baltimore City, an ordinance pro- 
viding for the compulsory physical examination of "persons" 
arrested for or convicted of prostitution and the detention 
of those found to be diseased. A number of Baltimore women 
who had had experience with Clause 79 of the Page Bill 
in New York, recognized in this proposed ordinance merely 
a reversion to old-fashioned regulation, and entered a vigor- 
ous protest against its introduction. 1 They stated to the 
Commission on Training Camp Activities that they would 
promptly have the constitutionality of the ordinance ques- 
tioned if it were passed, and the ordinance was quietly with- 
drawn. The Commission then transferred its activities to 
the State Board of Health, and in July, 1918, a series of 
16 venereal disease regulations was promulgated, among 
which were the following: 

14. Prostitution is hereby declared to be a source and 
cause of venereal diseases. Persons living or associating 
with prostitutes are declared to be exposed to infection 
with venereal diseases and subject to detention, parole or 
observation as other persons exposed to other contagious 
diseases. Any person convicted by a court of law of being 
a prostitute shall be subject to a physical examination by 
the local health officer or a physician appointed by the court 
1 Decision of Supreme Court of New York. Barone vs. Warden. 

Fallacies of the Present Methods of Control 235 

to determine whether the condition of that person is such 
as will prove dangerous to others, and if so determined 
shall be subject to quarantine until declared by the desig- 
nated health officer or physican appointed by the court to 
be free from danger of infection to others. 

16. On account of the frequency of venereal diseases 
among vagrants, prostitutes, keepers of houses of ill-fame, 
prostitution or assignation, and inmates, employes and 
frequenters of such places, persons not of good fame, per- 
sons guilty of fornication, lewd and lascivious conduct and 
illicit cohabitation, and associates of such persons are 
likely to have and are hereby declared reasonably suspected 
of having venereal diseases, and when any such person is 
arrested on or in connection with any such charges, such 
person should not be released on bail or otherwise allowed 
liberty of contact with healthy people until examined by the 
proper health officer, his deputy or agent, and pronounced 
free from venereal disease. 

The police justices were then called together, and were 
requested by the State Board of Health to send all the 
women arrested on charges of immorality and also the 
pimps and procurers to the venereal clinic for examination. 
They were also directed to hold them without bail until 
the results of the examination were known. This was sum- 
marily done, for as one of the magistrates said, "While I 
regard the procedure as unconstitutional, and while I do 
not believe it would stand a test in the courts, we are asked 
to do this to protect the health of the soldiers," and it was 
war time. 

Under these regulations, it appears that approximately 
600 women have been subjected to a compulsory physical 
examination in Baltimore City within the past two years. 
So far as can be learned, less than 50 men have been sub- 
jected to the same procedure. About one-half of the women 
have been returned to the court with a positive diagnosis. 
Of five men representing the sum total of those who in six 

236 The Laws of Sex 

months were sent from the Central Police Station for ex- 
amination, all were returned with a positive diagnosis. One 
of them was fined $25 and costs, and the others were re- 
leased merely with a warning to report for treatment. A 
few of the women who were found to be infectious were con- 
fined in a sort of lock hospital ward in the Mercy Hospital, 
accommodating about a dozen patients ; a very few others 
were sent to Bay View and to the Morrow Hospital. While 
detained, the girls were given no opportunities for exercise, 
recreation or education, but were shut up together in a 
single room in complete idleness for periods in some in- 
stances lasting six months or even longer. At the Morrow 
Hospital they were permitted to work in the laundry. Some 
of the girls ran away, causing the hospital authorities great 
embarrassment. The patients ranged in age from 12 or 13 
to 20 years ; a few were slightly older. 

Of those who could not be accommodated in hospitals, 
some were sent to jail, but the majority were committed to 
the "Cut," an unsavory, unhygienic penal institution, near 
Baltimore City. When asked precisely what method was 
used in handling these cases, one of the magistrates, a man 
of unusual conscience and ability, replied: "When they 
are brought in I send them to the Clinic. If they are 
found to be diseased I send them to a hospital, if there is 
room and the case is suitable. Otherwise I usually commit 
them to the 'Cut' for six months or until they are no longer 
infectious." Asked what he did with those who were not 
diseased, he replied, "Oh, I generally dismiss them, for there 
isn't any evidence." As for the men, he said he seldom 
sent any for examination as they were held merely as the 
state's witnesses. 

Thus it is seen that Section 3, of Form Law No. 4, de- 
generated very quickly in Maryland into a sort of police 
court regulation of prostitution, the conviction and sentence 
of the accused being dependent upon the condition of her 

Fallacies of the Present Methods of Control 237 

health, which was long ago declared to be unconstitutional 
in connection with Clause 79 of the Page Bill. 

On a careful reading of Section 16, it appears that the 
State Board of Health violates one of the fundamental 
rights guaranteed to every citizen under the Constitution. 
It provides that any person "arrested on or in connection 
with charges of immorality" shall be treated differently 
from persons who are not so accused. In other words, it 
holds the accused is guilty of the offense with which she is 
charged before she is given an opportunity to have the 
evidence sifted in a court of law. Ever since the days of 
King John every precept of justice has demanded that a 
person shall be considered innocent until she is proven guilty 
before a court of law, but the State Board of Health 
splendidly disregards Magna Charta. It appears to con- 
sider the Baltimore City Police clairvoyant and accepts 
the accusation of a single policeman as sufficient to justify 
the publicity and humiliation attendant upon a compulsory 
physical examination. That the police are not, even in 
Baltimore City, endowed with this extraordinary vision was 
recently demonstrated when a 16-year-old girl, palpably 
innocent, was arrested entering a taxicab at about 11 
o'clock at night in company with her fiance. The girl 
was ordered to report for examination but refused, and 
when her case was heard before the magistrate it was im- 
mediately dismissed, and the plain clothes man was cen- 
sured for having arrested the girl on insufficient evidence. 
This regulation has also given ground for much quiet graft 
in the police force. Young men sitting in their automobiles 
in the park in summer time with their girl friends and en- 
joying the evening air, have been threatened by policemen 
with the provisions of this regulation, and in order to spare 
the girl the unspeakable humiliation of a physical examina- 
tion under degrading conditions, the man in the case has 
usually been willing to pay what was necessary in order to 

288 The Laws of Sex 

escape the accusation. One officer was dismissed from the 
force for action of this kind. 

Since the summer of 1920, the magistrates, realizing the 
unconstitutional nature of this regulation, have refused to be 
party to it, and the administration of the measure has fallen 
wholly into the hands of the police force. When the Mary- 
land General Assembly met in 1920, Dr. Hugh H. Young 
and a few other gentlemen attempted to have Form Law 
No. 4 enacted into law in its entirety. The General As- 
sembly refused to pass that portion of the law providing 
for the examination and detention of persons convicted of 
prostitution on the ground that it was unconstitutional. 
The condition of the defendant's health, they maintained, 
should not be used to prejudice the court in the imposition 
of sentence. That section of the law was stricken out before 
the bill was transformed into a statute. 

Meanwhile the State Board of Health has continued to 
utlize its regulations regardless of the Constitution. Sec- 
tion 14 may be seen to be quite as unconstitutional as 
Section 16, although on different grounds. "Any person," 
it says, "convicted of being a prostitute, shall be subject 
to a physical examination, and shall be subject to quaran- 
tine until declared to be free from danger of infection to 
others." Now after conviction the court is free to order 
the examination of the defendant, either before or after 
the imposition of sentence. There is no other choice. If she 
is examined before sentence is imposed, and the results of 
the examination are made known, the court will presumably 
be influenced by the condition of the defendant's health in 
the imposition of sentence. Otherwise there would patently 
be no object in reporting the diagnosis. If the court is so 
influenced, clearly the procedure is unconstitutional, for the 
defendant has been convicted of an offense against the law 
and must be punished accordingly. 2 Venereal disease, de- 

' Cf . Decision of the Supreme Court of New York in the case of Barone 
vs. Warden. 

Fallacies of the Present Methods of Control 239 

spite the Board of Health, is not a statutized crime, and is 
no more germaine to a sentence than chicken pox would be. 
If the examination is made after sentence has been im- 
posed the procedure is again questionable, for after the 
defendant has paid the penalty exacted, she is at quits with 
the state and is exactly on the same plane with every other 

With this difference, however, that she may now properly 
be declared to be reasonably suspected of having been ex- 
posed, to venereal infection, for the charges of immorality 
have been sustained by the court, and immorality is known 
to constitute exposure to venereal disease. She cannot, 
however, longer be held by the court, for no person can 
under the Constitution be held twice for the same offense. 
She can merely be instructed to report to the Board of 
Health for examination or be paroled in their care. If 
upon examination she is found to be diseased, there is no 
more justification for quarantining her under detention than 
there would have been had she come to the clinic as a volun- 
tary patient. Thousands of young unmarried male and 
female patients report daily to the Board of Health clinics 
for treatment for venereal disease. In most cases they 
give a definite history of illicit relationships, yet they are 
not summarily placed under detention. On the contrary, 
the Boards of Health specifically state that they shall be 
detained only if they refuse to report regularly for treat- 
ment. Why, then, should the defendant who has paid her 
fine and thereby exonerated herself in the eyes of the state 
be locked up if infected? Has she not, at least more than 
the others, who are equally known to the Board of Health 
to have led promiscuous lives, learned her lesson, since she 
has suffered the indignity of a trial and a fine? The others 
have gone scot free although the physician has the medical 
evidence and their own self-given histories in testimony of 
their illicit conduct. Surely there is no adequate medical 
reason for locking up a woman or a man merely because 

240 The Law* of Sex 

she or he has been tried by a court of law. It is the fact 
of licentiousness, not the court record, that is of medical 

Unless all men and women who are known to have a 
venereal disease and who give a history of previous im- 
morality are to be impartially detained, to the limit of 
hospital and penal facilities, there is no sufficient ground 
for incarcerating those who happen to have come to the 
clinic through the medium of the courts. Many physicians 
recommend the use of prophylaxis, especially to their male 
patients who by repeated infections prove that they intend 
to continue to lead a promiscuous life, but their lock hos- 
pital treatment is not therefore required. Moreover, if it 
is assumed that a court record necessarily means that a 
woman will continue to live as a prostitute, her temporary 
incarceration from a medical point of view avails little, for 
as soon as she is cured and is free she will presumably 
reenter her old life and immediately become infected again. 
Under these circumstances, unless her incarceration pre- 
supposes a reduction in the total number of illicit relation- 
ships which is by no means the case her temporary de- 
tention is of no medical avail. It is true that she will be 
momentarily cured, if her detention is long enough, but 
this will be unavailing in the end as venereal disease confers 
no lasting immunity and she will find instant opportunity 
for her reinfection upon being set at large. 

It is especially to be noted that after sentence has been 
imposed there is no constitutional ground for returning a 
report as to the condition of defendant's health to the 
court. When she has fulfilled her sentence she is no longer 
under the jurisdiction of the court and cannot without 
violation of constitutional guarantees be held. If she is 
to be detained she must be incarcerated by the Board of 
Health, not by the court, for the court has no longer any 
rights over her. 

That the Board of Health regulation providing for the 

Fallacies of the Present Methods of Control 241 

examination of persons convicted of prostitution and the 
detention of those found to be diseased does in practice lead 
to unconstitutional procedures, has already been sufficiently 
indicated by practical experience. 

A typical case is that of a girl brought in and con- 
victed of disorderly conduct. The maximum sentence in 
Maryland for disorderly conduct is a fine of $25 and costs. 
No jail sentence is provided for. The girl is fined $10 and 
costs, which she pays, and is then remanded to the State 
Board of Health for examination. She is found to have 
syphilis in an infectious stage and is returned to the court 
with the diagnosis, whereupon she is committed by the court 
to six months in the "Cut." A legal mind will immediately 
sense the gross violation of justice which such a procedure 
entails. The defendant is held twice on the same charge 
which is an absolute disregard of the Constitution; she 
is sentenced twice for the same statutory offense and finally 
she is committed to jail for a long period of time under a 
statute which does not provide for any detention. She is, 
moreover, held without bail, which is a thing unprecedented 
in the so-called minor offenses, for even in capital crimes, 
such as rape or murder, the defendant is frequently released 
on security. 

Dr. Welch, Dr. Young and others in the medical profes- 
sion merely shrug their shoulders when these unconstitu- 
tional procedures are mentioned as flowing from the State 
Board of Health regulations. They assert that the Public 
fiealth officials should not be held responsible for the mis- 
carriage of justice in the courts. All of which might readily 
enough be granted unless the State Board of Health 
specifically directed the police and the courts to infringe 
justice in this manner, as they do under Regulations 14 
and 16. 

Several states have already declared it to be uncon- 
stitutional to force "persons" arrested for immorality to 
submit to a physical examination. They hold that the de- 

242 The Law* of Sear 

fendant must be considered innocent until he or she has 
been proven guilty in a court of law. 3 This has entangled 
the machinery of the State Boards of Health and embar- 
rassed some of their legal advisors, so now Col. William F. 
Snow, Executive Secretary of the American Social Hy- 
giene Association, and Mr. Bascom Johnson, head of the 
Legal Department of the same Association, come forward 
with a new and extraordinary suggestion. Instead of hav- 
ing the magistrates or the police remand those arrested 
for immorality for a physical examination, "persons" held 
on charges of this sort are to be brought before the State 
Board of Health if they protest their innocence, which body 
shall determine whether the evidence is or is not sufficient 
to indicate that the defendant may be "reasonably sus- 
pected of having a venereal disease," and be therefore sub- 
ject to examination. In other words, the State Board of 
Health is to constitute itself a sort of unofficial minor 
court for the trial of "persons" accused of immorality. 
Medical evidence there will be none, for the hearing is 
granted prior to examination, so doctors will assume the 
prerogatives of the courts of law and momentarily put on 
the gowns and wigs of the legal profession. It would be 
almost worth trying this fantastic experiment to see what 
kind of justice would be rendered, if human rights were not 
at stake and if the outcome were not so certain. 

Doctors are neither by training nor education fitted to 
practice law, nor have they any license for this profession, 
but since the police and the courts under these regulations 
have been transformed into health wardens, it is perhaps 
but right for the doctors to reciprocate by changing them- 
selves into lawyers and juries, thereby reducing the whole 
procedure ad absurdum. 

When a committee of women recently waited upon the 
Board to urge the repeal of these unconstitutional regu- 

* Cf ., case of Wragg vs. Griffin, 170 Northwestern Reporter, folio 400, 
State of Iowa. 

Fallacies of the Present Methods of Control 243 

lations, and their substitution by a sane venereal disease 
quarantine procedure, it was interesting to see how com- 
pletely ignorant the members of the State Board of Health 
were of the practical operation in the police courts of their 
regulations. The members of the Board did not know 
how many persons had been held under the regulations, 
what was the proportion of women to men, where the patient- 
prisoners had been confined or how long, or what legal 
procedure was actually followed. They did not know what 
percentage of those examined were found to be infected. 
Although the magistrates had for six months refused to 
remand persons for examination, and the whole thing had 
fallen into the hands of the police, the State Board of 
Health was unaware of this circumstance. Some of them 
thought that only convicted persons were examined, others 
maintained that it was essential that all those arrested be 
investigated. None of them appeared to have any sincere 
respect for constitutional guarantees or to understand 
what an excruciating humiliation a compulsory physical 
examination could be to an innocent girl falsely arrested. 
They all of them had their hearts fixed on the sanitation 
of vice by the police courts, and they obstinately blamed the 
administrators of the law for the necessary infringement 
of justice. 4 

When it was suggested that the demand created by men 
for prostitution was the cause of venereal contacts and the 
root of venereal disease, Dr. William H. Welch, the Presi- 
dent of the Board and probably the most distinguished 
hygienist in America replied : "It would of course be impos- 
sible to bring the sexual demands of men under control ; such 
a recommendation is purely hypothetical. The problem is 
too vast to be approachable by this method. We must look 
to the elimination of foci of infection for progress, and not 

* Since going to press the Attorney General of Maryland has ruled 
Sections 14 and 16 of the Venereal Disease Regulations of the Maryland 
State Board of Health to be unconstitutional. 

244 The Laws of Sea: 

be over-optimistic about repressing extra-marital sex re- 

This represents in brief the attitude of the medical pro- 
fession at the present day as phrased by one of its lead- 
ing exponents. Sexual promiscuity for men must be taken 
for granted and all plans for the prevention of venereal 
disease must operate in conformity with this initial prin- 
ciple. The promiscuous sexual demands of men cannot be 
brought under control ; in other words, unless the sanitation 
of vice is accomplished, the human race must look forward 
to an endless number of exposures to venereal disease with 
the consequent infection. 



In order to clarify the argument with regard to the police 
court examination of persons arrested for or convicted of 
prostitution, it may be well to recapitulate. The pro- 
ponents of this method justify their plan on two grounds: 
(a) That persons arrested for or convicted of prostitution 
are in all likelihod diseased and will presumably expose 
other persons to infection if they are not isolated; and (b) 
that for their own sakes they should be cured. 

The opponents of this method respond: (a) That the 
treatment under detention of patients not actually requir- 
ing hospital care is neither justifiable nor economically 
feasible, except in such cases as fail to report for ambula- 
tory treatment or otherwise infringe the regulations of 
the Board of Health; (The routine examination and treat- 
ment of the inmates of state and federal institutions is, 
of course, recommended.) (b) that persons arrested for 
immorality may be falsely accused and have a constitu- 
tional right to a trial by law before being discriminated 
against; (c) that persons convicted of prostitution should 
be sentenced without regard to the condition of their 
health, a point in law which has been upheld by the Supreme 
Court of New York (see Supreme Court decision Barone 
vs. Warden) ; (d) that writes s the Board of Health is pre- 
pared to isolate impartially all persons known by physicians 
to have been immoral, men and women, rich and poor, when 
they are found to have a venereal disease in an infectious 
form, it is irrational to lock up persons of similar history 
and character merely because they have a court record; 


246 The Laws of Sex 

(e) that regulations for the control of communicable dis- 
ease must apply impartially to all members of the com- 
munity alike, irrespective of social station or sex e.g., 
regulations regarding smallpox, scarlet fever, tuberculosis, 

The compulsory examination of persons arrested for im- 
morality has already been declared unconstitutional by the 
courts (cf. Wragg vs. Griffin, 170 Northwestern Reporter, 
folio 400). The defendant in this case was a man who was 
released on a writ of habeas corpus on the grounds first 
that he had not had a trial by law to justify the charges, 
and second that a person cannot under the Constitution 
be forced to testify against himself by exposing the body 
for examination or permitting the withdrawal of blood from 
the veins for a medical test. 

To a fair-minded person it is clear that a person must 
be regarded as innocent until he has been proven guilty, 
and that the examination of persons merely charged with 
immorality violates a fundamental principle of justice. No 
woman would be safe on the streets if she could be forced 
to undergo an examination for venereal disease on the ac- 
cusation of a single policeman without recourse to a trial 
by law. 

Until after examination, to refuse to release prisoners 
on bail pending trial simply because they are charged with 
immorality is equally unconstitutional and unjustifiable, for 
until their guilt has been substantiated by due process of 
law there is no proper ground for discriminating against 
them. While it is granted beyond question that the Board 
of Health must have the power to examine any person 
reasonably suspected of having any communicable disease 
in an infectious form, this is a very different matter from 
granting the same right on a basis of unsubstantiated 
criminal conduct. The mere fact that a person is suspected 
of immorality does not under the law convict her of the 

Nee-Napoleonic Regulation 

offense with which she is charged, but the Board of Health 
bases its right to examine on the fact of immorality, not 
on the accusation of misconduct. It is prostitution itself * 
not the accusation of prostitution, that gives ground for 
the suspicion of the presence of venereal disease. 

For this reason the fact of immorality must be established 
before the Board of Health can assert that the individual 
is reasonably suspected of having a venereal disease, and 
this fact cannot be established without due process of law. 

The proponents of this plan claim, however, that persons 
arrested on charges of immorality are in so large a pro- 
portion of the cases guilty, that the accusation alone is 
sufficient to justify an examination. But they should recall 
that constitutional guarantees are not merely idle per- 
quisites and that justice cannot safely be abrogated under 
the doctrine that might makes right. Any person of sta- 
tion and resources can escape this examination on con- 
stitutional grounds, as in the case of Wragg vs. Griffin or 
Barone vs. Warden, and it has been proven by over a cen- 
tury's experience that the violation of the rights of the 
class of persons called prostitutes is inefficacious in checking 
the spread of venereal disease. 

In the control of all other classes of communicable dis- 
ease, quarantine is administered impartially; all persons, 
rich or poor, male or female, are equally liable to quaran- 
tine and even detention if they are known to have smallpox, 
diphtheria or scarlet fever. No one class is discriminated 
against, but in venereal disease persons who come volun- 
tarily to the clinic and are found to be infectious are not 
detained, whereas if these same persons come to the clinic 
via the police court their detention is supposed to be neces- 
sary. For example, if Mary Smith, who is feeling ill, is 
walking along the street on a given night and happens to 
stop in at a clinic, where she is found to have syphilis in an 
infectious form, she is released after the diagnosis and is 

248 The Laws of Sex 

merely ordered to report regularly for treatment. Even if 
she gives a history of illicit intercourse and is unmarried, she 
is not detained. 

But if the same Mary Smith on the same night had hap- 
pened to be arrested before she reached the clinic and had 
been sent for examination by the court, she would be sum- 
marily detained for treatment until she was no longer in- 

The anomalous nature of a similar case in connection with 
any other class of communicable disease may be readily 

It would clearly be an unwarrantable procedure for the 
Board of Health to pick up people on the street at random 
and examine them for communicable disease. Adequate 
grounds for supposing them to have been exposed to in- 
fection must first be established. While a certain propor- 
tion of those who are accused of immorality are probably 
guilty of misconduct, it cannot be supposed that all are 
guilty, for otherwise a trial by law would not be necessary 
for their conviction, and it is impossible before the evidence 
has been sifted to determine which are the guilty ones. 
Knowingly to override the constitutional rights of any 
group of individuals is indefensible unless such a procedure 
can be shown to be essential to the conservation of the 
racial health. It is on this point that the proponents of the 
police court examination of persons charged with or con- 
victed of immorality take their stand. 

They admit that it is economically impossible to incar- 
cerate at public expense all of the men and women known 
to have a venereal disease in an infectious form, hence those 
who will presumably have the greatest opportunity for dis- 
seminating their infection are selected these are palpably 
the prostitutes. 

The classic case is that of the prostitute who is brought 
in and convicted of prostitution. She is fined $25 and 
costs by the magistrate and is then free to resume her 

Neo-Napoleonic Regulation 249 

trade on the streets. The chances are a hundred to one 
that she harhors venereal disease in an infectious form. 
Is it responsible conduct or sane hygiene, in face of the 
evidence, to permit her to go out without first submitting 
to an examination? A direct and categorical "no" is the 
only reasonable answer to this question. The charges have 
been substantiated, and it is known that from 95 to 100 per 
cent of all prostitutes are venereal. She must of course be 
reported to the Board of Health as a venereal suspect and 
be required to submit to a physical examination. But al- 
ready the first error has been made. The offense of prosti- 
tution is not adequately penalized by a fine; the woman 
should have been committed to a reform or penal institution 
and have been examined there. And what has happened 
to her male copartner? Be it supposed that he, too, was 
fined and was remanded for examination what next? Let 
it be assumed that he also is examined and is found to 
be diseased. Then what? Both copartners are now at 
quits with the state and cannot under the Constitution be 
sentenced again by the court. The only possibility is for 
the Board of Health either to grant one or both ambulatory 
treatment or to detain one or both under quarantine. If 
they are granted ambulatory treatment the probability is 
that despite the warnings of the physician one or both will 
expose others to infection, but the same is the case with 
regard to most of the other immoral men and women who 
come to the clinic for treatment. If the others, who are 
known by the physicians of the Board of Health to have 
acquired their disease through immorality, are permitted 
to come and go, why should these two alone be quarantined? 
Does it make the system any more rational, just to in- 
carcerate these two out of the many hundreds of ambulatory 
cases ? 

But, it will be maintained, this woman is known to be 
a prostitute, she has no other means to a livelihood, the 
others may be of lesser degrees of immorality. Be it so, 

250 The Lanes of Sex 

for the sake of argument, what is to be gained by her in- 
carceration? She will be cured, is the reply, and she will 
be prevented from exposing many men to venereal infection. 
This is the crux of the whole matter. She will be cured, 
of course, but that will not alter her character or give her 
a new means to a livelihood. Unless it is assumed that she 
will be reformed as well as cured during the period of 
quarantine, and will be taught a trade and insured a posi- 
tion upon release, she will still be a prostitute when she 
comes out and will in all likelihood become straightway 
reinfected and again serve as a purveyor of venereal dis- 
ease. Practical experience with the rehabilitation of pros- 
titutes scarcely leads to optimism with regard to their 
abrupt reform, especially under the wretched conditions 
and absolute lack of educational facilities and follow-up 
work in most of the lock hospitals and penal institutions. 
Moreover, if the reformation of the individual prostitute 
constitutes the hygienic object in view, it is just as im- 
portant to reform the healthy as the diseased prostitute, 
for a promiscuous life cannot be followed for any length 
of time without infection, which again indicates the use- 
lessness of discrimination in sentencing prostitutes on the 
grounds of their physical health. On the continent it has 
been found that the most depraved women often show no 
signs of venereal disease; they learn how to conceal the 
symptoms to some extent by douches and the like, and 
even when no disease is present in a woman she can transmit 
the infection if she has shortly before had sexual relations 
with an infectious man. Because a prostitute is not a 
venereal disease carrier today, it cannot be assumed that 
she will not tomorrow harbor the spirochete or the gono- 
coccus if she persists in following her trade. Therefore, it 
is equally idle to permit a woman convicted of prostitution 
to escape with a fine, whether at that moment the presence 
of syphilis or gonorrhoea can or cannot be demonstrated. 
The absence of demonstrable disease in a person convicted 

Neo-Napoleonic Regulation 251 

of prostitution is not so certain a guarantee of moral 
character as to justify the imposition of a fine instead of a 
jail sentence; indeed, it may be assumed that the imposition 
of a fine will merely force her to redouble her energies in 
whipping up trade and exposing herself to infection. Any- 
one who knows the prostitute at first hand realizes that the 
coincidence that she is not diseased today is no proof that 
tomorrow she will be equally harmless. Besides which it is 
an admitted medical fact that it is absolutely impossible to 
make a negative diagnosis of gonorrhoea in a woman at a 
single examination. She may actually have the disease when 
the negative diagnosis is returned to the court, and both 
syphilis and gonorrhoea may be present in the incubation 
stage and not present any demonstrable symptoms until 
some time after she has been released. 

As to the men whom she would have exposed to infection, 
her presence or absence on the street makes no whit of 
difference. In her absence they will accept other prostitutes 
who will, almost beyond question, be equally infectious, as all 
are known to be from 95 to 100 per cent diseased and her 
momentary elimination from the trade will be in vain. All 
of the money and effort that has been spent on her board 
and lodging will be thrown away, for other equally danger- 
ous women will take her place on the street. The incar- 
ceration of the man, however, will not have been so idle 
for his transitory elimination may actually have diminished 
the number of illicit relationships by an infinitesimal amount. 

The illusion that the removal of one diseased and vicious 
woman necessarily protects the men who might have patron- 
ized her is based on the false idea that in her absence these 
same men will not patronize other prostitutes. "One 
venereal woman can expose many men in a single night," 
said Dr. Young, "whereas one man can only expose a few 
women. Surely the woman is the more important focus of 

This is the thought back of the minds of all those who 

252 The Laws of Sex 

believe in the police court examination of prostitutes. It 
explains why in practice the regulations providing for the 
examination of "persons" arrested for or convicted of pros- 
titution operate chiefly against women, and it demonstrates 
clearly the fact that the real object back of this plan is 
the sanitation of vice. But the sanitation of vice is ob- 
viously impossible, for vice predicates promiscuous sexual 
relations between men and women and from 95 to 100 per 
cent of promiscuous women are known to be infectious. The 
percentile infectiousness of the woman on the streets is not 
affected by the incarceration of such women or men as the 
police can actually apprehend. She is as dangerous as 
she was before her sister or her patron was examined or 
detained. The woman who remains behind is the focus of 
infection and she remains as long as vice does. 

The vital reason why the police court examination of 
prostitutes is a subversive factor in the control of venereal 
disease rests precisely on this fact, that the sanitarians 
assume an unreality when they state that the removal of 
one diseased woman from the trade protects the men who 
might have been exposed by her. Unless they remove all 
of the women, or at least a sufficiently large number of them 
to reduce the sum total of illicit relationships, the re- 
moval of one or a dozen women has no hygienic value what- 
soever. As long as a sufficient number of prostitutes' are 
on the streets to satisfy the demand, the police court ex- 
amination of prostitutes will be of no avail. 

But, it will be claimed, each woman acts as a center of 
pollution, she whips up trade and encourages vice, surely 
if she is removed there will be fewer illicit relationships. 
This argument again is based on an illusion, namely, that 
the demand for prostitution arises from women, not from 
men. If the lock hospital treatment of prostitutes resulted 
in diminishing the volume of prostitution, certainly the out- 
come would be of hygienic value, but it operates precisely 
in the reverse direction, first, through encouraging illicit 

Neo-Napoleomc Regulation 253 

relations, by giving the patrons of prostitutes a false 
sense of security, since they are led to believe that the in- 
fectious women are removed from the trade; second, by 
encouraging the courts merely to fine persons convicted 
of prostitution, since they believe erroneously that they can 
rely upon an examination to eliminate the venereal disease 
carriers, and feel therefore no obligation to impose jail sen- 
tences for the protection of the public health, and third, by 
leading the public to suppose that the sanitation of vice can 
be achieved through measures that have been proven worth- 
less, thereby paralyzing the demand for the vigorous re- 
pression of promiscuous intercourse. 

Moreover, the total number of prostitutes is increased 
rather than diminished by the lock hospital method, for 
while the diseased prostitutes are removed, the demand for 
prostitution remaining at the same point, new girls will 
of necessity be brought in to augment the trade, and when 
the diseased women are released, cured, competition will be 
more active than it was before. "But," some medical man 
will say, "that mother's son who came into my office this 
morning, just 19 years old and infected with syphilis. He 
had been a clean lad but he was accosted by a vicious woman 
and she infected him. If she had been in jail instead of on 
the streets that boy would be well today." 

Yes, unless some other prostitute had accosted him and 
had found him equally accessible, for the doctor can hardly 
imagine that there was only one diseased prostitute solicit- 
ing on the street on the fatal night. Moreover, the mere 
fact that he fell indicates that his chastity was not unas- 
sailable, and even if all of the other hundreds of prostitutes 
had been busy on that night and had therefore let him 
alone, consider the situation six months later after the 
quarantine of the diseased woman has expired. It is not 
to be supposed that the removal of one or a few women 
will appreciably alter the demand for prostitution con- 
stantly arising from men. During her months in jail the 

254 The Laws of Sex 

demand will remain at the same point and her potential 
patrons will look elsewhere for the satisfaction of their lust. 
Since she could presumably have made a living in prostitu- 
tion, according to the law of supply and demand, some 
other girl will be drafted into the trade during her ab- 
sence. Thus upon her release two prostitutes will stand 
where there was but one before. Moreover, it will be only 
a question of days before the cured woman is reinfected. 
When this is accomplished and the "mother's son" goes 
walking again, he will face a double danger, two women will 
be in pursuit instead of one, the temptation will be twice as 
great as it was before. Moreover, if he now falls there 
will be an extra woman waiting to infect some other 
"mother's son." 

Thus it is seen, first, that the hygienic value of the ex- 
amination of persons arrested for or convicted of prostitu- 
tion and the detention of those found to be diseased is 
purely illusory since it looks to the sanitation of vice for 
success ; second, that it tends to increase the total number 
of prostitutes and the total volume of solicitation, and 
third, that it acts to paralyze repression and to increase 
the number of illicit relationships which is but another term 
for the number of dangerous venereal contacts. 

In addition it necessarily violates the constitutional rights 
of a certain group of individuals and tends to encourage 
the courts to unconstitutional procedures. Although the 
regulations technically apply only to persons arrested for 
or convicted of charges of immorality, in actual practice 
persons who are merely charged with vagrancy or disor- 
derly conduct are also forced to undergo examination. They 
are committed to jail or other institutions under statutes 
which provide for no detention at all, and the offense of 
prostitution is penalized not on the grounds of the offense 
itself but instead in accordance with the condition of the 
defendant's health. 

Meanwhile the public health officers and the members of 

Neo-Napoleonic Regulation 255 

the medical profession are provided with a plausible but 
worthless excuse for refusing to support a rational plan 
of quarantine for the control of venereal disease. The pub- 
lic is hoodwinked, marriage is unprotected and the effete plan 
of hounding prostitutes still goes on. 

The proper plan would be to substitute jail sentences for 
fines in the case of all persons convicted of prostitution, 
male and female, and then to examine and treat these per- 
sons under the institutional routine. Such a procedure would 
tend to reduce the total number of contacts by undercut- 
ting the demand and making prostitution unprofitable, by 
eliminating the false sense of security which any organized 
effort on the part of the state toward the sanitation of 
vice implies, and by forcing the courts to recognize the 
racial menace involved in all sexual promiscuity. 

Prostitution should be penalized among both men and 
women as constituting a defiance of hygiene in itself and 
the detention of infected persons under quarantine should 
be impartially administered on purely hygienic grounds. It 
is clear that if a public clinic summarily jailed all patients, 
male and female, giving a history of immorality and show- 
ing symptoms of venereal disease, few patients would volun- 
tarily report there for treatment. In Norway and Sweden 
regulation was abandoned for this reason, as women dared 
not report at the clinics for treatment, fearing incarcera- 
tion. This may also explain why there are so few female 
patients in America at the public venereal clinics, now that 
the disease is made a pretext for commitment. 

If, as the Board of Health regulations specifically state, 
ambulatory treatment is permitted unless the patient breaks 
the rules, no person should be detained until he or she has 
first had an opportunity to prove good faith. To detain 
certain persons before they have had a chance to live up to 
the regulations merely because they have a court record is 
unjust and unhygienic and leads to striking anomalies in 

256 The Laws of Sex 

The following case which was recently reported points the 

X, a man of 28 years, unmarried, of excellent family, 
was under treatment for gonorrhoea. He was a resident 
of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. One night at a dance hall 
he met a young girl with whom he commenced a violent flirta- 
tion. He took her out in his automobile repeatedly and 
finally persuaded her to have sex relations with him. She 
was a domestic servant and her mistress, becoming suspi- 
cious at the late hours she kept, reported her to the Board 
of Health for examination. The girl was arrested, was 
found to be suffering with gonorrhoea and was immediately 
committed to a penal institution under "quarantine." She 
gave the name of the man, X, who had infected her and 
he was also arrested, examined, found to be diseased and sent 
to the same institution. But, being a person of wealth and 
position, he consulted a lawyer and a writ of habeas corpus 
was issued. When the case was heard the lawyer brought 
out the fact that X had been previously under treatment, 
and produced evidence to show that he had reported regu- 
larly to his physician, therefore complying entirely with the 
Board of Health regulations. On this ground X was re- 
leased but the girl he infected is still in prison. 

Cases of this sort indicate the discriminatory nature of 
the procedure which flows from a confusion between the 
provinces of the courts and the Board of Health. 

The futility of the police court examination of prostitutes 
is already coming to be recognized by many of those who en- 
thusiastically supported the measure during the war. Even 
at that time the inefficacy of the method was subtly real- 
ized by its proponents, for in the military zones dissolute 
women were all outlawed regardless of the condition of their 
health. If found in the neighborhood of military camps 
or naval stations women of questionable purpose were im- 
mediately put on trains and were summarily ordered to leave 
or were sent to reformatories. No effort was made to dif- 

Neo-Napoleonic Regulation 257 

ferentiate among them on the basis of their temporary physi- 
cal condition. All prostitutes were rightfully regarded as 
a menace to the health of the soldiers, whether precisely at 
that moment they chanced to harbor the spirochete and 
the gonococcus or not. In the zones all prostitutes were 
equally denied the right to practice their profession. Pro- 
miscuity itself was regarded as a danger and the examina- 
tion of public women was recognized at its true worth as 
being valueless. 

In the big cities, however, the problem was more complex ; 
it was difficult to secure evidence against a prostitute suf- 
ficient to convict and the thorough and high-handed methods 
in vogue in the military zones were not practicable in New 
York, Baltimore, New Orleans, etc. The fact was patent 
that thousands of soldiers would have sexual intercourse with 
dissolute women in the large towns and that one diseased 
woman could infect many soldiers. It was a desperate situa- 
tion sufficient to short-circuit reason or justice. The plausi- 
ble but illusory benefits of regulation were very appealing, 
and it is no wonder that those who had not studied the 
problem were led into the path of proven error. The pres- 
ent Board of Health regulations providing for the examina- 
tion of persons arrested for or convicted of prostitution 
and the detention of those found to be diseased were writ- 
ten down admittedly for the protection of the health of 
the soldiers. Since it is clear that continence would serve 
as an adequate protection against infection, even in the 
presence of diseased women, it may be inferred that the 
detention . of diseased "persons" was ordered for the pro- 
tection of the soldiers* health on the assumption that these 
men would indulge in immorality if an opportunity offered. 
In other words, the measure was originally advanced with 
the point in view of minimizing the physical dangers of vice 
for men or to secure the same benefits supposed to inhere 
in regulation. The use of the word "person" instead of 
"woman" has served to obscure the true intent of the meas- 

258 The Laws of Sex 

ure, but has not materially affected the actual operation 
of the provision. Many of those who were at first deceived 
by the phraseology now realize that these measures repre- 
sent merely a reversion to old-fashioned regulation. It may 
safely be predicted that a few more years of experience 
with the police court examination of persons arrested for 
or convicted of prostitution and the detention of those found 
to be diseased will witness a strong and effective reaction 
against these unconstitutional, unjust and subversive regu- 



In addition to the police court regulation of prostitution 
through the examination of persons arrested for or con- 
victed of prostitution and the detention of those found to 
be diseased, many members of the medical profession have 
since the recent war advocated the use of venereal prophy- 
laxis as a necessary step toward the sanitation of -vice. 

Before the war these measures were more or less secretly 
prescribed by certain physicians in the case of their male 
patients who refused to observe chastity as a preventive 
of venereal disease, but no outspoken demand was phrased 
for their general introduction into civil life, for it was 
feared that public resentment would be too intense. 

At the inception of the war, when the military menace of 
syphilis and gonorrhoea was clearly recognized, the medical 
profession turned as one man to medical prophylaxis as a 
means of preventing venereal infection. Recent experience 
on the borders of Mexico, as well as elsewhere, had invali- 
dated the hope of the control of these diseases through the 
governmental supervision of prostitution. Moreover, it was 
feared that the public would not support the open tolera- 
tion of prostitution in the vicinity of army encampments. 
At an early meeting of those interested in the control of 
venereal disease in the army it was suggested that the most 
effective way to meet the problem would be for the gov- 
ernment to supply public women to the soldiers under a 
painstaking system of examination and control, as had been 
done during the recent war with Mexico when the U. S. 


260 The Laws of Sex 

Government built stockades for the housing of prostitutes 
and actually shipped women in. 

Mr. Abraham Flexner who was present at the meeting 
declared: "There is no use discussing the merits of regu- 
lation. The public will not tolerate the open recognition 
of prostitution." 

In the end his opinion prevailed, and medical men trans- 
ferred their aspirations to prophylaxis, hoping by this means 
to minimize the danger of venereal contacts. 

From the outset the station method of prophylaxis was 
preferred to the packet and General Orders were promptly 
issued by the War and Navy Departments requiring all sol- 
diers and sailors who had indulged in illicit sexual inter- 
course to report promptly to a prophylactic station for 
early treatment. 

Even Secretary of the Navy Daniels, who before the war 
had been opposed to the issuance of prophylactic packets, 
capitulated to the plan for "early treatment." 

In 1915 Secretary of the Navy Daniels wrote to all com- 
manding officers as follows: 

"The spectacle of an officer or hospital steward calling 
up boys in their teens as they are going on leave and hand- 
ing them these 'preventive packets' is abhorrent to me. It 
is equivalent to the government advising these boys that 
it is right for them to indulge in an evil which perverts their 
morals. I would not permit a youth in whom I was inter- 
ested to enlist in a service that would thus give virtual 
approval to disobeying the teachings of his parents and the 
dictates of the highest moral code. You may say that 
the ideal raised is too high, and we need not expect young 
men to live up to the ideal of continence. If so, I cannot 
agree. It is a duty we cannot shirk to point to the true 
ideal to chastity, to the single standard of morals for 
men and women." 

This was before America's entrance into the great war, 
before the compelling power of necessity had forced upon 

Venereal Prophylaxis 261 

military and medical men alike a true realization of the 
practical cost to the nation of venereal disease. 

On May 5, 1918, carried by the tide of public opinion 
toward prophylaxis, he reversed his position and wrote: 

"Every man in the Navy is given opportunity to present 
himself to a medical officer for early treatment and such 
measures of preventive medicine as may still be possible if 
he has wilfully indulged in sin against the admonitions of 
his medical advisers and in spite of the splendid endeavors 
of the representatives of the Commission on Training Camp 

Many other men who had previously been opposed to pro- 
phylaxis, such as Col. William F. Snow, General Direc- 
tor of the A. S. H. A., and Dr. Edward L. Keyes, Jr., 
abandoned their former stand and came out publicly in fa- 
vor of medical prophylaxis for the Army and Navy. 

They and other members of the Commission on Training 
Camp Activities constantly averred that prophylaxis was 
desirable only for the duration of the war, and that the 
prophylactic station would be most subversive if introduced 
into civil life. Finally, the confusing synonym "early treat- 
ment" became current and the opposition appeared com- 
pletely to give way. In those earlier days it was predicted 
that if prophylaxis were introduced into the Army on a 
grand scale, simply for the duration of the war, it would 
be well nigh impossible upon the conclusion of the war 
to prevent its introduction into civilian communities. The 
soldiers would be returning to their home towns, they would 
be trained to a dependence upon prophylaxis, they would 
be convinced that prophylaxis was the surest, the safest, 
in fact, the only method of controlling venereal disease. 
They would demand prophylaxis as a measure essential to 
their health, and even the men who had not availed themselves 
of it would scarcely question its ethical soundness, since 
it had first been brought to their attention through gov- 
ernment agencies. Medical men, too, would have come to 

262 The Laws of Sex 

appreciate the practical feasibility of this procedure, and 
their apprehension with regard to public resentment would 
have been stilled. 

That this prediction has been realized is sufficiently indi- 
cated by the fact that the United States Public Health 
Service now actively advocates the direction of public funds 
toward the institution of prophylaxis for the use of civi- 
lians. In June, 1918, the Congress of the United States 
passed the Army Appropriations Act, which provided for 
the allotment to State Boards of Health of $1,000,000 each 
year for two years, beginning July 1, 1918, for the fight 
against venereal disease. For the second of these two years 
the payment of the states' allotment was contingent upon 
the appropriation of an equal amount by the state for 
the prevention of venereal disease. The Public Health Serv- 
ice, through its Division of Venereal Diseases, detailed to 
the various State Boards of Health an officer of the Public 
Health Service in uniform, who in most cases was in charge 
of the Bureau of Venereal Disease in the State Board of 
Health. His work was directed jointly by the Public Health 
Service and the State Board of Health. One of his princi- 
pal duties was to organize and establish venereal disease 
clinics where prophylaxis was given. 

Under the title "Instructions to Medical Officers in Charge 
of State Control of Venereal Disease,*' Miscellaneous Pub- 
lication Number 19, of the Treasury Department, the United 
States Public Health Service states on page five: 


Venereal disease clinics will be organized under the direct 
supervision of the medical officer, acting as the representa- 
tive of the State Board of Health, who will forward to the 
Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Serv- 
ice evidence in writing that each clinic has been thus organ- 
ized, together with the date when its supervision was taken 
over by the State Health Department. These clinics should 

Venereal Prophylascis 263 

have a very close relation to the county health officer and 
the local medical profession, and to the community in gen- 

The standards for venereal disease clinics are to be deter- 
mined jointly by the State health officer and the medical 
officer of the Public Health Service. It is requested, how- 
ever, that these standards shall conform as closely as possi- 
ble to the requirements here given. 

On page 11 under paragraph 10, the requirement with re- 
gard to prophylaxis is given: 

10. Administration of early or prophylactic treatment. 
Every extra-marital intercourse is to be regarded as an 
exposure to venereal infection, and the so-called prophylac- 
tic treatment is really early treatment given without wait- 
ing for definite diagnosis. 

Such treatment is very efficacious in preventing the devel- 
opment of venereal infections if given within the first hour 
after exposure. Its value rapidly diminishes from then on, 
and when four hours have elapsed since the exposure it is 
of very little usefulness. It should, however, with this under- 
standing, be given up to at least ten hours after exposure. 

The following footnote is appended: 

It is not designed to establish prophylactic or early t,r,eat- 
ment stations primarily as such, but all clinics should be 
prepared to intelligently administer this treatment to volun- 
tary applicants who give a history of exposure within a 
few hours immediately preceding their application. 

The experience of the past two years has conclusively 
shown that civilians will not in any significant proportion 
report to the Board of Health clinics for station prophy- 
laxis. In a venereal clinic conducted by the State Board 
of Health in Baltimore, Md., at the Mercy Hospital, it was 

264 The Lews of Sex 

reported that only one man had applied for disinfection 
within a period of about six months after the clinic was 
opened. Yet Dr. George Walker, of Baltimore, Colonel of 
the Medical Corps, U. S. Army, now publicly advocates 
the institution at public expense of prophylactic stations in 
hotels, public buildings, railway stations, apartment houses, 
men's colleges and boys' schools. Apparently he does not 
realize that public disapproval of immorality is so intense 
that the occupant of an apartment house or a pupil at a 
boys' school would scarcely find courage to enter a prophy- 
lactic station attached to his own domain. 

Moreover, the cost of maintaining an adequate number of 
prophylactic stations would be so exorbitant as immediately 
to alienate the interest of even the male taxpayers. The 
stations would have to be conveniently located, for it is 
recognized that delay invalidates prophylaxis; they would 
have to be open day and night and presumably be operateS 
for the benefit of both men and women. 

The prohibitive expense of such a venture and its obvi- 
ous impracticability in country districts and in small gos- 
sipy towns, has already brought many men who theoretically 
prefer the station method to compromise on the packet. 

Large numbers of reputable genito-urinary men have prac- 
tically transformed their offices into correspondence schools 
on the subject of "early treatment." They use the United 
States mails to disseminate pounds upon pounds of educa- 
tional literature dealing with prophylaxis and they receive 
compensation for their solicitude in the form of a huge mail 
order business in their especial kind of prophylactic packet. 

The danger of this sort of campaign is twofold : First, it 
gives ground for the secret self-treatment of syphilis and 
gonorrhoea, for the ordinary layman does not discriminate 
between the disease in its early and late stages and fre- 
quently uses the prophylactics to treat his developed dis- 
ease, and, second, all prophylactic packets are not equally 

Venereal Prophylaxis 265 

efficacious and the financial returns on the less reliable ones 
are greater than on those which are more elaborate. 

For example, a prophylactic packet put out in Pennsyl- 
vania and labelled, "Issued by the Pennsylvania State Board 
of Health," was recently declared by Dr. George Walker 
to be "worthless," as it contained no medicament for disin- 
fection against gonorrhoea. Yet the average man presuma- 
bly places confidence in a packet endorsed by the State Board 
of Health. 

The encouragement by physicians or public health offi- 
cials of the secret self-treatment of syphilis and gonorrhoea 
is obviously fraught with serious danger, especially so far 
as wedlock is concerned, yet while the remunerative mail 
order business is permitted it is obviously impossible either 
for the state to guarantee the efficacy of the packets sent 
out or their proper use by their ignorant recipients. 

When the care that is recommended by the Public Health 
Service in the administration of prophylaxis is considered, 
it is clear that the average uninformed layman is incompe- 
tent to attend to its administration, even to himself. 

In Instructions to Medical Officers in Charge of State 
Control of Venereal Disease (Misc. Pub. No. 19, pages 11 
and 12), the United States Public Health Service directs: 

"Cases applying after ten hours following exposure should 
be instructed to bathe thoroughly with soap and water and 
in the case of females also to take a douche. All persons 
giving a history of exposure should report at the clinic 
every other day for ten days and after that weekly for two 
months, in order that any infection may be detected at 
the earliest moment and they should be instructed them- 
selves to watch for suspicious symptoms. It should always 
be remembered that complete control of the patient is nec- 
essary in order to obtain satisfactory results from early 
or prophylactic treatment." 

266 The Laws of Sea: 


"Have patient empty the bladder. 

"Wash the genitals and adjacent parts with soap and 
water, followed by a 1-2000 bichloride solution. Dry the 
parts thoroughly. 

"Inject a 2 per cent protargol solution or a 10 per 
cent argyrol solution, freshly made, into the urethra, enough 
to distend it moderately, and see that the patient holds 
the solution for five minutes before expelling it. 

"Anoint the whole of the penis and scrotum with 33 per 
cent calomel ointment, rubbing in thoroughly and using 
special care about the folds of the frenum, foreskin and 
scrotum and taking at least ten minutes to the operation. 
Cover in oiled silk or wax paper, and allow to remain for 
several hours before washing the parts. Since the water 
content of the base renders the calomel more active, it is 
important that the ointment be made with lanolin instead 
of the fats usually employed for salves. Care should be 
exercised that the lanolin is not anhydrus." 

The directions for the early treatment of females are 
even more elaborate and are prefaced by the following state- 
ment, which indicates that in spite of the contention by 
the Public Health Service that it purposes giving treatment 
impartially regardless of sex, a mental reservation is still 


"In cases of rape, and some others, there may be occa- 
sion for applying early treatment to females." 

It would be interesting to know precisely what "others" 
the Public Health Service refers to, as no similar ambiguity 
exists in connection with the early treatment of all males. 

In considering the utility of prophylaxis as a preventive 
of venereal disease, the discussion may very justly fall under 
two heads, first the practical medical efficiency of the meas- 
ure, and, second, the moral effect of the essential propa- 

Venereal Prophylaxis 267 

ganda. For, as Major Leonard Darwin, one of the lead- 
ing exponents of prophylaxis in England, has said : "If the 
early treatment of these diseases is right, it follows that it 
cannot be wrong, not only to make known this fact, but 
also to indicate where this early treatment can be obtained. 
To create hospital facilities which no one knows about, or 
which are believed to be unnecessary, would be obviously 
foolish." 1 Moreover, the information would have to be dis- 
seminated among boys and very young men, for it is recog- 
nized that the vast majority of initial infections occur among 
youths between the years of eighteen and twenty-five. 

The experience of the war, drawn from enormous num- 
bers of prophylactic treatments given, would seem to indi- 
cate, first, that the efficiency of prophylaxis bears a direct 
ratio to the promptitude with which it is administered; 
second, that even under ideal conditions it is by no means 
infallible, and third, that the men who expose themselves 
to venereal infection cannot be relied upon, even after care- 
ful instruction, invariably to report for treatment. In 
addition it has been found that a considerable number of the 
infections are extra-genital, the primary lesions appearing 
at the base of the penis or about the mouth in regions that 
are not reached by the process of disinfection. Some physi- 
cians estimate that extra-genital infections constitute about 
8 per cent of the cases resultant from voluntary venereal 
contacts. It is to be remembered that the army program 
included not only prophylaxis, but, under the leadership 
of the Surgeon General and Lieutenant Colonel W. F. Snow, 
the emphasis was laid on education and law enforcement 
for the purpose of reducing infection by diminishing illicit 
sexual contact. The success of the methods of prevention 
other than prophylaxis seems, according to Major W. A. 
Sawyer, to be clearly shown in the numerous instances in 
which the rate of venereal infection fell while the number of 

*The Campaign against Venereal Disease in Its Ethical Aspect. 
Leonard Darwin, Social Hygiene, Oct., 1918. 

268 The Laws of Sex 

prophylactic treatments also went down. There is a great 
difference of opinion with regard to the percentile efficiency 
of prophylaxis in aborting cases of venereal disease, some 
men stating that it is efficacious in fifty per cent of the cases 
if given within two hours after exposure while others claim a 
much higher ratio of success. Even the statistics gathered 
seem to pont with absolute conclusiveness to but one thing, 
namely, that even under military conditions, when a system 
of prophylaxis can be enforced by penalization, by education 
and by rigorous army regulations, the venereal diseases still 
present the greatest single menace to military efficiency that 

Those who advocate the introduction of the prophylactic 
station into civil life base their demand upon what they be- 
lieve to be the proven efficiency of prophylaxis. They 
recall the experiments of Metschnikoff and thev believe, as 
did the regulationists in their day, that sufficient statis- 
tics are at hand to demonstrate that the venereal rate is 
materially improved as a result of this measure. Statis- 
tics, however, form a precarious basis upon which to predi- 
cate results, for many unknown factors may intervene to 
alter their significance and the conclusions drawn therefrom 
may in no wise coincide with the facts. For example, ac- 
cording to the estimate of the Surgeon General of the Army 
five-sixths of the venereal disease in the army was 
brought in at the time of mobilization ; that is, five sol- 
diers brought their disease into the army from civil life, 
whereas only one soldier contracted his disease after en- 
listment. From these figures it is precipitately inferred that 
venereal disease is five times more prevalent in civil than 
in army life, and the conclusion is drawn that prophylaxis 
must be miraculously efficient. Now, in point of actual 
fact, these figures are susceptible of no such deduction, for 
the high proportion of cases originating in civil life may 
be due in large measure to the longer time period during 

Venereal Prophylaxis 269 

which exposure to disease was possible. Moreover, prohi- 
bition and the closure of the red light districts in the vicin- 
ity of army encampments doubtless contributed materially 
to lessen the venereal rate, for it is well known that venereal 
disease bears a direct ratio to alcohol and the availability 
of prostitution. 

In an interesting series of cases reported by Medical 
Inspector Charles E. Riggs, United States Navy, he found 
that following the removal of segregated prostitution in 
Norfolk, Virginia, the percentage of infection among the men 
in the service dropped through five successive periods of 
five months each from a yearly rate of 101 per 1000, to 
48.9 per 1000. 2 Since medical prophylaxis had been in use 
for some time prior to the period covered in these statis- 
tics and therefore constituted a constant factor, it would 
scarcely be possible to attribute the improved rate to pro- 

Another condition that is also frequently overlooked in 
considering the army statistics, is that many of the girls who 
were used by the men in the service did not belong to the 
ordinary prostitute class. Caught by the lure of the uni- 
form and stimulated by the war spirit, large numbers of 
very young girls made their initial sexual mistake at the 
behest of some soldier. To classify intercourse with these 
previously chaste children as exposure to venereal disease 
may involve serious error. One point that it is of prime 
importance to ascertain before any positive statement can 
be made with regard to the percentile efficacy of prophy- 
laxis is the actual infectiousness of the girls implicated 
in the illicit intercourse. This factor is one of the un- 
knowns that makes reliance upon the army statistics of 
such doubtful surety. 

Even the average rate of infection of men following illicit 

*A Study of Venereal Prophylaxis in the Navy. Charles E. Riggs, 
Social Hygiene, July, 1917. 

270 The Laws of Sex 

intercourse unassociated with prophylaxis remains to be de- 
termined, for some men boast that they have had a hundred 
girls without prophylaxis, and have come through un- 
scathed, while many men have contracted venereal disease 
on their first exposure. The susceptibility of different men 
to venereal disease may, for all that is known to the contrary, 
vary greatly, and yet this factor is left altogether out of 
account in the statistics regarding prophylaxis. 

According to army terminology, every illicit intercourse 
constitutes exposure to venereal disease, and the statistics 
are interpreted on this basis. If, out of 100 prophylactic 
treatments, only 1 or 2 per cent are followed by infection, 
it is left to be assumed that the other 98 or 99 per cent 
achieved immunity as a result of prophylaxis. That such 
a deduction is utterly untenable clinical experience suffi- 
ciently indicates, and yet it is upon baseless evidence of 
this sort that the assertion is made that prophylaxis is 
"practically infallible." The stress that is laid upon the 
necessity for prompt administration leads to the inference 
that it is a practically certain preventive, and yet multi- 
tudes of cases are on record where venereal disease has de- 
veloped following even the prompt administration of prophy- 
laxis. Thus Bishop Lawrence states: "If given within a 
certain time after possible infection, prophylaxis is a prac- 
tically sure preventive," and he draws the conclusion that 
"prophylaxis does more to cut down the number of in- 
fected men than any one cause." 

That this lay optimism is not universally shared by medi- 
cal men who have had long experience with prophylaxis is 
well evidenced in an article prepared by Dr. R. C. Hoi- 
comb, Medical Commander, United States Navy, and pub- 
lished in Social Hygiene. Dr. Holcomb's report covers a 
long series of years in the United States Navy, from 1880 to 
1916, and especial attention is given to the years from 1909 
onwards, during which prophylaxis was in force. The report 

Venereal Prophylaxit 271 

Let us first examine the rate for gonorrhoea. In 1918, 
the rate was 10.7 per 10,000, and for the preceding seven 
years the highest rate was 12.3. When prophylaxis went 
into effect in 1909, the rate increased to 16.6, and has not 
been lower than 15.05 per 10,000 since that time. Gonor- 
rhoea cannot, therefore, be said to show improvement. 

Let us now glance at the table for chancroid. The rate 
in 1908 was 3.3 per 10,000. In 1909 (when prophylaxis 
went into effect) the rate increased to 4.6. The rate here 
does not, on the whole, show much beneficial influence as 
a result of prophylaxis. In fact the ratios for the four 
years preceding 1909 are lower than for any year since. 

We may now see what has happened so far as syphilis 
is concerned. In 1909 the damage rate increased from 
30.0 per 10,000 to 38.7 per 10,000; the rate since then 
compares very favorably with preceding years. In 1914, it 
dropped to 24.4 per 10,000, a rate only bettered by the 
record of the year 1893, when it was 23.6 per 10,000. How 
much the drop in damage since 1911 has been influenced 
by improved methods of diagnosis and treatment, I can- 
not show by statistics, but in this year the general use 
of Salvarsan came into vogue, and in my opinion this fact 
is a large factor in accounting for the improvement in 
the damage rate of syphilis. 

The figures for syphilis for the years immediately preced- 
ing and following the institution of prophylaxis are : 1907, 
damage per 10,000, 30.3; 1908, 30.0; 1909 in which year 
prophylaxis went into effect 38.7; 1910, 32.5; 1911, 36.7; 
1912, 31.1; 1913, 31.6; 1914, 24.4; 1915, 31.6; 
1917, 31.5. 

In the course of his paper, Medical Commander Holcomb 
says further (referring to still other tables) : 

These rates might lead us to conclude that a method of 
prophylaxis depending upon the efficiency of antiseptic 

272 The Laws of Sex 

drugs alone was a most dangerous and reprehensible sort 
of a propaganda, and we might be inclined to interpret these 
rates as indicating an alarming degree of license. It would 
suggest that men were depending for safety after exposure 
upon the protecting and shielding power of a drug which 
had failed their expectations. Doubtless the prophylactic 
measure did breed a sense of security. Anyone who kept 
in touch with his crew could not fail to note this, but the 
increase in the rate was not all due to this cause. 

In another part of his paper, Medical Commander Hoi- 
comb says: 

Now comes the question whether the government should 
take the part of the apparent panderer and offer this or 
any other treatment or device as a protection from the 
results of venery. Coming from an administrative office, 
I have met the mother, whose trembling voice told me her 
son came to the Navy an innocent boy, and the disease for 
which he was invalidated and cast off was contracted be- 
cause he believed from instruction received, that if he only 
used the prophylactic he might incur the risk with im- 
punity. Having met this mother, I can see more phases 
of the question. Again, I recall the lad who experimented 
with the prophylactic packet claimed to be so safe that it 
is "practically infallible," and when he was discharged for 
disease not in line of duty, his father and a lawyer claimed 
that he was a victim of science; that he had exposed him- 
self and used the prophylactic for the advancement of 
science. To drive the question home, I ask, would you who 
huve sons, want someone to put such a packet in their hands 
and suggest thereby that they expose themselves to a prosti- 
tute unnecessary to their physical or moral well-being? I 
leave each person to answer the question for himself, accord- 
ing to his sense of morality. 

Venereal Prophylaxis 873 

If, as Medical Commander Holcomb claims, prophylaxis 
causes an increase in illicit intercourse, it is at least pos- 
sible that the increased exposure leads to an increase in 
infection despite the efficacy of prophylaxis in dealing with 
the individual case. The situation is analagous to that 
which obtained under regulation, and is open to the same 
objection. In "Prostitution in Europe," Mr. Abraham 
Flexner said: "To whatever extent regulation tends to 
increase irregular commerce by diminishing individual and 
social resistance, to that extent it tends to increase the 
amount of venereal disease. Therefore, even if regulation 
should be found to be more or less effective, its sanitary 
achievement has to be offset against the increased amount 
of congress to which it indubitably conduces ; one has to 
ask whether more congress with regulation is not likely 
to result in more disease than would result in less congress 
without any regulation at all." 

The singular disparity that exists in the statistics on 
medical prophylaxis compiled during the war is indicated 
in the difference of opinion between Dr. P. M. Ashburn, 
Colonel, Medical Corps, U. S. Army, who was with the 
A. E. F. overseas, and Dr. George Walker, who was a mem- 
ber of his staff. Both Dr. Ashburn and Dr. Walker studied 
the operation of prophylaxis at first hand from practically 
the same kind of clinical material, and each derived an 
opposite opinion. Dr. Ashburn holds prophylaxis to be a 
subversive factor in the control of venereal disease on moral 
grounds and is definitely opposed to its introduction into 
civil life, while Dr. Walker claims it to be almost infallible 
and bases his hope for the eradication of venereal disease 
upon its general use by both men and women. 

Dr. Walker's figures show 242,000 prophylactic treat- 
ments for the entire American Expeditionary Force with only 
1.3 per cent failures. 

Dr. Ashburn's figures, on the contrary, lead him to the 

74 The Laws of Sex 

conclusion that "venereal prophylaxis or 'early treatment* 
after an impure sexual connection reduces the liability to 
venereal infection to one-third of what it would be without 
it, and that in France, where practically all exposures on 
the part of our troops could fairly be considered impure 
and potentially infectious, there resulted one infection to 
thirty exposures without the use of prophylaxis, and one 
infection to ninety exposures followed by its use." 

Early in September, 1919, through the efforts of Dr. 
Ashburn, a questionnaire accompanied by the following 
statement for the Surgeon General of the Army was sub- 
mitted to each patient in whom a new case of venereal disease 
was detected: 

"The soldier will be informed that this information is de- 
sired for use in the control of venereal disease, that it will 
be held confidentially, and not used to his detriment; that 
he is under no compulsion to furnish it, but that information 
will be appreciated. He will be asked to tell the truth or 
to refuse to answer, but to avoid making misleading state- 
ments. A report of this sort will be sent in on each new 
case of venereal disease detected, but if the soldier refuses 
to furnish any of the information asked for, that fact will 
be stated." 

According to an article by Dr. Ashburn which appeared 
on May 8, 1920, in the Journal of the American Medical 
Association: "By Feb. 26, 1920, 5000 case reports had 
been received and compiled: 4755 men answered the ques- 
tion as to whether or not their infections followed the use 
of prophylaxis, of which number 2359 men said theirs did. 

"Among these 5000 infected men the average number of 
sexual contacts followed by prophylaxis was for the pre- 
ceding year, 15.3 for each infection following its use, while 
the average number of contacts without prophylaxis was, 
during the same period, 11.6 for each infection following its 

General Order No. 17 of 1912 provided for the court-mar- 

Venereal Prophylaxis 275 

tial of soldiers who failed to report for prophylactic treat- 
ment after illicit intercourse and who later developed a 
venereal disease, yet there occurs no observable diminution 
in the venereal rate following the year 1912; in fact the 
rate for syphilis actually increases. 

Most of the supporters of prophylaxis grant that the 
institution of this measure leads to an increase in irregu- 
lar sexual commerce, but so they claim does the actual 
treatment of venereal disease. In a paper which appeared in 
Social Hygiene, Major Leonard Darwin says: "No doubt 
by affording facilities for such preventive treatment we 
should seem openly to recognize promiscuous intercourse and 
open recognition is apt to be accompanied by a slackening 
in the efforts to prevent immorality. But in my opinion, 
this harmful influence, though it has to be recognized, must 
be faced in view of the immense mass of misery from which 
both the guilty and the innocent might be saved by the 
early preventive treatment of those possibly infected." 

At first thought, this reasoning seems plausible enough. 
The choice presented is between two evils, and the acceptance 
of the lesser evil is but in line with common sense. How- 
ever, when one considers in human tokens what increased 
immorality really means, it becomes scarcely credible that 
men of sound ethics and understanding can agree to pay 
this price even for so humane a purpose as to cut down 
the incidence of venereal disease. Increased immorality, 
which Major Darwin states must be so plainly faced, predi- 
cates the addition of new recruits to the ranks of prosti- 
tution, for since men cannot have sexual intercourse alone, 
an activated demand on the part of men for copartners in 
vice necessitates a corresponding increase in the supply. 
In other words, the dimunition in the venereal rate is to 
be paid for in the degradation of girls who would other- 
wise, according to Major Darwin's own assumption, be 
spared from a life of sexual perversion. This, in an era of 
civilization, is an astonishing price to offer for any human 

276 The Laws of Sex 

benefit, and it is to be doubted if so complete an abroga- 
tion of the ordinary principles of human decency can re- 
sult in anything but a fictitious improvement. In point of 
fact, each new girl who is brought in will in turn become 
an additional center of infection. 

With prophylaxis, as in the case of regulation, this will- 
ingness to accept immorality on the part of men as an 
unavoidable increment in the program, gives rise to the ques- 
tion as to what may be the ultimate objective in the cam- 
paign. If, as so many supporters of prophylaxis state, a 
single standard of morality for the two sexes is the object 
sought, it seems obviously incompatible with wisdom to 
institute temporazing methods for the control of venereal 
disease when these methods are known to be antagonistic 
to the primary purpose in view. Surgeon General Gorgas 
said in an address before the American Public Health Asso- 
ciation: "If the sexual morals of our male population 
were on the same plane as the sexual morals of our female 
population, I am inclined to believe that veneral disease 
prevention would be far on the road to success, and I hope 
that this relation of morals to the problem can be brought 
about by the very general educational processes that we 
are at present engaged in spreading throughout the popu- 

But in connection with the educational campaign prophy- 
laxis is a great impediment to progress for it necessarily 
"slackens the effort to prevent immorality" by giving offi- 
cial governmental sanction to sexual vice for men. Ac- 
tions speak louder than words, and no young man of sense 
will believe preceptors who tell him verbally that sexual 
vice is intolerable, if at the same time he witnesses their 
open toleration of it. 

In order to think clearly of the relation of morals to 
the campaign against venereal disease, it is well to regard 
continence simply as a sanitary measure. Differently 
phrased, it is merely avoidance of exposure to venereal in- 

Venereal Prophylaxis 877 

fection. This is a fundamental principle in the control 
and prevention of all other infectious diseases, for exam- 
ple, diphtheria, smallpox, rabies, etc. In the case of these 
others any prophylactic measure which carried with it a 
guarantee of increased exposure or which, indeed, paralyzed 
the arm of the law in enforcing regulations against expo- 
sure would be regarded with extreme skepticism. 

This is the place where ethics and hygiene meet, for 
here the object is identical. The moralist and the sani- 
tarian both desire, for different reasons, the same thing, 
namely, to prevent exposure to venereal infection. Instead 
of a single standard of morals it may be said that a single 
standard of hygiene is the object sought, for thinking in 
sanitary terms it is clear that a campaign against an infec- 
tious disease cannot sensibly be conducted along sex lines. 
To attempt to control the spread of scarlet fever or small- 
pox or diphtheria by preventing the exposure of females 
to infection while openly permitting the unlicensed expo- 
sure of males, would be so contrary to reason that even 
the most untutored mind would instantly grasp the anomaly, 
and yet unhappily in the case of venereal disease, it is pre- 
cisely this plan that many sanitarians are unthinkingly fol- 

The case as put forward by the proponents of prophy- 
laxis suggests the ancient legend of the princess and the 
dragon, when to save the country from pestilence the people 
led forth a victim each year to be devoured by the monster. 
The ethics of prophylaxis as phrased by Major Darwin is 
strikingly similar, for to save the country from the pesti- 
lence of venereal disease he concedes the necessity of a 
continual sacrifice of fresh girls to the Moloch of men's 
lust. That such a sacrifice is not incompatible with hu- 
manitarian ideals is witnessed by the alleged fact that all 
treatment of venereal disease serves to remove one of the 
obstacles to immorality. "To let these diseased run riot," 
says Major Darwin, "unchecked and unalleviated, with all 

278 The Lams of Sea: 

the terrible consequences of such a policy, would add greatly 
to the fear and lessen the practice of immorality. But if 
we repudiate this horrible alternative we must admit that 
our medical efforts do tend somewhat to increase vice, and 
that we are striking a balance between the evils of increas- 
ing sexual immorality." 

It is this close alignment between prophylaxis and the 
actual treatment of venereal disease that has so confused 
the public mind with regard to the ethics of prophylaxis. 
The duty of giving medical care to sick people regardless 
of their conduct is so plain that the application of the term 
"early treatment" to prophylaxis, has served as a sort of 
ethical guarantee of its propriety. On mature considera- 
tion, however, it will be seen that the ethical and educa- 
tional values involved in prophylaxis and in the treatment 
of venereal disease are utterly at variance. 

Possibly the simplest way of making clear this difference 
is to consider the effect of prophylaxis and the actual treat- 
ment of venereal disease in the case of women. Suppose, for 
example, coincidently with the introduction of prophylaxis 
for men, "early treatment" stations for the use of women 
were to be instituted. Following out the same chain of 
reasoning that is applied in the case of men, all penaliza- 
tion for sexual irregularities on the part of women would 
have to be abandoned, for, as Captain Clarke, of the Ameri- 
can Social Hygiene Association, said: "If then punishment 
were administered for illicit sex relations and women (in 
this case) knew that they would convict themselves in apply- 
ing for such treatment, they would fail to apply and there 
would be a consequent increase in venereal disease." Thus 
for the sake of early treatment, immorality on the part of 
women would have to be faced, and all measures for the 
prevention of irregular sexual commerce for women, save 
education and recreation, would have to be abandoned. 
Propaganda talks on the subject of the dignity and respon- 
sibility of sex might be still held, and literature, including 

Venereal Prophylaxis 79 

admonitions with regard to prophylaxis, be distributed, and 
the brothers, fathers and husbands of the women might 
meet together and lay plans for recreation suitable to tempt 
their wives and daughters away from the paths of vice, 
but to keep the campaign on the same plane as is that for 
men at present, no more stringent measures could be enter- 
tained. Above all, penalization for vice could not be seri- 
ously considered, for the women would not report for pro- 
phylactic treatment if thereby they made themselves liable 
to punishment. No nurse could be dismissed for improper 
conduct, no girl committed to an institution for rehabilita- 
tion, no prostitute jailed, and feminine sexual immorality 
would have to be openly and philosophically accepted as 
part of the medical program. To any reasonable person 
it is clear that a single decade under such a policy of tolera- 
tion, if carried through with the sincerity actually practiced 
in the case of man, would result in a striking change in 
the standards of feminine conduct. 

Now in the case of the venereal clinic, no such reversal 
of public and private policy with regard to feminine morals 
is involved. It is inconceivable that the voluntary treat- 
ment of women has ever contributed in the smallest degree 
toward fostering immorality. On the contrary, the venereal 
clinic by making known the ill results of vice has been 
a distinct influence in checking irregular sexual commerce. 
The effect of the propaganda directed toward increasing 
the scope of the venereal clinic, for both men and women, 
is exactly opposite to the effect of the propaganda toward 
prophylaxis, for the normal individual does not enjoy the 
prospect of contracting a serious disease even if he or 
she realizes that in the majority of cases it can be cured. 
Prophylactic propaganda leads men to suppose that the 
physical evils of vice can be avoided, while the propaganda 
leading toward the venereal clinic acts in a precisely con- 
trary manner, by stressing in every instance the dangers 
associated with immorality. 

280 The Laws of Sex 

The very term "early treatment" is a false use of words, 
for it is impossible to treat a disease if it is absent. The 
fact that the United States Public Health Service pleases to 
call all illicit intercourse "exposure to venereal disease" does 
not, by that same token, make it so, and prophylactic treat- 
ment has without doubt been given in many cases where the 
infective organisms of both syphilis and gonorrhea were 
absent. This abuse of language conduces to an exaggerated 
notion of the efficacy of prophylaxis and in turn this leads 
to a false sense of security. Here again the contrast be- 
tween the venereal clinic and prophylaxis is obvious, for it 
is unimaginable that either the propaganda leading toward 
the clinic or the actual treatment of venereal diseases ever 
fostered a false sense of security with regard to the physical 
dangers of vice. 

It is this phase of the problem that has led some sup- 
porters of the prophylactic station to discriminate between 
the station and the prophylactic packet. That such a dis- 
crimination is utterly untenable becomes clear on considera- 
tion of the psychological factors involved in the case of the 
two measures. By some lapse of reason it is fancied that 
the sense of security implied by the prophylactic packet 
differs in an obscure way from the sense of security asso- 
ciated with the prophylactic station. It is true that the 
prophylactic packet does carry with it the imputation that 
vice can be made at least comparatively safe, but the same 
imputation, even in an exaggerated form, is inextricably en- 
meshed with all propaganda directed toward the prophylac- 
tic station. Verbal admonitions as to the undepend ability 
of prophylaxis can be equally well given in the case of the 
station and the packet, but it is scarcely to be believed 
that the adherents of either measure will find it congenial 
to emphasize the failure of prophylaxis when they are 
attempting to instill faith as to its usefulness. 

Doubtless the factor that has contributed more than 

Venereal Prophylaxis 281 

any other to this fictitious discrimination is the desire on 
the part of those concerned in advocating prophylaxis to 
conceal even from themselves a true realization of the part 
they are playing. It is not a nice thing to admit that 
one is acting the panderer, by attempting to make vice 
safe for men, and the prophylactic station lends itself more 
readily to mental camouflage than does the prophylactic 
packet. When an officer or a steward hands a boy a pro- 
phylactic packet as he is going on leave, the act suggests 
in a brutally frank way that the government is playing 
the part of panderer; but is not the psychology of the 
case, so far as the boy is concerned, precisely the same 
when physicians or public health officials tell him through 
literature, placards and propaganda talks that the prophy- 
lactic station is waiting for him at a certain address? The 
suggestion that vice can, by medical measures, be made 
comparatively safe, and the additional guarantee that the 
government absolutely endorses it, is identical in the case 
of the station and the packet, and it is these two fac- 
tors in combination that influence the conduct of the young 
man. The fact is that the sensitive adherents of prophy- 
laxis, such as Secretary of the Navy Daniels, by a feat 
of mental gymnastics, convince themselves that instruc- 
tion in station prophylaxis cannot by any possibility affect 
the conduct of young men until the moment immediately 
following illicit sexual intercourse, whereas the bodily pres- 
ence of the prophylactic packet in possession of the young 
man prior to sexual intercourse dispels such comforting 

One of the favorite questions of the proponents of pro- 
phylaxis designed to put the opposition to flight is: "If 
your son came in some evening and said, 'Mother, I have, 
at the solicitation of a vicious woman, just exposed myself 
to venereal disease/ what would you do? Would you not 
immediately take him to a physician for disinfection ?" 

388 The Laws of Sex 

The question is a purely hypothetical one, which any 
parent will agree is not likely to be duplicated in real 
life, and is misleading, since it eliminates the subversive 
educational factor by presupposing that prophylaxis could 
be effectively made use of in the absence of public knowl- 
edge as to its availability prior to illicit intercourse. It 
is a question clearly planned to confuse rather than to 

In point of fact, instruction in regard to the prophy- 
lactic station involves quite as much suggestion as to the 
safety and tolerability of vice as does the packet, for in 
order to insure usage of the station, information must 
be spread broadcast as to its whereabouts and its utility. 
Moreover, this knowledge must be in possession of the 
young man preceding illicit sexual intercourse, for the 
measure is admittedly useless if its administration is de- 
layed. To discriminate between giving this information 
and giving the packet is idle, for in both cases it is "equiva- 
lent to the government advising these boys that it is right 
for them to indulge in an evil which perverts their morals." 
In the case of the packet and the station it is equally pos- 
sible for public health officials or physicians verbally to 
state that vice is not necessary to health, or that prophy- 
laxis is not infallible, or any other moral admonition. The 
leading facts that the boys derive will be the same, namely, 
that public opinion sanctions vice for men and that medi- 
cal measures are a good substitute for continence in avoid- 
ing the risk of venereal infection. 

The report of a special commission appointed by the 
British Government to study infectious diseases in their 
relation to demobilization comes out strongly against the 
prophylactic packet and stirred up considerable controversy 
in England in this regard. 

The report, which was issued as a White Paper, in the 
fall of 1919, reads: 

Venereal Prophylaxis 283 

The Committee desire me to point out that in their 
view, many of those who wish the Government to utilize 
in peace time for the civil population methods which have 
been tried among the forces in war, have not sufficiently 
appreciated the fundamental differences between the two 
groups, or between the conditions of war and peace; nor 
have they been aware of the comparative failure of packets 
even in a disciplined force. The civil authorities cannot 
command or control the general population (men and 
women) as officers can properly and legitimately control 
enlisted men. In dealing with the latter, officers in differ- 
ent forces have had power 

( 1 ) To make medical examinations at regular intervals ; 

(2) To provide facilities for continuous and direct 
propaganda ; 

(3) To punish disobedience of official advice, conceal- 
ment of disease, or disregard of treatment; 

(4) To exclude certain persons from camps, etc.; 

(5) To put certain places out of bounds; 

(6) To organize recreation, etc.; 

(7) To enforce other service regulations. 

It is also the direct interest of the officers in charge 
of men to keep the venereal rate amongst them as low as 
possible. There can be nothing in the civil population 
analogous to this pressure of responsibility and discipline. 
Unfortunately no civil peace figures are obtainable, but 
the military and naval pre-war figures are significant as 
showing a decline in the venereal rate following upon im- 
provement in general conditions and surroundings and the 
development of recreation and social amusements. Table E 
is interesting in showing the more rapid reduction among 
troops in Aldershot, when recreation was organized, than 
in London, where social recreations, etc., within barracks 
had to contend with the counter attractions of the streets. 
I would also draw special attention to the Army figures 

284 The Laws of Sex 

from 1870, which show the venereal rate in the British 
Army before, during and after the operation of the Con- 
tagious Diseases Acts, and which seem to suggest that 
methods no less vaunted in their time than is the use of 
prophylactic "packets" at the present time, were not ef- 
fective in reducing the disease when put into operation. 

Finally, it is the committee's view that the assumption 
that the present incidence of venereal disease in the Army 
is greater than that among a similar number of men in 
civilian life is not established. 


In regard to the general experience of prophylactics 
distributed before exposure to infection, as prevailing in 
the various services, the Committee have come to the fol- 
lowing conclusions: 

(1) That certain drugs, if properly applied, are effica- 
cious in preventing venereal disease; 

(2) That if these drugs are not properly or skillfully 
applied their efficacy cannot be relied upon; 

(3) That the issue of prophylactic "packets" tends to 
give rise to a false sense of security, and thus to encour- 
age the taking of risks which would not be otherwise in- 
curred, and the neglect of facilities for early treatment 
when available; and, in certain circumstances, might even 
increase the spread of disease; 

(4) That in spite of the most careful instruction, the 
grant or issue of "packets" results in many an individual 
using them for self-treatment after he finds himself in- 
fected. They are not intended for this purpose, and are 
ineffective when so used. Drugs which are accredited with 
the power of preventing diseases are very frequently ac- 
cepted by the public as useful in their treatment. Their 
use for the treatment of developed disease may be definitely 
harmful, since they delay diagnosis and the application of 

Venereal Prophylaxis 885 

proper treatment at a time when promptitude is of the 
very first importance to its success; 3 

(5) That, where preventive treatment is provided by a 
skilled attendant after exposure to infection, the results 
are better than when the same measures are taken by the 
individual affected, even after the most careful instruc- 

(6) That the excessive consumption of alcoholic liquors 
not only diminishes the sense of responsibility, but also 
tends to prevent the proper use of prophylactics and to 
delay the individual's application of skilled treatment; 

(7) That the most carefully organized packet system, 
such as exists now in the Army (a system which would 
be unattainable in the civil community), has not produced 
such a general reduction in the incidence of venereal dis- 
ease as to counteract the disadvantages mentioned in these 
conclusions ; 

(8) That the organization of recreation and social 
amenities has assisted in the reduction of the incidence of 
venereal diseases in the Services before the war, and has 
also assisted in preventing that increase in the incidence 
of these diseases, which, from past experience, might have 
been anticipated during the war ; 

(9) That energy should not be dissipated on measures of 
doubtful value, but concentrated rather on wise propaganda 
and the provision of early, prompt, and skilled treatment, 
in order to diminish the prevalance of these diseases. It 
should be recognized that failure to cure these diseases 
is one of the main causes of their prevalence, and that 
failure to cure, in the most skilled hands, results largely 
from failure to treat them in their early stages. 

I have also been asked on behalf of all the representa- 

*This and other points would suggest, too, that the general sale of 
such medicaments by chemists and unqualified persons might tend to 
nullify the beneficial results of the Venereal Diseases Act, 1917, as 
regards the prohibition of treatment, and advertisement of treatment, 
by unqualified persons. 

286 The Laws of Sex 

tives of the different departments who assisted at various 
times in our deliberations on this subject to record their 
unanimous view that the true safeguard against these dis- 
eases is individual continence and a high standard of moral 
life. This implies a sound public opinion and a healthy 
national tone. The Committee set out to examine the evi- 
dence placed before them from the scientific and the medi- 
cal point of view, and it is strictly in this spirit that they 
desire to record it as their opinion that the irreplaceable 
effect of the moral factor has been too frequently neglected 
or forgotten. 


In view of these findings the Committee are not satisfied 
that there has been sufficient evidence put before them of 
the beneficial results gamed by the distribution of prophy- 
lactic packets in various Forces to prove the value of the 
system or to justify them in recommending its official en- 
couragement among the civil population. Unquestionably 
there have been many individual cases which appear to 
afford positive evidence in favor of a system of distribu- 
tion of such prophylactics before exposure to infection; 
but the volume of such evidence is too small and too ex- 
ceptional, and the instances of its failure, even under fa- 
vorable circumstances, are too numerous, to allow of any 
other conclusion than that, in view of the considerations 
mentioned above and of the administrative and social dif- 
ficulties involved, the official application of a packet sys- 
tem to the civil community is neither desirable nor practi- 

I desire, on behalf of the Committee, to place on record 
their high appreciation of the manner in which Dr. Sey- 
mour the Secretary to the Committee has assisted in the 
preparation of this Note. 

Signed on behalf of the Committee, 

August, 1919. WALDORF ASTOR. 

Venereal Prophylaxis 287 

It is not improbable that the station exerts a more co- 
gent influence even than the packet in reducing the sex life 
of men to the lowest level of bestiality, for in addition to 
placing the government in the position of condoning vice 
and pandering to it, the station is calculated to rob men 
of their last remnant of ordinary decency. All but the 
most depraved of men have an instinctive aversion to dis- 
playing the crass facts of their sex life publicly, and an 
additional element of brazenness is introduced into con- 
duct when men fresh from the embraces of their prosti- 
tutes frankly meet together at the government clinic. For 
medical men under such circumstances to presuppose a high 
moral atmosphere as an attribute of the prophylactic sta- 
tion, is an admission on their part of blind refusal to 
view human nature as it is. This is particularly the case 
in the Army since the procedure in giving the treatments 
is so simple that it is generally entrusted to men who have 
had no medical training at all. The character of the 
errand on which the "patients" come to the station is such 
that, face to face together, they must take sex adventures 
lightly, and while they wait their turn for treatment it 
is not to be supposed that their conversation will turn upon 
very lofty themes. The slang that has already emanated 
from the station, the succinct question as to who has and 
who has not "had his shot," the filthy stories of shooting 
rat poison into a man and what not, are a sufficient index 
of the moral effect of this branch of the government serv- 
ice. Then besides, there are the lads who night after night 
meet and handle endless streams of fornicators and adulter- 
ers without being permitted even the moral concept that 
it is the business of the patriotic citizenry of any country 
to prevent base conduct not to pander it. It is to be 
doubted whether even the most enthusiastic advocate of 
prophylaxis would contemplate with composure the detail 
of his own son to this particular duty, and yet to com- 

288 The Laws of Sex 

pass the administration of the ordinary routine treatments, 
very large numbers of young men are needed. 

In the case of the venereal clinic it is amazing to wit- 
ness the difference in atmosphere, for here the outcome 
of the sex adventure has in most instances passed far be- 
yond the measure of a joke. Most of the men come to the 
clinic in solemn earnest, some of them crushed by the fear 
of what the future holds in store for them. The men are 
here because they are sick, not because they have been im- 
moral, and the clinic therefore savors of the hospital. The 
prophylactic station, on the contrary, reeks of the brothel, 
for the men there still have the stain of illicit intercourse 
upon them, and come the self-confessed violators of a moral 

Innocent and guilty alike await their turn in the venereal 
clinic. The syphilitic child, the wife reaping the wild oats 
that her husband sowed in boyhood days, the man sick of 
a vile disease due to the infidelity of the woman he trusted 
in wedlock, the prostitute masquerading as a married 
woman, the preacher hiding his shame behind a cobweb of 
lies. To distinguish innocent from guilty would require 
a court of law, not a dispensary clinic, and the doctor 
would have to act as advocate or judge, and empanel the 
nurses and assistants as a jury before he could go on with 
a treatment. Such procedure is wholly out of line with 
established precedent, and antagonistic to the humanitarian 
principles upon which the science of medicine is based. The 
doctor is not fitted by training or experience to act as judge 
of human conduct. His business is to cure the sick, and so 
long as he honestly follows his calling, he may, witli 
righteousness, leave the complicated tangle of human con- 
duct to be unravelled by other agencies. 

The treatment of patients in the venereal clinic in no 
wise standardizes human conduct. The personal problems 
are so complex that in the main they are insusceptible of 

Venereal Prophylaxis 289 

immediate judgments. It is true that the self-confessed 
fornicator and adulterer apply for treatment, but even in 
these cases the date and nature of the offense may offer 
extenuating circumstances. The lapse of time under the law 
in the instance of many crimes invalidates the prosecution. 
Moreover, to deny treatment even in the most flagrant 
cases and to condemn a man to die horribly or to lead out 
a maimed existence in payment of his sin, while men guilty 
of precisely the same conduct, if by chance they escape dis- 
ease, are completely exonerated, is a violation of the or- 
dinary precepts of justice so extreme as to be intolerable. 
One of the major functions of penalization under the law is 
the prevention of wrong doing; revenge, except among sav- 
ages, is no longer accepted as justifying punishment. More- 
over, a cardinal principle in the administration of justice 
is that chance shall, in so far as possible, be eliminated 
from the operation of the law. All persons guilty of the 
same misconduct under similar circumstances are equally 
guilty before the law, and the imposition of penalties upon 
their apprehension is not, if there be any show of justice, 
left wholly to chance. 

It is in this respect that reliance upon venereal disease 
as a punishment for venery, violates the fundamental con- 
cept of human justice, for chance alone operates in the in- 
fliction of the penalty. The most guilty man frequently 
goes scot free, while the virtuous or comparatively virtuous 
pay to the full measure. The truth is that the contraction 
of a venereal disease cannot, according to accepted prin- 
ciples of human justice, be regarded in itself as a punishable 
offense, for it depends upon chance, not upon volition, and 
it is basely unfair to penalize ill fortune. 

It is in the conduct leading to infection, not in the in- 
fection itself, that society must seek its standards for sexual 
ethics. The doctor cannot pursue his calling as clinician, 
if at the same time he is forced to order his treatments ac- 

290 The Laws of Sex 

cording to ethical, not scientific laws. The clinic is not the 
proper place to sift out morals, for sheep and goats must 
both be treated if they are diseased. 

In the prophylactic station, on the contrary, no such 
complicated tangle of conduct is involved, for every 
man who there makes application comes for the simple rea- 
son that he has had illicit sexual intercourse. He is not 
ill, he is merely immoral, and though he may subsequently 
develop disease, if the state officially recognizes his conduct 
without exacting punishment it at the same time declares 
that irregular sexual commerce comes within the law. At 
the prophylactic station, the doctor need not act as judge, 
for all of the applicants without exception are by their 
own word guilty of the infraction of a moral law. In any 
other province it would be clear that a malefactor could 
not be permitted by the state openly to confess his guilt 
and still to escape all punishment, for the acceptance of 
wrongdoing on the part of one justifies it for all. Thus 
it is seen that the prophylactic station, in contrast to the 
venereal clinic, definitely standardizes human conduct, for 
it gives governmental recognition to fornication and 
adultery, and by accepting vice without penalization, prac- 
tically sanctions it. 

The truth of this statement becomes apparent on con- 
sideration of the relation of the prophylactic station to the 
fornication law. If a sincere effort were to be made by 
the police to enforce the fornication law, the first place 
they would have to raid would be the prophylactic station. 
They would be obliged to arrest all of the "patients" found 
there, and to seize the histories and other data giving the 
names and addresses of self-confessed fornicators. In addi- 
tion, they would have to watch the station, and to take up 
the men as they applied for treatment. Under such pro- 
cedure the prophylactic station would soon have to close 
its doors for lack of applicants. The venereal clinic, on the 
contrary, would not be liable to such a wholesale raid, for 

Venereal Prophylaxis 291 

the patients coming there would not all be guilty of forni- 
cation, and additional information besides their mere ap- 
plication for treatment would have to be acquired before 
arrests would be in order. Thus the venereal clinic could 
continue in operation even with the sincere administration 
of a fornication law, while the prophylactic station would 
automatically cease functioning if a fornication law were 
honestly enforced. 

It is this relation of the prophylactic station to the 
standardization of conduct that makes it so subversive an 
element in the realm of sexual ethics. The prophylactic 
station necessarily brings fornication within the law, 
for any statute forbidding fornication must be a dead letter 
if the station is to continue openly in operation. But the 
first step in the control of venereal disease must, according 
to all the dictates of hygiene, be to prevent exposure, and 
yet this is impossible so long as prophylaxis is frankly ac- 

In the end, as General Gorgas has indicated, success in 
the control of venereal disease depends upon the education 
of the individual with regard to sexual conduct. Toleration 
of male promiscuity predicates an indefinite perpetuation 
of the social evil, and it is from this source that the venereal 
diseases flow. As with the girl, so with the boy, the crux 
of the matter is the prevention of the initial misstep. Chas- 
tity is its own best safeguard, for once infringed, immorality 
becomes ever easier and easier. It is because of this that 
prophylaxis is so great an impediment to the educational 
program. The community must set its stamp of disap- 
proval upon masculine vice before the boy will learn in time 
that immorality is contrary to his own best interests. The 
open toleration of vice leads youth to understand that there 
is nothing harmful in it, and the establishment of a double 
standard of morals substantiates belief in the sexual neces- 
sity for men. 




The prospect which is held out by the medical profession 
of a limitless period of time during which venereal con- 
tacts must be tolerated by the human race is not encour- 
aging; neither is it a reality except in the minds of dis- 
illusioned persons who have their eyes turned backwards. 
Morals are the product of environment and there is no bio- 
logical reason for supposing that the male of the genus 
homo is any more promiscuous in his potential sexual dis- 
position than is the female. In no other species is there any 
such disparity between the sexual instincts of the male and 
the female. Among the birds, for example, or among the 
higher apes, both sexes tend equally toward union with 
one mate; among the quadrupeds, on the contrary, where 
promiscuity is the rule, both the male and the female are 
equally willing to accept transitory sex partners. The 
bitch is no less promiscuous than the dog nor is the lion- 
ess any more monogamous than the sire of her whelps. 

Man is for the time being living under unnatural con- 
ditions so far as his sexual life is concerned, but under a 
proper economic and educational system, reinforced by a 
just standardization of the sexual life of the race, there is 
absolutely no question but that men as well as women would 
prefer marriage to promiscuity. 

The solution of the problem of venereal disease, being, 
as it clearly is, amenable to the same general principles of 
hygiene that operate in the case of all other communicable 
diseases, is dependent upon two factors : first, the prevention 


The Solution of the Problem of Venereal Disease 298 

of contacts between infected and uninfected persons regard- 
less of sex and, second, the institution of a system of quar- 
antine which will insure proper curative treatment and serve 
to protect healthy individuals from contamination by those 
suffering with disease. 

The Maryland State Board of Health declares in its 
Venereal Disease Regulations, "Prostitution is the source 
and cause of venereal disease." While this statement can- 
not be said to be scientifically exact since the spirochete, 
the gonococcus, the strepto-bacillus of Ducrey, and not pros- 
titution, cause venereal disease, still it is a recognized fact 
that sexual promiscuity is responsible for the continued 
spread of venereal infection. Extra-marital sexual inter- 
course in so large a proportion of the cases constitutes 
exposure to venereal disease that in order to prevent the 
contact of infected with uninfected individuals such re- 
lationships must, to conform with accepted principles of 
hygiene, be placed under the ban. Since between 95 and 
100 per cent of all prostitutes have been found upon exam- 
ination to be venereal disease carriers, intercourse with them 
"may be reasonably suspected" of constituting voluntary ex- 
posure to venereal disease and consequently to be counter 
to the interests of the public health. As it has been found 
impossible for the state successfully to discriminate be- 
tween the infectiousness or non-infectiousness of promiscu- 
ous men or women all extra-marital sex relationships must 
be placed beyond the pale and heavy penalization be in- 
stituted for infraction of the fornication law. Since under 
this, as under all other criminal laws, only a fraction of the 
offenders will be actually apprehended by the police, the 
courts must be brought to impose sufficiently drastic sen- 
tences to check the practice. Above all the payment of 
money or goods for prostitution must be made a major 
offense against the state, since commercialized prostitution 
will be inevitable so long as it is adequately financed. 

The medieval program of "law enforcement," which is 

294 The Laws of Sex 

now advocated by the United States Public Health Service 
and such private organizations as the American Social Hy- 
giene Association, and which consists merely of hounding 
the more obvious and often the feeble-minded female 
offender, must be given over, for the individual prostitute 
is merely a passive factor in the scheme. She is seduced at 
an early age before her earning capacity along legitimate 
lines has been developed, and once "ruined" she is forced to 
exploit masculine sexual desire as her sole means to a live- 
lihood. The removal of one woman from the trade, through 
her reformation or her imprisonment, signifies but the addi- 
tion of another woman to the ranks, for the demand created 
by men in this business predicates the supply as in any 
sort of commerce. The female as well as the male offender 
should, of course, be held under the law, but the woman, not 
the man, should be recognized as the important states' wit- 
ness in the effort to repress prostitution. 

The cause of the failure of all vice crusades in the past 
lies in the fact that nowhere and at no time has the cam- 
paign been directed against the true source of the social evil. 
All of the effort has been turned against those who exploit 
and those who stimulate masculine sexual desire, whereas, in 
point of fact, the campaign should be primarily directed 
against those who finance commercialized prostitution. If 
the patrons of prostitutes were consistently penalized by 
heavy jail sentences instead of "stiff fines," the income of 
$164,000,000 now paid annually to the business of pros- 
titution would soon be greatly reduced. A term in the 
penitentiary would convince the average man that inter- 
course with prostitutes was not worth his while and what 
is even more to the point it would elucidate this fact in plain 
terms to other boys and men. 

But it will be contended, it would be practically impos- 
sible to obtain evidence sufficient to convict the man. He 
pays the prostitute in private, not under the eyes of the 
police. This objection is without foundation in the prac- 

The Solution of the Problem of Venereal Disease 295 

tical administration of the law, for in cases of murder the 
evidence is often very obscure, and yet the state does not 
for this consideration abrogate the legal recognition of this 

Moreover, it is obvious that it can be no more difficult 
to prove that a man pays money for prostitution than 
that a woman receives money for the same purpose. Count- 
less numbers of women are now serving sentences in lock 
hospitals and jails for the offense of prostitution. Doubt- 
less in a fair proportion of these cases there has actually 
been enough evidence to convince the average court that 
the woman has sold the use of her body for money. If the 
sort of evidence that is now sufficient to convict a woman 
of prostitution were likewise accepted in the case of men, 
the police would have absolutely no difficulty in crowding 
the court rooms with the patrons of prostitutes. Moreover, 
a fairly efficient group of plain clothes policewomen could, 
with pitiful readiness, obtain evidence against men which 
would be far more specific than most of the present evidence 
against prostitutes. 

It would, of course, be idle to suggest such a law enforce- 
ment program if the administration of the statutes were 
to remain where it is, in the hands of men. No class ever 
has nor presumably ever will enforce the statutes against 
itself. Before the promiscuous demands of men can be 
brought under control it will obviously be necessary for 
women to participate in the actual machinery of the law 
to a far greater extent than they at present do. There 
must be women judges and juries. There must be women 
in the public prosecutor's office and also women lawyers to 
plead before the bar. In the minor courts, where most of 
these cases will be first heard, there must be many women, 
and above all there must be autonomous bureaus of women 
police such as already exist in Washington, D. C., and in 
some other cities. 

In Los Angeles, Cal., at the present time in the Juvenile 

296 The Laws of Sex 

Court only women are permitted to be present when certain 
cases of seduction are heard. There is a woman judge and 
a woman jury, and such men as are essential to a proper 
hearing of the case, as witnesses, are required to give their 
testimony and then to leave the room. This obviates the 
cruel and intolerable procedure followed in most other cities 
where a comparatively innocent girl of tender age is forced 
to cast aside every precept of ordinary decency and lay 
bare the unspeakable details of her intimate life before a 
crowd of curious male bystanders. 

The work of the Women's Bureau of Metropolitan Police 
in the National Capitol has already demonstrated the im- 
portance and feasibility of such a force. In addition to 
Mrs. Minna C. Van Winkle, the able and courageous chief, 
there are about thirty policewomen ranging in age from 21 
to 35 years and upward. They are, in the main, college 
graduates and many of them have a Master's degree as 
well. A sincere desire to do effective public service has 
brought most of these women into the work. They operate 
independently of the male police force, and this point is 
of incalculable importance for when a few policewomen 
are merely added to the regular police force, without their 
being given the standing of an autonomous bureau, their 
work is wholly directed by men and consequently can differ 
but little from that of the ordinary force. 

The value of the women's bureau lies in the fact that 
it permits the introduction of the woman's native point of 
view on sexual offenses into the practical administration of 
the statutes regulating morality. 

The women operate in plain clothes and often are them- 
selves solicited for purposes of immorality by men, thereby 
facilitating the detection of would-be sex offenders. The} 7 
usually work in pairs and are at all times privileged to 
call upon members of the male police force in making ar- 
rests. While such an occupation requires a high degree 
of courage and common sense, it is an established fact that 

The Solution of the Problem of Venereal Disease 297 

women possessing these perquisites can readily be found 
to enlist in the service. Through them and through them 
alone can the streets be made safe for minors of both sexes, 
and only through their efforts can amusement resorts of 
questionable character, such as cabarets and dance halls, be 
forced to abjure the remunerative enticements which im- 
morality offers. 

It is beyond question clear that the enforcement of the 
statutes regarding morality is safer in the hands of an 
autonomous bureau of women police than when left to the 
discretion of the ordinary male police force, for men who are 
themselves immoral can scarcely be expected to hold the 
offense very high in respect to others. 

Within the past two years about 60 policemen in Wash- 
ington, D. C., have been dismissed from the service for 
having a venereal disease contracted while they were mem- 
bers of the police force. 

One policeman was found with two little girls, one 12 and 
the other 14, under very compromising circumstances in 
bed in an hotel of doubtful character. He was arrested 
at the behest of the women police, but when brought before 
the court claimed it was a "frame-up" and was released on 
$500 bail. Before he could be brought to trial he disap- 
peared, forfeiting his security, and has not been located 
since, nor presumably ever will be. This case indicates 
the low estimation placed upon sexual offenses by male 
courts, for had the charges involved some other crime equally 
punishable under the law, collateral in far higher proportion 
would have been demanded in face of such incriminating 

If the practical enforcement of solicitation and fornica- 
tion laws were to be left in the hands of such men as this 
the results would doubtless be as discouraging as Dr. Welch 
and other hygienists anticipate, but fortunately there is no 
such necessity. Women are ready and willing to serve the 
state as the protectors of youth and they only await the 

298 The Laics of Sex 

time to come forward when the mothers of the country 
come to a realization of the importance of their aid in 
guarding the moral integrity of the coming generation. 

If the community really desires to minimize venereal 
contacts it can readily do so, but the impetus must come 
from the General Public, for the self-interest of the medical 
profession points in the opposite direction. When con- 
tinence comes to be regarded in its true hygienic value, as 
the only reliable preventive of venereal disease, the coopera- 
tion even of the medical fraternity may not be so very 
difficult to secure. 

As a preliminary to the rational control of venereal dis- 
ease and the protection of the marriage relation, the various 
State Boards of Health must be brought to adopt a plan 
of quarantine that could be reasonably expected to work 
if put in operation. Since the same general principles of 
hygiene that have been established in connection with other 
communicable diseases doubtless govern venereal disease as 
well, these principles should be observed, even though they 
are antagonized by the commercialized medical man. 

Following the procedure already in effect in connection 
with all other communicable diseases, physicians and super- 
intendents of hospitals, dispensaries or other institutions 
where cases of venereal disease are treated, should be re- 
quired to report in writing to the state or local health 
authorities, the name and address of any person known 
to be infected with venereal disease. 

A nurse from the State Board of Health should visit 
such patients, as she now does in connection with other 
communicable diseases, should investigate the situation and 
warn the associates of the patient of the danger of infec- 
tion. She should also put into the patient's hands a printed 
circular of regulations prescribing care in his habits, sys- 
tematic treatment and especially ordering him to refrain 
from sexual intercourse or other intimate contacts during 
the period of quarantine. The patient should be warned 

The Solution of the Problem of Venereal Disease 299 

that infringement of these regulations would constitute 
breaking quarantine and entail detention and penalization. 

The case should then be placed definitely under quaran- 
tine by the State Board of Health until curative treatment 
is completed. 

In addition, the members of the household should be in- 
terviewed with regard to the probability of their previous 
contamination. Examination of those exposed to infection 
should be required and treatment instituted if necessary. 
By this means many wives infected with venereal disease 
by their husbands might be cured and the danger of oph- 
thalmia neonatorum and a syphilitic inheritance be mini- 
mized. Servants or other employes infected with venereal 
disease would also be promptly detected by their employers 
through the intervention of the Board of Health nurse. 

This point is of greater importance than many mistresses 
of households now realize, for the percentage of infection 
among domestic servants, especially in the colored race, is 
very high, and the intimacy of their contacts with the family 
is such as to render them definitely dangerous when they 
are venereal disease carriers. Cases have been brought to 
the attention of the writer substantiating this fact beyond 
question. One case was reported of a nurse maid with a 
fresh case of gonorrhoea who was in attendance upon two 
little girls under two years of age. She did the daily laundry 
for these children and had every opportunity of trans- 
mitting her infection to them. Another was that of a cook 
who was suffering from flagrant syphilis. She prepared 
all of the food for the family, lived in the same house and 
slept in the room with another maid who contracted the 
disease from her. Through the infection of this second 
woman the mistress of the household learned of the cook's 

Still another case was that of a colored butler who was 
married, but who through extra-marital relations contracted 
syphilis. He washed the dishes, handled the bread and 

300 The Laws of Sex 

otherwise had opportunities to disseminate his disease among 
the family. As he was in a doctor's employ he went to 
the dispensary for treatment and chanced to come under 
the care of a physician who knew his employer and re- 
ported the case to him. The man was immediately dismissed, 
but presumably secured a similar position as butler else- 

Another case was that of a chauffeur who lived in the 
house of his employer and had his laundry done with that 
of the family. The man had a fresh case of gonorrhoea 
which was finally detected by the laundress from the stains 
on his clothes. In this family there were four children. 

The necessity for adequate quarantine regulations is 
clearly indicated in specific cases such as these, and yet it 
is objected that such a procedure would break up many 
homes and lead to divorces on the ground of infidelity. 
The invalidity of this objection is evidenced in the experi- 
ence of the venereal disease social service department con- 
nected with one of the most prominent dispensaries in the 
country, where it is reported that serious familial difficulties 
result in only about 2 per cent of the cases so handled. The 
same department reports that many cases of syphilis have 
been avoided and much innocent infection cured and spared 
in consequence of the procedure. 

In addition to placing venereal disease cases under quar- 
antine, the marriage license bureau should be required to 
communicate with the Board of Health to ascertain 
whether or not an applicant for a marriage license is under 
quarantine. In case of affirmative information investiga- 
tion should be made of the status of the applicant in order 
to avoid denial of the application owing to carelessness of 
the physician to report completion of quarantine. Persons 
coming from a distance could be permitted to bring an 
authorized certificate from their local Board of Health show- 
ing them not to be under venereal quarantine. 

Such procedure would effectively protect the marriage 

The Solution of the Problem of Venereal Disease 301 

relation if quacks and the secret self-treatment of venereal 
disease through drug stores were outlawed, and if physi- 
cians and hospitals were rigidly required, under heavy 
penalization for infraction of the law, to report their cases 
of venereal disease. 

The present situation which permits the state to issue 
a marriage license to a person known by the state to have 
a venereal disease is so intolerable that it cannot long 
continue. It is amazing that even tradition can veil the 
gravity of this offense against the public. The marriage 
of a venereally infected person with one uncontaminated 
may entail death, sterility or mutilation and impose upon 
unborn children blindness, syphilis or annihilation. For 
the state officially to give sanction to venereal patients to 
marry is to participate in a crime of untold magnitude, 
especially when in the archives of the Board of Health in- 
formation is at hand affirming their condition. It is well 
known that no person with syphilis should marry and beget 
children unless his disease has been under constant treat- 
ment for at least two years, so it is obvious that adequate 
quarantine is of incalculable importance in this particular 
class of cases. 

Moreover, this plan of quarantine would entail no heavy 
expense upon the state, for it has been found in connection 
with other communicable diseases that a very effective 
quarantine can be maintained without detention of the in- 
dividual at public expense. Tubercular patients, typhoid 
carriers and even scarlet fever cases can be quarantined in 
the absence of contagious disease hospitals and in many 
instances detention even in the home is not essential. There 
is no good reason why the average tubercular patient should 
be incarcerated at public expense for the duration of his 
disease if his character and his surroundings are such as 
to convince the Board of Health that detention is not neces- 
sary. With regard to venereal disease the case is even 
more striking. If a patient sick of gonorrhoea refrains from 

302 The Leaps of Sex 

sexual intercourse and observes a few simple hygienic regu- 
lations, his bodily presence among his fellows entails very 
little danger. The same is true of the syphilitic whom 
treatment with Salvarsan very quickly renders innocuous. 
The principal danger lies in his marriage and his begetting 
children, for they may receive a syphilitic inheritance from 
a parent who is not superficially infectious. 

Thus it is seen that a very simple procedure if put into 
effect would protect marriage and posterity from the most 
terrible of all infections. 

All that is needed to effect this reform is a determination 
on the part of the general public to secure the protection 
that it vitally needs from public health officials. 

There is no doubt but that the addition of women physi- 
cians to the State Boards of Health would greatly facilitate 
the institution of a rational system of quarantine against 
venereal disease. Women are not drawn, out of their own 
experience, as are men, to sympathize unduly with infractors 
of the laws of hygiene, and they desire more sincerely than 
do most men to place the campaign against venereal disease 
on the basis of the control of communicable disease regard- 
less of morals. They are also less influenced than are men 
by financial considerations in regard to venereal disease for 
the treatment of genito-urinary diseases in the male does 
not come within their province. The cases of syphilis and 
gonorrhoea which they commonly see are innocent infections 
which would add to their zeal in establishing adequate pro- 
tection for the public health. 

In point of fact, current opinion to the contrary not- 
withstanding, the establishment of a rational system of 
quarantine against venereal disease would relieve the prac- 
ticing physician of a painful burden of responsibility. At 
the present time he often finds himself in the position of 
being the sole possessor of the knowledge essential to pro- 
tect some innocent girl from marital contamination. His 
patient with an uncured syphilis or gonorrhoea contemplates 

The Solution of the Problem of Venereal Disease 303 

marriage; the date of the wedding is fixed and postpone- 
ment would occasion great embarrassment in the absence 
of a sufficient explanation. The doctor forbids marriage 
but the patient is obdurate and does not believe that the 
danger is as great as science avers ; what is the physician 
to do? If he betrays his patient's confidence and informs 
the girl or her parents, he violates the professional secret 
and in some states may be sued. He also lays himself open 
to innumerable surreptitious charges and accusations which 
may seriously injure his practice. In addition his patient 
may repair to an advertising doctor who for a certain sum 
of money will give him a clear bill of health and permit 
the marriage to go forward. In the end all that he may 
accomplish is to alienate his patient, drive him to a quack 
and outrage the feelings of the girl and her parents. Public 
knowledge of the danger of venereal disease is so insecure 
that many parents merely dub a doctor a "moralist" when 
he intervenes in these cases. 

If the physician threatens disclosure in order to force 
postponement of the wedding, the patient often resorts 
to a secret marriage and the doctor learns of the failure 
of his plan only when it is too late for his information 
to be of avail. In Brieux' Damaged Goods, the plight of 
the physician under these circumstances is excellently 
phrased. Almost every doctor first or last faces this dis- 
tressing contingency and most of them decide after con- 
siderable experience that the best that they can do is to 
order the man to refrain from marriage and then to let 
circumstances take their course. 

Parents do not realize how callous and how optimistic 
men ordinarily are in the case of their own venereal dis- 
ease. In this, as in other things, they believe what they wish 
to and when their physicians expound to them the dangers 
of marital contamination they are more apt to change 
their doctor than to change their plans. Many cases have 
been reported to the writer even of medical students who 

304 The Laws of Sex 

have married with a flagrant syphilitic or gonococcus in- 

In addition there are the numerous instances of married 
men who through extra-marital relations contract venereal 
disease, and who are then by way of contaminating their 
wives. The physician is even more at a loss in these cases 
than in those of affianced couples. The husband perhaps 
gives his word that he will avoid sex relations with his wife 
and then fails to do so. Or while debarred from his wife 
he repairs to other women transmitting his infection to 

The following cases reported in the Journal of the 
American Medical Association of Dec. 25tK, 1920, by La- 
capere and Laurent, indicate the complicated personal sit- 
uations that the doctor has to face: 

I. An officer who had connection with his wife despite 
his having a chancre and a positive Wassermann reaction. 

II. A young man with erosive syphilitic lesions of the 
glans and prepuce, who had repeated contacts each night 
for 15 days with a young woman who presented no lesion, 
no history of antecedent syphilis and a negative Wasser- 
mann reaction. 

III. A nursing heredosyphilitic who had exposed two 
wet-nurses to infection. One of the two later nursed another 
infant. About 11 days after the last nursing of the first 
infant she presented a lesion of the nipple, from which 
spirochetes were demonstrated by the dark field. The child 
she was then nursing was certainly not a heredosyphilitic and 
the possibility of infection was certain. 

IV. Three officers who had intercourse with one woman 
who presented a pigmentary syphilid and numerous mucous 
patches of the mouth and vulva. 

In addition to the danger of infection through sexual 
intercourse, the physician has to consider the risk of his 
patient's transmitting the disease to innocent persons 
through extra-genital contacts; as by kissing. 

The Solution of the Problem of Venereal Disease 305 

Numerous instances are on record of the betrothed com- 
municating syphilis to his fiancee by a kiss on the mouth. 

In all of these instances the doctor is perhaps, despite 
his knowledge, the one least fitted to communicate informa- 
tion as to the infectiousness of his patient to those who 
might become exposed. His relations with his patient and 
his financial interests are involved, and he has not the time 
necessary to investigate the situation. Besides which he 
is competing in his practice against physicians who may 
not be equally conscientious. 

If all that he had to do was to send in the name and 
address of his patient and then be relieved of the responsi- 
bility of protecting innocent persons from contamination, 
he would be far better off than he is at the present time. 
Especially since he could then explain to his patient that 
he was required to report under the law, that such action 
did not involve violation of the professional secret, and 
that the Board of Health would intervene if the patient 
refused to come regularly for treatment. 

If the licenses of practitioners who failed to report were 
summarily revoked, and if unlicensed practitioners were 
subject to heavy penalization, it may legitimately be as- 
sumed that within a brief period of time innocent infections 
would be far less numerous than they are at the present 
trnie. It is by no means difficult to detect unlicensed prac- 
titioners of medicine, for their business depends upon ad- 
vertising which assures available publicity. At the present 
time venereal "quacks" are permitted by most communi- 
ties to advertise in the daily papers, to circulate handbills 
and to make their offices as conspicuous as they can af- 
ford to. 

But even granting, for purposes of argument, that private 
physicians could not be brought to report their cases of 
venereal disease, there would still be the public clinics in 
connection with hospitals or with the Boards of Health 
where the great majority of cases would come for treatment. 

306 The Laws of Sex 

Certainly there could be no impediment to reporting cases of 
venereal disease coming to these institutions. 

Surely the State Board of Health and the United States 
Public Health Service will not contend that it is essential to 
insure secrecy for their patients, for under their own regula- 
tions in forty-four states of the Union they provide now for 
the most grueling publicity for certain cases of venereal 
disease. When persons "reasonably suspected of having a 
venereal disease" are sent from the police court for examina- 
tion, every young newspaper reporter has an opportunity for 
a salacious story which frequently gets into print, and when 
the diagnosis is returned it is entered on the docket where 
he who runs may read. Moreover, the mere remanding of 
young girls publicly for examination is often sufficient to 
ruin their good names even if they are innocent. Several 
cases of this sort have occurred in Baltimore, Md., where 
the examination of girls arrested on charges of immorality 
has been worked up into an interesting story by newspaper 
men. One which appeared in the Baltimore Sun as a result 
of the Board of Health Regulations was headed "Coiffure 
Causes Arrest," and the story ran on to tell how a certain 
Lillian had been taken up because she had cut off her hair 
and had been sent to the Mercy Hospital for examination. 
Whether she was diseased or not her reputation was per- 
manently ruined. 

Thousands and thousands of venereal disease cases now 
come annually to clinics operated by the State Boards 
of Health, and in these, at least, there is no excuse for 
neglecting quarantine. 

In connection with tuberculosis or any other communicable 
disease there is inevitably a certain minimum of publicity 
that is unpleasant and inconvenient to the patient and his 
family. In venereal disease, as in all others this has to be 
faced in view of the necessity of the protection of the public 
health. Certainly it is better that a venereal patient should 
suffer the embarrassment of having his disease made known 

The Solution of the Problem of Venereal Disease 307 

to his wife or sweetheart than that he should contaminate 
them and his unborn children with syphilis or gonorrhea. 

An unavailing effort has been made to escape from the 
dilemma by requiring a certificate of health based upon a 
physical examination as a prerequisite to the issuance of 
a marriage license. In the states where this experiment has 
been tried the results have been most unsatisfactory as 
might have been surmised in advance. The examinations 
have been insufficient or certificates of health have been sold 
by physicians for $2.50 each, or the appropriations made 
by the state for this purpose have been inadequate to repay 
the time of competent medical men. At the outset it is 
clear that such a procedure would involve a vast amount 
of waste effort and could not be other than a dead letter 
law. The great majority of women and a considerable 
number of the men who apply for a marriage license have 
never even exposed themselves to venereal disease. There 
is not one chance in a million that they are venereal disease 
carriers and the state can neither successfully nor ration- 
ally demand that they shall submit to the expense and in- 
convenience of a physical examination, merely in order to 
detect the comparatively small number who are guilty of 
sexual offenses and who have thereby contracted venereal 

Carefully nurtured girls would find it an intolerable af 
front to their modesty to expose their genital organs for 
examination before securing a marriage license, and their 
parents, and in most cases their physicians, would under- 
stand their point of view too well to cooperate in any such 

If any inconvenience is to be encountered surely those 
who are guilty of offenses against morality and the law 
should pay the price rather than those who have lived con- 
tinently and who have thereby earned immunity. 

The principal benefit that would redound from the in- 
stitution of a rational plan of quarantine against venereal 

308 The Laws of Sex 

disease would be to place the responsibility for the preven- 
tion of innocent infections upon the medical profession and 
especially upon the public health authorities. The members 
of the State Board of Health would then be unable to salve 
their consciences by transferring their responsibility to the 
Police Department, and private practitioners and the 
superintendents of institutions where cases of venereal dis- 
ease are treated would know in advance the inevitable re- 
sults of failure to report their cases. Since practical use 
would be made of the reports there would be a greater 
incentive toward turning them in and by degrees the 
conscience of the medical profession would develop in this 
regard, as has been the case in tuberculosis. 

Twenty-five years ago medical men were almost, as re- 
luctant to report their cases of tuberculosis as they are 
at the present time to report their cases of venereal dis- 
ease. They feared publicity for their patients and they 
failed to recognize the importance of enlisting the aid of 
the public health authorities in controlling this infection. 

The diffusion of knowledge among the general public as 
to the communicable nature and prevalence of tuberculosis, 
coupled with the self-sacrificing devotion of some few medical 
men, resulted in a widespread popular demand for protec 
tion against this disease. 

It may be anticipated that a similar development awaits 
the problem of venereal disease. Already the first steps 
have been taken, for the age-old conspiracy of silence has 
been broken through. Knowledge of the communicable 
nature and prevalence of venereal disease is gradually be- 
coming current and women are daily hearing of the dangers 
that they and their children face. 

But before communities can be persuaded to act and 
courts to convict, a more adequate estimate of the magnitude 
of the offense of masculine sexual incontinence must be 
brought home to the general public. Today most men and 

The Solution of the Problem, of Venereal Disease 309 

many women regard masculine immorality as an indiscre- 
tion, to be deplored, perhaps, but not to be taken too seri- 
ously. Boys will be boys, wild oats are the birthright of 
youth and must in charity be forgiven. Every man was 
young once and he recalls his own temptations. Still, mas- 
culine incontinence is responsible for an amazing list of ills. 
Grouped together they present a more terrible burden to 
the race than flows from all other crimes committed by 
humanity. The social significance of the institution of 
prostitution has not yet permeated the conscience of the 
race. "The damage resultant from prostitution,'* says 
Mr. Flexner, "is equal to the ravages of a great war." 
Manifold and obscure, hidden behind the mask of social 
conventions, the evils resultant from commercialized pros- 
titution stretch like the arms of a cancer throughout the 
social organism. The innocent bride pays with her life 
for the sexual indiscretions of her husband. The sterile 
and invalid wife robbed of her precious hope of maternity 
wears out a vacant and complaining existence as the price 
of her mate's pre-marital infidelity. The still-born child, 
the syphilitic child, the imbecile and the epileptic all owe 
their inheritance to commercialized prostitution. Eyes that 
are blind from birth, tongues that cannot speak, and ears 
that cannot hear, these are the heritages of incontinence. 
The feeble-minded, the half-breed, are the results of a 
moment's unconsidered passion. The insane asylums, 
packed to the doors with their pitiful wreckage of travestied 
humanity, cry aloud that masculine incontinence is not 
an indiscretion, but that it is the most terrible of all sins 
against humanity. Men have taken their most precious 
treasure, the germ plasms of the race, and for a moment's 
idle pleasure they have blasted and destroyed it. They 
have taken innocent girls, potential wives and mothers, and 
through the institution of prostitution they have trans- 
formed them into whores and drug fiends, creatures so foul 

310 The Laws of Sex 

that they seem scarcely human. In addition, all manner 
of sexual perversions spring from commercialized prosti- 

The financial burden to the community also must not 
be overlooked. Millions upon millions of dollars are poured 
out every year to pay not only for prostitution but for 
venereal clinics, for jails and for asylums for the feeble- 
minded, the epileptic and the insane. The economic and 
social waste is monstrous and at the root of it all is the man 
who pays his dollar or so to a prostitute and goes on his 
way without regret. The social significance of incontinence 
must be judged in terms of its results to the social order, 
and must be penalized in proportion therewith, if the man 
who pays for prostitution and is in the end responsible 
for its perpetuation is ever to be made to realize the social 
significance of his act. 

As in the case of theft or other offenses the punishment 
of the individual often seems out of all proportion to his 
sin, so in the case of bribery toward prostitution the pun- 
ishment of the man must be set so high that it will often 
seem disproportionate to his moral guilt. The servant who 
steals an old coat from her mistress, the clerk who 
steals $25 or $50 from his employer's till is often given 
a term of years in jail or penitentiary. Such penalties are 
clearly out of all relation to the moral obliquity of the act, 
and yet if private property is to be respected the courts 
must punish heavily the few offenders whom the law actually 
apprehends. The object of punishment in civilized com- 
munities is deterrence, not revenge, and the penalty which 
is exacted from the individual for any anti-social act serves 
to elucidate to other human beings under temptation the 
racial significance of such conduct. The individual penal- 
ized is always the scapegoat for the rest, for few, if any, 
individuals ever commit acts which at the moment they 
feel to be seriously reprehensible. Forgery, theft, even 
murder, are generally committed by individuals who feel 

The Solution of the Problem of Venereal Disease 311 

themselves thoroughly justified in their acts, yet the state 
must penalize the individual sufficiently heavily to make 
clear to mankind that such conduct is incompatible with 
the welfare of the race. In the punishment of the individual, 
the social results of any act are eptomized and framed so 
that they are comprehensible to the inexperienced. 

The ultimate objective in the campaign against venereal 
disease must be to minimize contacts beween infected and 
uninfected persons for upon such contacts depends the con- 
tinued existence of syphilis, gonorrhrea and chancroid in the 
human race. 

To this end the rigid enforcement of a law against forni- 
cation is indispensable as well as the institution of a ra- 
tional program of quarantine. All compromise measures, 
such as regulation and prophylaxis, while they may to the 
inexperienced appear to facilitate the control of venereal 
disease, in reality operate in the reverse direction, for they 
breed a false sense of security, and stultify the demand for 
the repression of sexual promiscuity wherein is the root of 
venereal disease. 

Strangely enough venereal disease indicates in a crude 
way the natural boundaries of honorable sexual conduct. 
Loveless matings, based upon gross physical appetites and 
venery, form its breeding ground, whence it is carried into 
genuine relationships as the physical counterpart of the 
spiritual pollution that has been endured. 

The man or the woman who succumbs to lust suffers a 
defilement which mars the perfection of later love ; memories, 
associations, personal experience cannot be laid aside at 
will. No more can the resposibility for participation in the 
subversive commerce of prostitution. The community may 
require no penalty, but nature is not so lenient and the 
seeds that have been sown will one day come to harvest. 

The problem of venereal disease will reach solution when 
man learns to observe the natural laws of sex in his attempt 
toward happiness. 



Probably the only group of individuals who today suffi- 
ciently realize the importance of sex in education is that 
of the psycho-analysts. To them come the men and women 
whose lives have been wrecked as a result of injuries in- 
flicted upon the sexual life before the period of conscious 
memory and from the analysis of their patients physicians 
and pedagogues learn the value of early training as A pro- 
phylactic against later disorders. 

One of the great contributions that Freud, Jung and 
their followers have made to the science of pedagogy is their 
demonstration of the pervasiveness of sex throughout the 
life of the individual. Until within very recent years parents 
and teachers have assumed that the sex life of the indi- 
vidual was non-existent before the time of puberty. The 
manifestation of sex interest or sex desires in young chil- 
dren was regarded as unnatural and obscene and was pun- 
ished more or less severely, thereby providing the base for 
repressions which would later appear as obstinate neuroses. 

As a result of the observations of the psycho-analysts 
it is now known that the sexual life is at no time dissociated 
from existence, and that from earliest infancy onwards 
sexual instincts whose direction may be of determining im- 
portance in later life are to be reckoned with. 

The Freudian definition of sex is far broader than the 
concept ordinarily associated with this word. 

Freud himself says: "It cannot have remained unper- 
ceived by the physician that psycho-analysis is accustomed 
to suffer the reproach that it extends the term sexual far 


Sex as a Factor m Education 313 

beyond the customary extent. The complaint is just, 
whether it may be applied as reproach may not be dis- 
cussed here. The term sexual includes far more in psycho- 
analysis; it goes both below and above the popular sense. 
This extension is justified genetically; we reckon with the 
'sexual life' also all play of tender emotions, which have 
sprung from the source of primitive sexual impulses, both 
when these impulses experience an inhibition of their orig- 
inal sexual goal, or have exchanged this goal for another 
one, no longer sexual. We speak, therefore, preferably of 
psycho-sexuality, putting emphasis on the fact that we 
should not overlook nor undervalue the mental factor of 
sexual life. We use the word sexuality in the same com- 
prehensive sense as the German language does the word 
'Liebe' (love)." 1 

Sex in this broad sense is already observable in the life 
of the very young and exhibits itself not only in pleasure 
provided through the genital organs or other exogenous 
zones, but in the love of parents or brothers and sisters 
and especially in adolescence in vague yearnings and nebu- 
lous desires which phrase themselves as art or religion. 

According to Freud, all of the higher emotions such as 
sympathy, artistic enjoyment, altruism and religion de- 
velop from sexual desires as opposed to the ego instincts. 
When one considers the long evolutionary path traveled 
by germ plasm in its development from a single living cell 
into the complex multicellular organism called man, this 
classification of the instincts loses its seemingly exaggerated 
character. Doubtless the first impulses toward altruism 
and love came into being coincidently with the instinct of 
sex. Among the lower animals, for example, the sexual 
origin of the impulse toward love is manifest, as in the 
maternal and mating instincts. Apart from the sexual life 
the ego instinct obviously predominates among the lower or- 
ders. Since man is, but by gradations, removed from his 

1 Freud, fiber Wilde Ptychoanalyse. Zentralblatt, 1910. 

314 The Laws of Sex 

winged and four-footed progenitors, in the evolutionary 
scale, there would seem no good reason why the origin of 
his emotions should be supposed to differ widely from that 
of his less developed kin. The physical origin of the emo- 
tions has been sufficiently demonstrated by the psychologists 
to eliminate the old religious concept of the sharp differen- 
tiation between mind and matter. This view has been con- 
sistently supported by the study of the neuroses, where the 
interplay of the physical and the mental is so close as to 
defy arbitrary separation. The paralysis of the neurotic, 
although it finds its base in the disordered psyche is no less 
real and frequently no less obstinate than the paralysis 
which can be accounted for on purely physical grounds. 

Within the brief span of his single life, from conception 
until death, man appears to run the gamut of evolution. 
As the embryo is transformed through the various phases 
of evolution from a single celled organism into the living 
child, so it appears his emotional life also progresses over 
old paths worn smooth by countless generations. Before 
birth he fulfills the cycles of the lower orders in infancy 
and early childhood he experiences again the crude and 
spontaneous emotions of primitive man, and even his native 
abilities and ambitions at various age periods typify the 
race at certain eras. For example, his ability to conquer 
precise accents in language appears to correspond to the 
order of racial development when speech was first acquired 
by man. When this age is passed he can no longer acquire 
the perfect control of language that a younger child achieves 
without conscious effort. 

It may well be that stultification of the emotions arising 
from the libido in any age epoch may predicate a corre- 
sponding lack of emotional facility in later years. For, 
as the muscles require exercise in youth to achieve full de- 
velopment, or the vocal organs practice for linguistic attain- 
ment, so the emotional nature needs expression and not re- 
pression in order to expand to normal proportions. 

Sex as a Factor m Education 815 

If the parent or teacher merely overlooks the sex life 
of the child and fails to utilize the interests and desires aris- 
ing from this source, as a means toward development, an 
incomparable opportunity may be thrown away and im- 
pulses which might with proper training have been turned 
to beneficent ends may be transformed into evil tendencies. 
If altruism, sympathy, and all of the higher emotions are, 
as Freud believes, rooted in sexual desires, the means for 
the stimulation and sublimation of these instincts is a pro- 
found and primary problem of pedagogy. For example, 
the love of animals, especially of young and helpless ani- 
mals, which is almost universal among children, and which 
Freud would maintain is of definitely sexual origin, might, 
if given opportunity for full expression, later result in an 
enlarged altruism toward the weaker members of the race. 
Or the desire for knowledge of the biological facts of re- 
production if properly satisfied might incite an added inter- 
est in science in later years or conduce to the wholesome 
love of nature study. The relation of physical exercise 
toward aberrant sexual practices, such as masturbation, 
should also be thoroughly understood in order to adapt 
the daily life of the child to his normal development. 

In his synthetic sexual theory Freud holds that the 
sexual instinct or "libido" is composed of a number of par- 
tial instincts which appear in varying constancy in the 
child. 2 "The sexual instinct of a child reveals itself as 
highly composite; it permits a separation into many com- 
ponents which arise from various sources. The instinct is, 
above all, still independent of the function of reproduction 
in the service of which it will later take its place. It serves 
for the attainment of various kinds of pleasurable sensa- 
tions which we include together according to analogies and 
connections as sexual pleasure. The chief source of the 
infantile sexual pleasure is the suitable excitation of cer- 
tain particularly irritable body zones which are in addi- 

* Drei AbJiandlungen zur SexuaUheorie. 

316 The Laws of Sex 

tion to the genitals, the mouth, anus, urethral orifice and 
in particular also the skin and other sensory surfaces. Since 
in this first phase of the child's sexual life, the gratification 
is found on his own body and is oblivious of a foreign 
object, we call this phase, according to a word coined by 
Havelock Ellis, 'autoerotism.' Those places which are im- 
portant for the gaining of sexual pleasure we call erogenous 
zones. The pleasure of sucking of the smallest children is 
a good example of such an autoerotic gratification from an 
erogenous zone. The first scientific observer of this phe- 
nomenon, a pediatrist named Lindner of Budapest, has 
already rightly interpreted this as sexual gratification 
and written exhaustively of its transition into other and 
higher forms of sexual activity. Another sexual gratifi- 
cation of this period of life is the masturbationary excita- 
tion of the genitals, which has so great importance for 
the later life, and in many individuals is never completely 
overcome. Besides these and other autoerotic activities 
there come to expression very early in the child those in- 
stinctive components of the sexual pleasure, or as we pre- 
fer to call it, the libido, which presuppose another person 
(than self) as object. 

"These instincts appear as contrasting pairs, as active 
and passive; as the most important representatives of this 
group I name the pleasure of inflicting pain (sadism) 
with its passive opposite (masochism), and the active and 
passive pleasure in looking from the former of which, 
later, the desire for knowledge branches off, as from the 
latter the impulse to artistic and dramatic exhibition. Other 
sexual activities of the child come already under the view- 
point of the object-choice, in which another person becomes 
of chief importance. This person owes her importance 
originally to the consideration for the instinct of self-preser- 
vation. The distinction of sex plays in this infantile pe- 
riod no preeminent role; thus you can assign to erery child 

Sex as a Factor m Education 317 

without doing him an injustice a bit of homosexual 
endowment." 3 

Whether one agrees with Freud or not in his nomencla- 
ture, the fact remains that in the young child a complex 
group of physical and emotional instincts exists which can- 
not be safely treated by the parent or teacher merely by 
neglect. Sympathetic insight and a balanced understand- 
ing of the plastic psycho-physical make-up of the child is 
the first essential of the true educator. 

Parents who would lead their child to the full develop- 
ment of his personality must recognize the child as he is, 
not as they theoretically imagine him to be. 

One point which the psycho-analysts have elucidated with 
regard to human psychology which is of great pedagogic 
interest is the relation of the so-called normal and abnor- 
mal in the psychic life. Formerly it was supposed that 
a considerable gap separated the sane from the insane mind. 
Now it is known that, barring disorders that have their 
source in organic lesions, no such clear-cut differentiation 
exists. All minds are tainted more or less with illusons, 
and insanity, save in organic disease, is rather a matter of 
degree than of kind. A repression which may never dem- 
onstrate itself as a definite neurosis may still warp the life 
of the individual and render him comparatively ineffective in 
his journey through the world. 

One of the pedagogic advantages of the psycho-analysis 
of neurotics is that it presents to the investigator in suf- 
ficiently exaggerated form to be observable, the ordinary 
facts of human psychology. The analysis of the man suf- 
fering with an anxiety neurosis or melancholia due to fixa- 
tion on the mother demonstrates with extraordinary clarity 
the role that relations between parents and children may 

Freud, fiber Prychoanalyte, 

318 The Laws of Sex 

Many mothers do not know that exaggerated tenderness 
on their part toward their children, constant caressing, 
anxious solicitude and the like, may lead to a dependency 
which may later seriously impair the happiness and efficiency 
of the adult man. 

The child who sleeps in his mother's room, who is fre- 
quently taken into her bed and is the object of undue 
demonstrativeness or anxiety, is frequently the patient in 
later years who suffers from a neurosis due to what is 
called the OEdipus complex. 

Under this term recalling the old saga of CEdipus who 
killed his father and married his mother, Freud defines the 
erotic relation between mother and child. This he maintains 
is of sexual origin representing incestuous desire, and is 
at the bottom of every neurosis. It appears also with 
changed sex roles in women, when it is called the Electra 

While many do not agree with Freud that fixation on 
the parents, or incest repression, is the nuclear complex of 
all neuroses, still there is sufficient evidence to serve as a 
warning against over-indulgent parental affection. 

On the other hand, coldness on the part of the parent, 
with the refusal of sympathy and comprehending love, may 
result in the introversion of the child, due to the damming 
back of erotic impulses. Hatred of his fellows, eccentricity, 
aloofness and life weariness, sometimes culminating in sui- 
cide, develops ; and when punishment is added, the sadist 
or the masochist, potential in some degree in all human 
beings, may come to the fore. Children who take pleas- 
ure in tormenting animals or playing cruel jokes upon their 
playmates are often simply the victims of this introversion. 
Their evil characteristics are merely accentuated by harsh 
treatment, and when this is continued the fully developed 
sadist or masochist may appear, for whose pleasure the 
scourge has become part of the paraphernalia of the brothel. 

Much of the violent cruelty of parents or teachers toward 

Sex as a Factor m Education 319 

children or of guards toward prisoners, or of others in 
authority toward their underlings, is of definite sadistic 
origin, resultant from the damming back of erotic impulses 
in early childhood. The father who beats his son with 
a leather thong until the blood flows, or the jailer who 
tortures his prisoners with thumbscrews or similar devices 
often merely represents the epitome of thwarted sexual in- 
stincts. Given a different environment in early childhood, 
facilitating the expression of their instincts toward love, 
these monsters could in the main be transformed into ordi- 
nary altruistic individuals. 

Especially in regard to corporal punishment the sexual 
element should not be forgotten. Many analyses of neu- 
rotics disclose the fact that the ordinary spanking often 
gives rise both to sexual desire and its satisfaction. The 
orgasm is frequently first experienced in connection with 
corporal punishment, sowing the seed for masochistic per- 
versions of various kinds. The onlookers also may suffer 
traumata resulting in sadistic propensities. The great in- 
terest which children take in the whipping of some mem- 
ber of the family and the almost grotesque delight that 
they sometimes show at his physical distress unmasks the 
sadist that lurks even in kind-hearted individuals. 

The evil effects of corporal punishment are so profound 
and so intimately associated with perversions and fixations 
of various kinds that it is not too much to recommend its 
complete abrogation in behalf of gentler methods of dis- 

No parent desires to pander to the sadistic or maso- 
chistic propensities of his children, or to arouse a passion 
of hatred which may later exhibit itself as a profound neu- 
rosis, yet this is often what he does when he whips a child. 

Especially in connection with masturbation punishment 
of any sort is to be viewed askance, for it is a direct affront 
to the sexual life of the individual, which is a very delicately 
balanced mechanism. It is said by psycho-analysts of wide 

320 The Laws of Sex 

experience that probably 90 per cent of girls and boys mas- 
turbate in early youth. 4 The great majority of these chil- 
dren give up the habit with little or no effort, and the very 
memory of the practice may disappear from the sphere 
of the conscious. 

In some cases, however, the habit persists with increas- 
ing intensity until it becomes a veritable obsession, leading 
the individual to withdraw more and more into himself, to 
abjure the company of his associates, and to brood upon 
the immediate sexual pleasure which can be so cheaply se- 
cured. It is in this class of cases especially that the threats 
of pseudo-physicians or the harsh treatment often accorded 
by parents or teachers is liable to produce permanent 

It is pitiful to hear of the innumerable instances where 
unfounded statements have led to year-long suffering among 
boys and young men who could not of their own volition 
rid themselves of the habit of masturbation. Oskar Pfister 
cites an example of the kind of literature that is frequently 
circulated with regard to onanism, in a pamphlet written 
by Pastor N. Hauri, of Switzerland, which states: "When 
a young man secretly does all kinds of things whereby he 
stains his body, his health also suffers grievous injury. 
He becomes tired and sleepy, his mind is weakened, he loses 
all elasticity and power of will. Ever less can he resist 
the evil pleasure. Step by step his evil thoughts pursue 
him to ruin. He loses the joy of work. He becomes in 
appearance and behavior like an old man and finally any 
disease may get him which he would otherwise have easily 
withstood and carries him off in his early years. How 
many a young man has already sunk into an early grave 
in this way and others have become miserable and sickly 
or blue and melancholy." 

It is not unusual to find in the literature of quacks or 
patent medicine men statements to the effect that onanism 
4 Freud. Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexvaltheorie. 

Sex as a Factor m Education 

leads to insanity, epilepsy, St. Vitus's dance or a character- 
istic facial expression. Such abounding falsehoods are ac- 
cepted by the young onanist with dreadful faith, leading 
in some cases to severe neuroses, suicide or persistent melan- 

The probability is that masturbation, even when prac- 
ticed with great frequency and over long periods of time, 
has few if any serious results other than a tendency to 
introversion and a certain falling off of self-respect due 
to the individual's inability to master his own will. Many 
persons have masturbated three or four times a day for 
periods of years without exhibiting any serious physical re- 
sults. The groundless statements of those who have opposed 
masturbation and the false circulars of the patent medicine 
men are beyond doubt responsible for most of the disor- 
ders associated with onanism. Suicide in adolescents has 
been traced back to these untrue dogmas, and neurotic 
blindness, paralysis and hysteria have been found associated 
with brutal punishment inflicted by parents or teachers 
upon the discovery of onanism in the child. 5 

While the exaggerated horror of masturbation appears 
to have no counterpart in actual fact, it is still clearly 
undesirable to permit the child to become invested with an 
unproductive habit that he cannot break at will. Espe- 
cially in adolescence, when the body needs all of its poten- 
tial resources for development and growth, the depletion 
of the system by the waste of the nervous and physical 
energy involved in frequent masturbation is plainly contra- 
indicated. As with all other habits fixation results from repi- 
tition, so with masturbation the longer it is practiced the 
more difficult it is to bring it under control. The habit 
which in a child of five or six years might yield readily 
enough to suitable treatment presents a very different prog- 
nosis when it has been practiced until the tenth or twelfth 
Pfister. The Psychoanalytic Method. 

The Laws of Sex 

Physical defect of the genital organs is sometimes ac- 
countable for onanism, and the earlier in the life of the 
child the defect can be removed the less likely is a psychic 
trauma to supervene. Children should be inspected soon 
after birth to ascertain whether the genetalia are normal 
or whether operative interference is indicated. Adhesions 
should be immediately broken up and circumcision per- 
formed, if necessary, within the first year. Postponement 
of the procedure often causes serious derangement of the 
sexual life, which is easily avoided by prompt and intelli- 
gent care. All children should of course be trained from 
earliest life to habitual cleanliness of the genetalia. 

In persistent cases of onanism, especially when the child 
tends to transmit his habit to other children, the assistance 
of a competent psycho-analyst should be invoked. In mas- 
turbation as in all other aberrations of sexual desire the 
most important prophylactic is a strong bond of sympa- 
thetic understanding between parent and child. If from 
earliest infancy the child is accustomed to speak frankly of 
his sexual life to his mother the difficulty of detecting onan- 
ism in its formative period and of aborting it is greatly 
diminished. This is particularly the case when there are 
several children in the family, for they tend to practice 
onanism in one another's presence, and reports of the pro- 
cedure are almost certain to come back if the displeasure 
of the mother is not foreseen^ at the mere mention of sexual 

Ordinarily, before the habit has become fixed, a clear and 
frequently repeated statement of the primary purpose of 
the sex organs in reproduction, coupled with the warning 
that abuse of the genetalia depletes the vigor of the indi- 
vidual and tends to inhibit his best development, will suffice 
to prevent the establishment of onanism. Children are 
particularly prone to adopt the standards of conduct of 
other people, and if they know that their parents regard the 
practice of masturbation as unwise and injurious they in- 

Sex as a Factor m Education 328 

cline to assimilate this point of view. On the other hand, 
if all that they hear is the high estimation placed on this 
habit by their playmates or by older perverts they tend to 
adopt this opposite view and govern their conduct accord- 
ingly. Sex power is so intimately and so instinctively re- 
lated to self-respect in the minds of the young that its 
exhibition in erections or "jerking off" creates a desire 
for emulation which can only be offset by careful reitera- 
tion of the undesirability of these practices. 

If the mother holds the confidence of her child in regard 
to his sexual life, and she can only do so through abso- 
lute frankness from his earliest years, she can serve most 
effectively as a bulwark against the fixation of this habit. 
Arbitrary condemnation, intolerance of frequent relapses 
or lack of sympathy with unsuccessful efforts to stop the 
practice inevitably drives the child to secrecy and invali- 
dates the mother's influence. It is as a sort of vicarious 
conscience, a near-by, warm, mundane divinity, to whom 
confessions may frankly be made without the possibility 
of misunderstanding, that the mother most successfully 
stands between her child and the persistence of onanism. 

Experience in the psychiatric clinic soon indicates the 
importance and the comparative rarity of this sort of ten- 
der comprehending care of the young child, for, contrary 
to current opinion, the majority of psychic breakdowns 
occur in young people and are the direct result of disor- 
dered sexual lives. Re-education, which is much more dif- 
ficult and tedious than right education, is then called for 
to atone for neglect and oversight on the part of the 
parents during the child's earlier years. It may well be 
said that before children can receive proper education as 
to their sexual lives parents themselves must be re-educated 
with regard to the life values of psycho-sexuality. Most 
of the present generation has grown up under the archaic 
opinion that sex was a machination of the evil one; that 
it was designed to tempt and degrade a frail humanity 

324 The Laws of Sex 

which would be more god-like if it abjured this function 
altogether. The celibacy of the priesthood and the sister- 
hoods and the current view that the rites of marriage in 
some transcendental way mitigate the carnal sin of lust, in- 
dicates the attitude that even today hides itself in the 
unconscious. Marriage is called "the holy state of matri- 
mony," but decency is outraged when the significance of 
matrimony is dwelt upon. The wedding day and the pres- 
ence of a lovely infant in the young mother's arms after 
the puerperal period occasion congratulations and even 
charming poems, but the sex relation predicated in mar- 
riage and the enceinte woman too often give rise to em- 
barrassment, foul jokes or obscene thoughts. Many women 
who suppose themselves to be clean minded in the extreme 
instinctively change the subject if they have been speaking 
together of an expectant friend and a young person enters 
the room. The idea is still prevalent that it is improper 
to let children see an infant when it is "too young," un- 
less they belong to the same family, when the stork or 
the doctor story is frequently invoked to conceal the shock- 
ing facts of its origin. Many parents find it impossible 
to phrase to their children, even in a wholly impersonal way, 
the physiological processes of sexual intercourse. They 
are embarrassed beyond endurance when their children ask 
for a detailed description of the sexual act, and often their 
vocabulary is insufficient. For people so obsessed with the 
sense of shame in sex to attempt to communicate a normal 
point of view to the young is plainly inappropriate. The 
pornographic association of the word sex must be dispelled 
from their minds before parents will be fit guides for their 
children in the most complex and the most sacred of all 
life's relations. 

Few people realize the absolute purity of the unstained 
childish mind with regard to sexual matters. To the young 
child whose mind has escaped defilement all parts of the 
body are clean, and the sex act is little more than an em- 

Sex as a Factor m Education 325 

brace which when once explained is of curiously little inter- 
est to him. The fact that children are conceived as a 
result of the mutual love of the parents appears to him 
in its true proportions as beautiful, and the birth of a 
child seems to him no more matter for pretense and debas- 
ing fiction than the laying of eggs in the nest by the mother 
bird. Knowledge of the physical bond between mother and 
child brings him the nearer to his own mother, and the 
thought of the physical sacrifice she has made for him 
heightens rather than detracts from his admiration for 
motherhood, A realization of his own potential power of 
parenthood increases his respect for his own body and 
interprets on true grounds the reason for his maintaining 
his own physical integrity. All of the facts of sex physiol- 
ogy are accepted by the clean childish mind with far less 
prurience than the average adult mind accepts the facts 
o? the reproductive cycle of the flowers. It is no more 
obscene in his estimation for his father, whom he loves, 
to have given his life seed to his mother than for the wind 
or the birds or the wandering bees to carry the pollen 
that fertilizes the flower. The story of reproduction is as 
wonderful as a fairy tale to a child, and not very much 
more interesting. Ordinarily it is necessary to repeat the 
story over and over again at intervals to bring the facts 
home and to satisfy the child's recurrent curiosity. He will 
listen for a time and then lose interest and later will re- 
turn with the request to tell it all over again, like Cinderella, 
from the very beginning. The lightness of the impress that 
the facts presented in this way make upon his mind is 
evidenced by his forgetting them many times, and return- 
ing without embarrassment with a repetition of his ques- 

In intelligent children, especially among those endowed 
with temperament and imagination, curiosity with regard 
to the origin of life and the sex organs develops very early. 
At three or four years their powers of observation have 

326 The Law* of Sex 

usually progressed far enough to give rise to definite ques- 
tions. These opportunities should be grasped not only to 
transmit the information asked for, but also to lay the 
broad foundation for a sane and altruistic attitude toward 
the relation of the sexes. The significance of marriage as 
predicating the home and the protection of little children 
should be made clear, and the association of the sex organs 
with love and reproduction should be dwelt upon. The 
conception of the genetalia merely as adjuncts to the ex- 
cretory organs is unwholesome, and when allied to a sense 
of shame such as is ordinarily inculcated in connection with 
these functions is perversive of a normal attitude of mind. 
It is irrational to teach that the sexual organs are shame- 
ful and unclean and then to expect the childish mind to 
regard these organs with the respect that their purpose in 
the individual and racial life demands. Modesty and shame 
are by no means one and the same thing, although they 
are often confused and frequently counterfeit one another. 
Modesty arises from self-respect and a sense of ultra- 
worthiness, whereas shame springs from fear of disclosing 
that which is repulsive or vile. 

The child should be taught to honor his own body, to 
revere its beauty and to desire its perfect development. 
Prudery is but the veil for an evil mind and contaminates 
him whom it touches. In all children there is a native 
impulse to view the naked body, and when this is repressed 
in childhood it frequently reappears in later life as a sort 
of fetish. The large and lucrative business that is car- 
ried on in the sale of pornographic pictures of nude women 
indicates the extent of these repressions. 

The story of life can be quite frankly told to the small- 
est child without the least danger of its alarming or dis- 
illusioning him. As it is without doubt the most wonder- 
ful and beautiful of nature's mysteries, and is universal in 
the living world of which he is part, he should hear of it 

Sex as a Factor m Education 327 

first from those who love him and who can interpret its 
true meaning to him. 

First impressions are curiously tenacious, and if the child 
learns the truth before he meets the inevitable falsehoods 
he will be to some extent insured against contamination. 
Moreover, knowledge disarms curiosity, and the child who 
is informed will be less vulnerable prey to evil-minded chil- 
dren or older persons who often delight in scaring the virgin 
mind with salacious stories. Knowledge of sex is so in- 
tensely desired by children that they will consort with per- 
sons whom they know to be unworthy companions if they 
believe that only from such sources can the information be 

In telling the facts of reproduction there need be no fear 
that the young child will assimilate more knowledge than 
is good for him. In the first place, in the normal physiol- 
ogy of sex if properly presented there is nothing which 
could lead to evil thoughts or practices, and in the sec- 
ond place, his comprehension will be found to be surpris- 
ingly limited. Most young children are far less interested 
in the relation between the sexes, which concerns them little, 
than in the subject of their immediate origin and their 
relation to their mothers. 

Before the child enters school or plays without super- 
vision with other children, he should be fully informed as 
to the normal physiology of reproduction. He should also 
understand the objections to masturbation, for the prac- 
tice is so common among school children that he will 
inevitably be enlightened, and then will be less open to 
temptation if he knows in advance the evil nature of these 

It is unfortunate that mothers do not know more uni- 
versally the dangerous situations that confront the child 
between the fifth and the tenth years. Children of this 
age have a sexual vocabulary of their own, words handed 


down presumably for centuries from one generation of chil- 
dren to another, and even among the most cultured and 
wealthy families it is not very unusual for little ones of 
seven or eight to have "lovers" of about their own age 
with whom they have sexual intercourse, sometimes in the 
presence of others. One case that came to the writer's at- 
tention was that of a little girl of seven years belonging 
to a most refined family who had intercourse with her 
older brother and with several of their friends. Another 
was that of a group of five children, two girls and three 
boys, living near one another in an aristocratic neighbor- 
hood, who repeatedly had intercourse with one another and 
boasted of it to other children. The oldest of these was 
a boy of ten years. Still another case was that of a girl 
of nine years, living under apparently very sheltered sur- 
roundings, who took a curious pride in having many 

One little girl of eight years went one morning to play 
with a small friend, but was told by the brother who opened 
the door that the child had gone out with her mother. The 
boy of thirteen years invited the child in, promptly locked 
the door, and then after making indecent proposals to 
her pursued her through the house with the evident inten- 
tion of assaulting her. The child finally escaped by flee- 
ing into a bathroom, locking the door and climbing out 
of the window. 

In all of these cases the parents supposed that their 
children were completely "innocent" of any sex knowledge. 

Wherever children congregate together it may be as- 
sumed in advance that illicit information will be available 
and even situations such as those described come to the 
knowledge or experience of an astonishing number of young 

The refusal to answer the child's questions frankly or 
the substitution of legends for the truth, as in the stork, 
the cabbage, the angel or the doctor fables, is most injuri- 

Sex as a Factor in Education 329 

ous, for in the first place it tends to destroy confidence in 
the parents, and in the second place it suggests that there 
is something evil in sex, since concealment is necessary. 
Many cases are on record where the denial or distortion 
of the truth has led to extraordinary birth phantasies 
eventually culminating in hysterical symptoms. Jung re- 
ports a most interesting case of a little girl of four years 
whose relations with her parents became completely de- 
ranged as a result of their concealment of the facts of 
reproduction. 6 Another case is reported by Pfister of a 
girl of sixteen who suffered regularly at the menstrual epoch 
from vomiting. "It turned out," he says, "that when she 
was small, she had believed that children were born by the 
mouth. After she had gained insight in this connection 
the symptoms ceased immediately." 7 Freud, in Uber in- 
fantile Sexiuiltheorien, repeatedly brings out the impor- 
tance of birth and creation theories for the later develop- 
ment of the individual. The strange composite of fact and 
fiction with regard to birth and creation that falls to the 
lot of most children, coupled with their inability to secure 
complete and reliable information, forms an incomparable 
basis for phantasy building. The child broods upon the 
matter searching for the truth, and the occasional light 
that flickers through from doubtful sources illuminates 
strange phantasies which lurk in the unconscious awaiting 
a suitable opportunity to reappear. The association of 
masturbation with the development of these birth and crea- 
tion theories has not yet been fully elucidated, but there 
appears to be evidence of close relationship. 

When instruction in sex physiology is postponed until 
the tenth or twelfth year, or even until puberty, as some 
advise, the child ordinarily knows all that his parents can 
tell him, and, what is more, his attitude towards these mat- 
ters has already become fixed. After the long suggestive 

Jung. Lecture delivered at Clark University. 
T Pftster. The Psychoanalytic Method. 

The Laws of Sea; 

silence he cannot break through the repression that has 
developed. He listens, perhaps, submissively and a little 
guiltily, being aware of the unsavory sources of his pre- 
vious information, but now the roles are changed; it is 
he who will not or cannot discuss these matters with his 
parents. The opportunity for the formation of a frank 
and open relationship with his parents is past, and though 
it may still be in part recovered, a subtle embarrassment 
destructive of genuine understanding will ordinarily re- 
main. Having been forced so long to keep his sex thoughts 
silent he finds it impossible to remove the inhibition. Thus 
in the tempestuous years of adolescence the guidance and 
help of his parents is denied to him. 

Some mothers say proudly: "I have tried to talk to 
my daughter of these things but she shows no interest; she 
asks no questions. She is so innocent that she is not 
curious." Alas! doubtless her curiosity had long since 
been satisfied. The misapprehension of parents with re- 
gard to their children's knowledge of sex matters is well 
evidenced in the following incident. 

A colored girl of 13 years gave birth to a child that was 
a light mulatto. She accused a white boy of sixteen of 
excellent family of being the father of her child. On being 
approached he confessed to the relationship. His mother 
was interviewed in the hope that she would help provide for 
her grandchild's future, but she vehemently protested that 
her son must be innocent as he was utterly ignorant of 
even the primary facts of life. In the midst of the con- 
versation the boy came into the room and denounced the 
informant for telling the truth, which he admitted to his 

Another phase of sexual life against which most adults 
consistently close their minds is homosexuality. People 
will not believe how large a part such relationships play in 
the lives of adolescents, otherwise they would view with 
distrust the system of education that segregates the sexes 

Sex as a Factor m Education 381 

during the time when the libido seeks most strongly for ex- 
pression. If, as Freud maintains, "You can assign to every 
child without doing him an injustice a bit of homosexual 
endowment," it is clearly most unwise to segregate him 
with the members of his own sex during his most impression- 
able period if homosexual relationships are to be avoided. 
In segregated schools and colleges, in nurses' training 
schools, in divinity schools, in fact, in every sort of edu- 
cational institution where the sexes are rigidly separated, 
cases constantly arise where homosexual love develops often 
permanently inhibiting: all interest in the opposite sex. 
Havelock Ellis, K. H. Ulrichs, Edward Carpenter and 
many other careful students maintain that there is a 
definite uranian type that cannot find satisfaction in hetero- 
sexual relationships and who suffer grievously from the 
ban which society has placed upon them. Carpenter calls 
this the intermediate sex and maintains that urnings, 
whether they be male or female, are frequently people of 
high native endowment whose happiness and comfort should 
not be sacrificed to the arbitrary judgments of society. 
Havelock Ellis also believes that the rigid attitude of 
heterosexuals toward the uranian type is to be deprecated 
and urges the relaxation of the code of morals which con- 
demns urnings to public censure or even penalization. 

Doubtless under existing conditions this attitude of so- 
ciety does result, in the individual case, in much irrational 
cruelty, for after encouraging through its educational system 
the development of homosexuals, society rounds on them 
and denies them the right of satisfaction. Edward Car- 
penter says: "If the men and women born with the 
tendency in question were only exceedingly rare, though 
it wouldn't be fair on that account to ignore them, yet it 
would hardly be necessary to dwell at great length on their 
case. But as the class is on any computation numerous, 
it becomes a duty for society not only to understand them 
but to help them to understand themselves, for there is 

332 The Laws of Sex 

no doubt that in many cases people of this kind suffer a 
good deal from their own temperament, and yet after all 
it is possible that they may have an important part to play 
in the evolution of the race. Anyone who realizes what 
love is, the dedication of the heart, so profound, so ab- 
sorbing, so mysterious, so imperative and always just in 
the noblest natures so strong, cannot fail to see how diffi- 
cult, how tragic even, must often be the fate of those whose 
deepest feelings are destined from earliest days to be a 
riddle and a stumbling block, unexplained to themselves and 
passed over in silence by others." 

The numerical relation of homosexuals to heterosexuals is 
variously estimated, some placing it as low as 1.5 per cent 
of the adult population, while others hold that it is much 
higher. 8 Three important investigations carried on by 
Hirschfeld in Berlin and Dr. von Romer in Amsterdam, 
indicate that 3.9 per cent of the population is bisexual. In 
the large cities such as Paris, Berlin and New York, groups 
of urnings congregate together, thereby in some measure 
ameliorating their condition. Bloch estimates that before 
the war there were 1,200,000 homosexuals in the German 
Empire. 9 The vice investigations that within recent years 
have been put through in many cities disclose consistently 
the prevalence of uranism. Here again a characteristic 
vocabulary exists which is sometimes suggestively utilized 
on the stage, especially by actors who impersonate the 
opposite sex. One of the reasons why the constant playing 
of feminine roles by lads in colleges dramatics is frowned 
upon by the authorities is because it has been found to 
further homosexual tendencies. 

The potent sufferings of urnings and the frequently high 
character of their emotions, for they often idealize love 
far more loftily than do heterosexuals, might well lead fair- 

8 Magnus Hirschfeld. Result of the Statistical Investigation* regarding 
the percentage of Homosexuals. 
Bloch. Sexual Life of Our Time. 

Sex as a Faetor in Education 388 

minded persons to favor a relaxation of the moral code 
were it not that homosexual love through its denial of re- 
production is a menace not only to the racial life but to the 
complete development of the sex life of the individual. 
Many persons who temporarily believe themselves to be 
homosexual, and who participate in such relations later 
under different conditions, return to normal heterosexuality, 
marry and have children. These individuals enjoy a much 
richer sex life than they would if society had encouraged 
uranism by tacit compliance. While there is no doubt but 
that fixation results in a fair proportion of the cases and 
that urnings of 30 or 35 years could never return to so- 
called normal sexuality, the happiness of these individuals 
may well be sacrificed to the greater happiness involved in 
the lives of the younger, more plastic individuals who would 
be more easily seduced to homosexuality were society more 

An illustrative case is that of a nurse of unusual intelli- 
gence and personal charm who had been educated in the 
segregated system. She was tall, finely built and good- 
looking. Her mother whom she had adored had died when 
she was about five years old. At fourteen she was seduced 
by a woman teacher at boarding school and for three years 
lived in this emotion. Then the teacher transferred her 
affection to another girl leaving her former sweetheart 
desolate. Upon returning home the girl was expected to 
undertake the usual social life, but she experienced a great 
sexual repugnance to men and although she had several 
proposals of marriage from friends whom she liked in a 
Platonic manner she could not bring herself to accept and 
finally resolved to study nursing. Again among members 
of her own sex her earlier longings returned and she formed 
an alliance with another nurse in training, also of unusual 
intellectual and physical attractions. This relationship 
lasted about six years and was characterized by rather 
more constancy than usually exists in marriage. At the 

384 The Laws of Sex 

end of this time she suddenly fell in love with another girl 
who had no previous knowledge of homosexuality, with whom 
she had secret relations. Her former friend becoming suspi- 
cious, she broke off the relationship only to become in- 
fatuated a few months later with a third girl, a debutante 
who also had been previously ignorant. While this re- 
lationship was in progress she became enamored of a young 
woman of unattractive appearance who also believed herself 
to be an urning and who had already had several homo- 
sexual experiences. This affair was discovered, leading to 
the betrayal of all the others, and the original companion 
threatened disclosure and prosecution. 

The mental suffering of the deserted woman was quite 
as great as that of the wife whose husband has left her 
for another affinity. 

Of the two young girls whom the nurse had seduced one 
became a misanthrope and the other, the debutante, after 
a brief period of emotional storm and man-hating, had illicit 
relations with a man whom she subsequently married and 
with whom she is exceedingly happy. 

Another case was that of two girls in college, one of 
whom suffered definitely from hysteria. Their devotion 
was obvious and they made no especial effort at conceal- 
ment. After graduation the relationship tempestuously 
broke up and one of the girls entered a convent where she 
fell in love with a nun and eventually committed suicide. 
The other married and became the mother of several 

The difficulty in openly sanctioning uranism is that such 
compliance inevitably would lead to an increase in the prac- 
tice, for homosexuals are deterred, at least in part, by the 
present code from seducing younger persons. 

Since homosexuality continually seeks new objects of 
affection and since many of these may be by no means 
fixed types and suffer exceedingly as a result of their seduc- 
tion, the evils inherent in, the practice are obvious. Mar- 

Sex as a Factor in Education 335 

riage and reproduction undoubtedly offer a better medium 
for the complete and constructive utilization of the sex im- 
pulses than does uranism. Barren sex relationships de- 
pendent purely upon passion are no more enduring among 
homosexuals than among heterosexuals, and are to be depre- 
cated for precisely the same reasons. The libertine who 
flies from flower to flower blighting the blossoms is no more 
to be respected as an urning than as an heterosexual 
seducer. Passion ending in disillusion inevitably entails 
traumata which affect the egoist far less fatally than they 
do the more idealistic companion. 

Although it cannot perhaps be denied that such experi- 
ences may bring stimulus to artistic effort and some spiritual 
enlightenment, the price paid is too high and the dangers 
too imminent to make it worth while. 

As the idealistic element declines after the enjoyment of 
many homosexual devotions the genuine pervert emerges. 
A minister who was married, but who had previously had 
homosexual experiences, was found at about forty years 
of age to be seducing many boys of tender age. He ex- 
cused himself on the ground that he was a natural urning. 
A schoolmaster of similar history explained that he could 
not, when among young boys, withstand the temptation. 
When his practices were discovered he immediately resigned 
and left the state, but later secured another position still 
in the teaching world in a distant city. 

It is obvious that such perverts could demoralize large 
numbers of young children who in turn might become sources 
of contamination, and that for this reason they should be, 
in so far as possible, restrained from their practices. 

Probably the best preventive of homosexuality lies in 
coeducation from earliest years onward. The child who 
associates with contemporaries of the opposite sex in school 
and at play ordinarily passes through two stages of de- 
velopment: first, a period of sex antagonism when the boys 
and girls tend for their several reasons to deprecate one 

336 The Laws of Sex 

another, and second, a period of heightened admiration 
more or less coincident with adolescence. When the sexes 
are separated, save in the family circle, from childhood 
forward, the period of sex antagonism is lengthened, and 
exaggerated and erroneous ideas of the opposite sex develop. 
The opportunity for the awakening of normal heterosexual 
desires is not offered, and embarrassment and misunder- 
standing of the opposite sex ensues. This leads to estrange- 
ment between the sexes in some cases and in others to an 
abnormal interest in the opposite sex based purely upon 
physical attraction, which again is dangerous. 

In case of estrangement the awakening sexual desire 
frequently becomes homosexual as evidenced in the multi- 
farious "crushes" in girls' schools, or the profound adora- 
tion of boys sometimes for one another or again for a 
master. In the great majority of these cases no physical 
association, in the sense of uranism, is involved, but the 
emotion is so deep and so abiding both in the physical 
and spiritual impact, that it leaves a distinct trauma. 
Many wives who are unresponsive to their husbands, even 
though they love them, are the victims of this earlier ideal- 
istic homosexuality, and many persons who never marry 
are driven to celibacy and masturbation from the same 
cause. It would be of great pedagogic interest to ascer- 
tain the percentage of homosexuals among those who have 
been educated in segregated schools and those who have 
grown up under coeducation, for the information which 
has come to light through individual histories and vice 
investigations indicates that this factor is of extraordinary 

According to Freud the sexual behavior is the prototype 
of general conduct. The inverted individual is timid, lack- 
ing in initiative and self-reliance, the homosexual woman 
is often extremely masculine in her approach toward life 
and the homosexual man the reverse. The man with an 
CEdipus complex retreats from conflict, desiring again to 

Sex as a Factor in Education 337 

hide himself in the gracious comfort of mother love. He 
fears competition, longs for ease, and retires even from 
opportunity if the road looks difficult. Or again, he may 
seek place and preferment even though it avails nothing 
for his happiness in order to outdo the hated father-image 
and justify himself in his own eyes. Fixation upon parent, 
brother or sister may be of decisive moment in the selection 
of husband or wife and bear little relation to reality. 

Freud has brought out, as has no one else, and his ob- 
servations have been amply confirmed, the absolute impor- 
tance of the infantile in all after life. 

"The unconscious is the infantile," says Freud, "and 
that particular part of a person which has been separated 
from the personality at that time and hence has been re- 
pressed." 10 

The first five years of childhood, the very memory of 
which may slip from the mind, are of determining impor- 
tance in the development of the individual. 

Not only does Freud consider every neurosis to be directly 
traceable to infantile repressions, but the formation of 
character and the ordinary performances of every-day life 
are ascribed by him to impressions received during this 
early period. 

The sublimation of the libido to art, science, religion, 
or altruism is achieved, according to Freud, in consonance 
with the formation of these infantile roots. Dreams have 
their source in infantile repressions and can only be properly 
interpreted in this light. 

Pfister sums up Freud's pedagogic philosophy well when 
he says : "As the tree has to suffer for a lifetime from 
injuries done to it when just pushing its shoot above the 
ground, so also the human mind." 1J 

The prejudices that are acquired in early childhood are 

10 Freud. Bem-erkungen tiber einen Fall von Zwangsnewrase, Jahrb. I, 
"Pfister. Psychoanalytic Method. 

338 The Laws of Sex 

so profound as sometimes to counterfeit instinct, and habits 
of body or mind may become so fixed during this period as 
to simulate hereditary endowment. 

The Roman Catholic saying, "Give the church a child 
until he is seven years old and she will have him all his 
life," is worthy of the consideration of every parent. 

During these first few years the life of the individual 
is preformed in an extraordinarily comprehensive sense and 
yet most parents pass them by with little thought of the 
precious moments that are day by day slipping into the 
invisible. Physical health, the acquiring of a few cleanly 
habits, the imposition of a dogmatic menu, and obedience, 
which Mrs. Oilman defines as "the subordination of the 
intellect and the abrogation of the will," constitute the 
usual parental goals. Of the sex life of the child there is 
but little comprehension. Falsehood, sham-modesty and 
repression is commonly his lot. 

Is it any wonder that one out of every nine marriages 
ends in the divorce court and that venereal disease is the 
greatest menace to military efficiency that exists? 



In order to visualize the human element that is involved 
in the problem of the social evil, the following case histories, 
taken more or less at random, are presented for the reader's 
consideration. These cases could be multiplied a thousand- 
fold and then only inadequately portray the daily toll that 
mankind is paying for the disordered sexual life of the race. 

Case I. Arthur , A man of 36 years, president 

of a large scale manufacturing establishment, married, and 
with one daughter 7 years old, suddenly began to place 
large orders for pianos, motor cars, etc. He developed 
an extraordinary interest in long walks and violent ex- 
ercise, and showed recurrent unreliability in business af- 
fairs. His relations toward his friends and his family 
underwent serious alterations. After about three months 
of upsetting symptoms delusions of grandeur began to 
appear, and he was examined by a physician. A diagnosis 
of general paresis was made and the patient was sent to a 
hospital for the insane, where two years later he died in 
a most pitiful condition. His mind had become completely 
deranged. He could no longer retain urine or faeces, and 
his disposition shifted between moods of great elation and 
crushing despondency. A history of syphilis contracted 
at 19 years of age was obtained. 

Case II. Alice , 24 years of age, of gentle birth 

and high personal character, married a Captain in the 
U. S. Army. Ten months later she gave birth to a pre- 

340 The Lcavt of Sex 

mature child. The placenta indicated syphilitic infection, 
which was confirmed by a Wasserman. She was placed 
under anti-syphilitic treatment. Fourteen months after- 
ward she gave birth to a viable child which within a week 
showed signs of congenital syphilis. Snuffles developed, 
a rash appeared, and about a month later the child died. 
The autopsy showed involvement of the liver, kidneys and 
spleen. Treatment of the mother was continued, and she 
later gave birth to a third child, which showed marked signs 
of idiocy at its second year. 

Case III. Annie , a mulatto girl, 19 years old, 

had been placed in a child-caring institution when she was 
a baby. At 14 years she went out into domestic service. 
She was a very religious girl, and at church met a colored 
man about 15 years her senior, whom she subsequently 
married. Her husband was later convicted of larceny, and 
was imprisoned for two years in the penitentiary. Annie 
again entered domestic service. Soon she began to feel 
pains in her joints and general malaise, and her mistress, 
who was the wife of a dentist, took her to a physician, who 
was an acquaintance, for an examination. A diagnosis of 

syphilis was returned and Mrs. was warned that 

it would be dangerous to keep Annie as a domestic. The 
girl was dismissed and was directed to report regularly 
at a public health clinic for treatment. She followed the 
doctor's orders, but having no place to stay and no money, 
she at first walked the streets and finally succumbed to 
the solicitation of several male patrons. Her symptoms 
caused her such distress that one night she slipped into 
an entry and lay down to sleep, where she was arrested as 
a vagrant. The court sentenced her to three months in a 
penal institution, providing no adequate facilities for treat- 
ment, although the hearing of the case brought out the fact 
that the girl was infected and infectious. She is now serving 
her sentence and the Board of Health has been apprised of 

Some Case Histories 341 

the case, but there is no agency to help Annie when she 
comes out, either to secure employment or hospital treat- 
ment. The names and addresses of three men who had had 
intercourse with her were secured, but they were merely 
ordered to report for examination and treatment. There 
was no thought of sending them to jail. 

Case IV. Arabella , white, motherless, 16 years 

old, was seduced under promise of marriage by a man 
who was a friend of her father, and was taken to Phila- 
delphia. She became pregnant and was promptly deserted. 
The woman in whose home she was staying could not keep 
her without board, and Arabella sought admission into a 
hospital. She was told that her pregnancy was not suffi- 
ciently far advanced, but that she could return later. She 
sought work in a candy factory, but upon her condition 
becoming known she was dismissed. She wrote to her father, 
but received no reply. Worn out by hunger and worry 
she aborted and was taken in an ambulance to the hospital. 
Ten days later she was dismissed and went back to the 
woman with whom she had been staying. She was told 
that she could not remain unless she could pay her board 
money. A lodger in the house, who was a taxi-cab driver, 
took pity on her and promised to meet her bills, and she 
accepted the man's proposal. Within a day it developed 
that he regarded her as his mistress. Sick and disheartened 
she complied. The man then informed her that she was 
to earn money for them both in his taxi-cab business. Two 
months later she was arrested as a common prostitute and 
was sentenced to two months in a penal institution. 

Case V. Gushing , a girl 18 years old, of re- 
fined breeding, one of the season's debutantes in a large 
Eastern city, became engaged to one of the social luminaries, 
a lawyer some ten years her senior. She developed diffi- 
culty in vision and was taken by her mother to Dr. , 

342 The Lawg of Sex 

a leading ophthalmologist. The picture presented was a 
syphilitic iritis and the diagnosis was confirmed by a positive 
Wasserman. The physician consulted the girl's fiance and 
persuaded him to submit to an examination. Mucous 
patches in his mouth revealed the sources of the girl's infec- 
tion. The disease had been transmitted by a kiss. The 
patient's vision will be permanently impaired. 

Case VI. Robert , 19 years old, a student at a 

leading Eastern University, suddenly became blind. It 
was as if a curtain had dropped before his eyes ; within two 
hours he was totally unable to see. No history of exposure 
to venereal disease could be secured, but upon looking up 
his family history it was found that his father was afflicted 
with locomotor-ataxia. A positive Wasserman revealed 
the presence of active syphilis in the boy, presumably of 
congenital origin. His sight is completely gone. 

Case VII. Carrington , 48 years old, white, mar- 
ried, the incumbent of a high political post, began to notice 
difficulty in walking. At first he laughed about it and 
told his friends to excuse him, he did not know where his feet 
were going. On examination on-coming locomotor-ataxia 
was diagnosed. One year later the characteristic flail- 
walk had developed. He had to use a cane and keep his 
eyes on the ground in order to maintain his equilibrium. 
Four years later locomotion was impossible and he had to 
be wheeled about in a chair. A history of syphilitic in- 
fection twenty years previously was secured. 

Case VIII. Col. Brooks , a Virginian gentleman 

of 56 years, living on a large estate, had been a paralytic 
for four years. Of his five children one was an epileptic, one 
an imbecile and the other three normal. His property had 
gone very much to pieces. He began to develop excru- 
ciating pains, lightning pains, in the abdomen, for which 

Some Cage Historiet 343 

his old doctor prescribed morphia. The old physician died 
and a young man who had come into the neighborhood cut 
down the doses of morphia, and impressed upon the normal 
daughter, who was taking care of her father, the danger of 
the drug habit. The patient suffered unbelievably, but the 
daughter followed the doctor's directions. Finally the old 
man with the help of his imbecile son secured a quantity of 
the opiate which ameliorated his suffering. 

In his early days the patient had contracted syphilis. 

Case IX. Anton , 18 years old, a brilliant violinist, 

had completed his first series of public concerts and was 
hailed as a coming virtuoso. Suddenly swelling appeared 
in his left elbow accompanied by severe pain. A typical 
picture of gonorrhoeal arthritis was presented and the diag- 
nosis was confirmed by the presence of a chronic gonococcus 
infection of the urethra. After prolonged treatment the 
symptoms subsided but the joint remained stiff, utterly in- 
capacitating him for his chosen profession. Overwhelmed 
with the catastrophe, he committed suicide. 

Case X. Pearl , a prostitute, 20 years old, white, 

had been brought before a certain magistrate repeatedly. 
She was at first fined and later was committed to the House 
of Correction. At her last trial she promised the Judge 
that she would not come before him again. Some months 
later, as the Judge was going into the station house, the 
police wagon drove up and the driver called to him the name 
of the former prostitute. 

"What Pearl again?" asked the magistrate. 

"Yes and no, your honor," said the driver. "She's dead, 
we just got her out of the water." 

Case XI. Walter , a medical student, 21 years old, 

contracted a case of gonorrhoea. He was engaged to be 
married. His teacher, who was at the same time his physi- 

344 The Laws of Sex 

cian, warned him of the danger. After two months' treat- 
ment he eloped with the girl and was secretly married. 
She soon developed what she was told was "appendicitis" 
and was operated upon, becoming thereby completely steri- 
lized. She was heart-broken when she learned that she could 
never have any children. 

Case XII. Amelia , 20 years old, of gentle family, 

married a wealthy young man some three years her senior. 
About four months later she had a miscarriage, attended by 
severe constitutional symptoms and high fever. She failed 
to make a complete recovery and curettage was advised. 
Upon dismissal from the hospital she improved somewhat, 
but complained of pelvic pain and dysmenorrhoea. She 
was also extremely nervous and hysterical. Her symptoms 
increased and upon examination pelvic abscesses were dis- 
covered. Operation was delayed and one of the abscesses 
ruptured, causing acute peritonitis. The patient was hur- 
ried to the hospital but in vain; she died on the operating 

Her husband had had gonorrhoea five years before his 
marriage, but had erroneously supposed himself completely 

Case XIII. Winifred , a pupil nurse, 24 years old, 

in one of the most renowned hospitals in the East, had 
recently been assigned to the obstetrical ward. Twelve 
patients, who had been delivered, were under her care. She 
bathed them, made their beds, attended to their personal 
needs, etc. When she had been on the ward about two 
weeks she noticed, late one afternoon, a sensation of smart- 
ing in her right eye. At first she thought nothing of it, but 
the pain increased so rapidly that before she went off duty 
she reported it to the head nurse. The doctor on the ward 
was immediately summoned, and after looking at her eye the 
first question that he asked was whether Mrs. X was one of 

Some Case Histories 345 

her cases. Upon her affirmative reply he seemed deeply 
concerned and called in a prominent opthalmologist asso- 
ciated with the hospital. 

It then appeared that Mrs. X had gonorrhoea, that the 
nurse had in no way been warned of the danger, and the 
diagnosis of gonorrhoeal opthalmia was promptly confirmed 
by the microscopic findings. A strenuous course of treat- 
ment was at once commenced, but in vain. Not only was 
vision in the right eye destroyed but a cruelly disfiguring 
scar resulted. 

Cdbe XIV. Mrs. R. S., 26 years old, had been married 
three years and had one little daughter two years old. At 
the commencement of the war her husband enlisted and 
served with the A.E.F. overseas. Being taught by the 
government to believe in the efficacy of prophylaxis he 
indulged in illicit sex relations and, despite the prompt ad- 
ministration of prophylaxis, contracted syphilis. He was 
placed under systematic treatment and after the war re- 
turned home presumably cured. About ten months later 
Mrs. R. S. was delivered of a premature child which was 
obviously syphilitic. The husband was examined, showed a 
negative Wasserman, but on lumbar puncture the presence 
of active syphilis was established. Meanwhile the little 
daughter, who had been constantly with the mother during 
her illness, had acquired the infection. The whole family is 
now under treatment. 

Case XV. Alfred , principal of a girls' high school, 

married a young woman, twelve years his junior, who was 
a member of a prominent local family. Soon after marriage 
his wife developed an intense dislike for him, based on no 
material ground, but so profound that she shortly exhibited 
signs of mental derangement. Her family took her to a 
well-known psychiatrist who, after careful analysis, stated 
plainly the cause of the disturbance. The family, believing 

346 The Laws of Sex 

erroneously that the husband must have abused the girl, 
persuaded her to leave the man and come home with them. 

Alfred , having no sense of guilt and loving his wife 

truly, fell in with the plan, hoping that absence would bring 
the girl to give over her dislike for him. At the commence- 
ment of the following school year he was not reappointed to 
his position, it being held by the school board that it was 
unsuitable for a man whose wife had left him to serve as the 
principal of a girls' high school. 

Case XVI. Professor W. of the Unversity, 42 years 

old, a man who had already distinguished himself and who 
gave great promise for the future, had married at 22 years 
of age a woman with whom he was temperamentally uncon- 
genial. She was trivial, had no intellectual interests and 
merely desired to shine in society. They had no children. 
Within three years they discovered their mutual error and 
broke off relations as husband and wife but continued to 
live under the same roof for the sake of appearances. 

When he was 39 years old Professor W. fell deeply in 
love with a young woman, Miss R., who reciprocated his 
affection. After a considerable interval Professor W. ex- 
plained the situation to his wife and offered her a large 
share of his private fortune if she would grant him his 
freedom. She complied to the extent of letting him live as 
he pleased but obstinately refused to get a divorce. A secret 
liaison between Professor W. and Miss R. developed, but 
little by little news of the affair leaked out until it reached 
the ears of the Trustees of the University. Gossip also 
brought the matter back to Mrs. W. who, feeling that her 
dignity was at stake, repudiated the agreement and took 
the case to some of the Trustees whom she knew. The 
outcome was an ultimatum to Professor W. to the effect 
that he must either relinquish Miss R. or resign his position 
in the University. 

It was a terrible choice, as Professor W, loved Miss R. 

Some Case Histories 347 

deeply but was also profoundly devoted to his work. Finally 
he sent in his resignation to the University and then a storm 
broke in the local newspapers. Intimate correspondence 
and innumerable personal details were published, accom- 
panied by photographs, and the Trustees immediately 
accepted the resignation. Mrs. W. also entered suit for 
divorce. Professor W. and Miss R. were driven out of town 
by public opinion and as soon as the divorce was granted 
were married as they had always wished to be. 

Professor W. is now seeking a position which will enable 
him to continue his scientific work but despite his recognized 
ability no University dares to grant him an appointment. 
The net result of the procedure seems to be merely the 
destruction of Professor W.'s career and the loss of an 
exceptionally able man to science. 

Case XVII. Andrew , 40 years old, married, with 

three half-grown daughters, fell in love with his bookkeeper. 
For years he and his wife had been on bad terms and he had 
begged her to get a divorce from him. She refused, as 
she disliked him too much to grant him his freedom. In 
desperation he began a campaign of terrorization rushed 
at her at night with a carving knife, broke the furniture, 
and created scandalous scenes which horrified the children. 
But his wife was adamant such a man, he was too bad 
to be given his freedom. 

The shop where he made propellers for aeroplanes was 
attached to his home. The front parlor was his office. It 
was impossible for him to leave his means to a livelihood. 

Finally the bookkeeper, who was a woman of courage 

and loved him deeply, settled the matter. Andrew 

and she moved into rooms at a distance and lived together. 
Then they came daily to their work to the scandal of the 
neighbors. Upon this the wife sued for divorce on statutory 
grounds, which was soon granted and she and the children 
moved to another city. 

348 The Laws of Sex 

Case XV11I. Frank , 38 years old, married, with six 

children. He was devoted to his family and made $20 a 
week as janitor in a medical school. When the second 
child was a year old the patient had typhoid fever. Soon 
after the fourth child was born he broke his arm. Frank 
was then working on the street railway as a conductor. 

He complained of "fits," would fall on the floor in con- 
vulsions and go completely blind. He frothed at the mouth, 
became rigid, and would roll his eyes about in a terrible 
manner. Sometimes he was blind for two days. These 
attacks recurred at intervals of from six to eight weeks. 

He was taken to a psychiatrist and the analysis brought 
out the fact that he loved his wife, could not deny himself 
sexual intercourse, and dreaded the thought of having more 
children. An effort was made to have him sterilized by 
vasectomy and he begged the surgeon to perform the opera- 
tion, but the hospital authorities would not comply. The 
physician instructed him in contraceptive methods and since 
then he has had no more attacks. There are now eight chil- 
dren, all of them weak, complaining, and inadequately edu- 
cated. Those over 14 years of age are working. 

Case XIX. Stuart , 27 years old, a lawyer, 

married the daughter of one of the senior members of his 
law firm. About two years later she gave birth to a son and 
within a few hours the infant's eyes showed signs of infec- 
tion. The nurse called the physician and he immediately 
put the child under treatment. Microscopic examination 
showed that the infection was of gonorrhoeal origin. In 
spite of all efforts the child's eyesight was completely de- 

The mother developed puerperal fever and ten days later 

A history of gonorrhoeal infection in the husband six 
years before marriage was secured. 



From the preceding survey it has been seen (1) that the 
social evil, comprising prostitution and venereal disease, is 
a result of the disordered sexual life of the race; (2) that 
marriage is the expression of a definite racial need, and 
developed through natural selection as an institution for 
the preservation of the offspring, and as the vehicle for 
sexual selection; (3) that sex among human beings is dual 
in nature, presenting both a racial and a personal aspect; 
(4) that prostitution rests upon economic injustice and 
unnatural laws which act to make monogamy a meaningless 
and impracticable institution; (5) that the present edu- 
cational and social systems provide no secure background 
for congenial marriages and tend to encourage homosexual- 
ity and other perversions of the sexual impulse; (6) that 
the present programs for the repression of prostitution 
and the control of venereal disease are irrational and worth- 
less, and could never, even if put fully into effect, accomplish 
their objectives. 

The solution of the problem of the Social Evil rests 
primarily upon a reorganization of the sexual life of the 
race in accordance with the natural laws of sex. Before this 
can be fully accomplished the economic system must be re- 
adjusted so that both men and women will be freed from 
the coercive bondage of poverty. Political liberty is but 
a phrase as long as the majority of the people languish 
in economic serfdom. The spiritual and temporal emanci- 
pation of women must be completed, to the end that they 
may exercise freedom in the selection of their mates and 


350 The Laws of Sex 

ascend from the degradation of marketing their sex as a 
means to a livelihood either within or outside wedlock. 

The first and simplest approach to the problem lies 
through the education of children. They should be taught, 
with sympathetic veracity, the simple truths of sex physi- 
ology, and in addition should be placed in an environment 
conducive to the sublimation of the sexual impulses to al- 
truism and intellectual accomplishment. Music, gymnastics, 
manual training and natural science should replace the 
stupefying monotony of the ordinary curriculum. A 
sedentary life is abnormal for young children, yet most 
of the present curricula demand long hours of listless effort, 
with no opportunity for physical development or character 

Above all, coeducation should be instituted from the 
kindergarten through the college and the professional 
school. Since nature ordains that men and women shall 
live together, the segregation of the sexes during their 
adolescent years is a defiance of nature's premise which in- 
*vitably entails perversion and over-stimulation. Successful 
marriage is more than an erotic relationship, and requires 
a substructure in wide and familiar knowledge of the op- 
posite sex. The dangers of coeducation, if they exist, are 
far less grave than those that are involved in the segregated 

The greatest and final school which all people attend 
day by day is that of social life ; no matter how well trained 
the youth may be in the home or in the educational in- 
stitution, he will eventually receive most of his ideals and 
opinions from the community in which he lives. Public 
opinion, the subtle moulder of private conscience, is ever 
at work from childhood until death shaping the ideals and 
prejudices of the individual. To an amazing extent the 
individual conscience is but the reflection of the standards 
of conduct established by the social organism. 

It is in this respect that the law and its enforcement is 

Conclusions 351 

of the greatest moment in fixing sexual ideals, for upon 
the practical administration of justice in any age depends 
the ethical standards of rising generations. 

Prophylaxis, regulation, segregation, or any other tolera- 
tive measures which look to the sanitation of vice, are nec- 
essarily destructive of their own objectives, for they tacitly 
encourage promiscuous sex relationships which are the 
source of syphilis and gonorrhoea. Adopting this public 
standard, rising generations perpetuate the evil which is at 
the root of venereal disease, and the solution of the prob- 
lem is merely postponed. 

It is a patent fact that the repression of prostitution, 
and therewith the abatement of venereal disease, eventually 
depends upon the education of the individual to a proper 
control and direction of his sexual life. But the public 
standards established for sex relationships will precede 
rather than follow masculine idealism in this field. Already 
a sufficient basis exists in public opinion among the mass 
of women and among a fraction of men for the establish- 
ment of reasonable standards of sexual conduct for the 

The emancipation of women has released for practical 
use a point of view on sexual matters which holds monog- 
amous union to be the natural vehicle for the expression 
of the sexual impulse among human beings. Out of a 
long experience women have learned that light passion and 
irresponsible amours bring ruin and desolation in their 
wake, and that personal license is as destructive of happi- 
ness and liberty in the realm of sex as it is in every other 
sphere of conduct. The demand among women for a strict 
observance of the marriage code is based, not upon hypo- 
thetical morals, but upon knowledge, deep-rooted, of the 
importance of fixing definite boundaries for sexual liberty. 
As a burnt child dreads the fire so women of mature years 
natively shun illicit relationships for the experience of their 
sex, for centuries long, has taught them the difficulties and 

352 The Laws of Sex 

dangers attendant upon such conduct. They believe in 
chastity and marriage because they have learned that in- 
continence and secret liaisons usually result in their own 
and their children's destruction. This knowledge is for the 
time being phrased merely as unreasoning prejudice, and 
needs elucidation and direction before it can be turned to 
constructive use. It is, however, a potential power, which 
with enlightenment may be relied upon to bring about a 
reorganization of the sexual life of the race within a com- 
paratively short space of time. 

The prejudice among women against sexual promiscuity 
is so profound, and its counterpart among men is so rarely 
encountered, that it has been misinterpreted as marking 
a differentiation between the sexes in their native inclina- 
tions. Women are admittedly monogamous in their sexual 
disposition, but men, it is maintained, are by nature of 
polygamous habit. The anachronisms in this hypothesis 
have been pointed out in a previous chapter, and the source 
of the apparent difference has been traced to the social 
and educational systems which for centuries have upheld 
a double standard of sexual morals. 

The trend of the times is, beyond doubt, in the direction 
of a new standard of sexual conduct which will apply 
equally to both men and women. This is evidenced in the 
growing opinion that love is the right basis for human sex 
relationships and in the increasing demand that the mar- 
riage and divorce code must be changed to accord with this 
primary concept. The relaxation of the prejudice against 
birth control, apparent in every stratum of society, is fur- 
ther evidence of the modern viewpoint on marriage. People 
would seem almost to have learned that the expression of 
honorable love through the natural physical channels is 
essential to a wholesome marital relationship and that 
continuous reproduction is not needed to justify monogamy. 
The fact that "man makes love at all times," and not 

Conclusions 353 

merely during a temporary period of rut as among the 
animals, is the basis both for a permanent monogamous 
union and for the control of the power of reproduction. 

The first step toward the elimination of the social evil is 
the education of the general public with regard to the 
nature and prevalence of venereal disease. It is of primary 
importance that the practical aspects of the problem in 
terms of public health and personal safety should be made 
clear in order to insure adequate motives for action. A 
father may not object if his future son-in-law has lost 
his chastity, but he will view the matter very differently 
if he knows the close association between immorality and 
venereal disease. An uninformed girl may admire fast men 
and enjoy their company, but a girl who knows that loose 
living predicates syphilis and gonorrhoea will tend to 
discourage the attentions of men who have presumably 
been exposed to these infections. Women who feel that 
masculine morals are no especial concern of theirs will adopt 
a different attitude when they learn that from this source 
marital contamination and racial degeneration proceed. 
Morals to be of vital concern to the masses must have a 
sound basis in expediency, and since this is the case in 
regard to marriage it is essential to bring the facts home. 

Coincidently with the educational campaign, a rational 
program looking toward the repression of prostitution and 
the control of venereal disease should be advanced, for 
experience has proven that it is dangerous to incite people 
to action without providing a sound program for them 
to follow. The unspeakable abuses from which women now 
suffer as a result of misdirected efforts toward the re- 
pression of prostitution, and the cruelty that is meted out 
to men who desire to direct their sex lives in accordance 
with the law of love, indicates how justice may miscarry 
when untutored persons enter upon a crusade against vice. 
The Comstockian policy of prudery and violence makes 

354- The Laws of Sex 

virtue itself appear hideous, and drives reasonable and 
kindly people into revolt against any standardization of 
sexual conduct. 

Before people can be expected to direct their sex lives 
in accordance with accepted principles of justice, real 
boundaries based upon natural laws must be substituted 
for the artificial sex barriers that have heretofore obtained. 
The way must be cleared for virtue before it will be justi- 
fiable to punish those who transgress the law. To this end 
the reform of the marriage and divorce code is fundamental. 

The sacramental nature of marriage, binding the indi- 
viduals to lifelong unions in defiance of true love, is already 
recognized as an artificial concept which has no counter- 
part in life. Marriage is not a sacrament, it is a union 
into which two individuals freely enter on a basis of mutual 
agreement, and which they should therefore be permitted 
to dissolve at will, provided that in the process the rights 
of other persons who may be concerned are adequately safe- 
guarded. There is no good reason why any two individuals, 
male or female, should be forced by the community to live 
intimately together if they do not desire to do so, and there 
is also no proper ground for refusing these persons the 
right to enter into other relationships with other persons 
if no one is injured thereby. The present code that denies 
the right of divorce to persons who are wholly uncongenial 
and which refuses them permission to marry others with 
whom they are deeply in love, is a relic of barbarism and 
an encouragement to adultery. It breeds unhappiness, 
psychoses, immorality and venereal disease, and demoral- 
izes and warps the lives of the children whose welfare is 
supposed to constitute justification for the parental sacri- 
fice. All psychiatrists are agreed that the worst possible 
environment for any child is a home in which discord and 
hatred reign, and yet this is the daily atmosphere which 
these helpless members of society are doomed to when their 
parents are chained together by the law. 

Conclusions 355 

If marriage were regarded merely as a contract, which 
it palpably is, and if the financial responsibilities of the 
husband and wife in their mutual relation, and also in re- 
spect to possible offspring, were fixed by law, the human sex 
relation could be standardized according to accepted ethical 
principles. Justice and virtue could at last find their way 
into this sphere. 

The mass of outgrown prejudice that now encumbers the 
marriage code finds credence in the minds of none but bigots 
and pornographic fanatics. The average man and woman 
of good conscience and intelligence recognize that love 
should be the final arbiter in the marriage relation, and 
they resent the publicity given to divorce suits, and desire 
the abolition of the necessity for such inhuman proceedings. 
Incompatibility alone is sufficient basis for divorce, and 
when this fact is recognized in the law the way will be 
open for the introduction of morals into the realm of sex. 

On a basis of marriage, with stated parental and finan- 
cial responsibilities and divorce on grounds of incompati- 
bility alone, a law against fornication could be justly en- 
forced. There would no longer be any valid or natural 
reason for extra-marital relations, for the way would be 
clear for the expression of genuine sexual love within the 
limits of matrimony. 

Monogamous marriage under these conditions reinforced 
by birth control would constitute a feasible relation between 
the sexes wholly in accord with the natural laws of sex, 
and conducive to the best interests of husband, wife, and 
children, and the race at large. Sexual selection, upon 
which the improvement of the race stock depends, would 
have free play, and yet the interests of the individuals con- 
cerned would be safeguarded. 

With the reform of marriage and divorce, a campaign for 
the repression of extra-marital relationships, and the con- 
trol of venereal disease, could be entered upon without fear 
of violating the just rights of any individual. 

356 The Laws of Sex 

The first step in this direction is the abandonment of 
the hope of the sanitation of vice. As long as medical men 
direct their efforts toward making vice safe for men, either 
through the examination of persons arrested for or con- 
victed of prostitution, or through medical prophylaxis, the 
arm of the law will be paralyzed in all efforts to repress 
prostitution or to institute adequate quarantine against 
venereal disease. 

Neither prophylaxis nor the police court examination of 
public women can be relied upon to render promiscuous 
sexual relations safe so far as venereal disease is con- 
cerned, yet while these measures are in effect the public 
is led to believe that the public health is adequately safe- 
guarded. Prophylaxis involves the open recognition of 
masculine vice by the state, and places the government in 
the position of pandering to male depravity. The police 
court examination of prostitutes likewise predicates the 
state's connivance at masculine incontinence, for the men 
who are arrested in connection with these cases are neces- 
sarily held merely as the state's witnesses, as otherwise it 
would be impossible to secure sufficient testimony against 
the women. 

All measures for the secret self-treatment of venereal 
disease, including prophylaxis and patent medicines, should 
be placed under the ban of the law, and use of the United 
States mails for advertising these remedies should be denied. 
Quack doctors and advertising specialists who are not quali- 
fied to treat venereal disease should be outlawed, and good 
facilities for the free treatment of venereal disease should 
be organized under the public health service. 

The venereal diseases should be placed on the same basis 
as all the other dangerous communicable diseases, and re- 
ports of all cases by name and address should be required 
by law. All cases of venereal diseases registered should be 
quarantined under strict regulations and supervision, but 
ambulatory treatment should be impartially permitted to 

Conclusions 857 

both men and women of whatsoever social status. Hos- 
pitalization should be reserved for cases really needing 
such care, and detention should be resorted to only where 
the patients were detected infringing the rules of quaran- 
tine. In addition, licenses to marry should be refused to 
persons recorded in the archives of the Board of Health 
as being quarantined for venereal disease, and laws pro- 
viding heavy penalization should be passed making it a 
felony for a person quarantined for venereal disease to 
have sexual intercourse either within or outside wedlock. 
All quarantine measures should apply equally to the two 
sexes and operate without regard to social station or legal 
discriminations of any kind. 

It is quite as absurd to have one kind of quarantine for 
men and another for women in connection with venereal dis- 
ease as it would be in the case of scarlet fever, and it is 
obviously unjust to discriminate against any individual 
so far as examination and quarantine are concerned merely 
because she is suspected by the police of having infringed 
the law. The quarantine regulations for scarlet fever, 
diphtheria, smallpox, or any other communicable disease, 
operate without regard to the legal status of the individual, 
for having an infectious disease is not recognized under the 
law as being a crime. The present tendency to revert to 
the police court examination of prostitutes is dangerous 
and unsound, first, because it fosters a false sense of se- 
curity among the general public so far as the danger of 
promiscuous intercourse is concerned; second, because it 
provides an excuse to the public health officials for their 
failure to institute adequate defenses against venereal dis- 
ease; and third, because it deprives of their constitutional 
rights all women who are suspected by the police of being 
immoral, and gives a greater measure of power into the 
hands of the police than can safely or legally be placed 

The campaign against venereal disease must be placed 

858 The Laws of Sex 

on a basis of the control of communicable disease without 
undue regard for the protection of the reputation of im- 
moral men before progress can be anticipated in this field. 
As long as the medical profession prefers saving the good 
name of venereal men to saving innocent women and chil- 
dren from contamination, preventive medicine will be im- 
potent to control venereal infection. Hygiene is no re- 
spector of the conventions, and medical men must strip 
themselves free from financial self-interest and hypocritical 
altruism if they honestly desire to minimize syphilis and 
gonorrhoea. Continence is clearly an essential hygienic 
measure for the control of venereal disease, so medical 
men need feel no chagrin at advocating the passage and 
enforcement of a fornication law merely because it happens 
to be confused in the lay mind with moral measures. In- 
continence predicates contact with venereal disease carriers 
and from the point of view of preventive medicine should 
be strictly so regarded. Since it is essential in all danger- 
ous infectious maladies to prevent contacts between infected 
and uninfected persons, it follows that, in their attempt to 
control venereal disease, the point of first importance for 
medical men, is t6 use their utmost efforts to prevent promis- 
cuous sexual relations. No genuine progress is possible 
as long as men are freely permitted to expose themselves 
to persons who are known to be at least 95 per cent in- 

Briefly summarized, the essential steps toward the con- 
trol of venereal disease and the repression of prostitution 
are as follows: 

A A Measures designed to facilitate the right use of the 
sex function in accordance with natural laws. 

1. A widespread campaign of education with regard 
to the danger and prevalence of venereal disease. 

2. Economic justice looking toward the abolition of 
both extreme wealth and poverty. 

Conclusions 359 

3. Intelligent and sympathetic parental oversight 
during infancy and early childhood, including 
honesty with regard to sex physiology. 

4. A reform of the educational system, with rational 
training in hygiene and physiology adapted to 
the various age periods. Coeducation should be 

5. Adequate public recreation, properly supervised. 

6. Prohibition in practice as well as by statute. 

7. A reform of the marriage code, defining the finan- 
cial and other obligations of husband and wife 
toward one another, and toward possible offspring. 
The mother should have prior rights of guardian- 
ship as her sacrifices for the child so greatly ex- 
ceed those of the father. 

8. A reform of the divorce code making incompati- 
bility alone sufficient cause for divorce, on the 
application of either one of the married persons. 
Exact definition as to the financial responsibilities 
of the husband and wife should be made in the law 
in order to insure justice, especially with regard 
to the support of the children. Alimony in the 
case of childless couples should be abolished. 

9. The repeal of mediaeval legislation, such as the 
restoration of conjugal rights, breach of promise, 
alienation of affection, etc. 

Sound marriage and divorce laws, supported by 
adequate legislation for the repression of extra- 
marital relations, should constitute the standard. 

10. The complete emancipation of women. 

11. The repeal of all legislation prohibiting birth 

12. The institution of birth control clinics under the 
Public Health Service for the dissemination of ad- 
vice and information. 

13. The endowment of motherhood. 

360 The Laws of Sea: 

B. Measures designed to minimize extra-marital sex re- 
lationships and to check the commercialization of vice. 

1. The passage and enforcement of a law against 

8. The protection of minors of both sexes against 
seduction by establishing 21 years as the age of 
consent for both males and females, with penalties 
graduated to accord with the various age periods. 

3. The passage of a law making adultery a felony, 
justified on the grounds of the venereal contamina- 
tion of wedlock. 

4. The establishment of autonomous bureaus of women 
% police for the proper enforcement of the laws re- 
garding sex. 

5. The appointment or election of women as judges 
in the higher and lower courts and as prosecuting 

6. Women on juries. 

7. All minors to be held merely as the state's wit- 
ness against older persons, and all cases of minors 
to be heard in the juvenile court. 

8. The common parentage of an illegitimate child to 
constitute marriage, or if either of the parents 
was previously married, bigamy. 

9. The illegitimate child to be placed on the same 
plane with legitimate children. 

10. The passage and enforcement of a law against 
solicitation applicable to both sexes equally. 

11. The injunction and abatement law. 

12. Laws prohibiting the use of taxicabs, etc., for 
immoral purposes. 

13. Laws against pandering and procuring. 

14. Laws prohibiting the use of hotels, rooming houses, 
etc., for immoral purposes. Penalty applicable to 

Conclusions 361 

15. Laws for the control of commercialized amuse- 
ments, dance halls, etc. 

16. The passage and enforcement of a law making the 
offering or giving of goods or money to any person 
for purposes of prostitution punishable by a jail 
sentence. Minimum term to be stated in the law. 
The person to whom the money or goods was offered 
or given to be held merely as the state's witness. 

17. The Mann White Slave Act, laws against the 
international traffic in women, and a law provid- 
ing castration as the penalty for rape. 

C. Measures for the control of venereal disease. 

1. The repeal of all laws and regulations providing 
for the examination of persons arrested for or 
convicted of charges of immorality in connection 
with court proceedings. Under the constitution 
every person is considered innocent until she is 
proven guilty, and no person can be forced to 
testify against herself. Disease is not a crime. 

2. The separation of the provinces of the Board of 
Health and the Police Court, as in all other classes 
of communicable disease. 

3. The routine mental and physical examination of 
all persons in state institutions, penal and other- 
wise. Treatment as indicated. 

4. A law defining continence as an essential measure 
for the prevention of venereal contacts, and pro- 
viding heavy penalties for exposure to venereal dis- 
ease through extra-marital relations. 

5. A law requiring all physicians and institutions to 
report cases of venereal disease by name and ad- 
dress under severe penalties. 

6. A law or regulation placing all cases of venereal 
disease under quarantine and providing for the 
supervision and instruction of such cases in ac- 

362 The Laws of Sex 

cordance with the procedure followed in all other 
classes of communicable disease. The wife, chil- 
dren, or other close associates of a venereal patient 
to be brought under supervision and treatment if 

7. A law making it a felony for a person under quaran- 
tine for venereal disease to have sexual intercourse 
with another person, either within or outside wed- 

8. A law requiring the marriage license bureau to de- 
termine whether the applicants for a marriage 
license are under quarantine for venereal disease. 
Authorized certificates of proximate date from the 
local Board of Health of freedom from quaran- 
tine to constitute adequate evidence. 

9. A law or regulation providing for the compulsory 
treatment under detention of patients refusing to 
report regularly for ambulatory treatment. 

10. Adequate clinical facilities for the free treatment 
of venereal disease under the Public Health Service. 

11. The appointment of women physicians as members 
of the state and local Boards of Health, particu- 
larly in the venereal disease department. These 
physicians would not, of course, treat cases of 
venereal disease. They would organize the work 
and be of especial benefit in following up cases of 
persons exposed to contamination, such as wives 
and children. 

12. The appointment of an adequate staff of public 
health nurses, in connection with the Board of 
Health, for follow-up work. All cases of venereal 
disease reported to the Board to be visited and in- 
structed by these nurses, as is now done in con- 
nection with all other classes of communicable 

13. A law prohibiting the advertisement or sale of 

Conclusions 368 

remedies for the secret self-treatment of venereal 
disease, including venereal prophylactics. 

14. A law prohibiting the use of the United States 
mails for the advertisement or transportation of 
remedies for the secret self-treatment of venereal 
disease, including venereal prophylactics. 

15. The enforcement of the existant laws against 
quacks and unlicensed practitioners. 

16. The abandonment of the government's present 
policy of giving prophylactic treatment to soldiers 
and sailors, and its substitution by court-martial 
for the offense of exposure to venereal infection. 

It will be seen that the first purpose in the proposed 
social hygiene program is to eliminate the causes of pros- 
titution by permitting the sex life of the race to flow into 
its natural channels through facilitating early monogamous 
marriage. Since love is the basis for monogamous unions 
and is also the vehicle for sexual selection, divorce is re- 
garded as a necessary corollary to this institution. Birth 
control is obviously fundamental to successful marriage 
under civilization, as is also the complete spiritual and 
temporal emancipation of women. 

The second purpose of the program is to seek the solu- 
tion of the problem of the social evil in its causes, and not 
in its symptoms. The demand for prostitution financed by 
men is at the basis of the whole superstructure and only 
by reducing the demand can the mass of prostitution be 
minimized. As soon as men find that they come out on 
the wrong side of the ledger so far as their pleasure is con- 
cerned when they patronize prostitutes they will cease to 
finance the institution, and it will perish from inanition. 
Hundreds of years of experience have proven that it is 
idle to persecute prostitutes, as they merely constitute a 
supply which automatically rises to meet the demand created 
by men, following an established law of commerce. Since 


advertisement augments the demand, those who exploit male 
sexual desire for their financial benefit are provided with 
suitable penalization. 

The seduction of minors in the continuance of the social 
evil being of fundamental significance, the age of consent 
is fixed at 21 years for both sexes. Protection, especially 
during the adolescent period, is regarded as being of prime 
importance both from the viewpoint of justice and expedi- 

The third purpose of the program is to place the cam- 
paign against syphilis, gonorrhoea and chancroid, on the 
basis of the control of communicable disease, regarding 
extra-marital intercourse merely as exposure to venereal 
infection irrespective of morals. Conventions and morality, 
in the ordinary meaning of the term, have nothing to do 
with preventive medicine, and it is as destructive for physi- 
cians to plan the campaign against syphilis, gonorrhea, 
and chancroid on the basis of social conventions, as it would 
be in the case of any other communicable disease. The 
medical profession provides no defenses for the public 
against venereal infection, and even permits the contamina- 
tion of wedlock by persons known by them to harbor the 
spirochete and the gonococcus. Swayed by their own 
financial self-interest and inhibited from rational thought by 
their own sordid experiences, they permit the racial life to 
be threatened without making an effort to check the ravages 
of venereal disease. They will treat patients for money, 
but they will not endanger their professional prestige by 
following the clear dictates of hygiene. 

Since syphilis and gonorrhoaa are known to be among the 
most dangerous and common of all the infectious maladies, 
and since they are readily preventable, it behooves the lay 
public to take matters into its own hands and to eliminate 
from the service all public health officials who are incapable 
of thinking in terms of preventive medicine. The public 
must demand a sound system of quarantine for syphilis 

Conclusions 365 

and gonorrhoea if it desires adequate protection against 
these infections, for although the medical profession has 
had at hand sufficient scientific knowledge upon which to 
base a program of prevention for upwards of a century, 
medical men have failed supinely to adapt their measures 
to obvious hygienic principles. In the campaign against 
tuberculosis the rank and file of the medical profession was 
in earlier years found to be equally recalcitrant. 

The most important problem of the twentieth century, 
barring none, is the problem of the Social Evil. Upon its 
solution depends not only the health and happiness of vast 
numbers of individuals, but the very life of the race. His- 
tory is but the record of various civilizations that have risen 
to the zenith and have then crumbled as a result of per- 
versions of the sexual impulses. As man has progressed 
further from a state of nature he has dissociated sex from 
natural law, thereby denying the social order its funda- 
mental basis. Rome fell not because of the crude strength 
of the barbarians, but because licentiousness had sapped the 
power of Roman manhood. Heretofore one sex alone has 
been possessed of the power to govern the racial life, but 
today both men and women together may bend their ener- 
gies toward the perpetuation of civilization. 

The ideal is clear: love, marriage, children and the home 
constitute the essential framework of an enduring social 
order. Prostitution and venereal disease strike at the very 
basis of society and must give way if the fruits of civilization 
are to be enjoyed. 

The future with its glorious promise stands beckoning; 
all that is necessary is courage to uphold the right and 
faith in the omnipotence of human love. 


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368 The Laws of Sex 

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Abolitionists, 59 

Adultery laws, 117, 131 

Age of consent laws, 118, 155 

Anarchy in sex, 16 

Apes, sex relations of, 37 

Bachofen's hypothesis of promis- 
cuity, 29 
Birth control, 89 

and self-control, 106 

economic factors in, 108 

ethics of, 107, 113 

objections to, 97, 104 

in practice, 111 

relation to celibacy in women, 

relation to monogamy, 109 

statistics in Holland, 89 
Brothels, description of, 61 

relation to prophylaxis of vene- 
real disease, 269 

Case histories, 339 

Celibacy in women, relation to 
birth control, 110 

Chancroid, 201 
symptoms of, 201 
treatment of, 203 

Chastity, violation of, 51 

Co-education as check to homo- 
sexuality, 335 

Contagious Diseases Acts, 56 

Continence as a sanitary measure, 

Contraceptive methods, 95 

Democracy, definition of, 24 
Divorce, frequency of, 182 
justification of, 78 
legal grounds for, 122 
Double Standard, 53 

Feeble-mindedness, 91 
Fertilization, theories of, 100 
Fornication laws, 117, 145 
Free love, results of, 81 

Gonorrhoea, 203 
extra-genital infections, 205 
in adults, 207 
in girls, 206 
in men, 208 
in women, 210 
systemic, 213 
treatment of, in men, 209 
in women, 213 

Homosexuality, 330 

checked by co-education, 335 

frequency of, 332 
Howard opposed to promiscuity, 33 

Illegitimacy, 178 

paternal responsibility in, 22 
Immorality in children, 327 
Incontinence, significance of, 308 
Infantile impressions, 337 
Injunction and abatement law, 114 

Law, function of, in human rela- 
tions, 84 

impediment to love, 79 
Laws, model, 223 
License, results of, 86 
Lock Hospitals, 65 
Love, function of, 82 

relation to sexual selection, 73, 

superior to law, 79 

Marriage, artificial barriers to, 75 
biological origin of, 47 
by capture, 41 
by purchase, 41 
ceremonials, 42 
civil, 45 
code, tendencies toward reform 

of, 48 

definition of, 30 
effect of Puritan movement on, 


function of, 80 
laws, 119 




Marriage, legends of, 31 

modern history of, 43 

natural selection in, 73 

origin of, 35 

penalization of, S3 

present basis of, 77 

primitive, 39 

protection of, against venereal 
disease, 300 

sexual abstinence in, 112 
Masturbation, 319 
Monogamy, basis of, 74 

relation to birth control, 109 
Morality, current definition of, 28 
Morals, double standard in, 53 

Napoleonic regulation of vice, 56 
Natural selection in marriage, 73 

Obscenity Act, Federal, 116 

Police, and prostitution, 60 

women, value of, 296 
Polyandry, 46 
Polygamy, 46 
Promiscuity, arguments against, 33 

theories of, 29 

Prostitutes, and law of supply and 
demand, 254 

examination of, 58, 65 

infection of, 249 

lock hospital treatment of, 252 

police court examination of, 252 

social origin of, 68 
Prostitution, and graft, 237 

causes of, 52, 66 

clandestine, 66 

constitutionality of regulation 
of, 239 

definition of, 49 

demand for, 231 

expenditures on, 230 

laws against, 114 

legal definition of, 116 

methods to discourage, 255 

origin of, 50 

regulation of, arguments for and 
against, 245 

relation of Boards of Health to 
regulation of, 242 

relation of men to, 231 

relation of women to, 231 

relation to marital life, 71 

repression of, 360 

significance of, 49 

Prophylactic, packet, 282 
stations, 66 

objections to, 291 
and enforcement of fornica- 
tion law, 290 
Prophylaxis of venereal disease, 


efficacy of, 270 
ethical aspects of, 275 
in relation to education, 278 
relation to brothels, 269 

Quarantine of venereal disease, 247 

Race suicide and venereal disease, 


Red light districts, 60 
Regulation of prostitution, aban- 
donment of, 255 

and graft, 237 

arguments for and against, 245 

constitutionality of, 239 

relation of Boards of Health to, 

Regulation of vice, 56 

initial opposition to, 63 
Regulation of vice, modern, 228 
Reproduction, natural checks to, 93 
Reproductive instinct, 103 

Seduction of children, 177 

penalties for, 51 

relation of age to, 69 
Segregation of vice, 56 

in America, 59 
Sex, affirmative aspects of, 25 

education, 324 

Freud's definition of, 313 

in relation to law, 358 

personal and racial function of, 

psychology, 315 

relation among the apes, 37 
Sexual, abstinence in marriage, 

conduct, standardization of, 170, 
181, 185 

license, 26 

misconduct in children, 327 

necessity, 67, 220 

selection, relation of love to, 73, 

Social evil, analysis of, 18 

definition of, 15 

problem, solution of, 349 



Social status and marriage, 75 
Solicitation, laws against, 116 
Syphilis, 191 

hereditary, 197 

late manifestations of, 195 

symptoms of, 192 

treatment of, 200 

Taboos in sex, 26 

Venereal disease, and race suicide, 


among domestic servants, 299 
control, 217, 361 
in prostitutes, 249 
problem and its solution, 292 
prophylaxis of, 62, 259 
protection of marriage against, 


Venereal disease, public education, 
62, 64 

quarantine of, 247, 298 

reporting of, 226 

statistics, 187 

Venereal diseases, history of, 190 
Vice, commissions, 65 

regulation of, 56 

segregation of, 56 

White slave trade, 57 

Women, celibacy in, relation to 

birth control, 110 
economic dependence of, 76 
police, value of, 296 
relation of, to sexual order, 24 
subjection of, 87 

Wragg vs. Griffin, decision in case 
of, 246 



Hooker, Edith (Houghton) 
21 The laws of sex