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Full text of "The sexual crisis; a critique of our sex life. Authorized translation by Eden and Cedar Paul, with an introd. by William J. Robinson"



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THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

A CRITIQUE OF OUR SEX LIFE 

BY 

CRETE MEISEL-HESS 



Authorized Translation by 

EDEN AND CEDAR PAUL 



With an Introduction 

BY 
WILLIAM J. ROBINSON, M.D. 



SECOND EDITION 



1917 
THE CRITIC AND GUIDE COMPANY 

12 MT. MORRIS PARK WEST 

NEW YORK 



^=~ HQ 

^BRARy^ ; 

Iv'AR 2 8 1973 



COPYRIGHT, 1917, 
BY THE CRITIC AND GUIDE COMPANY 



All rights reserved 



CONTENTS 

PACK 

INTRODUCTION BY WILLIAM J. EOBINSON, M.D 7 

TRANSLATORS' PREFACE . . 14 

BOOK I THE SEXUAL ORDER OF OUR CIVILIZATION 

CHAPTEB 

I. CRITIQUE OF MARRIAGE IN ITS PRESENT FORM . . . .17 

Causes of the Increase in the Number of Celibates Perversion of 

Courtship. 

II. THE NATURE OF MARRIAGE . . .29 

Program of the ' ' Revolutionists. ' ' 

BOOK II MARRIAGE AND THE FORMS AND RESULTS OF ITS INVA- 
SION WITHIN THE EXISTING SEXUAL ORDER 

III. THE LEGAL COEFFICIENT OF MARRIAGE 34 

Analysis of the Concept "Marriage." Intrinsic Dangers of the 

Illegitimate Erotic Intimacy. "Love-loathing." 

IV. THE SOCIAL COEFFICIENT OF MARRIAGE ...... 40 

Its Indispensable Character. Ideal of a Permanent Sexual and 
Social Bond as the Basis of Marriage. Contrast between This Ideal 

and the Actual Marriage of Our Day. 

V. THE COEFFICIENT OF SUGGESTION IN MARRIAGE 45 

Critique of the Free Love Intimacy of To-day. Danger of Sexual 
Relationships Outside the Pale of the Law. Danger of Marriage 
without Probation. Trial Marriage in History. Concubinage. 
BOOK III THE DOUBLE STANDARD OF OUR SEXUAL MORALITY 

VI. KANT AND THE METAPHYSICS OF ETHICS . . . . . 79 
Origin of Morality. Hygienic Ordinances Taking the Form of 

Religious and Moral Precepts. 

VII. FOLK-HISTORY IN RELATION TO THE MORAL QUESTION . . .87 

Duplex Morality as a Protective Wall. Consequences of Masculine 
Sexual Morality. Effects of the Resulting Duplex Mental Attitude 
upon Psychic Unity and Development of Character in the Male. 
Sexual Anarchy. Die Jiidin von Toledo. Duplex Morality in Litera- 
ture. The Problem in the Antique World. The 1,300 Verses of 
Menander. 

VIII. THE INSTITUTION OF EXTREME DEMANDS 97 

Control of Feminine Chastity as a Consequence of the Father- 
Right. The Higher Father-Right of the Future. The Child as an 
Argument in Favor of Duplex Sexual Morality. Primal Basis of 
Morality: the Interest of the Species. The Demand for Chastity a 
Necessary One. Sexual Freedom and Sexual Restraint in Relation 
to the Offspring and to the Race. Individual Disregard of a Socially 
Approved Code Is Commonly a Fruitless Act of Opposition; What 
We Need Is a Reorganization of Social Life. 

BOOK IV SEXUAL LIES 

IX. SEXUAL LIES . .103 

Frequency of Sexual Lies. Lying Moral Imperatives. Coercive 
Sexual Need in Youth. Spring in Gyves. Erotic Friendship. 
Luther and Sexual Lies. Man's Ideal Woman. "My Wife" and 
"My Husband." Women "Consecrated to Death" as Portrayed 

in Literature. The Lawgivers of the Sexual Life. Consequences 
of Neglected Sexual Hygiene. Metamorphosis of the Sexual Im- 
pulse into Obscenity. The Lie-Trust Must Be Dissolved. 
BOOK V LOVE 

X. THE NATURE or LOVE 118 

Meaning of the Legend pf the Fall. The Will to Love. Partial 
Substitutes for the Perfect Love. Social Love; Sexual Love; Con- 
trectative Love. The Larger Expectations of the Male; His Clearer 
Vision of the Possibilities of Love. 

3 



4 CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

XI. THE SPORT OP LOVE 125 

Frascata's Letter in La Vie Parisienne. Gallant Love Contrasted 
with Tragic Love. Deeper Significance of the Sport of Love. 
Olympic Love-Sport of the Gods of Ancient Greece. Love-Sport of 

the Martians in Lasswitz's Novel. A Pure Sport of Sentiment as 
an Ideal of Civilization. 

XII. LOVE- WITCHERY . . . . 132 

The Eros of Diotima. Love- Witchery as Symbolized in A Mid- 
summer Night's Dream. The Siegfried-Briinnehilde Myth. The 
Influence of Christianity in Sustaining the Conception of Woman-as- 
Destroyer. Her Role in Literature. Replacement of Love- Witchery 

by a New Ideal. 

XIII. LOVE-HATE 140 

The Struggle of the Sexes, Its Significance. The Primal Curse. 
Penthesilea a Drama of Love-Hate. Cannot We Put an End to 
Love-Hate by a New Art of Love? 

XIV. LOVE-NEED , . . .149 

Frigidity of our Own Epoch. La Grande Amour euse. Pathological 

and Social Love-Need. Sensual Impotence. Its Pathological Causes. 
Psychoneurosis. Freud's Theory. Psychic Inability to Control the 
Physical Manifestations of Sexual Tension. Male Demi- Vierges. A 
Sequence of Loves. Literature of Love. Love-Poetry of the Future. 

BOOK VI THE TEAVESTY OF LOVE 

XV. NATURE AND ORIGIN OF PROSTITUTION 159 

Definition of the Concept. Myth and Legend. Tellurism as a 
Means of Providing a Dowry. Decline of Religious Prostitution. 

The Athenian Dikterion. The Emancipated Woman as a Free 
Hetaira. The " Young Maidens" of the Cyprian Venus. Borne, 
Christianity and the Degradation of Prostitution. Its Ultimate Ruin 
through the Introduction of Syphilis from America. Attempts 
at the Regulation of Prostitution. Aggravation of its Evils. 
Abolitionist Congress of 1877. 

XVI. THE NECESSITY OF PROSTITUTION 167 

Prostitution as an Inevitable Correlate of the Modern Marriage- 
System. The Need for Unfettering Sexual Intercourse. 

XVII. THE MELANCHOLY TRAVESTY 175 

Its Victims. Its Dangers. Threefold Corruption of the Man; of 

the Victim; and of the Social Consciousness. Abyss between the 
Day-Consciousness and the Night-Consciousness. Enfeeblement of 
the Sexual Impulse. Misused Nature's Revenge. Sufferings of 
Men. 

XVIII. THE ECONOMIC BASIS 181 

Boundary between Prostitution and Free Love. The Maintenance 

of the Woman by the Man is Neither Unnatural nor Antisocial. 
In the Free Intimacy, the Money Question Is Usually Left Entirely 
to Chance. Attitude Toward This Matter in France and Germany 
respectively. German ' ' Idealism. ' ' An Economic Order in which 
the Wife and the Mother Will Be Socially Endowed, as a Substitute 
for the Maintenance of the Wife by the Husband. Metaphysical 
Idea of "Compensating" a Woman for the Surrender of Her 
Person. Of the Two Sexual Partners, the Woman Is the One Espe- 
cially Endangered by Love, Alike Biologically, Economically and 
Morally. 

XIX. REFORM OF PROSTITUTION ........ 190 

Falsity of the Platonic Campaign Against Prostitution. Proposals 

to Get Rid of the Evil by Means of Ethical Teaching, Vegetarianism, 
Tracts and Pamphlets, Physical Culture and Family Life. How to 
Make Prostitution Superfluous. A Conceivable Method. The 
' ' Sport of the Martians" reconsidered. ' f Erotic Friendship ' ' recon- 
sidered. The Reformer as an Intermediary Between the Sufferings 
f the Present and the Star of the Ideal. 



CONTENTS 5 

BOOK VII SEXUAL NEED AND THE WOMAN'S MOVEMENT 

CHAPTEB PAGE 

XX. ORIGIN AND NECESSITY OF THE WOMAN 's MOVEMENT . . . 203 
Necessity of Remunerated Work for Women To-day. Difficulty of 
Providing a Dowry and Consequent Difficulty of Marriage. Statis- 
tical Data. Technical Advances Tending to Lighten Domestic Work. 
Need for the Extension of Communal Activity in the Upbringing of 
Children. The Eugenic Problem. The Woman 's Movement Necessi- 
tates an Amplified Classification of Feminine Types. Motherhood 
Must be Possible for Every Healthy Woman and Independent 
Remunerated Work Must be open to All. Such Work a Necessary 
Transitional Phase on the Way to Sexual Enfranchisement. The 
Sexual Bond-slavery of To-day. Emancipation : Economic, Spiritual 

and Sexual. 

XXI. OPPOSITION TO THE WOMAN >s MOVEMENT . . . . .215 
Misconceptions of the Need for the Woman's Movement. Its 
Socially Therapeutic Function, the Historical Conditions of Its 
Origin, and Its True Line of Future Advance. Views of the Pseudo- 
scientists of Racial Progress. Views of the ^Esthetes. The Mass- 
movement and the Individual Woman's Movement. Those Emanci- 
pated from Sex and Those Emancipated for Sex. The Woman's 
Movement in Classical Antiquity: Hetairism; Amazonhood. The 

Old Maid Gives Place to the Bachelor Woman. Motherhood in 
Women Engaged in Creative Work. The Campaign for Woman's 
Rights Is a Means for the Attainment of the Rights of Wifehood 
and Motherhood, and a Necessary Stage in Racial Progress. 

XXII. THE JUSTIFICATION OF AN ACTIVE LIFE FOB WOMEN . . . 235 
Duty of the ' ' Monads. ' ' Art and Sex. Woman 's Intuitive Knowl- 
edge and Its Utilization in Her Occupation. Need That Women 
Should Share in All Occupations. Woman 's Art as a Reflex of Her 
Life-Experience. Woman's Right to Self -Expression. 

XXIII. THE LESS FAVORABLE ASPECTS OF THE WOMAN 's MOVEMENT . 241 
Woman's Expenditure of Energy upon Sexual Functions Must 
Never be Ignored. Freedom of Occupation, but not Enforced Occu- 
pation. Exploitation of Women's Working Powers. The Offer of 
Remunerated Employment Cannot be Regarded as Affording Even 

a Partial Substitute for Opportunities for a Full General Life. Ma- 
ternal Energies Transmuted into Horsepower. The Woman's Move- 
ment Historically Necessary as a Stage on the Road to the Mother- 
hood Movement. 

BOOK VIII SEXUAL CRISIS AND THE RACE 

XXIV. GENERAL RACIAL PROBLEMS 247 

The ' ' Well-Born. ' ' Definition of Life. The Struggle for Existence. 
Non-selective Influences. Conflicting Aims of Racial Hygiene and 

of Individual Hygiene. Increasing Propagation of the Less Fit 
and Sterilization of the More Fit. Marriage Prohibitions for the 
Healthy; Marriage Freedom for the Diseased. Factors Working 
Injury to the Racial Process. 

XXV. THE SEXUAL STRUGGLE 260 

Obstacles to the Work of Reproduction: The Extral Struggle, the 
Social Struggle, the Sexual Struggle. The "Struggle for the Fit 
Sexual Partner." True Selection Hindered, Falsified Selection 
Favored. 

XXVI. SOCIALISM AND THE THEORY OF SELECTION . . .268 
Apparent Conflict Between the Socialist and the Darwinian Views 

of the World-Order. The Sexual Victory of Lower Types over 
Higher. The Protection of the Weak and the Struggle for Exist- 
ence. Plotz 's Solution of the Problem : The Adoption of Measures 
to Secure the Birth of Better Human Varieties. Sexual Reform 
and Racial Hygiene. Synthesis of the Idealism of the Antique and 
the Christian Worlds. 



6 CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PA3B 

XXVII. THE REFORM OF PROCREATION ....... 276 

The Fundamental Idea of Sexual Eeform: The Production and 
Maintenance of Fit Human Beings. The Struggle Against the 
Forbears. Religious Need of Humanity. Reverence for Procreation 

as the Religion of the Future. 
BOOK IX THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY HUMANITY 

XXVIII. PSYCHOLOGY OF THE SEXUAL STRUGGLE 284 

The Factor of Struggle in Sex-Relationships. " Getting the Upper 
Hand." Who Pays Homage? The Frenzy of Misunderstanding. 
Psychic Fetichism of the Modern Man. His Misdirected and 
Inadequate Sexual Impulse. Love of Obscenity as an Equivalent 

for the Satisfaction of Such an Impulse. Sexual Exhaustion as 
a Sequel of Cerebral Exhaustion. The Ascetic Tendency. 

XXIX. SEXUAL PSYCHOLOGY OF THE MALE 291 

"The Child in Man." Man's Suggestibility; His Greed of Pos- 
session, and His Lust of Destruction. "Men About Town." The 
Woman Who Woos and Her Inevitable Ultimate Failure. The 
Frigid Woman and Her Success with the Modern Man. Conse- 
quences to the Family and to the Race of the Artificial Selection 

of Frigid Women. "Man, the Murderer." Great Lovers: Bis- 
marck, Wagner, Goethe. Grillparzer as a Precursor of Kierkegaard. 
"Forget Not Thy Whip." Victory of the Megaera-Amazon-Fury 
Type. "Yes, Darling, Do Go on Talking! " The New Woman and 
Her Failure to Find a Mate. Seduction, an Art of the Future. 
BOOK X OUR SEXUAL MISERY 

XXX. THE JUSTIFICATION OF THE SEXUAL LIFE 304 

The General State of Sexual Privation. Disturbances in Animals 
Due to Sexual Abstinence. The Need to Leave Offspring is a Dictum 

of All Civilized Peoples. 

XXXI. THE CAUSES OF OUR SEXUAL MISERY 309 

Capitalism the Root of the Evil. Emasculation Through Capital- 
ism. Marriage as an Institution for the Elderly. Why Innumer- 
able Persons Fail to Discover Sexual Complements. The Alpha and 
Omega of Sexual Misery: Vitiated Selection. 

XXXII. THE PECULIAR SEXUAL MISERY OF WOMAN .... 317 
Erotic Starvation and Its Dangers. Women of Higher Type Espe- 
cially Liable to Erotic Privation. The "Anomalous" Woman. 
Anna Boje, in Frenssen's Hilligenlei. Sex-Problems in Modern 
Literature. Organic Need for Motherhood Often Ignored in the 
Woman's Movement. Krafft-Ebing upon Insanity in Celibate 
Women. Peculiarly Tragical Isolation of Those Termed New 
Women. A Chanson of Maeterlinck 's Voicing Woman 's Resignation. 
Matriarchy versus Patriarchy. Control of the Birth-rate by the 
Direct Association of Mothers with the State. The Deliberate Play 

of Courtship That Would Result from a Wise Reform of Our Sexual 
Life. 

XXXIII. THE PSYCHOPATHIC CONSEQUENCES OF SEXUAL MISERY . . 330 
"Depressed, Miserable and Exhausted." Dissociations of Con- 
sciousness. The Researches of Breuer and Freud. Disturbance 

of Psychic Unity Through the Need for the "Abreaction" of 
Sexual Affects. Sexual Neurosis. 

XXXIV. CONCLUSIONS . ... . . . . 340 

After Consideration, Action. Eugenics. The Woman's Movement: 

The Economic Emancipation of Women; Motherhood Protection. 
Education. Complete Moral Recognition of Every Healthy Act of 
Motherhood. Our Conclusions Are the Collective Voice in Which 
the Yearning of Suffering Millions Finds Expression. Monogamy: 
Coercive Marriage and Free Marriage. Awakening of Racial Con- 
sciousness; Higher Sexual Aims of the Individual. The Golden Rule 
of the Sexual Life. 



INTRODUCTION 

BY WILLIAM J. ROBINSON, M.D. 

Humanity is weary and the burden is 
becoming heavier and heavier. 

There is too little joy in this world, too little happiness. Sad- 
ness and misery are the common lot. They are so common, that by 
millions of people they are considered the natural condition, the 
inevitable fate of the human race. "Yes, I am weary/' says Hu- 
manity ; ' ' the cup of my misery is full to overflowing, ' ' and then 
it proceeds to drink from the cup and continues to carry its bur- 
den, sometimes with but generally without a murmur. For- 
tunately for the race, it always had some sons and recently also 
some daughters who rebelled against the idea that suffering, pain 
and unhappiness were inevitable conditions to be borne without 
a struggle. They rebelled, they fought, they died in the cause,- 
but they blazed a trail which makes it easier for us to continue the 
work. 

The first condition necessary to cure a disease is to know its 
cause and its character. The first step in removing human misery 
is an analysis of its causes. It did not require much acumen to 
discover that our economic order was responsible for a large pro- 
portion of human suffering; the discovery that our sex life, our 
code of sex morality, was the cause of an enormous amount of 
suffering of the acutest, the most agonizing character, came at a 
much later date ; we may say it is the discovery of but yesterday. 
But the unbiased modern thinker, the close observer who has con- 
siderable material on which to make his observations, must inevita- 
bly come to the conclusion that sex misery is as widespread as is 
hunger misery, and is much more difficult to handle. In other 
words, it is much more difficult to solve the sex problem than it is 
the economic problem. 

There are several reasons for this. One of the reasons is that 
economic misery is open, sexual misery is hidden. People in the 

7 



8 INTRODUCTION 

mass do not conceal their economic condition ; they are not ashamed 
of their economic status; some are even ready to exaggerate their 
poverty, and many do not hesitate to apply for charitable relief. 
Sexual misery, however, is hidden in the deepest recesses of the 
heart. TJike the Spartan youth with the fox at his breast, many a 
man has gone down to his grave with sex misery gnawing at his 
vitals, without flinching, and many women will let their health 
wither and their vitality shrivel, and will not betray their secret. 

Another reason is that it is easier and simpler to relieve bread 
poverty than it is sex poverty. When a man is starving, we can 
give him a dinner, a dollar, or a job. When a person is dying for 
the lack of love, we cannot offer him the requisite remedy. There 
are free bread-lines and municipal lodging houses for those who 
need bread and shelter; no such palliatives have been provided 
for the sexually starved. 

A third reason is that the satisfaction of our other instincts 
hunger, thirst and sleep is a legitimate function and does not 
conflict with any religious code ; the satisfaction of the sex instinct, 
except under certain prescribed conditions, which for millions of 
adult men and women are unattainable, is considered a vice or a 
crime, because it conflicts with religious dogma, with the statute 
law and with the man-made code of morality. 

A fourth reason: when a man is poor he knows it. In other 
words, one who suffers from lack of material necessities knows ex- 
actly what his trouble is : one who suffers sexually does not himself 
always know what the trouble is. A man or a woman suffering 
from lack of love or from lack of sexual satisfaction (the two are 
not synonymous) or from improper sexual satisfaction may be 
deeply unhappy and not suspect the cause of the unhappiness. It 
may require the prolonged efforts of an acute psychologist to de- 
termine the cause and to point it out to the sufferer. 

Then again number five incomparably more people are de- 
voting their lives to the work of solving economic problems than 
are engaged in studying our sex problems. And the people en- 
gaged in the former can be bolder in their statements and more 
untrammeled in their opinions than those engaged in the latter. 
In the worst case they the former may be stigmatized as social- 



INTRODUCTION 

ists or anarchists. But these words no longer carry with them 
any opprobrium or social ostracism. They have become respectable 
the former entirely so, the second almost. While those who dare 
to discuss honestly and frankly our sex problems are anathematized 
as immoral, corrupters of youth, debauchees, profligates, and what 
not, and these terms still carry with them a deep opprobrium and 
do involve social and professional ostracism. 

But there is something even more effective, more deterrent than 
opprobrium and ostracism and we will designate this as number 
six of our reasons why the sex problem is confronted with greater 
obstacles: there is the real danger of forbidding and destroying 
your writings and of putting you behind prison bars. When they 
cannot refute your arguments, they can hit you with a club and 
put you in chains. Economic and political writers are beyond 
that stage ; they enjoy freedom of speech and freedom of press in 
the full meaning of those terms; no books on economic or political 
subjects are refused the mails and imprisonment no longer menaces 
their authors. But sex writings, if frank, free and honest, are still 
barred from the mails or destroyed and their authors and pub- 
lishers are still fined or sent to prison. 

For these reasons, as well as for several others which cannot 
be mentioned here, the sex problem is much further from solution 
than the economic problem is, and for this very reason it becomes 
the bounden duty of those who do appreciate the full significance 
of our sex life, its potentiality for unlimited weal and boundless 
woe, to treat the subject honestly, fearlessly, without regard to 
consequences. The writer of this introduction has long ago come 
to the conclusion that the sex problem is more important than the 
economic problem, more important than any other problem con- 
fronting the human race. Perhaps I should not use the word 
important. Generally speaking, the economic problem is the most 
important one, for it is the basic, fundamental problem; when a 
person is hungry, and has no clothes to wear, and no shelter to 
protect him from inclement weather, he is more wretched than 
one who suffers from love-starvation. Nevertheless the economic 
problem is the simpler one. In this country at least, the number 
of those in a condition of actual chronic starvation is a small one, 



10 INTRODUCTION 

perhaps an insignificantly small one. The number of those men 
and women who slowly agonize on account of love-starvation is 
enormous. It constitutes the larger proportion of humanity. 

We have to face the fact that there are millions of people who 
have no economic problems whose livelihood is secure, and who 
can even revel in luxuries but who have very perplexing, very 
distressing sex problems, that fill their waking and sleeping hours 
with life-destroying misery. It often happens that just as soon as 
the economic problem is settled, the sex problem commences. And 
it is no abstract reasoning, but the face-to-face confessions which 
the writer has had to listen to for many years in the saqred pri- 
vacy of his office, the tears and the agonies of his patients, that have 
disclosed to him the unfathomed depths of the sex problem, the 
widespread suffering for which it is responsible. And many suffer 
and suffer and, as said, are not aware of the cause of their suffer- 
ing. It is this widespread suffering that has induced the writer to 
devote his life to a study of humanity 's sex problems, and to bring 
the results of his study to the people. For the ignorance of the 
people in sex matters is unbelievably colossal. And when I say 
people, I do not mean the "common" people, the masses only. T 
mean all the people the so-called cultured and uncultured alike. 
And of no books are the people so greatly in need now as of sex 
books of high character, dealing in an honest, fearless and scientific 
manner with all the phases of the sex question, considering it 
from every viewpoint: the physiological, the psychological, the 
pathological, the sociological and last but not least the ethical. 

Among books of this high character, THE SEXUAL CRISIS oc- 
cupies an honored place and I consider myself extremely fortunate 
in having been instrumental in making this remarkable book ac- 
cessible to the English reading public. It is from many points of 
view a great book, and even conservative but honest thinkers, who 
care to hear the other side, will admit that the author of THE 
SEXUAL CRISIS has given the world a book which is well worth 
a careful perusal. One need not agree with all of the author's 
conclusions, but nobody can deny that as an analytical critique 
of our sex life, as a stimulus to thought, Dr. Meisel-Hess' book has 
few equals. 



INTRODUCTION 11 

The superficial, the stupid, the vicious, those who on account of 
their perverted vision see immorality and impurity where not a 
shadow of either exists, will brand the book as immoral, or at least 
as tending to corrupt our morals. Some will undoubtedly assert 
that the author is attacking the sacred institution of marriage, 
wants to abolish it and is in favor of free love. To such strabismic 
accusations it is sufficient to oppose some of the author 's own state- 
ments. Here is what she says in one place (page 60) : 

" Marriage as the permanent sexual association of one man and 
one woman, drawn together by an intimate harmony of physical 
and mental qualities and each finding in the other complete satis- 
faction of all desire for sexual relationships, with father, mother, 
and children, living together in harmony, is and must remain the 
ideal." But as an honest observer she knows that "the attainment 
of this ideal involves the fulfillment of conditions often difficult 
to realize," and that "it is essential that an additional form of 
sexual life should receive legal and social recognition." 

In another place (page 67) she says still more unequivocally: 
"Let there be no misunderstanding. I regard permanent sexual 
unions as the ideal. For a woman, above all, it is eminently de- 
sirable that she should give herself to one man only, that this man 
should be the first she has loved, that she should never suffer dis- 
illusionment, and that the pair should remain true lovers until 
death. ' ' Does this sound like the expression of an immoral woman, 
or a promiscuous varietist? 

That the author is not an advocate of free love, that she rec- 
ognizes the shortcomings and dangers of free unions, the follow- 
ing extracts will amply demonstrate: 

"We regard the social factor of marriage," says our author, 
"as an enduring human need. If a man and a woman are to find 
complete mutual satisfaction in a sexual companionship, it is neces- 
sary that they should cooperate plainly and publicly. It is incon- 
testable that a sexual relationship which is not based upon the 
full association of the two lives is profoundly unsatisfying." 

"A relationship limited to a secret tete-a-tete is tainted with 
the seeds of disease. It is upon this enforced secrecy that the 
'free' sexual union is so often shipwrecked; and, precisely be- 



12 INTRODUCTION 

cause of this secrecy, such an intimacy is a thousandfold less free 
than the most fettered form of marriage." 

1 'Above all to-day, when in favor of 'free love' so many lances 
are splintered, and splintered by noble hands, we cannot refrain 
from insisting upon the profound dangers inseparable from such 
an intimacy. . . . Their dangers, however, are very real, and the 
actual study of free unions will show that these dangers are more 
extensive than their advocates are apt to imagine." 

It will be seen from the above statements that the author does 
not advocate the abolition of marriage. On the contrary she, with 
many radical freethinkers, considers a happy monogamous mar- 
riage the ideal ; but recognizing the essential need of an institution 
does not take away the right to criticize its shortcomings and to 
offer suggestions for improvement. And recognizing the need of 
monogamic marriage for the vast majority of people does not take 
away the right to claim that there are many men and women who 
are not fit for monogamic marriage, and such people are entitled 
to a different form of sex life. 

It is rather a peculiar coincidence that my views on marriage 
have long been almost identical with those of the present author, 
and I have expressed them in almost the same words. In 1911, in 
the symposium on Sex-Morality Past, Present and Future, I sum- 
marized my essay as follows: 

The monogamic system of marriage will probably survive in the 
future as the dominant system. The family will in the future, as 
in the present, form the basic unit of society, for a happy, har- 
monious family is the best environment for the proper bringing 
up of children, for the proper development of character. Of course 
it is possible that the state institutions for the care of children 
in the future will be of a much higher character than the insti- 
tutions of the present. But the institutions with which we are 
familiar do not inspire us with very great expectations in this 
respect. A good home is superior to the best institution or asylum 
or pension or dormitory, and no substitute has yet been found for 
mother love and father love. . . . 

Monogamy, while being the prevalent system, will not be sur- 
rounded with the rigid and iron-clad rules of the present day, 
will not be so absolute in its applications as it is theoretically sup- 
posed to be now, and occasional departures from it will not be 
accompanied by the odium and legal punishments of to-day. 



INTRODUCTION 13 

Ante-nuptially no reproach will be attached to sexual relation- 
ships. Prostitution being a coarse and unsanitary institution, re- 
lationships of a different character will come into vogue where 
the health of both the man and the woman will be as secure and as 
safeguarded as it is in legal marriage. As no odium will be at- 
tached to such relations, no secrecy will be required and all sani- 
tary precautions will be readily carried out, should such sanitary 
precautions be needed at that time. For we believe that in the 
future, prostitution being non-existent and individual prophylaxis 
having been in use for years, venereal disease will have disappeared 
from the face of the earth. . . . 

Men and women who, for one reason or another, will be unable 
or unwilling to enter into any permanent union or to have any 
children, will enter into free temporary unions, openly and frankly, 
and they will not be ostracized or even frowned upon for so doing. 
For it will be recognized that for some men or women it is the 
only form of sexual relationship possible, either psychically or 
physiologically. 

I was naturally pleased to find the author of THE SEXUAL CRISIS 
entertaining the same sanely radical views. 

A word as to the translation. The translation is so thoroughly 
excellent and the difficulties of an adequate translation from Ger- 
man only those who have tried the task can appreciate that in go- 
ing through the manuscript I could only nod unqualified approval. 
Changing the English spelling to American, modifying a word 
here or an expression there, was all I had to do. The translators 
are certainly to be congratulated for the skill and ability with 
which they have accomplished their difficult task. 

I have read THE SEXUAL CRISIS, from the beginning to end, 
three times : the manuscript, the galley proofs and the page proofs. 
I have read it not because I had to, but because I wanted to: be- 
cause I enjoyed reading it. And with each reading the enjoyment 
became greater and the appreciation grew stronger. May the 
reader's experience be similar to mine. 

WILLIAM J. ROBINSON. 

December 8, 1916. 
12 Mount Morris Park West, New York City. 



TRANSLATORS' PREFACE 

The most outstanding feature of contemporary human evolu- 
tion is that it is tending to become a conscious and deliberate 
process. To quote Ray Lankester's telling phrase, man is " na- 
ture, 's rebellious son." Long ago, indeed, when they first became 
human, our ancestors ceased to depend solely upon that automatic 
reaction to environment we know by the name of instinct. But the 
latest advances in the use of our rational faculties initiate a new 
stage. We have a wider grasp than of yore of the need to modify 
our " natural" environment to suit our own purposes. We rec- 
ognize that among the factors of that natural environment which 
need modification, perhaps the most plastic of all, and certainly 
the one most definitely requiring modification, is the social milieu 
into which we are born, in which we grow to maturity, and to 
which each individual among us makes his specific contribution. 
And we have learned from the teachings of Darwin, Galton, and 
their successors, that among the elements of human life susceptible 
of modification by man 's deliberate will, may be numbered the very 
stuff and substance of which that life is primarily composed; we 
know that by the control of human selection the future of our race 
can be influenced in a manner perhaps more radical than any 
other. Thus, apart from militarism and its reactions (and these 
things, despite their present tendency to overshadow all our 
thoughts, are in truth but subordinate issues, and our attitude 
towards them, in so far as we are consistent, will be determined 
by our general outlook upon the problems of social life) apart, 
then, from militarism and its reactions, the directions in which 
nature's rebellious sons and daughters are reaching out in their 
endeavors to mould the human future, are indicated by four of 
the most notable movements of our time, the socialist movement, 
the movement for sexual reform, the woman's movement, and the 
eugenist movement. Now the great value of THE SEXUAL CRISIS, 
and that wherein its essential originality is to be found, is that 
it represents the first definite attempt to coordinate all these move- 

14 



TRANSLATORS' PREFACE 15 

ments, and to display their essential interdependence. Every so- 
cialist or social reformer, every sexual reformer, every protagonist 
of the woman's movement, and every eugenist, may expect to find 
much in the book from which he dissents, and much perhaps of 
which he disapproves; occasionally, it may be, dissent and disap- 
proval will even be passionate: and yet it is hardly possible that 
anyone sincerely interested in the great thought-movements of our 
time should fail to appreciate the writer's honesty and insight, or 
should fail to enjoy the acuteness with which she criticizes many 
institutions and conventions that are venerable only in the sense of 
being mustily antique. 

The translators will have effected their primary aim if they 
have succeeded in rendering the work into English in such a man- 
ner that it can be read as if it were an English original. But in so 
far as in this respect they have attained a measure of success, the 
danger arises that British and American readers may forget that 
the author's experiences are mainly German and Austrian, and 
that she is writing primarily of German conditions. As regards, 
the position of women and the progress of the woman's movement,. 
Germany presents one of those strange contrasts characteristic of 
all civilizations in this epoch of detached and ofttimes warring- 
nationalities. In freedom of discussion in sexual matters, and as 
far as concerns a theoretical understanding that economic eman- 
cipation and sexual emancipation are essential foundations of the 
movement for the emancipation of women, Germany is in the van ; 
on the other hand, when we come to consider the actual position 
of women in social life, we find that the German Hausfrau lacks 
the comparative independence of her British, and still more of 
her American sister. This contrast exists, indeed, chiefly in the 
bourgeois classes, for, so far as the proletariat is concerned, in 
contemporary capitalist civilization the position of women is much 
the same all the world over, and their veiled slavery is mitigated 
only by a tendency in urban working-class life to ignore the re- 
straints of coercive marriage, and (in certain countries, such as 
France and Anglo- America) by the extensive practice of birth con- 
trol. Moreover, under capitalism and coercive marriage, the dif- 
ferences between Germany, France, England, and the United 



16 TRANSLATORS' PREFACE 

States are more apparent than real. So long as social conditions 
facilitate sexual exploitation, sexual exploitation will continue. 
Sometimes the man exploits the woman ; sometimes the woman ex- 
ploits the man; sometimes the exploitation is mutual. All forms 
of exploitation, all relationships in which men and women treat 
other men and women as means instead of as ends-in-themselves, 
are equally disastrous to the welfare and happiness of the human 
race. 

A word in conclusion on the title. The sexual crisis through 
which, in the author's eyes, we are passing, is not a momentary 
event. It is a crisis in biological history, a history that endures 
for centuries, and the crisis may therefore outlast two or three 
individual lives, even the lives of centenarians. But as human 
progress becomes self-conscious, its pace is quickened. To increase 
self-consciousness, to intensify social criticism, to accelerate the 
forward movement of civilization these are the aims of THE 
SEXUAL CRISIS. 

EDEN AND CEDAR PAUL. 

London f December, 1916. 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 

FBAU GRETE MEISEL-HESS was born in Prague on April 18, 1879. 
At the Tpchterschule in Vienna she had an education of the cus- 
tomary kind, one hostile to all individuality of character. Subse- 
quently, however, in a modern educational institution, she was able 
to secure the necessary room for development and to obtain the 
conditions requisite for healthy and natural growth. During five 
years, as an unattached student at the University of Vienna, she 
attended courses in philosophy, sociology, and biology. She was 
from the first exposed to the influences of a thoroughly conven- 
tional middle-class atmosphere, and has in her own personal ca- 
reer made experience of the great mental revolution characteristic 
of modern womanhood. This revolution is the principal theme 
of her intellectual and imaginative activities. The most decisive 
step in her life was the removal from Vienna to the more energetic 
environment of Berlin. She is the author of several successful 
novels and of numerous essays on sociological topics, chiefly relat- 
ing to aspects of the woman's movement. 



THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

BOOK I 
THE SEXUAL ORDER OF OUR CIVILIZATION 

Give me a place to stand on, 
and 1 could move the world. 

ARCHIMEDES. 

CHAPTER I 

CRITIQUE OF MARRIAGE IN ITS PRESENT FORM 

Causes of the Increase in the Number of Celibates. Perversion of Court- 
ship. 

TO every epoch belongs its own established ' ' order. ' ' If every- 
one had remained contented with this order, our development 
out of the protoplasmic slime of the sea-depths into the condition 
in which we now find ourselves would never have taken place. It 
is tantamount to an absolute negation of the idea of evolution 
to regard an established order as above criticism, as immaculately 
perfect. The sexual life of our civilization is grounded on mar- 
riage, and marriage is an order which has good reasons for its 
existence. Nevertheless, we have to ask ourselves what marriage 
costs us. Within the limits of this sexual order, mothers, de- 
livered in secret, bleed to death for lack of aid ; infants are drowned 
like superfluous kittens, or perish at the hands of the baby-farmer ; 
women become prostitutes because no other livelihood is open to 
them; syphilitics, drunkards, consumptives, and persons suffering 
from mental disorder can marry without any obligation to dis- 
close their infirmity to their partner in wedlock; undesired chil- 

17 



18 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

dren are born for whom no sustenance can be found, sickly chil- 
dren, bred in corruption, unfitted from their very birth for the 
struggle for existence, who, when full grown, can only hinder and 
hamper the working of the social machinery, and who drag out 
their weary lives as a burden to themselves and to others; by 
this sexual order millions of healthy men and women are for- 
bidden to reproduce their kind, whilst simultaneously, in mock- 
ery of the notion of racial selection, it is the most pushing and 
self-seeking, the least scrupulous and the least heroic of our race, 
those who by any rational standard are the most unworthy to per- 
petuate their type, that prove themselves the " fittest " to survive 
and propagate most rapidly and most abundantly; millions, too, 
are debarred, not merely from reproduction but further from 
any natural sexual life, this privation being in part dependent 
upon a total lack of opportunities for sexual gratification, and 
in part upon a restriction of such opportunities and upon the 
imposition of artificial obstacles to sexual satisfaction; to many 
millions of persons the only sexual life available is the life of 
prostitution: all these varied manifestations are the inseparable 
associates of our sexual order based on marriage, and so long as 
they persist we cannot fail to consider that this order urgently 
needs reform. 

Surprise is often expressed at the fact that it is women, above 
all, who attack marriage as the only socially authorized variety 
of sexual relationships. We are told: "It is for women's sake 
that the institution of marriage exists; it has arisen for their 
protection, not for that of men." We are asked: "For what 
reason is it that among those who attack marriage, or object to 
the claim that marriage is the only permissible sexual relationship, 
women constitute the preponderant majority ? ' ' These questioners 
are apt to answer their own inquiry by telling us that the advo- 
cates of "Women's rights" attack marriage because "the grapes 
are sour!" Agreed. It is a deplorable truth that in the case 
of many women marriage is as completely unattainable as were 
the grapes to the fox in the fable. But it cannot be admitted 



CRITIQUE OF MARRIAGE IN ITS PRESENT FORM 19 

that an institution which is inaccessible to millions of sound and 
healthy persons, well fitted for love and for parentage, can justly 
claim to be regarded as the only socially permissible form of sexual 
relationship. 

In Germany alone there is an excess of one million women. 
Moreover, of the men in the country not more than sixty per cent, 
marry. The last census showed that there were six million bachelors 
in Germany, and no less than eight million "bachelor women," so 
that fourteen million adult Germans were unmarried. Exercise 
of sexual function was open to these fourteen million persons 
only through an infringement of the principle of monogamic mar- 
riage, and in default of this they were condemned to permanent 
celibacy. At the census of 1900 the proportion of unmarried 
women in Germany was the following: at ages 18 to 40 years, 
44% ; at ages 18 to 25 years (that is to say, during the most 
blooming years of life, when a woman 's hunger for happiness is 
at its height), 78%. The figures show, indeed, that between the 
ages of 25 and 40 years 34% succeed in marrying for better or 
for worse. But more frequently it is for worse rather than for 
better, under conditions in which life remains a hard struggle 
for bare subsistence, conditions increasingly obnoxious to the 
true purpose of marriage, which should be a garden for the 
higher culture of the race and for the perfectionment of the indi- 
vidual. Those permanently excluded from this " marriage-garden " 
have continually less reason to envy those who have been admitted 
within its walls. However this may be, alike among men and 
among women, the number of celibates is increasing to an alarming 
extent, for reasons which may be classed under four heads: (1) 
economic; (2) individual and psychological; (3) racial and bio- 
logical; (4) legislative and social. 

******** 

Monogamic marriage, as recognized by the civilized world, is 
still based on the earnings of the male in the first place as hus- 
band, and secondly as the father who provides a dowry to assist 
his daughter to marriage. Day by day, however, it becomes 



20 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

increasingly difficult for the man to gain a livelihood. Wages 
increase, it is true; but still more rapidly does there ensue a 
concurrent increase in the price of the necessaries of life, due to 
the action of those who own the means of production. At the 
same time, since the standard of life is rising, the individual's 
needs increase; and the satisfaction of these needs, for those de- 
pendent on actual earnings, becomes ever more difficult, even in 
the case of persons who have only themselves to support. 

Obviously, then, it becomes still more difficult for the wage- 
earner to maintain several persons, or at any rate to provide for 
them in such a way as to make his existence and theirs worthy of 
civilized human beings ; more and more impossible does it become 
for him to lay by a dowry for his daughter, for he has to think 
of his own old age. It would be a help if his wife also could 
earn something, but such a supplementary source of income will 
necessarily be inadequate and insecure unless one of two things 
should happen. One possibility is that for the loss of the wife's 
earnings through the exercise of her sexual and reproductive 
functions there should be provided an adequate equivalent, either 
by some plan of insurance, or else by the direct initiative of the 
social organism, which could directly remunerate those women 
who are engaged in the work of reproduction and in the case 
of infancy. In a subsequent chapter the possibilities in this direc- 
tion and the tendencies already manifest towards such a settle- 
ment of the difficulty will be fully discussed. 

If society fails to make due allowance to women for the exer- 
cise of their sexual and reproductive functions, if women are 
expected, notwithstanding the exercise of these functions, to 
continue regular earnings (and such was the expectation of the 
woman's movement in its early days, though only in these), we 
are asking from women not merely the same expenditure of energy 
that is demanded from men, but a twofold, and at times a ten- 
fold, expenditure. By the enforcement of such a demand hu- 
manity, through grievous impairment of the forces of mother- 
hood, would be driven into a blind alley, from which it could 



CRITIQUE OP MARRIAGE IN ITS PRESENT FORM 21 

emerge only with its progress towards perfection retarded by 
thousands of years. 

The second alternative in accordance with which women's work 
could become a means to facilitate marriage would be that all 
women not actively occupied in the work of reproduction should 
be free to engage in any kind of occupation of which they are 
physically capable, and should be free to pursue all such occu- 
pations with the same independence as men; and it is further 
essential that for the same work women should receive the 
same remuneration as men. It is evident that these conditions 
do not obtain to-day. In so many instances women's work is no 
more than a means for the provision of pocket money for daughters 
living with their parents, whilst in the cases of women who are 
self-dependent the wages must be supplemented by the wages of 
prostitution. In either case, to the entrepreneur, the fact that 
he can hire women to do men's work at a lower wage enables him 
to force down men's wages. 

Finally, if wage-earning by women is to facilitate marriage, it 
must be recognized as a means to this end. A woman must not 
be deprived of situation and earnings simply because she mar- 
ries, as now happens in the case of women-teachers, women in 
government or municipal employ, and frequently also women in 
private employ. As things are, those who count upon women's 
work as a means to facilitate marriage, usually find that after 
all they are forced to choose one horn of the dilemma: occupa- 
tion, income, and celibacy; or marriage, and loss of situation. 
But if working for a living is to condemn women to celibacy, its 
influence must be anti-eugenic, it will necessarily promote the sur- 
vival of the unfit. Thus in the last resort the maintenance of the 
family depends on the male, and the difficulty of making an ade- 
quate provision for the family is the first and most important of 
the various factors leading to the continued increase in the 
number of celibates. 

From this causal nexus, whose ultimate determinant is the 
monopolization of wealth in the capitalist system, there results 



22 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

the enormous market value of the husband, of the men able and 
willing to marry. There has consequently come about a grossly 
unnatural state of affairs, one conflicting sharply with the selec- 
tive process by which the excellence of the species is maintained 
and by which the savage races of mankind are preserved from 
degeneration. The possibility of the selection of the best, the 
possibility of the continuous improvement of the race, is dependent 
upon freedom of choice on the part of women (and, of course, 
also of men). Where women are able to exercise a preference, 
where they can choose to accept the embraces of the strongest, the 
fittest, among the men, and to be impregnated by these, there 
the selective factor is at work. But where, as so often to-day, 
women must pay (in the form of a dowry) before they can find 
anyone who is able, under the only authorized conditions, to make 
them the mothers of the future generation, and where, on the 
other hand, they have to give themselves to the men best able to 
buy, to those who in existing circumstances are often damaged 
articles and from the biological standpoint of inferior quality 
there a process of reversed selection is at work, a process leading 
to the survival of the unfit, and this process is counteracted to 
some degree only by the light-hearted defiance exhibited by the 

rebels against our sexual order. 

******* 

Among all savage races the basis of sexual selection is con- 
stituted by the greater desirability of certain women. A Maori 
proverb runs: "However handsome a man may be, he is not the 
object of desire; however homely a woman may be, she will still 
be the object of desire." This is how it is among the Maori. But 
with us it is just the opposite. A woman may be beautiful and 
charming, and endowed with all possible gifts of mind and heart, 
and may yet find it difficult "to get a husband. " On the other 
hand, the most pitiable creature among men can find hundreds 
of women willing to marry him, a fact proved by the career of 
those who make a regular profession of marrying women and 
deserting them. Where shall we find the woman, however good 



CRITIQUE OP MARRIAGE IN ITS PRESENT FORM 23 

and attractive she may be, with whom hundreds of men would 
enter the bonds of marriage, and to whom they would all, one 
after another, make over their savings? "In unions between a 
member of a higher and a member of a lower race," writes 
"Westermarck, "we almost invariably find that it is the man who 
belongs to the higher race." But within the limits of our own 
white race the very reverse of this prevails; and in a union 
between higher and lower types the woman commonly belongs to 
the higher, the man to the lower, type. We often encounter 
couples in which the husband is conspicuously degenerate, while 
the wife is beautiful and well developed. Very significant in this 
connection is the current saying: "A man has no need of good 
looks." No, a man has no need of good looks, and if he wishes 
to marry he need but raise his finger and as many women will 
respond to his sign as of old were at the disposal of Don Juan. 

Such being the fruits of our economic system, it follows that 
the natural factors of progressive racial improvement are no longer 
in operation. Formerly men struggled one with another to pos- 
sess women, and this struggle seemed to arise by inevitable natural 
law; it was dependent on the circumstance that the male, who is 
endowed with greater freedom and mobility because unencum- 
bered by the work of reproduction, must court the female, who 
is hampered and restricted by the nature of her reproductive 
functions. Only in response to such courtship would the female 
surrender herself to the embraces of the male. But the struggle 
has become a thing of the past, and it appears to be one of the 
proudest achievements of our progress in civilization to have 
abrogated this fundamental law. We have, indeed, reversed the 
process ; so that the woman, if she is to get a husband at all, must 
fight for him, cheat for him, or buy him. Whilst the capacity for 
reproduction has become dependent upon the economic potency 
of the male, the act of reproduction itself has in both sexes become 
a mere matter of social calculation, and has entirely ceased to be 
a factor in natural selection. 



24 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

The individual and psychological causes of the increasing 
prevalence of celibacy will be found chiefly in the increasing dif- 
ferentiation of spiritual needs, and in the consequent increasing 
magnitude of the demands men and women make of their sexual 
partners. The price of marriage is that the entire working powers 
of the man, and often those of the woman also, should be pledged 
in perpetuity ; once the partnership is formed, it is ever more 
difficult to dissolve; its very attainment is possible only through 
the harmonious cooperation of hundreds of factors. Marriage 
practically precludes the possibility of any subsequent sexual pref- 
erence, and demands as a prerequisite that there shall be harmony, 
not only in respect of the social position of husband and wife, but 
further in respect of their individual and personal inclinations, 
habits and opinions. If this latter demand is to-day so much 
more insistent than it was in former times, may we not find the 
explanation in the fact that the truly individual consciousness 
tends more and more to preponderate over the class consciousness 
or even the national consciousness of the individual? In earlier 
times the individual represented, to a much greater extent than 
he does to-day, the type of his country, his race, his co-linguals, 
his profession, his guild or his class. All such distinctions give 
place more and more to a cosmopolitan individualism. Within 
the limits of a homogeneous community, the partner in marriage 
could in former days be found with comparative ease, for that 
which was demanded was chiefly the distinctive characteristics 
of the members of such a community. But to-day, when a hundred 
individual traits of character must find in another their satisfac- 
tory complement, whilst the social conditions for marriage have 
to be simultaneously fulfilled, can we wonder that this union be- 
comes increasingly difficult of attainment? Further, by a cor- 
relative manifestation, the sexual impulse tends under analysis to 
become progressively weaker. For the male, especially, there 
are innumerable ways of diverting or calming the impulse; and 
by recourse to prostitution, or by living in an unfettered "in- 
timacy" he is able to gratify it to such an extent that he will not 



CRITIQUE OP MARRIAGE IN ITS PRESENT FORM 25 

be likely to allow anyone ' ' to make a fool of him. ' ' Perversions of 
every kind such as prevail in all classes of society play their part in 
curbing the power of the sexual impulse, of the impulse by which 
men and women are drawn together and led to form unions. A 
strong attraction towards one of the opposite sex is now apt to 
be regarded with mistrust from the outset; it is thought to be 
dangerous; it is analyzed and explained; and at length it is "hap- 
pily overcome." Thus by diversion or weakening of the sexual 
impulse there is often effected what is regarded as a victory of 
reason; but we ignore the manifest purpose of nature, seeing 
that the true function of the sexual impulse is to secure the products 
of cross-fertilization. 

* * * * * * * 

The racial and biological obstacles to marriage are no more 
than an amplification of those that are individual, jp ftharftfttpr. 
Why is the right man or the right woman so difficult to find? 
Above all, because it is at the right moment and in suitable cir- 
cumstances that the right partner must be found. Somewhere in 
the universe this partner may exist; but in Mars, perhaps, while 
the other ideal sexual partner is on earth. 

Sooner and oftener, however, would the desired mate be en- 
countered did there exist a greater number of individuals whose 
personality is competent to satisfy and rejoice others. If one 
meets his or her true sexual complement, the right mate for the 
other has obviously also been found. Now when we say that a 
race undergoes degeneration, we mean no more than this: that 
innumerable individuals belonging to that race have deteriorated 
in respect of bodily and mental qualities, and that they are 
increasingly unable to satisfy one another's desire for happiness. 
It is a consequence of those conditions of our civilization whereby 
the working of the selective process has been falsified, that such 
states of mental and bodily inferiority, being transmissible by 
inheritance, tend increasingly to prevail. 

We have traversed the entire circumference of the vicious 
circle, and have returned to our starting-point. 



26 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

Under the conditions at present sanctioned by society, procrea- 
tion must be effected within the limits of legal marriage, and for 
marriage to be possible a hundred different social factors must co- 
operate. Sexual selection is the very last thing to be considered. 
Children procreated as the result of a genuine sexual selection, 
as the fruit of a union of mutual attraction completely inde- 
pendent of economic or social considerations such children must 
not be born. If born, they are condemned to a social environ- 
ment which makes degradation inevitable. We are often assured 
that the terribly high death-rate among illegitimate children fur- 
nishes a proof of the unfortunate biological results of free sexual 
unions ; but in no sense whatever can it be claimed that this death- 
rate is a manifestation of natural law, for it is due solely to the 
evil social conditions artificially imposed upon the illegitimate, and 
far from being a proof of the necessity for the existing sexual 
order it furnishes an effective condemnation of that order. Among 
legitimate offspring, on the other hand, children are born to 
fathers who have exhausted their best energies in the fierce struggle 
for existence, and to fathers who, during the years in which 
they were not in a position to marry, have squandered their 
biological forces in the morass of prostitution; children are born 
to mothers who have been infected by their husbands, to mothers 
who have had no genuine freedom in the choice of a mate, to 
mothers in whom stigmata of degeneration have been ignored 
owing to the possession of a substantial dowry, to mothers who 
commonly exhibit no more than a passable average of intellectual 
and moral endowments for women of exceptional capacity do 
not willingly surrender their freedom of choice, and therefore 
less often marry and reproduce their kind. Moreover, in the case 
of the proletariat, children are born to progenitors weakened by 
excessive toil, alcoholism and semi-starvation. 

But the children who are not born are the children of young, 
beautiful, strong and healthy human beings; the children of 
those whose union is the outcome simply of mutual desire, of 
the delight each takes in the other; the children of those drawn 



CRITIQUE OF MARRIAGE IN ITS PRESENT FORM 27 

together by the clear call of an unsophisticated sexual impulse. 

In our world such children have no place. 

******* 

"By their fruits ye shall know them/' By its fruits, then, 
must we judge the institution of monogamic marriage, regarded 
as the only permissible means for the perpetuation of the species. 
To every man, the appearance of every woman of a suitable age 
is pleasing; and conversely. Hence, under natural conditions, 
the chance of finding a suitable partner for a permanent sexual 
union, selected from among the numberless desirable human beings 
of appropriate age, would be as great as it is small in the condi- 
tions that obtain to-day. In the actual world we find that men 
and women are apt to fight shy of one another when the possibility 
of marriage is involved ; and more especially do we see the better 
specimens of our race maintaining an inhuman isolation. Here 

we have the racial and biological reason for the increase of celibacy. 
******* 

The legislative and social causes of the increasing prevalence 
of celibacy are to be found in the mousetrap-like structure of 
marriage. The instant those attracted by the bait have entered 
the trap, the door snaps to behind them. To sign a private con- 
tract and to interchange medical certificates of health should be 
essential preliminaries to marriage. To-day if one partner demand 
a private marriage contract, the other is likely to take offense. 
Moreover, it is hardly possible for the isolated individual to fore- 
see all the risks it is desirable to guard against, or to describe them 
in appropriate terms. What we need is a scheme for general 
application, subject to modification as occasion requires. In the 
absence of a special and elaborate contract, the risks of marriage 
are enormous. Both the sexual partners, but especially the woman, 
are menaced with the gravest dangers to body, life and property. 
Possessions, health, children, personal freedom all now become 
dependent on the goodwill of another individual, and should the 
marriage prove unfortunate, to regain freedom will often require 



28 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

superhuman exertions. Thus an additional reason for the progres- 
sive diminution in the marriage-rate is to be found in the dif- 
ficulty of divorce. People think twice before entering this mouse- 
trap. 



CHAPTER II 

THE NATURE OP MARRIAGE 
Program of the "Revolutionists." 

Meyer-Benf ey speaks of ' ' an idol-worship of outward forms and 
institutions, to which living human beings are sacrificed as if to 
an insatiable Moloch. ' ' * Yet the impulse towards the establish- 
ment of forms and institutions, in order to intercept, preserve 
and utilize the free and untamed elemenary forces, is in its 
nature one tending to promote racial survival. Forms and insti- 
tutions in a word, an established order are necessary; but they 
must be renewed when they have become old and harmful. Of 
the forces of the sexual life, above all, it is true that they need 
to be under the control of an " order " whereby they may be 
regulated and supervised. Even the duplex code of sexual morality, 
whereon is grounded the existing order for men and for women 
respectively, was originally a device for the protection of women 
and the safeguarding of procreation. But a protective device 
which can subsist only through giving the lie to nature does more 
harm than good to those who employ it. We learn from the sex- 
tragedies of all ages that woman needs to be protected against 
man when she enters into erotic relationships with him. We 
look, however, to the future to furnish for woman and for her 
precious freight, the child, protective measures more trustworthy 
than those which have hitherto existed for of these the climax 
is the demand that woman shall renounce the exercise of her 
sexual faculties unless the man to whom she gives herself is fet- 
tered for all time to her side. 

14 'Die neue Ethik und ihre Gegner," Die neue Generation, fourth year 
of issue, No. 5. 

29 



30 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

The inmost meaning of this tendency to fetter the man is 
to be found where we find also the very center of the sex war, 
namely, in the differences between sexual sensibility in the respec- 
tive sexes. But we have to inquire if the fickleness of the male, 
his polygamous inclination, as contrasted with the need for de- 
pendence characteristic of the female, is organic; are the differ- 
ences between the sexes in this respect inalterable, because based 
upon fundamental distinctions in the sexual sensibility of man 
and woman respectively ; or are they, on the contrary, socially de- 
termined, are they due simply to the numerical ratio between 
the sexes, to the higgling of the market, are they the result of "sup- 
ply and demand"? These questions cannot be answered until 
economic and moral equality between the sexes shall have been 
established. If the need for dependence of the woman, as con- 
trasted with the discursive sexual impulse of the male, striving 
always against the chain, be indeed socially determined, none the 
less that need has become woman's second nature, so that if she, 
with her child, were to be freed from existing restraints, and if, 
in the absence of all legal control of sex-relationships, and with- 
out being entitled to the protection of any man in particular, she 
could pass freely from the hands of one man to those of another, 
there can be little doubt that she would suffer greatly. 

Woman's need for dependence, if it be socially determined, be- 
longs to that group of evolutionary phenomena which have arisen 
in the course of the struggle for existence between different human 
aggregates. But if the difference between man and woman in 
this respect be radical and organic, if it it be an inalterable specific 
character, then the burden of woman will necessarily and always 
be heavier than that of man; for all time, sorrow and suffering 
will be her lot. That one is always the higher who has the greater 
freedom. Not, however, until the endowment of motherhood is 
an accomplished fact will it become possible to determine whether 
the difference we have been considering be indeed organic, or no 
more than a transient product of social causation. 



THE NATURE OF MARRIAGE 31 

From the dawn of human history mankind has felt instinctively 
that a fenced enclosure was requisite for the wonderful and mys- 
terious processes of the sexual life. In his History of Human 
Marriage, Westermarck endeavors to prove that marriage has al- 
ways existed even in the very lowest races of mankind. He de- 
fines marriage as "a more or less enduring union between man 
and woman, lasting throughout the period of reproductive activity 
and until after the birth of the offspring." But there are no 
grounds whatever for rejecting the assumption that to a con- 
siderable extent the herd relieved individual parents of the duty 
of feeding their offspring, more especially as the existence of a 
recognized fatherhood can be established only in connection with 
the (comparatively recent) institution of monogamy. Several 
men and several women would combine to form a permanent com- 
munity, not only for the protection of the young, but also to 
lighten their own economic tasks and for the mutual aid in defense 
against enemies; these two instincts furnish an adequate explana- 
tion of the tendency to form communal groups. Herodotus, re- 
ferring to a North African tribe, writes: "They live like cattle 
and have no regular domestic life with their women." 

This, it will be seen, conflicts altogether with the views of 
Westermarck. It is a most characteristic fact that, in popular 
estimation, the essence of marriage is always to be found in a 
common domestic life. That which imposes a tie and makes the 
sexual companionship an enduring one is not the birth of a child, 
but the continued publicly acknowledged domestic life in common. 
This latter it is which frees man and woman alike from the dan- 
gerous power of an incalculable natural force the force of pas- 
sionate love, which, to quote a modern poet, 2 "is good to-day and 
bites to-morrow" insuring the sexual partners against a power 
which Moloch-like, is gracious only on condition of an unceasing 
supply of fresh food, and substituting mutual aid as the basis 
of the relationship for its original foundation in an ever-renewed 
erotic stimulus. It is, perhaps, this factor in the problem which 

* Geijerstam. 



32 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

is most decisive in producing our conviction that marriage cannot 

be entirely superseded by any other form of sexual relationship. 

******* 

What the modern " revolutionists " attack is not marriage as 
such, not the root-principle of marriage: but they object to the 
form in which that principle is embodied within the existing eco- 
nomic order, they condemn the fetters and shackles which it im- 
poses on the individual, and they contend that it is wrong that 
the possibility of reproduction and consequently of selection should 
be exclusively dependent upon this single form of sexual association. 
In my own opinion, indeed, this form of marriage, that namely, 
in which the erotic life of every individual tends towards a per- 
manent sexual and social union with a single member of the 
opposite sex, is the one for whose attainment both sexes will and 
should forever strive. But from its very nature the goal can 
be attained only by traversing manifold phases of life. An eternal 
pledge must not be enforced by coercion. 

To-day human beings are driven into a blind alley: for, on 
the one hand, a ban is placed upon any other sexual relation- 
ship than the officially recognized one of legal marriage, whilst, 
on the other hand, marriage is rendered more and more difficult, 
for its attainment is possible only through the overcoming of 
difficulties and the acceptance of burdens which involve increasing 
individual hardship. Under natural conditions marriage should 
be an alleviation of the struggle for existence. To-day, save in 
rare instances, it is a shackle, a handicap in the social conflict, or 
a mere commercial speculation. Voluntary choice by persons un- 
der the influence of mutual attraction is the indispensable pre- 
requisite of a marriage that shall favor racial improvement; but 
the modern sexual order tramples this demand under foot. Thus 
the campaign of those who would revolutionize the forms of 
our sexual life is directed, not against the principle of marriage, 
but against the perversions of that principle in the actual sexual 
order. They aim at complete freedom for all those forms of the 
erotic life which promote racial progress; freedom, above all, for 



THE NATURE OF MARRIAGE 33 

the work of reproduction in so far as this is the outcome of un- 
restricted natural selection. Did such freedom exist, it would 
still in all cases be the individual's ultimate aim to secure a 
permanent association with the most suitable mate, and only under 
the aegis of freedom can this mate be found. By the existing 
order of coercive marriage the individual who will not consent 
to enter the bonds imposed by that order is condemned either to 
celibacy, or else to the wild sexual life which, in contradistinction 
to the free sexual life, pursues its disastrous course beneath the 
surface of official society. 

Coercive marriage, the enforced celibacy of persons fit for 
procreation, and the "wild intimacy" carried on in secret and in 
defiance of every kind of order all these cooperate to poison at 
the source the best springs of human energy. Beyond question, 
the secret libertinage to which individuals are constrained, owing 
to non-existence of any publicly recognized freedom of erotic rela- 
tionships, is productive of evil for the race and of much unhappi- 
ness for its individual members. 



BOOK II 

MARRIAGE AND THE FORMS AND RESULTS OF ITS 
EVASION WITHIN THE EXISTING SEXUAL ORDER 

It is better to marry than to burn. 

THE APOSTLE PAUL. 



CHAPTER III 

THE LESAL COEFFICIENT OF MARRIAGE 

Analysis of the Concept "Marriage." Intrinsic Dangers of the Illegitimate 
Erotic Intimacy. "Love-loathing." 

Y the legal coefficient of marriage we understand the binding 
together of a man and a woman by law, custom, and economic 
partnership, either irrevocably, or else in an association which 
cannot be dissolved without great difficulty. The principle under- 
lying legal marriage, in accordance with which procreation is 
permissible only on condition that the nest is already built for 
the reception of the young and that the father will remain at hand 
to safeguard them through life, would be an admirable one, were 
it not that, as experience shows, valuable biological elements are 
thereby very frequently excluded from reproduction for the 
principle which underlies marriage is also the cause of all the 
difficulties that stand in the way of marriage. 

Natural selection, as it operates in human society to-day, tends 
mainly to encourage procreation, on the one hand by the eco- 
nomically fittest (who must on no account be regarded as identical 
with those characterized by biological and spiritual preeminence^, 
and on the other hand by the proletariat, whose increase is at 
once involuntary and immoderate. We need only look around us 

34 



THE LEGAL COEFFICIENT OF MARRIAGE 35 

to perceive illustrations of the value of such selection as results 
from the existing form of marriage. There is hardly one person in 
a hundred of those who bear the name of human, devoid of some 
obscure, incalculable stigma, from which every anti-social growth 
may proliferate like a cancer and endanger the very foundations 
of human society. If in a tramcar, in a public meeting, or as we 
walk through the streets, we look attentively at our fellows, we 
cannot fail to be horror-stricken at the ugliness and stupidity 
everywhere manifest. We shall often be astonished to note that 
among twenty persons successively examined we shall not find a 
single one free from the characteristics of arrested or perverted 
development not one whose appearance can fail to arouse in us 
an instinctive sense of antipathy. Yet to every human being it is 
only through other human beings that the profoundest and most 
fruitful joy can come. By the continued excessive increase of 
the less fit, by continued bad breeding, by continued lessening of 
the chances of free selection, the possibility of happiness is re- 
duced at an accelerating speed reduced to the minimum which 
good fortune still preserves for us. 

The fenced precinct provided by the institution of legal mar- 
riage has so many attractive features and is the source of so large 
a number of favorable influences, that we are forced to regret 
that this institution should be dependent upon a large number 
of economic and social factors whereby its attainment is rendered 
increasingly difficult. Marriage serves to protect, not youth 
only, but in part also woman for a woman with her children 
the permanent union with a man affords, if not safety, at least 
help, and furnishes the sole form of child-protection and mother- 
hood-protection hitherto instituted by human society. Hence, in 
virtue of this protective influence, and for so long a time as we 
continue to lack a loftier, stronger, and more trustworthy protec- 
tive environment for the social function of procreation, legal 
marriage will remain indispensable to mother and children alike. 
In addition, within the existing social system, the institution of 
legal marriage offers the best means at present available of attain- 



36 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

ing an extremely desirable state, one which provides the indi- 
vidual with the fullest opportunities for a healthy development. 

Among all forms of sexual relationship possible to-day it is 
marriage which affords the best guarantees for what Professor 
Freud has termed " sexual security." Christian von Ehrenfels, 
Professor of Philosophy at Prague, whose proposals for sexual 
reform will be fully examined in a subsequent chapter, defines 
this state as "the secure provision of regular sensual gratification, 
obtainable without any trouble . . . and free from all need for 
the expenditure of energy in seeking or in changing sexual part- 
ners the gratification being obtained in intercourse with one 
whose personality is cordially sympathetic. ' ' He proceeds to pour 
out the vials of his scorn upon those who advocate the attainment 
of such a state. Yet this state offers an advantage whose value 
can hardly be overestimated, for it conserves the individual's 
energies for the due performance of his share of social labor with- 
out exposing him to the state of deprivation which is the general 
effect of sexual abstinence. 

If the individual, male or female, every time "sensual enjoy- 
ment" becomes necessary, or, as I prefer to phrase it, every time 
the discharge of sexual tension becomes essential, have to make a 
fresh "conquest," or even to seek opportunities far afield, a large 
modicum of energy will be expended in this way, and the amount 
available for social labor will be proportionally diminished. If, 
on the other hand, the relief of sexual tension be altogether re- 
nounced, those who adopt this course sin against the laws of their 
being, and the accumulated sexual tensions will hinder the proper 
utilization of their other energies. 

Outside the limits of legal marriage it is, to-day, extremely 
difficult to attain to a normal sexual life. Illegitimate sexual inter- 
course entails social dangers, and dangers to body and to mind; 
and it often involves extremely distressing accompaniments. More- 
over, such intercourse is commonly episodical, irregular, and 
threatened by a thousand contrarieties of mood and milieu. Mar- 
riage still offers the best regulated and relatively the safest sexual 



THE LEGAL COEFFICIENT OF MARRIAGE 37 

life. The unmarried European male oscillates between the two 
poles of transient excesses and a state of erotic repulsion. To 
this condition a German author 1 has given the name of "love- 
loathing" (Liebesverdrossenheit). In the modern civilized world 
the claims upon a man's working powers are most exacting; he 
has to face troubles, to solve problems, to perform tasks, and to 
meet alarms, of every possible kind; and he has to do all these 
things with very little time to spare. Except under the form of 
marriage, an institution which provides a favorable environment 
for intercourse with his wife, it is difficult for him to find time, 
opportunity, and inclination for sexual gratification in any other 
shape than that of casual and irregular prostitution. In the 
urgency of sexual need he has recourse to prostitution as the only 
door of escape. Even the intimacy (liaison) with a lower-middle- 
class girl of sympathetic disposition is a relationship into which 
he is increasingly averse to enter; and a woman of his own sta- 
tion in life, willing to give herself to him on terms of perfect 
equality and independence, is by the modern man actually shunned 
as dangerous. Strange as this assertion may seem to many, the fact 
is indubitable. The modern man is far more likely to enter into 
a permanent intimacy with a paid "mistress" than with an equal 
who gives herself to him purely for love. The fact that on his 
side he has had to make material sacrifices, that he has "invested 
capital" in a particular woman, makes this woman appear espe- 
cially desirable to him. Since he is highly susceptible to sugges- 
tions of this order, the relationship comes to seem something which 
it is worth making efforts to preserve. 

Turning from men of common type to consider those with 
finer endowments, we are struck by the fact that the latter are 
to-day afraid of passionate love. They dread any sexual rela- 
tionship grounded on profound erotic sensibilities rather than 
upon class suitability and upon reciprocal social claims. So greatly 
do such men fear a passionate "entanglement" that they often 
take to flight as soon as they become aware that their own feelings 
*Oskar H. Schmitz. 



38 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

are strongly involved. But absolute celibacy is unsocial and un- 
wholesome, and, moreover, men desire offspring and the amenities 
of domestic life. Hence the acceptance of legal marriage, a rela- 
tionship which is far from fulfilling man's entire possibilities, but 
one which secures for him the requisite vital contact with the 
female of his species. 

These considerations will perhaps help us to understand why 
an illicit love-relationship, even when entered into on grounds 
of genuine feeling, is apt to be of but brief duration. We can 
understand why the position of the inamorata is so insecure in 
comparison with that of the wife, and why to the man even more 
than to the woman domestic life under the form of legal marriage 
is essential to the proper regulation of the energies. These con- 
siderations explain the almost instinctive anxiety which men feel 
in an illicit love-intimacy which they have deliberately sought and 
entered into. They may also explain the brutal way in which, in 
such relationships, the woman is sometimes cast off by the man. 
To-day, an illicit love-intimacy must either pass on into mar- 
riage or be dissolved. The complete man, the strong man, the 
man able without danger to accept love as part of his life-complex, 
to admit love and to hold fast to love such a man is not of our 
time. 

This reluctance to love and incapacity for love exhibited by 
the modern man is the tragedy of the modern woman and in 
one way only can she avoid a tragic consummation. She also must 
find an adequate outlet for her vital energies in social activities 
(and in motherhood), and must not expect it from sexual love 
alone. 

Never was love in greater need than to-day of the "fenced 
precinct," of the enclosure carefully guarded against all hostile 
external forces. Since the essential aim of this book is to expose 
to the clear light of day the more distressing features of the ex- 
isting sexual order, it is impossible to ignore matters of this kind, 
or to gloss them over by idealizing human nature. We must try 
to discover by an unprejudiced investigation why it is that this 



THE LEGAL COEFFICIENT OF MARRIAGE 39 

fenced precinct of marriage, whose influence we have seen to be 
anti-eugenic and hostile to the progressive evolution of our species, 
is nevertheless still necessary ; and to ascertain in what conditions 
it may become possible to dispense with it altogether or to prune 
it of its unfavorable characteristics and to render its working more 
efficient. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE SOCIAL COEFFICIENT OF MARRIAGE 

Its Indispensable Character. Ideal of a Permanent Sexual and Social Bond 
as the Basis of Marriage. Contrast between This Ideal and the Actual 
Marriage of Our Day. 

It is impossible to overlook the fact that the prospect of mar- 
riage becomes continually more remote, the sacrifice of women more 
uncompromising, the change of relationships more frequent. It 
is a logical sequence that the rise of a new order should be pre- 
ceded by a period of grave disorder, and through such a period 
we are now passing. "How is one to marry and to give in mar- 
riage," despairingly asks the old Princess Tscherbatzky, in Tol- 
stoi's Anna Karenina, "since neither the English fashion nor the 
French fashion works properly?" Among the common people 
the possession of a wife is still a precious privilege, one for which 
men will fight to the death. Only among the cultured classes do we 
find that women are a drug in the market. Women offering them- 
selves are a conspicuous feature in the social activities of upper- 
class society. The woman courts the man in every possible way. 
But the natural method is the reverse of this; the man courts 
the woman, fighting, wrestling, quarreling with his rivals. Why 
do we regard this as nature's methods and our present develop- 
ments as a perversion? In the first place because, as previously 
explained, in the act of sexual congress it is the woman who runs 
the risk, and, secondly, because the male represents the aggres- 
sive principle in nature. By the very structure of his body, the 
male is compelled to the pursuit of an object for the satisfaction 
of his desires. 

Thus an essential perversion falsifies the relations of the sexes. 

40 



THE SOCIAL COEFFICIENT OF MARRIAGE 41 

The legal coefficient of marriage, with all the complications which 
the legal marriage-bond now involves, has put an end to the 
natural courtship of the woman by the man, and the pursuer has 
become the pursued. It seems probable that this particular co- 
efficient of marriage, the legal bond, needs to be replaced by an 
economic and sexual order better adapted to the requirements of 
human nature an order essentially different from that which 
now obtains. But the principle of marriage, of the permanent 
monogamic sexual union, includes another coefficient in addition 
to the legal coefficient a factor of inestimable value. In any 
reform of sex relationships it is necessary that the permanent 
association of one man with one woman should be preserved, for 
otherwise mankind will Iqse a most important acquirement. 

It is this factor of the endurance of sexual alliances which, 
amid all possible legal variations of the marriage bond, constitutes 
the ultimate principle of marriage; this is the indispensable char- 
acteristic, in default of which marriage cannot properly be said 
to exist ; this is an element of higher civilization which it is essen- 
tial to preserve and maintain whenever it is endangered amid the 
attacks upon the legal coefficient of marriage. The public ac- 
knowledgment of a sexual association fulfills two distinct functions : 
in the first place, those who enter into this publicly acknowledged 
relationship are protected from without, inasmuch as, in virtue 
of their unrestricted and open companionship, their joint ener- 
gies exceed those of two isolated individuals (for in social life 
the combination of two equal forces gives more than the double- 
yield of either force in isolation almost perhaps the triple yield) ; 
in the second place, they are protected from within, against the 
danger a very great one in the free union of to-day threatening 
from that elementary force " which is good to-day and bites to- 



The essential characteristic of marriage, as we have learned 
indeed from the history of primitive peoples, is not cohabitation, 
nor yet the impregnation of a woman; it consists in the circum- 



42 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

stance that the woman shares the man 's house, and that the couple 
publicly admit their sexual companionship. In default of this, 
a sexual relationship is merely an " intimacy. " Mutual inter- 
course, even if permanent and intimate, does not really bring 
about complete mutual understanding, for this can arise only 
when the man and the woman dwell together, work together, and 
administer a joint household presupposing, of course, that they 
are also inwardly at one. The task of the future is to make such 
sexual unions easily attainable in an order widely different from 
the profoundly unnatural and anti-selective marriage-system of the 
present day. 

The permanent and complete domestic community of man and 
woman must be effected in a marriage of the freest possible form, 
one in which there exists mutual economic independence. The 
permanency of this marriage of the future will not be ensured by 
any compulsion; the marriage will be the outcome of pure selec- 
tion, and it will be distinguished from the marriage of to-day above 
all in this, that it will neither be the only permissible form of 
erotic life nor the sole authorized method of reproduction. It 
will not be the marriage-form which half-evolved human beings 
are forced to accept " to all eternity " ; it will not be the only card 
upon which, in blind submission to chance, the fate of human 
society is staked. The marriage of the future will be a terminal 
phase, to be attained when the individual man and the individual 
woman have gained full enlightenment, when their impulsive life 
has become calmer than it is to-day, when they have reached a 
higher and a freer stage of consciousness. It will be attained 
when men and women are able to find their true life-companions 
without any compromise that may endanger the development of 
either, or may work injury to the species. In a word, the attain- 
ment of this terminal phase of marriage cannot be effected before 
the acquirement of mental and economic freedom. In a subsequent 
chapter we shall endeavor to indicate the paths leading towards 
this goal. Our present aim is merely to analyze and describe the 
state which passes by the name of marriage, to show which ele- 



THE SOCIAL COEFFICIENT OF MARRIAGE 43 

ments of this complex are of essential importance, and to distin- 
guish these from those other elements dependent upon transient 
conditions of our time and destined to disappear when the crisis 
of the existing sexual order has been overcome. We have to de- 
termine which elements of this complex are, on the other hand, 
indispensable to the maintenance and well-being of the species, and 
therefore destined to persist in substance however much they may 
vary in form. 

We regard the social factor of marriage as an enduring human 
need. If a man and a woman are to find complete mutual satis- 
faction in a sexual companionship, it is necessary that they should 
cooperate plainly and publicly. It is incontestable that a sexual 
relationship which is not based upon the full association of the 
two lives is profoundly unsatisfying. The most intimate associa- 
tion is further essential for the constitution of a force to counter- 
act those external influences tending to draw the two individuals 
apart. It is not enough that there should be a close union of 
hearts, since for effective resistance to these disintegrating influ- 
ences it is indispensable that the pair should also be united by 
the thousand and one bonds of a common social life. Human 
beings, struggling in a competitive world, can more readily dis- 
pense with the loved one than with the companion. Hence the 
individual will always strive instinctively to find a life-companion ; 
and the change of such companionship dictated by external cir- 
cumstances will cause grievous suffering to all those, at least, to 
whom erotic experience seems an essential part of their life- 
history. If the enforced endurance of an utterly distasteful sex- 
ual companionship be painful, it is no less painful to be compelled 
in every phase of life to search for a new life-companion, a new 
sexual comrade. 

An additional reason for the open recognition of a sexual-social 
relationship lies in the circumstance that in default of such open 
recognition the couple cannot mutually enjoy the good offices of 
the friends of either, and they must forego the other advantages 
of a common life before the world. A relationship limited to a 



44 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

secret tete-a-tete is tainted with the seeds of disease. It is upon 
this enforced secrecy that the "free" sexual union is so often 
shipwrecked; and, precisely because of this secrecy, such an in- 
timacy is a thousandfold less free than the most fettered form of 
marriage. One of the first needs of a sexual order which shall 
rid us of the network of lies and hypocrisies in which our social 
life is now enmeshed is the frank public recognition of those 
sexual intimacies that must arise during the development of young 
people and are inevitably transient in duration. The demand for 
a "provisional" wife and for a "provisional" husband, able in 
either case to satisfy the most urgent needs of the earlier years 
of sexual maturity, but only during those years and not later, is 
a demand whose open satisfaction society must learn to admit. 
To-day this demand, which is the joint outcome of a natural and 
an artificial need (the latter imposed by the conditions of our 
civilization), is refused or ignored, and the manifestations of the 
illicit satisfaction of the demand are also ignored, or are visited 
with social contempt and obloquy. Strindberg has described for 
us the meaning to the male of those "ten years on the rack," 
from the age when the puberal development is completed to the 
age when a man becomes "socially fit" for marriage. What these 
same years mean for women has perhaps still to be told. 

A union easily dissolved, but one entered into under official 
sanction, would seem to be the form best adopted to satisfy the 
mental requirements of our own and ensuing generations. But 
if the ready dissolution of sexual unions is to be recognized, it 
necessarily follows that society must be prepared to countenance 
the succession of a number of such unions on the part of any one 
individual. Nothing can be more natural than that a truly satisfy- 
ing sexual partnership should be attained, if at all, only after re- 
peated experiments. The moral hypocrisy which leads people 
to look askance at a woman who has taken a third husband is 
among the most offensive of our conventional lies. In the life- 
history of almost every man there has been a long series of amatory 
experiences with successive women. Having regard to the incal- 



THE SOCIAL COEFFICIENT OF MARRIAGE 45 

culable complexity of character of most human individuals, in 
view of the fact that a man and a woman cannot really learn to 
know one another except by living together (or at any rate cannot 
possibly know one another until after the act of physical union 
has been effected), and seeing that not until comparatively late in 
life do we gain a full understanding of our own characters and 
our own needs, it is surely unreasonable to expect that the right 
sexual partner should be found at the very first attempt. 

The liberty to dissolve a sexual union, when found unendur- 
able, must be secured, not merely by the letter of the law, but 
further by the moral recognition of this liberty by society. 



CHAPTER V 

THE COEFFICIENT OF SUGGESTION IN MARRIAGE 

Critique of the Free Love Intimacy of To-day. Danger of Sexual Relation- 
ships Outside the Pale of the Law. Danger of Marriage without Pro- 
bation. Trial Marriage in History. Concubinage. 

The form of sexual association represented by the marriage of 
to-day preserves the individual from a pernicious loneliness, ren- 
ders possible the attainment of a regulated sexual life, facilitates 
parenthood, and facilitates also association with other human be- 
ings. This form of legitimized sexual partnership possesses an 
additional advantage whose importance, in view of the suggesti- 
bility of the human mind, must not be underestimated: the sense 
of "being married" involved in an entrance into legal marriage 
is indeed the most desirable characteristic of this state, although 
the one whose advantages are most frequently abused. 

An experimental love-comradeship involves considerable dan- 
gers, and this precisely because the union is admittedly experi- 
mental. Neither economic and social reasons nor moral reasons 
speak so strongly in favor of the official recognition of marriage 
as does this factor last mentioned, the suggestibility of the human 
mind. From the very outset of an experimental sexual partner- 
ship the knowledge that it may be terminated at any moment 
and that it is fully exposed to the dangers of crises of sentiment, 
introduces into the relationship a feeling of uneasiness and insta- 
bility. Moreover, the experimental note is out of harmony with 
the idea of love which, since the days of primitive man, has al- 
ways striven to bind the loved ones together. 

When we speak of the marriage bond we think of the most 
intimate association possible and make use of a metaphor based 

46 



COEFFICIENT OF SUGGESTION IN MARRIAGE 47 

upon the idea of the physical action of binding. The suggestion 
that there are no bonds at all cuts away from beneath the feet of 
the lovers the standing ground of security. Certain earnest mod- 
ern reformers, actuated unquestionably by profoundly moral in- 
tentions, demand that each partner should unceasingly woo the 
other; but this practice is apt to bring about the very opposite 
result from that which is desired, for if either partner too per- 
sistently woos the other, the latter, especially in the case of the 
male, has a tendency to become cool. Moreover, such continuous 
erotic emotion is but little calculated to bring about that peaceful, 
quiet, unconcerned, and free disposition of mind which human 
beings need for the proper performance of their social activities. 

Above all to-day, when in favor of "free love" so many lances 
are splintered, and splintered by noble hands, we cannot refrain 
from insisting upon the profound dangers inseparable from such 
an intimacy at any rate in view of the existing structure of so- 
ciety and of the nature of the human material of which it is made 
up. But it is far from being our intention to underestimate the 
extremely powerful influences which are now tending to promote 
the formation of free unions, and it is hardly necessary to add 
that we have no sympathy for the conventional and lying hypocrisy 
with which such intimacies are often condemned. Their dangers, 
however, are very real, and the actual study of free unions will 
show that these dangers are more extensive than their advocates 
are apt to imagine. 

In the free intimacy the partners expect from one another a 
continuous stimulation, but in marriage, after a short time, no 
such demand is made, and social amenities and a common life take 
the place of this stimulation. The claims made upon the indi- 
vidual by the free intimacy are altogether excessive, and at the 
same time, in the intimacy, there is less personal contact between 
the partners than occurs in marriage. In the latter state, where 
we have to do with persons who are really glad to be together, 
the assured common environment abolishes numerous causes of 
friction and irritation. In an intimacy, subordinated as it is to 



48 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

moods and environmental difficulties, peace is not to be found. It 
is the environmental difficulties, above all, which are the bitterest 
enemies of the free lovers. Moreover, the love-intimacy which is 
not based upon a socially recognized common domestic life, one in 
which the lovers see one another only on casual visits, involves 
by its very nature practical difficulties of technique. 

Modern men and to some extent modern women are apt to be 
overburdened with work. When, where, and how shall the secret 
sexual partners meet, and how shall they best spend the flying 
hours in order to obtain from them the fullest possible satisfac- 
tion? When it is the woman who has to await the man's visits, 
it often happens that too much of her mental energy, her intel- 
lectual tension, is expended in the expectation of each visit, for 
amid the complexities of modern life obstacles are encountered, 
and whether these obstacles are or are not successfully overcome, 
great wear and tear of nervous tissue must necessarily ensue. From 
the man, again, the visits often demand more time than his work 
allows. In addition, we have to take into account the difficulties 
involved in maintaining secrecy. Misunderstandings readily arise, 
and from these, but no less from waiting, from postponement of 
meetings, from the failure to meet and so on, there results a dis- 
tressing expenditure of energy. The anxious expectation of any- 
one's visits, an expectation which, on the woman's side, is often 
prolonged, tense, and fruitless, puts an end to all sense of internal 
freedom. (It is perhaps not superfluous to repeat that these diffi- 
culties attach to the secret intimacy, because it is secret, and do 
not arise simply from the non-existence of any legal bond. It 
is the common and acknowledged domestic life of the sexual part- 
ners which constitutes, as we have shown, the essential characteristic 
of marriage ; 2 concubinage, whenever it is socially recognized, has 

* Santayana, in his essay on Dante, alluding to the doom of Paolo and 
Francesca, writes: "Love itself dreams of more than mere possession; to 
conceive happiness, it must conceive a life to be shared in a varied world, 
full of events and activities which shall be new and ideal bonds between the 
lovers. But unlawful love cannot pass out into this public fulfilment. It is 
condemned to be mere possession possession in the dark, without an environ- 



COEFFICIENT OF SUGGESTION IN MARRIAGE 49 

therefore the character of marriage and is freed from the technical 
dangers of the secret intimacy.) 

The ascetic mood of the modern man is also inimical, in a 
secret love-intimacy, to the woman's chances of happiness. In 
ordinary married life, man, the most suggestible of all animals, is 
subject to the enduring suggestion that in his relations with his 
wife and family he has a duty to fulfill, and this suggestion exer- 
cises a calmative influence. But the man engaged in a love- 
intimacy is usually subject to auto-suggestions of a disturbing 
character, suggestions to the effect that his conduct is influenced 
by ''lust." If the man visits his mistress regularly he soon comes 
to regard himself as a sort of Tannhauser in pocket edition. Now 
to a woman it is distasteful that anyone should consider her to 
be a perpetual " temptation to sin." The married woman, when 
beloved, can enjoy all love's pleasures without being regarded as 
a Circe from whose arms a man must escape if he is to preserve 
his manhood. 

Intercourse with the beloved one, in the secret intimacy, in- 
volves an expenditure of time. The married woman, on the other 
hand, is not open to the reproach of wasting her husband's time. 
She lives with him, sees him, and converses with him, and yet 
he need not devote his time to the payment of special visits. In 
the intimacy, the man's ascetic mood leads him to keep count of 
the hours his visits cost him, and he expects the woman to occupy 
these costly hours in a sufficiently stimulating manner ; but in mar- 
riage no such demand is made of the wife, for she is not expected 
to be stimulating whenever she is with her husband. Leaden- 
footed hours are evils none can escape, but when the time hangs 
heavily during the visits of the love-intimates the end is not 
far off. 

In marriage, each partner is always available for the other 
without any circumstantial mise en scene. The married pair need 

ment, without a future. It is love among the ruins. And it is precisely this 
that is the torment of Paolo and Francesca love among the ruins of them- 
selves and of all else they might have had to give to one another," Three 
Philosophical Poets, pp. 119-120. Translator's Note. 



50 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

not devote long and costly hours to conversation and erotic inter- 
ludes; yet they remain in the most intimate association, gain 
energy from their mutual proximity, and are able to speak to 
one another on any subject whenever they like. In the intimacy, 
moreover, there are psycho-physical dangers arising from the en- 
forced parting of the lovers in the gray morning hours, on that 
"morrow" in which the day's work is done with only a fraction 
of the usual vigor, and this contributes to the complex group of 
injurious influences threatening the happiness and stability of 
the secret relationship. 

Let us have no illusions about the fact that the free union is 
always in a condition of unstable equilibrium, dependent from 
day to day for its security upon every changing mood, interfered 
with by every physiological or circumstantial disturbance, and ex- 
posed from without and from within to enemies of every possible 
kind. The secret lovers themselves know this all too well, and one 
or the other of them, often each in turn, trembles for the per- 
manence of their happiness. As a consequence those united in 
such a relationship are never completely free from mutual re- 
serves. Without cessation they weigh and consider all possible 
circumstances bearing upon the relationship, so that an unwhole- 
some study of their own conduct and of one another's is the usual 
practice of the partners in this form of the amatory life. More 
and more impossible becomes the most valuable of all the experi- 
ences in which human beings can share, namely, the direction of 
their energies towards a common object since for devotion to 
such an end a sense of internal freedom is indispensable. The 
requisite peace of mind is attainable only through a consciousness 
of the existence of that fenced precinct whereby the love relation- 
ship can be protected against enemies from without and from 
within. 

The most intense feeling of happiness which any individual 
can experience in relationship with another is not the conscious- 
ness of passionate love, but the sense of perfect mutual trust and 
of unconditional interdependence. One kind of sexual relation- 



COEFFICIENT OF SUGGESTION IN MARRIAGE 51 

ship alone, marriage in the sense above defined, and not the mere 
form of marriage is competent to arouse this feeling, and mar- 
riage itself can do so only when it has persisted for a number of 
years. If I am not mistaken, it was Julie de Lespinasse who de- 
scribed the most perfect happiness as that of " finding peace in 
the heart of another." "Thou art peace; in thee I find repose": 
this is the formula of salvation. One who finds this profoundest 
peace in another's spirit will always demand the creation of a 
fenced precinct for the protection of himself and his beloved 
against all hostile influences tending to force them asunder. 
******* 

The subject has hitherto been discussed without any reference 
to the social dangers and sufferings which an unfettered love- 
intimacy involves. These dangers arise out of the peculiar con- 
ditions of our own time and are therefore susceptible of alteration ; 
they are independent of any factor deeply rooted in human nature, 
differing in this respect from the intrinsic dangers previously dis- 
cussed. I am far from denying that for many persons this form 
of love-relationship may be the most desirable of all, and indeed 
(in view of the present difficulties and dangers of legal marriage) 
the only possible form, since to many the only choice open is 
between this form of love and erotic starvation. A truly civilized 
sensibility will never attempt to enforce the maintenance of the 
"best possible" form of any social relationship. The elementary 
human right of individual choice is disregarded unless there be 
granted social freedom for every variety of amatory life which 
works no harm to the species. The nature of the present sexual 
crisis is, indeed, very clearly displayed by the fact that it has 
been necessary to furnish a parallel demonstration of the risks 
and difficulties of marriage and of the dangers of the free love- 
intimacy. 

******* 

The question arises whether free intimacies are so dangerous 
only because they exist beside and between legal marriages. It 
may be asked whether the free union would have a better chance if 



52 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

marriage, which looks askance at every free intimacy, did not 
exist. All that can be said with certainty is that the human beings 
of to-day, and especially the males, are unable in practice to make 
a success of such unions. If both the partners are single, the 
man is afraid of being ''entrapped" into marriage; if one or both 
are already married they are haunted by the fear of scandal and 
tormented by the need for persistent deception. 

Again, for economic or social reasons, it may become necessary 
for one of the free intimates to contract a marital alliance with 
some third , person. It is upon the rock of marriage that most 
free unions are shipwrecked. If there existed no other form, of 
sexual relationship than the free union, it is possible that men 
would acquire the power of enjoying this unfettered freedom even 
in the absence of legal bonds and conjugal coercion; that they 
would learn to conduct themselves with the tact and consideration 
that are as a rule so utterly lacking in the male partners of the 
secret free unions of to-day. Why is it that after a brief enjoy- 
ment of such an intimacy the man so often surreptitiously departs ? 
Usually because he feels that the intimacy imposes no duties upon 
him. In this situation, bearing the name of freedom, he is unable 
to give himself up to a really free enjoyment, the reason being 
that the free intimacy threatens the integrity of marriage, an in- 
stitution which he desires to safeguard at any cost. 

Hence, among all the variations of free love, gallant love is the 
most successful. The suggestion of freedom lasts longest when 
the liaison is entered into in the spirit of light comedy, in a mood 
of complete sexual detachment; and if the man is not to become 
alarmed about the free intimacy it is necessary that this sugges- 
tion of freedom should persist intact. As soon as a man comes 
to regard the matter as "serious" he takes fright, and unless he 
decides to marry his mistress he will seek the first possible oppor- 
tunity to regain freedom. 

******* 

A dispassionate examination of the way a typical man is apt 
to behave in a free intimacy suffices to show that panegyrics of 



COEFFICIENT OF SUGGESTION IN MARRIAGE 53 

the free sexual union are based upon a profound ignorance of the 
masculine nature. Man is ill-adapted for the free intimacy,- he 
cannot play the part. As bachelor, and also in the bonds of mar- 
riage, he feels at home. But in a free intimacy he feels stressed 
and entrapped, and nothing but passion will hold him. This 
passion he regards as a danger, and he struggles against it. If 
he is so fortunate as to overcome it, he feels under no obligation 
to his sexual partner, and goes on his way rejoicing. Here, again, 
the influences of suggestion are at work. In marriage the man 
does not give free rein to his inclinations, but consciously and de- 
liberately endeavors to control them, and is delighted when the 
marriage proves successful. He looks, not for passion, but for 
content. Whereas he cannot leave his " beloved" quickly enough 
when his passion cools, in marriage the mere assurance of sym- 
pathy and domestic peace makes him regard himself as a very 
lucky man. "How readily the free union is dissolved when the 
pair have been bound together by sentiment alone! A single 
quarrel, and they separate as if there had been nothing between 
them. It is not merely the extrinsic protection which woman still 
needs to-day, and which is assured to her by marriage, that makes 
us regard the marriage bond as necessary. No, the reasons are in- 
trinsic : it is by this bond alone, in most cases, that anything like 
a permanent union is attained. Only by the lack of freedom is 
imposed on our latter-day heroes the mood which renders an en- 
during sexual relationship possible. ' ' 3 The overwhelming force of 
this suggestion is shown by the fact that a man usually finds it 
difficult to make up his mind to divorce his wife even if she has 
repeatedly been unfaithful. Not infrequently he still feels it his 
duty to extend to her his "protection." His beloved, on the other 
hand, he will abandon without a word, not merely when she is 
unfaithful to him, but if for a moment she appears to him no longer 
desirable. 

The suggestive influence of marriage is so powerful, the feeling 

From my article "Ehe und Ehegesetze," Zeitschrift fiir Muttersckutz , 
third year of issue, No. 8. 



54 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

induced by this bond that the pair belong to one another is so 
coercive, that when a married man enters into a secret intimacy 
with another woman we are apt to find that subsequently it is 
the beloved who is betrayed, for the unfaithful husband almost 
invariably yields to the moral imperative which dictates a renewed 
faithfulness to his wife. The other woman proves to have been 
merely a side issue, a slip! Nothing characterizes the Pharisee 
so clearly as this estimate of illegitimate sexual experiences, what- 
soever their nature, as ' ' mere slips. ' ' 

A man personally known to me, one of fine fiber, assured me 
that when he had had a mistress for a certain time a distaste for 
her inevitably ensued ; but this feeling cannot be referred to phys- 
ical satiety, for no such distaste is felt towards the young wife, 
at least when the marriage is one of mutual sympathy. My friend 
declared that in the subconsciousness the idea was always at 
work that marriage is advantageous to the social position, whereas 
this is endangered by the free intimacy. A man's "respect" for 
his wife is greater in proportion to the degree in which the same 
man will lose respect for the woman who is not his wife and yet 
has given him her love. What he respects in his wife is not merely, 
as he imagines, his conjugal companion and the mother of his chil- 
dren, but above all one who is the intermediary in the production 
of favorable social results. 

A certain enduring character is further given to the attrac- 
tion leading to marriage if such attraction has existed by the 
circumstance that the relationship, unlike the free love-intimacy, is 
not based primarily upon passion. A man may marry from pas- 
sion, but towards his wife he has usually another feeling in re- 
serve, a certain quiet inclination. Where his mistress is concerned 
he has no such feeling, for here "inclination" is far too cold a 
word. But for the woman whom a man loves it is far better that 
he should feel this quiet, cordial tenderness, than that he should 
be devoured by passion. In certain conditions it is better for a 
woman that a man should be fond of her than that he should be 
"in love" with her. Only in marriage, however, is the suggestion 



COEFFICIENT OF SUGGESTION IN MARRIAGE 55 

at work that this friendly sympathy is appropriate. Married peo- 
ple do not cease to live together when passion cools; but the 

mistress is forsaken when the man no longer burns with desire. 

******* 

It is not a matter of grave consequence that in the free love- 
intimacies of to-day the man should so often abandon the woman, 
for people should separate when they can no longer live a happy 
common life; but the manner in which the abandonment is com- 
monly effected is a social phenomenon which can neither be ignored 
nor explained away. The mainspring of all civilization may be 
found in a certain degree of voluntary subordination of the phys- 
ically stronger sex to the weaker, for in default of this, man would 
never have emerged from the condition in which the stronger 
preys upon the weaker. When the stronger placed himself at 
the feet of the weaker in tender subordination it became possible 
for the idea of humanity to rise triumphant over that of ani- 
mality. Already in the higher animal world we find it character- 
istic for the male to care for the female. 

In the human species such care is firmly grounded upon the 
fact that, alike physically, morally and intellectually, the female 
can be injured and destroyed far more readily than the male; 
upon the fact that biologically and economically women are weaker 
than men; and upon the fact that woman's emotional life is far 
more delicate and therefore far more susceptible to injury. These 
are facts that must never be forgotten amid all conditions and 
all changes of form in the sexual life, and above all in relation 
to the woman's movement. 

The principle of subordination of the stronger sex to the weaker 
found its finest flower in the ideal of chivalry, an ideal which has 
never been completely lost from the consciousness of civilized man, 
although in actual practice to-day we can find little trace of its 
working. The ancient ideal of chivalry has degenerated into the 
galanterie of to-day, and the epigone of the knight of old is the 
modern "gentleman." The latter actually observes the forms and 
uses the formulas of knightly service, but and here comes a limi- 



56 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

tation which undermines his pretensions to chivalry only so far 
as the control of good society extends. Towards all who have to 
deal with him in his public life, a gentleman is a chivalrous knight 
and a man of honor. But towards a woman who has responded to 
his loving advances without guarantees and without the control 
and supervision of society this same gentleman will in most cases 
in ninety-nine, indeed, out of a hundred behave in a manner 
which is the very reverse of chivalrous. 

A man of honor, one moving in the best society, will often 
behave like the basest of roughs towards a woman who has given 
herself to him without conditions. Such a man may go away 
from such a woman after passing an intimate hour with her, and 
abandon her without so much as a single word. This is less likely 
to happen to those women who cling tenaciously to their lovers 
than it is to women of a nobler order, to those making no claims 
upon a man who has ceased to love them. The conscience of the 
"gentleman" is in almost all cases a matter which solely concerns 
his publicly known life. It plays a part in his relations with his 
wife and family, and in intercourse with other men he is deeply 
concerned about questions of honor. The remarkable fact is that 
this honor can only be lost in his publicly known relationships ! 

"I often think," says Anna Karenina, "how little sense of 
honor men really possess, although the word is always on their 
lips." 

In ancient Sparta a boy was condemned to death because he 
had wrung the neck of a bird which had taken refuge on his 
breast. How many men deal after the manner of this boy with 
the women they have once loved but no one condemns them. 

Such brutal treatment of a woman who has entrusted herself 
to a man behind society's back and without the safeguard of 
society's control may be experienced by women of all classes and 
all degrees of culture, from the queen to the woman of the pro- 
letariat, at the hands of the men of all classes and of all degrees of 
culture. In this book, largely devoted as it is to a critique of 
the existing forms of marriage, we must not fail to draw attention 



COEFFICIENT OF SUGGESTION IN MARRIAGE 57 

to these horrible incidents characteristic of our sexual order but 
concealed beneath the decorous surface of marriage. Enough has 
been said to show why the writer considers that there must be a 
change in the entire public organization of the sexual order before 
she will feel it possible to join in the paeans that are so often sung 
in favor of free love. This reservation is made without prejudice 
to the ethical motives of the advocates of free love, which are 
usually beyond reproach. 

We are almost forced to the conclusion that the woman who 
demands a real satisfaction of the needs of her sexual life from 
persons of the prevailing masculine type is faced by a hopeless 
dilemma. It is, indeed, for this reason that so many women lead 
solitary lives. On the one hand, the difficulties of attaining to a 
satisfactory marriage are insuperable; and, on the other hand, 
women fail to find a lover to whom they can entrust themselves 
without incurring enfeeblement, shame, or debasement. Men do 
not appear to understand that love-intimacies might be terminated 
more gently than is now usually the case. The idea that two per- 
sons who have had tender feelings toward one another could main- 
tain a pleasant comradely relationship after they have ceased to 
feel that their intimacy bears the stamp of eternity, that if neither 
should form a new passionate attachment each can continue to offer 
the other possibilities of erotic experience in unfettered inde- 
pendent comradeship, and that for this reason if for no other they 
should remain on terms of cordial intimacy such an idea as this 
has not yet entered the brain of the modern man nor, to any con- 
siderable extent, that of the modern woman. In the free love- 
intimacy the man often abandons the woman even when he still 
retains some inclination to remain attached to her, and the reason 
for this abandonment is not difficult to find what he is afraid of 
is "duties" and "unpleasantnesses." Hence the ever-present 
dilemma, the interminable psycho-physical conflict, for those women 
who have been unable to attain to a satisfactory marriage, who will 
not adopt a life of prostitution, and who yet refuse to accept 
celibacy. 



58 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

Thus, in our present sexual order, woman is faced by the 
following possibilities; marriage, prostitution, or the bitterness of 
solitary celibacy the only remaining alternative being a succes- 
sion of brief intermezzi during the years of her youth. For man, 
the alternatives are: marriage, with recourse to prostitution as a 
preliminary stage, or solitary bachelorhood, with occasional re- 
course to prostitution so long as the senses continue their clamant 
demands. Such being the possibilities of the sexual life of to-day, 
it may well happen that one who is by principle an opponent of 
marriage may be forced by the coercion of the dominant situation 
to accept marriage as the relatively best form of the sexual life. 
"It is better to marry than to burn/' Upon those who suffer 
under the conditions of to-day is imposed the task of ensuring that 

a brighter morrow shall dawn for the generations to come. 

******* 

All these considerations combine to show that to effect a re- 
generation of the free intimacy it is essential that this type of 
sexual union no less than marriage should receive public recogni- 
tion and that this recognition should be extended to those unions 
entered into without aiming at permanence and without any inten- 
tion of having children, as well as to those which contribute to the 
social function of child-bearing. By the social recognition of such 
relationships, the reason would be removed which now leads men 
to regard them as dangerous and to enter into them with the de- 
liberate intention of breaking them off at an early opportunity. 
Therewith would disappear the degrading atmosphere of conceal- 
ment, the thousand and one environing difficulties, the dangerous 
crises of temperament on the part of the secret lovers; therewith 
would be swept away the entire complex of suggestions which, 
as we have shown, now render the free intimacy essentially un- 
stable. Side by side with the introduction of greater facilities of 
divorce in the case of legalized unions, it is also essential that there 
should be imposed more stable responsibilities in the case of free 
unions. Woman is protected by law in marriage, and in many 
countries during the period of betrothal as well, but in the free 



COEFFICIENT OF SUGGESTION IN MARRIAGE 59 

intimacy she receives no legal protection whatever; this is absurd, 
for it is precisely in the third of these relationships that she stands 
most urgently in need of protection. 

Moreover, during a considerable period of their lives, more 
persons are living in free sexual relations than in the bonds of 
legal marriage, and this fact makes it essential that protective 
legislation should be devised for this necessary form of the sexual 
life. By the introduction of private contracts between the parties, 
formally made in the presence of a legally appointed official (such 
contracts as even to-day are entered into by the parties to not a 
few free-unions), provision must be made to safeguard the woman 
from an entirely unconditional surrender. 

In the modern world, and above all in Germany, a woman is 
regarded as a mercenary prostitute if she wishes to make any 
conditions whatever before entering into an erotic relationship. 
Not until the formulation of such conditions is a generally accepted 
practice, not until it is "moral," " ethical/ ' or "customary," will 
women make these demands as frequently as they should to secure 
their own future. A first step in this direction has, I have been 
given to understand, been taken in Sweden, where concubinage 
is socially recognized, must be officially notified, and is based upon 
a legal contract signed by both parties in the presence of a public 

official. 

******* 

It is a fact altogether beyond dispute that, of all the forms of 
sexual relationship, enduring unions in pairs exercise the greatest 
possible civilizing influence. The potential results of such unions 
are : a stabilization of the character of both partners, physical and 
mental tranquillity, and favorable conditions for the upbringing of 
the offspring. If, nevertheless, we demand that in addition to this 
enduring monogamic form of marriage there should exist freedom 
in respect of all sexual relationships which are not injurious to the 
species, and if we even go so far as to insist that these other forms 
of sexual relationships shall receive full social recognition, we do 
so on the ground that the attainment of permanent monogamic 



60 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

marriage on a basis of free selection in the biological sense is a 
matter of very great difficulty, and because we cannot consent to 
regard such exceptional possibilities as constituting the only per- 
missible form of procreation and the amatory life. 

Marriage as the permanent sexual association of one man and 
one woman, drawn together by an intimate harmony of physical 
and mental qualities and each finding in the other complete satis- 
faction of all desire for sexual relationships, with father, mother, 
and children, living together in harmony, is and must remain the 
ideal. Since, however, the attainment of this ideal involves the 
fulfillment of conditions often difficult to realize, it is essential that 
an additional form of sexual life should receive legal and social 
recognition. 

In view of the increasing intensity of the struggle for existence, 
a struggle in which men are so strenuously engaged that the mo- 
ments in which they can enjoy a truly human life seem to become 
ever fewer, it is indispensable that the conditions which render 
possible an open, free, and unencumbered intercourse between 
the sexual partners to-day attainable only through legal marriage 
should be rendered attainable in other forms also of the sexual 
relationship. In default of such conditions these latter forms are 
apt to prove far more irritant than calmative. "We cannot love 
a person unless we are assured of the possibility of that person's 
companionship whenever we need it," writes Goethe. The first 
need of all is the common dwelling-place. If the couple live under 
one roof, they can be together whenever both are at home. The 
second need is that meals should be shared, since this provides 
a further opportunity for mutual intercourse. It is both whole- 
some and time-saving that the need of two persons for companion- 
ship should, to a large extent, be satisfied during meal times. It 
is time-saving because the time given to meals is much the same 
whether these are taken alone or in company; it is wholesome 
because solitary feeding is not nearly so good for the organism as 
a meal taken to the accompaniment of sympathetic conversation. 
(It is hardly necessary to say that antipathetic chatter makes meal- 



COEFFICIENT OF SUGGESTION IN MARRIAGE 61 

times an inferno from which one wishes to escape with all possible 
speed.) "On peut etre seul plutot a minuit qu' a midi," writes 
Caroline to Schelling. 

Those who are galled by the harness of coercive marriage do 
not usually find any difficulty in making light of its restraints, 
and it is precisely the best of those whose married life proves 
unhappy who are led thereby to remain childless, for it is the best, 
from the racial-selective point of view, who will refuse to procreate 
children in an unsympathetic marriage, and who will seek no other 
outlet for their sexual energies. Those who, while still young, 
find themselves yoked enduringly to a partner with whom they 
have nothing in common, either evade the claims of legal marriage 
by entering into free intimacies (the woman thereby incurring the 
risk of social degradation), or else they wither all too soon in en- 
forced solitude. There is no real gain when passions which glow 
with elementary force in young and healthy bodies and minds are 
successfully repressed. Alike to the mental and to the physical 
organism such repression works grave injury; and yet it is still 
worse if, under the stress of these passions, men and women are 
forced into the duress of the present form of marriage, if the door 
of the trap shuts fast on them forever. 

The possibility of a change of sexual partners in the course of 
a long life, and in the changing course of individual development, 
must therefore be recognized by society. During the years prior 
to the attainment of complete mental and physical maturity and 
prior to the acquirement of the social conditions suitable for 
permanent marriage, there must be provided, for women no less 
than for men, free opportunity to form temporary sexual unions. 
In both sexes it is essential that the social as well as the erotic 
powers should attain their fullest development before the forma- 
tion of a permanent sexual association, for then only does it become 
possible to choose the partner best adapted for a life-companion- 
ship. 

Reproduction, however, must be freed from its dependence 
upon any prescribed form of sexual association, for the procrea- 



62 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

tion of the coming generation must be effected during those years 
in which the energy and beauty of the individual and of the 
germ-plasm are at their maximum, whether the union between the 
parents is or is not destined to endure, and without depriving these 
parents, by social censure, of the possibility of other and socially 
perhaps more valuable sexual experiences. The way must lie 
open for the birth of the children of vigor, youth, and free sexual 
selection, regardless of the question whether the parents are socially 
ripe and fit for marriage, or whether they intend to marry. 

The nature of the reforms that will be requisite in our sexual 
and economic order to render this possible will be elsewhere dis- 
cussed. The proper care for our women, to-day best secured by 
legal marriage, must be attained by other means. The protection 
of mother and child, an elementary need in all times and amid all 
circumstances, and which is never secured by women's wage-labor, 
must be effected in some other way than through the marriage of 
to-day, which imposes such burdens on our men that marriage 
becomes possible to them only at a continually advancing age. 
Society itself will have to provide for the safety and support of 
mother and child. For when young and vigorous men are with- 
held from procreation because this is economically possible only 
to those who are comparatively advanced in life, the community is 
robbed of the finest possibilities of racial progress. 

The further evolution of the species depends upon the produc- 
tion of highly evolved individualities, and it must be the primary 
aim of the civilized state to produce such individualities in the 
greatest possible number. Under existing conditions legal marriage 

is hostile to racial progress, since it makes for reversed selection. 
******* 

In existing conditions there is doubtless force in the argument 
that a man unfettered by legal bonds will be much more likely to 
abandon his sexual partner. At present, legal marriage is the sole 
form of sexual relationship to receive official and social recogni- 
tion, and for this reason men regard all other forms as provisional 
merely. Marriage seems to them the higher and better ordered 



COEFFICIENT OF SUGGESTION IN MARRIAGE 63 

state, and any other sexual association than marriage into which 
they may enter must not be allowed to become too binding, lest 
it should prove an obstacle in the way of a desirable marriage. 

A man is also apt to dread being forced into marriage with his 
sexual intimate. For these reasons, as soon as the affair threatens, 
as he phrases it, to become serious, the man usually abandons the 
woman, especially if she wishes to have children. It is a fact of 
experience that in most free unions the woman is abandoned sooner 
or later. Since woman's need of love, once awakened, is much 
stronger than before, while in such cases the way to its satisfaction 
through the form of legal marriage is for many reasons exception- 
ally difficult, the woman thus once abandoned is apt to pass re- 
peatedly from one man's hands to another's. Unquestionably 
such a process tends to exercise a profoundly demoralizing influ- 
ence upon her mental life, and not least because under present 
social conditions such a career is complicated with manifold 
dangers of social degradation. 

In the free intimacy the man abandons the woman because at 
the very outset he had already determined, although perhaps sub- 
consciously, to leave her after a time. In his super-consciousness 
he may well have considered that his partner was free to bind him 
if she could. This involves the implication that the woman, if she 
does not take the initiative in abandonment and this is rare is 
capable of engaging the man's affections enduringly. It is im- 
possible, however, for one individual thus to bind another if the 
latter 's own mind is fundamentally averse to being bound. To 
render it possible, a deliberate process of counter-suggestion would 
be necessary, a long-continued hypnotic exercise which would wear 
out the hypnotizer before the subject. A deliberate attempt on the 
woman's part to influence the man in such a way, to fetter him 
in undesired chains, would destroy the inmost significance of sexual 
communion, would render impossible that profound interlacement 
of two personalities out of which there arises, in rare and fortunate 
cases, a sense of complete mutual harmony and reciprocal repose. 
Where this feeling is lacking, and where the woman deliberately 



64 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

attempts to bind the man to her side, she will have to devote the 
greater part of her energies to the practice of mental gymnastics 
in order to stimulate an ever-renewed interest, in conjunction with 
bodily and sensual tricks. 

For a woman who has independent work to do, an intimacy 
upon such a basis is either absolutely out of the question or else 
fatally impairs the exercise of those productive activities upon 
which she is often economically and morally dependent. If, on 
the other hand, the woman's idea is, "if he no longer cares for 
me I prefer that he should leave me," while abandonment is in 
present conditions the more probable result, the intimacy may 
sometimes eventuate in marriage. A third way out can hardly 
be said to exist. Every such intimacy in environed by the atmos- 
phere of marriage as the one and only publicly approved form 
of sexual association, and from this atmosphere proceed innumer- 
able influences whereby the mental and emotional dispositions of 
the partners are unfitted for the successful and enduring conduct 
of a free intimacy. 

But why is it that the invariable question is whether the woman 
will succeed in permanently engaging the man's affections? Why 
do we hardly ever hear the question put the other way about? Is 
it because there exist sexual differences which are a fundamental 
part of the masculine and the feminine temperaments, or is it 
simply because of the social coercion exercised by existing insti- 
tutions? The whole struggle between the sexes in this respect de- 
pends upon the fact that in the male satiety ensues as soon as 
he has gained the goal of his desire. He wishes to pass on in 
search of fresh sexual experiences, whereas the woman who has 
given herself to a man clings for this reason all the more firmly 
to him. Why is it that the emotions of the male are thus com- 
paratively fugitive, while those of the female are comparatively 
lasting? Obviously because the male will far more readily than 
the female find a new love. Upon what does this difference, in 
Its turn, depend ? In the first place, the problem has a numerical 
solution, there is an excess of women. Secondly, it is because man 



COEFFICIENT OF SUGGESTION IN MARRIAGE 65 

has a social value in addition to his personal value. Thirdly, it is 
because society will blame a man neither openly nor tacitly for 
a change of such relationships. But a woman who does the same 
thing sins past forgiveness. 

It is a characteristic feature of the social apparatus of modern 
marriage that men always regard themselves as prizes to be won, 
and that when that happens which the man desires no less ardently 
than the woman we hear talk of nets and snares and lures. In 
Bernard Shaw's Man and Superman the hero tells us that the 
world is full of baited traps in which women catch men. Why are 
we not told that women are trapped into marriage? Obviously 
because a permanent union, while it imposes duties on the man, 
furnishes a provision for the woman. So long as this difference of 
roles in marriage persists, to the male the female will always appear 
a spider spinning a web, one who stimulates his sexual energies 
by a simulated passivity a passivity which she will throw off at 
the calculated moment, when the man is weak and his mind is 
clouded by desire, to fasten round him like a boa-constrictor and 
drag him off before the registrar to be married. Yet in the existing 
social order, by which marriage alone is sanctioned as a means for 
the procreation of children, our race would become extinct if 
women were to cease playing this part! 

Not until the necessary changes have been effected in the eco- 
nomic and sexual order of society will it become possible to realize 
in practice the profound values attaching to the free intimacy as 
contrasted with coercive marriage. If the free intimacy were 
neither anti-social nor deliberately temporary, if concubinage were 
a recognized status regarded as an end in itself, endangering no 
one and therefore to be condemned by no one if, in short, it were 
an approved variety of sexual-social relationship, not injurious to 
the career of a man, not threatening the honor and very existence 
of a woman nor yet involving social penalties and deprivations to 
possible children then the abandonment of "the dreadful con- 
tract to feel in a particular way, in a matter whose essence is its 



66 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

voluntariness, ' ' 4 the unshackling of sexual relationships, would be 
followed by its appropriate results: the sexual life of mankind, 
instead of being, as to-day, a game of chance in which the odds 
are heavily against the players, would manifest itself in all its 
natural advantages as a process tending towards the continual per- 
fectionment of the individual and of the race. 

If under such conditions free intimacies were transitory, the 
results would not be at all disastrous, as they often are to-day: 
the separation would not involve a catastrophe; it would deprive 
no one of future vital possibilities ; it would rob no one of existence 
either as a sexual or as a social being. To-day the woman who 
has participated in one, two, or more transitory free intimacies 
has almost invariably squandered all her chances in life. In the 
coming time, when in the joint interest of the individual and of 
the community-at-large, there will be provided, as it were, ambu- 
lance-stations institutions to protect the interests of the coming 
generation, institutions in which the feeble efforts of individuals 
will be supplemented and replaced by powerful and coordinated 
social activities a change in private sexual relationships need 
involve neither social nor vital catastrophe, but will often be for 
the good of both parties. In woman 's case, especially, the termina- 
tion of a free intimacy will not then involve, as it nearly always 
does to-day, the wretched choice between prostitution and celibacy, 
for she will still be able to live out her life to her own best advan- 
tage and to that of society. 

******* 

Those who are opposed to greater freedom of choice in the 
sexual life raise an objection to the effect that if such freedom 
were granted, women, after devoting the best years of their youth 
to a man, would commonly be abandoned. But why should not 
natural selection through the survival of the fittest have free play ? 
For what reason should one who is no longer attractive and who, 
notwithstanding years of undisturbed companionship and despite 
the absence of suggestions hostile to a continued union, yet lacks 

* Thomas Hardy, in Jude the Obscwre (p. 267). 



COEFFICIENT OF SUGGESTION IN MARRIAGE . 67 

the power to make herself regarded as a permanently desirable 
companion, be legally empowered to chain another human being 
to her side ? Moreover, when the economic independence of women 
a necessary feature of any comprehensive scheme of sexual re- 
form has been secured, the inflated value of the male of to-day, 
which is no more than a pecuniary value, will spontaneously dis- 
appear. It is only for economic reasons that the most despicable 
male creature is able to purchase the love of as many women as 
he pleases. In the new time, catastrophes of sentiment will remain 
unavoidable, but it can hardly be imagined that these will cause 
as much wretchedness as results to-day from the enforced sexual 
companionship of persons who have become mutually repugnant. 

But is it not possible that the existing coercive system may 
work for good, by safeguarding its victims from the chance of 
fresh disasters? Must we not also recognize that unduly frequent 
changes in the sphere of the sexual life may impair human elas- 
ticity alike mental and bodily, in a manner analogous to what is 
seen in the case of those who change their dwelling-place too fre- 
quently? Perhaps so, yet surely a bad dwelling-place cannot be 
abandoned too soon! It is doubtless unfortunate to be forced to 
move house very frequently, but it is assuredly worse to be obliged 
to remain in an unsuitable habitation. 

Let there be no misunderstanding. I regard permanent sexual 
unions as the ideal. For a woman, above all, it is eminently de- 
sirable that she should give herself to one man only, that this man 
should be the first she has loved, that she should never suffer dis- 
illusionment, and that the pair should remain true lovers until 
death. But this happy fortune cannot be extorted from destiny, 
and yet our present form of marriage embodies precisely such an 
attempt to force fate's hands. It presupposes that the experience 
of this miracle will be the average human lot, which is manifestly 
absurd. In processes of a sexual nature it is utterly unreasonable 
to attempt to impose an eternal obligation. 

As things are, numerous men and women of fine type reject 
every kind of sexual association, and live out their lives in un- 



68 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

satisfying celibacy, because they will not accept coercive marriage 
and because they fear the dangers of the socially condemned free 
intimacy. If the whole hocus-pocus of modern marriage, with its 
eternal obligations, could be swept onto the rubbish heap, such 
persons as these would fulfill the laws of their being and would 
follow nature's call to the adequate development of their person- 
alities. 

One of the most dangerous features of the legal marriage of 
to-day consists in the mutual ignorance, respecting many essential 
particulars, of the partners to the union. In the near future there 
will certainly arise a demand for certified details as to I5he past 
and present health of the intended mate ; and in view of the pos- 
sibilities of racial degeneration arising from the marriage of dis- 
eased and degenerate individuals, this demand will be recognized 
as valid. An intimate knowledge of many peculiarities of char- 
acter cannot possibly be acquired until people are actually living 
together; but apart from these, the basis and presupposition of 
a happy marriage is, above all, harmony in matters of sexual sen- 
sibility. Now in the marriage prescribed by the sexual order of 
to-day all such knowledge is unattainable until the door has been 
shut and bolted behind the wedded pair. The intolerable risks 
thus involved recall to our minds one of the Sagas in the Younger 
Edda, in which Skade was to choose a husband from among the 
Asa, but the possible husbands were hidden behind a curtain so 
that she could see no more than their feet. Little more, before 
marriage, does the wife often know of the husband to-day! 

Trial marriage, the practice of which continued late into the 
middle ages, no less among the princely houses than among the 
peasantry, and which was permitted especially in cases when the 
inheritance of property was in question, was simply an experiment 
in sexual companionship, with an implied contract as to the pos- 
sibility in certain circumstances of the relationship proving per- 
manent. Children born in the interval between betrothal and 
marriage (Brautkinder) had the same rights of inheritance as 



COEFFICIENT OF SUGGESTION IN MARRIAGE 69 

children born in wedlock. The period of probation served not only 
to determine whether the woman was fruitful, but also to disclose 
the sexual peculiarities of the man. Hermann records that after 
a six months' betrothal between John IV of Hapsburg and Herz- 
land von Rappoltstein the latter broke off the engagement "on 
account of her betrothed 's lack of virility." Such tests of sexual 
potency were regarded as necessary in the feudal age in order to 
ensure that property rights should indeed pass in the line in 
which they were ostensibly transmitted; but the institution ap- 
pears to be no less justified on individual and on eugenist grounds. 
"Trial Nights!" The very word will make our modern Tartuffes 
turn away their faces in simulated reprobation, and yet it is 
obvious that the practice is eminently reasonable, and in certain 
country districts of Europe, and notably in the Black Forest, trial 
marriage still persists among the peasantry. 5 

Another dangerous characteristic of marriage is the enslave- 
ment it involves alike sexual and social. "The essence of mar- 
riage," says Rudebusch, "is the right of possession of a human 
being for life-long and exclusive sexual service." The definition 

In the Isle of Portland trial marriage, locally known as the "island 
custom," persisted until comparatively recent days. Well on into the nine- 
teenth century experimental cohabitation was universal in Portland, and mar- 
riage did not take place until the woman became pregnant. If, as a sequel 
of experimental cohabitation, * ' the woman does not prove with child, after a 
competent time of courtship, they conclude they are not destined by Provi- 
dence for each other; they therefore separate; and as it is an established 
maxim, which the Portland women observe with great strictness, never to 
admit a plurality of lovers at one time, their honour is in no way tarnished. 
She just as soon gets another suitor (after the affair is declared to be broken 
off) as if she had been left a widow, or that nothing had ever happened, but 
that she had remained an immaculate virgin" (Hutchins, History and An- 
tiquities of the County of Dorset, 1868, vol. II, p. 820). So faithfully was 
the island custom observed that, Mr. Hutchins assures us, during a long period 
no single bastard was born on the island, while all the legal marriages were 
fertile. But when, for the development of the Portland stone industry, work- 
men from London, with the "wild love" habits of the large town, were im- 
ported, these men took advantage of the island custom and then refused to 
marry the girls with whom they had cohabited. Thus, in consequence of freer 
intercourse with the "civilized" world, the Portland custom has gradually 
fallen into desuetude. An account of Portland, with allusions to the local 
practice of trial marriage, will be found in Thomas Hardy's novel, The Well 
Beloved. TRANSLATOR 's NOTE. 



70 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

is accurate as far as it goes, but to cover the whole ground we 
must add the words, "and also for inseparable social con tact. " 
A deprivation of freedom which would be tolerated in no other 
relationship, involving the disposal of one's time by day and by 
night and all the details of domestic economy, and going so far 
as the absolute denial of one's right to one's own company, one's 
own time, and one's own person, is taken as a matter of course 
to be a part of marriage. Each partner is supposed to be the 
indispensable complement of the other. Two human beings, 
mutually attracted along a single line, are forced to fuse, and 
permanently, the entire complex of their existences, and they are 
compelled to remain in this intimate association even though either 
or both should subsequently encounter other complements infinitely 
more suitable than the original partner. 

In some countries infidelity to the marriage bond is even pun- 
ished with imprisonment. It is right and proper that infidelity 
should be a valid ground for divorce, but how utterly lost to shame 
and pride must one be who is willing, on account of such infidelity, 
to send his sexual partner, or that partner's lover, to prison. Mar- 
ried people are supposed to "belong" to one another, for the idea 
of ownership remains an essential part of marriage. Not until 
property itself (property as a means of exploitation) is universally 
regarded as theft, will the legal right of one human being to own 
another pass away forever. ' ' Who can say to another, I represent 
all that you are able to love" thus in a novel by Lasswitz, a 
writer to whose work we shall have again to refer, speaks an in- 
habitant of Mars the free to an astonished child of Earth. 

Among the eternal motifs of the Wagnerian Ring, we find that 
of marriage as a state of coercion. The powers over the husband 
exercised by the wife, simply as wife and not as woman or per- 
sonality, are displayed in relation to the exalted figure of Wotan, 
the All-Father. Fricka appears upon the scene with all the elab- 
orate pomp and circumstance of the legitimate consort. Brunne- 
hilde announces her: 



COEFFICIENT OF SUGGESTION IN MARRIAGE 71 

"I counsel thee, Father, 
Have a care: 
A violent storm 
Awaits thee: 
Fricka approaches, thy Wife." 

Fricka forces him to consent to the slaying of his own darling. 
"My honor demands the sacrifice of the Wolsung: does Wotan 
swear to do my will?" Wotan, sinking on a rock in rage and 
despair, answers: ''I swear." 

Doubtless thanks to the institution of marriage some couples 
are kept together to their mutual advantage. But how few are 
these compared with the number of those who had far better 
separate than remain in conditions equivalent to a living immure- 
ment in the tomb. There are marriages that remind us of the 
desecration of necrophilia: the spirit of life has fled. We are 
assured that marriage affords safe harborage for women, and it 
must be admitted that there are many women who in virtue of 
the existing marriage system attain to the safe haven of a sexual 
association who under other conditions would fail to do so. But 
why should such women as these receive special protection? Many 
of them -owe their position to accidental circumstances, and have 
no real right, on the ground of qualities or services of their own, 
to the places they now occupy. From the racial and social point 
of view it would have been far better had they been left in isola- 
tion. How many, on the other hand, do we see who are unable 
to .contract a suitable alliance because the appropriate partner has 
been encountered too late when they are already unsuitably bound. 

Ebner-Eschenbach tells us in her aphorisms: "In so far as 
heaven is possible on earth it is found in a happy marriage." This 
is doubtless true. Rare indeed, however, are the cases where 
persons meet and unite in true spiritual harmony, persons whose 
demands upon life and tastes in life correspond and interfuse so 
completely that neither can ever become a burden to the other 
while each always remains to the other a source of vital stimula- 



72 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

tion. The best chance of such a union arises where both partners 
lead a well-filled individual life, and where both are inspired by 
lofty ideals of mutual tolerance. Ordinarily the woman, with no 
regular occupation, feeds parasitically like a vampire upon the 
person and the time of the man. Doubtless the wife's employ- 
ment should not be so exacting as to leave her no time for the 
cultivation of her womanliness. The union cannot prosper if the 
partners meet only when both are tired and irritable from the 
fatigues of prolonged labor. A rational society will always have 
to reckon with the wife's withdrawal from independent work, not 
solely for the function of motherhood, but also for the safeguard- 
ing of her distinctive womanly qualities. But it remains of the 
first importance that the wife should have a cultural life of her 
own, no less engrossing to her than her husband's occupation is 
to him. "When this becomes a matter of course there will be an 
end to the exaggerated claims wives now so often make upon their 
husbands. 

The greatest, however, of all the defects attaching to the legal 
marriage of to-day, dependent in especial upon the indissolubility 
of the bond, is the vitiation of selection that necessarily results. 
The offspring of a particular pair may be of an altogether inferior 
social value, whilst if one of the partners were to contract a dif- 
ferent alliance much better results might ensue. This considera- 
tion is ignored, and the pair continues to propagate an inferior 
stock. "Procreate, not to multiply, but to advance. Make this 
use of the garden of marriage." Thus spake Zarathustra. 
*####** 

Since the garden of marriage fosters so many inimical growths, 
whilst the free intimacy fails to provide a favorable environment 
for the processes of the sexual life, and since the fact can no 
longer be ignored that permissibility of a change of sexual partner- 
ships is indispensable, there will inevitably arise a tendency to 
restore .concubinage to the position which in virtue alike of its 
past history and of its future developmental possibilities properly 
attaches to that institution. For the very reason that we admit 



COEFFICIENT OF SUGGESTION IN MARRIAGE 73 

how great is the psychological and emotional value of the public 
and official element in the contract of marriage, we are convinced 
that concubinage must once more receive a social status. Con- 
cubinage is a temporary marriage, one that does not involve life- 
long obligations, but it is endowed with the most essential char- 
acteristic of marriage, namely, that the pair live openly together. 
Inasmuch as, in addition, it usually results in the procreation of 
children, it demands the protection of law and of the moral esteem 
of society. One of the most tragic phenomena of a world-order 
established upon a police-morality is the condemnation and per- 
secution of those who enter into relations of concubinage. Such 
an attitude to this institution is of comparatively recent growth. 
In Roman law the concubine and her child received a notable 
degree of protection against neglect or desertion; neither mother 
nor child was excluded from the right of inheriting the father's 
property; the children of the concubine received one-sixth of the 
estate. In the ninth century concubinage was forbidden by Pope 
Leo Philosophus, but notwithstanding this it remained customary, 
and its practice entailed no special penalties. In Germany the 
first police regulation against concubinage dates from the Council 
of Trent (1545-1563). Thenceforward concubinage was a state 
without legal rights, and in many places even became a punishable 
offense; in some countries the penalties do not exist on paper 
merely, but are practically enforced. In Hattingen-on-the-Ruhr 
(Westphalia) the police charge against a couple living in concu- 
binage ran as follows : 1 1 They have committed sexual improprieties 
with one another, such as are permissible only in the case of mar- 
ried persons. ' ' ( This fact was communicated to the general assem- 
bly of the Bund fur Mutterschutz by a delegate from Hattingen.) 
The old legal rights of concubinage must be restored; new 
duties must be imposed upon both the men and the women who ^ 
enter into this relationship ; and new duties must be imposed also 
upon the community which is so deeply concerned in the results 
of such unions. If only fop the reason that society cannot evade 
all responsibility for the offspring of those living in concubinage, 



74 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

the relationship must involve the legal enforcement of certain 
duties, and of duties far more extensive than that now imposed 
upon the father to maintain his illegitimate children. Society 
itself must learn to regard the care of the coming generation, not 
only as an important task, but as one of the greatest of oppor- 
tunities. Towards all children the community-at-large must assume 
the position of an over-parent or an over-guardian, not only to 
protect the immature against arbitrary treatment at the hands of 
individual parents, but also with the positive aim of ensuring the 
systematic development of their social forces. Thus those living 
in concubinage will have duties towards their children no less 
extensive than those imposed by legal marriage to-day'; but con- 
cubinage will offer great advantages in that the contracting parties, 
though bound in one sense, will yet remain free in another, while 
their children will be the product of free selection. 

In the existing social order motherhood is professedly regarded 
as one of the highest of social functions, and yet society cares so 
little for its children that the economic responsibility for their 
maintenance is left entirely to the father, who has by his unaided 
exertions to provide for the maintenance of an entire group of 
human beings. Not until the community-at-large accepts its fair 
share of this responsibility will natural selection once more con- 
tribute as it should to the work of human racial progress. 

******* 

A study of marriage, its forms and consequences, shows that 
conventions are indispensable to regulate the sexual life; but it 
shows further that these conventions must be so devised as to give 
free play to vital necessities. Socially recognized concubinage 
would appear to be a convention of this character. With its ac- 
ceptance there would be swept away three of the worst evils of 
the present sexual order: coercive marriage, the wild intimacy, 
and complete deprivation of sexual activity. Nor can it be ques- 
tioned that if concubinage were socially and morally recognized, 
prostitution would become much less common. Among the work- 
ing-classes concubinage is increasingly finding acceptance as an 



COEFFICIENT OF SUGGESTION IN MARRIAGE 75 

adequate substitute for marriage (though it is one which here in 
nine cases out of ten ultimately leads to marriage), and in work- 
ing-class life we find that recourse to prostitution is far less gen- 
eral. Socially recognized concubinage would appear to be indis- 
pensable as a transition institution, as a stage towards the attain- 
ment of the new sexual order whose details must subsequently be 
worked out. 

It cannot be denied that such free sexual unions, for the very 
reason that they would be more readily and speedily dissoluble 
than the existing form of marriage, might often bring no more 
than a partial happiness. It is possible that the sexual partners 
would be happy together only for a certain time, and perhaps even 
then solely if they were to exhibit a high degree of mutual con- 
sideration and were assisted by a fair amount of resignation. Yet 
after all no one can venture to expect perfect happiness, and par- 
tial happiness in a sexual union is not to be rejected on the ground 
that guarantees are lacking for a rare and soul-satisfying beatitude. 
If we are not to pass our whole lives wandering through the desert 
in pursuit of a hope that will perhaps remain fantasmal to the very 
end, we must be content to come to terms with Fate. 

****** * 

"The history of human marriage is the history of a union 
wherein women have gradually gained a victory over the passions, 
the prejudices, and the selfishness of men.' 7 Thus writes Wester- 
marck in his History of Human Marriage. In our view, however, 
if marriage is to approximate to the ideal which is implicit in the 
nature of the institution, yet other phases must be traversed. Just 
as paternal authority originated in the course of the development 
of ancestor-worship, the religion of the dawn of civilization, so 
also in the communal form of marriage an instinct found expres- 
sion dating from the earliest historic and even prehistoric age of 
mankind. Westennarck, indeed, attacks the hypothesis of sexual 
promiscuity among primitive men in the most categorical manner. 
He regards sexual irregularity as an anomaly ; he sees in marriage 
the natural form of sexual relationships for man and the higher 



76 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

animals; and he comes to the conclusion that sexual irregularity 
was not a primitive phenomenon in the history of our race, but 
came into existence later, as the outcome of economic difficulties. 
Yet he makes the reservation that "free sexual intercourse is not 
to be confounded with promiscuity, the essential form of the latter 
being prostitution ' ' ; and he would thus appear to admit the primi- 
tive existence of free sexual intercourse. 

There can be no doubt that the association of free sexual inter- 
course with economic considerations, the mingling of the love-need 
with the need for earning a livelihood, in a word, prostitution, 
in whatever form it may first have appeared, originated in eco- 
nomic difficulties. This association was the outcome of the human 
institution of private property as contrasted with the chaotic state 
of a general lack of property. Thus the hypothesis would appear 
to be well grounded that at any particular phase of human social 
development the economic order calls into being a particular kind 
of sexual order, the latter being necessarily one adapted to the 
requirements of the former ; and we are justified in inferring from 
this that when a new economic order replaces that which now exists 
a new sexual order will also replace the old. 

Westermarck derives human marriage from the pairing of the 
higher animals, telling us that the institution is "an inheritance 
from ape-like prehuman ancestors." So be it, but this history 
does not suffice to make the institution more worthy of respect, 
nor compel us to regard this particular form of the sexual life as 
permanently essential to human society. Just as we have got 
beyond ancestor- worship (at any rate as far as western civilized 
nations are concerned), possessing now no more than its vestigial 
remnant in the form of paternal authority, so also we are justified 
in concluding that marriage, though a flower of civilization of 
which we have many reasons to be proud, is too after its own 
fashion vestigial, a vestige with which mankind will doubtless 
find it difficult to dispense, but one destined nevertheless, when it 
shall have become altogether superfluous, to entire disappearance. 
The human race is still passing through the earlier stages of its 



COEFFICIENT OF SUGGESTION IN MARRIAGE 77 

history, and to show with considerable likelihood that a moral 
law dates from the "primeval" days of that history does not 
suffice to establish such a law as forever inalterable. In judging 
those institutions on which the progressive evolution of our species 
depends we must direct our gaze, not to the past, but to the future. 
Whatever course human development may take, it will not be in 
the direction of a return to nature, and the possibilities that mar- 
riage may be an institution with which humanity will one day dis- 
pense are not limited by the historical and sociological past of this 
form of the sexual life. 

The enfranchisement of marriage, or rather the enfranchise- 
ment of mankind from the legal coercion of marriage, must be 
regarded as a necessary stage in future evolution, as the fruit of 
a riper civilization, and as the correlate of a new economic order. 
The chief historic basis of marriage was the necessity of the insti- 
tution in relation to the transmission of legal property by inherit- 
ance. If, or when, the day comes in which the right of inheritance 
is no longer recognized, on the ground that adequate social provi- o 
sion is made for every individual in every stage of life, the main 
prop of legal marriage will have been withdrawn. Whereas to-day, 
for economic reasons, and for the sake of her offspring, woman is 
completely dependent upon marriage, in the coming time this par- 
ticular safeguard will have become superfluous. In existing condi- 
tions an unfortunate marriage may be better for a woman than a 
fortunate love-intimacy; it is left to the future to insure that the 
fate of women and of children shall no longer rest upon so un- 
worthy a foundation. 

There must be established a new form of sexual union mo- 
nogamic, as I believe, but with free provision for a succession of 
monogamic relationships; it will derive from an appropriate eco- 
nomic order; and it will be characterized by an approximation of 

the two poles between which our sexual life now oscillates. The 

r 

poles of the present sexual order are indissoluble marriage and 
complete sexual anarchy. Neither of these adequately fulfills 
human needs, and neither of them affords a favorable environment 



78 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

for eugenic procreation. The transition to the new sexual order 
will be most satisfactorily bridged by unions in which full social 
recognition is given to the couple upon the simple announcement 
that they are setting up house together. In so far as their purely 
individual mutual relationships are concerned, their reciprocal 
duties may be left to private contract ; but the care of any children 
that result from the union must be provided for, in part by legal 
obligations imposed on both parents, and in part by the direct 
intervention of society acting as Over-Parent. 

The moral basis of such unions will be mainly secured by a 
general acknowledgment that their dissolution is as natural and 
reasonable as their formation. Therewith will spontaneously crum- 
ble the main pillar which now sustains, by a most remarkable com- 
bination of functions, both the chief forms of our existing sexual 
life, monogamic coercive marriage on the one hand, and sexual 
anarchy on the other. This pillar is our double standard of sexual 
morality. 



BOOK III 
THE DOUBLE STANDARD OF OUR SEXUAL MORALITY 

Mary sat upon a stone, on a stone, on a stone, 

Combing out her golden hair, golden hair, 

And as she finished combing it, combing it, combing it, 

She began to weep, to weep. 

Then came Charles her brother, brother, brother: 

"Mary, why art weeping, weeping?" 

"I weep because I have to die, have to die, have to die." 

Brother Charles drew his knife, drew his knife, drew his knife, 

Drew it from his pocket, from his pocket, from his pocket, 

And stabbed his sister Mary to the heart, to the heart. 

GERMAN CHILDREN'S SONS. 

CHAPTER VI 



Origin of Morality. Hygienic Ordinances Taking the Form of Religious 
and Moral Precepts. 

NATURAL or physical science determines the laws in accord- 
ance with which everything actually happens; moral science 
determines the laws in accordance with which everything ought 
to happen." Such are the words of Kant. Yet in the case of an 
occurrence that could not have been prevented, we cannot help 
thinking that the moral law which declares that it should not have 
happened must be a false one. Kant would appeal in rejoinder 
to the categorical imperative duty, but the weak point about such 
an appeal is the lack of a single trustworthy instance in which we 
can confide in the dictates of this sense of duty as we could 

79 



80 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

confide in those of a Being perfectly reasonable and entirely just. 
We are told that we must trust to our own conscience, that we 
must follow the moral law within us. 

Society has, however, learned to recognize that but little de- 
pendence can be placed upon this law of the individual conscience, 
and that it varies from person to person. Hence it has been found 
necessary to establish a collective conscience in the form of moral 
precepts, or, as they may be called, conventional laws, in contra- 
distinction to the laws of nature. Now any such conventional code, 
if its precepts do not spontaneously pass into disuse, requires occa- 
sional revision. For the very reason that the code is artificial, it 
lacks the touch of "the omnipresent balsam of all-healing Na- 
ture/' and is thus incapable of spontaneous regeneration. This 
artificial and conventional character attaches to the moral laws 
regulating our sexual life. 

What is the origin of morals? A historical examination of this 
problem shows that in the primitive stages of racial history ethical 
or religious precepts almost invariably enshrine practical hygienic 
counsels. The demands thus embodied are unquestionably moral; 
that is to say, the moral idea which underlies them has primarily 
originated in the human reason. Whereas what is termed practical 
morality represents no more than what is generally and socially 
considered to be reasonable and right conduct, the religious com- 
mandment is a moral imperative whose source eludes direct per- 
ception and belongs to the domain of the metaphysical. 

Practical morality and religious commandments have, however, 
a common characteristic. Behind both stands reason, the unseen 
critic, and the ultimate demand of human reason is the welfare 
of mankind, of future generations, of the race; and in the pro- 
motion of this welfare the most important factors are individual 
and racial hygiene. There was a moral basis underlying the reli- 
gious ordinance of circumcision, for in the sanitary conditions of 
the primitive Orient the omission of this rite endangered the pow- 
ers of procreation. In Old Germany, sexual continence was im- 
posed on young men until marriage, with the moral aim of con- 



KANT AND THE "METAPHYSIC OF ETHICS" 81 

serving the procreative forces. The duplex sexual morality of our 
own time demands from women absolute pre-marital chastity, and 
this demand might also have a practical basis if wifehood and 
motherhood were secured to every healthy woman as husbandhood 
and fatherhood were secured to every German youth of old and 
if it were not that in the case of modern womanhood continence 
is enforced for so long a period as to lead to a reduction of all 
the vital powers. 

In actual fact, hygiene has very little to do with the demand 
for feminine chastity, with the obligation imposed upon women 
to refrain from all sexual experiences outside the limits of mar- 
riage. This demand would seem to have originated in the East, 1 
where sexual artificiality is far more extreme than in Europe. We 
have seen that in Germany trial marriage, involving the negation 
of the demand for preconjugal chastity in women, was at one time 
socially recognized; and we have learned that such trials might 
be made by a woman with several men in succession. It has been 
suggested that this was possible in Germany on account of the 
chaster and stronger sexual impulse of the Germans, an impulse 
independent of the need for artificial stimulation. The insistence 
upon the intact virginity of the wife is an epicure 's demand, 2 and, 
moreover, it is one preeminently made by the worn-out roue, who 
finds in the intact virgin an especially piquant morsel. If the 
question of hygiene, the question of venereal infection, were the 
dominant determinant in establishing the morality of our sexual 
life, the demand for preconjugal chastity would be far stronger 
as regards the husband than as regards the wife. A man's first 
experience of sexual intercourse is so often with a prostitute, in- 
volving dangers, not only to his own health, but to the health also 
of the woman he may subsequently marry. 

*" Women of the world never think of attacking the sensual stipulation 
for perfect bloom, silver purity, which is redolent of the Oriental origin of 
the love-passion of their lords. ' 'George Meredith, The Egoist, Chap. V. 

* ' ' The capaciously strong in soul among women will ultimately detect 
an infinite grossness in the demand for purity infinite, spotless bloom." 
George Meredith, The Egoist, Chap. XI. 



82 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

In the case of the male full allowance is made for the various 
physical needs that impel him to free sexual intercourse ; hut where 
women are concerned no account is taken of the fact that the 
feminine organism has also a physiological demand alike for con- 
trectation and for detumescence, alike for the psycho-physical 
caressive approximation to the beloved object and for the discharge 
of sexual tension. The sexual moral code imposed upon women is 
especially dangerous where it deals from the "moral" standpoint 
with pregnancy and motherhood. The idea that to give birth to 
a child can possibly be an improper act would move us irresistibly 
to laughter were it not that it moves us rather to tears. 3 The most 
incredible developments of our duplex sexual morality are to be 
found in connection with the ideas of honor that prevail in the 
society in which this code is dominant. Thus we learn from this 
code that the husband is dishonored when his wife is unfaithful 
to him. A woman loses her honor when her lover abandons her. 
Both the man and the woman, in such cases, are said to be dis- 
honored by the acts of others! How little have we advanced, in 
these fantastic conceptions of honor, from the medieval code. Our 
mentality is still that of the brothers Strozzi, ' ' who had their beau- 
tiful sister Luisa put to death because at a banquet the Tyrant of 
Florence had looked upon her with eyes of desire. ' ' * 

In support of the polygamous freedom of the male which obtains 
under the conventional sexual code, we are told that it is con- 
trary to man's nature to live in permanent union with only one 
woman. It is not explained how the male is to give free play to 
his nature in this respect if the female is to remain faithful to 

'"Here is a woman whom we all supposed to be making bad water- 
colour sketches, practising Grieg and Brahms, gadding about to concerts and 
parties, wasting her life and her money. We suddenly learn that she has 
turned from these sillinesses to the fulfilment of her highest purpose and 
greatest function to increase, multiply and replenish the earth. And instead 
of admiring her courage and rejoicing in her instinct; instead of crowning 
the completed womanhood and raising the triumphal strain of 'Unto us a 
child is born: unto us a son is given,' here you are . . . all pulling long 
faces and looking as ashamed and disgraced as if the girl had committed the 
vilest of crimes." John Tanner, in Bernard Shaw's Man and Superman. 

4 Isolde Kurz, Die Frau in der italienischen Renaissance. 



KANT AND THE "METAPHYSIC OF ETHICS " 83 

the moral obligation imposed upon her by the code. If consistent 
monogamy be indeed unnatural to men, surely we are wrong to 
educate women in the idea that they should love one man only 
and cleave to him. Can we not understand, then, and even approve 
a woman who is unwilling to stake all her chances in life upon 
the hazard of a single man, and one who refuses to regard her 
whole fortune as forever lost if her first venture should prove 
unsuccessful? We need not blame a woman who thinks it unnec- 
essary to die of a broken heart when the man of her first choice 
abandons her, and we may be glad if she displays sufficient elas- 
ticity of temperament to enter into a new relationship. In such 
a case she will surely be prudent if she declines to stake upon the 
relationship any larger quantity of ideals than the man commonly 
finds available for the life purpose. 

To-day women are taught, in conformity with the demands of 
the average male, that when they give themselves they must do 
so unreservedly and for always; but it is precisely out of such 
utter self -surrender that all the tragedies of women's lives issue. 
The self-surrender imposes upon women a condition of slave-like 
dependence, and thus love lays upon them burdens which are 
rarely, if ever, borne by the male. If it be true that the detu- 
mescence impulse of the male is so constituted as necessarily to 
lead men from one woman to another, it follows that women, if 
they are ever to attain to a free and truly human life, must be sys- 
tematically educated in such a way as to enfranchise their minds 
from dependence upon the male sexual impulse. If it be truly 
man's nature to forsake women often, women must also learn to 
range through several sexual experiences until they attain the one 
in which their spirits are at peace and their children rightly 
fathered : 

"Till for her child a woman find 
The father fit in form and mind, 
To him unfit, and with no ruth. 
Let every woman break her troth." 

DEHMEL. 



84 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

As things are to-day, and in consequence of the contempt visited 
upon women who enter into sexual relationships outside the forms 
of legal marriage, a woman is intolerably dependent upon the man 
to whom she has once given herself. If she is as ready to leave 
the man as he is to leave her, she is universally stigmatized as a 
whore. Hence she plays a part in order to keep the man by her 
side, and this gives him an overwhelming advantage in their rela- 
tionship, and makes him an exploiter of her mental energies. 

The duplex moral code has depraved the male alike in moral 
character and in sexual instincts; it has made him mean-spirited; 
it has deprived him of the understanding how to approach love 
in an atmosphere of freedom. He has become the slave of a single 
suggestion, that of marriage. He must be kept chained up, like 
a watch-dog, and has forgotten how to behave himself when the 
chain is slipped. Although for the moment I am criticizing the 
sexual conduct of the average male, the reader must not suppose 
that I am adopting the attitude of a feminine counterpart to 
Strindberg, for there is nothing more remote from my mind than 
the spirit of the man-hater. In the existing order the sexual con- 
duct of men and of women is equally open to criticism, and the 
necessary duty of criticism is equally painful in both cases. 

Under the conventional code all possible sexual rights are given 
to the male, whereas the female has three alternatives only: mar- 
riage, celibacy, or prostitution. This last possibility involves an 
utter disregard of the prohibitions of our sexual morality, so re- 
lentless in other respects, and the reason for the inconsistency lies 
on the surface man has need of this institution. The code is 
drawn up by men, and must contain provision for the satisfaction 
of the various demands they make in their relationships with the 
other sex. 

Prostitution comes into existence in response to the urgency 
of the senses ; it is a way out, and from the male point of view not 
altogether a bad one, since it effects for men an enfranchisement 
from the dominion of sensual needs, whilst leaving them entire 
personal freedom. 



KANT AND THE "METAPHYSIC OF ETHICS" 85 

Marriage, on the other hand, viewed from the male standpoint, 
exists to provide a favorable social platform. The "marriage of 
reason" is founded upon the increase of property, and therewith 
of influence. It is the culmination of man's social efforts, a field 
for the cooperation of the sexual impulse, the reproductive impulse, 
and the faculties of the social climber. From this point of view, 
marriage, like prostitution, regarded as the work of a god dealing 
with the inferior creation, is not so much amiss. Between these 
opposite poles of the sexual life, prostitution and the marriage of 
reason, the male provides for himself a third alternative, the 
love-intimacy. This yields transient erotic stimulation, without 
furnishing social advance, but also without imposing social duties, 
and without the distasteful environment of prostitution. All three 
possibilities are at man J s free disposal, whilst a woman must choose 
one or none, either finding satisfaction in one of the three for all 
her needs, or else enduring the deprivation of the most vital con- 
dition of existence. 

We speak of woman's economic dependence upon man, but this 
is mere child's play in comparison with the sexual dependence 
resulting from the conditions just analyzed. A man has so much 
to bestow that by a woman the first comer may be hailed as a 
deliverer, as the giver of all good things, graciously offering 
marriage. "He has married her" "Will he marry her?" Such, 
is the refrain that rises continually from the market of the sexes. 
It is not for him, but for her that everything depends upon mar- 
riage. If he does not marry, he need suffer no lack, and need 
incur no risk; he remains free to love, to dally, to "live." In 
woman's case the possibilities must be chosen singly. She must 
love and be married; or love and be forsaken; or, claiming the 
man's freedom in respect of dalliance and "living," must accept 
submergence in the abyss of social contempt. Can we wonder that 
the first of these chances, love and marriage, appears to her the 
most desirable, all its dangers notwithstanding? 

In self-respect and genuine chastity woman has everything to 
gain and nothing to lose by overleaping the barriers within which 



86 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

her life is at present confined and by which she is now forced to 
grasp at marriage with any man who is willing. The complete 
perversion of courtship in the upper circles of society is a proof 
how little true sexual modesty is left to women under the dominion 
of the present sexual code. How small is the self-respect possible 
to the average woman who must snatch at any chance of attaining 
legalized "sexual security." The respect of the code for true 
chastity is trifling, since it is taken as a matter of course that the 
newly-wed woman shall at once and without demur surrender all 
to her husband, proceeding from the very outset even to the in- 
timacy of the common bedchamber. 

The women who to-day deliberately accept a life of sexual 
deprivation do so because they will not entertain any love rela- 
tionship which may entail mental debasement, and under the exist- 
ing conditions of the sexual life the danger of debasement is almost 
inseparable from the free intimacy. The woman throws herself 
away and accepts mental degradation who gives herself to a man 
incapable of full appreciation and understanding of her qualities, 
incapable of giving her a tender and whole-hearted affection. 
Hence the possibility for woman of genuine sexual satisfaction is 
dependent upon man's capacity to understand, to appreciate, and 
to love. But masculine capacity in these respects is at present 
in a declining phase, as the outcome of generations of sexual cor- 
ruption and of the dominant pharisaism of the male. The inevita- 
ble consequence is that an ever larger number of free-spirited and 
desirable women deliberately choose a celibate life not because 
they are free from the natural desires of sex, but because these 
desires are associated with mental requirements that cannot now 
obtain fulfillment. 



CHAPTER VII 

FOLK-HISTORY IN RELATION TO THE MORAL QUESTION 

Duplex Morality as a Protective Wall. Consequences of Masculine Sexual 
Morality. Effects of the Resulting Duplex Mental Attitude upon Psy- 
chical Unity and Development of Character in the Male. Sexual Anar- 
chy. Die Judin von Toledo. Duplex Morality in Literature. The 
Problem in the Antique World. The 1,300 Verses of Menander. 

A rational civilization is one whose precepts, moral rules, and 
conventions are well adapted to the natural needs of mankind, 
thus giving scope for the attainment throughout the social organ- 
ism of a state of stable esthetic equilibrium. Where nature is 
unduly coerced, such an equilibrium is impossible. In so far as 
our moral precepts are unreasonable we remain at the level of 
savages. Among certain primitive peoples we find moral rules 
dictating that the teeth should be colored black, that certain sound 
teeth should be extracted, that the lobules of the ears should be 
perforated and stretched till they touch the nape of the neck, that 
the skin should be tattooed, the eyebrows epilated, the lips tinted 
blue. Many of our own conventional rules are at an intellectual 
level hardly higher than this. 

The diversity of moral codes among different nations and at 
different stages of civilization affords a clear proof that no moral 
precepts can be accepted as permanently inalterable. All are 
subject to revision. It was formerly believed that modesty or 
sexual shame was an original instinct of mankind, but modern 
anthropology has shown that among many savages such clothing 
as they wear fulfills a purely ornamental purpose. Detestable in 
our view are the child-marriages of India, involving much misery 
and even grave physical injury ; yet these marriages are definitely 

87 



88 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

prescribed by the moral code of the country. Among the Balanti 
of Senegambia no girl can find a husband until she has been 
deflowered by the king, and this potentate often receives expensive 
presents to induce him to render a girl marriageable. Of the 
Bisajos we learn that public officials are appointed to deflower 
the girls. In Malabar the same duty is allotted to the Brahmans. 
In certain Arab tribes a girl is greatly lowered in her husband's 
eyes if he finds her still a virgin when he marries her. "If you 
had been worth anything/' he complains, "men would have loved 
you, and you would have chosen one of them who would have 
deflowered you. " 5 " It is a similar sentiment that among many 
peoples leads a girl to preserve the presents of her lovers and to 
make a display of them when she is married, for she knows that this 
enhances her value in her husband 's eyes. ' ' 6 

Most orientals still regard women as unclean, at least during 
menstruation. Mohammed forbids the touching of a menstruating 
woman "from the waist to the feet," apparently on hygienic 
grounds, however, for during menstruation women's sexual feeling 
is greatly increased, but sexual intercourse is inadmissible. In 
Japan until a very recent date women were forbidden, as unclean 
beings, to set foot on a certain sacred mountain. The further 
east we go, the more stringent is the demand for conjugal fidelity 
imposed upon women. In Turkey, an unfaithful wife is drowned 
in a sack, or thrown from the top of a tower. At the least suspicion 
of unfaithfulness a woman is reminded that the Bosphorus is close 
at hand. Among certain savage tribes a widow must always carry 
about with her the bones of her deceased husband. In Greenland 
the saying is current, "she mourns so deeply that you can hardly 
recognize her for dirt." 

In China the remarriage of widows is legally permissible, but 
is regarded with social disfavor. Of the savage Kabyles, Haneteau 
and Lestourneux write : ' ' Their moral code does not tolerate any 

B Quoted by Schurz, and reported by Havelock Ellis in his paper on ' * The 
Origin of Prostitution/' 
Ibid. 



FOLK-HISTORY 89 

kind of sexual indulgence on the part of women outside the limits 
of marriage. ... If a woman gives birth to an illegitimate child, 
both mother and child are killed. ' ' In some savage tribes, in such 
circumstances, the seducer is also put to death. 

Speaking generally, we find the duplex sexual morality existent 
as a protective wall round woman wherever her maintenance de- 
pends exclusively on the male, and wherever there is lacking any 
social provision for the upbringing of the offspring and for the care 
of women during pregnancy and childbirth. The moral code is 
designed for the defense of women against the physically stronger 
male, and far from being a fine and late flower of civilization, it 
comes down to us as the vestige of a primitive institution, the 
best means available in former days to protect the weaker sex 
against the strong hand of the male. May we not infer that a 
higher civilization can dispense with this means of protection, being 
competent to establish institutions that shall safeguard women with- 
out depriving them of their freedom as human beings ? To induce 
submission to the deprivation of their most vital human rights, 
economic motives are commonly invoked. 

"I am almost forced to believe," wrote Hedwig Dohm forty 
years ago, ' ' that it was on politico-economical grounds that women 
in India were persuaded to accept suttee as a moral duty. ' ' 7 No 
one wished to accept responsibility for the maintenance of widows. 
From the note-book of a French traveler we cull the following ac- 
count of a widow-burning : ' ' As soon as the flames began to crackle 
and to lick the corpse upon the pyre, the widow appeared, to the 
accompaniment of intoxicating music. She was robed in scarlet and 
decked with flowers and betel leaves. Pale, half-swooning, made 
drunk with saffron-brandy, leaning almost unconscious upon the 
shoulder of a Brahman, with tottering steps she walked thrice past 
the opening in the pyre. At the third passage the priest pushed 
her into the gap, and with a heartrending cry she disappeared in 
the flames. " * All this in the name of morality ! 

1 Die wissenschaftliche Emanzipation der Frau, Berlin, 1874. 
'Quoted by Hedwig Dohm, Op. tit. 



90 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

There are certain qualities claiming the name of virtues which 
are in truth dependent upon nothing more than a lack of under- 
standing, upon a failure to claim the most elementary human rights, 
and this consideration applies before all to what is specifically de- 
nominated virtue in women. 

Maeterlinck writes in this connection: "If the virtues of a 
man are depicted, he is seen struggling in the arena, in the world 
of action, whereas the virtues which arouse admiration in a woman 
always constitute a picture of still life, or resemble a beautiful 
marble statute in a museum. The picture is one void of content; it 
is composed of enslumbered vices, indolent passions, quiescent ambi- 
tion, passive movements, and negative forces. It is chaste, because 
it has no senses; good, because it does no positive harm; just, be- 
cause inactive; patient and yielding, because utterly inert; long- 
suffering, because unconscious of injury ; propitiatory, because with- 
out power to resist ; compassionate, because indifferent to extortion 
or because compassion involves no expenditure of energy ; faithful, 
upright and meek, because these are virtues that thrive in the 
desert and can blossom on a corpse. But what if the picture comes 
to life, if the statue passes beyond the precincts of the museum 
into that open world of action in which whatever fails to share 
in the current of life is a danger to all environing objects? Is it 
virtuous to continue faithful to an ill-chosen or morally extinct 
love, to remain submissive to a narrow-minded or unjust master? 
Is passive harmlessness the same thing as active good? Is to re- 
frain from telling lies equivalent to being just and upright? There 
exists a morality for those who remain upon the shore of the great 
current, and another morality for those who are battling in the 
stream. There exists a morality of slumber and a morality of wak- 
ing life, a morality of the shade and a morality of the light; and 
the virtues attaching to the former kind of morality, which may 
be spoken of as virtues of one dimension, must gain breadth and 
thickness and become solid virtues, before they can belong to the 
morality of the second order. The substance and the lineaments 
may appear similar in either case, but the values are utterly dif- 



FOLK-HISTORY 91 

ferent. The qualities of patience, gentleness, submissiveness, trust- 
fulness, renunciation, self-sacrificingness, are all fruits of passive 
virtue, and when tested in the rude environment of active life, dis- 
play themselves as nothing more than weakness, servility, ignor- 
ance, dullness, self-neglect, stupidity, or indolence/' 9 

In the practical morality of the sexual life the male is per- 
mitted to disregard the limitation imposed upon the female, and 
men may misuse women without let or hindrance. The license thus 
granted has wrought its own revenges, and not on men alone, but 
also on women and on the community-at-large. The man who freely 
enjoys all the delights permitted him by the duplex moral code, 
has his senses blunted, his energies weakened, and worst of all, has 
a sub-flavor of disgust introduced into all the processes of sexual 
love. The union of the sexes, at one time a religious act, has now 
become no more than a coarse and horrible "pleasure," and its 
1 ' priestesses ' ' go down to destruction. The male leads a double life : 
one of these lives is passed in the daylight, by the side of the wife 
who shares his social existence; the other is spent in a region 
wherein he is freed from all those restraints which in the daylight 
are imposed upon his bourgeois personality. Here says he to him- 
self, "I am an animal; here I may give free rein to the passions 
of the brute." 

Rarely do the women whose lives are passed in the daylight, 
the women of respectable society, gain any glimpse of the night- 
side of our social life. Such a glimpse may at times be afforded by 
some sudden and hardly credible experience. One night, perhaps, 
she returns home from the theater alone and on foot. Near her 
house, in a deserted street, a young man who has been dogging her 
steps overtakes her, blocks her path, and explains his desires in 
the plainest possible terms. He is obviously half insane from sexual 
hunger, and yet he is no criminal but a man of good society. The 
woman, filled with loathing, hurries home, to pass a night of horror 
and delirium. 

Not without punishment can a man lead this double existence 

*Le double jar din. 



92 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

expending, on the one hand, all his available energies in the 
fierce competition of modern life, and squandering, on the other, 
his biological forces in the morass of prostitution. His powers being 
thus sapped in two contradictory types of existence, he will hardly 
attain a high degree of functional capacity, either biological or so- 
cial, and he will rarely acquire that psychical unity which is essen- 
tial to the proper formation of character. 10 

It is for this reason that most men exhibit an unmistakable patho- 
logical taint. As we get to know them intimately, on a sudden as 
by a flashlight some obscure horror is momentarily revealed to us, 
a dreadful reflex from the night-side of life. The sexual anarchy 
created and permitted by the masculine code of sexual morals has 
set its mark upon them. 

******* 

The duplex sexual morality has corrupted man in yet another 
way, by fostering in him a hypocritical and pharisaical tendency. 
Thus he is led to despise a woman, to defame her, and to persecute 
her, for the very reason that she has granted the favor he most de- 
sires. Almost every man is ready to play the part of brother 
Charles, and to stab his sister Mary to the heart. Such a figure is 
that of Valentin, raving against Gretchen. Yet more typical is 
King Alfons in Grillparzer 's play, Die Jiidin von Toledo. Here 
the king, having just contemplated the mutilated corpse of the 
woman he has loved, is moved thereby to lofty moral reflection. 
The passage is all the more noteworthy because the poet, himself 
a Pharisee upon this question, is entirely innocent of the satirical 
vein. In Grillparzer 's play the ''purification" of the hero is ef- 
fected by his turning away from the body of the woman he has 
loved, and by his return to his legitimate wife. In almost all men 
we find some admixture of the spirit of King Alfons. Almost 
every one of them is ready, as soon as satiety sets in, to put his 

10 "The Rajah . . . and his Minister . . . hold debates upon the con- 
trarieties of a people professing in one street what they confound in the next, 
and practising by day a demureness that yells with the cat of the tiles by 
night." George Meredith, The Rajah in London, in Chap. V of One of Our 
Conquerors. 



FOLK-HISTORY 93 

hand to the act of betrayal. The more atrocious the mutilation of 
the woman's body, the more completely are satisfied the require- 
ments of the moral world-order. As a prerequisite to the purifica- 
tion of the male, it is essential that, before passing judgment upon 
the woman, he must himself have experienced and enjoyed, in her 
person and in that of others, all that in her he now condemns. He 
turns moralist only when satiated through erotic exhaustion. 

The man of bourgeois mind, nourished on our existing sexual 
morality, actually hates the woman by whom he is sexually at- 
tracted unless he is inspired towards her by what he calls "serious 
intentions/' So long as he continues to enjoy her, this hatred is 
subconscious ; but it becomes conscious directly satiety ensues. He 
cannot forgive her for the attraction she has exercised. "Men are 
thoroughly capable of infidelity, but their domestic altars, their 
wives, remain sacred. For the other women they feel nothing but 
contempt, and they keep these latter utterly aloof from their family 
life. . . . Between the family and such creatures there is a great 
gulf fixed." Thus, in Tolstoi's novel, speaks Anna Karenina, her- 
self destined to become one of these same creatures. Such, in a 
man 's view, becomes every woman who gives herself to him without 
guarantees of security. "Fallen women," says Levin in the novel 
just quoted, "arouse in me the same kind of loathing that I feel 
when I see a spider." 

Wherever this duplex morality is the foundation of social values, 
we find also that it is one of the main topics of literature and that 
its problems are universally discussed. For example, in one of 
Mathilde Serao's novels there is a scene between a young couple 
on their wedding journey, in which the following dialogue occurs : 
HE (tired out) : "I am not a young man." SHE: "You are 
thirty-two. ' ' HE : * * But I have lived more life than my years 
number." SHE (quietly): " That is very true. " " She, " of course, 
is not expected to have "lived." "She" must have been dead up 
to the day of marriage, and ' ' He ' ' must first have breathed into her 
the spirit of life. 

In innumerable novels a former love intimacy continually 



94 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

threatens the position of the heroine, and finally, when the fact of 
this earlier experience is made public, it effects her social destruc- 
tion and bars the way to the desired haven of marriage. Not in- 
frequently, she regretfully stigmatizes herself as an adventuress, 
unworthy of the hand of the noble hero,, although in the novels he 
often generously proposes to overlook the past. In France, above 
all, do we find that fictional literature is dominated by the problem 
whether the heroine is ' ' a fallen woman, ' ' or whether her ' ' honor ' ' 
is still intact. In his essay on the Modern Drama, Maeterlinck 
writes with a fine artistic contempt of the nullity of such problems. 
In one of Prevost's novels, a young woman, writing in the first per- 
son, describes her self -surrender to the father of her child, and how 
on his account she left her parents' house. With amusing sim- 
plicity the author puts the following words in her mouth : * ' After 
my fall, I lived in a little house in X. street." Thus she herself 
knows no better than to describe this experience as a "fall." The 
French novelists work with a fixed idea of woman regarded as an 
inalterable type. Their female characters reproduce this type ad 
nauseam, for they make no attempt to individualize. Nor, indeed, 
does the life which tends to mold itself upon this literature greatly 
transcend the type thus embodied. The whole action of such litera- 
ture turns upon the question : ' ' Can he marry her, will he marry 
her, must he marry her, now that she has given herself to him?" 
Unless he has been her first lover it is quite out of the question for 
him to do so. In no other country is the pathetic mendacity which 
identifies a woman's honor with her sexual intactness so all-pre- 
vailing as in France and in the lands where French civilization 
dominates. It is in these countries, above all, that men, in subtle 
mockery of their own moral code, do all in their power to deprive 
women of this prized sexual intactness, and demand for themselves 
the fullest tolerance for sexual irregularity. The Frenchman's 
cry, tue-la or tue-le (the seduced or the seducer) is all the more 
grotesque because of his unconcealed admiration of the galanterie 
of adultery and the liaison. In literature of the type now under 
consideration we find also frequent reference to the gracious pos- 



FOLK-HISTORY 95 

sibility of forgiveness for a fallen woman. Marriage, we are told, 
will restore her honor. Assuredly any woman endowed with a 
healthy independence of spirit would preserve her self-respect far 
better by the contemptuous rejection of such an offer. 

This moral code encourages the worst instincts of the hunter. 
It is a product of masculine demands and it is vitiated by an es- 
sential contradiction, inasmuch as the freedom and enjoyment per- 
missible to men can be secured only by their effecting what they 
themselves stigmatize as a woman's fall. Only through woman's 
shame can man secure the satisfaction of what he regards, in his 
own case, as an elementary natural need. 

******* 

Robert Hessen refers in one of his essays to the scene in the 
Iliad in which Achilles, in high dudgeon at the loss of Briseis, con- 
soles himself in the arms of his slave Diomede. Hessen rightly 
maintains that the description of such an incident with the sex- 
roles reversed, would have exposed the poet to moral disapprobation. 
Nevertheless, a recent literary find has shown that in very ancient 
times this duplex morality was subject to criticism and condemna- 
tion. In 1906 Gustave Lefebvre, a French scholar, discovered in 
an Egyptian village thirty-four leaves of papyrus on which were 
inscribed 1328 verses forming parts of four comedies by Menander, 
the Athenian dramatist, who wrote in the fourth century before 
Christ. Here the duplex sexual code is discussed and censured. A 
man who has put away his wife when he learns that she has had an 
illegitimate child feels himself to be a like sinner, and passes judg- 
ment on himself. His slave, Onesimos, speaks: 

My master is mad! God knows lie must be utterly mad! 
He keeps on crying out: "Wretch, beast, sinner, 
Rascal that I am, I have myself had a love-child. 
9 And yet towards her who so touchingly begged my forgiveness, 
Towards this poor woman, I could show no pity, 
I remained as hard as a stone, without compassion, a barbarian!" 



96 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

Next we hear the despairing hero speak for himself : 

Here you see them, your masters of all the virtues! One who put 

morality 

Before everything else; one who thought only of the moral appeal; 
One who dispassionately appraised good and evil; 
A man without sin, a man free from all blame. 
But now God punishes me as I deserve now I see myself for 

what I am, 
A weak and erring mortal! Hadst thou thyself been ever so blame- 

less, hadst thou acted ever so greatly? 
Was not thy wife, in truth, free from all blame, 
The victim of evil fortune! Yet thou couldst not forgive her. 
Now art thyself in like case, and through thy own fault! 
How gentle and patient was she when thou didst blame her, 
How rough and cruel thyself! 

In the periodical "Tag" (No. 231), F. Litten writes regarding the 
above passage: "This is perhaps the most interesting portion of 
the whole papyrus. Just think of it, in the fourth century before 
Christ the problem of the duplex sexual morality is considered by 
a young man of the rich and leisured class, and conduct based upon 
this code is by him unequivocally condemned." 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE INSTITUTION OF EXTREME DEMANDS 

Control of Feminine Chastity as a Consequence of the Father-Eight. The 
Higher Father-Right of the Future. The Child as an Argument in 
Favor of Duplex Sexual Morality. Primal Basis of Morality: the 
Interest of the Species. The Demand for Chastity a Necessary One. 
Sexual Freedom and Sexual Restraint in Relation to the Offspring and 
to the Race. Individual Disregard of a Socially Approved Code Is 
Commonly a Fruitless Act of Opposition; What We Need Is a Reor- 
ganization of Social Life. 

The older morality loves extremes. It demands from women, 
as Adele Schreiber once put it, that if married she shall bear as 
many children as possible; from other women, young and healthy 
but unmarried, it demands abstinence from sexual experiences and 
from child-bearing; from yet other women it demands that for the 
satisfaction of a need alleged to be vital in the male they shall give 
themselves indiscriminately to countless men. Yet the sexuality of 
women is as little susceptible as that of men of reduction to a single 
formula ; just as little can it be regulated by a single moral impera- 
tive. Sound views regarding sex are unattainable unless we make 
due allowance for all the vital conditions of the individual human 
life, for the individual's economic and social status and for his 
mental and physical needs. 

There was, however, a rational ground for the safeguarding of 
feminine chastity, since the institution of such safeguards was a 
necessary outcome of the father-right. It was reasonable to de- 
mand from women a strict adhesion to the monogamic ideal, even 
when no such demand was imposed upon men, since the man was 
such conditions, man could impose sexual restrictions upon woman 
the breadwinner for wife and children. The extent to which, under 

97 



98 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

while insisting upon boundless freedom for himself can be learned 
from a contemplation of the harems of the East. Only with reluc- 
tance did the male accept the burden of family life, and he insisted 
that in return for the care thus provided, woman should renounce 
her most elementary human rights, namely, the right to the free 
choice of a sexual partner, and the right to the free choice of a 
sphere of social activity. We know, moreover, that under the ex- 
isting order man evades his monogamic responsibilities in a thou- 
sand ways. The future alone, which will recognize over and above 
physical fatherhood the higher fatherhood of society, can insure 
for both partners coequal sexual rights. Not till then, it may be, 
will a true sense of fatherhood awaken in the male not until he 
must prove by his conduct his right to the children he has begotten. 
So long as fatherhood is dreaded because of the duties it imposes, 
it will not be possible to awaken paternal sentiments in men except 
by the working of such enduring suggestions as form part of the 
family life of to-day. When threatened with the obligations of 
fatherhood outside the domain of legal marriage and in the absence 
of the suggestions of family life, man takes to headlong flight, and 
this shows very clearly that the sense of fatherhood, unlike the 
sense of motherhood, is far from being instinctive and uncondi- 
tional. 

We do not deny the economic value, and even the individual 
psychic value, of woman 's refusal to permit any approach to sexual 
intimacy until the marriage bond has been safely tied. We do not 
deny that in existing conditions the duplex code of sexual morals 
thus serves for woman's protection. But the iron gratings of the 
harem and the guarding of its secluded inmates by mutes and 
eunuchs were also designed for the protection of woman. These 
are institutions which civilized society will no longer tolerate. Hav- 
ing abolished the harem, we must go further, and establish protec- 
tive institutions which will not reduce those protected to a condi- 
tion which is practically equivalent to imprisonment, which will 
not make them will-less automata in the hands of their protectors. 
Even among savage peoples the idea prevails that women must be 



THE INSTITUTION OF EXTREME DEMANDS 99 

safeguarded by warning them against hearkening to the voice of 
the seducer. There are two main reasons for such prohibitions. In 
the first place the very nature of the sexual processes renders them 
largely independent of the control of the deliberate will ; and sec- 
ondly these processes have a profounder significance to women than 
to men, not only in respect of impregnation, but also as they affect 
their personal existence and their mental and emotional life. In no 
conceivable stage of civilization, indeed, can sex relationships be- 
come matters of indifference or altogether free from risk. It follows 
that there would exist a social justification for the protective moral 
wall surrounding the "frailer sex/' were it not that this institu- 
tion entails upon women unnatural struggles and intolerable de- 
pendence. We do not wish that women should be deprived of all 
protection, but we contend that society must elaborate some method 
of protection better than that afforded by the double code of sexual 
morality. 

The old code is now attacked by social reformers of all shades 
of opinion, and among the arguments used in this campaign perhaps 
the most forcible of all is that in this matter reform is inevitable, 
a necessary consequence of the general progress of the world. The 
appeal is to plain common sense and everyday observation. The 
maxims of the old v duplex morality are of no practical value for 
our guidance to-day. To endeavor to make use of them is as if we 
were to try to make a long journey in a post-chaise. The means 
for the gratification of such a taste no longer exist. The old post- 
houses with their relays of horses have disappeared, and we have 
to travel by train whether we like it or not. Similarly we must 
make the best of the attempt to be moral after a new fashion, simply 
because the means for the guidance of our lives by the older moral- 
ity no longer exist. Ruth Bre, the first woman of our time to voice 
the demand for a new mother-right, says in one of her books that 
we have laws by which we can die and by whose precepts we can 
hunger and thirst, but no laws by which we can live and thrive. 
The same remark applies to the dominant sexual code. 

The following instance may serve to show how the qualities es- 



100 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

teemed as moral are largely if not entirely subordinate to processes 
completely independent of the powers of the will. A woman per- 
sonally known to me was turned out of house and home by her 
husband on account of the dissolute life she led. She took to pros- 
titution, not simply as a means of livelihood, but because she found 
pleasure in it. Some years later, when the age of sexual involution 
began, sexual intercourse became utterly repulsive to her. She still 
had admirers enough, several of whom were willing to put her ex- 
istence upon a secure footing and to care for her permanently. 
She preferred, however, to earn her own living by hard work of 
various kinds, as waitress, tailoress, etc., and led henceforward a 
thoroughly " virtuous " life. Are we to imagine that this woman's 
character had undergone a sudden improvement because that which 
before had seemed to her an organic necessity had of a sudden be- 
come exceedingly distasteful ? 

The leading argument used in support of the existing marriage 
system is the dependence of children upon their father's support. 
When, however, illegitimate and legitimate children are made equal 
before the law in matters of inheritance, the force of this argument 
will be undermined. As things are, it is contended that infidelity 
in the wife is far more serious than infidelity in the husband, be- 
cause the former entails upon the husband the risk of having to 
provide for another man's child. But under the new regime, in 
so far as infidelity may work any material injury to legitimate 
children, the father's infidelity will be no less effective than that 
of the mother. 

******* 

Woman's sexual freedom will thus be secured concomitantly 
with her attainment of ethical and intellectual ripeness, as one of 
the gifts of a new economic and sexual order ; but pending the ar- 
rival of such individual and social maturity, the complete abandon- 
ment of protective restrictions is impossible. The individual has 
to be safeguarded, not only against hostile forces from without, but 
also from those internal dangers that are the outcome of the im- 
pulse to self-sacrifice. Such restrictions as are necessary must be 



THE INSTITUTION OP EXTREME DEMANDS 101 

imposed upon men no less than upon women. Limitations must 
be imposed upon the gratification of the appetites so long as the 
individual, male or female, remains incompetent to estimate or pro- 
vide for all the consequences of sexual activity or passivity, and 
so long as there exists incapacity to control some of the pathological 
manifestations of the sexual life. Morality is based upon the 
interest of the species alone, and the only true sexual morality is 
that which leads to the procreation of healthy and beautiful human 
beings, that which condemns no individual and no class to misery 
and misuse, and that which neither suppresses nor artificially cor- 
rupts the energies of the heart and of the senses. On hygienic and 
sanitary grounds the demands for chastity will always have to be 
enforced to this extent at least, that sexual intercourse must never 
be an inconsiderate act, must never be the outcome of mere chance. 
But this demand must be enforced upon both sexes alike in such 
a way as to prevent the corruption of our sexual life. Everyone 
must have a right to sexual freedom so long as this freedom works 
no injury to others ; but in view of the dangers to the offspring and 
to the race that may result from uncontrolled sexual indulgence, 
certain limitations must obviously be imposed upon individual 
freedom. These are the first principles of rational morality. 

******* 
Individual disregard of a socially approved code of practice is 
commonly a fruitless act of opposition. Our study of the moral 
problems of social life must be undertaken, not with the aim of 
facilitating individual experiment, but in order to promote the 
development of a new organization, within which new forms of 
morality can spring to life. The unassisted struggle of individuals 
against established views and institutions is of little avail, and 
roses never yet bloomed upon the martyr 's stake. No one can be 
altogether independent of the opinions of his contemporaries and 
associates. The mental currents of sympathy or antipathy, respect 
or contempt, confidence or distrust, which flow to us from others, 
exercise a greater influence over our emotional moods and our in- 
tellectual processes than we ourselves commonly realize. It is upon 



102 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

the threshold of the subconscious life that these currents impinge ; 
it is here that our energies are reenforced or depleted by influences 
from without. This is no mere hypothesis, for we are dealing with 
effects measurable by instruments of precision. An aura of con- 
tempt or admiration, of love or of hate, is wafted to a man, and with 
the aid of the sphygmograph the physician can detect the conse- 
quent changes in the organism. The movements of the indicating 
needle become more or less extensive, and the curve traced by this 
needle varies accordingly, teaching us that the bloodvessels have di- 
lated or contracted, that the frequency of the heart has increased or 
diminished, that the pulse has become more or less powerful, that 
the blood-current has been slackened or accelerated. If one single 
mental influence from without will thus cause extensive alterations 
in the organism, a fortiori will this be true of a whole series of 
such influences. Unquestionably, the greater our philosophical 
training and self-control, the more complete will be our indepen- 
dence of the opinions of others. Yet in every one of us, throughout 
the complicated tissue of individuality, there runs an ultimate 
secret thread of connection with the outer world, restricting the 
power of self-determination and imposing the influence of environ- 
mental conditions. Herein, it may be, lies the explanation of all 
apostleship, of all reforming impulse, and if you will, of all pros- 
elytism. It does not suffice us to ascertain new values within the 
limits of our own individual judgment, for not until these values 
have gained general acceptance do they become capable of prac- 
tical application. Hence all reformers should direct their attacks 
against those falsehoods that are most plainly manifest. Each epoch 
is characterized by its own predominant untruths. However bril- 
liant the illumination of the social structure as a whole, in some 
corner or another darkness will prevail. The deepest shadow upon 
our own time is the shadow of sexual lies, and their evil work of 
unreason is carried on beneath the veil of obscurity they have 
themselves created. 



BOOK IV 
SEXUAL LIES 

No sinner she who can sin deny, 

But a sin confessed is swiftly punished. 

What folly to reveal by day that which night has hidden, 
To acknowledge before all, deeds done in secret. 

OVID, AES AMANDI. 

CHAPTER IX 

SEXUAL LIES 

Frequency of Sexual Lies. Lying Moral Imperatives. Coercive Sexual 
Need in Youth. Spring in Gyves. Erotic Friendship. Luther and 
Sexual Lies. Man's Ideal Woman. "My Wife'' and "My Husband." 
Women "Consecrated to Death" as Portrayed in Literature. The Law- 
givers of the Sexual Life. Consequences of Neglected Sexual Hygiene. 
Metamorphosis of the Sexual Impulse into Obscenity. The Lie-Trust 
Must Be Dissolved. 

TN the sphere of the sexual life the frequency of lying almost 
* exceeds belief, for in this domain lying is not merely purposive 
and deliberate but has become almost organic and instinctive. Mis- 
led by the falsity of his own institutions, the philistine maintains 
the pretense that under present conditions the correct regulation of 
the sexual life is possible. Such self-delusion need hardly sur- 
prise us when we recall the extent to which most people are influ- 
enced by mass-suggestions. Witness, for example, the practice of 
foot-binding in China, by which, in obedience to one of these mass- 
suggestions, normal limbs are rendered useless for their natural 

103 



104 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

functions. In Japan people perform harakiri, throwing away their 
lives, often on account of some idle phrase, under the influence of 
social suggestion; and we see the like phenomenon in Europe in 
the institution of the duel. We need hardly wonder that the two 
mainsprings of human existence, hunger and love, are so enmeshed 
with lies, or that the lie of pharisaism dominates all forms of the 
sexual life. Pharisaism falsifies marriage through and through, 
and falsifies no less the free sexual union, imposing claims which 
have no bearing upon the essential nature of that relationship. 

Even the great ones of earth are not free from the tyranny 
of these suggestions. Bismarck, for example, spoke publicly of 
Lucca as a woman who, "although a singer was yet quite respec- 
table." Korner, in a letter to Schiller referring to Goethe's union 
with Christine, wrote: "Goethe will find it impossible to respect 
the woman who has given herself to him altogether without condi- 
tions." By the current code of sexual morals such a woman was 
inevitably disgraced! These lies pass like false coin from hand 
to hand; they are phantom-ideas upon which human destinies are 
staked. 

The bourgeois education of girls, assuming .as beyond question 
that marriage, a good marriage, is the best of life 's possibilities for 
woman, builds upon the sand, for the reality of life is so utterly 
different from what is figured in imagination. Every girl is taught 
to base her hopes in life upon the attainment of a thoroughly satis- 
factory and enduring sexual and social companionship ; and if these 
hopes remain unfulfilled she is robbed of internal freedom and of 
joy in life. Every mother expects a miracle for her daughter and 
expects the girl herself to play an active part in bringing this 
miracle to pass. The lives even of the least attractive among women 
are overshadowed by this expectation. Year follows year. The 
readiness for compromise becomes continually greater and the de- 
sire for marriage any marriage ever more urgent. The woman 
to whom this miracle does not happen is generally regarded as a 
being of altogether inferior value, as an object of compassion. She 
has failed to satisfy the demand imposed upon her by education a 



SEXUAL LIES 105 

demand tantamount to this, that she should find a member of the 
opposite sex who impersonates all that the poets have described in 
the form of ideal love and who is able at the same time to provide 
her with economic security. 

As we have shown, the chief cause of the restricted possibilities 
of sexual choice lies in the wide-spread existence of mental and phys- 
ical defects, for it must be remembered that our own imperfections 
by no means render us less sensitive to the imperfections of others. 
Hence human beings, instead of being mutually attracted, are apt 
to be mutually repelled. The assumption that every individual 
will encounter a fine, beautiful, intelligent and original-minded 
sexual complement is based on the false supposition that the world 
is full of such persons; and the consequences of directing a girl's 
whole education on the basis of this assumption cannot fail to be 
disastrous. Yet conventionally we continue to describe as the 
normal lot a condition which is attainable 'without compromise by 
a small fraction only of humanity and which is permanently en- 
durable without falseness by a smaller fraction still. 

From earliest girlhood our daughters are taught to look upon 
marriage as their ffoal r and their attention is thus prematurely 
directed tnwpfds t.hft iTTjn^iIsive life. "We should rather bring j^h^m 
up, not indeed to rpnnrmo.ft love (for the attempt would be vain), 
hut to learn not to regard love as the pivot of t|p inrHvi'dnft| ]jfr 
A girl should be taught to meet her erotic destiny with energetic 
elasticity, to live through erotic experiences as does a man and 
not to allow herself to be so profoundly shattered by an unfor- 
tunate episode as to suffer the wreck of her individuality. It should 
be our aim to make a woman ashamed of allowing herself to be 
bruised and broken by the assaults of fate, whereas to-day we incline 
to encourage her to assume the martyr's crown. Women must ac- 
cept love's dangers and adversities as parts of a 
destiny, learning to take love lightly, elasticallv ? and 
This emancipation of spirit, this refusal to be bou^d 
on the wheel by love, need not in any way involve a lifiht or trivial 
view of love and its processes. 



106 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

Before the rise of the woman 's movement the sexual lie was even 
more dominant in feminine education than it is to-day. Girls 
were taught to regard marriage as the one possibility of existence, 
and yet in accordance with the precepts of feminine virtue they 
were to behave as if they never gave the matter a thought. They 
must play the part of coy maidens, to whom every kind of sexual 
experience seems utterly repugnant. Even now, the young women 
who can adopt such a role seem most pleasing to the average male. 
The extent to which women's lives are inevitably grounded on lies 
can best be understood when we compare the various precepts de- 
fining what a woman must not do. A woman must not be a man- 
hunter. Unless a woman has hunted and successfully captured a 
man she must not bear a child. To renounce child-bearing alto- 
gether and, like an unsexed worker-bee, to compete with men in 
their own fields of work, is also forbidden her. What is the poor 
perplexed creature to do? The cruelty and mendacity of philis- 
tinism is well shown by the philistine 's continuing to give utterance 
to his conventional views at the very moment when he is pursuing 
his own interest by acting in opposition to these views. I have 
known men express great indignation regarding the economic 
aims of the woman's movement while grasping eagerly for their 
daughters at any wage-earning position which the work of the 
woman's movement has made accessible to women. 

The conventional moral code demands that the love-life and love- 
need of woman should be decorously veiled from sight. This life 
and this need are even assumed to be non-existent. Yet these are 
facts of life which can be neither denied nor explained away, and 
to woman a satisfying amatory life is perhaps even more essential 
than it is to man for woman is the receptive partner and derives 
her energies in large part out of what she gets from man. The 
stresses of sex are far from being peculiar to the male sex. Yet so 
long as the dangers of social, moral and physical destruction con- 
tinue to threaten the amatory life of young people, their inter- 
course must be conducted under the shadow of hypocrisy, and 
the springtime of their youth must be bound in gyves. Hence, in 



SEXUAL LIES 107 

the association of young people there is enforced upon them a 
hateful suppression of cordial tenderness. Even after the first 
youth is past, the same restrictions are imposed ; they are universal 
where marriage is out of the question and where people " respect" 
one another too highly to indulge in the most trifling erotic relaxa- 
tion when they have no intention of living together for all their 
lives. Not until human beings come to live as nature demands shall 
we fully understand how utterly remote is such good behavior from 
a genuine joyful purity of spirit and from a debonair freedom from 
restraint. This formal reserve imposed on young people who hunger 
for caresses is the worst of all enforced lies. None the less, the 
lie represents a social need, for the present generation is still un- 
trained for the enjoyment of those forms of erotic life derivable 
simply from comradeship forms that will come to fruition only 
in a more refined and elaborate civilization than our own. The 
sole love that our generation understands is that which is intended 
to involve an immediate and permanent association of all the in- 
terests of the two lovers. The idea that upon friendship can be 
based an erotic life at once delicate and satisfying is remote from 
the contemporary human understanding. Erotic friendship how 
great are the possibilities of happiness, to-day unutilized and run- 
ning to waste, derivable from this source! Should any now en- 
deavor to base their amatory life upon such a friendship, how 
they would be overwhelmed by the forces of social disapproval; 
and yet not until erotic friendship is tolerated can human beings 
be freed from their present dilemma, which imposes the choice 
between coercive marriage (for those to whom marriage is eco- 
nomically possible) and erotic starvation. 

Luther was an uncompromising opponent of the sexual lie that 
demands the pretense of a chastity impossible to healthy human 
beings. Witness the following utterances: 

"We must doubtless make many a fight on behalf of chastity; 
but such daily ardor and rage are certain signs that God neither 
has given nor will give to man the noble gift of chastity, which must 



108 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

be the outcome of our free will and must not be forced upon us/' 

"Why should I strive to live a celibate life when I feel no 
call to. such a life, when I know indeed that God, far from calling 
me to such a life, has created me expressly for marriage?" 

"Maids, if you ask them, will deny that they would like to have 
men ; but they lie. ' ' 

"We are all created to follow the example of our own parents, 
to procreate children and bring them up; this is God's command. 
It is proved to us by our bodily parts, by our daily feelings, and 
by the example of all the world/' 

1 1 Owing to the impulses of nature implanted in us by God, it is 
impossible to remain chaste outside marriage; for flesh and blood 
are merely flesh and blood, and the natural inclination and prick 
of the flesh has its own way with us unhindered and uncontrolled, 
as everyone sees and feels. ' ' 

******* 

Men, above all, are profoundly influenced by the sexual lie. 
Man has made himself an ideal image of woman, an image which 
in practical life he is unable to endure. In this ideal of woman, 
unconditional surrender plays a great part, and yet we find there 
is nothing that the modern man really likes less than this uncondi- 
tional surrender. When he encounters it he is profoundly dis- 
turbed, and will certainly misuse it. Where we find women living 
in satisfying and lasting sexual relationships, we shall commonly 
note that they are devoid of the capacity for the complete and un- 
conditional surrender of their personalities. This may partly de- 
pend upon organic causes; by nature they may be unpliable: but 
in some cases it is because they incline towards sexual frigidity. 
In other instances, however, there is a deliberate determination not 
to yield to the impulse towards complete self -surrender. Although a 
man is apt to complain when a woman refuses to give herself wholly, 
we cannot fail to observe that her constitutional inability for such 
entire self -surrender (or its deliberate avoidance) serves to bind 
him to her side, whereas nothing more quickly induces satiety in the 
male than the unrestricted generosity of the feminine temperament. 



SEXUAL LIES 109 

Men tell us, indeed, that the coldness of married women is the main 
cause of prostitution. Yet the very same men will glorify this 
coldness as purity and chastity, will foster it by their preference 
for women who exhibit it, and will manifest an instinctive mis- 
trust of women of the ardent type. The average man seems to 
recognize two types of women only, the wife and the hetaira. Un- 
consciously, perhaps, he is in search of a third type, the monogamic 
beloved. In general, however, man's demand for womanly self- 
surrender seems instinctive, and may in certain cases amount to a 
monomania. Extreme types of this demand are depicted in classical 
literature. I may instance: Shakespeare's The Taming of the 
Shrew; Kleist's Kdthchen von Heilbroun; Nansen's Maria; and the 
heroines of several of Wedekind 's ballads. In an admirable farce 1 
Hedwig Dohm has depicted a husband 's exasperation when his wife 
undergoes a transformation, deliberately molding her character in 
accordance with the ideal he has always held up to her as the 
essence of true womanliness. Herein we have typified the miscel- 
laneous jumble of attributes which man is apt to expect from 
woman. In the end, the husband is delighted to learn that the 
molding of his wife in accordance with his own specifications was 
fictitious, and he welcomes her retransformation to the simpler but 
fuller and more coherent character with which she has been en- 
dowed by nature. 

Among the false suggestions imposed by marriage we not infre- 
quently find that people have erroneous ideas regarding the nature 
and value of their own marriages. Since most free intimacies are 
wrecked by a hostile social environment, whilst in legal marriage 
people usually form a permanent association (though often much 
against their will), the married pair are inclined to regard their 
relationship as the only true one. Listen to the tone in which a 
man sometimes says "My Wife." Now he accepts everything in 
the woman which before he would have disliked or criticized, and 
his relatives will suddenly discover all possible merits in the legal 
wife. Upon women, no less, the expression "My Husband" often 

*Ein echtes Weil, produced in 1896 at the Lyceum Club, Berlin. 



110 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

exercises a peculiar suggestive influence. We sometimes find that a 
divorced woman will continue to say "My Husband" of the man 
who has long abandoned her. 

Another sexual lie, and an audacious one, is for every man 
who is attracted by a woman on his road through life to demand, 
more or less seriously, that he should be her first love, or at least 
her first ' l true ' ' love. Even when in his own life-history the woman 
does not signify a phase of striking import, he still thinks that to 
her he should represent the consummation of life's possibilities. 
She ought to have foreseen the sublime moment in which she was 
predestined to meet him, and in which he would graciously intimate 
his preference for her. In anticipation of this moment in her life 's 
future she ought, he considers, to have renounced all possible 
earlier amatory experiences. Whatever knowledge of love she may 
have had before she met him must have been trifling and of no 
account; otherwise he finds it impossible to believe that her feel- 
ing for himself is genuine, all possible proofs of the depth of her 
love notwithstanding. I knew a woman whose lover was more to 
her than life, until by a single word he disturbed the basis of their 
mutual devotion. The man said to her one day, ' ' It seems that after 
all I am number three in your life, is it not so ? ' ' She could only 
answer: "It is a mere chance that you are not number thirty. 
Do you expect me to believe that in your life I am number one?" 
From the moment of this luckless conversation their joy in one 
another was at an end. 

The foundation of this attitude of mind is the mercantile view 
of love. I refer to the idea that the capacity for love resembles 
a loaf of bread or a cake or some such commodity which grows less 
by being consumed. If you eat to-day there remains less for to- 
morrow. But this mercantile view is altogether misapplied to the 
love-potentialities of the rich and healthy human heart. The writer 
has never forgotten the motto which long ago she saw inscribed 
at the foot of a photograph of Moritz von Egidy, the ethical re- 
former: "Love is a force which continues to increase the more of 
it we expend in loving." 



SEXUAL LIES 111 

Based upon a lie also is the demand that the husband should 
be about ten years older than the wife. There is no biological 
ground for this demand, which is dependent simply upon the eco- 
nomic conditions of the capitalist world. A man, after attaining 
complete biological maturity, must wait ten years or so before he 
becomes economically ripe for marriage. Biologically, equality 
of ages between husband and wife is perfectly normal, and is 
desirable for the sake of the children, so that the father may re- 
main able to provide for them until they become independent. 

The assertion that polygamy is more suitable for men than pol- 
yandry for women is another sexual lie. In actual experience a 
man requires all his powers to satisfy a single woman, whereas 
a woman can without any (physiological) trouble receive the em- 
braces of several men. 2 In his essay on Tetr agamy, Schopenhauer 
draws especial attention to this fact. 3 

Yet another sexual lie. It is impossible, we are told, for a 
woman worthy of respect to give herself to a man unless she is 
inspired by a " great love," the love that brings either heaven or 
hell. It is not considered admissible that a woman should give 
herself to a man under the influence of a refined, joyous, tender, 
and delicate disposition of mind, without any expectation of either 
heaven or hell. By the force of the prevailing suggestion a woman 
is led to stake her whole soul upon a sexual relationship, to en- 
deavor to merge her entire personality in the experience, and dis- 
astrous failure is the common result. Such a prescription for 
women is formulated in utter disregard of the erotic caprices of 
the male, which are more changeable and uncertain than anything 
else in the world. We are told that in women sexuality is a pas- 
sive state merely, whereas in men it is an active function which 
makes desire altogether independent of the conscious will. If this 
be so, then why should for a woman the choice between life and 

1 Cf. the well-known remark of the convent gardener in one of Boccacio 'a 
stories. TRANSLATOR 's NOTE. 

1 This posthumous work of Schopenhauer 's will be found in English trans- 
lation in Bloch's The Sexual Life of Our Time, Rebman, 1908, pp. 246-7. 
TRANSLATOR'S NOTE. 



112 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

death, between heaven and hell, be subordinated to the chances 
of such a process in the male ? Why should a woman be expected, 
like the Hindoo widow, to devote herself to the funeral pyre be- 
cause a man's desire is no longer active? Why, when the man 
decides to end the relationship, should the woman be told that she 
must henceforward renounce all further possibilities of love? It 
is readily comprehensible that when a sweet, refined, and long- 
lasting sexual partnership has been terminated by the death of one 
of the pair, the survivor may well be inclined to renounce all fur- 
ther sexual experiences (although even in such a case the demands 
of nature often prove more coercive than the most hallowed of 
memories) ; but when a sexual partnership which did not provide 
full satisfaction has undergone disruption, why should either part- 
ner accept this as the deathknell of all sexual activity? Goethe 
tells us that the mark of greatness is "to be able at any moment 
to shake off the trammels of the past and to start life afresh as 
if it had begun to-day." 

Men who are themselves unable to endure sexual abstinence 
for a year or even three months, reproach as morbidly sensual a 
young and healthy woman who refuses to accept the lot of the 
Hindoo widow. It never seems to occur to the minds of such 
men as these that it would indeed be morbid for a woman of suit- 
able age not to experience the pressure of erotic need. Far-fetched 
reasons are sought by men to explain why this woman or that has 
taken a lover, what has been the cause of her "fall." It would 
be more to the purpose to inquire, in the opposite event, why a 
woman has not taken a lover. When this happens we shall find that 
the abstinence is largely dictated by a dread of all the distresses 
and inconveniences of the wild sexual relationship, but that an even 
more conspicuous cause is that a woman encounters so few really 
attractive males. For this reason it is easy to remain "virtuous." 

As intellectual and esthetic evolution advances, our demands 
become more exacting. This gives rise to spiritual isolation, and 
puts increasing difficulty in the way of attaining a soul-satisfying 
union with one of another sex. If such a possibility opens out 



SEXUAL LIES 113 

before us, are we, on account of economic or social difficulties, to 
turn to another path, to renounce? Are we to stifle that which 
so urgently demands expression? We have passions, not in order 
that we may stifle them, but in order that, if they injure no one, 
we may experience and enjoy them, as we enjoy any other good 
gift of fortune, as we savor a fine fruit. When two persons are in- 
spired with passionate mutual desire, the future alone can decide 
whether their union is destined to afford them complete and en- 
during satisfaction. But the primary state, that of reciprocal pas- 
sionate love, is in itself pure happiness, and deserves as such to 
be sounded to the depths. Time may show that the love is grounded 
on delusion ; but so long as the belief is real, real also is the happi- 
ness, and every chance of happiness must be taken when it comes, 
and not cast on the dustheap of life. Should the event prove, in 
any particular case, that the happiness was the fruit of illusion, 
let the sometime Iqvers regain internal and external freedom by 
dissolving their association, and let them do this without any inter- 
ference on the part of society, without any public declaration of 
the fact that an intimate private relationship has been broken off, 
without any enumeration of the occasions on which either or both 
may have had earlier and similar experiences, and without the in- 
curring of any obloquy. Disillusionment itself is hard enough to 
bear, and the rupture of established sexual relationships usually 
involves severe suffering. Why should the matter be made worse 
by the superaddition of social censure? What two human beings 
have in common, what draws them together, and what leads them 
to separate, can be understood by themselves alone, and are mat- 
ters of purely private concern. 

In real life, on the stage, and in novels, we continually en- 
counter the figures of women whose lives are shipwrecked because 
they have given love under stress of illusion. In view of the exist- 
ing pressure of social coercion, shipwreck is in such circumstances 
difficult to avoid. Yet under better conditions a woman might 
surely pass through such an experience only to gain strength and 
self-confidence, to become freer and more secure. Consider, for ex- 



114 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

ample, the character of Anna Karenina, in Tolstoi's novel. Here 
the suicide of the heroine, who throws herself in front of a train, 
is not the direct outcome of love, for I think I do not mistake the 
author's meaning when I assume that Anna, whose relationship 
with Vronsky has been broken off, has ceased to care for her lover 
long before she goes to her death. But when she thinks of the 
possibility of throwing off her chains and making a fresh start in 
life, her reflections run: " Dolly would say, 'Now she has left 
the second man ! ' ' And she finds the thought of such a comment 
unendurable. A woman of so fine a character could surely still have 
found happiness in the world, had not her mind been dominated 
by false and irrational preconceptions. It is not disillusioned love 
which drives Anna Karenina to suicide, any more than in real life 
it is disillusioned love which leads to suicide thousands of women 
in similar situations. It is by social coercion, by the dread of what 
people will say, that the victims are flogged to the sacrifice. 

Society has never been able to shake off the idea that things 
have no right to be as they actually are. Anything, indeed, may 
happen, but rather than make light of its own institutions, society 
will pretend that many things do not happen. Hence the disillu- 
sioned sexual partners must remain firmly bound; the false cur- 
rency must be tacitly accepted, and must pass freely from hand 
to hand : ' ' What folly to reveal by day that which night has hid- 
den. To acknowledge before all, deeds done in secret. ' ' This lying 
pretense permeates our literature, the literature which receives 
social approval. Not until quite recently have we had any de- 
scriptions of our amatory life as it really exists. Flaubert remarks 
of Lamartine's love tales, "Sexual union is as systematically hid- 
den out of sight as the obscurer functions of the digestive organs. ' ' 
To so low a level, indeed, has fallen our conception of love that in 
modern literature the subject is treated much as our digestive 
organs treat the refuse of our food ; it is formed into excrementitious 
matter, and comes to light again only as obscenity and filth. 

The hypocritical avoidance of all public discussion of sexual 
matters often forces itself on our attention. In the Harden-Moltke- 



SEXUAL LIES 115 

Eulenburg trials the greatest storm of disapprobation was aroused, 
not because certain sexual improprieties had been committed, but 
because they were openly described in court. Especially was wrath 
displayed because "even ladies" had attended the sittings, and 
fears were expressed that before long women would begin to dis- 
cuss such things with men. Are these, then, matters with which 
women have no concern ? May not women be personally influenced 
by the reaction of such occurrences as were disclosed in this affair? 
How spurious was the anger regarding the publicity of the hear- 
ings was plainly revealed when, at a later stage, it was decided 
to try the rest of the case in camera. Then the public excitement 
increased, and the indignation of those who could learn nothing 
more was now greater than ever. 

The fiction that under the conditions prescribed by law and 
convention the course of the sexual life is all that can be desired, is 
maintained with a stubborn determination. Although most mar- 
ried couples live in a state of continual friction, while coerced 
monogamy is everywhere tempered by secret polygamy; although 
on all sides we see people endeavoring to shake off their marriage 
bonds, tacitly evading them, or openly taking to flight; notwith- 
standing the perennial existence of this incurable panic in the haven 
of marriage, we find that the pharisees, whenever they come across 
an individual who has infringed the code, pass sentence and proceed 
to execution. Yet everyone when circumstances demand it, every- 
one I repeat, walks upon this forbidden path, and a universal sigh of 
relief would arise from the world if the tyranny of the omnipresent 
lie were at length removed. And putting aside for a moment the 
words and actions of conscious hypocrites, the worst of the matter 
is that the very people whose impulsive life is incomplete and 
tottering are those who sit in the high places whence are issued 
the dictates of conventional morality. "We allow our sexual life 
to be regulated by those who know absolutely nothing of the mat- 
ter," writes Robert Hessen. Out of this lie, engrafted in the 
moral code by secret sinners or semi-eunuchs, have sprouted the 
evil growths which threaten, not individual happiness alone, but 



116 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

the welfare of the entire human race. A false prudery permits 
human beings to grow to maturity without receiving any adequate 
explanation of the most important processes of the sexual life. 
"Were it only in order to furnish safeguards against the dangers of 
venereal disease, our children should be given sufficient instruction 
before leaving school. In this respect it may happily be acknowl- 
edged, we have of late broken new ground, but even here progress 
is slow, and disastrous ignorance widely prevalent. I knew a 
servant-maid, a young and merry girl, but an ignorant one, whom 
circumstance was directing slowly but surely towards a life of 
prostitution. When I took occasion to describe to her the risks 
to health attendant upon indiscriminate sexual intercourse she was 
overwhelmed with dismay. She had had no previous knowledge of 
the existence of the venereal diseases. 

Owing to the social condemnation of illegitimate sexual inti- 
macies, the acts of illegitimate intercourse are apt to occur under 
conditions in which rational sexual hygiene is no longer possible. 
The illicit sexual intercourse takes place under dark railway arches 
and in other dirty out-of-the-way corners, under the hand of the 
blackmailer, and in foci of all kinds of infection. Long ago, when 
sexual intercourse was regarded as a religious act, it can hardly be 
doubted that sexual hygiene was a duty of the priestesses of love. 
The circumstances in which the "priestesses" of our own day exer- 
cise their function correspond to the comparatively irreligious 
conceptions of our own time. 

Entire freedom from sexual passion would appear to be a 
primary condition of bourgeois respectability, and the central fea- 
ture of existence is described as its most trivial and incidental char- 
acteristic. Such violence to the essential truths of nature inevitably 
furnishes a harvest of Dead Sea fruit. The erotic life we have mis- 
handled takes its revenge by springing up everywhere in the form 
of the weeds of obscenity. The blooming impulses of the senses 
mutilated, murdered, and thrown on the dung-heap reappear thus 
foully transfigured. 

The conclusions arrived at in this chapter may be briefly sum- 



SEXUAL LIES 117 

marized as follows: It is false to assert that by the institution of 
marriage the sexual and amatory life is regulated to the general 
satisfaction. The truth is, that of those who marry the majority 
fail to find happiness, whilst a very large proportion never attain to 
marriage at all. It is a lying contention that the actual sexual 
conduct of men and women corresponds to the pretenses that are 
socially enforced; that people in reality behave as if the sexual 
life were a quite subordinate feature of existence; that the con- 
duct which in these respects is regarded as " proper, " corresponds 
in any way to our truly vital needs. The truth is that the sexual 
life is the focal point of every healthy being whose instincts have 
not undergone partial or complete atrophy ; that upon the full sat- 
isfaction of sexual needs depends the attainment of a true equilib- 
rium of the mental no less than the physical personality; that the 
life which society, formed in this respect into a trust for the dif- 
fusion of lies, agrees to regard as consonant with its standards of 
propriety, is altogether unsatisfying to the average human being; 
and that people do not live as they pretend, or if they do so live, 
it is under compulsion. 

Since the desire for a satisfying sexual life is universal, it is 
hard to understand what ground can exist for maintaining these 
conventional lies in matters of sex. 

Let us admit the truth : let us recognize that there is full justi- 
fication for the desire of every human being to love and to be 
loved; let us make it socially possible for everyone to satisfy this 
desire as may best commend itself to the individual judgment so 
long as no other person is harmed, and so long as nothing is done 
injurious to racial welfare. 

It is thus our primary demand that the amatory life should be 
acknowledged to be the central interest of every human existence, 
and the central feature of social life. 

We demand that all the innocuous forms of the erotic life, 
whether the outcome of social conditions or of individual predilec- 
tion, should receive an equal measure of social respect and be 
equally free from vexatious interference. 



BOOK V 
LOVE 

Large and beautiful your Earth may "be, but I should perish 
from the weight that you are able to endure. And heavy as your 
atmosphere are your hearts. 

KURT LASSWITZ, AUP ZWEI PLANETEN. 

CHAPTER X 

THE NATURE OF LOVE 

Meaning of the Legend of the Fall. The Will to Love. Partial Substitutes 
for the Perfect Love: Social Love; Sexual Love; Contrectative Love. 
The Larger Expectations of the Male; His Clearer Vision of the Pos- 
sibilities of Love. 

LOVE is an offensive and defensive alliance against life. Two 
indiviflijaja aim a.t. ^ fusion of their personalities and at a re- 
ciprocal interpermeation with energy, to enable them to endure 
life. To find salvation through love, to secure the unending affirma- 
tion and reassertion of the individual ego, is the desire of all loving 
creatures, and preeminently of all human lovers. Isolated human 
beings may be compared with straight lines which combine to form, 
in some cases harmonious, in others inharmonious, geometrical 
figures. 

We possess but the single name of love for the countless shades 
of this complex sentiment, but we have to recognize in a primary 
analysis the grouping under this head of two very distinct phe- 
nomena. One of these is the approximation of two personalities, 
passing on to fusion and complete mutual absorption. The other 

118 



THE NATURE OF LOVE 119 

is the unloading of oppressive superfluities alike of body and of 
mind. The one who works this miracle seems to the lover to be a 
Messiah, a Savior. The almost terrifying characteristics of the 
indescribable experience, of the erotic inroad into the recesses of 
another personality, of this probing of the mystery of life, are for- 
gotten in contemplation of the astounding miracle of the union 
itself. In the mythology of all nations we find this process char- 
acterized as a Fall into Sin, as the Loss of Innocence which entails 
exclusion from Paradise. Only when the incredible mystery comes 
to pass, not through the unassisted will of the partners in the 
sexual act, but as the outcome of the intervention of some super- 
human power, some extra-terrestrial Will in whose hands the 
human actors in the drama are mere instruments, are Adam and 
Eve regarded as exonerated from sin. This extra-terrestrial Will, 
lifting the process out of debasement and uncleanness, liberating 
men and women from the blind impulses of the animal will to 
make them chosen instruments of the Universal, is known by the 
name of Love. The earthly stain is washed away by the waters of 
divine love. It is by love alone that the lovers are purged from 
sin; it is through love that they come to play their part in the 
evolution of the species and are consecrated to the service of their 
kind. 

A problem now imposes itself upon the religious sense of hu- 
manity. Does this dreadful and sublime process of sex exist for 
the purposes of the species or for those of the individual? With 
the formulation of this problem religion and morality may be 
said to begin. Some assert that the sexual act is permissible only 
for the end of procreation, being sinful and unclean where the 
will to procreate is lacking. Others contend that sexual relations 
exist, not for the purposes of the species alone, but for those of the 
individual also that a man and a woman join forces in love to en- 
able them to contend more successfully with the difficulties of life. 
In our ice-cold world the man and the woman cling together, trans- 
mitting each to each energy and light and warmth thus, and thus 
alone, does life become endurable. Cold is the world, cold the 



120 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

sun for all the heat of its fires, cold are the stars, and cold is the 
Milky Way ; warmth is to be found in the human heart alone. The 
prophets of gloom, those who refuse to recognize the sex relation- 
ship as a means of individual salvation, those who consider the 
sexual act to be justified solely when effected for the purposes of 
the species, must be ignored as fanatics. The processes of love, 
the tender mutual intertwining of two human personalities, must 
be recognized as valuable, not merely in order to ensure the phys- 
ical continuity of the species, but also for the development of the 
individual soul. It is through love that the individual soul first 
truly opens into flower and first finds vocal expression in the world- 
old melody for " through love do mortals touch their greatest 
heights. " 

Sorrow fills us with lassitude, whilst happiness makes us over- 
flow with energy. If the desire to affirm the vital individuality 
through love be denied outlet, the love of life itself is destroyed, 
and without this no great deeds are possible. Those who bear on 
their foreheads the insignia of renunciation and penitence have 
indeed brought light to mankind, but light without fire. Their 
lives, and works have never stimulated men to labor for the enrich- 
ment of human existence. (Jesus of Nazareth was not one who 
renounced, for he was not one who desired.) The pain of renuncia- 
tion in the self -scourged body makes martyrs, but no heroes. 
******* 

For many centuries our conceptions of morality were influenced 
by the prevailing glorification of sorrow, of renunciation, of the 
suppression of the will to live, and were influenced above all by 
the renunciation and suppression of love. Suffering was supposed 
to contribute to spiritual illumination. In most cases, however, 
suffering brings no true illumination, leading rather to a profound 
depression of the spiritual activities, making them ever more 
lethargic. The literatures of entire epochs in human history are 
characterized by the apotheosis of sorrow, renunciation, and self- 
denial. But experience shows that the suffering we experience at 
the hands of our fellow men is equivalent in its working to any other 



THE NATURE OF LOVE 121 

ignominy visited upon us as the sport of Fate. We have said that 
a sublime and elevating love is rare, but a sublime and elevating 
sorrow is much rarer still. 

From joy, on the other hand, from the vigorous and vital affir- 
mation of existence, we derive energy, elasticity and courage. Sor- 
row implies denial, and whence shall he draw energy who feels 
that life denies him opportunities? Men need a spirit of Prome- 
thean defiance to display energy at the very time when suffering 
is undermining all their vital forces. We poor mortals cannot 
create power out of nothing, and the most elastic among us finds 
his activities paralyzed when the good spirits take to flight and 
surrender the field to the spirits of evil. 

For effective self-expression the individual must be in a mood 
enabling him vigorously to affirm his personal ego, and the surest 
and most confident affirmation of the individual ego is effected 
through love. One who feels himself to be loved feels himself to 
be affirmed, and from this affirmation there springs the most intense 
feeling of vitality. Then everything in us tends to burst into 
flower; then full expression is given to all our vital possibilities. 
Hence, by a natural instinct, human beings fiercely resist any 
attempt to rob them of this happiness, to restrict opportunities for 
this affirmation of their individuality. 

In the folk-lore of all peoples we find a saga of almost identical 
form, according to which an elemental spirit, an elf, a nixie, an 
Undine, acquires a soul in the only possible way, through love. 
Herein is symbolized the life-history of all created things. From 
the lowliest worm up to the gods in their lofty seats, the will to 
love makes itself everywhere manifest. Zeus, the father of the 
gods, tells us, "Even Olympus is a desert without love," and is 
willing for the sake of love to assume lowly disguises, take part in 
intrigues, expose himself to misadventures. So also the lowliest of 
creatures becomes heroic for the sake of love. The male frog, we 
learn from naturalists, endures without moving every possible muti- 
lation during the sexual act, in which it sits from four to ten days 
on the back of the female. Between frog and god there is in love 



122 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

no great gulf fixed. In this domain, gods become earthly, animals 
grow heroic, and human beings intermingle animal attributes with 
divine. For the sake of love the fierce become tame and the timid 
become rebels. Even the Walkyrie, however divine she may have 
been at the start from Walhalla, becomes, once awakened by a 
kiss, nothing other than a woman, defying the gods themselves 
because they wish to take from her the ring of love. 

"Go hence to the sacred council of the gods 

And give them answer of my ring, 

'Love will I abandon never f 

Never shaU they rob me of love. 9 ' 
* * * * * * * 

The human need for love cannot be wholly satisfied by the erotic- 
sexual act, by the mere biological fulfillment of desire ; only through 
love in all its completeness is the entire satisfaction of this yearning 
to be attained. Nothing can appease the longing but the sense of 
perfect harmony with the beloved. Such fulfillment is rare ; owing 
to the marked diversity of human beings, such harmony is far from 
easy to attain. Yet all strive to attain it, and here comes into play 
the law of adaptation. In this biological domain, as in all others, 
whatever wishes to avoid being uprooted and cast into the fires 
of destruction, whatever is fain to avoid a fruitless submergence 
beneath the waters of non-existence, must be adapted to the environ- 
ing conditions. In this domain, too, we learn once again that the 
best adapted is by no means always identical with the finest or the 
noblest. That which maintains and increases and diffuses itself 
is of necessity the "fittest," but it is seldom the best. The best 
is animated by a lofty ideal, inspired by the mental image of an 
unknowable godhead, refuses compromise, fails to adapt itself, and 
goes down to destruction. 

Thus in Ibsen 's Brand, Brand is overwhelmed by the avalanche 
of his unavoidable destiny, overwhelmed because "all or nothing" 
is his watchword. Thus we find that nobler human stocks perish 
in their nobility, whilst those peoples who are better adapted to 



THE NATURE OF LOVE 123 

earthly defilement and oppression survive and prosper. He who, 
where love is concerned, in spite of hunger and cold and loneliness, 
maintains unaffrighted his demand for the highest, he who refuses 
to fall into sin, commonly remains unpaired, and his fine type 
perishes from off the face of the earth. False, root and branch, 
therefore, is the easy optimism of natural and social science; the 
selective process affected by the struggle for existence fails to 
ensure the survival of the best and the elimination of inferior types. 
The nobler type, born in solitude, perishes in solitude also. It 
is only the hope that nothing can perish utterly, that out of Nirvana 
there will ultimately reissue whatever once has been, which enables 
us to preserve our faith in the amelioration and ennoblement of 
life. 

In love, as elsewhere, human beings have learned or must learn 
to adapt themselves. Partial substitutes for that perfection of 
love of which we all dream are to be found in social love, sexual 
love, and contrectative love. Social love is that which effects the 
union of male and female for mutual protection, to enable them to 
resist more effectively the hostile forces of the social environ- 
ment. Sexual love is an association between male and female for 
a term of varying duration it may be for a single evening and it 
may be for life for the satisfaction of the natural impulses. 
Finally, contrectative love is that which demands mutual caresses 
and mutual approximation, and demands nothing more. The two 
individuals, to avoid cold and hardship, draw close together in 
some corner of the world. They unite neither for the purposes of 
social life, nor yet for the reciprocal discharge of psycho-physical 
tensions, but simply, so to say, to keep warm together. 1 

1<4 Two entirely distinct processes participate in the sexual impulse. In 
the first place we have the physical processes that take place in the genital or- 
gans. ... In the second place we have those higher psychic processes by means 
of which man is attracted to woman and woman to man. In ... the normal 
sexual life both these groups of processes . . . work in unison; but not only 
is it possible for us to distinguish them analytically; it is, in addition, possible 
in many instances to observe them in action clinically isolated each from the 
other. A long while ago I utilized this distinction for the analysis of the sexual 
impulse, describing the impulse in so far as it was confined to the peripheral 



124 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

In present day conditions men have a clearer vision than women 
of the possibilities of love and men are much less subordinated than 
women to the pressure of environing conditions. Hence it is more 
difficult for men than it is for women to rest content with any of 
the partial substitutes we have enumerated. In matters of love 
man is dominated above all by his individual demands. Woman's 
love, on the other hand, is general rather than individual. Woman, 
far more than man, is an instrument in the hands of the species, 
used for the purposes of the species. Man wills, desires to assert 
his own ego, deliberately and defiantly pursues his own ends. 
Women love almost unconditionally and when offered any partial 
substitute for love are apt to accept it thankfully as if it embodied 
the whole of love 's possibilities. 

A man is far more inclined to say, give me all or give me noth- 
ing. If for a time he contents himself with one of the three partial 
substitutes, it is likely to be in the most unworthy form, that of 
chance prostitution. But never will he forget for a moment and 
herein lies the great difference between man and woman that he 
has only a small part of the possible whole, and never will that part 
suffice him. By nature, woman lacks the direct pitilessly clear vi- 
sion that man has of these things. This is just as well, for did 
women also see sexual relationships as they really are, the con- 
tinued existence of the human race would become impossible . . . 
unless Deucalion were to re-create every generation by a fresh 
miracle. 

organs as the detumesoence impulse (from detumescere, to decrease in size) and 
in so far as it takes the form of processes tending towards mental and bodily 
approximation to an individual, as the contrectation impulse (from contrectare, 
to touch, or to think about). . . . The detumescence impulse is sometimes the 
sole manifestation of the sexual impulse. . . . The other component, the con- 
trectation impulse, also manifests itself occasionally ... in isolation. ... In 
the sexually mature normal man, the detumescence impulse and the contrecta- 
tion impulse act in unison and hence he is impelled towards intimate contact 
with the woman and is ultimately driven to effect detumescence by the practice 
of coitus. Nevertheless we must hold fast to the idea that in the normal adult 
male the sexual processes may ... be theoretically analyzed into these two 
components. This is true also of woman. ' ' Moll, The Sexual Life of the Child. 
English translation, 1912, pp. 29-30. 



CHAPTER XI 

THE SPORT OP LOVE 

Frascata's Letter in "La Vie Parisienne" Gallant Love Contrasted with 
Tragic Love. Deeper Significance of the Sport of Love. Olympic 
Love-Sport of the Gods of Ancient Greece. Love-Sport of the Mar- 
tians in Lasswitz's Novel. A Pure Sport of Sentiment as an Ideal of 
Civilization. 

Metella (reading) 

Dear, can you recall 

How you met at a batt 
Jean-Stanislas, Baron de Frascataf 

9 Twos only last year 

That a friend, at my prayer, 
Presented me to you, Metella. 

But to come to my motive for writing, 

A man of wealth and fame, 

A friend of mine, his name 
De Gondremark, leaves here to-morrow. 

Following his caprice 

He hopes to visit Paris. 
Amusement is his single aim, 
And (knowing that I knew the town) 
He asked me how to find the same. 
I smiled (you surely will not frown) 
And answered: "Go and see Metella!" 

Hearken, then, my prayer, 

Amuse him wett, my dear; 
As formerly, so now, be good and kind. 
125 



126 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

To please him, without guile, 
Smile with your sweetest smile. 
To you I send my friend with easy mind. 
When he comes back here (for he will return) 
Let him such memories with him bring 
That from my friend's talk I may learn 
Revived delights of sweetness without sting. 

MEILHAC AND 



This letter from Baron de Frascata which Metella the courtesan 
sings as an aria embodies the pure sport of love, utterly remote from 
the earnestness of the higher love. It displays to us the possibilities 
of mondaine love, gallant love, light love, in dexterous hands; 
and we see that, in the courtesan, the woman is still valued and 
honored. The letter shows us that at the very time that Frascata 
is sending his friend to Metella he is himself cherishing the memory 
of the hours he has passed in her company. 

Gallant love, utterly different from passionate love, is an indis- 
pensable requisite of civilization, and may ennoble even prostitution. 
There have been periods in history in which the courtesan repre- 
sented a lofty feminine type. The hetaira of ancient Greece had 
nothing in common with the tragic figure of the file de joie, the 
"gay girl" of our own day. The Greek hetaira was reincarnated 
in the loved mistress of the renaissance, in the amoureuse to whom 
love was a sport pursued with a delicate art and without any loss 
of womanly self-respect. Such women as these were conspicuous 
in history for centuries. Such a woman was angel and fury in a 
single personality, the very genius of love, and might be at the 
same time the genius of war and of government. To her male 
contemporary who still understood how to enjoy, she was a foun- 
tain of delight. Catharine Sforza was a warrior of such outstanding 
excellence that Italy, in enthralled admiration, spoke of her as the 
prima donna; we are told of this amazon that to her one thing 
only seemed as important as warfare the care of the treasures of 

'La Vie Parisienne, musique de Jacques Offenbach, Paris, 1867. 



THE SPORT OF LOVE 127 

her body and the cultivation of love. At a later date, in France, 
gallant love received full social recognition. 

" Under the ancien regime," writes the Abbe Galliani, "such 
friendships were taken very seriously indeed. Marriage was a hunt- 
ing field, but in liaisons constancy was seriously demanded. ' ' It was 
then understood that even to hetairist love there attached a por- 
tion of the divine essence, giving it common qualities with the per- 
fect love. It was understood that the feelings of sympathy, friend- 
ship, and tenderness which give rise to mutual attraction suffice 
to justify a woman's self-surrender to a man. Zola recognized 
that even the prostitute loves when he makes Nana say: "Si je 
n'aime rien je ne sms rien." Thus, to her, existence and love are 
identical. Undine remains an elemental spirit until she has been 
kissed as a woman. In part, also, gallant love is unconsciously 
utilized as a means of defense against the love that is dangerous, 
against the Eros who destroys. But only in highly cultivated 
hands is gallant love able to maintain its value, its liberating power ; 
only in such hands does it remain brilliant and radiant, affording, 
for all its reputed superficiality, a glimpse of the profound. 

Gallant love exhibits another peculiarity. In this form, as in 
no other variety of love, the self-preservation of the individuality 
remains possible, for that process which we have named the dread- 
ful inroad into another ego does not occur in gallant love. Herein 
it has advantages over all the other partial substitutes for love, 
social, sexual, and contrectative. It is less dangerous than the all- 
dominant love, such as leads to the ultimate sacrifice, to the ultimate 
surrender of the individual ego less dangerous especially to women. 

Women have a natural inclination to throw open the inmost 
recesses of their being; they are like tulips which we buy in the 
street with their petals tightly folded, but which, when we take 
them into a warm room, open to display their inmost heart. Now, 
it is one of the laws of love that an ultimate privacy should be 
preserved. However full the self-surrender, however free and 
honorable the relationship, there should remain a region of ulti- 
mate reserve or if even the last treasure of individuality should 



128 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

be bestowed, at least it is essential to retain power to restock the 
treasure-chamber. For this reason forms of relationship have been 
elaborated whose essential purpose is the maintenance of this neces- 
sary reserve, the preservation of the individuality. In this seeming 
egoism there is concealed a profound altruistic motive, for what 
is reserved is the own ego, whereas that which is given expression 
is all that is capable of objective relations with the other's per- 
sonality. 

Of all the partial substitutes for love, the one which men best 
endure is mondaine love. Even in the genuine love-intimacy, as 
soon as the expression of affection exceeds the limits of mondaine 
love, the stability of the relationship is endangered. To the male, 
the light society tone affords a real relief, enabling him to forget 
his yearning for the almost unattainable ideal love. The tragic 
note in an intimacy fills him with alarm. It results from this that 
to the average civilized man of to-day the women who seem most 
worthy of admiration are those of a worldly, elegant, and intriguing 
type; and it not infrequently happens that a woman of refined 
temperament, knowing what men admire, endeavors to mold her 
character in conformity with this perverted ideal. 

The deeper significance of gallant love lies in the protection it 
furnishes against the Eros who destroys. It exercises a controlling 
influence over the elemental forces converting them to the service 
of mankind, where, untamed, their working would have been dis- 
astrous. Thus gallant love becomes a truly civilizing factor. The 
inner meaning of sportive love is that those who engage in it will 
not allow themselves to be yoked, oppressed, ground to powder, 
by erotic experiences. The wild elemental forces must become deli- 
cate and well-managed instruments of daily intercourse. Even the 
gods amuse themselves with gallant love, for we are told of such 
sport in Olympus. But the sport of love demands that the players 
shall be highly cultivated, or it will degenerate into buffoonery or 
unsavory impropriety. Beyond, there must always stand love in 
earnest as an ultimate possible goal, for every approximation be- 
tween the sexes begins with this love-sport. Love is a game in- 



THE SPORT OF LOVE 129 

volving serious issues. But as soon as the matter tends to become 
serious most people begin to play awkwardly, grow alarmed, and 
throw up their parts. The love of the game is lacking; sport and 
earnest are alike bungled by our latter-day mortals. So rare is 
the talent for love that those who should enjoy this refined sport 
fail almost invariably in one direction or the other. If they re- 
main light-minded, they degenerate either into horse-play or into 
obscenity. On the other hand, if they take love seriously, their 
mood passes on into tragedy, and they make shipwreck of their 
lives. The rich values of a mutual love-sport remain for the most 
part unknown quantities. 

A modern poet and thinker shows us in an immortal work that 
the sport of love need have no association with lasciviousness, and 
that it is intimately connected with the possibilities of a loftier 
human development. Kurt Lasswitz, in Auf zwei Planeten, makes 
clear to us how we suffer upon this planet of ours from the dust 
and sweat with which our loves are contaminated. Transporting 
us to the planet Mars, he shows us what the sport of love might be. 
Here is a race hundreds of thousands of years in advance of our 
own, in advance alike organically and in the artificial elements of 
civilization. All the burdens under which we labor on earth, all 
that presses us down and quenches the divine spark within us, 
all that is dark and dull and earthly from all these things, by the 
birthright of their happier star, the Numen, the children of Mars, 
are free. With them intellectual and esthetic values are distin- 
guished with the most perfect clearness of vision and are not, as 
with us, confounded in a most inextricable confusion. They re- 
semble us in bodily physique, but are perfected and liberated from 
the burden of gravitation. In the novel, Mars-born and Earth- 
born meet, and love springs to life. But when the Earth-born man 
stretches forth his hand .to bind the Nume to his side, she refers 
him to the rules of the game. He, the Earth-born, cannot under- 
stand the love-sport of the Martians. He recognizes their moral 
perfections, enabling them with minds unclouded to solve all the 
difficulties which lead on earth to conflict and trouble unceasing j 



130 THE SEXUAL CBISIS 

but what can be the significance of the Martian love-sport? He 
understands it cannot possibly be mere trifling. The loves of the 
Numen are characterized by a perfect maintenance of the integrity 
of the individual ego, and by perfect mutual respect for each other 's 
personality. Unknown in Mars is the stress of passion under whose 
dark sign we Earth-born have to live our lives, and through whose 
dominion, when we "love," the ego of either partner is led to 
vex that of the other with manifold claims and oppressions. In 
Mars each individuality remains for ever free ; two lovers unite in 
a divine sport, and yet beneath the sportive surface lies the serious 
significance of procreation. The Fall into Sin, the loss of innocence 
that is to say, the loss of individual freedom is there unknown. 
The Mars-born woman replies to the wooing of the Earth-born man : 
"If I were to give myself to you, I should descend from the 
pure play of the feelings to the coercion of passion ; I should lose 
my freedom, and should have to return with you to your planet. 
Large and beautiful your Earth may be, but I should perish there 
under the weight that you are able to endure. And heavy as your 
atmosphere are your hearts." 

******* 
Goodness, profound goodness, an unselfish affection for the 
other's personality, must be the foundation of love in sport no 
less than of love in gravest earnest. Through this sport of love, 
through such association for reciprocal enjoyment, human beings 
cannot fail to become better. The sport of love demands more 
altruism than love of sublimer order. Where the latter exists, the 
mutual attraction is as it were organic and two people belong to 
one another almost without effort. Great love, sublime love, is the 
perfect harmony of two human beings, and springs to life at the 
meeting of two personalities predestined to such an effortless union, 
wherein the being of either spontaneously affirms and reenforces 
that of the other. What remains, in such a case, for the will, the 
altruistic will, to do? To affirm, to strengthen, to cherish, to under- 
stand the other ego, it is merely necessary to affirm, to strengthen, 
to cherish, to understand oneself. 



THE SPORT OF LOVE 131 

In the other kind of love, that which begins as a contest and as 
a sport, there is far more scope for the exercise of the altruistic 
will. A primary obstacle to union, and one to be surmounted 
through altruism alone, lies in the circumstance that the individuali- 
ties are strange each to the other and not reciprocally commensur- 
ate. Only through the blending of the two natures, only by the 
purposive subordination on the part of each of all egoistic demands, 
will a common happiness become possible. It results that in noble 
hands the sport of love fosters goodness, gentleness and mutual 
consideration. 



CHAPTER XII 

LOVE-WITCHERY 

The Eros of Diotima. Love-Witchery as Symbolized in "A Midsummer 
Night's Dream." The Siegfried-Briinnehilde Myth. The Influence of 
Christianity in Sustaining the Conception of Woman-as-Destroyer. 
Her Role in Literature. Replacement of Love-Witchery by a New 
Ideal. 

From the earliest infancy of our race the witchery of love, its 
inexplicable quality, has always inspired a sentiment of dread min- 
gled with respect. Every race has its fables concerning those 
around whom love has woven spells. In the celebrated discussion 
of love in Plato 's Symposium the general assent is ultimately given 
to a dictum of the priestess Diotima, ' * Eros is no god, but a demon. ' ' 
The finest representations of love-witchery are to be found in the 
words of Shakespeare and of Wagner, the former depicting the 
grotesque aspect, the comedy of the passion, while the latter deals 
with its tragic issues. In Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's 
Dream the couples chase one another like lunatics. Led by the nose 
by sprites and elves, they love passionately at one moment and 
quarrel fiercely the next. A youth runs away from a maiden, but 
returns to woo her passionately when his eyelids have been moist- 
ened with the juice of a plant. Though the wood is but a small one, 
so long as the sprites, the elves, and Puck, the master-spirit of mis- 
chief, are at work, the lovers are unable to find one another. A 
stone in the path seems to be a huge mossgrown hill, while Puck 
himself trips up the actors' feet and makes them stumble. Confu- 
sion, folly, and enchantment must continue until the sprites have 
been driven away and until the veil of illusion has been withdrawn. 

132 



LOVE-WITCHERY 133 

The other poem in our world literature in which this par- 
ticular aspect of love is delineated with almost superhuman great- 
ness is Wagner 's Gotterdammerung, describing the tragedy of Sieg- 
fried and Briinnhilde. Siegfried, the life of the earth, the smiling, 
fearless hero, who has broken the spell, who has passed through 
the flames to awaken Briinnhilde from her charmed sleep, Siegfried 
breaks his faith, is false to his love. In the hall beside the Rhine, 
a magic draught is handed to him, with the words : 

"Welcome guest, 
To the house of Gibich! 
From his daughter's hand 
Receive this draught." 

He drains it in a toast to Briinnhilde, but as he lays down the cup 
Briinnhilde passes from his memory, for another woman has en- 
chanted him by her miraculous arts. Gunther tests him with the 
words: 

"High upon the rocks she lies; 
By flames surrounded 

Only he who breaks through the flames 
Can set Brunnhilde free." 

Wonderingly, questioningly, Siegfried repeats the words, with a 
momentary resurgence of the elusive memory. But in an instant 
he has again utterly forgotten all that has happened. To win 
Gutrune, not merely does he renounce his forgotten troth to Brunn- 
hilde, but he braves the flames once more, robs Brunnhilde of the 
ring, and forces her into the arms of another. What has happened 
to Siegfried? The magic draught handed him by Gutrune is no 
more than a symbol for the incomprehensible charm to which every 
man may in his turn succumb. 



134 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

"More sincerely than lie 
Swore none ever oath; 
More truly than he 
Holds none to his word; 
More purely than he 
None ever loved: 
And yet all oaths, 
All promises, 
All truth and all faith 
He has broken as none ever before." 
******* 

Love as a permanent feeling cannot be the outcome of any 
past impulse, but can exist only where the lovers are able to in- 
fluence one another continuously. What Goethe wrote of inspira- 
tion is no less true of the ecstasy, the rapture of love : "It is not a 
commodity which can be kept unchanged in a box year after year, ' ' 
it must be used always fresh and fresh. Biological science has often 
attempted to explain the phenomena of mutual attraction in man 
and the higher animals. It has frequently been noticed that sim- 
ilarity causes a powerful sexual attraction. In this case it might 
be regarded as nature's aim to emphasize some particular type, to 
develop and intensify some remarkable peculiarity. Just as well, 
however, the tendency might be towards the elimination of a par- 
ticular type, for the offspring of germ-cells exhibiting too close a 
similarity are commonly deficient in vital energies. Robert Mliller 
writes in his Sexual Biologie : " There can be no doubt that a close 
similarity on the part of the conjugating germ-plasms leads to a 
diminution of their biological energies." This is the rational 
ground for the prohibition of incest in all religious and moral codes ; 
and in the folk-lore of almost all peoples we find some story or saga 
relating the untimely death of one who disregards the prohibition. 
Nothing but the highest conceivable perfection in both partners 
can render incest permissible. From the incestuous union of Sieg- 
mund and Sieglind is born the most glorious of heroes but only 
to the demi-gods is an incestuous union permissible. Among the 



LOVE-WITCHERY 135 

morbid conditions so prevalent to-day we frequently encounter a 
quasi-incestuous impulse. Men, in especial, are apt to experience 
sexual attraction on account of psychological similarity. A man 
often demands of a woman absolute identity with himself in every 
poise and mood of the soul. The modern man loves the reincorpora- 
tion of his own ego, and is remarkably obtuse to the stimulus of 
dissimilarity. 

The opposite extreme, the attraction of the utterly dissimilar, 
often manifests itself in the same inexplicable way. Moreover, we . 
are influenced npj L moroly by tho natural and inborn characters T but 
by the artificially implanted stimuli characteristic of the civilized 
Truman being, so that the problems of sexual attraction become ever 
jnore diffimil^. to 



Dread of the witchery of love is especially characteristic of the 
male. Man has always been afraid of woman as the temptress, 
the sorceress, embodying the forces of destruction. He trembles be- 
fore her for the very reason that she allures. Millions of women 
have been the prey of adventurers, liars, cheats, and seducers ; and 
yet woman has never dreaded man generically as the tempter, the 
destroyer. It is her mystical mission, it would seem, not to fear 
man, but to deliver herself up to him for life or for death. What- 
ever the consequences, she must and will be sexually mated. But 
man trembles, hesitates, takes to flight, when faced by his own 
desires. 

None but a man could incorporate in the figure of a woman so 
much of the demon as Wedekind has incorporated in the earth- 
spirit Lulu. From the earliest times the masculine imagination 
has loved to depict this dread of the earth-spirit. At the close of 
Grillparzer's tragery, Die Judin von Toledo, the Jewess must be 
slain and dismembered by the moral world-order of her time be- 
cause King Alfons has been bewitched by her. The same motif 
inspires Hauptmann's tragedy Kaiser Karl's Geisel. In every his- 
torical and every literary account of illicit love, we find the woman 
represented as the spider spinning her web. In Liszt's biography 
we read, "he was entangled in the snares of George Sand." Poor 



136 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

weak little man ! If woman had manifested such hatred and dread 
of man as man has manifested of woman, she would have made her- 
self a by-word. Yet every-day experience teaches us how much 
more women suffer at the hands of men than conversely were it 
only for the reason that when a woman is unhappy in love, her 
fruit, the child, suffers with her, and if she perishes the child 
perishes also. Nevertheless, women do not regard Eros as a demon 
before whom they must tremble, but go to meet him with a joyous 
laugh. Herein lies matter for reflection. 

It is to Christianity that we owe the conception of woman as 
temptress and evil spirit. The Nazarene factor of dread of woman 
was reenforced by the Christian mismanagement of the sexual im- 
pulse. The temptress-element in woman acquired an esthetic value, 
and was cultivated by the decadent male for the stimulation of his 
own outworn desires. The ' ' Sphinx with the claws, ' ' the evil spirit, 
the earth-spirit, were essential to enable him to enjoy the pleasures 
of sex. All the aspects of hypersensuality must come to the aid of 
his incapacity. In classical Greece the "woman-temptress" is in- 
conceivable, because altogether superfluous. Greece had its heroes. 
Aspasia exhibits no trace of the demon-temptress. Even when 
Diotima speaks of Eros as a demon she is not referring to the ex- 
istence of that furtive impulse of destruction which the masculine 
imagination loves to incorporate in his generic conception of woman ; 
she is thinking of the operation of sexual and productive forces, 
of the power that enables human beings to transcend the limits of 
their individual and empirical existence, the power that inter- 
mediates between gods and men. 3 

The virile energy of the old German stocks was likewise inde- 
pendent of this idea of woman as temptress and evil spirit. For 
them, the ideal types of art and of life sprang from real and vital 
needs. 

3 1 am well aware that certain recent interpreters regard the Eros of Plato 'a 
Symposium as the god of paedophilia of homosexual love alone. I do not 
consider it necessary to accept this view, and continue to interpret and employ 
the terms Eros and erotic in the current meanings, to denote the ordinary 
processes of heterosexual love. In this usage I follow Nietzsche. 



LOVE-WITCHERY 137 

In the Monna Lisa elements of the temptress are intermingled. 
Despite the motherliness of her figure, we cannot fail to see that it 
incorporates in addition the esthetic decadent ideal of the sphinx, 
passively alluring, a cold-blooded force of laceration and de- 
struction. 

******* 

What has been and what is woman to man? Plaything, victim, 
demon-temptress, destiny, or social requisite (as housewife). Ac- 
cording to the latest advices she is occasionally something more a 
human being with a soul. The " interesting woman," the Undine 
of the sagas, whom the moral philistines characterize as adventuress, 
stigmatizing her as an embodiment of all that contrasts with the 
virtues of the domesticated woman this elemental being from 
whose charms man is unable to free himself and whom he therefore 
dreads, has of late become capable of taking her place by man's 
side and of sharing his home. No longer is Undine thrust back into 
the outer darkness, no longer is she regarded simply as a force of 
destruction ; and the domesticated woman of the old type is not now 
considered the sole possible guardian of conjugal love. Man some- 
times welcomes the water-nixie to his hearth-side. In a wonderful 
poem, Camill Hoffmann depicts the tragedy of woman, the ele- 
mental: 

NOVELLE 

"It is feast-time in the castle, and the lamplight 
Streams through the windows and out into the forest; 
The violins call to the dance, 
And the echo of the music passes from tree to tree. 

"The wood-princess winds snake-tike, 
Threading the tree stems, and listening with fixed gaze; . 
Her eyes overflow with the tears of despair, 
Her wild hair streams out on the "breeze. 



138 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

"The Margrave with his young wife 

Comes out upon the balcony. As if the forest summoned him 
. With a wonderful voice of woe and pain, 

Of a sudden his heart becomes heavy with sorrow. 

"The Margravine, her hand on his arm, 
Notes how his glance wanders through the darkness. 
Strangely disturbed she murmurs: 
f The evening air strikes chill, let us turn our backs on the night.' " 

In accordance with the ideal of a newer civilization we no longer 
yield to the Margravine the exclusive claim to the honors of the 
legitimate wife, and we are ceasing to regard the elemental spirit 
as requiring to be exorcised and banished to the ends of the earth. 
The ardent, passionate, elemental woman is not conceived merely 
as the demon-temptress. Men sometimes marry wood-princesses. 
Ernst Schur writes of the conception of woman as demon-temptress 
and destroyer in the following terms. "We have here displayed 
an incapacity for the conception of a truly modern ideal of love. 
. . . Man and woman are constituent parts of a single energy, and 
the World-Spirit has created them, not for conflict, but for co- 
operation. . . . Woman is neither a plaything nor a demon- 
destroyer, but a human being. . . . Beside the erotics of romance, 
as furnished by the artists and poets of our own day, of whose one- 
sidedness and monotony we are so painfully aware, a new erotic 
ideal is springing to life, and this will find worthy representation 
at the hands of the artists and poets of the future. They will de- 
scribe for us the love-experiences of mature and equivalent human 
beings experiences on whose deepening and widening current we 
shall be borne towards the solution of the problems of a new 
humanity. ' ' 4 

Let us hope that this prophecy may be fulfilled, and that for the 
poets of the new time women who are truly human may be an 
ideal, not of literature merely, but of life. Women whose natures 

* Veber die ErotiTc, "Die neue Generation/ 7 4th year of issue, No. 2. 



LOVE-WITCHERY 139 

will be complete, powerful and elemental, but who will exercise no 
demoniacally destructive influence. Of demons, sphinxes and earth- 
spirits and of the contrasted types like the figure of patient Grisel, 
the world is weary. Surely mankind will learn, alike in poetry and 
in real life, that it is not necessary for woman to be either de- 
stroyer or destroyed, but that there is a third possibility. We shall 
learn to make a home for the elemental spirit of love, a home in 
which the destructive impulse will vanish and only the power of 
loving will be preserved. No more will the wood-spirit be thrust 
out into the forest, nor Undine hunted back into the water. Litera- 
ture, which exercises a constructive or formative influence upon 
life, must learn from the study of a new type of woman, elemental 
and yet life-giving, a type that already exists and is destined soon 
to become more general must learn to divest the earth-spirit of 
her dangerous qualities and to endow her with all the constructive 
energies of womanhood. Since neither the type of woman as demon- 
destroyer nor the type of the docile housewife of old corresponds 
to the actualities of modern life, a new love-ideal must be incor- 
porated in poetry. The Norse poets, and Ibsen in especial, have 
made a beginning here. In delicately traced silhouettes of women 
who are not the central figures of Ibsen's plays we find depicted 
the coming love-ideal of the newer manhood. Petra in An Enemy 
of the People and Lona Hessel in Pillars of Society exhibit artistic 
foreshadowings of a new womanhood, elemental without being de- 
structive, exercising an ennobling, purifying and stimulating in- 
fluence. For such is the truly demonic or divine influence of love, 
leading us onward and upward, liberating, transforming and re- 
building the soul. In life no less than in art will this love of the 
new time effect its great transfiguration. 



CHAPTER XIII 

LOVE-HATE 

The Struggle of the Sexes, Its Significance. The Primal Curse. "Penthe- 
silea" a Drama, of Love-Hate. Cannot We Put an End to Love-Hate 
by a New Art of Love? 

What is the significance of the saying in Genesis : * * And I will 
put enmity between thee and the woman"? We do not overlook 
that in the story of the Fall enmity is imposed between the woman 
and the serpent and not between the woman and the man. The 
demon-serpent is, however, merely the intermediary to the per- 
formance of the sexual act and thus the primal curse attaches to 
those who perform this act. It is decreed that man and woman 
are to be bound together by the processes of ardent love and yet 
are at the same time to be animated by a mutual hostility. What 
is the inner meaning of this struggle between the masculine and 
the feminine elements, the struggle which pervades all nature? 
Hating, to desire one another ardently ; loving, to tear one another 
to pieces : this is the primal curse, the fruit of original sin. Victory 
and defeat are here one and the same. Inasmuch as either unites 
with the other, each has conquered the other, for love is victorious 
over hate. 

Among all living creatures we find the same struggle of court- 
ship: to attract by all possible means, to woo, to deceive; to flee 
and to fetter ; to surrender, resisting to the last. The two most pow- 
erful impulses in nature are found in conflict in the processes of sex. 
One of these impels every creature to give itself to another uncondi- 
tionally, and the more perfectly this impulse is fulfilled the closer 
is the approximation to happiness ; the other impulse is that of 

.140 



LOVE-HATE 141 

self-maintenance and self-assertion, the preservation of the form 
of the individual ego. 

Couchant beside love, ever ready to spring, lies hate, the denial 
of love. Hate is as horrible as the pure affirmation of love, the love 
of love, the desire for self -surrender to another, is beautiful and 
happy. Hate develops out of evil feelings and evil feelings can 
arise out of nothing just as little as can poisonous gases. Hate has 
various components and the factors of this emotion are found 
mainly in association with the factors of love itself. Literature 
that is truly inspired never fails to take into account the hatred 
and savagery, the weariness and misery which occur side by side 
with love, which are indeed a part of love. That literature, on 
the other hand, which is based on the sexual lie has always refused 
to admit the existence of this association and the dangers it in- 
volves. " Where love ends, hatred begins/' writes Tolstoi in Anna 
Karenina. "We have tried everything, but the screw has been 
turned once too often. . . . She understood at last how painfully 
she at once loved and hated him." Thus hatred is closely akin to 
love, and love that feels itself betrayed can hardly fail to undergo 
metamorphosis into hate. The incredible has happened: an indi- 
viduality has surrendered itself freely and has been deceived. 
Where the union was believed most intimate and perfect, nothing 
but a void remains; where the individual ego had seemed forever 
inseparably fused with that of another, there is now seen to be 
nothing but illusion. The ultimate sacrifice, the last unveiling of 
one's own soul, the opening of the holy of holies, has to the other 
been a mere dramatic performance and not an act of worship. So 
hatred arises out of the ruins of love, and the passions give tongue 
like a pack of hounds upon the chase. 

Here is the daily tragedy of sex. In a work conceived on earth 
but reaching out to the stars, a modern poet magnificently sym- 
bolizes this process. Kleist depicts for us the struggle of the sexes 
and the drama of love-hate. We have here the pure spirit of trag- 
edy, for it is the tragedy inseparable from human life that is typi- 
fied in Kleist 's Penthesilea. Two of the finest types of our species 



142 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

are selected as the protagonists of the drama, whose central idea is 
that the woman must conquer the man in battle to win the right 
to crown him with the gift of herself. Achilles, the hero, and 
Penthesilea, the amazon, face one another and "dash together like 
two stars." She must gain the victory over him if she is to follow 
him to the "Festival of Roses." "Look how, sparkling in the 
golden panoply of war, lusting for battle, she rushes to meet him. ' ' 
The contest rages the drama of sex begins. The hero is stronger 
than the amazon, but in heroic deception, in joyful self-surrender, 
he leads her to believe that she had stretched him in the dust : 

"I was disarmed by thee; 
I was dragged weaponless to thy feet." 

Here we have the climax of love: he desires to be the conquered 
one; she, denying the impulse of her amazonhood, is eager to be- 
come his prisoner. But almost immediately the spirits of evil in- 
tervene, and misunderstanding arises. Achilles is told that if 
Penthesilea is to become his, she must in actual fact overcome him 
in battle, and after she has confessed her love for him he sends 
her a challenge to single combat. He means his part to be play- 
acting; he will meet her but lightly armed, ready to be easily 
overthrown. She receives the challenge, but does not understand 
it, believing herself despised and deceived. 

"He who knows me too weak to measure myself against him, 
Is it he who summons me, Prothoe f to meet him in the field?" 

Here love's mistrust enters the field and hatred begins to rear its 
head. Has the holy of holies been opened all in vain ? 

"The words I murmured in his earf 
Were they to him words without meaning? 
Does he not remember the temple beneath the peak? 
Was it an image of stone my hand there crowned?" 



LOVE-HATE 143 

Has she wasted the sweetness of her soul upon this stone image? 
Whilst she has bestowed her whole heart, has he been merely play- 
ing at love? Tenderness without limit, the sweetest of assurances, 
the rhythms of her soul poured out in the music of her voice has 
all to him been "words without meaning"? Thus awakens the 
spirit of hate that couches always so close to love, and the tragedy 
moves onward. She speaks: 

"Be it so, then, 

Now shall I find force to stand against him. 
Should Lapithce and Giants strive to protect him, 
StiU shall he Ute the dust!" 

The passions raging in her own breast are summoned to her aid to 
enable her to lay him low. These passions are symbolized by the 
poet as a pack of baying hounds, and Penthesilea addresses them 
severally by name: 

"Up, Tigris, up, I need thee! Up, Leona! 
Up, up, Melampus with the shaggy mane! 
Up, Akla, thou who slew the fox; up, Sphinxf 
And thou, Alektor, who outran the doe! 
Up, Oxus, who overthrew the savage boar, 
And thou, Hyrkaon, bold as any lion!" 

(Penthesilea kneels, displaying all the signs of frenzy, while the 
dogs howl in dreadful chorus.) 

"Thee, Ares, now I summon, dreadful one, 
Thee, great founder of my house*! 
Send to my aid thy chariot of brass! 
Thou who of ancient towns the walls and gates 
Dost grind to powder, ploughing through the streets, 
The while destroying men in myriads, 
Send to my aid thy chariot of brass. 



144 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

Upon its platform let me set my foot, 

Grasp in my hands the reins, roll through the fields, 

And tike a thunderbolt from out the storm 

Fall on the head of this abandoned Greek." 

Thus rages every woman who has been greatly wronged, every 
woman with the great proud heart of an amazon who has given 
her love and believes herself to have been deceived. Thus rages the 
frenzy of sex. 

Turn now to the figure of the man. Consider his heroic faith, 
study the tragic contrast. (They are the sport of demons, the 
demons who confuse the tongues of the protagonists in the struggle 
of the sexes, that perforce they shall misunderstand one another.) 

" '1 swear,' he said, 'by cloud-compelling Jove 
She mil not harm me! Rather would her arm 
In single combat turn upon herself, 
She would cry "Victory," giving herself to death 
Bather than do me injury!' * 

He wishes to be overcome by her, for he desires ' * to see the temple 
of Diana. ' ' Even when he is told of the hounds and the elephants 
accompanying her whom he is to meet in single combat, his faith 
is unshaken. 

"Meanwhile draws near the Amazonian Queen, 
Her hounds at heel; overlooking rocks and shrubs 
Like to a hunter searching for his game; 
And as the branches for her form make way, 
The hero sees her, at her feet would fall: 
'His antlers/ cries the queen, 'betray the stag.' 
Her bow with furious strength thereon she bends 
Until the stringed ends kiss; with aim too sure 
Her arrow speeds, pierces Achilles' throat. 
He falls: therewith a shout uprises loud 
From all around, a war-cry long and fierce. 



LOVE-HATE 145 

With arrow far-projecting through his neck. 

Sore wounded, yet alive, he struggles up 

And turns as if to flee. Whereon she cries: 

'Upon him, hounds, on Tigris, on Leona!' 

Their fierce attack soon drags him to the ground, 

One here, one there, they seize and rend and tear. 

Now Weeding fast from many fearful wounds 

The dying hero yet thus softly speaks: 

f Penthesilea, my betrothed, my love, 

Is this thy promised flower-festival f 

She hears, and heedless as a lioness 

With hunger mad and wildly seeking prey, 

She strikes, his armor wrenching off; her teeth, 

With fury fired, she clenches in his side, 

In dreadful emulation of the pack: 

As Sphinx and Oxus worry on the right, 

So she the left side tears, till as I look 

Her mouth and hands alike are dripping blood." 

To display more clearly the frenzy as if of demoniacal possession 
thus manifested in the struggle of the sexes, this very moment in 
the drama is the one chosen by the poet to describe the sweetness 
of Penthesilea 's womanliness. 

"She seemed the offspring of the nightingale 
That dwells within the grove Diana loves. 
Cradled among the mountain oaks she sat 
And poured her heart in song forth to the night. 
So sweet the song that travellers, hearing it, 
Would listen all the night with hearts surcharged." 

What she has done has been done in the delirium of love-hate. 
When her ordinary consciousness returns, so little does she remem- 
ber what has happened, that she imagines her only contact with 
him to have been that in which she had to overcome him in order 



146 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

to be able to become his bride. It is her happy delusion that she 
has merely fulfilled the mystic requirement anticipatory to their 
union. 

Why is she made to tear her lover's flesh with her own teeth? 
The point has been misunderstood, and on account of this fearful 
symbolism Kleist's genius has been called in question. Yet to the 
writer it seems that in this very symbol we find the ultimate and 
most profound manifestation of the nature of the struggle between 
the sexes. "Have I kissed him to death?" wails the agonized 
woman when she at length learns what she has really done in the 
madness of her rage. 

" 'Did I not kiss him, tell me, did I rendf 

I erred, it seems. And yet, to kiss, to bite, 
For one who loves as truly as I love 
Are equally the outcome of that love. 

But now I'll tell thee what my meaning was: 
Thus, and thus only, would I show my love. ' ' 

[she kisses him] 

Last of all the tragedy moves to its appointed end : 

" 'Now deep to delve within my bosom cold: 
A feeling forth I'll bring that shall destroy, 
Sharp as a spear and malleable as iron, 
Then in the fire of misery to refine 
To hardened steel; in poison soaked anon; 
Corroded next with acid of remorse, 
Upon the anvil of eternal hope 
I sharpen it until the dagger's keen, 
And thrust it to its home within my heart, 
And thus! And thus! Once more, and all is well." 

[she falls and dies] 



LOVE-HATE 147 

She fell, "because her life was proud and strong. 
The dying oaktree will outlast the storm. 
The soundest oak of all, the forest's pride, 
Falls to the ground, uprooted by the blast. 
And why? Because its branches catch the wind." 
******* 

Is it possible for disillusioned love to lead, not to hatred but 
to friendship ? Do we not merely dishonor the corpse of the dead 
love to give it the name of friendship ? Only when on either side 
no underhand act has been committed, when there has been no 
treachery, when neither party feels ill-used by the other, and only 
in cases in which love's fulfillment has been prevented by external 
forces, is such a transition conceivable; where both persons are 
highly cultivated, truly civilized, it may possibly occur. We find 
examples in the life-story of some of the great ones of earth who 
with skillful hands were able to control the tragic might of the 
elemental passions and to direct the energy of these into the chan- 
nels of life-long friendship. Love is renounced, but kindly rela- 
tionships between the former lovers are maintained. Eichard 
Wagner and Mathilde, Goethe and Frau von Stein, Lenau and 
Sophie Loewenthal, Jeanette Strauss and Boerne, and to some 
extent also Grillparzer and Kathi Froehlich, were successful in 
this. For such an issue to be possible it is essential that the man 
and the woman should have a profound sense of intimate associa- 
tion, and above all that the man should have an enduring power 
of love freed from erotic impulses, but allowing of the persistence 
of a sentiment of deep spiritual tenderness towards the woman. 
Finally, it is necessary that the environing circumstances should 
be favorable, and among these environing circumstances the most 
indispensable of all is that in one way or another the woman should 
be useful to the man. 

In such a favorable concatenation of circumstances it is pos- 
sible for love renounced to escape the lapse into hatred, and to 
undergo transformation into friendship. It may be that in future 
generations there will arise a new Art of Love, aiming to extract 



148 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

from every relationship between a man and a woman all the good 
it may offer, without expecting more than is possible. The signifi- 
cance of such an art will be neither more nor less than this: to 
make flowers bloom where one has resigned one 's sweetest hopes, and 
if the intensest longing has had to rest unsatisfied, not on this ac- 
count to fall back into despair and hatred, but out of renunciation 
itself to draw sustenance for a new kind of welfare. 



CHAPTER XIV 

LOVE-NEED 

Frigidity of Our Own Epoch. La Grande Amoureuse. Pathological and 
Social Love-Need. Sensual Impotence. Its Pathological Causes. Psy- 
choneurosis. Freud's Theory. Psychic Inability to Control the Phys- 
ical Manifestations of Sexual Tension. Male Demi-Vierges. A Se- 
quence of Loves. Literature of Love. Love-Poetry of the Future. 

No kind of sorrow or suffering, whether physical or mental r is 
comparable to the sorrow or suffering of unhappy love, to the pain 
of love-need. It involves the loss of all sense of internal freedom. 
The state is one of death-in-life; it is "a vast region of darkness, 
silence, and ice," to quote Maeterlinck's description of the pro- 
fundity of desolation. In the immensity of cold, night, and horror, 
one thing only lives and moves: the heart the plainly perceived 
center of all the misery. We can readily understand that human 
beings, however ardently desirous of love, have at all times dreaded 
the power which can cause so much misery. But just as there 
have always been those who flee from danger, there have always 
been others drawn irresistibly to love precisely because of the 
dangers involved. 

"I hope that your blood is free from fever, and that your 
imagination is not troubled by visions." Thus speaks the wife 
to the husband in Mathilde Serao's novel After the Reconciliation, 
when their love has come to an end. For it is this that increases 
the agony, which puts the heart upon the rack, the play of the 
imagination. Peace comes only with the oblivion of forgetful- 
ness. This is why the ideas "forget and forgive" are coupled in 
the common phrase. Only one who is able to say "I have for- 
gotten" can freely forgive or can truly be said to have surmounted 
his troubles. 

149 



150 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

The natural sorrows inseparable from love are intensified by a 
distress which is neither natural nor necessary, by the love-need 
peculiar to our civilization. There is a savage tribe known as the 
Minnetarie among whom the right of love's choice is given to the 
women. When a lover is disinclined to respond to a girl 's advances, 
perhaps because his affections are already given elsewhere, we are 
told that "he lays his hand gently on her breast, whereupon the 
girl leaves him and returns to the dance. ' ' It seems to me that this 
custom is profoundly symbolical, and that the symbol is well 
adapted to illustrate the roughness which, in our civilization, is 
attendant upon the dangerous processes of choice and refusal. The 
roughness arises out of a profound incapacity to grasp the inner 
significance of the process, and the incapacity itself is the stigma 
of our time. "Do we find to-day, either in poetry or in life, one 
whose existence is veritably rooted in love ? ' ' asks Faustina in Was- 
sermann's Dialogue concerning Love. Again, in the same dialogue 
we read, "Most aptly Rahel praised Goethe because in Wilhelm 
Meister the three women who were able to love, Marie, Aurelie, 
and Mignon all die. ' For, ' she said, ' there is no place for such fig- 
ures in our life.' ' In the history of civilization there have cer- 
tainly been periods rich to concentration in manifestations of the 
amatory life. One such period was the Renaissance. In the eight- 
eenth century, again we find evidence of capacity and inclination 
to savor the most delicate processes of love. The vacancy and 
arid sterility of our own life is plainly manifested to us in con- 
trast when we study the diaries, memoirs, and correspondence of 
this period. To-day the gift to love brings many dangers with it, 
and especially to women, "for there is no place for such women in 
our life." If in earlier times the grande amoureuse was one en- 
dowed with the highest faculty of woman's genius, the faculty to 
love, we find that the grande amoureuse of to-day is rather of the 
passive nature. She must incline not to love but to be loved, and 
the less inclination she has to surrender herself (being either con- 
genitally anesthetic or affected with artistic hypersensibility) the 
more will she rouse desire, the more ardently will she be loved. 



LOVE-NEED 151 

This tendency is a plain outcome of degeneration. If by the selec- 
tion, by the preferential choice, of women who love less ardently 
and are comparatively passive, we eliminate capacity of woman to 
love and to give herself freely and desirously, the one field in which 
women can develop the highest genius is closed to them. 

In women it is only this genius of the heart which is com- 
parable to the genius of the intellect in the male, in the degrees 
in which the latter in certain types attains to its loftiest altitudes. 
In this sphere woman can be the very embodiment of genius; all 
that she can best effect in art and in research are derivable from 
this genius of the heart; thence come all her intuitions; thence 
spring instincts and premonitions, minutely ramified and inter- 
woven, so that woman becomes as it were a magnet irresistibly draw- 
ing to herself all the secrets of the cosmos. The woman endowed 
with the genius of love is also the intuitive mistress of all wisdom ; 
she is the priestess incarnate ; it is to her that revelations are made. 
Now that love energy is no longer tolerated, the elimination of this 
type of woman is in progress, and this involves a process of deteri- 
oration of the species. Poverty in the power to love and a lack 
of true spiritual freedom are to-day usually found in close asso- 
ciation. 

How seldom do we encounter anyone equally endowed in respect 
of the senses and of the intellect ! On all hands we see human beings 
who are either too rough or too obtuse, who are either dominated 
by purely animal passion, or else manifest a eunuch-like " neu- 
trality." The genius of Eros is lacking to us; we are unable to 
derive and to utilize erotic currents from the impact of two in- 
telligences. "Je n'w jamais ete aime comme j 'crime," complains 
Mme. de Stael. Such women as this, born for love, seem unable to- 
day to find their predestined mates. Vainly through life they seek 
a twin-born soul, a man loving as strongly and as ardently as them- 
selves, a man able to receive and to endure without loss of indi- 
viduality the whole wealth of love of a woman 's heart. 

But one example of such a relationship is known to me, a rela- 
tionship in which neither surrendered individuality to the other, 



152 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

in which in spite of mutual absorption each remained a perfectly 
independent personality, where on the part of both, simultaneously 
and unceasingly, there was giving and receiving. I refer to the 
relationship of the two poets, Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Brown- 
ing. "Your memory, your essence, the idea of you, ' ' writes Brown- 
ing, ' ' are firmly fixed in my heart and brain. ' ' This is the essential, 
the precise thing of which the man to-day is for the most part in- 
capable. He forgets! 

The capacity for ! w ift not independent of the will at any 
gate not of the will in its psychical aspect and released from ma- 
terial conditions. If to-day so much disorder and uncleanness are 
the fruit of love, it is because appropriate material conditions are 
lacking. The sensual impotence of our contemporaries, their in- 
capacity to react to stimuli, their "love-loathing," are the out- 
come of the corruption and weakening of their physical energies, 
of their deficient powers of nervous resistance, and their general 
confusion of mind ; a contributory cause is also to be found in the 
impairment of the selective process. Inheritance from a bad stock 
creates the predisposition; the conventional code of sexual morals 
which permits to the male every possible sexual excess is an acces- 
sory factor ; and the struggle for existence, whose intensity in mod- 
ern social life exceeds all normal dimensions, renders the evil acute. 

2^ ~** *..%~^r a ^ f y fnr 1m ^ ^ 1* of ^ * 

love have as theh^earrnlatr his immoderate In at. for wogfc He re- 
gards as tolerable a state of affairs, regards it indeed as the only 
state compatible with his peace of mind, in which he has no time 
left to be a human being. It is in this more than in all else that 
he displays himself to be the epigone of the heroes of antiquity. 
To many people, it seems that work has become an end in itself, and 
they forget that work is after all a mere means for the higher pur- 
poses of life. 5 The loftier our estimate of the social activities of 
mankind, the more ridiculous does the whole business appear to 

6 ' ' The aim of life itself, that is to say, the fullest possible development 
for every human being, enabling him to enjoy to the utmost." Augustin 
Hamon, Le Moliere du XXe sitcle: Bernard Shaw. 3rd edition, 1913, p. 120. 



LOVE-NEED 153 

us when we see these activities conducted for any other end but 
this, the production of a perfected humanity. Can we doubt that 
for this end it is indispensable that the association of the sexes 
should be graced by love ? Among the Greeks of the age of Pericles 
we see Aspasia, lyre in hand, sitting crowned amid a group of noble 
men. We vainly seek a modern counterpart for this picture, for 
Aspasia does not associate with men of common fiber, and the man 
of nobler blood "has no time" to sup with Aspasia. There is yet 
another reason why Aspasia is solitary to-day, why she never be- 
comes to any man his predestined mate. To the man who is well- 
born (in the literal sense) she may be a stimulus and a joy; she 
may represent, for a time, happiness and love. Before meeting 
this man she may have been the joy and refreshment of others. 
But never will she be the embodied complement to the psycho- 
pathically dispersive impulse of the contemporary male ; never can 
she be the predestined mate for the satisfaction of his inchoate de- 
sires: for she is no passive amoureuse who, herself sexually an- 
esthetic, merely allows herself to be loved ; her personality is syn- 
thetic, complete, and tenderly voluptuous. The conditions of con- 
temporary life do not permit Aspasia to exist. 

The incapacity for love, the lack of power for a joyful advance 
along the road where youth and beauty and goodness offer a full 
measure of happiness, the dependence of the male for sexual en- 
joyment upon the influence of sexual fetishes, psychical as well as 
physical this most characteristic phenomenon of our time is patho- 
logical in character, the outcome of a disease to which Professor 
Freud of Vienna has given the name of sexual neurosis (also sex- 
ual psycho-neurosis or sexual compulsion-neurosis) . He shows that 
normal sexual activity affords no relief for this condition of sexual 
neurosis as long as the morbid idea which makes the enjoyment 
of such activity impossible persists unrelieved. "Sexual need and 
sexual abstinence constitute but one factor of the neurosis; were 
this factor alone in operation there would result, not disease, but 
sexual excess. A no less indispensable factor, whose action as a 
contributory cause is too often forgotten, is the repulsion of the 



154 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

neurotic from sexual activity, his incapacity for love, that psychical 
stress to which I have given the name of 'repression' (Verdrdn- 
gung). The neurotic illness arises out of the conflict between the 
two tendencies [towards and against sexual activity], and for this 
reason, in the case of the psycho-neuroses, the prescription of sex- 
ual activity can rarely be regarded as a sound one. ' ' 6 Elsewhere 
Freud speaks of this condition as "the conflict between libido and 
sexual repression," and as "the psychic inadequacy for the dis- 
charge of physical sexual tension. " Here we have painted to the 
life the pathological condition we so often encounter to-day. Phys- 
ical sexual tension, to the degree of ardent desire, is there, but at 
the same time there is psychic inadequacy for its discharge. In 
this enormous group of psychically inadequate men we find two 
sub-groups, that of those in whom the stigma of this inadequacy is 
inborn and therefore irremediable, and that of those who have ac- 
quired it in the steeplechase of the struggle for existence. Persons 
belonging to the latter group may be cured when the conditions of 
life become favorable, cure signifying restoration of the capacity to 
enjoy love. The disposition, whether inherited or acquired, ex- 
plains the dread of woman so characteristic of contemporary males. 
From the sexual excitement produced by woman arises the conflict 
which is the very essence of this disease. The sight or the thought 
of the other sex arouses the sexual impulse, but the mental con- 
ception of the gratification of this impulse arouses a sentiment of 
repulsion. In most cases this dread, this repulsion, takes the form 
of anxiety of conscience, so that, for those thus affected, sin, re- 
morse, and shame are the inevitable accompaniment of erotic ex- 
perience. This pathological disposition nearly always assumes 
some appropriate philosophical dress; usually that of some off- 
shoot of mysticism, of Buddhism, of Orphic Christianity, of Neo- 
Romanticism, or of any other philosophy of renunciation which has 
declared war against ' ' original sin. ' ' 

Another characteristic, we learn from Freud, of the sexual 
compulsion neurosis, is the exaggerated conscientiousness of the 

'Freud, Neurosenlehre, italicized by the author of The Sexual Crisis. 



LOVE-NEED 155 

sufferers. They go to and fro with an ethical club in their hands 
and are never tired of using this weapon on themselves and on 
others. Freud speaks of them as "sexual cripples." In a former 
work, when the present writer was still unaware of the pathological 
explanation of the mental state of these individuals, she spoke of 
such men as the male counterparts of the demi-vierges. ' ' They are 
unable to surmount the ultimate obstacles between I and Thou. 
They are unable to complete their work, incompetent to possess a 
woman utterly. Their amatory intimacies are never fully con- 
summated. They get through the preliminaries of love and the first 
preludes ; but that which comes afterwards, the most beautiful and 
also the most difficult part, remains unenjoyed, unmastered, uncon- 
summated. I am not referring here to what is ordinarily termed 
impotence. This sentimental impotence has nothing to do with 
mere physical weakness, but is far more disastrous, since it forever 
debars those affected with it from an entry into the deepest experi- 
ences of love. It is only the strong in soul who are capable of love 
in its completeness." 

All these masculine demi-vierges, these sufferers from the sexual 
compulsion-neurosis, are haunted by Ghosts, like the hero of Ibsen 's 
play of that name. They remain susceptible to stimuli and yet are 
dead within. Their souls, to use Ibsen's drastic expression, are 
worm-eaten. 

Sexual cripples are to-day in the majority. Hence the urgency 
of our love-need ; hence love-experiences eventuate in pain and dis- 
order instead of leading to enfranchisement. It is for the same 
reason that the love-need of the healthy among our women has be- 
come so acute. For women are still for the most part healthy. In 
the case of men the "freedom" of their sexual morality and the 
intensity of the struggle for existence have undermined the sexual 
and amatory powers. Only through a new sexual morality, through 
economic emancipation, and through the limitless power of self- 
sacrifice in the loving hearts of women, can man find salvation. 
**#**** 

What is love? Richard Wagner, who like Goethe and Lenau, 



156 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

was one of the heroes, one of the giants of love, called it sympathy. 7 
Maeterlinck reveals the secret in the wonderful words, * * God made 
a mistake when he gave us two separate souls. ' ' 8 The same poet 
penetrates the secret even more profoundly when he writes : ' ' How- 
ever important it may be to friendship and to love, whether another 
is good or evil, does good or evil, this question has no bearing on our 
instinctive attraction if only the hidden energy animating another 
exercises its peculiar appeal. " 9 It is this hidden energy to which 
perhaps one only in all the world can adequately respond, this ul- 
timate essence of the soul, which evokes love. 

"The nobler the nature," writes Wagner to Mathilde, "the 
more difficult is the attainment of perfect sympathy: but in such 
cases, when attained, it is the greatest thing in the world. " More- 
over, love is filled with the joy of the discoverer. More and yet more 
to acquire knowledge of another soul, to rejoice over each new 
discovery and to grow more intimate through ever fresh confidences 
thousandfold in their ramifications, to be aware of every stage at 
which the inner impulsive energy of either has rushed to meet and 
to mingle with the like energy in the other. This is love, and such 
love is inexhaustible when the natures of both the lovers are them- 
selves inexhaustible in depth and fullness; but love takes to flight 
when the joyous barque of love encounters rocks hidden beneath the 
smiling surface of the waters. 10 

For the very reason that this last disaster is possible, a succes- 
sions of loves is also possible. Can we love once only ? " ' And tell 
me of love's going? That was not love that went/ "" But the 
poet errs. The human heart is not like a piece of ordinary bread 
which diminishes in quantity when one eats of it; it is rather like 

T So Olive Schreiner writes: "The grave, sweet, tender, thing warm in 
the coldest snows, brave in the dreariest deserts its name is sympathy; it is 
the perfect love." THE LOST JOY. 

8 Aglavaine et Selysette. 

9 Le double jar din. 

10 Light love stands clear of thunder, 
And safe from winds at sea. 

SWINBURNE. 
n Cf . Mrs. Browning, ' ' Ye never loved at all who say that ye loved once. ' ' 



LOVE-NEED 157 

the bread in the hands of the Saviour with which he fed all those 
that were hungry. Yet not because there are those that are anr 
hungered must the heart be as bread to feed all and sundry. It is 
rather that some have fed full to satiety and gone their way. Be- 
cause this has happened, because one or more have fed full and 
hunger no more, are we to bury the wonderful bread of love in some 
secret place, are we to waste away in vain despair? 

The healthy human heart, having become solitary, can always 
love again when it once more encounters a new possibility of love ; 
and since its energy is limitless it can love each time to the utter- 
most. We cannot doubt that Goethe loved Frau von Stein, not more 
ardently indeed, but more intelligently, fully and truly, than he 
loved the Gretchen of whom he writes in Dichtung und Wakrheit. 
To love ever more profoundly, ever better, ever more unselfishly, this 
is the road of passion trodden by the great of heart. 

In matters of the spirit as in matters of the body there are 
fashions and streams of tendency which exercise a formative in- 
fluence upon human society. In one nation the trivialities of love 
and in another nation the sublimities of the passion may be the 
main theme of literature. The problem of love as it is treated by 
one of the masters of wit will naturally arouse different impres- 
sions, % and therefore induce different reactions, from the representa- 
tion of a Wagnerian drama. In its treatment of love, as of all 
things, literature exercises a formative influence upon life. If the 
discussion and presentation of the problem be commensurate with 
the deeper realities of existence, literature will react upon reality 
and will influence the characters of living men and women. I do 
not share the view of many critics that literature is a mere repre- 
sentation of what actually exists. It is, rather, the presentation 
of conditions which have hardly as yet come into existence, but 
are slowly beginning to take shape, a foreshadowing of conditions 
now in the act of creation. The development into actuality is in- 
fluenced by the great symbols which literature has created. 

The imaginative literature of the high art of love is yet to come. 
It belongs to the future, for it will be the fruit of a synthesis which 



158 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

has not hitherto been effected. It will represent for us an amatory 
life perfectly aware of its own dangers and fulfilled with deliberate 
purpose. Not by way of the Ovidian galanterie, not by way of the 
witty and light-hearted French conception of love, and not by way 
of the deadly seriousness of German sentimentality, nor yet, on 
the other hand, through the divine and half -divine love of those 
who, aloof from the earth on which they live, reach out after the 
stars, will it become attainable to us who are earth-born. But at- 
tainable to the earth-born, and therefore capable of representation 
in the art and literature of the future, will be the consciousness of 
the fully illuminated will which will animate the elemental phe- 
nomena of love and will dominate the processes of the subconscious 
life. A genius will arise uniting in his single personality the qual- 
ities that Shakespeare, Goethe, Kleist, Wagner, Tolstoi, and Lass- 
witz have devoted to the solution of this problem; his own vital 
experiences must be such as to render possible to him the produc- 
tion of the literature of the future, which can come into existence 
only when life, when reality itself, is ripe to be molded by its 
teachings. 



BOOK VI 
THE TRAVESTY OF LOVE 

Prostitution is a melancholy and horrible travesty of the reality 
of love. 

HAVELOQK ELLIS. 

God's purposes lie clearly before our eyes, that women must 
either be used for marriage or for whoredom, or else they must all 
be strangled. 

LUTHER. 

CHAPTER XV * 

NATURE AND ORIGIN OP PROSTITUTION 

Definition of the Concept. Myth and Legend. Tellurism as a Means of 
Providing a Dowry. Decline of Religious Prostitution. The Athenian 
Dikterion. The Emancipated Woman as a Free Hetaira. The "Young 
Maidens" of the Cyprian Venus. Rome, Christianity and the Degrada- 
tion of Prostitution. Its Ultimate Ruin Through the Introduction of 
Syphilis from America. Attempts at the Regulation of Prostitution. 
Aggravation of Its Evils. Abolitionist Congress of 1877. 

WHAT is prostitution? To answer this question we must en- 
deavor to clarify the concept by defining all its characteris- 
tics. The most essential of these is the professional surrender of 
the person for a monetary consideration. The mere taking of money 
for the surrender of the person for sexual purposes, where this 
surrender is not professional or habitual, and is not made to an in- 
definite number of individuals, does not come within the definition 
of prostitution for a married woman is usually maintained by her 
husband, the husband may receive money from the wife, lovers may 



160 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

give money to one another. The prostitute is one whose income 
is entirely dependent upon the surrender of the body for sexual 
purposes to an indefinite number of individuals. Havelock Ellis 
writes on this subject: " Since, finally, owing to the frequency of 
homosexuality, male prostitutes also exist, our definition of pros- 
titution must be independent of sex, and must be to the effect 
that the prostitute is one who makes a profession of the sale of 
the body to gratify the sexual desires of numerous individuals, 
whether of the opposite sex or not." 

In myth and legend this institution is interwoven with ideas of 
dread, horror and disgust. The "abysses of tellurism" and the 
"witches* brew distilled from a swamp, " are the terms in which 
Bachofen writes of prostitution, contrasting it with the "emblem 
of fertility represented by the Demeterian principle," referring 
here to marriage in its dependence on the father-right. 

Yet in actual fact this abyss of tellurism was a pathway towards 
the attainment of the "Demeterian state," the sexual community 
of marriage. The dowry indispensable for marriage had originally 
to be provided by a girl out of her own earnings as a prostitute. 
The contempt for the undowered woman went so far that among 
the Eomans such a woman ranked lower than the concubine, for un- 
dowered unions were regarded as destructive of all social order, 
and constituted a much more indefinite tie than concubinage itself. 
"If Hetairism were to be radically exterminated, it was absolutely 
essential that a girl should be dowered by her family. ' ' * 

Hence the first stage towards a sexual order which could rise 
superior, not merely to the witches* brew distilled from a swamp, 
but superior also to the marriage by capture and the marriage by 
purchase that were the outcome of primitive impulses, the first 
stage towards the foundation of our civilization, had as its essential 
precondition that the girl should win her dowry by a period of 
preconjugal prostitution. This is the cardinal point in the history, 
not only of prostitution, but also of marriage. 

The second and higher stage, the attainment of which depends 
1 Bachofen, Das Mutterrecht. 



NATURE AND ORIGIN OF PROSTITUTION 161 

upon more complex and difficult social conditions, consists in the 
dowering of the bride by her family. 

As a third stage upon this path, when the maintenance of the 
wife by the husband has become impossible, making it essential 
for the wife to furnish a material contribution to the current 
expenses of the household, there arises the institution of paid 
labor for married women. Whenever, in the history of civiliza- 
tion, we find that social conditions prevail wherein the man is no 
longer able to provide for the support of his wife, we find also 
that woman has had to undertake remunerated work in addition 
to her activities as mother and housewife. 

The fourth stage in this development belongs to the future, but 
it is one whose coming is already clearly foreshadowed. The men 
and women of the future will no longer shut their eyes to the fact 
that the husband is not competent to maintain himself, his wife, 
and his family by his unaided exertions. The logical conclusion 
will be fearlessly drawn. It will be plainly recognized that the 
earning of a dowry by preconjugal prostitution, the provision of a 
dowry by the woman's family, and a contribution to household ex- 
penses by woman's paid labor, the three means formerly em- 
ployed to furnish the wife's contribution to the joint household 
are no longer admissible. It will be plainly recognized that wom- 
an's energies as wife and mother require to be protected and fos- 
tered. In consequence of these considerations, the endowment of 
motherhood, the maintenance of mother and children by communal 
effort, will in the future be regarded as a self-evident social duty. 

Prostitution is an extremely ancient institution, but the uneasy 
conscience of society has usually required to find some sanction 
for its existence. In the ancient world this sanction was found in 
religion, for at this time prostitution was a religious function. 
This religious cult of prostitution, through its economic working in 
the provision of an earned dowry, became the origin of a "civilized" 
type of marriage of marriage based, not on capture, but on the 
dowry. Sexual intercourse, being effected in the service of the 
deity, was always regarded as a religious act. Wherever a religious 



162 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

motive underlay prostitution, even though this religious motive was 
a mere pretext to appease the social conscience, the prostitute was 
held in higher esteem than the woman living in monogamic 
marriage. 

The temple prostitutes of classical times were enlightened in 
questions of hygiene, and, if for this reason alone, enjoyed more 
confidence than other women who were approached with sexual 
desire. The features of classical religious prostitution are familiar 
to all, as recorded in the pages of Herodotus. In the fifth century 
B. C., the Asiatic Mylitta and the Assyrian Astarte were venerated 
in the performance of the sexual act in their temples or in the 
adjoining groves. Every woman at one time in her life had given 
herself for money to the first comer. Doubtless this religious 
prostitution served in part for the replenishment of the priestly 
treasure-houses, but this was only one aspect of the matter. 

Underlying the practice of temple prostitution there was a 
spirit of deliberate religious abasement, comparable with that under- 
lying the religious observance of foot-washing that still persists in 
the Catholic Church. Unquestioning self-abasement, surrender to 
the first comer in the service of the divine principle, such is the 
inner significance of the cult. The decay of religious prostitution 
begins when advantage is taken of the sexual need of the male to 
force up the market-price of love. The Corinthian priestess was 
the first female trafficker in love, and as such would have been 
driven by Jesus from the precincts of the temple. 

Apart from mercantile prostitution (as a means to marriage), 
religious prostitution was practiced on what may be called moral 
and sanitary grounds. Havelock Ellis states that women who 
had never been offered to Aphrodite were dreaded as ' l the outcasts 
of passion." Only when we come to the modern brothel do we 
find it completely divested of all religious association. The idea 
of the sacred character of sexual intercourse has now disappeared, 
and in its place we find state-regulation. The Athenian dikterion 
was the first brothel. The priestesses of the Cyprian Venus de- 
clined more and more to the position of despised but tolerated 



NATURE AND ORIGIN OF PROSTITUTION 163 

prostitutes. Yet women revolted against the pressure of this 
ignominy. The free hetaira, disdaining the dikterion, threw off the 
yoke of state control, lived in intercourse with friends of her own 
choice, and was usually an artist or a poet. The most highly en- 
dowed women of the time, those with the finest gifts for love and 
art, adopted this profession. 

The hetairas of the Pythagoreans, the Stoics, the Epicureans, 
and the Cynics in a word, of all the philosophical schools of the 
blossoming time of Greece were accustomed to devote themselves, 
not only to love, but also to philosophy, and especially to mathe- 
matics and rhetoric. Dufour writes in his book La Prostitution: 
"Nikarete was of noble birth. Having received a good education 
she was passionately devoted to the study of geometry, and refused 
her favors to no one who could solve for her an algebraical 
equation." One of her lovers was the Stoic philosopher Stilpo, 
whose doctrine, recommending apathy and inertia, she fiercely con- 
tested. Philenis, the pupil and mistress of Epicurus in the time 
of his youth, wrote a treatise upon physics and the atoms. Her 
correspondence and other writings are said to have been dis- 
tinguished by a peculiar elegance of style. "My queen," wrote 
Epicurus to her, "you cannot imagine the pleasure I derive from 
reading your letters." Leontium was the beloved of Epicurus in 
later years, and by the philosopher and also by his pupils she was 
worshiped almost as if divine. The painter Theodor represents 
her as "the woman philosopher engaged in abstract thought." 
Her essay against Theophrastus aroused the wonder of Cicero. 
Aspasia taught rhetoric; the leading men of her time were her 
pupils and admirers. The hetairae of that day were termed the 
Mistresses of Philosophy. They seem to have been women to 
whom men gave their hearts at first sight, arousing enthusiastic 
admiration no less by the erotically toned note of their intellectual- 
ity than by the intellectually tinged nuance of their sensuality. A 
social evening with such a woman supper, music, and philosophy 
was often preferred by men to a far more intimate association 
with women of another order. This circle of poets, philosophers, 



164 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

and cultured hetairse, enjoyed a happiness which has rarely been 
attained before or since by any considerable human group. 

The hetaira of classical Greece typifies the resistance of womanly 
self-respect to the social obloquy tending to attach to illicit love. 
In Rome, however, social toleration for the hetaira was unknown, 
and a woman living by love outside the bonds of marriage was 
refused possibilities of self-culture and of exercising a cultural 
influence on others. In Rome, for the first time, we find the moral 
pharisees in arms against the hetaira; here first was applied to 
her detriment the detestable moral paradox in accordance with 
which the one used for a certain purpose is despised and defamed 
whilst the user is regarded as free from blame. With the rise 
of Christianity the position became yet more hopeless, for prostitu- 
tion was now thrust into the outer darkness of damnation. 

Finally, in the end of the fifteenth century, syphilis was 
introduced into Europe from the New World. The woman who 
practiced free sexual intercourse became subject to the venereal 
plague. As intermediary between men of uncontrolled sexual de- 
sires she became the physical embodiment of a danger which stank 
in all men's nostrils. Nevertheless, the primitive might of sex re- 
asserted itself, and this sometime sacred cult attempted to resume 
the place of honor. We see the peccatrice, the woman of sin, under- 
going transformation into the cortigiana, and once again she was 
permitted to devote herself to intellectual cultivation and to con- 
cern herself with the nobler side of life. She learned Latin, was 
a musician and a poet, and was loved. She became a woman of 
property, surrounded by a choice circle of distinguished men. 
She was bound to her friends, not through eroticism alone, but also 
by the ties of human comradeship. She despised an ordinary 
marriage, but presented the world with beautiful children, and 
ultimately perhaps entered marriage upon equal terms. This phase 
of revival was, however, but of brief duration. The prevalence 
of syphilis induced the authorities to undertake the regulation of 
prostitution, and Napoleon founded the first maison de tolerance. 

Physiologists and sociologists agree in considering that the 



NATURE AND ORIGIN OF PROSTITUTION 165 

state-regulation of prostitution, as at present effected, is at once 
barbarous and useless. It fails, above all, to attain its end 
because the hj'gienic control is purely one-sided, being applied 
merely to the registered woman, while the man, free to come and 
go, carries the venereal plagues elsewhere, and commonly introduces 
them into the bosom of the family. Moreover, beside and beneath 
regulated prostitution, the prostitution supervised by the police, 
there flourishes unchecked and unregulated the true focus of 
infection, secret prostitution. The one-sided system of regulation 
accentuates all the evils inherent in the institution; contempt and 
shame are visited on the prostitute alone, while her male client 
remains exempt. 

In the year 1877 a remarkable development took place, when 
there assembled in Geneva the first congress of the International 
Federation for the Suppression of the State Regulation of Pros- 
titution, of which one of the leading promoters was an English- 
woman, Josephine Butler. Among the English the sentiment of 
personal liberty is so powerful that the idea of the police super- 
vision of a vast number of women who, however debased they may 
be, are none the less our fellow human beings, arouses fierce opposi- 
tion. The alleged motive for such a tyranny, the utilitarian claim 
that regulation is necessary in the interest of public health, is 
reduced to a farce by the one-sided character of the control. We 
are told of this congress : ' ' Here something of primary importance 
occurred. For the first time in history the problem of the sexual 
life was discussed by men and women in open conference ; and for 
the first time in history were there found women of position 
willing to advocate the rights of prostitution." 2 At length there 
came open recognition of the devilish absurdity of the assumption 
that it is ' ' moral ' ' to despise one person for the mutual act of two 
persons. At length, also, the current view that sexual freedom is 
permissible to men but forbidden to women was openly shown to be 
illogical and altogether untenable. "Men would have a right to 
3 Anna Pappritz, Die Prostitution. 



166 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

enjoy free sexual indulgence only if the sexual act were possible 
to them in isolation. ' ' 3 

The storm of opposition which here first began to rage against 
the one-sided defamation of the prostitute has every justification. 
Yet we must not, for this reason, join in the indiscriminate con- 
demnation visited upon what so many women are accustomed to 
term the brutal bestiality and unbridled sensuality of men. The 
male recourse to prostitution is the expression of a twofold need. 
First of all there is the social need which arises as the indispensable 
correlate of the modern marriage system. The second need is 
physiological. Most women refuse to admit its existence, but it is 
one whose urgency must never be underestimated I refer to the 
need for unfettering sexual intercourse. The demand for such 
intercourse springs from qualities deeply rooted in the masculine 
nature, qualities which no possible " reforms" will ever succeed 
in eradicating. Any sane scheme of reform must necessarily 
admit and allow for this essential fact. 

* Anna Pappritz, op. cit. 



CHAPTER XVI 

THE NECESSITY OF PROSTITUTION 

Prostitution as an Inevitable Correlate of the Modern Marriage-System. 
The Need for Unfettering Sexual Intercourse. 

The necessity of prostitution depends mainly on social causes, 
which culminate in our marriage system. The happy marriage of 
the securely placed wife is founded upon the degradation and 
debasement of another woman, the prostitute, who is required to 
become a sexual instrument because she must furnish for men a 
preliminary stage on the way to marriage. The insistence upon 
two extremes for neither of which human nature is adapted creates 
the prostitute. These extremes are, on the one hand, the ideal of a 
satisfactory marriage, and on the other, as the only alternative left 
open to women by conventional morality, the demand that if un- 
married they should lead an utterly barren life of renunciation. 
The haven of marriage, the inferno of the brothel, or a complete 
negation of the sexual life : these are the only alternatives for . 
women unless indeed we accept Luther's suggestion that "they 
must all be strangled." In Germany there are fourteen million 
unmarried men and women who must err in one way or another, 
all moral precepts to the contrary notwithstanding. 

In addition to the social need for unfettering sexual inter- 
course, there exists, especially for the male, the psycho-physical 
need. Even in an economic and moral order very different from 
our own, men will always feel a need for the discharge of sexual 
tensions under conditions in which the sexual act shall entail no 
serious consequences, either social or spiritual. The intensity of 
this masculine need becomes manifest when we consider how dif- 
ficult it is for the individual and this applies equally to both 

167 



168 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

sexes to attain under existing conditions to any satisfying erotic 
intercourse outside the limits of marriage. In the busy life of a 
great town, a woman will often pass months without finding an 
opportunity for mere conversation with a man of suitable age and 
position and also free, that is to say, unmarried, unaffianced, and 
not in love. 

We can readily understand how men have been forced to or- 
ganize the institution of prostitution, for men are simply incapable 
of enduring such a state of affairs. Even women cannot endure 
it without suffering both in body and in mind. Logically enough 
man has found a satisfaction for his own need which is forbidden 
to woman by her very nature. Man himself often recoils from 
the sexual act on the purely animal plane, for there are plenty of 
men who are repelled by the thought of casual intimacy with a 
prostitute. Yet these same men will frequently take any free- 
loving woman whose acquaintance they have made in the street and 
keep her for a time as a mistress. When for months intimate 
association with women has been denied to a man, the long sup- 
pressed feelings assert themselves at the mere rustle of a woman's 
garment. If, in such a case, sexual relations result, the conscious 
act of ' ' seduction ' ' is often on the side of the woman, who is apt to 
feel slighted if her advances are rejected. 

Women commonly refuse to admit the reality of this essential 
masculine need, at present satisfied in the main by recourse to 
prostitution the need that it should be possible for a man, at 
any time, without elaborate preparations, and without the provision 
of complex vital conditions, to come into intimate contact with a 
woman. It is thought that man 's need may be appeased by the 
offer of moral tracts, by the membership of ethical societies, by 
evening parties, and above all by "family life." There are strange 
enthusiasts who imagine that the possibility of intimate contact with 
women which is offered to men by prostitution may be rendered 
superfluous by facilities for polite intercourse with highly cultured 
young ladies. 4 Admission to any sort of family life is to furnish 

4 Hans Wegener, Wir jungen Maenner. 



THE NECESSITY OF PROSTITUTION 169 

an adequate substitute for this elemental need. It is hardly 
necessary to point out that implicit in this prescription we find 
all the hypocrisy and mendacity of the latter-day bourgeois sexual 
order. " Because the young man living in a town far from his 
home has no means of obtaining access to good families he has 
recourse to the society of barmaids and prostitutes" who are 
always spoken of in a single breath. What about the married 
men who form so considerable a proportion of the frequenters of 
brothels do they also need an introduction to family life? We 
cannot approach to an understanding of the essential nature of the 
problem if we ignore the fact last stated. It may be true that this 
iregular outlet for the discharge of sexual tension is necessary 
to men only because, under the conditions in which marriage is 
commonly effected to-day, such discharge at home proves unsatis- 
fying, and because the masculine sexual impulse has been cor- 
rupted from youth onwards by the masculine code of sexual morals. 
The fact remains that so long as prostitution is the only way out, 
prostitution is necessary. The sexual impulse, stimulated with- 
out being satisfied by all possible factors of the social life of civiliza- 
tion, is a source of serious dangers ; to men it is a corvee, and not 
less so to women in like case. But for women no outlet is per- 
missible within the limits of the dominant moral code. A woman 
who remains unmarried and lives in accordance with this code is 
apt to suffer from grave psycho-physical disturbance which may 
in extreme cases eventuate in insanity. 

Apart from the dictates of the conventional moral code, there 
is often found in those of nobler nature a powerful impulse towards 
renunciation, the outcome of a philosophico-religious belief. From 
the philosophical ethic of renunciation which entered Christianity, 
through Orphic undercurrents, from Buddhism and Neo-Platonism, 
was derived the social morality which aims at the denial of the 
will-to-live, and the refusal to affirm the ego. There are doubt- 
less good ethical reasons for bridling the affirmation of the physical 
ego lest its uncontrolled desires should endanger the integrity of 
the spiritual life. It seems to me, however, that this theory of 



170 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

the renunciation of the will-to-live, in so far as it relates to the 
sexual impulse, involves an essential, if implicit, logical contradic- 
tion. For the more I concern myself about this particular mani- 
festation of the will-to-live, the more I check it, bridle it, and 
endeavor to suppress it, the more fully conscious of .its existence 
do I become. If, on the other hand, I grant it the satisfaction 
it organically demands, then for the first time I cease to be aware 
of it, I forget it, it is quiescent and leaves me at peace. 

We are told that abstinence and renunciation are works of 
humility. To me, rather it seems arrogant and misguided that we 
should deliberately and unceasingly attempt to run counter to the 
most primitive and most clearly expressed will in all nature ; and 
he who sins against nature has to suffer nature's punishment. 
What is regarded as an act of pious self-abnegation is in reality, 
like the sin of the fallen angels, an act of defiant opposition. 
The individual's truly altruistic activities cannot begin until he 
ceases to sin against the laws of his being, until he abandons the 
attempt to renounce the implications of that matter out of which 
he is compounded. Point out to one who is hungry the beauties 
by which he is surrounded and you will only make him more keenly 
aware of his hunger. Not until the ego has satisfied the vital con- 
ditions of physical existence can it turn to the consideration of 
spiritual matters. So also renunciation of sex, disregard of the 
warmth mutually interchanged by two adjacent bodies, become 
possible only when the mind is at peace, when it is no longer 
necessary to subdue with scourgings the will to the act of sex. 
"Whoever has the grace of chastity has the highest life and the 
finest peace attainable. But your vow of chastity will be idle unless 
by nature you have the grace of chastity. For it is a grace you 
can never count on possessing. ' ' Thus spake Martin Luther. 
* * * * * * * 

Whereas the necessity of prostitution for the male is mainly 
dependent upon his sexual need, in the case of the women who are 
utilized for the satisfaction of this need other factors are in 
operation. Above all, there really does seem to exist a peculiar 



THE NECESSITY OF PROSTITUTION 171 

sexual disposition upon which depends the primary possibility of 
entering this horrible field of service. Still, the prostitute, as 
the one who is made use of, is upon a footing altogether different 
from the man who makes use of her. The simple fact that the man 
is the purchaser while the woman is the object purchased forbids 
us to consider them as partners in a truly identical act. Herein 
lies the germ of a justification of a duplex moral judgment of the 
process. The man, for all the "bestiality" with which the impulse 
may rage through his blood, remains nevertheless a free agent. His 
own social existence is nowise concerned. Moreover, he merely 
uses for the nonce the person whom he has himself sought out, and 
to him this act of sexual union does not represent the occupation 
in which his whole existence exclusively centers. 

We see, therefore, that however much we may desire to place 
the man and the woman on the same platform, to pass the same 
judgment upon their respective actions, and however lofty the 
ethical motives which inspire this wish, yet, after all, the attempt 
is foredoomed to failure. In verity, the burden of misery and 
disgrace which falls upon the prostitute, whilst the man who makes 
use of her goes free, should attach to the society which renders 
possible and indeed inevitable this degradation of the human sexual 
life. For though we have admitted the existence of a congenital 
predisposition which makes her profession possible to the prostitute, 
it is above all economic need, economic coercion, which leads her 
into the path in which this predisposition will become active. 

Let us consider the meaning of the phrase "an increase in 
the cost of the necessaries of life. ' ' The words seem simple enough, 
but the direct consequence of the fact they represent is that every- 
one who wishes to remain alive must immediately furnish a larger 
economic output. It matters not whether this increased output is 
derived from private income, supplied by work, or paid in the form 
of deprivation. Positively or negatively, more economic effort is 
required, either greater effort for the same quantity of commod- 
ities, or the same effort for a lesser quantity coupled with the 
renunciation of a part of that which was previously enjoyed. In 



172 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

one way or another, the unfavorable balance must be made up. 
Each one must offer, not simply what he desires to offer and per- 
haps has on hand; he must offer something society needs and is 
prepared to pay for ; not anything he likes to sell, but something for 
which there exists an effective economic demand. Now in what 
way is a woman best able to satisfy an effective economic demand? 
Let her simultaneously insert two advertisements in the same 
newspaper, in one asking for paid work of any kind whilst in the 
other she ' ' seeks the acquaintance of gentlemen ' ' a euphemism for 
the offer of her person for sexual utilization. The answers will 
show which of the two offers represent the service for which there 
is a more effective economic demand. 

Prostitution is a necessity, a regular occupation, an economic 
livelihood in the capitalist market, a mode of life which millions 
of women are economically forced to adopt. Are we to be told that 
the vast army of prostitutes ought to work, that they are able to 
work? Would all these girls find honorable occupation, enabling 
them to live worthy human lives, if they only desired it? Let us 
consider the numbers of the men who are vainly seeking work before 
we discuss this possibility. Two or three winters ago in Berlin 
there were thirty thousand men out of work, marching through 
the streets in melancholy files; in London at the same date the 
unemployed workmen were five times as numerous. To what sort 
of work should the fifty thousand prostitutes of Berlin turn their 
hands ? It is quite possible that in more normal and better economic 
epochs a few of them might find some sort of " honorable " work. 
In "good" times, manufacturing industry would be able to grasp 
quite a number of them in its iron embrace whereupon men's 
wages would be forced to a yet lower level, and men would be less 
able even than they are to-day to support a family. Moreover, in 
the iron embrace of industry the energies of womanhood and of 
motherhood are ground to powder as irresistibly as they are by 
prostitution. To the woman who is friendless and in need, the only 
choice open is thus one of taste in which way does she prefer 
to sacrifice her womanhood? 



THE NECESSITY OF PROSTITUTION 173 

The right of women to independent remunerated labor has been 
forced from the hands of a reluctant society. The granting of this 
right was inevitable for reasons we shall have to discuss in detail 
in the section of this book which deals with the bearing of the 
woman's movement upon the sexual crisis. Here, where we are 
concerned solely with an exposition of the necessity of prostitution, 
we need merely say that society never ceases to demonstrate to 
women its low esteem for their independent remunerated labor, by 
starvation rates of pay and by the .enormous difficulty even at 
those rates of finding employment. There is only one way in which 
a young woman who is hungry and penniless can immediately get 
bread, and that is by prostitution. The logical outcome of this 
should be the social protection of prostitution, since it obviously 
satisfies a social need. It is not because prostitution is more highly 
remunerated than any other occupation open to women for which 
there exists an effective economic demand, nor yet because it re- 
quires less labor and less effort than any other occupation, that 
prostitution attracts a socially endangered and sinking womanly 
material as a candle-flame attracts moths ; the chief reason for this 
attraction lies in the circumstance that the earnings of prostitution 
are paid immediately in cash, and that this field of earning is 
open to women whenever they are in need, whereas every other 
possible occupation must be diligently sought by elaborate and 
costly means, and the woman must long remain hungry before she 
can obtain the least reward for her exertions. Prostitution sup- 
plies a demand for immediate service, an effective demand for this 
particular service. It is a well-known economic fact that such 
a demand creates a supply. 

The most horrible feature of our present economic order lies 
in its lack of the ambulance stations to which we have previously 
referred. The isolated and friendless human being is left entirely 
to his own resources. If his energies flag for three days merely, 
an abyss opens in his path, threatening to engulf him before his 
hand regains its cunning. No social helping hand is extended to 
the powerless, no institutions exist for the sustenance of those who 



174 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

are thus losing their place in the world. It is impossible for 
private aid to supply this lack ; socially organized effort is essential 
to prevent the immediate shipwreck of human lives when power 
for the struggle for existence has been impaired by some casual 
disturbance. In the case of women, this lack of proper social 
provision for those in temporary economic danger, drives thou- 
sands and thousands of victims into a life of prostitution. 



CHAPTER XVII 



Its Victims. Its Dangers. Threefold Corruption of the Man; of the Vic- 
tim; and of the Social Consciousness. Abyss between the Day-Con- 
sciousness and the Night-Consciousness. Enfeeblement of the Sexual 
Impulse. Misused Nature's Revenge. Sufferings of Men. 

The most hateful feature of this " melancholy travesty of real 
love, ' ' as Havelock Ellis calls it, is that a human being should live 
exclusively in such a fashion, making a specialized profession of 
the sexual act. The travesty is an outcome of that monomania of 
civilization which pushes all things to extremes, not excepting the 
sexual fate of women. Some are to bear children without limit, 
others are to renounce sexuality without limit, and the women of 
a third group must endure without limit. Women must be con- 
verted into living latrines for the reception of the stored libido 
of the male. These women have to make their living by giving 
' * pleasure ' ' to innumerable men ; their existence is entirely de- 
pendent upon the favor of those whom they have to serve. This 
alone would suffice, even in the absence of other forces working 
in the same direction, to initiate a movement of that principle in 
nature which is essentially quiet and passive in character, a move- 
ment among women, a woman 's movement. In a subsequent chapter 
it will be necessary to consider from this outlook the hidden but 
intimate bond that has always existed between the hetairae, the 
amazons, and the emancipated women. 

The most distressing characteristic in the life of the pro- 
fessional prostitute is the loss of her individual human personality. 
This loss affects above all her reproductive function : she is unfruit- 
ful by deliberate purpose, her reproductive energies being sacrificed 

175 



176 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

to the service she has to render to men. Such essential sterility, 
such fruitless expenditure of energy, has at all times been felt to in- 
corporate a tragic destiny, and in mythology we find it continually 
represented as one of the worst punishments of hell. In the Tar- 
tarean symbolism of all religions we read of those who spend 
eternity digging holes in the earth which are immediately re- 
filled, of Sisyphus rolling a heavy stone to the summit of a hill 
whence it instantly rolls back to the foot, of the Danaides ever 
fetching water in a sieve. The misspending of energy, the wasting 
of force in actions foredoomed to remain fruitless here is black 
damnation. It is an instinctive desire in every normal creature 
that effort should always lead to some permanent result, effect 
some definite happening in space and time, leave something behind 
as a proof that it has existed. But the prostitute is ever con- 
demned to the profitless expenditure of energy. In terrible re- 
venge, nature has visited this barren expenditure with the curse of 
disease. 

The corruption worked by prostitution is threefold. The man 
who avails himself of the prostitute's services is corrupted; the 
prostitute is herself corrupted ; and the social consciousness is cor- 
rupted, involved in the devil's circle of contradictions by which 
the whole process is environed. When considering the problem of 
our double sexual morality we spoke of the dangerous psychical 
consequences entailed upon the male who, in the day side and the 
night side of his double life, endeavors to combine two conflicting 
modes of perception. Between the men and the women who en- 
counter one another upon the day side of existence the abyss 
becomes ever greater because in men's association with the women 
of the night side, the women who do them forced service, their 
souls have been shaken and obscured, their bodies weakened and 
rendered refractory to the fulfillment of the unending reproductive 
purpose of nature. 

It is in our erotic life that the interconnection between body 
and soul is most plainly manifest, and it is precisely here that men 
are most deeply corrupted by the conditions of their lives. Alto- 



"THE MELANCHOLY TRAVESTY" 177 

gather apart from the actual plagues disseminated by prostitution 
and altogether apart from the physiological weakness that results 
from sexual excesses, we have to take into account that remarkable 
obscuration of the mental side of the sexual impulse, that cloud- 
ing of the erotic consciousness, which makes it ever more difficult 
for the sexes really to understand one another and truly to enjoy 
one another without mutual misuse. A profound disturbance of the 
centers of the erotic life ensues in men who have habitual recourse 
to prostitutes. Somewhere in the borderland between the physical 
and the mental, lives and works that feeling which impels the 
individual to all the actions that eventuate in the reproduction of 
the species. It is upon this feeling that the individual life and 
the life of the species are both in the last instance dependent. It 
is this feeling which is in prostitution so perversely misused : ' ' The 
act of prostitution," writes Godfrey, 5 "may be physiologically 
complete, but it is complete in no other sense. Here are lacking 
all those moral and intellectual factors which must exist in associa- 
tion with physical desire in order to give rise to the complete 
mutual attraction of the sexes. All the higher elements of love, 
admiration, respect, honor, and self-sacrificing surrender, are as for- 
eign to prostitution as they are to the egoistic act of self -abuse. But 
the chief moral value of the sexual act lies rather in the accom- 
paniments I have named than in the act itself." 

Thus the curse of prostitution is visited, not only upon the 
unhappy women who live by the trade, but upon the men who 
make use of their services. Preeminently, however, the curse falls 
where it becomes a matter of universal concern, affecting the con- 
science of society, the social consciousness. Cruelty, moral hypoc- 
risy, a sordid pharisaism, flow ever from this source as from an 
inexhaustible poisoned spring. The public conscience comes to 
terms with itself by pressing on the prostitute with a heavy hand ; 
by surreptitiously begging from her pleasure and enjoyment and 
thereafter thrusting her with a curse into the abyss. Meanwhile, 
almost as if in mockery, all honor is paid to the favored sister 

The Science of Sex. 



178 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

of the prostitute, to the woman who is safely married. Morality 
here turns in a double circle of absurdity, like a mad monkey 
chasing its own tail. "It is an experience only too familiar that 
men often have resource to prostitutes to find relief from the 
excitement into which they have been thrown in association with 
their betrothed. Inasmuch as the mental and physical excitement 
resulting from intimate caresses which do not culminate in sexual 
gratification is often just as great in women as in men, the woman 
in such a case would have equal justification in seeking sexual satis- 
faction from another man thus closing the circle of unwholesome 
absurdity. ' ' 6 The betrothed maiden physically capable of satis- 
fying her lover and herself, is forbidden to do so and is honored 
for her abstinence. The prostitute would prefer not to satisfy the 
man, nor can she do it to the full; yet she is constrained to the 
act and despised for the part she plays in it. The man longs for 
satisfaction in the person of one woman and renounces it ; he seeks 
satisfaction with another and reviles her because she provides it. 
Climax upon climax of absurdity! Robert Hessen describes pros- 
titutes as * ' women who mount guard to protect honorable bourgeois 
girls. The members of this guard, ' ' he continues, ' ' are denounced, 
spied upon, persecuted, liable to summary arrest at the hands 
of an arbitrary police, regulated, miscalled, debased, driven from 
pillar to post without right of domicile, delivered over to be 
preyed upon by blood-sucking procuresses, and forced into the 
arms of souteneurs." Of the moral code which has such results 
the same writer says, "Christ himself would recoil from it with 
loathing." 7 

In this question public sentiment is under the dominion of a 
lying moral hypocrisy. Hessen says very truly that instead of 
taking extra-conjugal intercourse into the purview of enlightened 
hygiene, all that our corrupted morality has succeeded in doing 
is to approximate to prostitution all those forms of sexual relation- 
ship which are not under the aegis of legal marriage. The higher 

Havelock Ellis. 

1 Robert Hessen, Beirilichkeit oder SittlicJikeit. 



4 'THE MELANCHOLY TRAVESTY" 179 

this morality exalts the secure married woman, the more deeply 
does the same morality debase that other feminine personality, 
condemned to permanent sterility, thrusting her down into the 
abyss to which a once sacred act has conducted her. But nature 
revenges herself and tricks the old strumpet for such this accepted 
moral hypocrisy really is. The more the "honorable" old woman 
wishes to keep up the pretense that that which smells to heaven 
does not really exist, the more she endeavors to conceal it by moral 
chicanery, the more plainly, nevertheless, is she forced to take it 
into account. I cannot do better here than quote once more the 
plain language of Robert Hessen: "The syphilis which in your 
own honorable family corrodes your grandson's teeth, softens his 
bones, and indurates his glands, and which rots off the hair of 
your adolescent sons, the poisonous discharge which whitens your 
married daughter 's cheeks, overwhelms her with lassitude, and racks 
her with internal pain all, all are derived from the one great 
contaminated source to whose cleansing you, alas, refuse to turn 
your hand." 8 

******* 
The man also suffers from this travesty. One of refined sen- 
sibilities experiences profound humiliation in availing himself of 
the services of the prostitute, for this indulgence has long ceased to 
constitute for him an orgy of pleasure. Intense depression, and 
even despair, often attend the necessity forced upon him to avail 
himself of the travesty of love in place of love itself. This problem 
is admirably treated in a short story by Hugo Salus, to be found 
in his volume entitled Novellen des Lyrickers. He describes a 
young man, in a mood verging on the impulse to self-destruction, 
wandering about the streets of Prague tormented by memories of 
the previous night, in which he has had his first experience with 
"woman." As he stands in the Place he looks up at the old 
apostle-clock as the hour strikes. The apostles march out, the 
death's head upon the clock opens its jaws; a swallow flies in 

8 ' ' Monogamic societies present a decent visage and a hideous rear. " 
George Meredith, THE RAJAH IN LONDON, in Chap. V of One of Our Conquerors. 



180 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

through the gaping mouth, which closes with a snap and imprisons 
the bird. Hereupon the young man swears that his choice between 
life and death shall depend upon whether, when the next hour 
strikes, and the mouth of the death's head reopens, the swallow 
shall fly out uninjured. At the close of the hour the bird issues 
unharmed, and the young man goes on his way praising God for 
his wisdom, for had God been less wise there would have been 
one perjurer the more in the world. Notwithstanding the light tone 
taken by the conclusion of this story it illustrates very clearly how 
much a man may suffer through having no other outlet than pros- 
titution for his natural desires, how hateful it is to him to make 
use of a detested instrument for the satisfaction of an uncontrollable 
impulse, instead of being able to clasp in his arms a creature at 
once loying and beloved. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

THE ECONOMIC BASIS 

Boundary between Prostitution and Free Love. The Maintenance of the 
Woman by the Man Is Neither Unnatural nor Antisocial. In the Free 
Intimacy, the Money Question Is Usually Left Entirely to Chance. 
Attitude Toward This Matter in France and Germany respectively. 
German "Idealism." An Economic Order in which the Wife and the 
Mother Will Be Socially Endowed, as a Substitute for the Maintenance 
of the Wife by the Husband. Metaphysical Idea of "Compensating" 
a Woman for the Surrender of Her Person. Of the Two Sexual Part- 
ners, the Woman Is the One Especially Endangered by Love, Alike 
Biologically, Economically and Morally. 

The distinction between prostitution and free love is very 
generally regarded as an artificial one. The confusion between the 
two appears to depend upon the economic basis of both states, for 
the economic "basis of a free erotic relationship may give it such 
a color as to lead many observers to regard it as equivalent to 
prostitution. We are told that when a woman who has given her- 
self to a man for love goes on to accept material aid from him, 
her position is tantamount to that of a prostitute. I regard such a 
view as false, unnatural, and hypocritical, but it is so widely prev- 
alent that in connection with our discussion of prostitution a 
detailed consideration of what may be termed the economic basis of 
love becomes essential. 

Who, we ask, ought to maintain the woman except the man with 
whom she lives? Society, recognizing that the well-being of the 
species is imperiled by the demand that a woman by her unaided 
exertions should maintain herself and her offspring, imposes upon 
the husband the duty of maintaining his wife, and this is one of 
the main purposes of legal marriage. The critics of the free union 

181 



182 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

appear to imagine that such unions ought to be distinguished from 
legal marriages by the renunciation of their most reasonable con- 
sequence, the maintenance of the woman and child by the man. 
Thus only, it is said, can the free union escape the stigma of 
prostitution. But we have seen that the criterion of prostitution 
is not found in a woman's acceptance of maintenance from the 
man with whom she lives, but in the purely professional practice 
of sexual intercourse with a number of men with none of whom 
has she any other personal relationship whatever. It is from these 
professional characteristics of prostitution that are derived the 
particular consequences which are in truth the main cause of 
its moral defamation the venereal diseases. 

Moreover, in prostitution the partners to the sexual act have 
no sentiment of love or even sympathy, for to both their intercourse 
is a mere commercial transaction. One of the two gives money, 
and the other in return furnishes the use of her body. But when, 
in a free love-intimacy, the woman is maintained by the man, herein 
is nothing which we are entitled to regard as unnatural, unsocial, 
or immoral. Are we to expect the woman in a free union to be 
dowered with inherited wealth, or must she have the capacity or 
good luck which will enable her to provide for herself by her 
own exertions? As regards self -maintenance, it is well to repeat 
that few satisfactory ways of earning a living are as yet open to 
women. All that is commonly available is some sort of unskilled 
corvee whose acceptance involves loss of all that is best in woman- 
liness. One of the principal arguments against the competition of 
women in any kind of remunerated work is the invariable cry that 
it is not woman's "vocation" thus to struggle for her existence. 
Her vocation, we are told, is to live with a man ; so and not other- 
wise does nature will. 

Far removed as we ourselves are from the outlook of those 
who see woman 's sole vocation in her erotic life, who think that she 
should accept blindly all the consequences of that life, and who 
wish to exclude her from every other possible field of useful 
activity, we yet regard it as altogether indisputable that the 



THE ECONOMIC BASIS 183 

erotic life of women, quite apart from its consequences in the 
form of motherhood, invariably demands of her a greater ex- 
penditure of energy than, mutatis mutandis, is demanded from a 
man. Owing to this higher expenditure of emotional force, and 
owing in addition to the pressure of the circumstantial duties 
entailed by her life with a man, a woman has to devote a consider- 
able proportion of time and energy to the task of keeping herself 
attractive and desirable. Christian von Ehrenfels writes: "The 
woman's movement now demands economic emancipation, not for 
the sexless woman alone, but also for the mother and her children. 
It is, however, necessary to go a step farther still. The en- 
dowment of motherhood is not sufficient. It must further be 
recognized that the work done by a woman as a man's beloved, 
as manager of a household, and as presiding genius over the 
esthetic side of life, is a specific and indispensable womanly func- 
tion, in whose performance the economically emancipated woman 
must also be supported by the man." Although I must expressly 
insist that a woman who does not need such help is better off 
than one who does need it, and that a woman should if possible 
avoid accepting this support from any individual man, yet I am 
in perfect agreement with the view that one who is a serf in the 
feminine labor-market cannot be a man's beloved in any full and 
satisfactory sense of the word. She only who is emancipated from 
this corvee can find time, energy, and capacity to cultivate her 
mental and physical personality and to attend to her circumstantial 
environment ; she only, properly speaking, can be a man 's beloved. 
Hence, whenever necessary, man's higher economic potency must 
help woman and himself to attain this possibility. 

In extra-conjugal sexual relationships, this material side of 
the question is apt to be left altogether in the air. The idea 
that a cultivated woman demeans herself by accepting material help 
from a man is peculiarly current in Germany, where a sense of 
shame in this regard is deliberately implanted in women by edu- 
cation. How artificial is the sentiment becomes apparent when 
we recall that as soon as a woman is legally married she has no 



184 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

longer the smallest reluctance in accepting money from a man, 
and asks for it whenever she wants it without a shadow of shame. 
The maintenance of the married woman is considered self-evident, 
and her right to dip her fingers in her husband's purse is limited 
only by the capacity of this article, whereas in the case of free 
lovers the economic basis of the relationship is always felt to be 
a very delicate matter. In marriage, indeed, there is usually a 
definite understanding about economic details, whereas between free 
lovers the point is left in a haze. 

Yet the economic question is always inseparable from life, and 
to ignore it in this way in the free union involves serious psychologi- 
cal reactions. If the man incurs no material obligations towards 
the woman, his love sentiments are influenced by the consequent 
suggestion of complete independence, and the feeling of freedom 
from all bonds modifies the very processes of the emotional life. 
When there is no economic partnership, the entire relationship 
becomes dependent upon erotic moods. Moreover, as we have in- 
sisted in an earlier chapter, to the peculiarly suggestible emotional 
temperament of the male, a woman seems of greater value in pro- 
portion to the amount he has "invested" in her. Again, though 
a man's sense of honor and chivalry has little influence upon his 
conduct in spheres of action where he is freed from the pressure of 
social conventions, he has a peculiar sense of honor by which his 
actions are largely directed. When a civilized man feels that a 
woman's economic existence depends upon him, he will treat her 
far more protectively and considerately than when her relationship 
to him has remained solely on the erotic plane. The more he has 
had to care for her and to provide for her, the less apt will he be 
to leave her in the lurch ; the less, on the other hand, she has made 
a direct claim on his purse and on his exertions, the more readily 
will he abandon her. A man's sense of responsibility towards 
a woman is, in fact, far greater if he has to maintain her than 
if she gives herself to him without making any kind of material 
claim. In this matter the ascetic mood is once again operative. 
If the woman represents to his mind a simple enjoyment, a man will 



THE ECONOMIC BASIS 185 

be bound far less firmly than if she also appear in the light of a 
duty, if her dependence upon him make an appeal to his moral 
sense, for this binds the cultivated man far more firmly than 
any feeling of benefits received in the form of enjoyment. Women 
of a sly and speculative type are well aware of this and will 
often make a claim upon a man simply in order to maintain a 
hold upon him. Thus arises the remarkable phenomenon that 
"kept women/' even if of very dubious quality, nay even if radi- 
cally bad, almost invariably find truer, more attached and more 
constant lovers than do women who refuse to accept any kind of 
material aid from the men they love. It is a matter of every-day 
experience that women of independent mind are far more likely to 
be abandoned. 

In the lands where Germanic civilization predominates, women 
of a fine type, influenced by current prejudice, actually prefer to 
suffer want rather than accept help from the men they love. This 
is altogether wrong-headed. Besides, the man's material assistance 
in such relationships is requisite for a reason additional to those 
previously stated. Every erotic companionship inspires a woman 
with a desire for a better environment, for finer clothes, for all 
that is necessary for the care and adornment of the feminine 
personality. These things, indeed, become a definite need for a 
woman as soon as a man enters her life. It would be tragical 
were it otherwise, if more extensive aesthetic demands failed to 
arise as the outcome of such a relationship. If the pressure of 
the economic side of life were to increase to such an extent that 
women like men to-day were to find that they had no more time 
for the hours of love, then indeed should we have seen the end of 
any deliberate cult of beauty. For these reasons, when the relation- 
ship is a close one, and of that intimate character which is possible 
only if the union is enduring, when the expenditure of money 
is kept within limits reasonably correspondent with the man's 
means, and presupposing, of course, that the woman really needs 
the man's pecuniary assistance, it is right, proper, and thoroughly 



186 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

natural for the man to support the woman, and thus to enable her 
to devote herself to the cult of beauty. 

The Frenchman, in this matter, has always held that in an 
intimate love-relationship the woman's material position must be 
a matter of concern to the man. In the case of the German, on the 
other hand, his ' ' idealism ' ' is affronted if the economic question 
enters into his love-relationship. 

It is self-evident that if the woman is as well off as the man 
or richer than he, she will not need his economic aid. Even 
if less well-to-do, she need take nothing from him if she has a 
sufficiency of her own. But in the countries dominated by German 
idealism man's respect for a woman in this regard is carried so 
far that if a German pair of lovers belonging to a bourgeois 
circle spend the evening together, the man will not infrequently 
allow the woman to pay for the half even of the cheese they have 
consumed in common. If for once in a way, purely from an ex- 
perimental interest, she leaves him to pay for her share, his beauti- 
ful illusion about his beloved will be utterly destroyed, and he 
will come to regard her as a meretricious wench. In Simplizissimus 
there once appeared a joke on the borderline between the tragic 
and the grotesque. The picture shows a German pair sitting in a 
Gasthaus, and the man tells us, "I have paid for the Wurscht, 
I have paid for the Beer you may draw the Conclusion ! " furor 
teutonicus ! 

******* 

From the evolutionary standpoint the chief reason for imposing 
upon the male the duty of maintaining the female was the need for 
the protection of the offspring and for the protection of the wife 
as guardian of the offspring; this is the foundation of the duplex 
sexual morality as well as of the institution of marriage. Until 
the species as a whole, until society at large, undertakes to protect 
the procreative act in the person of its female partner and her 
offspring, the artificial protective walls which now surround women 
will remain indispensable. Until social responsibility in this de- 
partment is fully recognized, the material maintenance of the 



THE ECONOMIC BASIS 187 

wife by the husband must remain a primary moral demand. To 
the man, the acceptance of this responsibility becomes a point of 
honor when the woman needs this help and it is within the man 's 
competence to furnish it. The moral defamation of the material 
factor in love is thoroughly wrong-headed, for there is not in 
this factor, as there is in prostitution, anything either unnatural 
or anti-social. It is, on the other hand, unnatural and anti-social 
that women should leave unused their beauty and their youth, 
their sweetness and charm of body and of mind, and that the 
possibilities of joy to themselves and to others which attach to 
these should run to waste. Such qualities of body and of mind 
furnish women 's most natural contribution to social life. 

Alike biologically and economically, the male is the stronger 
of the two partners, and thereon repose the legal provisions by 
which a man is compelled to maintain his wife. There is a meta- 
physical as well as a physical substratum for the idea of compen- 
sating a woman for her part in the sexual life. The man com- 
pensates the woman for the suffering which is usually entailed upon 
her by her self -surrender, and for the dangers with which, on his 
account, her emotional life and her entire mental and physical ex- 
istence are threatened. Another factor in the origination of this 
notion of compensation is to be found in the fugitive character 
of woman's erotic possibilities. By taking a woman's love a man 
"uses a woman up," and this not in a biological sense alone. By 
nature 's decree, he is the user, she the used ; and if the instrument 
is not to be destroyed the user must himself insure its protec- 
tion with all the means conferred on him by his preponderant sta- 
bility, his preponderant strength, and his preponderant economic 
value. Do we then mean to imply that in any far-reaching sense 
woman is weaker than man? By no means. Regarded as mani- 
festations of the world-energy, woman and man stand at the same 
level. But the feminine embodiment of the world-energy is more 
delicately compounded, the feminine principle is more endangered 
than the masculine by the fulfillment of the natural sexual func- 
tions. As soon as woman comes into contact with man, as soon 



188 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

as the bloom of maidenhood is rubbed off, she is exposed to all 
the dangers inseparably attaching to her sex. 

Hence whatever reforms take place in our sexual life, until 
these culminate in a social provision for woman as wife and mother 
it will remain natural and indispensable that the man should main- 
tain the woman. It need hardly be said that we do not wish women 
to remain in that shameful state of dependence upon men and upon 
marriage in which they commonly find themselves to-day. To re- 
store the natural competition of courtship it is essential that women 
should be enabled to obtain the necessaries of life altogether inde- 
pendently of their individual relationships to men. The future 
will furnish this provision, in part by a reasonable measure of 
independent and adequately remunerated work for women, in part 
by the endowment of motherhood, and in part by the social re- 
muneration of all those who are engaged in the upbringing of 
the coming generation. So long, however, as woman as wage- 
earner does not stand on an equal footing with man, so long as 
she is compelled to sacrifice all her womanliness if she attempts 
to secure the necessaries of life by wage-labor, and so long as 
there is still lacking any comprehensive scheme of social insurance 
for all tKe processes of reproduction so long also must the man 
maintain the woman with whom he lives if she has no independent 
means of subsistence. 

If this chain of reasoning be sound, why is it that women in- 
cline more and more to renounce the provision and the protection 
offered by men, to renounce even the most trifling material aid? 
We can only regard this process as one more unnatural reaction to 
the unnatural conditions of our sexual life. Faced by the inexor- 
able alternatives of coercive marriage, celibacy, or a life of prosti- 
tution, women's self-respect and sense of freedom have been im- 
paired, and thereby also their sentiments in this particular matter 
have been falsified. A man comes to a woman in her solitude, 
brings a gleam of sunlight into her dull room, helps her during 
two or three happy hours to bear the burden of an empty exist- 
ence is she to ask for anything more ? Far from regarding worn- 



THE ECONOMIC BASIS 189 

an's claim for maintenance in such circumstances as assimilating 
her to the prostitute, we consider this claim (whether within or 
without the bonds of legal marriage) as firmly grounded upon the 
nature of the sexes, and as rendered doubly necessary in conse- 
quence of the social dangers that are entailed by its denial. When- 
ever a woman who really needs support from the man with whom 
she lives thinks proper to renounce the right to this support, her 
mind is in a state of unnatural duress, she typifies womanhood 
starved into submission and forced to the surrender of just self- 
respect. 



CHAPTER XIX 

REFORM OP PROSTITUTION 

Falsity of the Platonic Campaign against Prostitution. Proposals to Get 
Bid of the Evil by Means of Ethical Teaching, Vegetarianism, Tracts 
and Pamphlets, Physical Culture and Family Life. How to Make 
Prostitution Superfluous. A Conceivable Method. The "Sport of the 
Martians" reconsidered. "Erotic Friendship" reconsidered. The Re- 
former as an Intermediary between the Sufferings of the Present and 
the Star of the Ideal 

The reform of prostitution, to render it less unworthy and de- 
humanizing than at present, is not wholly impossible. We have 
learned that in past ages there existed a sacred form of pros- 
titution, and that in Greece and elsewhere prostitution was at 
times associated with the highest culture of the age. Even in the 
contemporary world, there are forms of prostitution which lack the 
degradation characteristics of the institution in western Europe. 
Thus, Eobert Hessen writes of prostitution in Japan: "It is a 
hygienic institution deliberately designed to minister to the health 
of a powerful people, of a race which does not prefer the ascetic 
view of life to the aesthetic. The Japanese imagination has never 
been corrupted by the morbid ideal of the mortification of the flesh, 
and therefore retains a healthy joy in nature." In Japan young 
girls enter brothels on the basis of a free contract, and are not 
regarded as outcasts from humanity. Since there are legal pro- 
visions to safeguard them against excessive exploitation on the part 
of the brothel -keepers, they are able in a few years to put by a con- 
siderable sum of money. They then and this is the crucial point 
abandon a life of prostitution, and commonly marry, ' ' for no social 
stigma attaches to them." Thus these girls are not condemned to 

190 



REFORM OF PROSTITUTION 191 

prostitution for the whole of their lives, nor are they made 
use of in the utterly bestial manner which is usual in western 
lands. 

Whereas, therefore, in the West it is inevitable that the prosti- 
tute should become brutalized, and that she should be expelled 
from decent society, in Japan it is otherwise. The Japanese hetaira, 
known as the Geisha, does not lose her freshness, nor does her 
psyche necessarily become degraded. The European prostitute, 
even if not subjected to official regulation or confined to a special 
quarter, does not make any considerable savings, notwithstanding 
the high fees she sometimes receives, for owing to the hypocritical 
prohibition of prostitution she is at the mercy of extortioners and 
blackmailers, and almost all that she gains by the sale of her person 
is taken from her by the house owner, the procuress, or the sou- 
teneur. The more horrible features of procurement, in the form 
of what has recently become known as the white slave traffic, are 
in fact the direct outcome of the duplex sexual morality as applied 
to the prostitute of the ostensible prohibition of prostitution in 
conjunction with its toleration beneath the surface of public life. 
This fosters the army of exploiters who live by and upon the vic- 
tims of prostitution. The Japanese prostitute cannot be similarly 
exploited, since her position is openly and legally acknowledged. 
She earns a better income than her European sister because she is 
freed from the burdens imposed in Europe by the souteneur and 
the procuress. 

"Japanese prostitutes/' writes Hessen, "have time for self- 
adornment, flirting, singing, and dancing. They chatter to one 
another on the balconies of their houses, sitting in rows like swal- 
lows on a telegraph wire. The whole process exhibits style and 
grace; there is nothing vulgar about it to offend our taste. The 
main street of the Yoshiwara, glowing with fairy lanterns, forms 
every night a leading attraction alike for natives and for foreign- 
ers. ' ' We have further to remember, as Hessen does well to point 
out, that the houses of pleasure in Japan are tea houses, and that 



192 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

in these houses are lacking libations to Bacchus, with their well- 
known effect upon masculine sexual desire. 9 

A well-marked sentiment of human self-respect is ascribed also 
to the Parisian grisette. The grisette of the old Quartier Latin 
is indeed a vanished type, but even of the modern Parisian prosti- 
tute Robert Michels reports: "She does not merely demand re- 
spectful treatment from her gallant, but insists upon the presence 
of certain emotional factors as essential preliminaries to the sexual 
act. That most repulsive species of 'love* in three movements, 
the sailor-on-leave type of sexual love, which prevails so largely in 
England, Germany and Italy accosting, hurrying home, sexual 
act is regarded by the women of Paris, if the most debased stratum 
of prostitution be excepted, as vulgar and low. They will have 
nothing to do with an altogether unknown man ; they demand first 
some comradely intimacy, they want to know what sort of man he 
is, and how he spends his life. They make a stringent demand for 
the preambles of love, and for the possibility of a certain degree 
of physical sympathy and mental affinity to render capable on 
their part some faculty of erotic response. For this reason, even 
in relations with wealthy men, they often fail to reach the top 
of their market." 10 

Moreover, in contradistinction to the prostitutes of other Euro- 
pean capitals, those of Paris often form intimate relationships upon 
another plane than the sexual. ' ' Many Parisian girls make a sharp 

In correspondence with the author, the translators pointed out that this 
description of Japanese prostitution is based upon the rose-tinted impressions 
of a casual visitor to the country. The passage also betrays a confusion be- 
tween the geisha and the professional prostitute. The geisha is a singing girl, 
who is no more necessarily a prostitute than the actress or chorus girl in Europe. 
The geishas entertain large parties of men by singing and playing the samisen, 
and by the grace and charm of their manners. Many, perhaps most of them, 
are occasional prostitutes, but prostitution is not their regular profession. The 
Japanese themselves never employ the word geisha to denote the regular inmates 
of the Yoshiwara. The author tells us that she wishes the account of Japanese 
prostitution, which is based upon Hessen's article on the subject, to remain as 
originally penned, but to add that she is now aware that the accuracy of Hes- 
sen's delineation is strongly contested by Japanese writers. TRANSLATORS' 
NOTE. 

10 Robert Michels, Sexual Ethics, English translation, 1914, p. 80. 



REFORM OF PROSTITUTION 193 

distinction between the men to whom they are forced to give them- 
selves for professional purposes; and the friends, the copains, stu- 
dents for the most part, with whom they associate, share the midday 
meal in a restaurant, play cards, walk in the Luxembourg, make 
excursions, but with whom they remain on terms of simple friend- 
ship. From these associates they demand comradeship only, and 
they repay in the same coin. The intercourse between the two is 
one of social equality, in which the girl's means of livelihood are 
altogether ignored. She is treated with the respect due to a social 
equal. Many of these women have also an amant de cceur, and it 
is a point of honor between the two that their relationship should 
be one of perfect purity. * ' X1 

The writer tells us the life-story of one of these prostitutes. 
Speaking of her intimacy with the friend of her heart, an artillery 
officer, with whom her relationship remained on this platonic foot- 
ing, she said: "To him I give what no other can have from me, 
my chastity/' 12 

Turning now to the United States of America, we learn here of 
the existence of houses of assignation in which couples can meet 
and unite without being exploited in any way, whether by compul- 
sion to drink or by immoderate rents ; moreover in these houses the 
hygienic condition of the rooms is said to be all that can be de- 
sired. 

The unceasing practical denial of the necessity for the hygienic 
conduct of free sexual association is the most dangerous of all the 
consequences of the hypocritical mood of our social life. Robert 
Hessen stigmatizes as "childish, dirty, and pharisaical" the whole 
system as a result of which "the illegitimate sexual life is treated 
with ethics instead of with an antiseptic solution." We have here 
an almost incredible ostrich policy. By the iron hand of authority 
an absolutely necessary social function is forced into dark and dirty 
corners, where all its possible evil consequences accumulate at com- 
pound interest. We shut our eyes tightly where we should open 

"Michels, op. tit., pp. 82, 83. 
u Op. cit., p. 84. 



194 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

them exceptionally wide ; we make use of arbitrary force in a mat- 
ter in which the most tender and delicate manipulation is requisite ; 
we endeavor to repress prostitution, instead of treating this social 
phenomenon in accordance with the simple and accepted principles 
of hygiene. The results are what we see. 

The absurdest features of the conventional attitude towards 
prostitution are perhaps seen in the extraordinary methods some- 
times recommended to render prostitution unnecessary. One advo- 
cates abstinence from butcher's meat, another extols the peculiar 
virtues of millet porridge, a third advises teetotalism. The only 
point in which all these reformers are agreed is that each has a 
firm faith in his own particular specific. The campaign against 
alcohol, the practice of out-of-door sports, and the avoidance of a 
rich and stimulating diet are undoubtedly praiseworthy tendencies 
of our time ; but it is not by such reforms in our mode of life, nor 
by physical culture, nor by an introduction of lonely young men 
to "private family life," nor even by the spread of ethical socie- 
ties, that we shall succeed in imposing the desired control upon the 
manifestations of the sexual impulse. 

Prostitution to-day fulfills a natural need, and it is therefore 
impossible to conjure it out of existence either by moral influences 
or by police repression. We can get rid of it only by rendering it 
no longer necessary. No doubt that is the avowed aim of the advo- 
cates of the various methods mentioned above; but surely there is 
something ridiculous about the attempt to replace a vital need by 
a substitute which has absolutely no bearing upon the essence and 
the nature of that need. We find that writers who in other re- 
spects are genuinely radical reformers, when they come to handle 
this particular theme, almost invariably jib at the critical moment ; 
their heart fails them when the time comes to draw the conclusion 
to which their whole argument has led up. They halt in alarm, 
hastily murmur a few high-sounding phrases about the demands of 
morality, social hygiene, humane considerations, a more profound 
view of the relations of the sexes and then they run away from 
the subject. Surely those who lack boldness for an honest attempt 



REFORM OF PROSTITUTION 195 

to deal radically with the causes of prostitution might just as well 
leave the matter alone. 

******* 

A real reform of prostitution is conceivable. The need for sex- 
ual enjoyment without elaborate preliminaries or far-reaching con- 
sequences will never disappear. Alike in the normal man and in 
the normal woman, the demands of the sexual impulse are as im- 
perative as those of hunger. But as long as the woman is used 
as a mere means to the man's end, she will in most cases be mis- 
used, and every possibility of true joy will thereby be excluded 
from the erotic process. The essence of any possible reform of 
prostitution is to be found in the transfer to the new institution 
of all the good features of the old, while getting rid of all evil and 
unclean associations. "What good features does prostitution offer 
men to-day? It renders the satisfaction of sexual need possible 
without imposing fetters on a man. It provides the possibility for 
a ready contact with the other sex in a manner which does not, 
like marriage, involve an upheaval of the entire social existence 
and which, unlike marriage, can be attained without overcoming a 
thousand difficulties. On the other hand, the evils attendant upon 
prostitution are mainly three: first of all the defamation of the 
woman, who is sacrificed as the means to another's end; secondly, 
the danger of venereal infection, which largely arises because the 
woman has no particular interest in protecting from infection the 
man who misuses her; thirdly, the moral depravation of the man, 
the woman, and the social consciousness. 

In any reform of the free sexual life, we must retain the good 
and reject the evil. This will be possible only when this free sexual 
life ceases to be the trade of a special stratum of womankind and 
becomes a social institution ranking with others that redound to 
the public good. There must no longer exist a class of women apart, 
women of a peculiar profession, by which alone they live and die. 
The votaries of the free sexual life will consist of all the men and 
of all the women who live in solitude, but to whom sexual contact 
is essential. They must meet on equal terms. Mercenary prosti- 



196 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

tution must give place to the voluntary mutual self -surrender of 
free human beings. 

It is obvious that if this is to be rendered possible it is neces- 
sary, not merely that certain social prerequisites should be fulfilled, 
but above all that the appropriate mental atmosphere should be 
created. So long as there continues to attach the slightest odium 
to this process of voluntary self-surrender on the part of a woman 
for the purpose of easy and unfettering erotic experience, and so 
long as the woman suffers in consequence the slightest social degra- 
dation, the necessary social conditions and the necessary mental 
atmosphere cannot be said to exist. 13 But when these conditions 
have been fulfilled, when our minds are so far reformed that we 
can regard such a state of affairs as enormously superior to the 
mercantile sexual life, many good results cannot fail to ensue. 
Above all, the whole caste of prostitution will become almost if not 
entirely superfluous, and not until it is superfluous can prostitution 
cease to exist. No longer would the processes of the sexual life 
so often engulf both men and women in a morass of degradation. 
If for the urgency of the senses, an urgency no truthful person 
can deny, there existed an outlet compatible with the normal hu- 
man sense of self-respect, many a hastily contracted legal union, 
such as results to-day from the sheer pressure of sexual need, would 
never take place. Moreover, if both the partners to the sexual act 
had a common interest in its hygienic conduct, the spread of the 
venereal diseases would speedily be checked. 

Now what are the psychological prerequisites of such a reform ? 
In the second book of this work reference was made to the pos- 
sibility of erotic friendship. In the fifth book there was a detailed 
discussion of the idea of the sport of love. It is by condi- 
tions deriving from these two psychological possibilities that pros- 

18 An illuminating discussion of this problem will be found in Hubert 
Wales 's novel, The YoTce. Unfortunately, however, the book has been with- 
drawn from circulation, after a prosecution on account of its alleged immoral 
tendency. Thus in England do we still stifle that free discussion of moral prob- 
lems out of which alone a truly rational morality can be born. TRANSLATORS ' 
NOTE. 



REFORM OF PROSTITUTION 197 

titution might be rendered superfluous. Some may raise the objec- 
tion that the idea of sport is too trivial for association with the 
processes of love. Let such readers call to mind the phenomena 
of contemporary prostitution, comparing these with what Lasswitz 
conceives for us of the love-sport of the Martians. Let them con- 
sider what a healing influence would be radiated over humanity 
if there no longer existed a demand for sexual renunciation. Finally 
let them compare the idea of a perfectly free and voluntary mutual 
self -surrender, one divested of all taint of pecuniary interest, with 
the detestable commercial transaction to which, for both sexes, the 
sexual act is degraded in contemporary prostitution. Those who 
examine the suggestion honestly, with minds freed from moral 
hypocrisy and sexual lies, will see that there is no reason whatever 
for refusing to a mature and civilized humanity this relief from 
the urgency of sex. Instead of a disgraceful trade bargain, instead 
of the sale or purchase of a human body for a purely animal utili- 
zation, we should have a voluntary self -surrender as the outcome 
of amity, cordiality, and sympathy. Between this group of senti- 
ments and love there are no sharp limits, there is no great gulf 
fixed, and in many instances the feelings of those who engaged in 
this voluntary mutual self -surrender might rise to the higher levels 
of love. 

It is self-evident that an absolute mastery of sexual hygiene 
and of the methods of preventing procreation are essential pre- 
conditions of any such reform. But all social reformers and all 
hygienists, all at least who are imbued with the modern spirit, unite 
with one voice in the demand that the consequences of the love-act 
should be subjected to intelligent and purposive control. They 
make this demand, not only in respect of marriage, but in respect 
of every kind of sexual relationship. In the eventualities above 
considered, not only would the shameful objective fact of prostitu- 
tion disappear, but, further, those whose loathing of prostitution is 
too intense to permit them to avail themselves of its opportunities 
would be freed from the internal torment of compulsory celibacy. 

This brings us to a consideration of the attitude of women to- 



198 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

wards this possibility. We know that women's sexual need is as 
great as and even greater than that of men. Yet it is altogether 
inconceivable that women would ever avail themselves of the serv- 
ices of a masculine order of prostitutes normal women, that is to 
say, suffering neither from the defect of sexual frigidity nor from 
the abnormal desires of women of the messalinic type. Woman's 
comparative weakness may result in her being forced to use her 
sex simply as a means of livelihood, to become a professional pros- 
titute ; but our common humanity revolts against the notion of her 
male counterpart, such as we meet to-day in close relationship with 
the female prostitute in the figure of the souteneur. To normal 
women, even if their sexual misery should become more urgent 
than it is now, it would be impossible to make use of the services 
of a male prostitute. 

It is, however, far from impossible that a healthy, normal and 
well-disposed woman should give herself to a friend, each freely 
choosing the other, in a union in which neither partner incurs any 
further and increasing responsibilities towards the other. By the 
simplicity of this process the whole sordid paradox of the duplex 
sexual morality would be exploded once for all. According to the 
duplex code, sexual need exists only for the male, and the woman 
who satisfies this need must be plunged into disgrace and misery. 
The recognition that the need exists for both sexes would destroy 
the false foundation of the twofold moral judgment ; it would facili- 
tate union for both parties, a union bringing disgrace and misery 
to neither. Let us make it perfectly clear that what is lacking is 
precisely the recognition, the frank public recognition, of this 
mutual need. Free erotic life exists to-day; but being illicit and 
unrecognized it is stamped with the characteristics of lying, fraud, 
and exploitation. Because women have no permissible free outlet 
for their sexual need, they are exposed to misadventures of all 
kinds of which marriage may be one of the worst. 

Not, however, through the wild erotic intimacy, as carried on to- 
day behind society's back, threatened by disgrace from without 
and disruptive catastrophe from within, can we find deliverance 



REFORM OF PROSTITUTION 199 

from the need for prostitution. This end can be gained only by 
means of a reformed erotic intimacy, utterly different from prosti- 
tution alike in its internal constitution and in its outward mani- 
festations. We are far from thinking that a woman of refined 
sensibilities could find gratification in sexual intercourse with a 
man in the complete absence of any other personal relationship 
between the pair. All that need be asked is the public recognition 
of the possibility of such unfettering relationships as those to 
which allusion has just been made. We do not exclude the pros- 
pect that once this possibility has been granted and once this public 
recognition has been obtained, individual men and women will 
often form intimate relationships of a non-erotic character, on a 
plane of purely mental tenderness. As soon as the necessary social 
conditions are provided, intimate relationships of very various 
kinds will become possible, and the way would be opened for the 
development of purely social and comradely intimacies. Such 
relationships might offer a valuable supplement to ordinary sexual 
experience; but they are impossible to-day owing to the current 
social attitude towards all extra-conjugal intimacy between men 
and women. Such unfettering association, inclusive or exclusive 
of the ultimate sexual union, would provide opportunities far more 
extensive than exist to-day for the discovery of the true soul-mate, 
of the one with whom life will be joined, not in sport but in earnest, 
and for life's whole duration. 

Freer opportunities for sexual experience are even more nec- 
essary, perhaps, for women than for men, in order that women 
may be emancipated from their present subordination to men's 
erotic caprices. A woman suffers in physical health, and the in- 
tegrity of her intellectual and emotional life is impaired when it 
pleases man to induce in her sexual tensions for which she can 
find no permissible discharge whereas a man can seek such relief 
for himself whenever and wherever he pleases. This is a potent 
factor in producing an unworthy clinging and dependent attitude 
on a woman 's part, even towards a man at whose hands she suffers 
untold evil. For to her he represents the one and only practical 



200 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

possibility of relief from sexual isolation, whereas to him the woman 
is but one among many possibilities. Woman's erotic enfranchise- 
ment would go far to restore to her the independence and self- 
respect she has lost in the modern perversion of courtship. In 
her behavior towards the male she would become calmer and more 
self-possessed. 

It is obvious that a voluntary erotic self -surrender of the kind 
here under consideration is conceivable and desirable only in the 
case of women who are independent in character, self-controlled 
and fully mature. The union must be one absolutely divested of 
the internal and external claims characteristic of love to-day. If 
the network of sexual lies in which women are now enmeshed were 
cleared away, and if the social conditions were favorable in other 
respects, a relationship free from mutual claims would be fully 
conceivable. Neither partner would expect, still less would claim, 
anything beyond what was freely given as the outcome of mutual 
sympathy. People would learn to bestow their hearts freely, when- 
ever this free gift brought happiness to the other ; but no one would 
offer more than was desired, as now so often happens when, after 
the first kiss, one partner immediately forces his whole heart upon 
the other without asking whether the gift is desired. A higher 
order of chastity would arise, and only when the relationship en- 
tered upon a serious and presumably permanent footing, only if 
there should ensue that ultimate and sacred union which awaits as 
a possibility behind every love-act, would each partner offer to 
the other all the treasures of the individuality. 

Yet to-day every sexually eager youth and every amorous demi- 
vierge is rash enough to venture upon this out-pouring of personal- 
ity. In the sport of love, under the conceived conditions, no more 
would be bestowed than the kindliness and charm of a well-disposed 
nature in interaction with another person of sympathetic tempera- 
ment, and each partner would thus give to the other all that in 
such a relationship is really required. In all existing erotic rela- 
tionships a disastrous egoism seems rampant, being equally char- 
acteristic of stolen hours of love and of the sentiment of ownership 



REFORM OF PROSTITUTION 201 

attendant on legal marriage. In all unions alike the partners' 
first act is to institute a vast series of claims. We may hope that 
this shameless inroad upon the privacy of another personality will 
be finally abolished by the civilized sport of love. It will ulti- 
mately come to be regarded as a vestige of barbaric life, transmitted 
probably by inheritance from our ape-like prehuman ancestors. 
Thus the sport of love, which may seem trivial at first glance, will 
be seen to involve a cultivation of the altruistic sense, and to entail 
moral consequences of primary importance. 

Two explanations are perhaps requisite to avoid the possibility 
of misunderstanding. The reformed modes of love we have been 
considering will become practically possible only under the re- 
formed mental conditions of the future. As things are to-day, a 
woman must rather be advised to accept resignation and to endure 
celibacy than to risk the loss of self-respect in unavailing conflict 
with the world. The author is writing, not pro domo, but pro 
futuro. Secondly, it may be pointed out that the demand that 
in the sport of love there must be complete exclusion of economic 
considerations (since by this means alone can the sport be freed 
from all taint of prostitution) is nowise inconsistent with the views 
of the economic basis of sexual unions expounded in an earlier sec- 
tion. The fusion of economic interests is not desirable unless a 
permanent sexual union is in contemplation. 

******* 

Our sexual order, our sexual laws and sexual morality, take ac- 
count of nothing but extremes: recognizing on the one hand pure 
ideals and visionary altitudes, and on the other the desert of non- 
existence, the weary void of complete renunciation. In actual 
experience, however, human nature and human needs enforce the 
adoption of some position intermediate between these two poles. 
Effective reform must deal with the middle principles of practical 
application, steering its course between the Scylla of the unattain- 
able ideal and the Charybdis of anarchic chaos. While avoiding 
the chaos of unsolved problems and unfulfilled needs, no prac- 
ticable proposal for reform can hold out a promise of uniform 



202 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

and ideal happiness. But reform can intermediate, intermediate 
between the unattained and unattainable star of the ideal which 
shines ever on the path jof advancing humanity, and the weary 
waste of the conditions wherein we live and strive to-day. A 
bridge-builder, an intermediary such is the reformer, whose heart 
is ever torn by the characteristic miseries of his time, who suffers 
in his own person for the good of humanity. 



BOOK VII 
SEXUAL NEED AND THE WOMAN'S MOVEMENT 

"It seems very strange to me that women should seek new duties 
for themselves. . . ." 

"Duties are associated with rights; they provide money, power, 
and honor, and it is for these things that women strive." 

He understood everything when he saw in Kitty's heart the 
dread of despised old-maidenhood and he dropped the subject. 

TOLSTOI, ANNA KARENINA. 

CHAPTER XX 



Necessity of Remunerated Work for Women To-day. Difficulty of Provid- 
ing a Dowry and Consequent Difficulty of Marriage. Statistical Data. 
Technical Advances Tending to Lighten Domestic Work. Need for the 
Extension of Communal Activity in the Upbringing of Children. The 
Eugenic Problem. The Woman's Movement Necessitates an Amplified 
Classification of Feminine Types. Motherhood Must Be Possible for 
Every Healthy Woman and Independent Remunerated Work Must Be 
Open to All. Such Work a Necessary Transitional Phase on the Way 
to Sexual Enfranchisement. The Sexual Bond-slavery of To-day. 
Emancipation: Economic, Spiritual and Sexual. 

rilHE facts known to us about the origin of marriage suffice to 
*- prove that the institution developed out of religious hetairism. 
In the dawn of Greek history, indeed, a permanent conjugal union 
was regarded as ' ' a deviation from the natural laws of matter ' ' * 
and women living in such unions were sometimes forced into tran- 

1 Bachofen, Das Mutterrecht. 

203 



204 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

sient ceremonial hetairist practices. We have seen that the transi- 
tion from religious prostitution to marriage was bridged by the in- 
stitution of the dowry a dowry earned by the priestesses of Venus. 
But with the degradation of hetairism this way of earning a dowry 
was discountenanced, and it became essential that girls should be 
dowered by their families. For it has been generally held to be 
impossible for the husband, by his unaided exertions, to provide 
for the wife, for the children, and for the expenses of setting up 
house. Some contribution by the wife has consciously or uncon- 
sciously been considered an indispensable prerequisite to procrea- 
tion. Throughout human history, as a supplement to or substitute 
for the dowry, the joint labor of the wife has been an economic 
factor of primary importance in the up-keep of the household, 
although thousands of years had to elapse before there was even 
the most grudging admission that the wife's labors in the house, 
in the fields, and elsewhere, are in any sense an economic and 
social counterpoise to the labors of the husband. Such labors have 
always been demanded from the wife, but their recognition as an 
economic factor dates only from our own time, and the true estima- 
tion of their value in terms of current exchange and their material 
compensation on this basis are reserved for the future, for there 
can be no doubt that in the future the social value of woman 's func- 
tions as wife, mother, and housewife will have to be definitely ap- 
praised and remunerated. 

This will be a development of the more rational organization 
of to-morrow. But to-day it becomes ever more impossible to 
provide the husband with the help he needs by the method of the 
dowry, since fathers are less and less able to spare anything for 
the establishment of their daughters in marriage. More slowly 
than ever before do men attain a degree of economic independence 
rendering marriage practically possible. Hence, under the eco- 
nomic possibilities of our time the increasing importance of women 's 
independently remunerated work as a means of contributing to the 
maintenance of the family work supplementary to or replacing 
women's ordinary domestic occupation. 



ORIGIN OF THE WOMAN'S MOVEMENT 205 

V Those who object to independent remunerated work for women 
assure us that motherhood is woman's true vocation. But in the 
absence of social provision for the fulfillment of this vocation, 
and if women are cut off from independent work, those only can 
fulfill the vocation of motherhood whose husbands can provide for 
the entire maintenance of the family. There are few such men 
to-day, and their number ever diminishes. How can a woman be 
reasonably expected to stake her existence on a vocation of whose 
possibility she is afforded no guarantees ? It is true that the attain- 
ment of fitness for other occupations depends upon the fulfillment 
of certain conditions, but the fulfillment of these conditions is 
within the sphere of the individual will and depends on the indi- 
vidual's own capacities, so that the power to fulfill them is cal- 
culable. Altogether incalculable on the other hand are the chances 
of winning the great prize for as such we must regard happy 
marriage and motherhood if it is to depend upon maintenance by 
the husband, and if it is to be won without any shameful compro- 
mises affecting the essence of love and thus imperiling the welfare 
of the species. 

A study of statistical data shows with how little justification 
women can count on attaining this haven of conjugal maintenance. 
From the German census of the year 1895 we learn that of the 
entire unmarried feminine population of marriageable age, sixty- 
seven per cent, more than two-thirds, were working for a living. 
If we narrow the limits of the marriageable age to the three middle 
decades of life, we find that in Germany more than half the women 
between twenty and fifty are unmarried. From the age of 
twenty to the age of thirty, fifty-seven and a half per cent are de- 
pendent upon their own exertions. Of women between thirty and 
forty, indeed, seventy-seven and a quarter per cent are provided 
for by marriage; but during the succeeding decade, from the age 
of forty to the age of fifty, owing to the increasing prevalence of 
widowhood, the percentage of women unprovided for rises by a 
full fourth. From the age of fifty upwards we find once more that 
more than half of all women are dependent upon their own exer- 



206 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

tions. Even in the case of married women between the ages of 
thirty to fifty, the provision furnished by marriage is so often in- 
adequate that about twenty-five per cent of these have to engage 
in remunerated work. These figures are taken from an article by 
Marie Lichnewska, which appeared in Mutterschutz in 1907. "No 
man," continues this writer, "can be reproached for speculating 
on the possibility of receiving a dowry with his wife, for whether 
he be judge or policeman, commissioned or non-commissioned of- 
ficer, school-master, physician or man of business, he knows he will 
have to face the most serious deprivations if the woman he marries 
is altogether without property. Only recently has it been clearly 
recognized that one human being is unable to maintain four or 
five others. ' ' But the man, forced by economic necessity to remain 
wifeless, childless and homeless, is the product of a social malevolu- 
tion which strikes at the root of the well-being of our race. 

There are two important departments of social life which hith- 
erto, in the family economy, have been dealt with by rule of thumb 
and therefore inadequately. I refer to the provision and prepara- 
tion of food and to the education of children. With the institu- 
tion of social control, a far higher level of efficiency will be at- 
tained in both these departments. In matters of dietetics we still 
grope in the dark ; the individual housewife, in her own kitchen, is 
incompetent to solve the problem, and the profit-making restaurant' 
keeper has no interest in its solution. Hardly less haphazard, in 
many respects, is the practice of education. We shall not see the 
end of this dilettantism until the community intervenes, delib- 
erately and purposively, inspired by one sole interest, the general 
welfare. Society must take charge, beginning with the proper care 
of infancy, supervising the general education on the widest human- 
istic lines, and controlling also secondary education, the specialized 
training necessary to fit citizens for their life-occupations as adults. 
Sooner or later private parental activity must be supplemented or 
replaced by communal activity. It becomes more and more abun- 
dantly clear that no private individual is competent to supply all 
the factors necessary for the best upbringing of the child. Hence, 



ORIGIN OF THE WOMAN'S MOVEMENT 207 

in most cases, essentials are lacking because individuals cannot 
provide them. Our families swarm with children whose upbring- 
ing is defective or erroneous. It is the right and the duty of the 
community to intervene, for the child belongs to the community as 
well as to the individual parent. 

If a new social order is to be created we must effect a harmoni- 
ous compromise between the rights and duties of the individual 
and the rights and duties of the community. Thus alone will the 
economic misuse of valuable human energies be brought to an 
end, and this is true above all as regards the energies of women. 
It is uneconomic for a hundred housewives at a hundred separate 
kitchen fires to prepare a meal for a hundred separate families; 
it is uneconomic for a whole individual human life to be devoted to 
the unorganized and unsystematic rearing of the young; it is un- 
economic that, to enable her to bring up her children by rule of 
thumb, a woman should be deprived of all chance of strengthening 
her individuality and widening her culture and should thus be 
robbed of her best possibilities of doing good work for her chil- 
dren. From a society reformed in the socialist sense we may con- 
fidently expect such improvements in the family economy and in 
educational life as will render unnecessary the dreadful sacrifice 
now demanded from the woman who has to support herself by 
her own exertions the sacrifice involved in the renunciation of 
motherhood. 

We may here consider a matter often overlooked, namely, that 
members of the older, less active, but more experienced generation 
are specially equipped to furnish help in the upbringing of the 
young, to furnish help to those members of the younger genera- 
tion actively engaged in the work of procreation or more strenu- 
ously involved in the struggle for existence. Thus energies that 
might otherwise rust from disuse may find active and useful em- 
ployment. (So far as I am aware, but one writer of note has made 
a suggestion of this kind, Schopenhauer, in his essay on Tetragamy, 
a somewhat rough-hewn proposal for sexual reform. He suggests 
that the older woman, the first beloved of a pair of men, should 



208 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

assist the second beloved of this same pair in the upbringing of 
the children.) People cannot, they should not, wait to begin the 
work of procreation until they have gained a victory in the struggle 
for existence. Yet while actively engaged in this struggle it is 
impossible for them to give proper attention to the thousand and 
one needs of the young. Hence help in the upbringing of chil- 
dren should be given by those who have completed their term of 
economic service and by those who are not yet old enough to indue 
the economic harness. 

When we demand that the upbringing of children should be- 
come more largely than at present a matter of communal concern, 
the objection may be raised that the mother is the best person to 
bring up her own child. Yet no unconditional assent can be given 
to this proposition. It is not merely the thoughtless woman who 
is unsuited for such duties : women in other respects of high quality 
may be quite inapt in this particular connection. Others, again, 
while well fitted to guide their children in the mental sphere, to 
train the development of the intellectual, the emotional, and the 
voluntary life, are far from competent to give due attention to that 
material side of a child's existence which is a no less essential part 
of its upbringing. 

Here the thoughtful eugenist may inquire whether women un- 
fitted for the education of children should engage in the work of 
education at all, whether it would not be better that their type 
should be eliminated. But why should this be necessary? Such 
women may be endowed with admirable qualities which they are 
able to transmit to their offspring by inheritance, and this is the 
most important matter of all the hereditary equipment which 
children receive through the germ-plasm. It is of the first im- 
portance that a woman mentally independent and possessed of a 
good physique should give children to the world; whether there- 
after she should care for them herself, should seek the help of other 
individuals, or should entrust them to the community, is a con- 
sideration altogether secondary. To a child it matters little who 
washes the baby linen, who hears the lessons, and who prepares 



ORIGIN OF THE WOMAN'S MOVEMENT 209 

the meals provided, of course, that these elementary needs receive 
proper attention whether at the mother's hands or at those of an- 
other. The most essential question is, who has fathered the child 
and of what mother it is born. 

Thus it must be a first aim of the woman's movement, in co- 
operation with the eugenic movement, to facilitate the reproductive 
activity of "fit" women, of women intellectually and morally inde- 
pendent. Even if remunerated work on the part of such women 
interferes with their personal services to their children (a result 
neither invariable nor necessary), it is essential that they should 
become mothers. It is far more important to children that they 
should inherit a self-contained, strong, and healthy individuality, 
than that their mother should herself be always on hand to attend 
to their elementary needs. 

Too little attention has hitherto been paid to the requirement 
that the future generation should be the offspring of the union of 
intellectually well-dowered women with men who are "fit" and 
fully equipped in the best sense of the words. On the contrary, in 
present conditions, in which these "new women" are misfits in 
the old social order, their type is for the most part actually elimi- 
nated. In the first place, while well-dowered intellectually, they 
are not usually rich in this world 's goods ; in the second place, they 
do not, like the ordinary stay-at-home girl, seek marriage blindly 
as an end in itself, regardless of preferential choice; and in the 
third place, being as a rule working women and likely to forfeit 
position and income if they become wives and mothers, they are 
often forced to remain single. All these factors have an anti- 
selective influence and operate to the detriment of eugenic progress, 
for in the interest of the uplifting of the general intellectual level of 
the race it is eminently desirable that such women in especial, in so 
far as they are also physically healthy, should procreate their kind. 
Experience shows that it does not suffice for eugenic progress that 
the father alone should be intellectually well dowered. The off- 
spring of great men are apt to be altogether inferior to their imme- 
diate progenitors in intellectual force and vital energy. It is 



210 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

essential that the maternal elements in procreation should be on a 
level as high, or nearly as high, as the paternal. Robert Miiller 
writes: "It is well-known that the offspring of men of genius 
are often persons of no account. It is obvious that this must de- 
pend upon the fact that the wives of these men have in brain- 
development been altogether inferior to the husbands. The in- 
ferior intellectual equipment of the sons of distinguished men 
must thus be regarded as a reversionary phenomenon." 2 In the 
case of men of note, as we learn from their biographies, talent, 
genius and faculty are most often inherited from the mother. 

It is not society alone that finds it difficult to place such women ; 
the individual man of our day "does not know what to make of 
them." When the time comes for him to play his part in the 
work of reproduction, he will seek out the well-dowered daughter 
of a family in good circumstances ; for the purposes of ' * love, ' ' he 
avails himself of the possibilities of prostitution and the liaison 
but the new woman is beyond the range of his understanding. 
******* 

The woman's movement will render necessary an amplified 
classification of feminine types. Hitherto society has been satis- 
fied to arrange its women in three groups: reproductive women 
who undertake no remunerated work and are economically de- 
pendent; working women who maintain themselves by their own 
exertions and who should be excluded from the work of reproduc- 
tion; prostitutes. In addition there must be mentioned the class 
of women who neither work nor reproduce their kind, but as 
feminine dependents lead a parasitic existence in the bosom of the 
family. Necessarily, if very gradually, the rise of the woman 9 s 
movement has led to a revision of this classification. Until recently 
the social functions of women have been considered exclusively 
from a sexual outlook, altogether regardless of individual desires 
and individual needs in other spheres of activity. For one class 
of women, sex was regarded as constituting in itself an all-satisfy- 
ing occupation; other women were to be altogether desexualized 

'Robert Miiller, Sexualbiologie, p. 329. 



ORIGIN OF THE WOMAN'S MOVEMENT 211 

and to constitute a class of neuter "workers." This classification 
differs from that of the bee community in two respects only: the 
queens are numerous; and between the queens and the neuter 
workers there exists an intermediate class engaged in the practice 
of prostitution. 

From the first, even at the time when the woman's movement 
appeared to be concerned only with the struggle for material exist- 
ence, this movement manifested a powerful tendency, at first 
largely unconscious and unrecognized, and by many not recognized 
even to-day, towards a revision of the sexual categories of society. 
The aims of this tendency are threefold : to enable the reproductive 
woman to pursue other social activities in addition to the work of 
reproduction; to enable the working woman to take her share in 
the work of reproduction ; and to render the prostitute superfluous 
in the prostitute to liberate the woman. 

The leading aim of the woman's movement must be to render 
motherhood possible to every healthy woman. The sexual need 
of our daughters (the phrase is Lili Braun's) cries to heaven. 
They are offered independent remunerated work as a substitute. 
It is true that neither sexual, nor intellectual, nor spiritual eman- 
cipation, is possible without economic emancipation. Moreover, 
the good results of the urgent need for economic emancipation are 
partly shown in the diversion of the minds of these daughters of 
ours from the expectation of a vital destiny which in so many in- 
stances is out of their reach. Economic need saves many of them 
from the disastrous folly of an upbringing which would fit them 
for a purely vegetative existence. And even apart from the eco- 
nomic pressure which forces women to become independent workers, 
it cannot be denied that independent work furnishes for women at 
least a partial relief from their sexual misery. If, then, we feel 
an instinctive repugnance when we see so many blooming women 
and girls sitting in offices and anterooms tapping upon typewriters, 
if we feel that we should much rather see them busied as mothers 
with the upbringing of their children, or engaged in the cultivation 
of their minds, if we could wish them to be freed from this bond- 



212 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

slavery to common and uninteresting work, free to devote them- 
selves to the maintenance and guardianship of all that is best in 
civilization, to intermediate in the transmission to the next genera- 
tion of all the highest values of our time we have nevertheless 
to admit that such work as is now open to them is at any rate 
better for our girls than if they were to spend unoccupied and un- 
profitable years, wearing out their lives in expectation of the 
destiny for which alone they are supposed to have come into ex- 
istence and yet a destiny which for so many of them will inevitably 
remain unfulfilled. 

Once more, to sit and write in offices is better than to carry 
stones, to dig ditches, to work to the death in factories or, for a 
starvation wage, to stitch, stitch, stitch all day like the tragic figure 
of The Song of the Shirt in a word, better than the toilsome, 
debasing and underpaid kinds of work to which alone, until re- 
cently, woman has had access, are the quasi-intellectual occupa- 
tions into which women have of late forced their way. I will even 
venture to maintain that it is better for a woman thus to provide 
for her own subsistence in a manner compatible with the preserva- 
tion of the human self-respect, than to give herself, in an un- 
happy marriage, as bond-slave to the first comer; it is better, too, 
for her to earn her living as a typist than to vegetate through 
life as an old maid of the " cultivated class," better than being 
burned as an Indian widow, better than enduring in a brothel 
what Hedwig Dohm speaks of as the helot-service of love. 

In a volume published forty years ago, I recently found an 
argument bearing on this question of woman's independent work. 
It runs as follows: "If differences in bodily structure were in- 
tended to furnish decisive indications as to the suitability of dif- 
ferent occupations for the two sexes, assuredly nature would have 
given some indication of this in the lower animal world. In bodily 
form, the lioness differs from the lion much as woman differs from 
man. Has anyone ever heard that the lion feeds the lioness, or 
that my lady tigress allows herself to be maintained by my lord 
tiger? Lion and lioness, tiger and tigress, equally savage and 



ORIGIN OF THE WOMAN'S MOVEMENT 213 

dreadful, pursue their prey; unpityingly male and female alike 
tear the victim to pieces. ' ' 3 Who, we may add, has ever observed 
in the animal kingdom that the work which provides the better 
subsistence is reserved for the male, while that which provides 
the worse is allotted to the female ? . . . Returning to the question 
of maintenance, it is true that when the female among mammals 
is bearing and suckling the young, and when the female bird is 
hatching out the eggs, the male undertakes to maintain his mate. 
But this care is reserved for these periods. When not engaged 
in the work of reproduction, the female never remains unoccupied 
in the nest or the lair ; as busily and as independently as the male 
she undertakes the search for food. 

Woman's work is necessary as a transitional phase which must 
be traversed as we pass from the sexual misery of to-day towards 
that coming sexual enfranchisement which is woman's most essen- 
tial need. Thus independent work must not be regarded as a 
mere derivative, serving to distract attention from the ever-present 
sexual misery ; it is, in addition, a means and a pathway to sexual 
freedom. A first attempt, perhaps, and leading us by a circuitous 
path; yet all the new fields of work opening to women are none 
the less intimately associated with the sexual endeavor, the sexual 
need, and the sexual will, of woman and of society. Not so clearly 
as it might be is this recognized or understood, and in this case as 
in others it is perhaps as well that pioneers are not always fully 
conscious of their own goal. 

******* 

It is not only on economic grounds that the woman 's movement 
is indispensable, not only as the unconscious means for restoring 
to the work of reproduction those millions of women whose type 
is being eliminated by the reversed selection of to-day, but in addi- 
tion for reasons of spiritual emancipation. Those in whose hands 
is placed an excess of power inevitably deteriorate. By the perver- 
sion of courtship men have been given an excess of power, so that 

8 Hedwig Dohm, Die wissenschaftliche Emancipation der Frau. Berlin, 
1874. 



214 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

the sexes now face one another with their natural roles reversed. 
To find a way out of this perverted situation it is essential that 
women should secure some means of subsistence independent of 
their individual experiences with men. Under the pressure of 
necessity, owing to the disillusionments and deprivations she un- 
ceasingly suffers at man's hands, woman is undergoing a new 
adaptation, and is leaving the sphere of the emotions to enter the 
sphere of the intelligence. It is no capricious desire of novelty, no 
spontaneous impulse, which leads women to begin to emancipate 
themselves from the dominion, hitherto all-powerful, of love-experi- 
ences. Without reserve and without backward glance, woman en- 
tered this field of love to find disillusionment, to suffer abandon- 
ment, to experience all possible misuse. 

Of all varieties of bond-slavery, sexual bond-slavery is by far 
the worst. The demand for economic freedom is not the prime 
motive force of the woman's movement. In its orbit, indeed, that 
movement centers in this idea of economic freedom, as a planet 
in its orbit revolves around a star ; but this latter star itself pursues 
an orbit around a still greater star. The greater central sun of the 
whole movement, of the whole system, is the emancipated sex. 
Around this center, the entire necessary movement is directed, and 
the stars of economic freedom, of political emancipation, and all 
the rest, are no more than subsidiary aims, no more than satellite 
suns. 



CHAPTER XXI 

OPPOSITION TO THE WOMAN'S MOVEMENT 

Misconceptions of the Need for the Woman's Movement. Its Socially 
Therapeutic Function, the Historical Conditions of Its Origin, and Its 
True Line of Future Advance. Views of the Pseudo-scientists of 
Racial Progress. Views of the ^Esthetes. The Mass-movement and 
the Individual-woman's Movement. Those Emancipated from Sex 
and Those Emancipated for Sex. The Woman's Movement in Class- 
ical Antiquity: Hetairism; Amazonhood. The Old Maid Gives Place 
to the Bachelor Woman. Motherhood in Women Engaged in Creative 
Work. The Campaign for Woman's Eights Is a Means for the Attain- 
ment of the Rights of Wifehood and Motherhood, and a Necessary 
Stage in Racial Progress. 

The obstacles to the woman's movement are various and mani- 
fold. With those that derive from the reaction, with endeavors to 
suppress all new evolutionary possibilities, we need not concern 
ourselves. The attitude of the reactionaries is perfectly clear and 
readily explicable as clear and as explicable as the attitude of 
the reformers. A strange phenomenon of our time, however, is the 
lack of understanding, the lack of sympathy, with the woman's 
movement, which are exhibited even in the camp of the intel- 
lectuals. Not merely do such opponents show themselves unwilling 
to admit what to the protagonists of the woman's movement ap- 
pears self-evident, namely, the healing function of that movement 
in a diseased social organism, but they fail also to recognize the 
historical conditions in which the movement has originated, to 
grasp its nature as a necessary historical form, as the third stage 
in the history of woman's self-defense. Still less, by such op- 
ponents, is the future of the woman's movement sympathetically 
understood, still less is there a grasp of those ultimate tendencies 

215 



216 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

rooted in the sexual nature of woman, and destined to lead to the 
final enfranchisement of her sex. The pseudo-scientists, for in- 
stance, of racial progress regard the woman's movement as a 
manifestation of sex war, making woman ' ' averse from man, averse 
from the child, and averse from motherhood. ' ' * This fear is based 
upon a profound misunderstanding. It may be that in the early 
days of the movement there could be detected a sub-flavor of such 
a sentiment; but even then it was only in the sense that women 
were unwilling to stake their whole existence upon a destiny whose 
attainment was not within the scope of their own unaided powers. 
The study of- poetic literature shows us that persons of a higher 
type of sensibility have always regarded as a cure woman's abso- 
lute dependence upon what she might hope to receive at the hands 
of man. The mythos of the free woman is found incorporated in 
the types of the Walkyrie and the Amazon. Wotan 's anger against 
the Walkyrie who has disobeyed him finds expression in the curse : 

"The bloom of maidenhood 
The maiden shall lose; 
A husband shall enjoy 
Her womanly favors: 
A man and a master 
Henceforward obeying, 
By the hearth seated spinning, 
An object of scorn." 

To which she makes answer : 

"Am I one to obey 
A man and a mast erf 
No empty boaster 
Shall make me his prey! 
No nidering he 
Who wins me for his bride!" 
4 Bobert Hessen, Neue Kundschau, July, 1908. 



OPPOSITION TO THE WOMAN'S MOVEMENT 217 

The answer displays the spirit of the free woman. Her destiny, 
her existence or non-existence, shall not depend upon the will of 
any boaster, any nidering who may find her asleep. Herein is ex- 
pressed the true significance of woman 's struggle for independence. 
She is not ' l averse from man, ' ' but averse from the man of inferior 
type, from the worthless wight to whom she is to be given merely 
because he passes by while she is bound in slumber: 

"To the mountain summit 
I banish thee 
Defenceless in slumber 
There to remain, 
Until the man comes to win thee 
Who finds thee by the way and awakens 
thee." 

All that the Walkyrie, the Amazon, consciously defending her 
womanhood, now asks is that it shall not be any casual passer-by 
who finds her defenseless in slumber who shall have the power to 
make her his own. She wishes to be mistress of her own favors; 
she desires to be guarded by the fire of her own personality, which 
shall be an impassable barrier to all casual weaklings. The freer 
a woman is in the disposal of her own sex, the nobler will be the 
fruit she will bear as a mother. When it once more becomes neces- 
sary that men shall be " consecrated heroes" before they can gain 
the favor of women, we cannot doubt that the offspring of the 
human race will be of finer quality than to-day, when woman, de- 
fenseless, must give herself to any worthless wight, any nidering, 
who may chance upon her. 

******* 

It is among the intellectuals making up the special group known 
in Germany by the name of "the aesthetes" that the grossest mis- 
understanding of the woman 's movement prevails. In exemplifica- 
tion, the following passage may be quoted: "For a thousand mil- 
lion years man has been struggling with the hostile powers of 



218 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

nature. At length, having called to his aid the forces of steam 
and electricity, the powers of democracy and law, he has succeeded 
in gaining control over nature. The time has surely arrived in 
which we may think of devoting ourselves to a new culture of 
love. When we turn to contemplate woman, do we find that she 
grasps the magnificence of the present opportunity? To herself 
and to man she would surely bring more happiness did she make 
it her first aim to be beautiful and desirable, instead of studying 
medicine, shooting Russian governors, or clamoring for the 
suffrage. ' ' 5 

Beyond question it is foreign to woman's nature to become com- 
pletely absorbed in formal studies, to assassinate, or to clamor for 
the suffrage. It is under the pressure of necessity, not under that 
of her own inner impulses, that she is forced to undertake inap- 
propriate occupations. The writer just quoted admits that for 
thousands of years ever since men have been the sole or the chief 
owners of property the process of courtship has been inverted; 
that throughout this period the females of our species, instead of 
the males, "have had to deck themselves, to sing, to turn cart- 
wheels." But a time came when the perversion of courtship, 
despite all these efforts on the part of the human females, could 
no longer be relied upon to obtain for them a share in the property 
of the males. For man himself the struggle for bread had become 
so fierce that, in the first place, the intrinsic force of his erotic 
impulses was impaired, and, in the second place, he was no longer 
able, or did not become able while still reasonably young, to main- 
tain the female and the brood by his unaided exertions. It was 
necessary for woman to do her best to acquire property by her 
own independent endeavors, and this has led her to engage in 
activities which may seem inappropriate to her nature. Matters 
had to proceed to this extreme, the evil had to strike inward to 
the very root of the tree, it was essential that there should arise 
a true sexual crisis, if the portentous nature of the trouble were 
at length to receive full recognition. 

"Avincenna, in the periodical Mars, second year of issue, No. 11. 



OPPOSITION TO THE WOMAN'S MOVEMENT 219 

"We begin, in fact, to understand that the root of the mischief 
lies in the sexual misery of our time, in the enforced perversion of 
courtship, in the interference with free choice, in the suspension 
of the entire process of selection. It was to meet this evil that the 
woman's movement came into being, as a remedy is found when 
the need for it is greatest. Counter-poison, if you will, an antidote 
to an unnatural bane, a weapon for the fight against the sexual boy- 
cott imposed upon millions of both sexes by a marriage-system 
dependent upon capitalism, in the last resort a means towards the 
economic independence of woman whose maintenance by man has 
been rendered impossible by other features of capitalist develop- 
ment such is the woman's movement, in this light alone can the 
movement be understood. 

From the narrow outlook of the aesthetes a fair judgment of 
the woman's movement is impossible. We can readily understand 
that for persons of refined aesthetic sensibility, those who would 
like the phenomena of sexual contrast to persist unchanged, there 
must be much that is unpleasing about the woman's movement. 
Especially so when the movement ceases to secure increasing gains 
of culture for women and for the race, and takes the form of a 
mere sordid struggle for bread. But it is no longer possible to 
discuss the woman's movement apart from its relationships with 
the existing economic and sexual order. We fall into specious 
error, we expose ourselves to much confusion and misunderstand- 
ing, if we attempt to judge what are called the "hard facts" of 
any social phenomenon without taking into account its historical 
and economic setting, its relationships past, present, and to come. 

"A time has surely arrived in which we may think of devoting 
ourselves to a new culture of love. When we turn to contemplate 
woman, do we find that she grasps the magnificence of the present 
opportunity?" Certainly the time has arrived; the new culture 
of love is overdue. But it will not suffice to this end that woman 
should simply "be beautiful," or that she should turn cartwheels 
to attract the male. For thousands of years, as the critic of the 
movement admits, woman has done these things, in pursuit of the 



220 THE SEXUAL CEISIS 

culture of love. But since such methods no longer suffice to provide 
a subsistence, while women are more and more coming to insist 
upon the right to make free choice of a sexual partner, they must 
seek new methods of self -maintenance. In the absence of economic 
freedom, no other freedom is possible. 

*###*## 

It is a remarkable and interesting phenomenon that pari passw 
with the increase in the inadequacy of the masculine erotic impulse 
there arises from the members of that modern group we have 
spoken of as the aesthetes an ever louder and more persistent cry 
for a woman who shall be merely passive, who shall be content to 
be nothing more than "a resonator of masculine efforts towards 
perfection, ' ' 6 without being presumptuous enough to attempt 
any such effort on her own account. The decadent male, the de- 
generate, does not know what to make of the active feminine type, 
of the woman of independent personality, whose highest manifes- 
tations are represented in the myth of the amazons and in the 
figure of Briinnhilde. To such men the woman's movement seems 
merely something which leads women to make scarecrows of them- 
selves. If we seek the true source of this plaint of the aesthetes 
may we not find it not so much in a decline of womanliness as in 
a deficiency of manliness ? Relationships with women of active and 
independent type^are far more difficult, demand a more truly heroic 
quality, than those with women of a more passive type of femi- 
ninity. 

Behind these attacks on the woman's movement there does not 
in reality always exist a definite and positive attitude of mind. 
We must distinguish between arguments employed merely for 
literary display, and arguments that form a genuine part of the 
writer's outlook on life. Many of the arguments against the 
woman's movement belong to the former category; many, indeed, 
seem the outcome of mere nervous irritability, and therefore do not 
demand any serious or logical reply. Even women writers give 

Karl Scheffler, Die Frau und die Kunst. 



OPPOSITION TO THE WOMAN'S MOVEMENT 221 

vent to such anti-feminist froth, sometimes women who are classed 
as emancipated and bear well-known names. 

******* 

There is one objection made to the woman 's movement which 
deserves serious consideration. It is suggested that, speaking gen- 
erally, only defective specimens of womanhood have need of the 
movement at all. Is it not true, we are asked, that those women 
who remain in wage-earning occupations are commonly of inferior 
quality and belong to less desirable types ? And if it were so, would 
it be any the less necessary that these women also should be cared 
for in accordance with the principles of our common humanity? 
The two chief ways in which women can prove their fitness to 
satisfy men's desires to-day are the way of prostitution and the way 
of marriage, and the women in question, if equally unfit for both 
of these occupations, must make their living somehow, "or else 
they must all be strangled." 

In my own view, however, it is not in the personalities of those 
women who remain permanently exploited in the struggle for bread 
that the true essence of the woman 's movement is incorporated. It 
is here that the arguments of the aesthetes fail to grip. Behind the 
woman's movement stands the entire misused sex whose members 
are demanding elementary human rights. Those whose gaze is fixed 
upon the particular stratum of exploited women will never under- 
stand the woman's movement in its most important aspect of 
women's endeavor to realize themselves as individual human souls. 

Every really living movement for social reform has as its 
protagonists persons of two sharply contrasted types. The so- 
cialist movement brings to the front, on the one hand, the abstinent 
type of man, the man who limits and curbs his desires ; but throws 
up on the other such a leader as Lassalle, in whose blood surged 
the need for all the luxuries of the earth. It was for this very 
reason that Lassalle was a socialist just as much as, for the op- 
posite reason his antithesis, the man of restrained desires, the po- 
tential monk, is a socialist. In like manner, the woman's movement 
has produced two fundamentally contrasted types: the women 



222 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

emancipated from sex, and the women emancipated for sex. How- 
ever great the opposition between these types, each conditions the 
other, and both are absolutely essential to the woman's movement, 
for not until reform movement culminates in the production of 
such contrasted types can we feel assured that it is deeply rooted 
among the history-producing factors of its epoch. 

In one wing of the woman 's movement we see those women who 
are the horror of men of aesthetic and erotic sensibilities, who, if 
they do not actually demand emancipation from sex, yet commonly 
accept such emancipation, and insist that they find in work an 
adequate substitute for the sexual life! The other wing of the 
movement is composed of women to whom the most important 
matter is the enfranchisement of the inner self of the individual 
woman an inner self which has its roots in sex. These women 
who desire emancipation, not from sex but for sex, are, as it were, 
themselves the very incorporation of sex. But to them also eco- 
nomic freedom seems essential, since without it there can be at- 
tained neither internal freedom nor freedom of any other kind. 

There has always existed a connection between the spiritual 
aspects of the woman's movement and those women in whom sex 
feelings were especially strong. "It is probable that in Athens, 
in the fourth century B. C., the woman's movement of whose 
existence the writings of Aristophanes furnish us with obscure 
intimations was initiated by the hetairae. The most trustworthy 
accounts of Aspasia have a close resemblance to the picture that, 
Euripides and Aristophanes give of the woman 's movement. ' ' 7 
In classical times, women's movements, whether historical or 
mythological, always make their appearance in close association 
with hetairism hetairism of a high type, be it well understood, 
for the hetairae are not misused and despised prostitutes, but the 
valued friends of the leading men of their time. We find, further, 
a hidden connection between free hetairism and amazonhood. Thus 
Bachofen writes: "Amazonhood is intimately associated with 
hetairism. These two remarkable manifestations of feminine life 

1 J. Brims. Frauenemanzipation in Athen. 



OPPOSITION TO THE WOMAN'S MOVEMENT 223 

condition one another mutually, and each throws light upon the 
other/* The moment arrives, however, in which these two lofty 
representative types, both rooted in sex, joint initiators of woman's 
movements, part company. The amazon is transfigured into the 
type of the woman who desires her existence to be solely self- 
dependent, motived by her own energies alone. Such a woman 
will give herself freely, will perhaps throw herself away; but she 
will never sell herself, never, either within marriage or without, 
bestow her favor under the direct pressure of economic need. 
******* 

Returning now to our modern anti-feminists and to the objec- 
tions which from the aesthetic standpoint are raised against the 
woman's movement, we find in the writings of the aesthetes a most 
astonishing glorification of the hetaira. They demand that woman 
should be hetaira and nothing more ; and they make this demand 
without troubling to consider whether the hetaira can find to-day 
her masculine partner. The suggestion that a fully developed 
modern woman should be content with the position of a hetaira, or 
with any other position in which her vital manifestations are to be 
almost entirely restricted to the sexual sphere, is so preposterous 
as hardly to need refutation. It is as unreflective, as senseless, as 
unrelated to the actual facts of life, as is the fury which seizes 
these same aesthetes at the very idea of reformed dress for women. 8 
The aesthete who fulminates against reformed dress forgets that 
no sculptor has ever attempted the symbolical representation of the 
ideal grace and charm of woman 's body otherwise than in reformed 
dress representations of the nude of course excepted. Always 
we see a garment flowing freely from the shoulders, and adapting 
itself spontaneously to the curves of the body, and never a corseted 
figure in jacket, blouse, and skirt. Just as little do critics of the 
same order take into consideration the fact that the woman who 

8 Reformed Dress. The Beformkleid movement in Germany is widespread, 
but differs considerably from its English counterpart, the rational dress move- 
ment. The principal aims of the EeformTcleid are the abolition of the corset 
and the adoption of a high-waisted dress whose weight depends mainly from the 
shoulders. TRANSLATOR 's NOTE. 



224 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

is to-day contented with the position of "hetaira," " child-wife, " 
or the like, if she does not fall a victim to syphilis or consumption, 
if she does not suffer the direst straits of poverty, will at best be 
likely to end as she began, on the level of a dress-maker 's model. 

It is far from easy to understand what such polemists really 
want a woman to be. They are concerned chiefly with the negative 
aspects, with what a woman ought not to be. They are apt to 
agree in holding that woman should use her intelligence only to 
stimulate that of the male; she must not have an independent in- 
telligence of her own, must not be, as they phrase it, perverted by 
intellectualism. She is to be " embodied nature'' and as such "the 
incorporation of harmony." She is to stand beside man "as 
stimulus and resonator of the masculine impulse towards per- 
fection. " 9 

Is there any need to trace the psychological origin of this desire 
that in matters of the mind women should play a passive part ? Is 
it necessary to throw light on the motives of this attack on the 
woman's movement? Need we point out how extremely disagree- 
able to a man of narrow heart and mediocre intelligence must be 
the association with an independent feminine mentality ? Yet such 
association might lead a man capable of it to harmonize better 
with nature and to harmonize better with woman. These considera- 
tions need not be further pursued, for it would lower the level of 
our investigation to descend to a polemic of such an order. 

To the last detail we are told what woman is and is not, what 
she ought and ought not to be; and yet each writer wearies us 
with a different formula, though all display the same anxiety when 
they contemplate the possibility of a cultivated and intellectual 
womanhood. Whether, as in the case of the modern savage, a 
man's primary demand is that woman should come to him as a 
virgin, or whether, as in the case of the aesthete, his desire is for 
a feminine resonator, it all comes to the same in the end: "Be 
nothing more and nothing less than what 7 want you to be." 

It is, moreover, fundamentally irrational to make such com- 

Karl Scheffier, Die Frau und die Kunst. 



OPPOSITION TO THE WOMAN'S MOVEMENT 225 

parisons as are often made between masculine and feminine genius. 
What really concerns us is, not whether a woman can become a 
Goethe or a Beethoven, but whether we can enable her to develop 
to the full her own primal possibilities. Just as little as any va- 
riety of human beings can come into existence when the natural 
conditions are unsuitable for its production, so little also can the 
appearance of such a variety be prevented when the necessary 
natural conditions exist. Intellectually independent women con- 
stitute a necessary variety just as much as intellectually passive 
women. Both these types exercise a formative influence, both 
produce valuable effects, each in its own kind can be creative, each 
can be a source of inspiration. It is preposterous to assert that 
intellectual independence in woman necessarily conflicts with the 
possibility of womanly harmony. Ninon was a woman of intellect, 
and yet most beautiful and most womanly; on the other hand we 
often see extremely stupid women who are unwomanly and devoid 
of sex-feeling. 

The modern movement for woman's emancipation has unques- 
tionably produced some very unpleasant figures, such as the women 
of whom we have spoken as being emancipated from sex. Men's 
dislike of women of such a type is readily comprehensible. But 
this should not impair the objectivity with which a great social 
movement deserves to be contemplated in its entirety; it should 
not interfere with the understanding of its central motive force, 
and of its intimate associations with the sexual and economic order 
existing and to come. It is surely obvious that women who as 
emancipated Megaerae are so unloveable would not become any more 
charming if they were deprived of independent work and were de- 
void of mental cultivation. Moreover, in strata of womanhood 
altogether aloof from the woman's movement do we not encounter 
feminine types yet more unpleasing? Is not the figure of the 
misused and brutalized prostitute far more tragically repulsive ? Is 
not the dull stay-at-home daughter whose one aim in life is to get 
married, and who greets every man with the same sugary simper, 
far more nauseating ? Is not the married woman who plumes her 



226 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

self on her position and despises all her sisters who have failed to 
attain this safe harborage a more unpleasant personality? On 
the other hand, can a man worthy of the name conceive a higher 
feminine type than that of the cultivated and emancipated woman 
who also represents to the full all that is best in the feelings of 
her sex? 10 

******* 

It is in connection with the woman 's question that the suggesti- 
bility of the male is shown with especial plainness. Nearly all the 
masculine opponents are swayed by the most obvious suggestions, 
such as that the movement is out of harmony with woman's true 
nature, but they nearly all fail to recognize that a far more obvious 
disharmony is involved in the suppression of any wide-spread mani- 
festation of human effort. When the huge demonstration of the 
English suffragists took place in the year 1908, mockery and scorn 
were the prevailing notes in Germany. The aesthetizing lemurs, 
these semi-human beings, who voiced such criticism were devoid 
of all power of understanding the lofty energies which found ex- 
pression in this demonstration, one participated in by women of 
all classes, from the little work-girl to the much feted tragedienne 
and the woman of title. Women bound together by the common 
tie of sex marched through the streets of the capital, to demonstrate, 
to proclaim with one voice, "here we are, a part of the society 
which imposes its laws upon us, and since we are subject to these 
laws we demand a share in their enactment. " 

To the aesthetes it seems that the vainest, the stupidist, the most 
futile of all women's efforts is the effort to obtain the vote. This 
they regard as the climax of desexualization. But what is the prac- 
tical meaning of this gray, dull and futile vote ? The right to the 

"Some of the truly modern spirits of the Renaissance foreshadowed the 
honor that will one day be paid without question to intellectual power in 
woman. One instance will suffice. In his Eroici furori, Giordano Bruno writes: 
tf Women may be honored and loved in proportion with their deserts that is 
to say, seldom and from time to time. I am referring, of course, to those 
women whose advantages are sensual merely, and do not speak here of those 
endowed with intellectual beauty. ' ' 



OPPOSITION TO THE WOMAN'S MOVEMENT 227 

vote signifies a right to participate in legislation. But upon legis- 
lation depends whether our children attend good schools or bad; 
whether we have enough hospitals, or whether a mother must wander 
from one full hospital to another carrying a dying child in her arms ; 
whether we are oppressed by heavy taxation, or have our lives 
made easier by a good social organization; whether our men of a 
marriageable age will earn enough to render it possible for them 
to marry, or whether they will have to slave until they are old 
and gray before they are able to support wife and child ; whether 
love is possible to us without involving shame and privation for 
ourselves and our children; whether, if poverty overtakes us, the 
only refuge open to us as women is to go on the street, or whether 
there shall exist social institutions to protect us from such a fate ; 
whether motherhood is or is not to be enfranchised. Thus the path 
leading to the suffrage leads also to the right to love. The vote 
is an indispensable means for the liberation of the individual, the 
sex, the class and the species. The campaign for the vote repre- 
sents the needs of the entire misused sex. 

' ' On behalf of the political rights 1 of women the valid arguments 
are almost precisely those that have been rightly used on behalf 
of the political emancipation of the dispossessed classes, of the 
workers, of the colored races. ... To woman, the lack of the vote 
signifies: You shall have no property, no education, no right to 
your own children ; man, the physically stronger, may chastise you ; 
should you become a widow, you will be thrust out like Hagar, 
you and your helpless children, into the desert of poverty. You 
shall not earn money for yourself in any occupation in which men 
fear your competition thus saith the State. Go and earn money 
for yourself, orders the same State, the instant the fear arises that 
as a propertyless widow you may become a burden on the com- 
munity. . . . Paradoxical as it may seem, it is nevertheless true 
that it is for lack of the right to vote that women receive less than 
men for doing the same work. ... I ask every honest man if he 
thinks that such laws as our own concerning married women's 
property, concerning a mother's right in her children, concerning 



228 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

marriage, divorce, etc., would be even conceivable in a country in 
which women possessed the vote. "Women have to pay taxes like 
men, and they are responsible before the laws in whose drafting 
they have had no voice; in a word, they are subject to laws im- 
posed on them by others. In all the languages of the world this is 
termed tyranny. . . . Like the slave, woman receives whatever her 
master is kind enough to give her. ' ' " 

####### 

When they speak of the sexual demands of emancipated women, 
the anti-feminists also involve themselves in hopeless contradiction. 
If a woman makes no demands in this province, she is one, they tell 
us, who "regards her sex as a burden, sexuality as a curse and 
eroticism as a shameful and bestial coercion. ' ' 12 If, on the other 
hand, a woman desires to take her share of life in the field of love, 
then she is "animated by the most abandoned hetairist instincts." 13 
It is a remarkable fact, that both sexual anaesthesia and the inclina- 
tion to the most "abandoned" hetairism are found chiefly among 
the women furthest removed from the woman's movement. It is 
said by medical authorities that forty per cent of the women who 
have contracted marriages de convenance suffer from lack of en- 
joyment in sexual intercourse. The most abandoned form of 
hetairism is found in contemporary prostitution. The woman's 
movement is equally averse to both these extremes. 

It has been asserted that the feminist movement is responsible 
for the loosening of the ties of affection between women. Yet never 
before have there existed such possibilities of cordial comradeship 
and intimate understanding among women. No longer does the 
married woman regard the unmarried as an old maid, as a tragical 
caricature of the fateful possibilities she has herself been able to 
escape. In former days a woman whose sex-life was all denial and 
delusion, whose whole existence was sterilized, inevitably tended, 

"Hedwig Dohm, Der Frauen Natur und Eecht, Berlin, 1876; Dcr Jesuitis- 
mus im Hausstande, Berlin, 1873. 

" Karl Scheffler, Die Frau und die Kunst. 



OPPOSITION TO THE WOMAN'S MOVEMENT 229 

in the passage from girlhood to womanhood, to become the despised 
old maid. If she approached the middle of her third decade with- 
out any man having asked her in marriage, she was regarded as 
already becoming ' ' elderly. ' ' But since girls have ceased to stake 
their whole existence upon the chances of marriage, since they 
have taken to giving free play to their human energies in other 
fields, giving their lives fullness, movement and stability, they no 
longer suffer as of old if no man can be found to undertake to 
provide for them. Unmarried women abound, but these are no 
longer old maids they are bachelor women, constituting a new 
and by no means undesirable social type. Nor does this change 
result in a loosening of the ties between women, for such bachelor 
girls often set up house together. Two economically independent 
women will found a joint home, as the center of a permanent and 
intimate association, and in many cases they will adopt a child, thus 
giving proof of an undiminished need for motherhood. Although 
such an association of two bachelor women is far from providing an 
adequate substitute for the sexual partnership of man and woman, 
it cannot be doubted that it is a thousand times better than that 
adult human beings should be constrained to remain in family en- 
vironments which they have perhaps long outgrown. It is better 
also than the terrible isolation which a girl had formerly to expect 
if she left her family for any other life than that of marriage. This 
association of independent women, this rescue of their womanhood 
from the abyss of old maidhood, has been rendered possible by 
the woman's movement. 

What reasonable objection can be made to the free lives of 
these bachelor women of our day, whether they live singly or in 
couples? Why refuse to the economically independent young 
woman the social freedom granted without demur to the eco- 
nomically independent young man ? If a woman is out of harmony 
with her family environment, and if she has no opportunity of a 
marriage which to her seems worth the sacrifice of her freedom, 
what objection can there be to her living in her own comfortable 
dwelling, maintained by her own independent earnings living 



230 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

as a free bachelor woman, caring for herself, and rejoicing in her 
life? Instead of passing the weary years in bitterness of heart 
as an old maid living in the family of some married relative, play- 
ing "aunt" to another woman's children, rejoiced if anyone is 
good enough to make her a present of a cast-off dress, we find her 
at home in her self-made, self-pleasing domesticity. Instead of 
growing old, stiff, and dull, because her life holds not even a past 
which was worth the living, she remains young and elastic, for 
she has a present. To a woman to-day it is a disgrace to be "a 
woman with a past." But what a monstrous fate is that of the 
woman who has no past at all ! 14 

******* 

The question is often mooted whether, if women engage in any 
sort of creative work, this does not necessarily involve a suppres- 
sion of the specifically feminine feelings and experiences, a sac- 
rifice, as it were, imposed on her worshipers by a jealous goddess. 
In deciding upon this question each of us will naturally tend to 
put most trust in his own experience. I do not myself believe 
that an atrophy of specific womanly possibilities increases the 
creative powers ; on the contrary, I consider that it is only through 
the fullest enjoyment of all womanly experiences that a woman will 
best develop her most individual, most intellectual, and most 
spiritual qualities. Again and again it has been asked whether 
womanly experiences and intellectual work are mutually com- 
patible, and collective investigations have even been undertaken 
to decide the point. To me it seems that a life in which sexual 
fulfillment is denied is incompatible with fine creative work, at 
any rate in a healthy woman in whom the instinctive life is nor- 
mally developed. In exceptional cases of the kind, creative activity 
may become possible after a fierce struggle, or perhaps when re- 
markable suffering has made such a woman a seer. But these in- 

14 Of such a woman, an "old maid." of fifty, living with her father of 
ninety, Victor Hugo writes: "II y avait dans toute sa personne la stupeur 
d'une vie finie qui n'a pas commencee. ' ' Les Miser obles, Part III, Book II, 
Chap. VIII. TRANSLATOR'S NOTE. 



OPPOSITION TO THE WOMAN'S MOVEMENT 231 

stances are necessarily rare, for how should one whose womanly 
destiny confines her to the desert of sexual renunciation find in 
that void the energy essential to any kind of active work? It is 
perfectly true that the physical changes incidental to motherhood 
often lead to extensive disturbances of the creative powers. The 
interruptions, however, are but temporary. During pregnancy 
and lactation most of a woman's strength must undoubtedly be 
devoted to these specific feminine functions, and a wise social econ- 
omy will take into account the tribute thus paid by women to the 
species and will discharge its obligations to those who become 
mothers by providing them with adequate remuneration. But 
motherhood need be no more than an episode in the long term of 
a woman's life; and before and after she devotes herself to this 
function she can find abundant time for other socially useful work. 
What has once been thoroughly learned is never forgotten, and 
when the exacting claims which her children at first make upon a 
mother's time have been satisfied to the full, she will be able to 
resume, and perhaps with enhanced energy, the activities of earlier 
days. Until recently the opponents of the woman's movement 
have been fond of saying that the woman who sought emancipa- 
tion was animated by the desire to escape the burdens of child- 
bearing and child-rearing, by the selfish wish "to live her own 
life." Since the woman's movement in Germany has given birth 
to the Bund fiir Mutterschutz [Union for the Protection of Mother- 
hood], and since day by day the woman's movement manifests it- 
self more and more definitely as a motherhood movement, the 
futility of this accusation requires no demonstration. 

The imputation of a desire for childlessness, though inappli- 
cable to the intellectual woman, may be directed with some justice 
against the intellectual man. Almost all men, indeed, dislike father- 
hood in so far as it involves for them the smallest personal dis- 
comfort. It is only when the whole mass of suggestions involved 
in the conception of "family life" take effect upon a man's mind 
that he becomes inspired to play the father's part. One of fine 
type will love even his illegitimate children, once he has produced 



232 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

them ; but very rarely indeed does such a man desire them before 
they exist. He turns his back on love itself directly he fears that 
love is going to bestow upon him the boon of fatherhood. In his 
essay upon asceticism, Nietzsche 15 assures us that a married philos- 
opher belongs to the region of comedy. When the birth of his son 
was announced to him Buddha complained, "Rahula 16 has been 
born to me ; fetters have been rivetted on my limbs. ' ' 1T Until 
quite recently a woman's destiny was absolutely dependent upon 
her overcoming this masculine dislike to marriage and fatherhood. 
More and more unworthy, more and more intolerable, grew her 
position ; more and more did she find it essential, either by meretri- 
cious arts appealing to his sensual nature or else by bribery in the 
form of a dowry, to constrain man to fulfill his share in their 
common destiny.- 

Motherliness has been characteristic of women endowed with 
the highest order of creative faculty. Gerhardt and Simon estab- 
lish this very clearly in their biographies of George Eliot, George 
Sand, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Marcelline Desbordes-Valmor, Eliza- 
beth Barrett Browning, Mary Somerville, Mary Wollstonecraft, 
Mme. de Stael, Mme. Roland, and many others. 18 All these women 
were mothers, tender and self-sacrificing, and they all engaged in 
creative activities, their work being great, profound, and on a 
high ideal plane. In many intellectual women, moreover, to whom 
for one reason or another the physical fulfillment of motherhood 
has been denied, the maternal instinct is highly developed. There 
is a conflict, in my view, not between intellectual creation and the 
fulfillment of woman's natural destiny, but between intellectual 
creation and the non-fulfillment of that destiny. An honest study 
of this question would involve the asking of women to whom mar- 

15 Genealogie der Moral. 

"A little demon. 

17 "He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune, for 
they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief. Cer- 
tainly the best works and of greatest merit for the public have proceeded from 
the unmarried or childless men. " Bacon, Of Marriage and Single Life. 
TRANSLATOR'S NOTE. 

18 Mutterschaft und geistige Arbeit. 



OPPOSITION TO THE WOMAN'S MOVEMENT 233 

riage and motherhood have been denied to inform us to what 
extent they believe such non-fulfillment to have impaired their 
powers. Were perfect frankness in such a matter possible, much 
light would be thrown on some of the secrets of creative activity. 
******* 

What is the woman 's movement, what are its aims ? We have to 
ask these questions afresh, for it is certain that the movement 
neither is nor aims at what most of its opponents impute. Doubt- 
less woman wants her share of money, power, and respect, and she 
desires that these good things should be made accessible to her in 
other ways than through the door of marriage. More than all, how- 
ever, woman demands the right to dispose freely of her own life, 
and this right can be secured to her only through the attainment 
of economic independence. Women seek remunerated employment 
as a means to an end, the end being material, social, and moral 
progress. If the-will-to live is to remain active, a human being 
must have some sort of future prospect, some hope whose fulfill- 
ment depends on his own energy and capacity. Until our own day 
woman was practically without future as an individual, and was 
expected to rest content in the future she could find in the lives 
of her children. Yet it is the inalienable right of every human 
being to have a personal, an individual destiny altogether apart 
from that which we all share as members of the species. 

Thus I regard the struggle for the rights of women as no more 
than a means to an end, as a pathway to the attainment of the 
rights of wifehood, the right of a woman to the free self-determina- 
tion of the whole of her life, including motherhood and love, as 
a means for the expansion of her individuality, whereby she may 
become a better human being. Inasmuch as, in her relationships 
with man, woman will find no freedom unless she be economically 
enfranchised, economic enfranchisement is indispensable. In sex- 
ual choice she must become perfectly free, absolutely independent 
of economic coercion, and this not merely for the increase of her 
own possibilities of happiness, but, in addition, to enable her to 
contribute towards the improvement of the fruit of that racial 



234 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

process wherein she plays so essential a part. 19 Sex is the ultimate 
foundation of the woman's movement. Since women were being 
starved into submission, were being forced into the most shame- 
ful dependence upon anyone who could provide them with a morsel 
of food, they were compelled to organize actively in their own be- 
half. But the woman's movement, which will free women from 
their present degrading dependence upon men, is not inspired by 
any sentiment of revenge, for its general aim is one of redemption. 
It opens a way towards the redemption of the enchained and mis- 
used sexual life of man and woman. Of many means that must co- 
operate towards this end, the woman's movement is merely the 
first and the most immediately available. But the ultimate goal is 
something wider and grander than this means. The goal is the 
Protection of Motherhood, and as we draw nearer to it the woman 's 
movement will give place to the deliberate and purposive initiative 
of the community at large. 

"Writing of the endowment of motherhood, H. G. Wells says (A Modern 
Utopia, p. 189) : "It will abolish the hardship of those who do not marry on 
account of poverty, or who do not dare to have children. The fear that often 
turns a woman from a beautiful to a mercenary marriage will vanish from 
life." TRANSLATOR'S NOTE. 



CHAPTER XXII 

THE JUSTIFICATION OP AN ACTIVE LIFE FOB WOMEN 

Duty of the "Monads" Art and Sex. Woman's Intuitive Knowledge and 
Its Utilization in Her Occupation. Need That Women Should Share 
in All Occupations. Woman's Art as a Reflex of Her Life-experience. 
Woman's Right to Self-expression. 

"The Monad can maintain itself only in a state of restless 
activity, and whether this activity be of one kind or another, the 
Monad must never lack occupation/' Thus writes Goethe, in his 
criticism of the Kantian morality. This imperative imposed upon 
the Monad furnishes a most convincing argument on behalf of the 
woman's movement. Activity, expenditure of energy, occupation 
suited to the natural capacities, is not only the duty, but is also 
the right of every Monad, not excepting women. In contradistinc- 
tion to the false mysticism of modern times, the mysticism of 
Goethe has a positive and pantheistic background, and for him 
activity has a metaphysical and mystical significance. This view 
of the essential need for activity supplies a justification, not ma- 
terial merely, but also ideal and platonic, for activity on the part 
of women altogether independent of the exercise of their purely 
womanly functions (which, in truth, are passive rather than active 
in character). The activities most suitable for women cannot be 
determined a priori but must be deduced from a study of the 
actual results of the woman 's movement. In each case the ultimate 
grounds for a decision will be purely individual. This much, how- 
ever, appears probable, that women generally excel men in the 
differentiation and the fineness of their sensibilities, in a word, in 
general spiritual cultivation; whereas they are apt to be inferior 
to men in technical aptitudes. The distribution of their respective 



236 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

spheres of activity should correspond, on the whole, to these varia- 
tions in natural endowment. We should be less inclined to impose 
upon women than upon men any kind of work which involves 
specialized skill; whereas, where we are concerned with sifting 
and distinguishing, with the discovery of natural law by a process 
of imaginative intuition, it is probable that the man has a real 
need of woman 's aid. A province in which, in the future, women 's 
effective cooperation would seem to be indispensable is that of the 
reform of our laws, not juridical laws merely, but social and moral 
laws as well. Masculine morality has proved inadequate. For 
the necessary reform of moral values women's cooperation is in- 
dispensable, the contribution which their exclusive experience is 
solely competent to furnish. If for this reason alone, men need 
women's help; and from this outlook the dispute as to which sex 
is the more intellectually gifted appears utterly idle. 

In the one-sided character of the masculine judgment we per- 
haps find the explanation of masculine strength. Many men of 
the first rank were by no means among the wisest of their sex, 
being, rather, men of narrow views, like Bismarck, Napoleon, and 
Nietzsche. A highly gifted woman, on the other hand, is perhaps 
less often overwhelmingly great in any one field; we find that 
she tends to be more synthetic in her general reasoning power, 
to take more comprehensive views, to draw more forcible and more 
closely knit deductions, to be endowed with a keener intuitive 
understanding of the interconnections of things we find, in a 
word, that she is wiser. Precisely on account of this peculiar en- 
dowment, she seems fitted, on the intellectual plane, to complement 
1jhe work of man. Physiologists have endeavored to explain 
woman 's remarkable capacity for insight into matters that lie under 
the eyes of all, but which man is apt to ignore or to misunder- 
stand. Burdach showed that "the average head and brain in 
woman is, indeed, somewhat smaller than in man, and yet in rela- 
tion to the rest of the body they are greater and heavier than in 
the male, so that the ratio between the weight of the bones of the 
skull and that of the whole skeleton is in woman as 1 : 6 and in 



JUSTIFICATION OF AN ACTIVE LIFE FOR WOMEN 237 

man as 1 : 8. The celebrated anatomist Cuvier regarded animals 
as placed higher or lower in the animal kingdom in accordance 
with the relationship between the bones of the face and the cranial 
capacity. Sommering, reasoning on these lines, tells us that whilst 
human beings are in this respect more highly placed than other 
mammals, the human female is more highly placed than the human 
male. Woman 's face is, in fact, proportionally smaller, her cranial 
capacity proportionally greater. ' ' 20 

In view of the suggestibility of the male, a suggestibility that 
forces itself on our attention whenever we study the intellectual, 
spiritual, and sensual life of men, we have to ask ourselves what 
can be the origin of the notion that the members of the male sex 
have a monopoly of clear and consecutive logical thought. In the 
field of the sexual life the functional peculiarities of the masculine 
sexual nature make men far more susceptible to suggestion than 
women, who in this respect are comparatively passive and quiescent, 
and therefore more resistant to suggestion. A woman constitu- 
tionally fitted for abstract thought will usually pursue that thought 
to its logical issue more resolutely than a man, although on formal 
lines and in matters concerning the theory of cognition man is in 
general the more skillful thinker. It is in the practical work of 
the understanding that women appear to excel. Especially keen 
are they in the recognition of sins against pure reason and against 
sound instinct; they are gifted for the discovery of hidden fal- 
lacies and for the resolution of discords. In all these departments, 
women's comparative independence of the stresses of the sexual 
function renders their thought-process more trustworthy than 
that of men. Nietzsche, the self-contradictory, whose judgments 
upon women were formed for the most part in an obscure ghost- 
chamber that he fashioned for himself within the recesses of his 
own soul, attains to a noon-day clearness in his Frohliche Wis- 
senschaft when he writes: "A deep and powerful alto voice sud- 
denly makes clear to us possibilities in which we are ordinarily un- 
willing to believe. Then all at once we believe that somewhere in 

" Quoted by Hedwig Dohm, Der Jesuitismus im Hausstande. Berlin, 1873. 



238 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

the world there can exist women with lofty, heroic, and kingly 
souls, apt and ready for high aims, sublime resolutions, and great 
accomplishments, apt and ready to rule over men, because in them 
all that is best in man has triumphed over sex, and has become 
an incorporated ideal." 

******* 

Every woman of strong personality possesses a share of that 
primal motherliness which, in the sagas of all nations, was the 
guardian of wisdom. Again and again, in such sagas, man, wish- 
ing to learn something, has to seek council of the mothers, of the 
Wala. Moreover, as regards woman's own vital experiences, those 
rooted in the sexual sphere, it is obvious that she herself is alone 
able to give an account which will be the fruit, not of imagination, 
but of direct experience, and will therefore be genuinely related 
to the facts of life. Hence woman must be free to enter every 
occupation in which, for the very reason of her sex and of the 
intuitive powers peculiar to her sex, she will be able to develop 
possibilities hitherto latent. Endowed with these natural intuitive 
powers, she will grasp the essence of an occupation that has eluded 
a masculine nature. In all those occupations, moreover, in which 
there is room for winnowing and discrimination, woman has her 
place beside man, not in spite of the fact that she reacts differently 
from him, but for that very reason. Woman knows more not of 
what has happened and is happening, but of what must happen. 
She stands nearer to the veil than man ; she is more at one with 
the mysteries of nature. 

Thus from woman, humanity has to learn what woman alone 
can teach. As at Solon's table the dumb man suddenly began to 
speak, had to speak, because he alone saw, and he alone could dis- 
close what was happening, so is it with woman. For this reason 
all paths must lie open to her, her opportunities of adding to the 
sum of human experiences must never be lost to the race. We 
can no longer dream of forcing women back into a purely passive 
life, of compelling them to accept the position of mere instruments 
of procreation. Still less will a truly progressive civilization, ever 



JUSTIFICATION OF AN ACTIVE LIFE FOR WOMEN 239 

advancing by deliberate intent, permit the mysterious physical and 
mental energies of womanhood to be misused in exclusive devo- 
tion to the vulgar struggle for bread. 

There is no question in the world about which women 's energies 
can more properly be employed, no more distinctively sexual ques- 
tion, than the woman 's question. There is no question about which 
women are more deeply concerned, and they can speak more ef- 
fectively on this subject than any man can speak on their behalf. 
What women wish and what women need must be learned out of 
their own mouths, now that these mouths are at last unstopped. 
"If a man wishes to write about the woman's question, " says 
Hedwig Dohm, "he needs to be endowed with profound and 
original powers of thought and perception, for in the solution of 
this question there has to be deciphered a soul-palimpsest which 
has been over-written for thousands of years in succession and by 
all the nations of the earth. We must learn to read the original 
writing on this palimpsest, the primal script of nature herself." 
******* 

Among the occupations which are often in harmony with a 
woman's "best inner impulses," we have to think of art and of 
research, for both of which women are especially fitted by very 
reason of their sex. Is it a mere chance that books by women 
writers have so often been the most stimulating works of their 
kind, books which continue to send a trumpet call through the ages? 
We must not confuse with the mere flashing successes of a season 
these thought-products which become incorporated into the very 
social and moral fiber of their time, and in face of which such criti- 
cism as that of the aesthetes becomes simply ludicrous. Among 
books that have exerted such a gigantic influence may be men- 
tioned "Uncle Tom's Cabin," by Harriet Beecher Stowe, which de- 
termined Abraham Lincoln's success in the presidential election, 
and thus led to the abolition of negro slavery in the United States ; 
and "Lay Down Your Arms," by Bertha von Suttner, which gave 
birth to the international peace movement. 

The power of artistic expression is essential to woman for an 



240 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

adequate representation of her own part in the life of our race, 
and it is not to men that we owe the most penetrating and most 
accurate delineations of woman's soul. From the pens of Goethe, 
Tolstoi, and Ibsen, we have, indeed, magnificent feminine imper- 
sonations; yet none but women have been able to give us images 
of real womanhood, faithful representations of the manifold varia- 
tions of every-day life. In the letters of Ninon de L'Enclos, of 
Caroline Schelling, of Mary Wollstonecraft, in the memoirs of 
Sonia Kovalewsky, there is more genuine psychology of womanhood 
than in all the women 's figures of Goethe 's creation. Women alone 
can tell us, from women alone can we learn, the mother-need, the 
mother-will, and the mother-struggle. 

The woman strong in sex and keen in intuition has cognizance 
of that and finds expression for that which has never before en- 
tered consciousness, has never before found expression. She feels 
herself to be an instrument in the hands of an all-compelling will, 
a manifestation of the divine which finds expression through her 
voice. For her own good and no less for the welfare of the race 
all opportunities must be given to woman for the cultivation of 
these secret powers of her personality. It is the ardent women 
who can and must express themselves in the fields of art and of 
research. Their antitypes, frigid women, lacking alike the fire of 
love and the divine flame of inspiration, are inapt also for social 
and artistic work. All that they do, all that they produce, is col- 
orless, desexualized, and consequently valueless. In art and in re- 
search the ardent woman is the receiver and interpreter of intui- 
tions. To her, man comes also, questioning, as aforetime he ques- 
tioned the oracles, as he questioned the "Wala, as Wotan questioned 
Erda, the primal mother of us all. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

THE LESS FAVORABLE ASPECTS OP THE WOMAN'S MOVEMENT 

Woman's Expenditure of Energy upon Sexual Functions Must Never Be 
Ignored. Freedom of Occupation, but not Enforced Occupation. Ex- 
ploitation of Women's Working Powers. The Offer of Remunerated 
Employment Cannot Be Regarded as Affording Even a Partial Sub- 
stitute for Opportunities for a Full General Life. Maternal Energies 
Transmuted into Horsepower. The Woman's Movement Historically 
Necessary as a Stage on the Road to the Motherhood Movement. 

The specific womanly functions are not injuriously affected 
by an active life per se, but by the need, under existing social 
conditions, for earning a livelihood. It is the struggle for economic 
existence which depresses and degrades. Yet there is no inevitable 
economic law that human beings shall work to exhaustion. The 
habitual overwork of to-day is a consequence of the prevailing 
economic order, and will cease when economic values become en- 
franchised from the dominion of capitalism, under which men 
equally with women are ground down by overwork. A normal and 
reasonable amount of work will do no more harm to a woman than 
it does to a man, provided always that in whatever occupation a 
woman may engage, due allowance is made for the energy she has 
to expend in the performance of her .sexual functions. Thus we 
demand that women should have free choice of occupation, but 
that they should never be coerced to labor. These demands cannot 
be fulfilled until motherhood is provided for, not as a charity, but 
by an adequate and carefully planned system of assurance or en- 
dowment on socialist lines. 

In the occupations to which women have recently gained access 
they will suffer far less injury than they suffered in those which 

241 



242 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

were previously open. These newer occupations demand for the 
most part some intellectual skill and some technical equipment, and 
are comparatively well paid, whereas the occupations open to 
women before the days of the woman's movement mostly involved 
unskilled physical toil in which the worker 's powers were exploited 
to the uttermost. In our factories, the maternal energies of our 
women are undermined as in no other occupation. Here, as so 
often, what is termed the woman 's question is a general social ques- 
tion. Gradually, though very slowly, the community is adopting 
legal measures to impose restrictions upon the hitherto limitless 
exploitation of the individual. For it becomes ever plainer that 
only by safeguarding the individual, by protecting the individual 
from enforced debilitation, can we rescue the procreative energies 
of our species from the imminence of degeneration. The mother, 
whose part in procreation is so highly specialized, requires excep- 
tional protection. The recognition of this peculiar need does not 
involve the view that the female 's social share in procreation is less 
valuable than that of the male, but merely that woman is more 
endangered by motherhood than man by fatherhood. What is the 
use of providing * ' factory creches, " 21 by special legal enactment, 
if the blood and milk of the nursing mother continue to suffer de- 
terioration from unwholesome conditions of labor? No doubt such 
institutions constitute an advance upon leaving infants at home to 
cry and hunger in lonely dwellings, a condition of things which has 
been lightheartedly tolerated up to our own day. Even now, the 
mother is punished for neglect if in her absence from home her 
child should suffer some accident, although it is by absolute need 
that she has been forced to work away from home. The alarming 
increase in infant mortality (attaining in some regions the figure 
of 200 for every thousand born alive), the widespread unfitness 
for military service, and other manifestations of degeneration have 

"A factory cr&che is a feeding- room for the infants of women working 
in the factories. The women can leave their work at suitable intervals to suckle 
their children. See Engel, Elements of Child Protection, p. 137. TRANSLA- 
TOR'S NOTE. 



THE LESS FAVORABLE ASPECTS 243 

at length convinced the community that this ostrich policy is de- 
stroying the very foundations of the life of our race. The evil 
has been recognized, half-hearted palliatives have heen undertaken, 
but broadly conceived and far more effective measures are essential 
for the radical cure of the evil. 

There are certain strenuous and exhausting occupations of which 
some women are capable, others not. However desirable it may 
seem that no occupation should be closed to a woman which she is 
willing and able to undertake, it is misguided to demand from 
women in general work that is beyond their powers. In such cases 
we must deal with the sex as a whole by special legislative pro- 
visions. Moreover, we must never forget that no occupation, pro- 
fessional or manual, can afford an adequate substitute for a full 
general life. Yet it is a common assumption that, in the case of 
women, work does or should provide such a substitute. In Ger- 
many, a recent Minister of Education, promulgating a measure of 
educational reform, said, in effect : * c Instead of marriage, we must 
give our girls work." Against such an "alternative" women must 
organize to protect themselves. Those who are still young, those 
in whom the vigor of the impulsive life has not been completely 
undermined, will desire to use their working powers, not as a sub- 
stitute for marriage, but as a means for the attainment of mar- 
riage, or of some other form of union which may replace mar- 
riage. The bitterness of spirit of a young woman engaged in some 
soul-destroying occupation, wherein all her womanly energies 
perish slowly from exhaustion, is indescribable. Indeed every 
healthy woman, whether she does or does not undertake independ- 
ent work, must echo the words of the sister of Elektra: "I am a 
woman, and desire a woman 's destiny. ' ' 

If a woman 's work condemn her to celibacy, her work is worth- 
less, for its principal significance should be to facilitate marriage 
or motherhood. If women's work tends to destroy maternal ener- 
gies by transmuting these energies into so much horse-power, that 
work is upon a totally wrong footing. Moreover, the protagonists 
of the woman's movement must not overlook the biologically in- 



244 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

evitable temporary debilitation of woman by the diversion of her 
energies from time to time to the performance of her sexual func- 
tions. To ignore sexual differences in this respect is injurious, 
not in a material sense alone, for at the same time we weaken the 
force of those profound spiritual motives which inspire the social 
consciousness and are the safeguards of civilization. When, in case 
of shipwreck, the captain shouts, "The women first!" what is the 
underlying significance of this cry? It is the protection of wom- 
an 's i ' weakness, ' ' the protection, that is to say, of the more fragile 
being, more precious owing to the character of its connection with 
the reproduction of the species. Of all the spiritual elements ani- 
mating the social consciousness, this principle is the most im- 
portant, and its recognition must never be endangered by any 
spurious pretense of equality. 

******* 

Where there is no adequate protection of motherhood, nor any 
legal or customary safeguard enforcing on individual men the obli- 
gation to maintain mother and child, few women who are property- 
less and dependent upon their own earnings will venture to bring 
children into the world. It is a mischievous waste of racial energy 
to impose the economic burden of self -maintenance upon one whose 
energies are devoted to the laborious task of motherhood. Mother 
and child must be maintained either by the individual man or by 
the community at large. In the mother's case such maintenance 
is requisite for at least so long as the care of the child involves 
much time and labor. As men are withdrawn from ordinary wage- 
earning occupations during their term of military service, so 
women who engage in child-bearing should withdraw from the 
more individual possibilities of productive activity to devote them- 
selves to the social activity especially characteristic of their sex. 
The nation that shuts its eyes to the need for special social pro- 
vision for this emergency is on the way to race suicide. But at 
present not only do we lack social provision for motherhood, but 
we lack also the social organization which will provide all human 
beings with work suitable at once in degree and in kind, and for 



THE LESS FAVORABLE ASPECTS 245 

these reasons a conflict between individual occupation and mother- 
hood remains inevitable. The society of the future will recognize 
that of all women's possibilities of work, motherhood is the most 
important, and it will endow this function in correspondence with 
its profound social value. 

******* 

In the sequel to this volume we shall have to consider in detail 
the various movements for the protection of motherhood, for 
motherhood insurance, and for the endowment of children's edu- 
cation, to which here we can allude only in passing. The German 
' ' Bund f iir Mutterschutz ' ' demands that a premium should be paid 
to mothers who suckle their own children, and this demand has 
already been discussed in the Reichstag. The provision of factory 
creches and similar institutions is being rendered obligatory by 
law. 22 A compulsory and universal national system for the insur- 
ance of motherhood has been proposed. 23 Such phenomena as these 
are clear manifestations of the approaching transformation of the 
sexual order of society, and they are phenomena to which even 
those most hostile to the notion of sexual reform can no longer re- 
main willfully blind. 

******* 

The woman's movement in its present form, largely concerned 
about the struggle for bread, is a historically necessary stage on 
the way to that more advanced development in which many are 
already beginning to recognize the essence of the movement. Woman 
did not wish to remain a child-bearer only; a livelihood was not 
always secured to her in the fulfillment of the child-bearing func- 
tion: hence the struggle for material independence. This once 
attained, the next step became no less inevitable, a demand that 
child-bearing should be freed, that a woman should not be com- 
pelled to bear children to one upon whom she remains economically 

"One of the earliest examples of "state interference " in such fields was 
afforded by universal compulsory education. It is noteworthy that not a few 
parents strenuously resisted this compulsion, regarding it aa an impairment of 
their " rights Jt over their children! 

83 Worked out in detail by Geheimrat Professor Mayet. 



246 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

dependent, but that the function should be completely enfranchised 
from economic coercion. The woman's movement must develop 
into the motherhood movement, through which alone can humanity 
be regenerated. Free play must be restored to sexual choice, ren- 
dering possible an unvitiated process of selection. To this end, 
the child-bearing function must be recognized as the nodal point 
of social organization, simultaneously protected and freed. Free- 
dom without protection is worthless, and no less worthless is pro- 
tection without freedom. In matters of sex, above all, perfect free- 
dom is essential. Herein we recognize the true end of the woman's 
movement as one of the most important of all the factors of human 
advance. 



BOOK VIII 
SEXUAL CRISIS AND THE RACE 

You shall bear me a God upon Earth! 
Prometheus shall from his seat arise, 
And to the Earth-born race proclaim, 
"Behold a Man, the Man of my desire." 

KLEIST Pentheselea. 

CHAPTER XXIV 

tENERAL RACIAL PROBLEMS 

The "Well-Born." Definition of Life. The Struggle for Existence. Non* 
selective Influences. Conflicting Aims of Racial Hygiene and of Indi- 
vidual Hygiene. Increasing Propagation of the Less Fit and Steriliza- 
tion of the More Fit. Marriage Prohibitions for the Healthy; Mar- 
riage Freedom for the Diseased. Factors Working Injury to the 
Racial Process. 

TN an earlier chapter the view was expressed that it is only in 
* the "well-born" human being that can be incorporated the 
capacity for harmony which renders possible the solution of ex- 
tensive vital conflicts, and the combination of mutually oppugnant 
energies into a congenial whole. Only the well-born are victorious 
over life. But if the well-born are to come into existence, favorable 
factors, natural or artificial, must exist for their production. All 
living organisms are intimately dependent upon their ancestry. All 
our potentialities are limited by the nature of our biological in- 
heritance. 

What kind of process is it which we subsume under the concept 
"life"? According to Dr. Alfred Plotz, the founder of scientific 

247 



248 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

racial hygiene, 1 "the living organism of to-day is in direct con- 
tinuity with the living organisms of aeons past, and the living or- 
ganisms of the future will in like manner be in direct continuity 
with those that exist to-day. Life must thus be regarded as a 
peculiar mode of motion, of enormous duration, associated with the 
activity of certain highly differentiated proteids. ' ' 2 This biologist, 
when he speaks of that which is characteristically living, does not 
refer to the isolated individual, but to "that which maintains and 
transforms an enduring vital unity; or what we conceive as the 
organic whole made up of all the individual organisms that arise 
out of and transmit this enduring vital unity. ' ' That which main- 
tains and transforms this persistent vital unity, endowed with cer- 
tain characteristic properties, the properties also of the individuals 
of which it is composed, is known as the race. The individual life 
is transient, but the race endures. "The perpetuation of life is 
secured only by the multiplicity of living individuals. ' ' 

It is by the struggle for existence, generally speaking, that is 
effected an ever-increasing fitness of individuals and of the race. 
The perfecting and fortifying influence of the struggle for exist- 
ence is, however, annulled whenever the excess of births becomes 
imperiled by a process of non-selective elimination; is annulled, 
that is to say, by the exclusion of individuals from the racial proc- 
ess, strong and weak alike, irrespective of their varying fitness, by 
overriding influences, capable of injuring, sterilizing, or wholly 
destroying them. Such an imperiling of the excess of births may 
occur in one race as contrasted with another; or within a single 
race it may occur in certain social strata as contrasted with others. 
Through the working of non-selective influences, through the opera- 
tion of a force majeure quite unconcerned with the question of hu- 

1 Racial Hygiene. This term denotes the study and practice of all those 
influences that promote the health of the race. These influences may be classi- 
fied as, (a) environmental influences operating within the individual lifetime, 
(b) influences promoting the breeding of a better human stock. The study of 
the latter group of influences is the subject-matter of eugenics, of which Fran- 
cis Galton is rightly regarded as the founder. TRANSLATOR'S NOTE. 

3 Address to the Bremen Congress, 1903. 



GENERAL RACIAL PROBLEMS 249 

man " fitness, " whole groups of human beings may be injured or 
destroyed, their reproductive powers may be impaired, or they may 
be totally sterilized. As a non-selective factor, eliminating indif- 
ferently (in part at least) the fit and the unfit, we may instance 
modern warfare. In the warfare of earlier times, this anti-selective 
influence was far less marked, for in those days fighting was hand- 
to-hand, and it was the stronger and more skillful who tended to 
survive. But the rifle bullet, the shrapnel, and the explosive shell 
sweep away indifferently the brave and the cowardly, the strong 
and the weak. Nay, more, it is clear that war exercises a reversed 
selective influence, tending directly towards the elimination of the 
stronger types. The healthy and the fit go to the front, while the 
weakly and the unfit remain at home and survive to propagate 
their kind. Moreover, after wars and similar man-destroying ca- 
tastrophes, women's standard of choice declines, and this leads 
to a notable depression in the level of the racial process. After 
the war, since men are scarce, the women who desire to reproduce 
their kind must not be exacting. The factor we are now consider- 
ing was an important contributory cause of the degeneration of 
the Greeks and the Romans. The best racial elements went to the 
wars, military service was the peculiar privilege of the free, and 
the women were left at home to reproduce their kind with the aid 
of those who were unfit for warfare, and with that of the imported 
slave population which was debarred from military service. 

There is a certain conflict between the aims of racial hygiene 
and those of individual hygiene, for individual hygiene demands 
protection for weakly and diseased individuals, whereas the de- 
mand of racial hygiene for the welfare of that complex known as 
the race is apt to conflict with the principle of the protection of 
the weak. Thus it has for years been a part of the official pro- 
gram of the eugenists that alcoholics, persons liable to mental dis- 
order, habitual criminals, degenerates, and syphilitics should be 
forbidden to marry or to procreate their kind; for eugenists are 
no longer willing to trust to the free operation of sexual selection, 
to the illusory hope that sexual selection will alone suffice to insure 



250 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

the exclusion of the unfit from reproduction. What we see on all 
sides is that individuals of the finest types are excluded from re- 
production, that they are sterilized, that their kind is eliminated 
from the racial process, simply because marriage is so difficult of 
attainment, and because social conditions are lacking which might 
favor reproduction outside marriage. Every day also, we may see 
that while the best (and above all the best women) are thus ex- 
cluded from reproduction, the unfit and the defective (and this 
applies especially to men) have ample opportunities for reproduc- 
tion, of which they are but too ready to avail themselves. 

The logical consequence of these considerations is one which 
the advocates of racial hygiene do not hesitate to draw. Inasmuch 
as the community may suffer grave injury from the procreation of 
unsuitable elements, it must be recognized that the act of procrea- 
tion is no mere private matter, but one which deeply concerns the 
community at large. Thus Riidin writes : 3 * l From the standpoint 
of racial hygiene, marriage prohibitions are essential in the case 
of certain types of the unfit, unless the proposed sexual partners 
are willing to make use of appropriate measures for the prevention 
of conception. In such cases, moreover, as I have previously in- 
sisted, if by some flaw in preventive precautions a conception 
should occur, it should be legally permissible to remedy the conse- 
quences of this misadventure to the satisfaction of all concerned. 
A consideration of such questions with minds uaclouded by preju- 
dice will show that it is only on these conditions that the racial 
hygienist can venture to concede the ' freedom of love' freedom 
in the most personal and most intimate of all human relationships. ' ' 
******* 

The upward evolutionary process of our race is arrested by the 
perversion of selection. In face of the gigantic number of defec- 
tives, those of fitter type no longer find it possible to make a stand. 
All artificial alleviations of human existence are illusory, so long 
as the conditions indispensable for the practical application of 
these alleviations are not familiar parts oi the average mental equip- 

*E. Eiidin, Arch, fur Eassen und Gesellschaftsbiologie, fourth year, No. 1. 



GENERAL RACIAL PROBLEMS 251 

ment. Behind everything that is effected by the operation of will 
there stands the individual human being. Consequently the most im- 
portant of all the problems of civilization is the provision of an aver- 
age mental equipment which will secure the conditions leading to the 
production of the greatest possible number of well-born individuals 
to the preponderant generation of the fit. When we look around, 
and our eyes encounter everywhere malformations of the human 
type, how can we continue to believe in the "universal power of 
love, ' ' which could couple such pairs for procreation ? In the wide- 
spread production of mental and physical defectives lies the focal 
point of our sexual misery. This misery has reached its present 
proportions because the majority of those born to-day must be re- 
garded, to quote the biting phrase of a Viennese satirist, "as the 
unfortunate consequences of neglect neglect to employ means for 
the prevention of conception." Such as these had far better have 
remained in the realm of the unborn ; but having found their way 
into this world of ours through the heedlessness of their parents, 
these unfortunates have to bear the burden of their parents' ills. 
The production of this misbegotten human material is a legitimate 
outcome of the accepted sexual order. Yet this race of ours is at 
the summit of latter-day civilization ! 

We are, as Plotz phrases it, "overweighted with defectives. " 
The worst of it is that nothing is done to hinder the propagation 
of these defective types. We have seen that the existing methods 
of sexual choice do not exclude the less fit from reproduction ; we 
have learned that so long as the reproductive process is subordinated 
to economic and social considerations, a natural selective process 
is impossible. The community makes no effort to prevent the over- 
loading of the race with the less fit. We are familiar, indeed, with 
the idea of marriage prohibitions. We actually have such prohibi- 
tions to-day for schoolmistresses, thus excluding from reproduc- 
tion women whom a stringent process of selection has shown to 
possess exceptional endowments. We have also marriage prohibi- 
tions for young, strong, and healthy army officers, who are not 
permitted to marry unless they possess considerable private means. 



252 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

Apart from such direct marriage prohibitions, we have millions 
of young men to whom marriage is impossible because, though they 
are in the full vigor of manhood and are engaged in some normal 
occupation, they lack the means to support a family, at any rate 
without a lowering in their standard of life. Surely such a state 
of affairs as this must be the outcome of social mismanagement, 
and yet it is universal throughout the civilized world. In Ger- 
many alone there are six million men and nearly eight million 
women of marriageable age who are excluded from reproduction. 
But there are no marriage prohibitions for the diseased, the defec- 
tive, and the degenerate. Syphilitics are allowed without demur 
to disseminate the virus of this hereditary disease ; drunkards may 
use their degenerate germ-plasm for the production of the new 
generation. We learn from statistical evidence that in the kingdom 
of Saxony alone there are thirty-five thousand drunkards who have 
fifty thousand children. 

To secure the birth of a larger number of unblemished human 
beings it is essential that the procreation of healthy children should 
be favored by special social institutions; the production of the 
" well-born " must be made the concern of the community at large, 
altogether apart from the question of the marriage of the parents, 
which is a purely private matter. There are various means by 
which society can greatly facilitate, and there are other means by 
which society can seriously hinder, the procreation of the fit. In 
the essay previously quoted, Riidin writes : ' ' There are many pro- 
posals for reform in this domain of racial hygiene. . . . One only 
need be mentioned here, the most necessary of all, whose adoption 
would enormously strengthen our Empire, while bringing glory to 
its promulgators. I refer to a group of measures which would 
check the decline in the birth-rate and at the same time maintain 
and improve the quality of the offspring." But what are these 
measures which are to favor the procreation of the fit? The prob- 
lem is here merely mooted without any attempt at a solution on 
Riidin 's part. Stevenson reports that Charles IV decreed that all 
foundlings should be ennobled in order to wipe out the stain upon 



GENERAL RACIAL PROBLEMS 253 

their birth. Such a measure might lead to an increase in the birth- 
rate, whereas the present persecution of unmarried mothers is a 
contributory cause in the decline in the birth-rate a fact which 
should come home more especially to conventional England and 
prudish America. 

In the writer's view, the most important means to check the 
decline in the birth-rate and to improve the quality of the offspring 
would be the enfranchisement of the procreative power of woman 
from its existing subordination to social considerations, the separa- 
tion of reproduction from any necessary connection with the exist- 
ing marriage system, whose effects are often non-selective and even 
anti-selective. There would result an enfranchisement also of the 
procreative power of the male during the best years of life. It 
should be a primary demand of racial hygiene that it should be- 
come socially possible for human beings in the full vigor of youth, 
for those who are healthy, loving and fit, to propagate their kind 
outside the limits of marriage. To this end are requisite: first, an 
adequate system of motherhood protection ; secondly, properly paid 
work for women, occupations which women can pursue in amplifi- 
cation of their other social functions as 'wives and mothers, which 
will make them economically independent and will enable them to 
enter sexual partnerships upon equal terms; thirdly, complete 
moral and social approval of every act of motherhood which in 
no way impairs the quality of the human race; fourthly, intelli- 
gently planned hygienic and educational measures for the care 
and upbringing of children. These changes would imply upon 
the part of the community a vigorous intervention in the sexual 
crisis on racial hygienic or eugenic principles, in order to restore 
to human beings their natural right to the fulfillment of their 
biological destiny, and thereby to give in addition that natural 
and spontaneous happiness, lacking which even the strongest and 
proudest natures lose elasticity and undergo partial atrophy and 
degeneration in enforced sexual isolation. Thus would a term be 
put to the present shameless perversion of courtship and to the 
consequent disastrous decline in the quality of our race. Natural 



254 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

selection having once again become operative, mankind would re- 
gain the power of bearing normal fruit. 

******* 

Among the various factors now obviously working to the detri- 
ment of the racial process, there are some in particular to which 
the racial hygiene of our day has paid the most earnest attention. 
We know now, for example, that chronic poisoning with certain 
metallic salts, the inevitable accompaniment of many manufactur- 
ing operations as at present conducted, gives rise to pathological 
tissue-changes, and directly or indirectly exercises a deleterious in- 
fluence upon the germinal cells; we know also that nervous and 
mental disorders are characterized by a decline in the energy of 
the chromosomes ; appropriate legal measures are suggested for the 
prevention of these evils. But, above all, the new science of racial 
hygiene, whose cultivation still unfortunately lacks official aid, is 
devoting its attention to those features of social life which lead 
to an interference with the adequate working of natural and of 
sexual selection, and thus involve a progressive deterioration in 
the human stock. 

Plotz enumerates as follows the factors which work injury to 
the racial process : 

1. The absence of a legal limitation of the age at marriage. He 
contends that the right of reproduction should be withheld until 
the attainment of complete sexual maturity, twenty-five in the 
male and twenty-three in the female. 

2. The failure to prohibit the marriage of weakly and diseased 
individuals. Especially worthy of reprobation are the " labors of 
pious ladies " to secure the marriage of congenitally deaf-mute and 
blind individuals. 

3. Lack of due consideration on the part of the individual as 
to his own bodily condition at the time of the act of intercourse: 
for example, intercourse while in a state of inebriation, or even 
when "slightly exhilarated" with alcohol; debilitation of the con- 



GENERAL RACIAL PROBLEMS 255 

stitution of the offspring by excessive smoking in men and by tight- 
lacing in women. 

4. A too rapid succession of births, working serious injury 
alike to mother and children. If the racial process is to continue 
on satisfactory lines, no woman should give birth to more than 
six children. Yet from the statistics of Berlin for 1891 we learn 
that one-sixth of all births were those of children whose mothers 
had previously given birth to six at least. 

5. Lack of proper care in the rearing of children, such as artifi- 
cial feeding instead of the natural feeding of infants, etc. 

6. Our efforts to rear infants of weakly constitution ; * l the ren- 
dering of medical aid in various diseases of childhood, which ulti- 
mately results in the production of permanently debilitated stocks. ' ' 
[Here we are unable to follow Plotz. The impulse of all the higher 
animals to care for their progeny even when weakly is too pro- 
foundly implanted for it to be possible to suggest to any parent 
that a weakly child should not be allowed to live. Once a human 
being is born alive it has claims on our protection. The com- 
munity's right of veto should operate only to prevent the procrea- 
tion of inferior types. If this be done effectively, the care of the 
weakly will not involve serious trouble. Even in the matter of 
the prevention of procreation, our intervention must be guarded, 
for weakly parents frequently procreate very fine children by 
a fortunate atavism, a reversion to a stronger ancestral type. More- 
over, we should be thrusting too rude a hand among the secrets of 
nature should we decide to expose upon Mount Taygetos every de- 
bilitated specimen of our race, as the racial hygienist Lycurgus 
is said to have done in the case of all twins, all children of fathers 
over fifty years of age, and all weakly infants. Who can say what 
potentialities may not be concealed in an apparently defective 
child? The Dioscuri were twins, Goethe as a new-born infant 
was so weakly that for many days after birth it was doubtful if 
he could be kept alive ; Haeckel was the son of a father more than 
fifty years of age.] 

7. The inheritance of property, giving wealthy defectives a per- 



256 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

manent advantage in the struggle for existence over impecunious 
individuals of a higher type. Here the views and conclusions of 
Plotz are in perfect harmony with the socialist criticism of in- 
heritance, and we follow him with complete approval when he 
writes: "In an ideal racial process every individual would enter 
the economic arena with no advantage of equipment beyond that 
furnished by his own capacities. Each would be assured of an 
equal share in the socialized means of production. ... In such 
conditions, many of the sons of wealthy and privileged parents 
would find life a difficult matter. Upon him who, in such an eco- 
nomic struggle, proves too weak to maintain himself, let poverty 
fall with its full eliminative influence. It is an old dispute, con- 
tinues Plotz, whether in present conditions we should regard 
poverty as a selective factor, whether ' ' the poor must be identified 
with the less fit in the struggle for existence, or whether nowadays 
poverty is a non-selective factor, eliminating the fit equally with 
the unfit. In view of the present artificial distribution of wealth, 
whereby the large majority of mankind are denied free access to 
the means of production and to the opportunities for higher edu- 
cation, whilst our socially produced wealth is artificially heaped 
up in the hands of a small minority, it seems to me that we are 
forced to regard poverty as a non-selective f actor. " Plotz enu- 
merates the qualities which chiefly tend to counteract the elimina- 
tive influence of poverty. "They consist in good constitutional 
powers, more especially a well-developed intelligence and a good 
capacity for work, certain moral inhibitions, a peculiar mixture 
of altruism and egoism, and last not least a certain capacity for 
lying and hypocrisy. . . . Everyone knows that very frequently, 
apart from direct untruthfulness as the outcome of greed, every 
possible degree of deception, from the accepted conventional lie 
up to the grossest hypocrisy, is exercised at times simply in order 
to conceal the divergence of our views from the general opinions 
of our fellow men. In default of such deception anyone seeking 
an economic favor will probably be repelled for the advantage of 
another whose acknowledged opinions do not arouse so much fric- 



GENERAL RACIAL PROBLEMS 257 

tion in the brain of the person with the favor to bestow. Paren- 
thetically it may be remarked that herein is involved a wide-spread 
degenerative influence which the existing capitalist system exer- 
cises over the enormous majority of human beings. " 

8. The artificial limitation of the families of the well-to-do (from 
motives of convenience, selfishness, etc.), and the simultaneous un- 
checked increase of the very poor (from ignorance, and from the 
lack of means for prevention). This excessive procreation of the 
very poor does not give rise to a general excess of births over 
deaths, for, in these lower strata of the population as over-popula- 
tion increases the infantile death-rate increases to a corresponding 
degree. 

9. The attraction of the more intelligent types to the large 
towns, where, "owing to the higher mortality, without any corre- 
sponding increase in the birth-rate, these types tend to be elimi- 
nated. " 

10. Great wars and revolutionary movements. 

11. The use of measures for the prevention of conception. [It 
is obvious that the writer refers here to the unwise use of such 
measures, for their proper application must necessarily redound to 
the welfare of the race.] 

12. The care taken of persons suffering from diseases due to 
inherited weakness or anomaly (mental disorders, consumption, 
etc.), and the consequent further transmission of these diseases 
and disease-tendencies by inheritance. 

13. Certain protective measures undertaken by the community- 
at-large. [Here a reply seems to me requisite, even in view of 
the qualification made by Plotz that in his discussion of the ideal 
racial process he attempts no more than "a sketch of a Utopia 
from the outlook of a single individual whose views may in various 
respects need reconsideration." For I do not understand how 
the communal organization of insurance against illness, old age, 
accident, and unemployment can possibly be regarded as "a dis- 
astrous interference in the struggle for existence. ' ' Can it be con- 
tended that the evils which these social provisions are intended 



258 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

to obviate affect only the less fit, the congenitally debile? Dis- 
ease and accident, just as much as age and unemployment, may 
affect the best and the fittest. Unemployment, especially, when 
it is the result of commercial crises, effects a non-selective elimina- 
tion. The best and the fittest, if they are persons of an honorable 
type who happen to be born poor, are hardly in a position to pro- 
vide adequately by their unaided exertions for all the emergencies 
named. If the economic struggle for existence were freely se- 
lective, if there existed true equality of opportunity, if all had 
the same opportunities for cultivation and the like access to the 
means of production, if all could enter the arena on equal terms, 
then, indeed, those incapable of making provision for the obvious 
mischances of life might be accounted less fit, and from the eugenist 
outlook we might reasonably demand their elimination. But in the 
actual conditions of the capitalist world-order, institutions for so- 
cial protection, far from favoring the survival of the less fit, not 
infrequently furnish protection for the fit against the competition 
of those economically favored persons many of whom are compara- 
tively unfit. Hence it is impossible to accept the view that the gen- 
eral influence of such institutions is anti-selective.] 

14. Alcoholism must be recognized as a non-selective eliminative 
factor, in so far as its destroys, not merely morally weak and con- 
genitally defective individuals (in which case, of course, it elimi- 
nates the less fit), but in so far as by foolish social convivial cus- 
toms, and through ignorance, it exerts its far-reaching noxious in- 
fluence upon persons of normal mental and physical equipment. 
[In his Address to the Bremen Congress (1903), Plotz writes: 
"With regard to the most dangerous class of alcoholics, the class 
of moderate drinkers, it is absolutely essential that women's power 
of choice should be more stringently exercised. Women must be 
taught to regard the moderate drinker as a no less undesirable mate 
than the confirmed drunkard. They should not wait for their 
duty in this respect to be brought home to them by male lecturers 
and writers, . . . but should seize this opportunity of showing that 
the woman's movement is capable of the spontaneous origination 



GENERAL RACIAL PROBLEMS 259 

of higher human valuations. " But Plotz writes as if woman's 
power of sexual choice were a reality and not for the most part 
an illusion. If he is right in thinking that racial regeneration 
depends upon free sexual selection on the part of women, deter- 
mined by consideration for the welfare of the offspring, it fol- 
lows that sexual and social reform, which would restore woman's 
freedom of choice, is the alpha and omega of racial hygiene.] 

15. General ignorance regarding the measures by which the 
procreation of inferior types might be prevented. The author re- 
gards capitalism as the principal cause of this increasing procrea- 
tion of inferior types as the leading factor in the reversal of the 
selective process. 4 

4 The views of Plotz, summarized in this section, are expounded in his work, 
Die Tiichtiglceit unserer Basse und der Schutz der Schwachen. S. Fischer, 
Berlin, 1895. 



CHAPTER XXV 

THE SEXUAL STRUGGLE 

Obstacles to the Work of Reproduction: The Extral Struggle, the Social 
Struggle, the Sexual Struggle. The "Struggle for the Fit Sexual 
Partner" True Selection Hindered, Falsified Selection Favored. 

The condition of the sexual cells at the time of fertilization is, 
as Robert Miiller insists in his * ' Sexualbiologie, ' ' of far-reaching im- 
portance in its bearing on the constitution of the new being. 
Heredity is more important even than environment; the equip- 
ment with which we enter the world matters more than anything 
that can happen, to us after birth. Thus the act of reproduction 
involves the leading determinants in the destiny of the newly 
formed individual, and reproduction cannot be effected until vari- 
ous obstacles have been successfully overcome. One of these ob- 
stacles is what has been termed the extral struggle, that is to 
say, the struggle on the part of the individual against all those 
influences in external nature which may affect him adversely. An- 
other obstacle to be overcome is the social struggle, the struggle for 
existence within the limits of human society. Last of all, and most 
important, we have the sexual struggle, defined by Darwin as ' ' the 
struggle for the fit sexual partner, ' ' upon whose outcome depends 
the process known as sexual selection. In normal biological con- 
ditions, one who is victorious in the extral struggle, the social strug- 
gle, and the sexual is the one best adapted to the biological environ- 
ment, is the fittest. 

The elimination of certain individuals, or at least the elimina- 
tion of their types by the exclusion of these individuals from re- 
production, effects, once more in normal biological conditions, an 
admirable process of selection, preserving the more useful varieties, 

260 



THE SEXUAL STRUGGLE 261 

and quietly weeding out the comparatively unfit. But we have 
learned that in the artificial conditions of modern social life there 
are also operative certain non-selective factors, injurious influences 
affecting fit and unfit alike. These influences are, to quote Plotz 
once more, too powerful for anyone to cope with in virtue of any 
attainable degree of personal fitness, and they can no longer be 
regarded as stimuli tending to strengthen our powers for the strug- 
gle for existence. Their destructive force is utterly dispropor- 
tionate to the possible growth of our capacities (growth depend- 
ent on the physiological law that every organic function is strength- 
ened by exercise) : like the rain they fall upon the just and the 
unjust; indiscriminately they destroy the higher and the lower 
types of our species. 

Our study of the sexual crisis has shown that in all three varie- 
ties of the struggle for existence, the extral struggle, the social 
struggle, and the sexual struggle, non-selective and even anti- 
selective factors are at work. Just as the custom of convivial drink- 
ing may lead to the destruction by alcohol of the fit elements no 
less than of the unfit, so also the sexual customs of a country as 
embodied in the laws and moral judgments of any human society 
may (but in far higher degree than alcohol since the working of 
these sexual customs is inevitable) lead to the indiscriminate 
elimination of the fit and the unfit, the noble and the base, the good 
varieties and the bad. It is here that our peculiar investigation 
enters upon common ground with eugenics, and it is for this reason 
that we have found it necessary to consider the actual achievements 
of this comparatively new science. Just as a commercial crisis 
in the economic world leads to the indiscriminate elimination of 
good varieties and of bad, so also the sexual crisis in which our 
sexual customs have involved us leads biologically to the indifferent 
elimination of good varieties and of bad, effecting this in the fol- 
lowing ways : 

It hinders the reproductive activity of those who, from the 
biological outlook, are eminently fitted to reproduce their kind. 



262 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

It favors the reproductive activity of those biologically unfitted 
for procreation (exercising here a direct anti-selective working). 

It gives rise to influences which injuriously affect the parental 
germinal cells to such a degree as to lead to the procreation of in- 
ferior types. It does this in part, for example, through the mascu- 
line need for recourse to prostitution, as a preliminary stage on 
the way to the long-delayed marriage ; in part, by deferring father- 
hood to too advanced an age ; in part, by too rapid a succession of 
pregnancies; in part, by the excessive economic strain imposed 
upon men, which often renders marriage altogether impossible 
and so on. 

In the writer's opinion, those now engaged in the study of racial 
hygiene have hitherto failed to pay sufficient attention to the fact 
that the normal sexual system of the civilized world is responsible 
for the operation of numerous non-selective and even anti-selective 
factors. In Plotz's enumeration of non-selective factors there is 
no mention of this aspect of our normal sexual life, nor have I met 
with any references to the matter elsewhere. 

What, from the eugenist standpoint, is the outcome of our pres- 
ent marriage system; what is the working of its inevitable conse- 
quences and corollaries, prostitution and wide-spread celibacy? 
This is the problem we have to solve. We have seen that the strug- 
gle for the fit sexual partner, which ought to be based on free choice 
on, both sides, and ought to eventuate in a vigorous process of 
sexual selection, is utterly perverted by the existing conditions of 
our sexual life. Women's economic dependence, in conjunction 
with the established marriage system, has largely deprived them 
of the freedom of choice. But without freedom of choice, unvitiated 
sexual selection is impossible. As regards men, also, freedom of 
choice is seriously impaired by the dependence of opportunities for 
reproductive activity upon material considerations. Generally 
speaking, man does not now reproduce his kind where the selective 
will of nature impels him to "the act which peoples earth," but 
only where the economic conditions are favorable. 

Let us briefly summarize the injurious influences dependent 



THE SEXUAL STRUGGLE 263 

upon the sexual crisis, considering first those that are the direct 
outcome of the institution of marriage, and secondly those that are 
the indirect outcome of that institution, those that arise from pros- 
titution and from enforced celibacy. 

A. Direct influences of contemporary marriage. 

1. Under our official sexual system, obstacles are opposed to re- 
production where reproduction should proceed unchecked : 

a. Young, strong and beautiful human beings are in effect for- 
bidden to procreate, if, as is usual, they are not in an economic 
position which would enable them to set up house. 

b. If such persons should decide to ignore the existing marriage 
regulations, even then they will find procreation difficult. It is 
difficult, for example, for a woman to find a man whom, for one 
reason or another, she cannot or will not marry and who is yet 
willing to join with her in the procreation of a child likely to be 
"well-born." Both parties are withheld from such a possibility 
by manifold economic and moral deterrents. 

c. Those already married will not readily find anyone but the 
legalized sexual partner to join in the work of procreation. If 
one member of a married pair be unfruitful, in our present sexual 
order the other partner is also sterilized. Here is a classical literary 
example. Master Builder Solness, wedded to a living corpse, cannot 
attain to the summit of the tower where happiness and beauty 
dwell, because his conscience, terrorized by the accepted order of 
society, does not allow him to climb thither with success, and he 
falls and breaks his neck in attempting the ascent. Yet when once 
we have emancipated our minds from the duress of the existing 
conventional morality, we find it impossible to understand why 
such a man as Solness should not unite with Hilda Wangel for 
the procreation of children, and why he should be condemned to 
sterilization for the sake of his conjugal partner whose spirit dwells 
among the tombs. 

2. Under our official sexual system, reproduction is favored 
where it ought to be hindered (reversed selection). 

a. A man worn out by the excesses of wild love, or exhausted 



264 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

merely by the ordinary stresses of life and by the advance of age, 
at length marries and propagates. 

b. A woman of property, biologically speaking of inferior type, 
marries and reproduces her kind. 

c. A couple whose offspring is invariably of wretched quality 
still continues to procreate, though one partner or the other could 
very probably produce offspring of a far higher quality in associa- 
tion with a more suitable partner. 

d. A woman weakened constitutionally by a rapid succession of 
pregnancies must continue to bear children, injuring thereby the 
progeny of her healthy husband ; conversely, a man biologically in- 
ferior, in the exercise of his lifelong monopoly, weakens the issue 
of a healthy woman. 

e. Here is an instance of the favoring of a falsified selection 
and the hindering of a sound selective process in different life- 
stages of the same individuality. A beautiful young woman of 
lower-class birth gives herself to a handsome and vigorous young 
man of station, the latter not thinking of marriage. The woman 
becomes pregnant, whereat there is great distress, although in 
appropriate social conditions the event would be hailed with joy. 
The child of those two fine biological specimens, whose union is the 
outcome of reciprocal free choice, must not be born if its birth can 
possibly be avoided, and if born it is likely to be reared in un- 
desirable environmental conditions. Many years later the same 
man, after exhausting his constitution in the morass of prostitu- 
tion, procreates children in legal marriage with an unattractive but 
well-dowered woman whereupon all his friends congratulate him, 
and society rejoices. 

B. Indirect influences of contemporary marriage. 

1. Prostitution is the source of manifold injurious racial in- 
fluences. It is the focus of venereal disease, it debilitates the sexual 
impulse, it excludes from the racial process all those women who 
become the instruments of prostitution (and men as well as women 
who have had frequent experience of sexual intercourse under the 
conditions that obtain in prostitution are liable in subsequent mar- 



THE SEXUAL STRUGGLE 265 

riage to prove infertile or to propagate diseased offspring) ; the 
debilitation of the sexual impulse which results from recourse to 
prostitution deters men from marriage; the elimination from the 
racial process of the women who become prostitutes often prevents 
the transmission by inheritance of fine physical qualities, for the 
women who become prostitutes are commonly good-looking. On 
the other hand, since it is rather under the pressure of need than 
owing to any inborn vicious tendency that women adopt this mode 
of life, we cannot accept the view that the effect of prostitution 
is to eliminate vicious tendencies from the race through the sterili- 
zation of the prostitute. 

2. The second evil we have to consider under this head is the 
enforced celibacy of millions of human beings biologically well- 
fitted for procreation. A large proportion of the population is 
excluded from reproduction simply through economic inability to 
marry, and the contention that marriage effects a selection of the 
fittest types cannot be sustained as regards the existing sexual 
order. Putting on one side the question of the inheritance 
of economic advantages, the power to acquire these advan- 
tages, the aptitude for money-making, has no necessary con- 
nection with the possession of fine human qualities. A man 
who, of deliberate intent, devotes his life to the future wel- 
fare of our race is unlikely, in the economy of existing society, to 
acquire a position which will enable him to support a family ; and 
should he have daughters they will probably be dowerless, and will 
therefore have no suitors. Anti-selective influences are also at work 
in the case of persons of fine sensibilities, who naturally demand 
high qualities in a sexual partner; and even if such persons en- 
counter a suitable companion, marriage may be impossible for 
economic reasons. It follows that, within the limits of the existing 
sexual order, and unless they are willing to disregard the restric- 
tions of that order, such persons are eliminated from the racial 
process. By our existing moral conventions and it is with these 
we are now concerned, with their non-selective and anti-selective 
influence, and not with occasional instances in which the conven- 



266 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

tions are defied those who do not marry are condemned to celi- 
bacy. Thus innumerable individuals who would prove the fittest 
in any unvitiated process of natural selection are forcibly excluded 
from the racial process. It is for these reasons, it is because the 
official sexual system encourages the operation of influences both 
non-selective and anti-selective, that all earnest eugenists should 
make common cause with the advocates of sexual and social reform. 
******* 

In this place a passing mention may be made of the views of 
Alfred Russel Wallace, the distinguished biologist, a socialist on 
Darwinian lines. In plain terms he asserts that woman should 
have free choice of a sexual partner. 5 Men, considers Wallace, have 
the power of choice in any case, for they can choose their wives 
without regard to the economic status of these ; but he desires that 
"the selective function should be exercised by the female sex." 
He speaks of the "cultured spirit" and of the "pure sentiments" 
of women, but gives no indication as to how these valuable quali- 
ties are to find application in the sexual life. Moreover, since he 
appears to accept the existing marriage system, he treats merely 
the symptoms of the sexual crisis, while leaving the essential 
pathological cause untouched. 

Plb'tz's reply to Wallace is based yet more definitely upon the 
existing marriage system, and has therefore even less to do with 
the possibilities of improving selection by ignoring the restraints 
of that system. He fears that the more effective elimination re- 
sulting from perfect freedom of sexual choice would give rise to 
much suffering; he compassionates the women who in such a case 
would become old-maids [what about those who become old-maids 
to-day?], compassionates the men who would be passed over, etc. 
But the exclusion of these men and these women would be justified, 
being independent of economic and legal coercion and of the influ- 
ence of social suggestion. One who, because undesired, fails to 
attain to procreation and to love, is one who, to his or her fellow 

8 Quoted by Plotz, in an article entitled, Menschliche Auslese, published in 
"Zukunft," July 7, 1894. 



THE SEXUAL STRUGGLE 267 

human beings, appears undesirable. This judgment may be mis- 
taken, but at any rate we have here an unfalsified process of selec- 
tion at work. To-day, a woman whom many men desire may re- 
main unfruitful simply because the irrelevant conditions (irrele- 
vant to the question of sexual selection) demanded by our social 
and economic order are incapable of fulfillment. Similarly, a man 
who finds the maintenance of a whole group of human beings a 
task beyond his powers, and who lacks the chance of making, or 
disdains to make, a well-dowered marriage, may be desired by many 
women for his own sake, but he is likely to remain without off- 
spring. Could we make an end of those economic, legal, and sug- 
gestive influences that now load the dice, the human beings that 
would then be excluded from reproduction would be the sexually 
undesired and the biologically undesirable, and the exclusion of 
the desired and the desirable from the racial process, their ex- 
clusion by the operation of non-selective factors, would no longer 
take place. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

SOCIALISM AND THE THEORY OF SELECTION 

Apparent Conflict between the Socialist and the Darwinian Views of the 
World-Order. The Sexual Victory of Lower Types over Higher. The 
Protection of the Weak and the Struggle for Existence. Plotz's Solu- 
tion of the Problem: The Adoption of Measures to Secure the Birth 
of Better Human Varieties. Sexual Reform and Racial Hygiene. 
Synthesis of the Idealism of the Antique and the Christian Worlds. 

The ground idea of Plotz's work is the supposed conflict be- 
tween the two views of the world-order, socialism and the theory 
of selection, between the principle of the ' ' protection of the weak, ' ' 
on the one hand, and the apparently contradictory principle of the 
" struggle for existence " with the consequent elimination of the 
less fit, on the other. In his concept of racial hygiene Plotz finds 
the possibility of a synthesis between these two ideas which have 
been so widely regarded as essentially contradictory. 

In the opinion of the present writer, socialism involves no an- 
tagonism to the struggle for existence, to the preference of the fit. 
All that socialism demands is equality of opportunity, a fair start 
in the race ; but it does not exclude the possibility that those of dif- 
ferent endowments should aim at different goals. The primary 
aim of socialism is the abolition of the economic order which ren- 
ders possible the uncontrolled exploitation of one human being 
by another. The unfalsified economic selection of the best cannot 
be effected until a genuine equalization of opportunities has been 
secured. When all have equal claims to elementary and to higher 
education, and when all have equal access to the means of produc- 
tion, we shall, for the first time, learn who are the truly fit ; whereas 
to-day, when one starts with an elaborate equipment owed to the 

268 



SOCIALISM AND THE THEORY OF SELECTION 269 

artificial inheritance of property, whilst another leaves the social 
* ' scratch ' ' fettered hand and foot, the results alike of the economic 
and of the sexual struggle are completely vitiated. 

Plotz writes : ' ' We are already well advanced in the institution 
of measures, communal as well as private, for the protection of the 
economically weak and of those weak in other respects. Insurance 
against sickness, accident, and old age, legislative restriction of 
the hours of labor, and numerous other interferences with the right 
of employers to impose certain conditions of work, are to-day gen- 
eral in many civilized countries. ' ' Now Plotz regards such protec- 
tive social organization as tending to inhibit the working of the 
chief factors that should eliminate the unfit. For my own part, I 
am unable to recognize in such protective organization any factors 
that inhibit the struggle for existence or interfere with the selec- 
tion of the best. Are the fit more easy to recognize when the work- 
ers are exploited without check? Is not limitless exploitation a 
non-selective factor, and sometimes an anti-selective factor, one 
calculated to eliminate the stronger varieties also, inasmuch as ex- 
cessive toil and insufficient nutriment wear down the stronger con- 
stitutions no less than the weaker, and ruin the possible offspring 
even in the germ ? This does not lead to the survival of the fittest, 
but merely serves to make even the fit more and more wretched; 
and if, in virtue of the law of adaptation, the artificially degraded 
varieties are able to maintain themselves in the arena, the adapta- 
tion is productive of a lower instead of a higher human type. Can 
it be contended that the biological degradation of the Silesian 
weavers, progressing from generation to generation, represents the 
survival of the fittest because the weavers continue to live and to 
procreate, because they maintain their place in the arena? True, 
they remain in the arena, but in how wretched a condition ! 

We have to ask ourselves whether the unlimited capacity for 
exploitation acquired by those who have gained economic power 
over their fellow men is not a potent cause of racial deterioration, 
whether the abundance in our midst of mental and physical crip- 
ples is not the outcome of the working of this influence throughout 



270 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

human history. The lake-dwellers were less highly civilized than 
we are, but there can be no doubt that their average strength of 
constitution was far greater than that of our own contemporaries. 

The Dutch sociologist Rutgers takes a similar view. He writes : 
"A mitigation of the selective struggle may well be a gain for those 
engaged in it, whereas a victory in the struggle for existence may 
result in a terrible disillusionment. Call to mind the families of 
the poor, and think of the myriads of children reared in an at- 
mosphere literally and metaphorically plague-stricken. It is a fine 
struggle for existence, this hunger-test, this deficiency of light and 
air, productive of anemia and tuberculosis! . . . What types of 
individual ultimately establish themselves as the fittest, and are 
thus enabled to perpetuate their kind? Let us consider one of 
the commonest cases. Owing to a prolonged drought in the spring- 
time there has been a fierce struggle for existence in my garden; 
when the rain at length comes, which plants will show themselves 
to have been victorious in the struggle ? We shall find that the finer 
seedlings have all perished and that it is only the weeds that flourish 
luxuriantly. Such is the process when we leave it in nature's 
hands. Unassisted nature will produce nothing but wild plants, 
wild animals, and savage human beings the types best adapted 
to the natural conditions/' Rutgers goes on to advocate purposive 
intervention in the matter of sexual selection, and in selection by 
the potential mother he recognizes an entirely new factor in the 
human racial process. 

Yet another biologist, Walter Claassen, takes the same view, 
that the products of selection, the victors in the struggle for exist- 
ence, cannot always be regarded as the fittest in any exalted sense. 
In an article upon "National Degeneration" 6 he contends that to- 
day passivity is cultivated while activity is eliminated. "In this 
dung-heap of a world, the worm-natures propagate unceasingly, 
whilst the lion-natures fail to perpetuate their type." The strong 
and the active have a larger standard of consumption than the 

'Entartung der Vollcsmassen, "Arch, fiir Eassen und Gesellschaftsbiolo- 



SOCIALISM AND THE THEORY OF SELECTION 271 

passive, the petty, and the contemptible. Hence, while the latter 
kinds maintain and reproduce themselves, the former perish be- 
cause they are unable to obtain the supply of physical and mental 
nutriment demanded by their more vigorous type of metabolism. 
Hence, for us to rely upon the law of the survival of the fittest in 
the struggle for existence, means simply that the faculty of being 
passive, petty, and contemptible becomes a "fit" quality promoting 
preferential survival. Active and vigorous minds will draw the in- 
ference that man must avail himself of his superiority to nature, 
must utilize his powers for deliberately altering natural conditions 
to suit his own purposes; must, in a word, employ the powers o 
civilization for the control of nature, and must take steps to secure 
the systematic maintenance of the threatened active types. 

Observation teaches that in the sexual struggle the victory is 
often with those of commoner type. The ignoble tend increasingly 
to preponderate over the noble, because the ignoble unite and propa- 
gate far more readily, whereas the noble tend to remain unpaired, 
since II: is difficult for them to find suitable mates. Marriage for 
monetary considerations works counter to any true selective process. 
"We are assured that the existing economic order is one of free com- 
petition, that the individually fittest have the best chances of suc- 
cess. We might as well tell beings born with fettered limbs or 
born in a cage to compete freely with those born and reared in 
the free life of the open. Those without inherited capital are 
to-day born in chains. It does not suffice to have energy, for energy 
needs matter on which it can work, and the matter on which our 
energy has to work is our own "natural" environment. Equality 
of environing conditions, equal opportunities for all, are the in- 
dispensable prerequisites to the proper development of individual 
varieties, to the survival of the fittest (from the humanist outlook), 
to a truly free competition, to the victory of the best. Proper com- 
munal provision is essential for the general life of the individuals 
who combine to form a human society. None can dispense with 
social help; the moment will come in which even the noblest will 
succumb if no helping hand is offered. 



272 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

The protection of the weak, the question whether that protection 
is or is not adequate, may in certain circumstances be a test of the 
fitness of society itself. When the individual who has fallen upon 
evil days receives protection, it is for its own aid even more than 
for that of the individual that the community reacts. The society 
that cares for the unfortunate, cures the sick, sustains the weakly, 
exhibits thereby the possession of intrinsic forces of regeneration. 
For in that moment in which the individual suffers he ceases, from 
the social point of view, to be a separate and independent entity, 
and becomes more obviously than ever before a member of the com- 
munity; his own personality retreats into the background, and as 
an individual link he is merged in the general chain of the life 
of the species. Thus the society which brings relief to this suffering 
individual thereby demonstrates its own fitness. This is probably 
the root explanation of the universal human impulse in developed 
society towards mutual aid. Uncivilized races leave their sick, 
their cripples, and their idiots unassisted, and these unfortunates 
have to struggle for existence with their own unaided powers until 
they succumb. Does this promote the preferential survival of the 
free and fine types? Are not the diseased individuals, if left un- 
cared for, an eminent danger to the community? When they are 
properly cared for in suitable institutions does the protection thus 
furnished by communal effort redound to their own advantage 
alone? Is it not true that by such actions society, first and above 
all, protects itself? Does not the social organism which success- 
fully effects this work of regeneration thereby prove that its great 
body is strong and fit, and therefore competent to survive in the 
struggle for existence? 

The further formulation and more detailed solution of this 
problem may be left to those racial hygienists socialists and Dar- 
winians who are striving to effect a synthesis of these two views 
of the world-order. 

******* 

Plb'tz himself agrees that the struggle for existence may be miti- 
gated, and even abolished, without injury to the human race. To 



SOCIALISM AND THE THEORY OF SELECTION 273 

render this possible it is essential, he considers, that every allevia- 
tion, of the struggle for existence, every social intervention for the 
protection of the weak, should be counterbalanced by equivalent 
effort for the control of variability through the adoption of methods 
which shall lead to the birth of better varieties. 

Where the writer differs from Plotz is in the view that protec- 
tive organization is in itself competent to safeguard the race against 
the working of non-selective or anti-selective factors. Such pro- 
tection is not merely protection of the weak, but is further, to 
quote the term used by Goldscheid, "social protection against 
weakness. " It is in itself a means for securing the birth of better 
human varieties, and not an evil that must be counterbalanced by 
palliatives. 

The fundamental idea of Plotz 's system, however, is to divert 
the struggle for existence from the cell-state, that is, from the 
human individual, to particular cells, that is, to the germinal cells. 
This diversion is to be effected by measures deliberately planned 
to secure the procreation of improved human varieties. Plotz de- 
mands "the wide diffusion of a sound knowledge of procreative 
hygiene," of which the alpha and the omega is "the use of pre- 
ventive methods in sexual intercourse. ' ' He writes : * ' The use of 
preventive methods in sexual intercourse releases the act of procrea- 
tion from subordination to the often invincible sensual desires of 
the moment, and enables us to provide for that act the more favor- 
able conditions that we desire. Our knowledge is so far advanced 
to-day that if proper medical advice were given it would only be 
persons of an extremely defective type who would be unable or 
unwilling to practice preventive intercourse with success. To stig- 
matize preventive intercourse as immoral, as many still do to-day, 
and to reject its practice on that ground, is merely to throw the 
doors wide open to the disastrous anti-selective influences. " 

Inasmuch as the reform of the sexual order of society, our own 
chosen topic of study, is one of the most important means for secur- 
ing the birth of better human varieties, and since the adoption of 
measures to this end is, in Plotz 's view, to replace the struggle 



274 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

for existence between adults, the space we have given to the dis- 
cussion of the fundamental ideas of this writer is justified. His 
notion really involves a new conception of the world-order. It 
is the first successful synthesis known to me of the humanist ideal 
with the aristocratic principle of the victory of the strongest; the 
first complete approximation of those widely separated poles of 
thought which we associate, on the one hand with the names of 
Christ and Tolstoi, and on the other with those of Darwin and 
Nietzsche. For this synthesis proved beyond the powers even of 
a Nietzsche. 

Starting from this point, a writer of history from the psycho- 
logical outlook (this scientific type is still non-existent, but it is 
one whose coming is eminently desirable) might seek for that 
synthesis of which our time has so urgent a need: a synthesis of 
the classical and of the Christian ideals. We want to rescue and 
revitalize the antique joy of life, freed from the lack of conscience 
which led those of the antique world to stride to their pleasures 
across the bodies of the dead; we need to fuse this joy of life 
with the ideal of humanism, and with the altruistic sense of respon- 
sibility which Christ was the first to grave deeply upon the popular 
consciousness. This synthesis, to be effected in the psychological 
and philosophical domain, is, in fact, identical with the synthesis, 
to be effected in the physiological and sociological domain, of the 
selective principle with the principle of the protection of the weak ; 
or at any rate the former synthesis must be established upon the 
foundation of the latter. A synthesis of the moral values of the 
classical with those of the Christian world (a synthesis for which 
the modern consciousness craves) is attainable, in my opinion, only 
through the successful reform of our sexual life. 

******* 

The reform of the sexual life awaits its Luther but the coming 
great sexual reformer may be of either sex. Let the writer hasten 
to explain that she has not cast herself for that lofty role and that 
she is quite content with the more modest part of such a forerunner 



SOCIALISM AND THE THEORY OF SELECTION 275 

as John Huss. If, at last, she were forced to share the fate of Huss, 
if like him she should have to say : 

"Heute brat en sie eine Gans 
Das bin ich, der arme Hans." T 

still, it would be her hope that like Huss she might prophesy : 

"In hundert Jahren kommt ein Schwan, 
Den werden sie ungebraten lahn." 8 

In such a case the writer would gladly burn to-day, but for her 
work as forerunner would feel justified in the joyful adoption of 
the words of that same Swan, Martin Luther : ' ' Here stand I, and 
can do otherwise, God helping me." 

'"To-day they are roasting a goose 

That goose am I, Poor John Huss." 

The couplet in the German does not merely rhyme, but involves a word- 
play upon the Czech name for goose, Hussa; Hans is the popular version of 
Johannes, John. TRANSLATOR'S NOTE. 

*"In a hundred years will come a swan, 
This they will leave unroasted." 



CHAPTER XXVII 

THE REFORM OF PROCREATION 

The Fundamental Idea of Sexual Reform: The Production and Mainte- 
nance of Fit Human Beings. The Struggle against the Forbears. 
Religious Need of Humanity. Reverence for Procreation as the Re- 
ligion of the Future. 

1 ' The sexual pairing of man and woman is effected for the pur- 
pose of procreation : but it is in truth a divine matter ; and of mor- 
tal beings, this is the immortal part. ' ' 9 . . . A complete sexual 
partnership, one fully satisfying all the requirements of our nature, 
is the greatest, but also the rarest, happiness that human beings 
can experience. Since this complete partnership of two lives and 
two souls, for the attainment of which we gladly cast to the winds 
all the material and social advantages another partnership might 
bring, is so rare that in the desert of our life we are apt to hail 
with joy the mere arousing of sympathy. The feeling of sympathy 
between persons of opposite sexes is, in fact, a lure, a pious fraud 
on nature's part for the production of new specimens of our race. 
"In relation to the act of procreation, beauty is a coupling and 
birth-giving goddess. For this reason, when one desirous of the 
act of kind draws near to one who is beautiful, the former becomes 
ardent, interpermeated with beauty, has intercourse, and fer- 
tilizes. ' ' 10 If, in a happy hour, a healthy child is procreated, in 
a rationally organized society, this could never be regarded as a 
misfortune; in such a society there would be no talk of sin and 
shame, but only of social and individual gain, even though the 
union of those who have procreated the child should prove to have 

Plato, The Banquet. 
"Plato, ibid. 



THE REFORM OF PROCREATION 277 

been based upon mutual illusion and should be followed by a 
speedy separation. Gladly would I encounter the woman who has 
had experience of several love-intimacies, each entered from gen- 
uine high-souled inclination, who, after a time of probation de- 
voted to learning whether the qualities of her sexual partner seem 
likely to make a desirable fusion with her own for the biological 
purposes of procreation, should conceive and bear a child. The 
man perhaps will leave her after a time, causing her disillusion- 
ment and sorrow, but she will not for that reason renounce either 
love or subsequent motherhood, for the capacity for love of the 
healthy nature is immeasurable. Fate will perchance in the end 
reward this woman's faithfulness to her own ideal. Ultimately, 
it may be when she has become a mature and fully conscious hu- 
man being, she will encounter her predestined soul-mate, to whom 
she is as indispensable as he to her. But such a life-history as 
this will become possible only in another sexual order than our own. 
The leading task of a fully awakened racial consciousness is to 
study the conditions under which fine human beings can best be 
engendered, born, and reared. It must become the possible ideal 
of every woman, "to bring into the world a child that will climb 
vigorously from earth towards heaven. " n This fundamental idea 
of all sexual reform will find general expression as soon as people 
come to realize the misery of our present sexual situation, to under- 
stand the nature of the sexual crisis. ' ' It ought to be regarded as 
a self-evident duty on the part of the State and of the community 
at large to encourage the procreation of the fit. ' ' 12 In certain 
conditions an increase in the birth-rate is not only not dreaded, 
but is actually welcomed, as we see in the national pride at the 
increase of the population of Germany from forty millions in 1870 
(identical at that date with the population of France which has 
since remained stationary) to sixty-five millions at the present day. 
In the popular imagination, this increase represents victory in a 
possible war, a victory won by German mothers. It is true that 

"Kleist, Brief e. 

"Bronner, Ehe und Entwiclclungslehre. 



278 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

certain political economists look with alarm upon this continued 
excess of births. But if there existed an official system of mother- 
hood-protection, the regulation of the birth-rate would be in so- 
ciety's own hands, for motherhood-protection involves the right 
and the power to secure the practice of preventive sexual inter- 
course. 

The obstacles in the way of sexual selection are the outcome 
of the existing economic order, which makes individual human 
beings dependent on other individuals. This relationship of de- 
pendence permeates the family as well ; the child is dependent on 
the parents, the wife is dependent on the husband, those advanced 
in years are dependent on their children. Existences that belong 
to the future are imperiled when the parents become poor, when 
they have been poor from the first, or when they leave their chil- 
dren to shift for themselves. By natural law, the higher the type 
of organism, the more extended is the period during which the 
young need care. If the offspring of the higher animals are thrown 
upon their own resources early in life they inevitably perish. In 
so many families to-day the care of the offspring is left to chance, 
and the young have to provide for themselves long before they are 
really competent to do so. As a birthright, there must be secured 
to every human being, first, a sound constitution, his physical in- 
tegrity ; secondly, full opportunities for the cultivation of his most 
conspicuous aptitude, for the purposes of his life occupation; 
thirdly, the provision of suitable work; fourthly, social insurance 
against illness, accident, and old age ; fifthly, in the case of women, 
their enrollment as mothers in the salaried service of the state. 
(Bellamy goes further than this, demanding the social maintenance 
of women, not merely as mothers, but simply on account of their 
sex.) Complete mutual economic independence would give free 
play to a genuine selection, for sexual unions would be the result 
of unhindered choice, and would be the outcome of true reciprocal 
sympathy and understanding. It must be regarded as almost insane 
to permit the passionate love of two healthy human beings to be- 
come extinct without their having, during the extremest ardency 



THE REFORM OF PROCREATION 279 

of their desires, procreated a new life. Marriages in which the 
procreation of a new human being is regarded as a humdrum 
affair, or in which successful procreation is even considered a mis- 
fortune, are a regular part of our sexual order ; on the other hand, 
the children of love, of true sexual selection, are outcasts, the best 
years of reproduction remain unutilized, and men enter the state 
of marriage at a comparatively advanced age and do not under- 
take the procreation of children until their powers have been de- 
bilitated by prolonged recourse to prostitution. In the interest 
of the race, when two strong, healthy, and fit human beings love 
one another, they should procreate children. The splendid possi- 
bilities for the improvement of the human stock are nullified by 
a moral code hostile to this most wonderful of all the manifesta- 
tions of the World-will. What fine specimens of humanity might 
have been procreated by Richard Wagner, when a youth, in sexual 
union with Mathilde; what splendid children might such a man 
as Goethe have engendered while still a young man. But such 
choice pairs, instead of successfully perpetuating their type, are 
torn asunder, lead sterile lives through the decades of their prime ; 
the men do not attain to marriage and therewith to procreation 
until comparatively advanced in years (as we see in the case of 
the very men we have named, Wagner and Goethe), while the 
women who were created to respond to the desires of these heroes 
and to join with them in the production of truly well-born speci- 
mens of our race are coerced into marriage with others. Precisely 
how these intellectual heroes would, in their prime, have acquit- 
ted themselves as progenitors, we are unable positively to deter- 
mine, for hitherto such men have rarely, if ever, attained to pro- 
creation in suitable conditions, that is to say, in the early prime 
of manhood, and in sexual union with a beloved woman of their 
own high quality. Quite erroneously does Max Burckhardt write 
in a circular of inquiry: "The intellectuals of a nation should 
engender children of the spirit, and should leave to the common 
people the task of providing for the ordinary increase of the popu- 
lation. " This view is utterly false, for its adoption would effect 



280 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

an artificial elimination of the finest types of brain, and not infre- 
quently of the heroic instincts as well. Burckhardt's view is that 
which finds expression in an old Indian proverb: "What need 
have those of offspring who have given their souls to the world V 
This question might be answered as follows : "If not for their own 
need, then for the sake of all, in order that those fine natures thus 
able to give their soul to the world should perpetuate their type, 
and not leave the procreation of the coming race exclusively to 
persons of narrow nature. ' ' As Goethe writes : * * Choice children 
might be born if the parents themselves were choice. " 13 Bernard 
Shaw speaks yet more plainly, when he writes in "The Perfect 
Wagnerite," "The majority of men at present in Europe have no 
business to be alive ; and no serious progress will be made until we 
address ourselves earnestly and scientifically to the task of pro- 
ducing trustworthy human material for society. In short, it is 
necessary to breed a race of men in whom the life-giving impulses 
predominate. ' ' 

The question has been much disputed whether our race must 
to-day be regarded as degenerate. I do not think we can answer 
this with a simple affirmative or negative. Side by side with an 
indisputable degeneration of the many, we can perceive a higher 
and higher development of the few. Progress is no mere figment 
of the imagination. But this upward progress of our race is ef- 
fected, if we may use the image, along a wide spiral curve, ascend- 
ing very slowly and in face of innumerable obstacles. The true aim 
of all attempts at improving the world is to remove some of the 
obstacles and to steepen the gradient of the ascending curve. 

Nature knows only effects and it is an error of judgment to 
see in nature a scheme of deliberate causation, the exercise of pur- 
pose for the attainment of a consciously perceived end. Teleology 
is the human privilege; it is man's part to endeavor to control the 
causes that produce the future. In all living creatures, a large 
proportion of their energies is wasted in a thankless task, in a 
struggle with their own forbears. People begin to recognize that 

" ' * Man konnte erzogene Kinder gebaren, wenn die Eltern erzogen waren. > ' 



THE REFORM OF PROCREATION 281 

the procreation of a new being is an extremely responsible act, and 
that vast numbers of individuals are quite unfitted for such re- 
sponsibility. Those of future ages will probably be much aston- 
ished that there could ever have existed a time in which the most 
important of human actions, the one whose consequences are the 
most enduring of all, was left to individual caprice. "We may go 
so far as to demand that the higher development of our race should 
be deliberately pursued by the restriction of parenthood to those 
human beings best fitted for this privilege. We recognize the first 
principle of racial improvement, not in the rearing of children, but 
in the production of the well-born. Coercive marriage must cease 

to be the ethico-social norm and the basis of procreative activity. 

******* 

What is the significance of the religious need of humanity? A 
phrase of Nietzsche's may answer this question. "Man needs an 
aim, and would rather aim at nothing than not aim at all. ' ' Noth- 
ing short of a perdurable aim can satisfy the titanic yearning of 
our race. The moral struggle of mankind may be conceived as an 
endeavor to effect an inhibition of the individual will wherever 
this conflicts with the perdurable will. Herein is found the main- 
spring of religion. Hence, as the old creeds decayed, as the old 
tables of the law were broken, new religions came into being, new 
tables were graven. Some have seen in art, and others in science, 
an efficient substitute for religion. But in the writer's view noth- 
ing is competent to still this yearning, to provide a new religious 
aim, unless it reaches out beyond the moment of individual exist- 
ence, reaches out into eternity, and yet remains all the while inti- 
mately associated with the individual life. What is there which 
can provide a fuller satisfaction of both these demands than the 
ideal of the biological perf ectionment of the human type ? 

Reverence for procreation is the religion of the future. Here 
is the truly sacramental act and here the root of all enduring moral- 
ity. Herein also we find the natural factor for the inhibition of the 
individual will, so important an element of all religions. More- 
over, this inhibition is closely interwoven with the most characteris- 



282 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

tic manifestation of individual egoism, for the object which is pro- 
tected by this inhibition is the perpetuation of the individual ego. 
No effective moral law can have reference merely to the limited 
duration of the individual life; such laws must be applicable to 
the unlimited life of the species. This provides the justification 
for the restrictions which, in this respect, it is desirable to impose 
upon the freedom of the individual ego. 

To enable this sentiment to become effectively religious, to 
enable it to assume the strength given by incorporation in an ac- 
cepted moral code and the stability derived from being engraved 
upon the tables of the law, the average consciousness must be 
awakened and exercised about this matter. We are here concerned 
with mankind itself. Everything in the world over and above the 
raw material of nature comes into existence through the work of 
man. Man is at once operative and instrument, at once medium 
and creator. The actual quality of this operative, this instrument, 
this medium, this creator, is the ultimate condition of all such 
opportunities as the world holds for mankind. Upon the stuff of 
which man himself is made depends what man himself can make 
of the world. If he is blighted from birth, the world he creates 
for himself will be a blighted world. Hence his ultimate world- 
aim must be a delight in the creation of beautiful and fit human 
beings. 

"You shall bear me a god upon earth! 
Prometheus shall from his seat arise, 
And to the earth-born race proclaim, 

'Behold a man, the man of my desire.' } 

The pursuit of this aim must become the animating will of every 
man, the privilege of every woman, the religious inspiration of 

both sexes alike. 

******* 

The welfare of the race and the regulation of the sexual life 
of mankind are inseparable correlates. The quality of the race is 



THE REFORM OP PROCREATION 283 

the direct outcome of the existing sexual morality, or, in other 
words, of the conventions by which, in any society, sexual relations 
are regulated and in obedience to which procreation is effected. 
The first foundation of all possible racial hygiene is the dominant 
sexual order of society; the principles of racial hygiene are de- 
ducible from the moral demands and the economic needs of the 
time. Thus the sexual order must make the aims of racial hy- 
giene its own. In default of this, what is called a "sexual order " 
is a mere formula of social calculations, instead of being an instru- 
ment for the higher evolution of the species. 

This idea of the higher evolution of the species must inspire 
all our lives and must animate the sexual struggle. Here is the 
ultimate secret, here is the divine aim, transcending the individual 
existence, an aim "not for an age, but for all time." Here can 
we found our new altars, worthy of the deepest reverence of which 
the human heart is capable. Here is the ideal of beauty which it 
is love's privilege to serve. Such is the thought expressed in the 
imperishable conversation between Socrates and Diotima: 

"You are mistaken, Socrates, in thinking that Love serves 
Beauty. ' ' ' ' For what, then, does Love serve ? ' ' ' ' For the Procre- 
ation and Birth of the Beautiful." "But wherefore the Act of 
Procreation?" "Because the Act of Procreation is itself the 
Eternal and the Undying." 



BOOK IX 
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY HUMANITY 

All the heavenly bodies revolve around something; they turn 
on their own axes; the moon revolves around the earth, the earth 
around the sun, the sun around a central sun, which itself revolves 
around another central sun of a greater and heavier order, and so 
on without end. A strange movement this. We see everywhere 
a general hatred of rectilinear motion. Life begins with a circle. 
Then follow the ellipse, the parabola and the hyperbola. 

JULIUS FERN. Astronomical Causerie. 

CHAPTER XXVIII 

PSYCHOLOGY OF THE SEXUAL STRUGGLE 

The Factor of Struggle in Sex-Relationships. "Getting the Upper Hand." 
Who Pays Homage? The Frenzy of Misunderstanding. Psychical 
Fetichism of the Modern Man. His Misdirected and Inadequate Sex- 
ual Impulse. Love of Obscenity as an Equivalent for the Satisfaction 
of Such an Impulse. Sexual Exhaustion as a Sequel of Cerebral Ex- 
haustion. The Ascetic Tendency. 

T^LEIST writes of reflection that we reflect better after action 
* ^ than before. Reflection before action is apt to weaken the in- 
tensity of the fine feelings that impel to action, whereas reflection 
after action teaches how to act better next time. These considera- 
tions apply to the amatory life. Reflectively to study the whole 
course of the relationship beforehand, to modify or repress the 
feelings in view of the results of this deliberative process, is frankly 
impossible. When, after experience, we deliberate a posteriori, we 
are in a position to recognize laws irrecognizable before, and the 

284 



PSYCHOLOGY OF THE SEXUAL STEUGGLE 285 

disposition to action may thus be modified in readiness for the next 
case. So many dispositions, so many ways of love ; and each pair 
of lovers has fresh sexual experiences. The more subtle the per- 
sonalities of those concerned, and the more ardent their passions, 
the more intense is the struggle characteristic of every sexual rela- 
tionship. Victory in this struggle implies, as Hilda Wangel puts 
it, "to get the upper hand." The one whose blood more quickly 
becomes heated, the one whose serenity of judgment is more readily 
clouded, is first conquered. Yet this loss of coolness, this troubling 
of the perfect clarity of the understanding, is the essential pur- 
pose of the whole experience. Thus the entire process of the move- 
ment tends to assume a hyperbolic form, becomes more and more 
"a strange movement"; those engaged in the sexual struggle pur- 
sue paths of extraordinary curve, and always there is "a general 
hatred of rectilinear movement. ' ' 

Explanations of the torments and struggles of sexual love have 
been ardently sought by all creative spirits. Giordano Bruno, in 
his "Eroici Furori," contends that the essence of unhappy love is 
almost always to be found in the inferior quality of the object of 
love, whereby love reacts to unhappiness instead of to happiness. 
Another mystic, brother in spirit to Giordano Bruno, Maeterlinck, 
also ascribes the defective reaction, the sense of dissatisfaction of 
the lovers, to the incompleteness of the beloved. He writes : ' * How- 
ever incomplete a being may be, he may be adequate to the love 
of a wonderful personality ; but the most wonderful of beings can- 
not be adequate to the love of one whose personality is incomplete. * ' 

Love is, above all, a profound exercise of consciousness on the 
part of the lover about the beloved: all the lover's feelings are 
directed towards the beloved ; the lover knows, or thinks he knows 
the beloved. Hence there has never existed an artist devoid of 
the capacity to love profoundly and to suffer intensely through 
love. In all religions, the divine, the undying element must always 
be embraced by the spirit, while that which is no more than 
1 ' phallically engendered" must always perish. The ultimate prob- 
lem of this whole struggle is, "Who pays homage"? He or she 



286 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

who refuses it to one person may willingly and gladly yield it to 
another. But the true frenzy of sex depends upon the misunder- 
standings of the sexes. The writer of the love-tragedy of Pen- 
thesilea and Achilles has depicted this tragedy of sex as it affects 
two magnificent human types. But we need not soar so high as 
this in search of examples. The tragical and almost inevitable 
experience is portrayed in some light verses of Heine 's : ' * A may- 
chafer woos a fly, and the fly repels his advances. She does this 
only to tease, for one teases what one loves. But the unhappy 
maychafer takes the teasing in earnest, and flies off in a mood of 
bitter sorrow. Thereupon the fly pines away, failing utterly to 
understand why her lover has abandoned her, for in her heart all 
she had wished to say to him was, Wed me when you will. She 
awaits him, decked in her wedding garments. The bells are ring- 
ing, ding-dong, ding-dong; Where tarries my beloved bride- 
groom?" 1 

The outcome of this struggle depends upon incalculable forces, 
forces not of the environment only, but those of the individual 
human soul. The masculine soul, more especially, even when dom- 
inated by the most ardent desire, continues to strive against fulfill- 
ment, for a man still hopes in an ultimate corner of his mind that 
he will be able to " recover his balance." His desire is to remain 
free, and if he becomes bound it is in opposition to his fundamental 
egoistic will. But how, as Shaw phrases it, can woman attain to 
the pains of labor unless man is vanquished in this struggle ? 

Whether a man and a woman who join in love are in truth 
predestined mates, is decided by nature herself in the quality of 
their offspring. Physiological researches have shown that the finest 
offspring are produced when the parents do not resemble one an- 
other too closely, and when the stock is not weakened by in-and-in, 
breeding. Cross-fertilization gives enhanced vital energy to the 
newly engendered individuals, and upon vital energy depends in- 
born fitness and therewith almost all else that matters in life. But 
when varieties too dissimilar or too closely similar are paired, "the 
1 Die Launen der Verliebten. 



PSYCHOLOGY OF THE SEXUAL STRUGGLE 287 

offspring displays characters that are mainly preparental, whilst 
the parental characters fail to find expression. ' ' 2 In such a case 
there is a reversion to obsolete types which are imperfectly adapted 
to present-day conditions. 

Our modern decadents exhibit marked tendencies to both these 
extremes, inclining to pair with those too similar or with those too 
dissimilar. The blunted senses of the contemporary male are in- 
sufficiently stimulated in a union with his most favorable biological 
complement, and he finds such a union tedious. "The modern 
man," writes Bourget in his "Psychologic de 1 'amour moderne," 
"is an animal very readily bored, and he is willing to pay any 
price for a stimulus that will make his blood flow freely." If the 
man in search of erotic sensationalism were the only one to pay 
the price, there would be no objection to his giving this inclination 
free rein; but it is unfortunately from the race also, from the 
species as a whole, that payment is demanded. Stimulation in con- 
ditions inappropriate to racial purposes constitutes the most eagerly 
desired of the amatory life of our day. 

In addition, the modern man commonly suffers from a peculiar 
form of sexual dependence. In almost all men, willingness to love 
and capacity for love are dependent upon some special fetich, and 
erotic sensibilities can be aroused only by some peculiar shade of 
sensation. I am speaking less of bodily fetichism (for we have 
nothing to do here with cases that concern the sexual psychopath) 
than of mental fetichism. A man demands some particular attrac- 
tion, some peculiar quality of the soul, and upon its discovery his 
entire sexuality is dependent, to the obscuration of the natural 
racial instinct. Robert Miiller writes: "When the quality which 
has become a fetich, be that quality physical or mental, attains 
such a power over the perceptions that all other qualities seem 
unimportant in comparison, it is no longer possible to speak of 
the existence of sexual health." Now there are few men to-day 
who are not fetich-ridden in the sense thus defined. Women, though 
they experience the working of this morbid development of mascu- 
a Robert Muller, Sexualbiologie. 



288 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

line psychology, do not know where to seek help or counsel. They 
rarely understand why their hopes end in illusion. Their own 
sexual life, when compared with that of men, is for the most part 
healthy, and they seldom recognize that they have to do with a 
greatly morbid manifestation of the masculine soul, whose conse- 
quences become partially apparent to them only after they have 
entered into an intimate sexual relationship. But owing to the 
prevalence of these fetichistic leanings, women endowed with some 
marked or peculiar mental or physical quality are victors to-day 
in the sexual struggle, for they always find some man to whom this 
peculiarity makes its special appeal; whereas those who are 
biologically and physiologically far more integral personalities are 
apt to remain in sexual isolation. The writer, who has made ob- 
servations in hundreds of such cases, believes herself to have dis- 
covered, in this peculiar working of the fetichistic impulse of the 
modern male, a new law which plays a great part in the sexual 
life of our day. 

We can hardly fail to recognize as a manifestation of the sexual 
need which is no longer competent to find its normal outlet, the 
inclination to take a light view of sexual matters, the tendency to 
consider in a spirit of mockery that great and terrible whole which 
is our sexual life. Where the sexual impulse lacks strength to 
express itself in regular channels, it is apt to find an outlet for 
the remnant of its energies in coarse sexual jokes. This view is 
shared by Heinrich Pudor, who writes : ' ' The love of obscenity is 
the natural product and the inevitable accompaniment of sexual 
incapacity due to cerebral exhaustion. ... In fact, we are gen- 
erally able to observe that men with a taste for obscene jests, men 
who take a light view of sensual matters, are lacking in freshness 
and richness of the intellectual and emotional life, just as much as 
they are lacking in sexual receptivity and sensual capacity. ' ' 

A still more disagreeable accompaniment or consequence of 
cerebral exhaustion is the ascetic tendency so fashionable to-day. 
In his essay upon ascetic ideals, Nietzsche quotes Buddha in the 
following terms : * ' Narrow and confined, ' ' he reflected, * ' is life in a 



PSYCHOLOGY OF THE SEXUAL STRUGGLE 289 

house ; it is a condition of uncleanness. We find freedom in aban- 
doning the house. Thinking thus, Buddha abandoned houses." 
But Nietzsche held that those who go out into the desert in order 
to find freedom are strong, not in spirit, but in folly ; and he finds 
yet more decisive terms of disapprobation for the ascetics whose 
aim is chastity, speaking of them, for instance, as "unhappy 
swine. " It cannot be doubted that Nietzsche is not far from the 
truth in his characterization of the ascetic impulse, usually the out- 
come of an unfortunate and contaminated impulsive life. "Be- 
tween chastity and sensuality there is no necessary opposition; 
every good marriage, every true union of lovers, attains to a level 
superior to any such contrast. ' ' 3 

The men who have denied the beauty of the life of the senses 
have always been persons with a weak sexual impulse or with 
blunted sexual sensibilities. In debilitating and chronic diseases, 
the energy of the sexual impulse declines. One of the commonest 
of all states of debility is that known by the name of neurasthenia, 
and this morbid condition affects the energies of the reproductive 
glands upon whose integrity depends the vigor of the sexual im- 
pulse. Every ardent lover of freedom is animated, whether he de- 
sire it or not, by a strong and normal impulse towards union with 
the other sex. As Bachofen phrases it, carnal emancipation and 
political emancipation are twin brethren. The ascetic tendency, 
which leads to an unending struggle with the ever-resurgent sexual 
impulse, fights against the soundest instincts of the race. 
******* 

Another morbid manifestation of the sexual life that demands 
attention here is the existence in men or in women of a tacit disin- 
clination or of a positive antipathy towards the other sex. 
Misogyny, in especial, is widely prevalent. A woman is scornfully 
spoken of as a man-hater, a misandrist, if she is unwilling to per- 
vert the truth in man 's favor, but man 's hatred of woman, genuine 
misogyny, is often instinctive. 

Misogyny finds expression in all languages and in all literatures 

*Genealogie der Moral. 



290 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

of the world, and we often observe that men who are in reality 
least able to do without women are preeminently affected with the 
misogynist spirit. Such a monomania as that of Strindberg is 
always tragical; and tragical was the fate of Strindberg 's disciple, 
the young Weininger, who sealed by suicide his renunciation of 
woman. 

The metaphysical foundation of misogyny may perhaps lie in 
the instinctive dread of the man who finds that his intellectual 
nature is being threatened by the dominance of sensual impres- 
sions. For this very reason, this form of sex-hatred is apt to mani- 
fest itself in those whose personalities are least resistant to the 
invasion of sensual impressions, those who are incompetent to in- 
sulate the intellectual from the sensual and the sensual from the 
intellectual. Strindberg 's own avowals suffice to show how a 
misogynist's sufferings are the product of his own temperament. 
Such misogyny as his, tantamount to monomania, no longer in- 
spires aversion, but rather arouses compassion. The following quo- 
tation is finely illustrative of this temperament, so disastrous to 
its possessor, and throws light at the same time on the profoundly 
mystical character of the misogynist process. " There is a woman 
whose proximity is intolerable to me, but whom I love when she 
is at a distance. We exchange letters, which are always considerate 
and affectionate. When for a time we have longed for one another 
and finally meet, we immediately begin to quarrel, become out of 
tune and unsympathetic, and part in anger. Our love is on a high 
plane, and yet we cannot bear to be in the same room together. 
We dream of meeting one another again, dematerialized, upon 
some green isle which will exist for us two alone, or at most for 
our child as well. I recall one-half hour in which we three were 
in actual fact walking upon a green islet near the sea coast. It 
was as if we were in heaven. Then the clock struck noon, in a 
moment we were on earth, and a moment after in hell/' 



CHAPTER XXIX 

THE SEXUAL PSYCHOLOGY OP THE MALE 

"The Child in Man." Man's Suggestibility; His Greed of Possession, and 
His Lust of Destruction. "Men About Town." The Woman Who 
Woos and Her Inevitable Ultimate Failure. The Frigid Woman and 
Her Success with the Modern Man. Consequences to the Family and 
to the Race of the Artificial Selection of Frigid Women. "Man, the 
Murderer." Great Lovers: Bismarck, Wagner, Goethe. Grillparzer 
as a Precursor of Kierkegaard. "Forget Not Thy Whip." Victory of 
the Megaera- Amazon-Fury Type. "Yes, Darling, Do Go on Talking!" 
The New Woman and Her Failure to Find a Mate. Seduction, an Art 
of the Future. 

In works by male authors we are apt to be told that woman, 
and especially woman in love, is "the most inconsequent, illogical, 
and incredible of beings one upon whom absolutely no calculations 
can be based. ' ' * Yet, as we learn from every-day experience, man, 
far more often than women, is the primal source of the sorrows, 
disillusionments, and unending troubles of love. Nietzsche recom- 
mended women "to learn to recognize the child in man." The 
most striking characteristic that man actually shares with the child 
is the remarkable susceptibility of both to the influence of sugges- 
tion. Man is also endowed with a considerable element of childish 
greed, the greed of acquirement, the greed of possession, so long 
as his desire is resisted; while he shares also with the child the 
impulse to spoil or to throw away his new possession when its first 
freshness has worn off, and when the novelty of ownership has 
begun to stale. Especially dangerous in its influence upon the 
emotional temperament of the male is woman's faculty for self- 
surrender. Women in whom this tendency to self-surrender is in- 

4 Bourget, Psychologie de I' amour moderne. 

291 



292 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

surmountable may well be advised to do their utmost to direct 
it into the channels of friendship, philanthropy, and even love of 
pets ; for if there is no other way out it is better to bestow this kind 
of tenderness upon a favorite cat or a lap-dog than to bestow it 
without limit upon a man. In respect of letter-writing a similar 
recommendation may be made. If a woman has written a pas- 
sionate love-letter, and cannot bring herself to commit it to the 
flames, let her post it without delay to some woman friend upon 
whom it will work no harm. 

A man who exploits and then basely deserts a woman of noble 
and self-sacrificing type will often be enslaved by a woman of a 
thoroughly meretricious character, for such a woman has more 
understanding of the peculiarities of the masculine temperament, 
and more inclination to turn them to account. In "Lebemanner" 
["Men About Town"], Raoul Auernheimer depicts a number of 
intimacies with women of this type, all of which end in the victory 
of the women over the men of manifold sexual experiences. The 
man who wishes to break off the intimacy is met first with threats 
of suicide, and there follow scenes of increasing violence, ending 
in recourse to physical force. Holding a flask of vitriol in one 
hand, with the other the woman administers vigorous boxes on the 
ear, until she has safely steered her man into the haven of mar- 
riage. 

On the other hand, a woman is lost from the first instant in 
which she becomes the desirous one, the one who woos. Let him 
have gone to see her a hundred times of his own spontaneous wish 
let it happen on the hundred and first occasion that he goes be- 
cause she wishes it, he will never forget his complacence, and wil 
always consider the woman in his debt. Herein seems to be exer- 
cised over men a kind of metaphysical coercion. It is no radica' 
infirmity or malignity of the will which makes a man's ardency 
begin to cool directly the woman's yearnings come to exceed his 
own in intensity; man seems to be subject, in this respect, to a 
force majeure stronger than his own will. It is only the strongest 
impulse of his own nature, the impulse to the discharge of sexua] 



THE SEXUAL PSYCHOLOGY OF THE MALE 293 

tensions, which makes him temporarily dependent upon a woman; 
and the more the erotic need and erotic faculty of the male dwindle, 
the more the incapacity for love under whose sign the modern man 
stands increases, the more conspicuous will become the alienation 
between the sexes, and the more urgent the sexual crisis. Man's 
enduring need is for the married woman, his publicly recognized 
female associate and indispensable auxiliary in the administration 
of his life ; it is in the fulfillment of this function that he still has 
the securest vital prospects. Next to the wife, as far as man 's need 
is concerned, comes the prostitute. But more and more superfluous 
becomes the beloved, the lady of a man 's heart, whom the chivalrous 
knight of old worshiped, whose favor he wore, and in whose service 
he did noble deeds. 

******* 

There is a kingdom awaiting conquest by human beings who 
are free from all pathological taint, whose souls are not full of 
blind spots, or of oubliettes into whose abysses one may stumble 
unawares human beings with whom is possible an intercourse 
at once ardent, secure, and natural. A few quotations will suffice 
to show how ill-adapted are most modern men for such ardent, se- 
cure, and unconstrained intercourse. 

* ' Concerning women 's moods. The stimulating moods of beauty 
are : the blase, the bored, the boastful, the shameless, the frosty, the 
supercilious, the masterful, the strong-willed, the ill-natured, the 
invalidish, the catty, the childlike, the admixture of indifference 
and malice." (Beaudelaire.) 

"A woman who does not love men, but who fetters their senses 
by playing on their jealousy, leads them whither she will." 
(Bourget.) 

1 ' Whichever of a pair is the less fond always dominates the other. 
Clever women soon learn to stimulate by coldness." (Keben, 
"Adam gegen Eva.") 

1 ' Women bind men to their side, not by what they give, but by 
what they refuse." 

What do such propositions prove ? They prove how lamentably 



294 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

suggestible is the masculine spirit, which has thus to be managed 
by fraud, and they show that the women who exercise a lasting 
influence upon men of such a type are themselves furthest re- 
moved from true feminine nobility. Such women are of two 
classes: on the one hand, the cocotte; and on the other hand, the 
constitutionally frigid woman to whom refusal is second nature. 
The serious matter is that such frigid women readily attain to 
marriage and to procreation; whereas healthier and more ardent 
women, those who give themselves freely and are therefore more 
genuinely woman, rarely succeed (unless by the use of perverse 
arts) in effecting permanent sexual associations with such men as 
predominate to-day. Consequently, the comparatively ardent 
women tend to be excluded from reproductive activity. It is true 
that women of frigid nature cannot permanently satisfy men's 
erotic need; and the very man who has for a time been strongly 
attracted by a woman's coldness, and has been induced thereby 
to enter the bonds of marriage, will be very likely, in subsequent 
years, to repair to the brothel for sexual gratification. A German 
statistical inquiry showed that the majority of the men who visit 
brothels are not single, but married. Thus a direct consequence 
of the attraction primarily exercised by the frigid woman (frigid 
by nature or by art) upon the degenerate male of our day is apt 
to be the transference to the bosom of the family of the venereal 
diseases which men who are not fully gratified in conjugal inter- 
course acquire in their visits to the brothel. 

In view of this profound defect in the soul of the modern 
decadent, we may well maintain that a fit and healthy woman, in 
her choice of a sexual partner, should be influenced by the follow- 
ing considerations : 1. Has the man proved himself fit in the strug- 
gle for existence? 2. Is he of good biological type? 3. Is his so- 
cial character sound and trustworthy ? 4. Above all, will he bring 
to his wife strong and unimpaired love-sentiments? All other 
possible considerations, the demand for intellectual distinction 
spiritual subtlety and the like, lead only, as we see every day, to 
dangerous complications. It is true that when such refinements 



THE SEXUAL PSYCHOLOGY OF THE MALE 295 

of soul and spirit are offered in supplement to the fundamental 
qualities above enumerated, they should be greeted with joy, and 
the woman upon whom these gifts are bestowed may well sing 
Hallelujah. But the day on which such a man is to be encoun- 
tered would seem to have hidden itself in one of those intercalary 
years which ome but once a century. 

******* 
To forestall the possible criticism that the views here expressed 
regarding the modern male are those of a woman only, a man's 
testimony may be quoted. 

MAN THE MURDERER 

By Hermann Brunold 

"To me last night, lying asleep, 
a dream there came heavy with pain of death. . . . 

"I had a wife, of kind and lofty nature, 
beautiful, ... a noble mother's ripest fruit; 
her glance was blessing . . . heavenward tier speech, 
like a pure flame she took her path through life. . . . 
The best of all the men in all the world 
was yet unworthy mate of such a soul. 

"This woman was my wife. After a day of joy, 
peacefully by my side she lay in sleep. 

"Full evil, I, and seized with wicked rage, 
possessed with fury, like a man, 
the primal rage of man the murderer, 
with my strong hands I strangled her pure soul. 

"My very hands exhale of her the fragrance, . . . 
as axe that felled an aromatic tree, 
though murderous, exhales the odour of the tree. 

"My very hands exhale of her the fragrance. f) 



296 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

There have been great lovers, veritable heroes of love, but they 
are rare figures through the ages. Such a lover was Bismarck; 
such was Richard Wagner, one who knew to the uttermost how to 
make a woman his own and how to guard faithfully the treasure 
he had acquired; such was Lenau; such, above all, was Goethe. 
It is one of the stupidest of literary lies which maintains that 
Goethe was a sort of Don Juan, hurrying on from one woman 
to another. On the contrary, Goethe loved always deeply, always 
truly, and in most cases unhappily. The legend that he was a 
Don Juan is the outcome of that shop-keeping view of love to 
which reference has previously been made, of the notion that a 
man's love or a woman's love is an exhaustible commodity, so that 
if a certain quantity is bestowed on one person there remains less 
to bestow upon another. Or perhaps we may say that the legend 
arises from the hypocrisy which pretends that one in whose long 
life-history there is record of a number of well-loved names must 
be of a light butterfly nature trifling from flower to flower. These 
false views need not detain us further. Goethe had no desire to 
seek the end sought by his own Werther; he wished to live and 
to grow, unhappy love notwithstanding. Hence, ever and ever 
again, with abundant and rejuvenating energy, we see him striving 
after that possibility of happiness which love alone can offer to 
mortal men. In each one of his successive love-relationships his 
emotional force was invincible; he was the profoundest and most 
wonderful lover of whom history gives any record. "He moved 
among the women who responded to his passion as the sun moves 
through the zodiacal constellations." 5 In view of such a phe- 
nomenon we reecho his own words : 

"Stilled is the ache of troubled earthly feelings, 
Into a cloudrcouch is transformed the tomb, 
Softened we feel life's every undulation, 
Day becomes joyful and the night grows clear." 

******* 

6 Agnes Harder, Liebe. 



THE SEXUAL PSYCHOLOGY OF THE MALE 297 

How different a picture is that offered by the amatory life of 
Grillparzer. Here we find an early manifestation of the sexual 
struggles of the decadent, living a life of friction, a torment to him- 
self and others. The entries in his journal during May, 1826, re- 
mind us of Kierkegaard's "A Seducer's Diary." Grillparzer 
writes: "Although it was my capricious resolve not to take pos- 
session of the girl [Kathi Frohlich] through whom I had been 
thrown into this painful condition, I had continually to struggle 
against the recurring excitement. The stream of passion which 
flowed ever from my being towards the innocent girl ultimately 
set her also in movement and produced all the characteristic ex- 
pressions of unsatisfied sexual love. She became suspicious, snap- 
pish, and even quarrelsome ; and in this way was disturbed the per- 
fect balance of her mental composition upon which her incom- 
parable beauty had depended." Here we have the confession of 
one who is a Don Juan "from caprice." We have to recognize a 
very different type of Don Juan in the born libertine, a type which, 
to quote Bernard Shaw, "is hardly more interesting than that of 
the sailor with a wife in every port. ' ' 

Altogether different from these Don Juans are those, women 
as well as men, who would rather continue to yearn for the un- 
attainable than remain in comparative peace in a possibly perma- 
nent relationship. Those endowed with this temperament lead wild 
lives without fully understanding why, pursuing an aim that ever 
eludes the grasp, and often finding misery. Such fates are com- 
mon to-day. The general complexity of temperaments makes it 
increasingly difficult for people to find their predestined mate, 
with whom they can happily join in permanent union for the per- 
petuation of the species. 

******* 

We now come to a branch of our subject with which we shall 
make no attempt to deal exhaustively, since we are not concerned 
with clinical details; but it must be considered in outline, inas- 
much as it throws a light upon the peculiar difficulties of the mod- 
ern spirit. We refer to the existence of perversities and perver- 



298 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

sions which are widely diffused throughout all classes of society, 
greatly impairing the chances of attaining to a satisfactory sexual 
life. "Every perversity," writes Hirth, "may result either from 
excess or from defect of sexual energy." Defect is certainly the 
commoner cause. Modern men are predominantly masochist. Ig- 
noring severe pathological instances, we need refer only to the 
prevalence of spiritual masochism. ' * In visiting woman, forget not 
thy whip," writes Nietzsche. With more justice we might reverse 
the phrase, saying, "if you visit a man, forget not your whip." 
A woman who proves unamiable and unloving; one who torments, 
tyrannizes, and exploits ; one who is frigid ; one even who deceives 
is not the woman most likely to be abandoned. But countless 
women are abandoned because they are too ardent, too tender, too 
loving, too true, too self-sacrificing. 

In the days when men could gain possession of women only 
through the violence of rape, masochism was impossible. Men 
endeavored to coerce women, to make prizes of them, but the sex- 
roles in this respect were never reversed. To-day, however, when 
man has become the prize, when woman, if she is to be enabled to 
procreate under socially and legally recognized conditions, must 
become a hunter of men, man feels that he must at least become 
the prize of the proudest and strongest of the huntresses. From 
this peculiar perversion of sex-relations, from this remarkable de- 
velopment of the struggle for existence, there has resulted an in- 
evitable corruption of the essential nature of womanliness. In 
literature, homage is still paid to the primal ideal ef the self- 
sacrificing and self-surrendering woman, but in actual practice 
the triumph is allotted to women of the masterful type, to the 
Amazon or to the Megaera. Of this type there are numerous varia- 
tions, but the most successful of all is the frigid hetaira variety. 
Owing to her insensibility, to her own inner aloofness, she is mis- 
tress of the situation. Her very failure to make erotic demands, 
her essential coldness and passivity, inflame the ardency of men 
of the type we are considering. As a man's mistress, such a woman 
can exploit him with the most finished art. Speaking generally, 



THE SEXUAL PSYCHOLOGY OF THE MALE 299 

however, the women who have the greatest success with modern 
man are those in whom the type of the Megaera is intermingled 
with that of the hetaira. The genuine Fury is victor on this field. 
Not an obviously alarming or repellent type of woman, for the 
Furies of Greek mythology were half divine, but irascible, im- 
perious, masterful women, full of claims, and at the same time 
competent to arouse ardent passion. These it is who appeal most 
strongly to the exhausted sexual impulse of the male. Man now 
seeks a severe mistress, one whose dominion he will be unable to 
escape; and a woman constitutionally averse to such a role 
will commonly prove a woman misused. This peculiar direction 
of the male sexual impulse is explicable through the suggestion of 
security imposed by the proximity of strong and severe natures. 
We incline to trust them, to believe that they have clear views, and 
that they know exactly what they want. Another type of woman 
very comforting to man is that of the ' ' hail-fellow-well-met. ' ' By 
a subflavor of suggestion, contact with this type induces in him 
the idea of a mother, the sort of mother that everyone would like 
to have had, strong, and leading onward. 

The need for assuming a dominant pose may, however, be edu- 
cative in a good sense, and may lead to a subjective strengthening 
of the individuality. The secret of such wholesome dominion is, 
when in love, to remain supreme over love. One who loves must 
give freely, must be freely self-sacrificing, but never in a groveling 
spirit. One who while loving remains supreme over love, radi- 
ates from the personality an influential energy, and this can be 
done by one who in other respects may appear insignificant. What 
we love in the beloved, what we permanently prize, is the inde- 
pendence of the innermost recesses of the personality, of that cen- 
tral nucleus of individuality which preserves its essential qualities 
unchanged even amid the furnace-heat of love. But this power 
of preserving one's own individuality intact must never be con- 
fused with the constitutional coldness that forbids an ardent self- 
surrender and renders impossible a delicate mutual interpermea- 
tion with another. To the beloved, the lover should be prepared 



SOO THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

to grant all, reserving only this, consent to assume an attitude of 
self-abasement. To give everything, except one's own self-respect; 
to claim nothing, in the sense of becoming absolutely dependent 
upon what the other may be willing to grant : this is the device of 
love. It is the other's affair freely and spontaneously to counter 
gift with gift. Hence the victory of "love that laughs," the de- 
feat of ' * love that weeps. ' ' Dangerous above all is it that a woman 
should allow herself to be molded by a man, for this repels him 
almost against his will. A woman much more readily can endure 
complete self-surrender on the part of a man, indeed she is often 
greatly moved by it, and inspired with the most tender sentiments. 
In any case, a woman loves that a man should continue to woo 
her; but the woman who continues to woo plays a losing game. 

In contrast with the dominant type of woman, there is a sec- 
ond type, of which the modern man is apt to be greatly enamoured, 
and this is the passive, the suffering type of woman. The woman 
who moves his feelings controls him almost as effectively as the 
woman who tyrannizes over him. But the woman with whom he 
finds himself altogether out of tune is one who neither tyrannizes 
nor arouses compassion, but is ardent, free, and healthy. The 
woman who suffers, even if plainly stamped by physical delicacy, 
often proves extraordinarily alluring. But in one way only she 
must not suffer, and that is at the hands of the man himself, for 
this would be a reproach to him a thing he cannot bear. ' ' Maiden, 
never let me see the tears you weep on my account, ' ' we read in a 
poem by Jakobsen. 

A natural and healthy human relationship, one in which both 
partners are equally tender and equally ardent, is a thing we more 
and more rarely encounter. A woman who wishes neither to in- 
flict pain nor to suffer pain is to modern man a most questionable 
shape. Possibly the woman to get on best with man would be one 
who would never take him quite in earnest in view, perhaps, of 
the survival of the "child in man," a child to be managed always 
by suggestion and never by open direct means. In this connection 
we recall the expression which in "Man and Superman" is again 



THE SEXUAL PSYCHOLOGY OF THE MALE 301 

and again used by Ann, the heroine, to the hero, John Tanner, 
the Eevolutionist : "Yes, darling, do go on talking!" That is, 
"Talk as long as you like; like a child, pour out everything that 
comes into your mind ; not for a single moment do I take you 
seriously, and for that very reason I can make you do whatever I 
like. . . . Yes, darling, do go on talking." 

* ****** 

"It is greatly to be hoped that good fortune will one day bring 
to your home a woman gifted with all good gifts of heart and un- 
derstanding; that you may have cause for wonder and rejoicing 
as the great possibilities of glory, happiness, and love, pass before 
your eyes. But your eyes will be blind to their passing unless in 
everyday life you have learned to know and to love these gifts." 
The spiritual blindness of which Maeterlinck here speaks wrecks 
the chances of happiness, not alone for the men who suffer from 
it, but for the women also with whom these men come in contact. 
Numerous indeed are the men who lack the very beginnings of the 
power to understand the individuality of women of the higher 
type ; and rarer still are those competent to understand such women 
to the full, and therewith truly to enjoy them. It happens that 
in our day the regeneration of one sex is coincident with the mani- 
fest degeneration of the other. Victims of this state of affairs are 
the so-called new women, those exceptionally active specimens of 
womanhood filled with the joy of life, who blossom among us in 
ever-increasing numbers, but most of whom fail to obtain the right 
companion. The tragedy of their lives is that they have been born 
too soon. "Well for them if like the princess in the fairy tale they 
could have slept for a hundred years in a thicket of brier-roses, 
until the time came to each in which the right man could awaken 
her. But not until men are enfranchised from the savage eco- 
nomic corvee of our day will those arise who can be fit companions 
for women of the new time. For the new woman the man of the 
old school is impossible; not merely because she has no desire to 
be his mate, but because to him, in turn, she represents an in- 
soluble problem. New men are, indeed, to be found, fit mates for 



302 



THE SEXUAL CRISIS 



the women of the new time, but so few are they in number that 
they can bring happy life-fulfillment only to rare and isolated 
women. Usually a woman strong in temperament, yearning for 
love, never becomes enabled to sing, "I have the best of comrades, 
the best in all the world. ..." It rather happens that after every 
fresh attempt to attain to a natural destiny, after every new en- 
deavor to gain that love's fulfillment for which a young and 
healthy spirit craves, a woman finds herself forced to echo the 
words of Siegfried when his invocation on the flute has evoked a 
dreadful phantom: "Is this what my song has wafted me? You 
would prove an evil life-companion!" 

******* 

In sex relationships there are certain phenomena of primeval 
activity with which we moderns have become altogether out of 
tune. One of these is the idea of seduction. Flaubert writes: 
"The only complaint I have to make against prostitution is that 
it is a myth. Great prostitutes are as rare to-day as consecrated 
prostitutes." In similar words, the only complaint I have to 
make against the seducer is that he is a myth that he does not 
exist any longer, in the truly seductive sense. Now, as of old, 
there are tricksters in love, adventurers and cheats, who gain their 
end by false representations. But the seducer, the wooing seducer 
to joy, the man who makes it easy for a woman to give herself; 
one who, using the true art of love, can bring hours wherein life, 
love-intoxicated, becomes a festival of joy such a man is not of 
our day. In a morbid frame of mind, with a tortured conscience, 
with endless theoretical discussions of the whole question, and 
with ever-repeated flights from danger, does the man of to-day lay 
siege to a woman. Should he at length attain his end, the mor- 
row invariably brings moralizing reflections, and after a few such 
morrows, he will "regain self-mastery," flee from the Horselberg, 
and go on his way purified, feeling for the partner of his stolen 
joys the appropriate mood of contempt. 

The art of seduction is one for the future to create a more 
refined seduction than that of old, when the lover said: "Give 



THE SEXUAL PSYCHOLOGY OF THE MALE 303 

me thy hand, beloved, To my castle come with me." No false 
promises on one side, no claims on the other, and no dread of im- 
pending evil on either (as "expiation for sin"). Gentle and 
gracious mutual self -surrender in joyful mood, and a happy down- 
sitting together to the feast of love which only man and woman 
can provide each for the other such will be the new art of love. 
In this joyful courtship, it will once again become possible and 
permissible for a man to be a seducer, playing man 's part to make 
manifest to woman all the beauty and all the spiritual enfran- 
chisement of the erotic process. For this is man's true role. In 
very physical characteristics man is impetuous and active, is the 
one to make advances; whereas woman, even though she longs for 
the intimate embrace, inclines to hesitation and recoil. This in- 
stinctive recoil is less, perhaps, from the immediate act of sex 
than from its possible outcome. It is man's part, therefore, to 
overcome this hesitation, to "seduce," to allure, to woo, to charm 
the woman's imagination with entrancing visions, until, attraction 
overcoming repulsion, her soul rushes to meet his and they mingle 
like two flames. 



BOOK X 
OUR SEXUAL MISERY 

We offer to thee here neither lamb nor steer, 
Countless human victims here are slain. 

GOETHE. 

CHAPTER XXX 

THE JUSTIFICATION OP THE SEXUAL LIFE 

The General State of Sexual Privation. Disturbances in Animals Due to 
Sexual Abstinence. The Need to Leave Offspring is a Dictum of All 
Civilized Peoples. 

A CCORDING to Buddhist teaching, the two chief causes of the 
-f* misery of this life are lust and ignorance. It would be just 
as reasonable to say that hunger and thirst are the cause of all our 
misery. In all savage races we encounter the same idea that sexual 
relationships are unclean; and by all those religions which view 
life as itself a punishment the pleasures of the senses are regarded 
with profound disfavor. The mother of Buddha had no other son, 
and her conception was effected by supernatural causes. The Chris- 
tian mystery of the Incarnation through the Holy Ghost is but 
another form of the old Asiatic idea of a Redeemer of mankind 
conceived without sin. 

But ' * lust and ignorance ' ' are part of our common inheritance, 
and it is impossible to think sanely of a humanity freed from this 
inheritance. Moreover, it is not the body alone which needs satis- 
faction for the desires of the body; there is also a spiritual need, 

304 



THE JUSTIFICATION OF THE SEXUAL LIFE 305 

a need of that soul which is so intimately connected with the body 
that it is possible to regard it as no more than an emanation of 
the body. Where lie the boundaries between body and soul is 
precisely known only to those mystics who know also the whole 
geography of the spiritual world, those fully prepared to guide 
trustful strangers on the path to Nirvana. Such knowledge is 
not ours. All that we can do is to hold fast to experience, for to 
us it is only the manifestations of our own desires and needs which 
throws light upon their nature. The source of our misery is not 
the existence of such desires, but the denial of their satisfaction. 
If sexual pleasures were not ' ' preordained/ ' the " Divine Creator" 
would not have provided us with the organs of sex. An overplus 
of sexual energies is not infrequently the mainspring of the most 
wonderful phenomena of the world of the senses. For example, 
the brilliant coloring of many animals is an outcome of sexual 
energy, exists for sexual ends. Nor can the writer agree that 
sexual renunciation is favorable to the higher creative activities, 
that it is advantageous for the performance of deeds that make life 
richer for us all. The hallucinations of the eremites in the desert 
were the product of the attempt to kill sex, but these hallucinations 
and these attempts failed utterly to make life richer or better. In 
the full current of erotic experience, the birds give utterance to 
their wonderful love-songs; influenced by the like impulse, our 
great artists have seen visions and have found energy and fire 
enabling them to transmit these visions in permanent form to pos- 
terity. Without beauty, there would not occur in the artist that 
accumulation of living energy whose surplus finds expression in 
art. Such an accumulation of living energy must necessarily pre- 
cede all creative work; and of all that is beautiful on earth, there 
is nothing so beautiful as the experience of love. 

In the various chapters of this book we have displayed the ex- 
istence of an organized system, operative in manifold ways 
throughout the sexual order of the modern civilized world, whereby 
the human sexual life is coerced into forms which conflict with its 
most natural purposes, and tend more and more to deprive human 



306 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

beings of sexual freedom. The far-reaching effects of this sexual 
crisis influence the life of every individual among us. Human 
beings fully equipped by inheritance and by education for a 
normal erotic life are excluded from the proper satisfaction of 
the most natural and the most urgent of all vital needs, that of 
sex. Denial to the right of the life of sex it is hardly possible 
to conceive the horror of such a fate! When we remember that 
in the lower animals, as we learn from physiological experiment, 
the removal of portions of the heart, the lungs, the liver, 
the spleen, the stomach, the intestines, the kidneys, and even 
the testicles, does not prevent the proper performance of the 
sexual act, and when we remember that human beings whose 
organs are all intact, whose health is perfect, whose physical 
and mental qualities are thoroughly normal, often have sexual 
abstinence forced upon them, we begin to understand what 
this condition of sexual privation may mean. In animals, sexual 
privation gives rise to "hysterical" symptoms. "If healthy cows 
rut at the usual time of year and are not covered by the bull, . . . 
various morbid symptoms may occur . . . there is enduring sexual 
desire . . . which may be quiet or noisy in its manifestations. . . . 
Mares that are not fertilized sometimes pass into a condition of 
continuous rut, and then suffer from muscular twitchings, cramps, 
and palpitation. In the further course of the disease, serious de- 
bility ensues. ... In some cases the symptoms disappear as soon 
as the mares are covered. In male animals, in similar conditions, 
softening of the spinal cord and epilepsy may ensue. ' ' 1 Among 
the means recommended by veterinary surgeons for the relief of 
such conditions, the first and most important is that "opportunity 
should be given for the natural satisfaction of the love-impulse." 
An especial characteristic of the disease in cattle and in horses is, 
we are told, baulking or jibbing, that is, an obstinate refusal to 
perform even a moderate amount of work. As regards wild ani- 
mals in captivity, it is generally understood that they must not be 
forcibly deprived of opportunities for sexual gratification; we 
*Dr. W. Hammer, Enthaltsamkeitsstorungen ~bei Haustieren. 



THE JUSTIFICATION OF THE SEXUAL LIFE 307 

pair them in cages lest they should perish. Yet surely we should 
regard it as just as unnatural to enforce sexual privation upon 
men and women. 

"In human beings, " writes Robert Miiller in his "Sexual- 
biologie," "as in the higher animals in general, the sexual im- 
pulses (the impulse towards the other sex, maternal affection, 
broodiness in birds, and the impulse to lactation in mammals) are 
dependent upon the energy of growth of the reproductive glands. ' ' 
The full development of these reproductive glands at a certain 
age is a vital fact of experience, and no less obvious to all are the 
results of this development upon the organism as a whole as seen 
in the physical and mental changes that occur at puberty. It is 
impossible that a sexual order which forces us to misunderstand, 
to despise, or to ignore these elementary facts, and which makes 
the gratification of a primary natural need dependent upon count- 
less conditions difficult of attainment, can be a sound one. 

Marshall reports of the South African tribe of Todas: "There 
is among them no class of unmarried persons to disturb the whole 
community by their intrigues and contentions." Happy savages! 
To primitive man and to most of the older civilizations it seemed 
self-evident that every human being should form a union with 
one of the opposite sex, and it is only among the white races of 
modern Europe that this primal need is disregarded. In earlier 
times the practice of ancestor-worship imposed the positive duty 
of leaving offspring to continue this cult. Among the Semites of 
old, one unwilling to marry was regarded as disgracing the image 
of God, and at twenty marriage was enforced on youths by law. 
The Hindoos of to-day regard a bachelor as a profoundly un- 
natural being who threatens the peace of society; and they com- 
passionate the restless souls of youths "who have died before be- 
coming fathers . . . like persons with an enormous burden of debt 
which they are unable to pay." Childlessness is the greatest mis- 
fortune possible to a Persian. "To the childless, the entrance to 
Paradise is closed. Access is by way of a bridge, where the angel 
on guard puts to all comers the same question, whether they have 



308 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

left representatives on earth, and the way is barred to those unable 
to give an affirmative answer/' Beneath such religious supersti- 
tions there lies a fount of primal wisdom. There is nothing new 
under the sun, nor is there need for anything entirely new. Our 
motherhood movement the cry for help that rises to-day from 
so many women, this newest of all revolutions, the longing to break 
the tables of the law of the existing sexual order does not need, 
at this late hour in human history, to fashion forth new tables. In 
the wisdom of the religious writings of old, in the secrets of the 
papyri and in the half -defaced carven inscriptions of classical an- 
tiquity, we find expressed this yearning of ours, a yearning as old 
as the conscious life of mankind, but awakening to-day to renewed 
vigor in the demand for elementary human rights. 



CHAPTER XXXI 

THE CAUSES OF OUR SEXUAL MISERY 

Capitalism the Boot of the Evil. Emasculation Through Capitalism. Mar- 
riage as an Institution for the Elderly. Why Innumerable Persons 
Fail to Discover Sexual-Complements. The Alpha and Omega of 
Sexual Misery: Vitiated Selection. 

The capitalist economic order has been shown to be the root- 
cause of the evil, concentrating ownership of the means of pro- 
duction into the hands of the few, and imposing upon men hin- 
drances to marriage and reproduction at an appropriate age. 
Through the reduction of the average income of the lower middle 
class to the minimum which suffices for the adequate maintenance 
of a single individual, there results for this class a phenomenon 
which also universally characterizes the proletariat, namely, that 
the individual worker, working to the maximum of his physical 
and mental output, can provide no more than the bare essentials 
of food, clothing and shelter. 

"When we pass to the higher levels of the middle class, when 
the circumstances are exceptionally favorable, and when those con- 
cerned have made much effort and many sacrifices, there may be 
a little left over to spend upon reading matter, the theater, and a 
brief summer holiday. But the income even of mature men does 
not suffice to provide for a normal sexual life and for the up- 
bringing of children. Thus capitalism simply emasculates this 
class of society. A young man 's income is insufficient, the question 
of marriage apart, merely to support a woman during the period 
in which, by pregnancy and child-birth, she is necessarily pre- 
vented from earning money; hence any procreative intimacy with 
a woman entirely without means is absolutely out of the question 

309 



310 



THE SEXUAL CRISIS 



if those concerned would escape the miseries of utter poverty. All 
that capitalism allows to the young man is now and again a 
spare dollar for intercourse with a prostitute, so that he can waste 
his procreative energies in an artificially sterilized soil. 

The demand for independent remunerated work for women 
was the last despairing effort to find escape from the sexual misery 
thus imposed on both sexes. Capitalism smiled. Two could now 
be set to work instead of one, and the wage could without diffi- 
culty be subdivided into two unequal portions, whose total sum 
barely exceeded the amount previously paid for the man's sole 
efforts at any rate, barely exceeded this in purchasing power if 
due allowance were made for the progressive increase in the cost 
of the necessaries of life. "Women's labor is not and never can 
be the means to render motherhood possible; for it is absolutely 
out of the question that the pregnant woman, the parturient 
woman, the woman recently delivered, and the woman responsible 
for the care of the young infant, should engage in the fierce strug- 
gle for bread. When a woman lies torn and bleeding, or when 
under dread of imminent death she is about to bring a new human 
life into the world, can we ask of her to earn money? Remu- 
nerated work for women is no doubt essential to help them to 
independence when they are free from the claims made upon them 
by the work of procreation and of motherhood. But when these 
claims become operative, a woman's own existence and the costly 
life of the new human being must be specially safeguarded, and 
this by a higher authority and by a more adequate power than 
those of the individual man upon whom her motherhood imme- 
diately depends. 

It is in the case of the young that the sexual misery of our 
day is so immeasurable. Men and women alike, healthy, normal, 
fitly impulsive human beings in the first vigor of youth, cannot 
wait for experience of the amatory life until, when the hair is 
gray, circumstances first become suitable. In the young this de- 
sire flames; to them love is as a melody running through every 
current of life. All the years from twenty to thirty are fulfilled 



THE CAUSES OF OUR SEXUAL MISERY 311 

with passionate desire, and it is during this decade that the misery 
is most intense which results from the bad conditions in which the 
love-need finds satisfaction. To leave the sexual impulse unsatis- 
fied involves simply continuous sexual excitement. To satisfy 
the impulse is to obtain liberation from an otherwise enduring 
torment. Hence it is obvious that those who lead a normally regu- 
lated sexual life are in reality less subject to sexual excitement 
than are those who, for one reason or another, are forced to leave 
the sexual impulse ungratified. Strong deeds are the outcome 
of strong conditions of the soul. The continued repression of an 
ever-present hunger, be it of the stomach, the soul, the senses, or 
the blood, makes us weakly and wretched. Barricades separate 
young men from young women; obstacles of all kinds, some me- 
chanical, some speciously moral, and some coercively suggestive, 
are put in the way of their attempts at mutual approximation, 
at the enrichment of their individual lives, and at the procreation 
of the beautiful children of energy and youth. Thus in our time, 
which professes to leave the relations of the sexes free, a Draconian 
system of sexual isolation is in reality imposed. Hence the ex- 
traordinary loneliness of so many young people living and work- 
ing in our greatest cities. I am not speaking of persons whose 
narrow existence is passed in some half -hidden corner of the town. 
I refer to those who are devoting their best energies to their share 
in the general work of the world, persons who, in view of the na- 
ture of that work, should have full and free association of feeling 
with all in their environment. But most of these, despite all the 
bustle and movement of town life, are isolated, atomized, cut off by 
an insuperable barrier from healthy and natural intercourse with 
the other sex. 

As a matter of course, this state of privation has given rise 
to an instinctive search for some means of relief, and like every 
organic need has induced the development of a new organ, taking 
the form of the modern newspaper advertisement whereby people 
seek opportunities for sexual approximation. This manifestation 
should be considered neither in a prudish nor in a contemptuous 



312 



THE SEXUAL CRISIS 



spirit, for it is astonishingly simple, straightforward, and rational. 
The underlying idea is to render possible direct association be- 
tween two human beings of opposite sexes without their being 
forced to seek one another by the devious paths of highly artifi- 
cialized social intercourse. Thus is effected a great saving of time 
and energy. Moreover, the" human material brought together by 
this method of advertisement is, as it were, sifted and selected, 
since there can be no misconception as to what is desired. Even 
if we wish for nothing more than friendly companionship, should 
we seek to gratify this desire by the ordinary channels of social 
intercourse, we have to get through a thick and innutritions crust 
before we encounter anyone with whom real social intercourse is 
possible. This essentially rational method of public advertisement 
has only one serious flaw, but it is a flaw by which, in actual prac- 
tice, the attempt to secure rescue from sexual isolation is radically 
vitiated. The method is not socially recognized at any rate not 
by the better circles, nor in the countries of Teutonic civilization. 
In France, it is said that the plan is not unusual, being recognized 
and practiced by all classes. But with us, since it is only a social 
material of inferior quality that is willing to adopt the device, its 
applicability remains limited to inferior strata of the population. 
Yet I can well imagine that if full social recognition were granted 
to these advertisements, if they were no longer couched in the 
crude and common phraseology which is usual to-day and were 
no longer loaded with stupid and unmeaning catch- words, if they 
were truly individual and refined, they might well serve as the 
most direct of all possible means for the mutual introduction of 
men and women of fine type. 

The sexual misery of our day is the outcome of social difficul- 
ties, of the lack of opportunities for choice, of the enfeeblement 
of impulse, of the perversion of the natural feelings and instincts, 
of the inhibitory influences of a false moral code, and of specious 
suggestions; and, above all, of that degradation of type in the 
physical and mental individuality which renders it so difficult 
for anyone to discover a satisfactory sexual complement. This 



THE CAUSES OF OUR SEXUAL MISERY 313 

degradation of type results, in its turn, from the lack of the proper 
conditions for eugenic procreation. 

******* 

What are the subdivisions of the sexual sphere of life in mod- 
ern capitalist civilization? We have, on the one hand, the pros- 
titute, who has in a single night to satisfy the sexual needs of 
a number of different men, and, on the other hand, the unmarried 
young woman in respectable circumstances who passes her life in 
arid sexual isolation. Between these two, associating with the lat- 
ter in the daytime and with the former at night is the man. Finally, 
beyond good and evil, chained together till death them do part, on 
a basis of legally imposed mutual obligations, we have the mar- 
ried couple. 

Not one of these forms of sexual life (or non-life) truly corre- 
sponds to human needs. Celibacy and prostitution are the joint 
results of a system admirable in its essence, but productive, as 
now applied, of contradictory effects. Owing to the nature of the 
conditions under which alone marriage is possible, disastrous con- 
sequences ensue. If young people marry, everyone exclaims: 
"What folly to marry so young, they will soon tire of one an- 
other." But it is not socially permissible to form experimental 
unions. Consequently modern marriage-practice is grounded upon 
the assumption that young people have no sexual need and no 
love need at all that these needs are peculiar to the elderly! 
Worst of all, the entire destiny of the individual, and therewith 
that of the race, must be staked upon a single card, and those who, 
in this game of chance, are not lucky enough to draw the right 
card, are condemned to sexual misery. 2 

Altogether apart from material obstacles to marriage, the choice 
of a sexual partner becomes a matter of increasing difficulty. Even 
if the numbers of men and women were equal, and if economic con- 
ditions were less unfavorable, a large percentage of men and 

"According to an Oriental apologue, "He that adventureth upon Matri- 
mony ia like one who thrusteth his Hand into a Bag containing many thousand 
Serpents and only one Eel. If Fate be propitious, he may draw forth the Eel. ' ; 
TRANSLATOR'S NOTE. 



314 



THE SEXUAL CRISIS 



women would remain unmarried, finding themselves unable to 
meet their predestined soul-mates. Society is overloaded with the 
fruits of bad pairing, and the individual members of our race 
must devote a large proportion of their energies to dealing with 
the misfortunes and misunderstandings v'hich arise out of the ill- 
starred unions of these imperfect specimens of humanity. Terrible 
manifestations of hatred, contempt, perversion, disease, shame, be- 
trayal, and disillusionment, are inevitably associated with the dis- 
ordered sexual life of to-day. But the maladaptations upon which 
our present sexual misery depends are far from being the outcome 
of any primal will of nature, for if this were the case we should 
not have among us certain examples of the higher possibilities 
of the human type, as exemplars of what might be made of aver- 
age humanity; the maladaptations are simply the outcome of a 
racial process in which marriage as we have it to-day is the sole 
basis of reproduction. The falsification of the selective process is, 
by a vicious circle, at once cause and effect of the sexual crisis. 
Again and again, in all the earlier chapters of this book, in which 
the subject has been approached from so many different sides, this 
fact has forced itself on our attention. The malbreeding of man- 
kind is the alpha and the omega of the sexual crisis, its cause and 
its consequence, its origin and its end. A clear recognition of the 
characteristics of this vicious circle of causation is essential if the 
human racial process is ever to escape from it. 

Apart from the biological and spiritual perversion of our race, 
the general lack of culture hinders mutual contact and renders a 
satisfactory love choice a matter of extreme difficulty. We need 
a general level of average culture, whereby can be effected an equiv- 
alence, in the best sense of the word, between persons of different 
classes, characters, and temperaments. In addition to the spe- 
cialized skill requisite for particular professions or handicrafts, it 
is essential that there should be a general high cultivation equally 
accessible to all. A moderate degree of bodily cultivation is al- 
ready fairly general for example, it is no longer customary for 
people to strike one another on account of differences of opinion 



THE CAUSES OF OUR SEXUAL MISERY 315 

(and thousands of years were required for the attainment of this 
moderate degree of physical self-control). But if we need that 
our bodily activities should be trained in accordance with the re- 
quirements of the average civilization of our day, we need also, 
and above all, spiritual culture. Cultivated spirits, careful culture 
of the whole furniture of the mind, culture of the reasoning pow- 
ers, and, still more important, culture of the emotional life these 
should be universal, quite independently of the specialized educa- 
tion needed for the life-occupation. For lack of a proper culture 
of the emotional life, there flourishes everywhere a luxuriant growth 
of grotesques, defectives, and persons with deficient powers of self- 
control; and the possibilities of a proper sexual selection are con- 
sequently reduced to an infinitesimal minimum. In the classical 
tragedies, and in most of those of modern times, the tragic element 
is mainly dependent upon the lack of emotional culture. 

Where we have to do with human beings of comparatively high 
differentiation, a further leading cause of sexual misery is to be 
found in the increasing separateness of individual view-points, 
and the increasing multiplicity of temperaments, which make it 
ever more difficult for two persons to attain to spiritual harmony. 
A true union of body and spirit is possible only between individuals 
who conform sufficiently to the same type. It is surely time for 
the reconstruction of a common platform, of a general European 
type, or, better still, of a general type of world-citizenship. In 
former days there was less difficulty in effecting comparatively 
harmonious sexual unions, for women were then " empty vessels," 
which men filled with whatever they themselves possessed. To-day, 
however, the vessel is no longer empty. It is not prepared for the 
unconditional reception of whatever man may be pleased to offer 
and man is apt to find this difficult of endurance. Moreover, woman 
sees man more plainly than was possible in her former state of arti- 
ficial blindness. The erotic misery of a clear-sighted woman is 
thus doubled. She is no longer able to look upon every chance- 
comer as a hero of romance; and yet the vanity of man, hyper- 
trophied by thousands of years of artificial cultivation, is usually 



316 



THE SEXUAL CRISIS 



dissatisfied with anything short of such adulation. Whereas, speak- 
ing generally, a woman inclines to respect an opinion differing 
from her own (unless it should conflict with all that she has been 
taught to regard as sacred), man is apt to find it impossible to 
respect or even to tolerate a woman's point of view. As soon as 
a man comes into a woman's life, she must at once, and in every 
direction, accept his views. In default of this compliance, he 
undertakes a process of continual attrition of her intellectual per- 
sonality, the ultimate result of which is naturally not love, but 
a tragi-comedy. To this extent, therefore, there is justice in the 
anti-feminist view that the independence of women would intro- 
duce discord into the family circle. Be it so, but we have to re- 
member that the manumission of slaves and the enfranchisement 
of serfs introduced discord into the previously harmonious and 
unified groups of owners and owned. Such discord is characteris- 
tic of a period of transition. It is characteristic of the crisis in 
which we stand to-day; and it is a preparatory stage towards the 
construction of a new and better synthesis, wherein man and 
woman will face one another as equivalent spiritual energies for 
man will by then have learned to adapt himself to the new situa- 
tion in which he must render to woman's individuality the re- 
spect which he demands that she should pay to his own. 

Truly for the building of the new amatory civilization, we of 
to-day have to pay a great price, and a major part of this price 
must be paid by the new woman. Men who find themselves un- 
able to enter into satisfactory relationships with women of the 
newer types can still find plenty of available women exhibiting 
the characteristics of the old order. But women of the new time 
will not accept the old type of family relationship, based upon 
woman's unconditional spiritual subordination, and involving the 
denial of all woman's developmental possibilities. Thus, amid the 
wide-spread manifestations of the general sexual misery, we have 
to consider more particularly the sexual misery of women, and 
to concentrate our attention in especial upon the sexual misery 
of women of the higher types. 



CHAPTER XXXII 

THE PECULIAR SEXUAL MISERY OF WOMEN 

Erotic Starvation and Its Dangers. Women of Higher Type Especially 
Liable to Erotie Privation. The "Anomalous" Woman. Anna Boje, 
in Frenssen's <( Hilligenlei." Sex-problems in Modern Literature. Or- 
ganic Need for Motherhood Often Ignored in the Woman's Move- 
ment. Krafft-Ebing upon Insanity in Celibate Women. Peculiarly 
Tragical Isolation of Those Termed New Women. A Chanson of 
Maeterlinck's Voicing Woman's Eesignation. Matriarchy versus Pa- 
triarchy. Control of the Birth-rate by the Direct Association of 
Mothers with the State. The Deliberate Play of Courtship That 
Would Result from a Wise Reform of Our Sexual Life. 

Schopenhauer laid great stress upon woman's lack of objec- 
tivity, but this characteristic is itself dependent upon woman's 
lack of sexual freedom. Those who have lived out their sexual ex- 
periences can use things according to their nature, objectively, 
that is to say, freely, independently, and capably; whereas those 
whose sexual life is in a state of continuous repression must always 
remain dependent, enslaved to themselves and to others. This is 
what Schopenhauer failed to understand, for it is to the modern 
study of sexual pathology that we owe the recognition of the in- 
fluence that is exerted by a disturbed sexual emotional life upon 
the entire intellectual and moral state. 

To woman, erotic privation involves the most perverse situa- 
tion and the greatest conceivable dangers. In consequence of this 
privation, woman is peculiarly exposed to masculine attack, in a 
manner that would be quite impossible if she had full freedom of 
choice. The incessant and heavy oppression of her sexual sphere 
disorders her critical faculties, weakens her power of resistance, 
obscures her whole intelligence. Yet it is not simply because man, 
and not woman, has the power of choice that woman is dependent ; 
her dependence is rather the outcome of the countless factors in- 

317 



318 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

terfering with the free play of courtship. That man chooses and 
not woman is one of the few phenomena of modern sexual life alto- 
gether independent of social culture and misculture, for it is a 
law founded in the nature of things. It is impossible that the man 
should be the one " chosen" to love, for man's capacity to love 
depends upon a certain train of phenomena which can be set in 
motion only by positive desire upon his part. 

Woman, on the other hand, is always physiologically at least 
fit and ready for love, for sexual intercourse. Hence woman must 
wait until she arouses man's desire, for this is her most ultimate 
and most natural destiny. Normally, therefore, it is man's part to 
court, to woo the woman towards whom his desire is directed, and 
the perversion of courtship in the modern civilized world is thor- 
oughly unnatural. In natural conditions, woman's part is not to 
woo, but to fee. Anthropological researches have shown that when- 
ever among primitive races the women adorn themselves more than 
the men, this practice is the outcome of a perversion of the natural 
conditions of courtship. Where the women are most freely adorned, 
there also in actual fact is their position most deplorably depend- 
ent. Writing of a tribe in eastern equatorial Africa in which the 
women are exceptionally adorned, Macdonald reports: "A woman 
kneels whenever she has occasion to speak to a man." The like is 
related of the women of Guiana. On the other hand, where women 
have a more influential position, they make much less effort to 
impress men by the arts of adornment. "In Melanesia, where 
women are treated as slaves, it is they who are tattooed, whereas 
in Polynesia, where woman's status is comparatively good, this 
adornment is confined to men." In view of these considerations, 
we cannot fail to recognize in the extravagant adornment of our 
modern women of fashion a proof of their reversion to a disastrous 
relationship to men. Self-adornment and dominion are in inverse 
ratio each with the other; the more dominion the less self-adorn- 
ment, and conversely. 3 

8 Writing of modern civilized woman, H. G. Wells says: "She outshines 
the peacock's excess above his mate" (A Modern Utopia, p. 202). TRANSLA- 
TOR'S NOTE. 



THE PECULIAE SEXUAL MISERY OF WOMEN 319 

Even more and more does the woman who lives a solitary life 
during those years which should be devoted to a common life with 
a man tend to suffer from inadequacy of physical and mental de- 
velopment, and to be dulled in her capacity for temperamental ex- 
pression. A gradual extinction of the energies may be observed 
as women advance in years, not merely in those who remain un- 
married, but also in those who have been widowed or who have 
separated from their husbands comparatively early in life. For 
even women who for a time have had a full erotic life tend to suffer 
from this peculiar restriction of faculty when once more cut off 
from erotic possibilities. 

"We women are always sitting and waiting," says Elisabeth 
von Heyking in her novel, "Der Tag Anderer." The man for 
whom a woman waits must be, if possible, not merely Siegfried, 
the hero, but also a "good match." But since to effect this com- 
bination usually exceeds man's powers, woman has to wait a long 
and a weary while. Now let us imagine a man placed in a similar 
position, immured within a family circle whose members watch 
over all his vital activities, deprived of independent gravitative 
force, and lacking any original and spontaneous leitmotif for his 
life. Would he not also lose all objectivity? Man, however, can 
formulate his own erotic aims and can direct his own efforts to- 
wards their realization. But with woman it is otherwise ; wretched 
indeed and dependent is her destiny when compared with the se- 
curity and independence of man. 

******* 

The customary pharisaical judgment on free sexual unions has 
been handed down from generation to generation, has been delib- 
erately instilled into us women in the process of education until 
it has become part of our very blood. Hence women of fine type 
very rarely seek relief from erotic privation along other lines 
than those of legal marriage, for no such woman can joyfully give 
herself to a man without legal sanction if she knows or feels that 
for the very reason she has thus given herself the man will, next 



320 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

morning, despise her, or even if she knows or feels that he will 
regard her as in the very least lowered in his eyes. The instant 
she senses in the man she might love the attitude of a Pillar of 
Society who would despise her for a lapse from virtue, she sup- 
presses her own erotic impulse, preferring loneliness to the fate 
she has every reason to dread as things are to-day. The modern 
man's usual moods on the morrow of an hour of free love are apt 
to combine nazarene-neurotic repentance for his own conduct with 
pharisaic contempt for that of his partner. It is this masculine 
incapacity to enjoy to the end the ardent beauty of the love in- 
timacy which enforces upon many women a "voluntary" celibacy. 

But not all such women are permanently deprived of sexual 
experience. The circumstances we have been considering have 
brought into existence a new and tragical type, which I may ven- 
ture to classify as that of the "anomalous" women. These have 
not become women in the fullest sense of the word like the married 
women who are able to live in regulated sexual intercourse through- 
out the whole period of reproductive activity; they are not like 
the old maids who have never fulfilled their womanhood at all; 
they are not like the prostitutes in whom the functions of sex are 
exploited; they are simply "anomalous" women, women who dur- 
ing youth have had fugitive love-experiences. Having had these 
experiences, their subsequent state of sexual privation must involve 
profound disturbance of the entire vital organism. As far as I am 
aware, the Viennese physician and psychologist, Freud, is the only 
expert who has described the consequences of enforced abstinence 
in persons who have had early but isolated sexual experience. This 
is enumerated by Freud among the principal causes of that anxiety- 
neurosis which must be more fully considered in the next chapter. 

Sexual privation is far more general in women than is com- 
monly understood. In men similar privation usually leads to sex- 
ual perversion or to the practice of habitual masturbation. But 
millions of women live lives artificially desexualized, their only 
experience of the sexual life, if they have had any experience at 



THE PECULIAR SEXUAL MISERY OF WOMEN 321 

all, having been acquired in fugitive love-intimacies whereby their 
erotic faculties have been stimulated without the provision of per- 
manent opportunities for the relief of the sexual tensions thus 
induced. Such women have full experience of normal and healthy 
sexual desire, but the nature of the relationships that have resulted 
in the awakening of desire leads them to renounce further sexual 
gratification. It is obvious that this cleavage, this conflict, between 
the impulsive life and the resolutions of the reason must tend to 
endanger the psychic unity. 

A great modern writer has recognized this phenomenon, and 
describes it in one of his novels. I refer to Frenssen's "Hilli- 
genlei. ' ' Herein we have depicted the deadly isolation of blooming 
and youthful womanliness for, by a profound instinct, the author 
allots this destiny to the most perfect woman of all the feminine 
figures on his canvas. Anna Boje, beautiful in body and in soul, 
in the full flower of her youth, stands alone at night upon the 
storm-driven moorland, and prays God to relieve her of the bur- 
den of life. Her mood darkens, grows darker even than the night. 
At length she conceives the idea of burial beneath the heather, her 
body given to the brown and fruitful earth, so that something, at 
least, which is living may spring from it. Predestined by nature, 
it would have seemed, to be the beloved of a man and to bear chil- 
dren to her lover, she is deprived of her natural sexual destiny. In 
her yearning for self -fulfillment, she considers the possibility of 
sexual union in the case of every man she encounters, but they all 
seem degenerate beings, and she recoils in loathing from the very 
idea. Ultimately she gives herself to a married man, for a time 
which she knows will be short, of which she perceives the inevitable 
end, simply because, of all the male figures within her horizon, 
he alone seems to her to be a man. 

The preponderance of sexual problems in modern literature, 
and above all that preponderance in works written by women, has 
filled many with disgust, especially those who are themselves safe 
and satiated in harbor. But what is really horrible about the mat- 
ter is that the descriptions given in the works thus condemned 



322 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

are true, that they are realist pictures of the actual life of our day, 
that many women eminently fitted for love are condemned, in some 
cases after a brief and often unfortunate experience of the sexual 
life, to a permanent condition of solitary privation. Owing to 
the rigid limitation of erotic possibilities characteristic of the mod- 
ern sexual order, a woman must live with her fruit unen joyed, 
her body sterilized, whilst the young man who should have been 
her sexual partner expends his accumulated masculine energy in 
the sterilized body of the prostitute not infrequently clenching 
his teeth, shutting his eyes, with difficulty overcoming his nausea. 
Yet for both sexes alike the impulses thus misused or repressed 
in our perverted sexual order are in their essential nature not 
evil, but good. As Ehrenfels writes: "How great is the sense 
of disburdenment resulting from the simple recognition of the moral 
standpoint that the sexual impulse is ... the vital source of a joy- 
ful struggle leading us upwards in the path of evolution. ' ' 
**####* 

In the case of women, the manifestations of sexual tension are 
complicated by an organic need additional to that felt for erotic 
stimulation and erotic satisfaction, the need for motherhood. A 
healthy young woman who is unable to become a mother is likely 
to suffer from nervous disorder, for her organism feels the need 
for the stimulation furnished by the act of parturition, and suf- 
fers from the accumulation of tensions that should be discharged 
in lactation and in her love for her offspring. It is necessary to 
enter a protest against the position assumed in relation to this 
question by many women prominent in the woman's movement, 
against the manner in which they gloss over these most natural 
of woman 's desires basing their views upon various so-called moral 
considerations. Goethe once said that it would be well if for at 
least a century the Germans were forbidden to use the word ' ' tem- 
perament." For my part I could wish that the words "moral' 7 
and "spiritual" might for a few decades be left in peace by the 
protagonists of the woman's movement, so that these words might 
have time to reacquire a little meaning. 



THE PECULIAR SEXUAL MISERY OF WOMEN 323 

When a man has been forced by destiny, as was Goethe, for 
instance, through a series of unhappy love experiences, the efface- 
ment of such experiences from his memory is possible by the side 
path of minor and less vital love-relationships. But to woman 
such an outlet is denied. To all which, in her case, on account 
of such experiences, so urgently requires relief, she must, to use 
Freud's terminology, "abreact" the tensions must be allowed to 
accumulate unchecked, at whatever cost to her organism. Hence 
such experiences are often fatal to a woman, literally or meta- 
phorically, and our age abounds in lamenting, struggling, pro- 
foundly dissatisfied young women to whom life is a burden to be 
borne. 

Krafft-Ebing informs us that the majority of cases of insanity 
in women occur between the age of twenty-five and thirty-five " dur- 
ing the years in which, in unmarried women, the hopes of love 
and the hopes of life's fulfillment are most commonly awakened, 
and in which, since these hopes so often prove vain, severe spiritual 
wounds are apt to be inflicted. In women, on the other hand, 
whose sexual functions take their natural course, the debilitating 
influences of pregnancy, parturition, and lactation play their part 
in the production of insanity." But the present writer must in- 
sist that mental disorder which arises in association with normal 
processes, such as pregnancy, parturition, and lactation, should be 
regarded as a plainly degenerative phenomenon, whose occurrence 
can be prevented by a proper attention to individual and racial 
hygiene ; whereas the onset of mental distress and disorder in all 
degrees up to insanity, as the outcome of enforced sexual priva- 
tion in women in their prime, as the outcome of the sterilization 
of the healthy body during the years intended by nature to be de- 
voted to sexual activity, is not a degenerative phenomenon at all 
as far as the individual organism is concerned but a thoroughly 
normal reaction to unsound social conditions. It is the inevitable 
consequence of the violence done to nature, and is consequently 
irremediable by measures of individual hygiene. Help can come 
from social hygiene alone, that is to say, from the sanation of the 



324 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

diseased social organism, from the abrogation of pestiferous moral 
laws, and from the replacement by new and sound constituents 
of those moral constituents of the present order that are unmis- 
takably worm-eaten. 

******* 

Peculiarly solitary are those spoken of as new women. No 
light love will serve their turn, nothing but a profound experience 
can bring them spiritual enfranchisement ; and the man of to-day 
with weak capacity for love and mood dehellenized is no fit mate 
for the new woman, for he cannot bring her such profound ex- 
perience. A man the strength of whose own love builds for him 
a bridge upon which he can draw near to a woman of strong in- 
dividuality is a rarity and this is why women of finer clay are so 
commonly left unmated. Their solitude is a danger, not to them- 
selves alone, but to the race. For, as Ruth Bree has well written, 
"If these intellectual and fearless women die without leaving bod- 
ily offspring, if they fail to reproduce their forcible individualities, 
the race necessarily suffers. To the educators and teachers of the 
succeeding generation is then allotted the weary task of trying to 
enlighten the offspring of the dullards. " The yearning of such 
women is strong, profound and lasting. So long as their spirit 
remains active, so long as their youth endures, so long do they 
believe in their star, that star under whose sign two twin souls 
shall be fused into an inseparable unity. But the day inevitably 
comes in which this yearning expires, for they have been out- 
wearied by a fruitless pilgrimage. Maeterlinck expresses in one 
of his "Chansons" a woman's outpouring of such a yearning and 
such a resignation. 

' l J'ai cherche trente ans, mes soeurs, 

Ou s'est-il cache? 

J'ai marche trente ans, mes soeurs, 
Sans m'en rapproche . . . 

"J'ai marche trente ans, mes soeurs, 
Et mes pieds sont las. 



THE PECULIAR SEXUAL MISERY OP WOMEN 325 

II etait partout, mes soeurs, 
Et n' exist e pas. . . . 

"L'heure est triste enfin, mes soeurs, 

Otez mes sandoles, 
Le soir meurt aussi, mes soeurs, 
Et mon dme a mat. . . . 

"Vous avez seize ans, mes soeurs, 

Allez loin d'ici, 

Prenez mon bourdon, mes soeurs, 
Et cherchez aussi."* 

Is it conceivable that an end should ever be put to this sexual 
misery of women ? The writer believes that it is. Even if it should 
be impossible for every woman to attain to a satisfactory and per- 
manent union, in a sane sexual system every healthy woman would 
at least have an opportunity of being desired, and every such 
woman could attain to motherhood. Were not every love-intimacy 
shadowed by the formula, "he ought to marry her/' or "he is 

* I have sought for thirty years, my sisters, 

Where hides he ever! 

I have sought for thirty years, my sisters, 
And found him never. . . . 

I have walked for thirty years, my sisters, 

Tired are my feet and hot, 
He was everywhere, my sisters, 

Existing not. . . . 

The hour is sad in the end, my sisters, 

Take off my shoon, 
The evening is dying, also, my sisters, 

My sick soul will swoon. . . . 

Your years are sixteen, my sisters, 

The far plains are blue, 
Take you my staff, my sisters, 

Seek also you. 

[The English translation is by Jethro Bithell. It appears in his little 
volume, Contemporary Belgian Poetry, Walter Scott, 1915.] 



326 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

already married," or " after all he or she is going to marry some- 
body else," every desirable woman who to-day remains solitary 
would have a hundred opportunities of being desired and loved. 
The possibility of being desired and loved must be thrown open 
freely to all women. The most essential element in this enfran- 
chisement would be the provision of economic security for the 
woman whose possibilities of earning a livelihood are impaired 
or interrupted by motherhood. Hardly less important is the so- 
cial rehabilitation of unmarried motherhood, and the demand for 
such rehabilitation is proudly blazoned on its flag by the ' ' Deutsche 
Bund fur Mutterschutz. " Further, it is of importance that there 
should be a change in the nature of the moral preconceptions with 
which the partners enter upon the free love-intimacy, so that they 
may be liberated from the burdens upon soul and senses imposed 
to-day in every such intimacy. Nor could we believe complete 
happiness to be attainable in a unity of mother and child from 
which the child's father is excluded. But we regard it as beyond 
question that society will have to make the unity of mother and 
child (the question of fatherhood apart) the primary basis of its 
sexual order. In a word, we believe that patriarchy will prove 
to have been a brief social aberration, and that matriarchy will 
once again become the natural unit of family life. In a sub- 
sequent volume a detailed study of matriarchy will be un- 
dertaken, and proof will be offered that in human history patri- 
archy has, in actual fact, been no more than a transient episode, 
in no way founded upon nature's will. Matriarchy, on the other 
hand, giving expression, as the only secure family association, to 
the indissoluble reciprocal dependence of mother and child, reaches 
far back into human history to the days of the prophetesses 
although even under matriarchy, if only for the reason that terri- 
torial property descended in the female line, the father of the 
children commonly lived with the mother in monogamic sexual 
union. 

Even when the father is lacking to the family unit, unmarried 
motherhood (presupposing always that it entails neither poverty 



THE PECULIAR SEXUAL MISERY OF WOMEN 327 

nor social contempt) is a thousand times better for a woman than 
that she should live out her whole life under the burden that mil- 
lions of women bear to-day, that of complete renunciation of the 
possibilities of love and of sex. Woman's sexual enfranchisement 
once secured, she will no longer be condemned to remain solitary 
if abandoned by her first lover. Should her child lose its " natural' ' 
father, it will very probably find a better one in its mother's new 
companion. Man, too, when he feels himself free, in the sense in 
which the woman yoked by no legal ties is free, will tend to follow 
a natural psychical suggestion, will incline to maintain his rights 
in his own child, and will probably, in the free intimacy, more often 
remain in permanent association with the mother than he does to- 
day, when he feels " ensnared" in such a relationship. There is 
no ground whatever, and above all there is no eugenic ground, why 
a woman who has been abandoned by her lover, or one who finds 
her male intimate uncongenial and leaves him, should not subse- 
quently bear children to other men with whom in the later course 
of her life she may form love-relationships presupposing always 
that the children are healthy. Far from there existing any eugenic 
objection to this course, a much more rigid selective process would 
be at work under such conditions than obtains to-day in the unions 
which women contract as it were in the dark, and with one man 
only. 

In so far as any human community needs an increase in its 
birth-rate, it must effect this by political and economical measures, 
making a direct appeal to the initiative of the mothers of the na- 
tion. Such an association between the mothers and the state will 
for the first time render it possible to regulate the birth-rate in 
accordance with a preconceived plan; whereas to-day the state is 
exposed to a rapid succession of crises, suffering now from over- 
population, now from under-population. There is no reason to 
suppose that in a reformed sexual order the actual number of births 
need vary very markedly from that which occurs to-day ; the cru- 
cial and eminently desirable difference would be a matter of distri- 
bution and of quality. With the wide public diffusion of a knowl- 



328 



THE SEXUAL CRISIS 



edge of the methods of preventive sexual intercourse, and with 
the imposition of a social veto upon all procreative acts likely to 
be injurious to the race, the weakly, the diseased, and those de- 
ficient in earning power would no longer propagate to excess; 
neither the well-dowered daughter whose dowry is her only merit, 
nor the degenerate man, would perpetuate their types; compara- 
tively unfit individuals would far more often be eliminated from 
the racial process, while beautiful, strong and desirable human 
beings would attain to procreation. There would result, not more 
pairing than to-day, but pairing under other forms and conditions 
and on the part of couples differently assorted. 

Eeproduction must be freed from its immurement within the 
barriers of marriage. Marriage will persist as the best form of 
sexual association, but no longer as the only recognized basis of 
procreation for marriage has not proved its right to its existing 
monopoly in this field. We judge the tree by its fruits. In the 
millions of victims to celibacy and prostitution and in the stunted 
offspring that are born in consequence of the vitiation of the process 
of selection, we pay too dearly for marriage. 

******* 

As a result of the changes here outlined, a wonderful and fully 
conscious play of courtship would ensue. To-day courtship, woo- 
ing, can hardly be said to occur. People marry; they buy sexual 
favors; they accept enforced renunciation; or they craftily "se- 
duce" one another with the most evil intentions on both sides. 
True, ardently joyful, straightforward, and natural wooing of the 
woman by the man is rarely witnessed. Such wooing can occur 
only when no ill consequences can ensue to wooer or to wooed, when 
granting is to both an unalloyed delight. To-day, we wither in 
the drought which is the outcome of a false and insane code of 
sexual morals. 

How wonderful an impulse to love would result from the so- 
cial recognition of the necessity of extra-conjugal sexual inter- 
course and of the social rehabilitation of its practice ! How many 
whose spirits are now prostrate in the dust, hopeless of the joy 



THE PECULIAR SEXUAL MISERY OF WOMEN 329 

of life, would raise their heads again to find existence once more 
fresh and beautiful ! If erotic contact became socially permissible 
and possible, there would result an abundance of spiritual intimacy 
where to-day social intercourse is dominated solely by empty con- 
ventional forms, giving opportunities for a sexual contact which 
helps no one, but merely gives rise to tensions and oppressions. 
How freely intimate and confidential do human beings become 
when their lips have once kissed, so that those who before had 
hardly a word to exchange now find their intercourse blossom a 
hundredfold. To how much higher a degree would this mutually 
entrancing intercourse be possible, if complete erotic experience 
could be effected with a perfectly good conscience and with undis- 
turbed serenity of mind. How full would existence become. Peo- 
ple would be, as it were, winged for their daily tasks, whereas to- 
day the working powers are so often impaired by feelings of sup- 
pressed sexuality: How can one who is forced to suppress all 
inclinations to amorous tenderness, constrained to bury deep the 
richness of his emotional life, compelled to allow the blossoms of 
body and soul to wither unused, bringing joy neither to himself 
nor others how can such a one bear elastically the duties and 
burdens of existence? This penetrating misery, from which mil- 
lions now suffer, this curse of sex unused and unen joyed, is a 
handicap in the struggle for existence whose result is far from 
that of producing " fitness. " Whatever in this book I may have 
said which may arouse repulsion in many minds, I have said in 
the name of these sorrowing millions, and in the hope of providing 
a remedy for the misery which destroys our human blossoms and 
prevents their ever bearing fruit. 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

THE PSYCHOPATHIC CONSEQUENCES OF SEXUAL MISERY 

"Depressed, Miserable and Exhausted" Dissociations of Consciousness. 
The Researches of Sreuer and Freud. Disturbance of Psychical Unity 
Through the Need for the "Abreaction" of Sexual Affects. Sexual 
Neurosis. 

I now enter upon the gloomiest section of my argument, that 
which discusses the consequences of sexual misery, the reaction of 
the whole disorder of our sexual life upon the psycho-physics of 
mankind, upon health, bodily and mental. Privation of the ama- 
tory life is a potent cause of deficient energy, that energy which 
is essential to the maintenance of the working powers. It is not 
by chance that the curative methods now most in vogue are di- 
rected, not to the cure of particular diseases, but to the relief of 
persons who are "depressed, miserable and exhausted." Prof. 
Ehrenfels points out that in former times "the favorite means 
of sexual disburdenment were religious ecstasies and horrible 
orgies' '; and he goes on to show that the cleavage between the sex- 
ual day-consciousness and the sexual night-consciousness is to-day 
wider than ever before ; for, while the social tolerance of polygamy 
is less extensive, the actual practice of polygamy is more general. 
' ' Hence arises that rebellion of the subconsciousness against the 
supraconsciousness which is so characteristic of the mentality of 
our time." The supraconsciousness is the social and ethical con- 
sciousness, or the day-consciousness ; the subconsciousness or night- 
consciousness is usually characterized by sexual excesses. From 
the working of the subconsciousness "arises the manifestation of 
a painfully fettered bestial personality in the man ' ' a personality 
which inhabits the realm of the obscure. 5 

6 English readers will be reminded here of B. L. Stevenson 's remarkable 
psychologico-ethical study of the dual personality of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. 
' TRANSLATOR'S NOTE. 

330 



THE PSYCHOPATHIC CONSEQUENCES 331 

The most serious of all the consequences of this divorce be- 
tween the day-life and the night-life is to be found in that mo- 
mentous "dissociation of consciousness" which is the basic phe- 
nomenon of hysteria. According to Breuer and Freud, in their 
"Studien zur Hysteric," hysteria is the outcome of "a severe 
trauma, " of ' ' the laborious suppression of an affect. ' ' The greater 
part of civilized humanity suffers from this traumatic influence, 
from this laborious suppression of a most natural affect, so that 
the investigators conclude: "For the cause of these morbid phe- 
nomena we have to look, not to a morbid predisposition of the ma- 
jority of mankind, but rather to the working of deleterious in- 
fluences which are in universal operation. Now such universally 
operative deleterious influences are found only in the forcible re- 
pression of the natural sexual impulses, a repression imposed by 
the ethical code of our day." It will be seen that these writers 
speak with no uncertain voice, and they add that the natural im- 
pulses are to such an extent forced into ' ' abreaction " that "the 
psychic unity becomes disordered." Thus a sexual psychosis is 
the widely diffused pathological consequence of our sexual misery. 

Starting from the foundation laid by these psychological ex- 
perts, we can advance a stage further. As everyone knows who 
has attentively observed a sufficient number of hysterical subjects, 
a patient is hysterical when the sense of the unitary personality 
has been lost, and when consciousness becomes dissociated into two 
or more conflicting elements. If the conflict between these disso- 
ciated fragments of the ego becomes extreme, there is actual in- 
sanity. The patient broods perpetually, doubts about himself and 
all he does and suffers ; he feels remorse and makes urgent efforts 
to effect a change of character ; his moods are extremely variable ; 
he takes to talking to himself aloud about his feelings. Finally, 
there may occur attacks upon other persons with whom the dark- 
ened intelligence is in conflict; or violent, passionate and despair- 
ing disputes are carried on within the dissociated mind. When 
matters have gone thus far it becomes essential to put the patient 
under restraint. 



332 



THE SEXUAL CRISIS 



Such a condition does not result solely from erotic repression, 
for any long-continued suppression of a natural impulse may lead 
to a similar condition. Continued intercourse with persons of an- 
other intellectual sphere, of other social habits and adaptations; 
the repression or concealment of the individual 's own peculiarities ; 
unduly protracted labor at any toilsome and uninteresting occupa- 
tion ; a prolonged inroad of undesired impressions, whereby is pre- 
vented the natural development of those impressions that would 
otherwise find an outlet from the subconscious into the supra- 
conscious life any and all of these may give rise to the mental 
condition above described. The chief cause, however, is the 
forcible repression of individuality, the refusal of an active outlet, 
in the case of a naturally vigorous person endowed with an ardent 
and powerful temperament. Yet according to our hypocritical 
moral code there is a flavor of impropriety about such a tempera- 
ment, such energy, such a will to live ; while to manifest the will 
to live in the glance of the eyes, in the glowing of the lips, in the 
vivacity of the speech, at once arouses suspicion. 

In two very different camps, that of the conventional and reac- 
tionary-minded, and in that of the aesthetic and professedly ad- 
vanced, we find a similar pose. The members of both these camps 
profess an admiration for indolent moods, subdued tones, uncertain 
outlines, and a general preciosity ; they prefer to hark back to some 
outworn style, for they are neither vigorous enough nor original 
enough to have a style of their own. This constitutional tendency 
to damp down the rich fullness of the impulsive life, and even to 
deny the very existence of that life, is the foundation of the per- 
verted modern social attitude towards matters of sex. A dull-toned 
drowsiness is the commonest characteristic of the social life of 
to-day. One who is full of life-affirming impulses but to whom 
opportunity for the gratification of these impulses is forever re- 
fused, and in whom therefore they are continually repressed, ulti- 
mately experiences a sort of slow suffocation, and the divine gift 
of a vigorous temperament at length works destruction to its pos- 



THE PSYCHOPATHIC CONSEQUENCES 333 

sessor. It is no easy matter to slow the heart-beats by press and 
screw in a manner which reminds us of medieval instruments of 
torture, to cool the blood artificially till we are in danger of freez- 
ing to death, to give the lie to the freedom, energy, and joy of the 
inner voices. Yet all these things are forced on us by the existing 
sexual crisis. 

******* 

Side by side with the sexual psychoses we encounter their twin 
sisters, the sexual neuroses, which have a similar origin. Dr. Wil- 
helm Stekel writes: "Only when within us two divergent tenden- 
cies are struggling for dominion, only when the supraconscious 
and the subconscious feelings are in conflict, only when a large 
moiety of our senses has to be suppressed and inhibited, can a 
neurosis develop." From the neuroses in general Professor Freud 
of Vienna distinguishes as a special symptom-complex what he 
,has termed the anxiety-neurosis, quite often taking the form of a 
cardiac neurosis. This usually arises as a result of enforced sexual 
abstinence, or as the outcome of unsatisfying erotic relationships 
in which partial or complete "sexual renunciation" prevails, 
whereby sexual tensions are accumulated without finding the nor- 
mal method of relief. Sexual renunciation ! . . . * ' Renounce not, 
love, to touch my breast. Lay thou there thy face at rest," sings 
beautiful Malwa in Gorki's novel. It is surely by a profound in- 
stinctive wisdom that this writer makes a girl of the people ex- 
press her erotic willingness in such words. 

It is needless here to attempt a detailed discussion of Freud's 
elaborate researches concerning neuroses, psychoses, psychoneu- 
roses, and their relationships with the sexual life. Nowadays there 
is much dispute as to whether our race is degenerate, and attempts 
are made to solve the problem by collective investigations, crani- 
ometry, etc. To me it seems sufficient to point out that the pre- 
ponderance of civilized humanity suffers from these diseases of 
the spirit, for this is an unmistakable stigma of degeneration. 
Freud contends that neuroses and psychoses are an inevitable con- 



334 



THE SEXUAL CRISIS 



sequence of deficient sexual gratification, not merely in those who 
have a congenital psychopathic predisposition, but also in persons 
whose biological heritage is thoroughly sound. The resulting ob- 
stacles to procreation, and to a natural sexual life in general, affect 
both sexes with disease; all strata of society sicken as a result of 
this abnormal mode of life. Healthy and potent individuals have 
forced upon them unnatural conditions of sexual abstinence, 
whereas the privation of natural sexual opportunities works no 
injury to the sexually anesthetic and sexually frigid. Thus it is 
not a morbid predisposition which here leads to the onset of dis- 
ease in consequence of unnatural sexual privation, but the posses- 
sion of normal endowments. Freud says this in so many words: 
"Anxiety-neurosis is, speaking generally, sexual libido perverted 
from its natural manifestation. ' ' 6 The various forms of neuras- 
thenia and hysteria, the mixed forms of hystero-neurasthenia, and 
especially the distinctive anxiety-neurosis and coercive-neurosis, are 
mainly dependent upon "frustrated excitement/' excitement not 
followed by adequate satisfaction, sexual tension which finds no 
proper discharge either physical or mental, enforced sexual ab- 
stinence in a word, upon all kinds of sexual privation in those 
whose sexual sensibilities are congenitally normal. "Such sexual 
factors are not lacking in any case of neurasthenia; such factors 
alone are competent to produce neurosis without any other con- 
tributory cause." 

To me the most important element in Freud's teaching is his 
unqualified statement that the victims of these troubles are pri- 
marily healthy individuals, that they do not suffer from con- 
genital morbid predisposition. Thus the neurologist comes to the 
same conclusion as the zoologist quoted above who demonstrated 
the occurrence of hysteria and psychosis in animals primarily 
healthy when these animals were deprived of opportunities for sex- 
ual intercourse. It is, indeed, self-evident that it is precisely the 
normal organism which tends to react in this way to unnatural pri- 

Die Sexualitat in der JEtiologie der Neurosen. Sammlung kleinen Schrif- 
ten zur Neurosenlehre, Deuticke, Leipzig and Vienna, 



THE PSYCHOPATHIC CONSEQUENCES 335 

vations, whereas a congenitally morbid organism will probably 
fail to perceive that the privations are unnatural. Frigid and sex- 
ually anesthetic women will not become ill or mentally disordered 
in consequence of sexual abstinence or of a perverse sexual life, 
whereas in normal women such a sequence is inevitable. The facts 
here luminously exposed by the Viennese investigator enable us 
to estimate at its proper value the repulsive hypocrisy which dares 
to speak of perfectly normal human needs as "manifestations of 
morbid sensuality. ' ' For Freud has proved that the human organ- 
ism, male or female, is morbid when it does not feel the need for 
the discharge of normal sexual tensions! He writes: "For the 
proper understanding of the anxiety-neurosis, it is important to 
note that this neurosis manifests itself to any considerable degree 
in those men only who remain sexually potent, and in those women 
only who are not sexually anesthetic. In those neurasthenics who 
have seriously impaired their sexual potency by the practice of 
masturbation, the anxiety-neurosis in cases of sexual abstinence 
assumes very trifling forms, being limited for the most part to 
hypochondriasis and slight chronic dizziness. The great majority 
of the women suffering from this neurosis are also normally potent. 
A really impotent woman, one sexually anesthetic, is little liable 
to the anxiety-neurosis and bears remarkably well the influences 
that normally tend to arouse it. ... The purest cases of anxiety- 
neurosis are as a rule the most fully developed. We find them 
in sexually potent, comparatively young persons, where the single 
predominant factor has been in action, and where the illness has 
not lasted too long. . . . Wherever we have reason for regarding 
the neurosis as an acquired one, we find upon careful examination 
that the real effective factor in the production of the disease has 
been the working of a series of noxious influences in the domain 
of the sexual life. ' ' 

Establishments for the treatment of nervous disorder, from 
the private medical home to the annex to the public asylum, are 
crowded with such sufferers, who have usually been ill for some 
time before the gravity of their condition forces itself on their 



336 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

attention through the failure of their working powers and the 
occurrence of distressing emotional states. 

Freud writes : ' c My experience shows it to be highly desirable 
that the medical superintendents of such institutions should clearly 
understand that these patients are the victims neither of civiliza- 
tion nor of heredity, but that they are, if I may coin the expres- 
sion, the cripples of sexuality. . . . Much misuse is made of the 
etiological factor of 'overwork/ which medical men are fond of 
assigning to their patients as the cause of various neuroses. It is 
perfectly true that one who through exposure to sexual noxious 
influences has acquired a predisposition to neurasthenia, bears in- 
tellectual work and the other mental strains of life very badly ; but 
neither through such work alone nor through excitement alone 
does anyone ever become neurotic. 

Intellectual work is rather a safeguard against neurasthenic 
disease; it is precisely the most enduring mental workers who re- 
main immune from neurasthenia; and what neurasthenics are apt 
to complain of as overwork does not usually deserve, in respect 
either of quality or of quantity, to be recognized as mental work 
at all. Medical men must learn, when consulted by an official em- 
ployee who thinks he is being overworked in his office, or by a house- 
wife who makes a similar complaint about her domestic labors, to 
explain to their patients that they are ill, not in consequence of 
the fulfillment of duties which are a trifle to the civilized brain, 
but because they have grossly neglected and corrupted their sexual 
life ..." 

"When we consider all the injurious effects, greater and lesser, 
resulting from the ever wider diffusion of neurasthenia, we see 
clearly that it is to the racial interest that human beings should 
enter into sexual intercourse endowed with full sexual potency. 
Yet as regards prophylaxis, the individual is here comparatively 
powerless. It is necessary that the community at large should be- 
come interested in the matter, and should consent to the adoption 
of customs and to the foundation of institutions of general ap- 
plicability. But since helpful conditions in these respects are still 



THE PSYCHOPATHIC CONSEQUENCES 337 

remote from realization, we can with justice, from this point of 
view, blame our civilization for the spread of neurasthenia. There 
is much that needs alteration. . . . Above all it is essential that the 
general opinion should tolerate free discussion of the problems 
of the sexual life. It must become possible for anyone to speak or 
write on these problems without being regarded as a disturber of 
the public peace, or as a mercenary speculator in base instincts. 
There will be work enough for a century to come in teaching civili- 
zation how to adapt itself to the claims of our sexuality. ' ' 

I have quoted Freud at considerable length, but it seemed essen- 
tial to go to the fountain-head of investigation, although this in- 
vestigator deals with the results of sexual misery mainly from the 
physician's standpoint. It will be well to give the views of a 
woman-writer on the same subject, Adele Schreiber. She writes : T 
"Many consider it sufficient to establish that sexual continence is 
not injurious to health: such persons forget that this is not the 
sole decisive factor; they leave out of consideration the expendi- 
ture of mental and physical energy, the waste of thought-power 
and of the joy of life, which are often needed to effect the sup- 
pression of the strongest of all natural desires. Especially in cases 
in which strong spiritual factors increase the intensity of this long- 
ing until it becomes intermingled with every vital manifestation, 
the necessity for renunciation will turn one naturally inspired with 
the joy of artistic creation into one weary of life, will convert 
one ready to storm the heavens into a pale and timid shadow, will 
change a disposition diffusing light and happiness on all around 
into a disposition that is gloomy, moody, and depressive in its in- 
fluences on others." 

A straightforward description of the need for sexual fulfill- 
ment and of the consequences of such fulfillment is given by the 
Dutch physician and sociologist, I. Rutgers: 8 "As puberty ap- 

T In the periodical < ' Mutterschutz. " This periodical has now been re- 
named "Die neue Generation," and it is edited by Dr. Helene Stoecker, of 
Berlin. 

In "Die neue Generation." 



338 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

preaches, and in some cases considerably earlier, the sensation of 
sexual stimulation, the sexual impulse, the sexual nervous irrita- 
bility and the vascular changes characteristic of sexual excitement, 
are perceived as a kind of voluptuous surprise. As, through 
chance or design, this stimulus, this impulse, increases, the adoles- 
cent experiences an ever-increasing delight. The feeling is one of 
a more intensive life. To consider one symptom alone, the phe- 
nomena of vascular dilatation affect not solely the limited vascular 
areas belonging to the specific organs of sex, for the whole cu- 
taneous vascular system is sympathetically affected: so that the 
very visage flushes in the dawn of youth. . . . Whilst it is true 
that chastity has been the ethical foundation of modesty, humanity, 
and refinement, it is no less true that from the first the voluptuous 
impulse tended to take the individual 'out of himself not by 
violence and with intent to kill as in the slaughterous lust of war, 
but amicably, altruistically, and for life-creating purposes. All 
ideal self-sacrifices, all knightly virtues, are the outcome of this 
same impulse. " 

This definition of voluptuousness as the impulse which takes 
the individual out of himself seems to me peculiarly happy; and 
it may be noted that this also is the literal and derivative sense of 
the word * ' ecstasy. ' ' All heroic deeds are born out of ecstasy, out 
of the climax of the life-affirming impulse, which takes the indi- 
vidual out of himself, which lifts him out of the dust, into those 
regions in which he becomes aware of his immaterial being as fire 
and spirit. The highest manifestation of this condition is the out- 
come of gratified sexual desire, of the happiness of the normal 
love-union effected in accordance with nature's will. "The joy of 
sexual union is neither frenzy nor sin, but a physiological need. 
It exists, not merely to secure the perpetuation of life on earth, 
but also to effect the exfoliation of all our energies. It is this lat- 
ter element in the joy of love which, through ignorance, is so com- 
monly misunderstood. ... At the very epoch of life in which, for 
our five senses, the stimulus of novelty gradually begins to pall, 
the sexual life blossoms, so that a change takes place in us by which 



THE PSYCHOPATHIC CONSEQUENCES 339 

everything is newly vitalized. We have a new youth, a new spring- 
time. What a vigorous impulse is thus given to the heart, to the 
breathing, to the circulation! . . . This new world of impetuous 
stimuli, this energizing of the vital processes, is far more effective 
than all the ergostats, baths, and massage in the world. Not until 
this fire becomes extinct does old age ensue. ... No practicing 
physician can fail to recognize that the emotional deprivations 
which are the inevitable outcome of prolonged and enforced celi- 
bacy are competent, like all other emotional deprivations and just 
as much as hunger and cold, to arouse a predisposition to various 
constitutional disorders and ultimately to chronic infective diseases. 
Even those without medical knowledge are for the most part aware 
that such emotional deprivations may eventuate in grave nervous 
disorders. ... To secure for every being in the vigor of youth a 
reasonable access to this physiological summit of life, is the pri- 
mary task of all sexual reform and the duty of all thoughtful per- 
sons ; it is the duty, in especial, of the members of the Bund f iir 
Mutterschutz. " Thus writes the physician and philosopher Rut- 
gers. I may fitly close this chapter by quoting the words of Walt 
Whitman, from the 48th stanza of the "Song of Myself ": 

"Whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own 
funeral drest in his shroud. ' * 



CHAPTER XXXIV 

CONCLUSIONS 

After Consideration, Action. Eugenics. The Woman's Movement: The 
Economic Emancipation of Women; Motherhood Protection. Educa- 
tion. Complete Moral Eecognition of Every Healthy Act of Mother- 
hood. Our Conclusions Are the Collective Voice in Which the Yearn- 
ing of Suffering Millions Finds Expression. Monogamy: Coercive 
Marriage and Free Marriage. Awakening of Racial Consciousness; 
Higher Sexual Aims of the Individual. The Golden Rule of the Sex- 
ual Life. 

The main conclusion of our investigation may be expressed in 
a single proposition. Through the conditions of our present sex- 
ual order a large proportion of human beings who are thoroughly 
fit for procreation, who are desirable and desired, are excluded 
from the sexual life. But we no longer accept with passive despair 
the sexual misery thus produced, and humanity turns to seek 
counsel. 

A detailed consideration of the methods and aims of a new 
sexual order will be the object of the sequel to the present volume. 
It will suffice here to point out that in effecting the change from 
the old order to the new, there can, as far as sex-relations are con- 
cerned, be no thought of a sudden or violent revolution. Revali 
tions arise by gradation, out of gradually changing preconceptions. 
The new preconceptions are already in process of formation. One 
noteworthy change in mental attitude is to be seen in the awaken- 
ing consciousness of the nature of racial progress, and this con- 
sciousness must and will grow into a profound sense of social re- 
sponsibility towards the new human material that is continually 
being produced. This sense of responsibility will find expression 
in a purposive racial hygiene, whose central reformatory aim must 

340 



CONCLUSIONS 341 

be to secure an effective social protection for motherhood and for 
all the children of the race. It is not enough to demand the pro- 
tection of those already in existence ; that branch of racial hygiene 
which is known as eugenics demands the prenatal protection of the 
germ-plasm. The eugenist will favor all the possibilities which lead 
to the procreation of healthy, strong, and fit human beings; and 
will resist to the uttermost all those influences whereby inferior 
hereditary values are interpolated into that unending series of liv- 
ing individuals which constitutes the race. 

For a second agency of sexual reform we must look to the 
woman's movement. This movement must help woman to the at- 
tainment of sexual freedom of choice ; it must make her altogether 
independent of the economic care of the individual man always 
with the proviso that, by the social endowment of motherhood, 
woman is to be completely freed from the need to earn a liveli- 
hood during the period in which she is engaged in bringing a new 
life into the world and in caring for her immature offspring. Such 
motherhood protection may in part be effected on the lines of some 
scheme of national insurance, and tendencies in this direction are 
already manifest on all sides. Larger claims must also be made 
on the father to provide for the education of his illegitimate chil- 
dren. 

The third element of immediately practicable sexual reform is 
a great extension, on socialist lines, of the educational activities 
of the community, so as to safeguard children from the dilettantism 
and from the authoritative and rule-of-thumb methods of the pri- 
vate adventure school, and at the same time to relieve their mothers 
of needless burdens. 

The fourth pillar upon which must rest the structure of a re- 
formed sexual life is the complete moral recognition of every 
healthy act of motherhood. 

The fulfillment of these conditions will put an end to the falsifi- 
cation of the selective process. No woman will find it necessary, 
in exchange for maintenance, to give herself to a man of inferior 
quality; no sound and vigorous man need marry a woman unfit 



342 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

to procreate merely because this woman has a dowry; no mother 
who has conceived a child willingly in health and in love need kill 
this child or procure abortion for fear of its growing up in poverty 
and shame. No pregnancy which promises the procreation of a 
valuable new human life will need to be prevented, and no fruit 
of wretched quality conceived in a spirit of sordid calculation need 
be allowed to come into existence. 

I do not know how old is the idea to which this book gives ex- 
pression. Through a hundred divided voices it has all been said 
before; and doubtless a considerable time must still elapse before 
what is good herein can be translated into actual fact. It suffices 
me to have recognized the urgency of the problem and to have 
found words in which to state it. In my reader's company the sex- 
ual need and the sexual crisis of our time have been examined and 
the conclusions to which we have been led are the collective voice 
in which the yearning of suffering millions finds expression. Im- 
measurably great is our misery. Forcible restraint is imposed upon 
the most powerful of all human needs ; the mere possession of this 
need exposes us to suspicion and to abuse; its satisfaction is pre- 
vented by internal and external forces, by evil conditions affecting 
both society and the individual, by physical coercion, and by the 
yet more mighty force of suggestion. 

It has not been the writer's intention to run atilt against the 
institution of marriage. Marriage is likely to persist for all time 
as a preferential form, or as one of the most desirable forms, of 
sexual union. In the first and second parts of this work, stress 
was laid upon the invaluable advantages of marriage, and more 
particularly upon the value of the public and social recognition of 
a sexual union. Attention was also drawn to the importance of the 
suggestive influences associated with this form of sexual com- 
munity. In certain conditions, marriage will always remain an 
eminently desirable type of sexual association. It is involved in 
the very nature of those erotic relationships that aim at personal 
happiness that there should be some kind of bond between the 
pair, and that there should be such a bond will remain and ought 



CONCLUSIONS 343 

to remain the object of the individual partners. But the bond 
must never be forcibly imposed from without, and the men and 
women of the future will certainly not consider it right that those 
who fail to attain the happy state of a voluntary and life-long 
sexual union should therefore be robbed of their sexual life, that 
they should, under risk of social obloquy, be condemned to lead, 
with healthy bodies, the lives of sexual cripples. Fixed and per- 
manent monogamy is an admirable state, inasmuch as it preserves 
the energies of mankind for the performance of other high duties 
lying without the sphere of the erotic. Nevertheless, enduring 
monogamy must not be forcibly imposed so as to impair the indi- 
vidual 's freedom of choice ; and, in the game of life, monogamy is 
not, after all, the first card to play. "What we object to is that 
a monopoly should be given to this particular form of association, 
that it should be established on high as the sole legally and socially 
recognized basis of procreation. This hypocritical and draconian 
monopolization it is which makes the dominant sexual order the 
source of the prevailing sexual crisis, the cause of the perversion 
of courtship, of the falsification of the selective process, and there- 
with of the degeneration of mankind. 

Man and woman must both be free to develop themselves as 
social and erotic forces. Before they have any intention of enter- 
ing the state of legal marriage, they must have the right to propa- 
gate their kind under favorable biological conditions. They must 
be free to procreate when at the climax of their reproductive ener- 
gies, in unions contracted from pure inclination and uninfluenced 
by calculations of social advantage. They must be free thus to 
propagate even though they should fail to find the true and per- 
manent life-companion for whom their hearts yearn, and with 
whom if found they might well wish to enter into the bonds of legal 
marriage. Essential prerequisites are: the special protection of 
woman as wife ; the social endowment or social insurance of mother- 
hood regardless of the consideration whether the mother is or is 
not legally married ; the social and moral recognition of every act 
of procreation which tends to the welfare of the race. Only through 



344 THE SEXUAL CRISIS 

such measures will the high values of an enfranchised erotic life 
become effectual in action. 

******* 

No less imminent than a reconstruction of the economic basis of 
society is a reconstitution of the forms of the sexual life. From 
all sides come proposals for reform, aiming at the institution of 
some system of sexual relationships differing from that which is 
socially approved to-day ; and all the reformers take as their start- 
ing-point that the misery of the existing sexual order is too great 
to be borne. Attempts at reform are altogether ineffective until 
the reforms receive the stamp of public recognition, for every cus- 
tom, every moral imperative, depends for its efficacy upon the 
recognition of its obligatory character. The beast in man will yield 
only to the coercion of a publicly imposed obligation. To destroy 
old established sanctions without putting new ones in their place 
would be to play a dangerous game with human life above all 
in the difficult and sensitive region of sexual morality. The only 
significance of individual and isolated attempts at reform is that 
average opinion may thereby be diverted in a particular direction, 
and that the need for new sanctions may thus be effectively demon- 
strated. In general, however, individual acts of emancipation, 
which are unestablished upon social theories of fairly wide ac- 
ceptance, and which are not the manifestation of a purposive effort 
towards the establishment of a new general sanction, are of use 
to no one. Indeed they tend to do harm rather than good, and 
their participants stand exposed and defenseless, delivered over 
to the impulses of an arbitrary lawlessness, liable to submergence 
in an abyss between two moral worlds that of our own day and 
that which is yet to come. But the various tendencies towards sex- 
ual reform now everywhere manifest suffice to show that in the near 
future, from the awakening racial consciousness, on the one hand, 
and the higher sexual aims of the individual, on the other, a new 
and better sexual order must of necessity come into being. 

Humanity once aroused will sweep away formalized and utterly 
outworn valuations; it will put an end to all the hindrances to a 



CONCLUSIONS 345 

free selective process ; it will do away with amatory starvation ; and 
will forever abolish the mean vulgarization of sexual processes 
which results to-day from our marriage system, and from its ob- 
verse, prostitution. The procreation of strong, healthy, and beau- 
tiful human beings, under perfectly free selective conditions, in 
numbers appropriate to the available means of nutrition, in accord- 
ance with the most powerful of all natural impulses, will become 
the golden rule of the sexual life. If this nature-will, now en- 
chained, be once again liberated, if it be translated from the domain 
of unconsciously working elementary forces to that wherein is 
operative the controlled and purposive will of civilized men and 
women, in short, if procreation becomes a part of civilization, with 
all its consequences foreseen and safeguarded by the organized 
forces of civilized humanity, then will disappear all the shams and 
travesties of the sexual life which seem to-day inseparable from 
civilization. Once again will Pan, the nature god, return to the 
earth he has so long abandoned; once again will the heavenly 
manna of love become the daily food of our mortal race. To ren- 
der these things possible, the first and last essential is that the cen- 
tral point of this great nature-will should be enfranchised, and at 
the same time safeguarded; once again must the Mother with the 
Child be recognized as the great and truly holy, because natural, 
center of all social classification. 

To-day all sexual activity and every kind of erotic experience 
outside the limits of marriage are thrust away into the darkest 
and dirtiest corners of life. The results are evident: in the dif- 
fusion of the venereal diseases ; in defective procreation, inhibiting 
the evolution of the higher types of our species; in the alarming 
increase in psychoses and neuroses, perversions and moral corrup- 
tions of every kind. Hence all who have acquired an active under- 
standing of the nature and source of our misery in this sexual 
crisis, must endeavor, to the full measure of their powers, to do 
what Lona Hessel does in Ibsen's play: to ventilate these dark 
corners wherever they may find them. To ventilate, that is the aim 
of this book. In that hope, I speed it on its way. 



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AN EPOCH-MAKING BOOK 

Never-Told Tales 

GRAPHIC STORIES OF THE DISASTROUS 
RESULTS OF SEXUAL IGNORANCE 

By 

WILLIAM J. ROBINSON, M.D. 

Editor of the American Journal of Urology and of The Critic and Guide 



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"I agree with you that your plain, unvarnished tales from real 
life should have been told long ago. But better late than never. 
Your name will be among the benefactors of the human race for 
I laving brought out so forcibly those important, life-saving truths. 
1 know that I personally have already been benefited by them." 

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THE CRITIC AND GUIDE CO. 

12 MT. MORRIS PARK W. NEW YORK 



A UNIQUE JOURNAL 
THE 

CRITIC AND GUIDE 



Dr. Robinson's Famous Little Monthly 



It is the most original journal in the country. It is the only 
one of its kind, and is interesting from cover to cover. There is no 
routine, dead matter in it. It is one of the very few journals 
that is opened with anticipation just as soon as it is received and 
of which every line is read with real interest. 

Not only are the special problems of the medical profession itself 
dealt with in a vigorous and progressive spirit, but the larger, social 
aspects of medicine and physiology are discussed in a fearless and 
radical manner. 

Many problems untouched by other publications, such as the sex 
question in all its varied phases, the economic causes of disease and 
other problems in medical sociology, are treated boldly and freely 
from the standpoint of modern science. In discussing questions 
which are considered taboo by the hyper-conservative, the editor 
says what he wants to say very plainly without regard for Mrs. 
Grundy. 

THE CRITIC AND GUIDE was a pioneer in the propaganda for 
birth control, venereal prophylaxis, sex education of the young, and 
free discussion of sexual problems in general. It contains more 
interesting and outspoken matter on these subjects than any other 
journal. 

While of great value to the practitioner for therapeutic sugges- 
tions of a practical, up-to-date and definite character, its editorials 
and special articles are what make THE CRITIC AND GUIDE Tinique 
among journals, read eagerly alike by the medical profession and 
the intelligent laity. 



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UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LIBRARY 



HQ Meisel-Hess, Crete 
31 The sexual crisis 



1917